The sun is beginning to dip, and just 500 words between me and the end of Lifestream. Another digital sabbath beckons. Bring it on! #mscedc

A deliberate (and hopefully final) act of procrastination before those final 500 words….

Over the duration of EDC I’ve tried to keep Sunday free of work. Six days to lifestream, one day to rest. Indeed, often to try and be digitally free – hard to achieve, harder, once we took algorithmic cultures into view. The trip to church dodging CCTV cameras would be an interesting one.

At an early stage in the course, I tried to look for something on digital sabbath. I found this on YouTube, but found it unsatisfactory:

For one thing, it was too dichotomous – digital = fake; non-digital = real (etc.) Critically, it wouldn’t stand up to scrutiny. Life isn’t so dichotomous. Indeed, the digital looks inherently bad, sapping of life, and worthy of more than a day without it!

Second, it assumes a logic of existential or expressive individualism which is very ‘me’-centred, and antithetical to ‘the religious guys’ at about 1:09 minutes in (a stark contrast with the preceding section, and somewhat vague as to what religion, and why they went for sabbath).

So, at the start of the course, I went back to books. Turning to Marva J. Dawn Keeping the Sabbath Wholly (Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, 1989), I found her chapter on ‘Ceasing Our Enculturation’ especially generative. On p.45 she appeals to the biblical notion of humans being ‘made in the image of God’ as implying that just as he rested from his work, and so should those in his image. This is an idea infusing my final assignment, and reminded me of Jonathan Crary’s 24/7: Late Capitalism and the Ends of Sleep (Verso, London, 2014) – certainly there are other visions of life not averse to sabbath also. Dawn, p.47: “our deliberate Sabbath rejection of the ideas of our culture… refusing to conform to our societ’ys understanding of [personhood]” is matched, as a flip-side, embracing the values of the Christian community.

A bracing, challenging, other-worldly book. I’ve found it a helpful practice and counterpoint to the course, to down tools, meet with a bunch of people not constructed by my own personal filter bubble, and hear and declare strange and alien words from a pre-digital past, pitched at a strange and alien world to come. Indeed, bring it on!