By Zygmunt Bauman

This liquid glossy international of ours, like several beverages, can't stand nonetheless and retain its form for lengthy. every thing retains altering - the models we persist with, the occasions that intermittently trap our realization, the issues we dream of and issues we worry. And we, the population of this global in flux, suppose the necessity to comply with its pace by way of being 'flexible' and consistently able to switch. we wish to be aware of what's going and what's more likely to occur, yet what we get is an avalanche of knowledge that threatens to crush us.

How are we to sift the data that actually issues from the tons of lifeless and beside the point garbage? How are we to derive significant messages from mindless noise?
We face the daunting job of attempting to distinguish the real from the insubstantial, distil the issues that subject from fake alarms and flashes within the pan.

Nothing escapes scrutiny so stubbornly because the traditional issues of lifestyle, hiding within the gentle of misleading and...

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Extra resources for 44 Letters From the Liquid Modern World

Example text

In my last letter, I wrote, however, that ‘defending the private domain from any undue meddling by the powers that be’ was the sole task inspiring most of our ancestors and older generations to take arms – but added right away: until quite recently … In a startling U-turn from the habits of our ancestors, we’ve somehow lost a considerable part of the guts, the stamina, and the will to persist in the defence of that ‘private domain’. In our days, it is not so much the possibility of betrayal or violation of privacy that frightens us but its opposite: shutting down the exits from the private world, turning the private domain into a site of incarceration, a solitary confinement cell, or even a dungeon of the kind into which people who fell from favour with the ruler in bygone times used to disappear amid a void of public unconcern and oblivion – the owner of that ‘private space’ being sentenced to stew forever in his or her own juice.

As a result, it is now the public sphere that finds itself flooded and overwhelmed, having been invaded by the troops of privacy. But are those new invading troops rushing to conquer new outposts and spawn new garrisons, or are they rather escaping the enclosures where they feel they are suffocating; running away, in despair and panic, from past shelters, now no longer habitable? Are their assaults symptoms of a newly acquired spirit of exploration and conquest – or rather testimonies to expropriation, victimization, and eviction orders?

Contact’ can be broken at the first sign of the exchange taking a turn in an unwelcome direction: no risk therefore, and also no need to find excuses, apologise and lie; a gossamer-light touch of the finger, totally painless and risk-free, will suffice. There is neither any need to be afraid of being alone, nor a threat of exposure to other people’s demands, of a demand for sacrifice or compromise, of having to do something you don’t feel like doing just because others wish you to do so. That comforting awareness can be retained and enjoyed even when you are sitting in a crowded room, loitering in the densely packed passageways of a shopping mall, or strolling on the street among a large pack of friends and fellow-strollers; you can always ‘make yourself spiritually absent’ and be ‘on your own’, as well as notify the others around you that you are willing, here and now, to stay out of touch; you can put yourself outside the crowd by keeping your fingers busy kneading a message to someone who is physically absent and therefore momentarily undemanding and unengaging, safe to ‘contact’, or by glancing over a message just received from such a person.

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