Killing Time

02024-04-27 | Uncategorized | 0 comments

‘Leisure time’ lacks both intensity of life and contemplation. It is a time that we kill so as not to get bored. It is not free, living time; it is dead time.

Inactivity constitutes the human. The inactivity involved in any doing is what makes the doing something genuinely human. Without moments of pause or hesitation, acting deteriorates into blind action and reaction. Without calm, a new barbarism emerges.

When life follows the rule of stimulus–response, need–satisfaction and goal–action, it atrophies into pure survival: naked biological life.
If we lose the ability to be inactive, we begin to resemble machines that must simply function.


My taste in music doesn’t often align with Warren Ellis but I always pay attention to what he is reading. I have read many of the books he recommended. 

Killing time so as not to get bored, when that inactivity is in fact what makes us human. Throwing away the moments and getting nothing in return. The beauty of witnessing the movement of light, the movement of clouds, the flicker of shadows. Staring into space is precious time. I don’t remember the last time I was bored. I suppose I may have a unusually high boredom threshold. Even in a plane, waiting to get out at last, I’ll happily stand there, glad not to be sitting any longer, while other people scroll furiously to catch up with that which cannot ever be caught up. 

In the past few years I have often contemplated getting a dumb phone. There is even a website for that:  But every single time I come to the conclusion that rather than replacing my phone I need to learn to live with it. I plan much of our tours on the phone, carry confirmation numbers, boarding passes, location info, etc. I need maps, need messaging with the touring group… and I love the camera and ability to carry music with me. When you’re going through hell don’t stop, keep going. 

Here is another quote from the book by Byung-Chul Han, who is a South Korean-born philosopher and cultural theorist living in Germany.

With digitalization, availability reaches new heights. By bringing about total producibility, digitalization suspends facticity itself. The digital regime does not acknowledge an unavailable ground of being. Its motto is: being is information. Information makes being fully available. When everything is readily available and consumable, contemplative attention is impossible. Like a hunter, the gaze screens its surroundings.

I am in the process of changing my attitude about analog music containers, such as vinyl LPs and Music Cassettes. While I don’t like the use of material, such as plastic and paper, I have come to realize that these containers are important for human culture. I am learning about getting LPs and MCs made–there has never been an LP of my music because even in 1990 NF was released only as CD and MC. Any advice you can impart to me please leave in a comment or send me an email. Bare Wood 2 would be a fine first LP release, I think. 

PS: Killing Time is such a powerful combination of just two words. Is it Killing Time, a time for killing something or someone, or is it Killing Time, and time itself needs to be killed.


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