Dividuals

How to Vacuum Form a Guy Fawkes Mask by Aram Bartholl / CC BY NC ND

I’m interested in collective being. I’m interested in making it easier for people to be public and social selves, as Martin Luther King certainly was. The risk is that if we turn everything into private property, it becomes harder and harder for us to have these common or collective selves, which is something we need.

In anthropology, there’s an interesting resurrection of an old word, which is the word “dividual.” So we live in a nation that values individuality; we live in a nation of individuals. But a dividual person is somebody who’s imagined to contain within himself or herself the community that he or she lives in.

So it would be nice if we began to have a better sense of how to own and circulate art and ideas, such that we could be present in our dividuality, as well as our individuality.

— Lewis Hyde interviewed for On the Media about copyright, the commons, and Martin Luther King Jr.

And Anonymous is organized not only around a radical democratic (at times chaotic and anarchic) structure but also around the very concept of anonymity, here constituted as collectivity. The accumulation of too much power—especially in a single point in (virtual) space—and prestige is not only taboo but functionally very difficult.

The lasting effect of Anonymous may have as much to do with facilitating alternative practices of sociality — upending the ideological divide between individualism and collectivism — as with attacks on monolithic banks and sleazy security firms.

— from Biella Colemann’s brilliant article about Anonymous, Our Weirdness is Free

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