15/10/2012

Eternal Sofa Surf Blues



...only the one enduring the experience of being deprived of a home can offer hospitality.
- Jacques Derrida

And best of all, we don't pay council tax!
- Max & Paddy


We don't think of rent as consumption spending. But it is. (This year I'm going to live without an address - circulating, instead, around the sofas of a kind and bohemian group of friends.) Pardon? A year of bourgeois homelessness?

  • How?

Now, I'm a stubborn man, and I enjoy running experiments on myself, but it remains to be seen how long I can last at this, owing to 1) my long-established need of long solitude, 2) the burden it places on my relationships, and 3) my poor back.

Also since we're after much more than warmth and storage space for our bed when we sign a lease. You purchase privacy; you obtain the possibility of giving hospitality (and the possibility of refusing it); and perhaps even the possibility of dignity. In fact, Derrida talks about being homed as a condition of being a complete person. (The epigram up there isn't self-aggrandising; it refers to the way that offering hospitality is sort of like temporarily losing your home, letting someone in your circle by breaking the circle.)

So you need a home if you want a certain basic individualism. People round my end often use 'individualism' as if it were to blame for all social evils. Well, my 2013 is to be a fully communal year. And I bet you it will be unenviable, and that I won't repeat it.

You could maybe spin this positively (another philosophy in a different kitchen): "By choosing no home, you are removing one mediator between your being and Being. You go through a life without punctuation. You are forced into contact with a public and mostly uncontrollable world: and this is just more authentic." Being a weird young person, the bricks-and-mortar life holds a horror for me. To do without chunks of Capital this large feels like freedom. It's a weird practice, but it's not that weird an idea: "home is where the heart is..."

Anyway 'homelessness' is too strong a word for the zany-voluntary hot-shower university-educated free-internet privileged bonhomie I can expect. (The inclusion of 'voluntary' alone makes the claim absurd.) I'm hardly Diogenes. I'm hardly Orwell. I'm hardly Anthony from Jam. I'm hardly even Danny Wallace.


Pardon? A year of bourgeois homelessness?

  • Why?

Well. My general taste for pissing about with my life aside, the idea stemmed from realising that I could save money for a postgrad like dead fast if I only didn't live somewhere. (The savings bit of the plan is now excised, because it is tasteless [not because it is un-Kantian].) Instead I'll give the saved rent to charity. Accountability is cool, kids. Though I'd rather give to meta-charity, they don't have JustGiving yet. So CARE it is (one of the more open big names).

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