Analogue capital: The gold of being offline in a digital world

photo Kenji Wakasugi, art project/ book “Adore” 2021, Madonna 1985

According to sociologist Catherine Hakim there are not three types of personal assets (economic, cultural, and social capital), but four.
The fourth is erotic capital. 

Hakim’s work is not unique;
There is a Wikipedia page on erotic capital that showcases the work by other researchers as well.

And I also came across an article that was entirely devoted to proving that Hakim’s theory was inferior to the other research.
I think it was implied that it was unfair that the world didn’t know the other research. It had not made it out of the academic world into the mainstream world.

But Hakim was the first to call it Erotic Capital.
And not, like it was called before, Sexual Capital.

Whatever the content of the theory of one researcher versus the other, all trying to explain the same thing; Erotic Capital IS the better word!
Most sexy word wins.
Or, to stay within the lingo, the word with the highest erotic capital, wins. 

So what wording will make it, when we’re talking about the art of staying offline?
Or perhaps more accurately;
The art of leveraging, your offline time.
As well as leveraging your online time!

I’m in my first paragraph of trying to jump from erotic capital to what I have called Analogue Capital, and things already get wordy.

So I write this post knowing that Analogue Capital, Analogue Heritage, and Analogue Resilience, are not necessarily the words that will be the ultimate definition of what we, ten years from now, will all know.
And I will only discuss Analogue Capital in depth.

The other two, which I may work out in the future, are;
– Analogue Heritage 
Defined as offline habits, rituals, spaces and places, groups of people. 
– Analogue Resilience
The ability to go by without the digital world, in its functional use. So this would mean for example keeping on an analogue landline/ home phone.
But the analogue resilience I think is more acute, in the ability to not be in continuous conversation with, or exposure to, the online world.
And to not need the distraction of apps or refreshing pages. The ability to “be present” in the offline world.

I will only discuss Analogue Capital;
Defined as literally monetizing offline time/ analogue life, and/or learning to prevent overspending our time and attention online.
For some Analogue Capital will mean selling their offline time (delivering deep work, work that requires high concentration),
and for others it will mean achieving wealth because they win all their free time back.

And I am aware that Analogue Capital may or may not be the wording that we end up using, ten years from now. 
But the reason I chose to add “Capital” and not an “-ism” such as 
Minimalism and Veganism, which have become normal principles in the past decade, is because Analogue lifestyle choices CAN be a lifestyle change;
Yes.

Just like as a principle you can refrain from consuming animal products and keep your possessions minimal;
You can choose to entirely refrain or limit your online time, out of principle.

But, the reason I have coined it to “Analogue Capital” and not (like Cal Newport did in his book Digital Minimalism) to an -ism;
Is because I believe being offline is an asset.

Unlike minimalism, or veganism, you could choose to be offline/ live analogue, because you want more money and more power.

Having an offline life is not just a lifestyle choice, that reflects your values (as an “-ism” lifestyle is);
It also makes your brain, your talents, your presence, more valuable.
You can monetize yourself better, just like people high in erotic capital can monetize theirs.

To illustrate this, I will use a comparison to something Brian Eno said about the creation of art.
Genius versus Scenius.

In general it is thought that much like religion, the “idea” (genius) comes to an artist from above, from God, and it is the artist’s job to let the message through and bring it to this earth.

Like the topic of blogpost, this topic of living offline, is a Genius or genie, that  has been around me for weeks now, and it wants me to write very often.

I usually ignore this genie, although the fact that I have known from the start of this blog a few weeks ago, that this art blog would rely heavily on offline values and offline life proves that this genius or genie, he or she or it, does have a large influence on me.
But still, I usually say to the Offline Genie:
“I already wrote about you last Tuesday. Mommy doesn’t have time for this.”

But this morning little Genie started dancing around while I was still in bed, and before I knew it she was lying next to me and we had spent 90 minutes together, browsing topics like erotic capital, Chronos versus Kairos time, and relational aggression among teenage girls.  
The latter has gotten worse because of social media and Whatsapp communication, whereas the boys now shoot their friends digitally, instead of resorting to violence with their rivals or settling power structures physically, as they used to. 
First conclusion of Genie and me:
Boy worlds have become more peaceful, girl worlds unsafer.

Those are the things Genie and me talked about, as we used my Samsung internet browser.
As you can see Offline Genie is not a purist.

But at the same time, my ideas about online life are not just brought to me by this offline Genie, or Genius. My ideas or sources of inspiration also come from the world itself.
From “the scenius”.

In the seventies Brian Eno worked closely with Robert Fripp (duo Eno & Fripp), and they both worked with David Bowie.
So the scene, or the scenius would have been “London in the 70s”, which already provides an array of topics, atmospheres, social circles, sensations.
And then the interaction between Eno & Fripp, the interaction (collaboration) between Eno and Bowie, the collaboration between Bowie and Fripp, would be the other energetic bubbles popping up or spontaneously being created in response of them interacting.

These musicians didn’t get their ideas just from their geniuses/ the spirits/ from God;
They also got them from the scene they were in.
The scenius.

The reason I believe being online is costing you money, is because –
Oh! Wait!
I HAVE TO first talk a tiny bit about the addiction element of online media.

Short version:
In 2012 Facebook engineered their platform to reward you (this is a thing in your brain where you get addicted to the Likes, like digital heroine) and all the other platforms and news media and so on followed.
If you’ve seen the movie The Matrix, you can compare it by all of us being tied to an (online) world we are sucked into.
Our souls are on the internet, in our phone, while our offline bodies are devoid of awareness just like the floating bodies in the Matrix harvest tanks.
Okay that was not short.

Anyway, where was I?
Got it:
“The reason I believe being online is costing you money, is because “

It’s because if we take the Genius (inspiration from above) Scenius (inspiration from others around us)  comparison;
Internet addiction has pulled us in a perpetual Scenius without being able to talk to our Genius.
And to a very large extend, our Scenius isn’t real.

In our scenius we are not improvising with our synthesizers and cracking jokes with David Bowie.

And instead we’re anxious about what we just posted, or what someone else has posted. We have Whatsapp groups where people are asking for attention, people we never chose to have in our lives to the extend that we are in continuous conversation with them.

We are way too available to the Matrix, to the world, to Mark Zuckerberg, to anybody who wants to presents their advertisements to us.
Even if, most positive scenario, even if The Matrix of the internet is real.
Even if it is a reality that it can be used as a “Scenius”, as creative ground and inspiration, and I know from 15 years of being online that it is;

Even then being online needs to be managed, because internet is a predatory force in the Scenius.

A healthy Scenius (again: credit for this word to Brian Eno, not me)
is a combination of online and offline contacts,
with limited or at least managed/controlled exposure (in both) to whomever and whoever wants your attention or your money. 

In the offline world, we have numerous boundaries to protect people from entering our space. No one can just barge into the noise cancelling recording studio and disturb your Bowie collaboration, mid-day!
We do not open the door for everyone.
We make small talk and keep an emotional and physical distance.
And to navigate our decisions and the in-person dynamics we can see how the other person responds.

But online there are no rules, hardly any etiquette, and it is unclear when or where you can safely come closer.
Or “who” is welcomed to come closer, and who is not.

The chaos of the online space is best compared to the impunity of the wild west.
And the habit of constantly being online and checking your phone can be compared to smoking in the 50’s which was then done by everybody everywhere.

Ten years from now, legislation and etiquette on the internet will be clearer, its limitations more widely known, and the first groups of people will have established strong online/offline boundaries.
Just like there were people who no longer allowed you to smoke in their house, there will be companies, theaters, but also friends you visit, where it will no longer be normal to be online during your stay. 

It will change, just like smoking changed.

Even if you are not an artist, or do not believe in a Genius, only live in the real world, and are very social and do not like solitude;
Even then it pays off to only go online deliberately.

When you know what you are going to do there.

Cal Newport calls this “operating procedures”, in his book Digital Minimalism.
It means that for every app or website, you know when you’re using it, and what you’re going to do there/ how you’re going to use it.

I ve been writing for three hours, and I can feel this article has not even covered half of everything there is to say about Analogue Capital.

One more aspect I want to cover is, is that you can only capitalize/ use analogue capital if A. you know you have it , and B. stay in touch with the online world.

I will explain this with Madonna’s erotic capital and with the online world/ offline world of The Matrix.

Madonna only benefited from her beauty, because she knew what she was doing.
Like a sword; Erotic Capital needs to be wielded. It doesn’t need to be harnassed to work; A sword is always a sword.
But it needs to be harnessed and wielded to work for you.

If you live in the woods, in analogue paradise, you have all the advantages of living in that timeless energy the Greeks called Kairos time.
You have all your time back to yourself, and you can spend it on making things for you and your family.

But the money probably will not start rolling in until you write a book about offline life, start giving guided tours over your property, start The Offline Academy, have an Instagram, start giving management seminars, have an elite clientele, and so on. 

Madonna was just as magnetizing her first years in New York, as she was after she became famous. 
She already had “the sword”. 
But the reason she profited from her erotic capital, was because she was practicing that sword. Training her moves, planning her moves. Making them with great confidence!

Madonna did not sit on the couch until her erotic capital started making her money. She worked it!

So that is the first aspect of Analogue Capital that I wanted to share, closing this post:
You have to know your worth, and work it, as a deliberate offline person.

And the second thing I want to leave you with, is the comparison with the real world, in the Matrix.

click photo for the age restricted dance scene, filmed in Zion. I think this is what our post-Covid party will look like.

Near to the core of the earth there is an enclave of real people, a rebel settlement called Zion. It’s in the Matrix movies 2 and 3.
These are either people whose bodies are freed from their tube, and their minds are freed from the Matrix. They can be recognized by the scars/ connection points in their bodies.
And the other people are normal humans, who were born in Zion in a natural way.

The resistance fighters, among which Neo (Keanu Reeves) and Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne), spend their time mostly on their ship, where they have the equipment to go into the Matrix.

The rebels, or people in the world of Zion, spend their time mostly in their physical bodies. They are far less powerful than the resistance fighters who go into the Matrix. In fact, the people in the world of Zion are dependent on the machine/ artificial intelligence to clear the air, cool their habitat.
Zion is not as agile as the resistance fighters on their ships, not physically (their world is fixed) as well as mentally (their mind is always in Zion).

This analogy shows us where true power lies:
It is in moving between these worlds.

If you go offline to your house in the woods, your power is limited because your world is fixed.

The other option is to be like the resistance fighters; and this is when analogue capital comes in.
If you live like a resistance fighter, then you are offline most of the time (on your ship) and you go into the Matrix deliberately, and after carefully reading Cal Newports operating procedure! 😉 

That’s how you go in the Matrix, meaning that’s how you go online. 

But you don’t go there to be entertained; you go there on a mission.

Finally, a word of comfort;
In The Matrix, there are good programs too. They look like really nice people, so (naturally) you first assume that they are resistance fighters, who have a physical body somewhere else. 
But they are programs. Really sweet and wise ones.
This too reveals itself in the later parts of the Matrix, not in the first movie.

The same thing goes for the internet;
It is not a bad place. You will meet the most amazing people there. 

And the great news is;
They are real.

.

Suzanne L. Beenackers

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Rock Star Writer
Blog dedicated to Bon Jovi, sex, and rock n roll.
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