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We are fanatically obsessed with public self-exposure

Terry Eagleton put it in the LRB (1 June 2000), ‘a fanatically voluntaristic (volunatary action) society’, obsessed with public self-exposure and suspicious of ‘reticence or obliquity’ (deliberate obscurity of speech or action)

Whether you’re conscious of it or not, whether y­ou like it or not, the verified self is the governing calculus of your life, the spectrum on which you, as an individual, are plotted from cradle to grave. As Pierre-Joseph Proudhon explained, you must be ‘noted, registered, enumerated, accounted for, stamped, measured, classified, audited, patented, licensed, authorised, endorsed, reprimanded, prevented, reformed, rectified and corrected, in every operation, every transaction, every movement.

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