It occurred to me afterward that parts of my projects have sounded antisocial, but I realized that this was one of the lessons I took from this class. People should be able to opt out of more things. Surveillance, primarily, but in fact all sorts of things should have options.
For example, being avoidant is completely different from disliking others! The latter’s malicious while the first is anxious, and anxiety is only the extra well-developed self-preservation of someone who’s learned plenty about malice and wants no part of it. The real spirit of avoidance isn’t dislike, it’s (as quoted in one of the readings this semester) Bartleby’s “I would prefer not to.” That should be a choice people can make even if the consequences aren’t always good. The passive desire to be able to set one’s own boundaries is self-preservation. Telling other people about boundaries is the anxious way of saying “Be sure to take care of yourself,” which is a solicitous statement! In the language of the anxious, “you should be able to avoid it” is a reassurance. You can always opt in! The important thing is having a choice in the first place.
Needing to avoid others on occasion doesn’t imply disliking them any more than avoiding governmental surveillance means unequivocally disliking the government, or not letting the police search one’s house without a warrant means disliking the police! It’s just that everyone needs a modicum of space that, on occasion, can be unreasonably infringed upon by technology.
People should be able to opt out of more things.