Discrete difference is not the same as paranoid isolation. Think of order, of one thing after another, rather than a hodge-podge or a willy-nilly. It is the way we form words and sentences, one unit of meaning at a time, or the way we walk, step by step. Peer relationships (walking next to) within free market capitalism are difficult to maintain, requiring acknowledgement of difference and commitment to connection.

"The unpractised memory is a very limited one. It embraces only the simplest forms. Most objects, being more or less complex, leave behind them only an indistinct image of their general appearance. To make this image clearer the imagination proceeds as follows: it brings the component parts one by one into consciousness, and with these familiar elements builds up the image which it cannot picture to itself as a whole. In this the imagination differs from physical reality. The latter unites and interweaves the parts in accordance with the principles of the organic formation peculiar to the object, without concern as to how they should present themselves to the eye from a given standpoint.
Thus in the mental process the organic whole of the natural object is resolved into a succession of images of its parts, each part independent of the other, and seen in its fullest aspect, in which process the closeness of combination, the acceptance, or rejection of the parts is determined entirely by the force of association in the imagination : parts which are essential organically may be omitted because they are of indifferent importance to consciousness, whilst the imagination requires to see in its picture everything that is inseparable from the clear consciousness of the object, though the whole thus put together may be irreconcilable with any one aspect of reality."

"A serial relationship between individuals is only formal and logical, there can be no common praxis. Isolation is an effect of series; while not literally isolated the members are serially separate."

"...in the film “the greatest effects are almost always obtained by ‘acting’ as little as possible ... ” In 1932 Rudolf Arnheim saw “the latest trend ... in treating the actor as a stage prop chosen for its characteristics and... inserted at the proper place.” With this idea something else is closely connected. The stage actor identifies himself with the character of his role. The film actor very often is denied this opportunity. His creation is by no means all of a piece; it is composed of many separate performances."

“Publicness without a public sphere is the evil of multitude. The general, or public and common, intellect if it doesn’t become a republic, a public sphere, a political community, drastically increases forms of submission.”

In my memory, a painting by Gustave Courbet from 1849 depicts two men laying bricks; building a low wall next to a path in the countryside. The actual painting depicts two men breaking stones, as its title, The Stonebreakers asserts. The difference between what I remember, and what I find when I look at an image of the painting is odd, and oddly helpful. Realism, an always contested category of art, is not a simple issue of showing what is, and especially in spectacular times, when images are known to deceive and manipulate, the problem of what something is cannot be handled naively. We might instead ask how something came to be, who made it, what process the maker engaged, and in what conditions. My imagined painting of brick layers serves as an allegorical image about building, brick by brick, a wall that parallels the picture plane and acts as a picture within a picture. A painting about painting. But I invented this painting. The Stonebreakers, quite the opposite, are breaking something down. So these two paintings, one invented and one actual, coexist in my mind to form a story about painting and seriality and work. T.J. Clark wrote of the Stonebreakers, “What Courbet painted was assertion turned away from the spectator, not moving towards him: it is this simple contradiction which animates the picture as a whole.”  Perhaps it is this turning away, and therefore invitation to work with the stonebreakers, to join them in labor, that produced my experience of a second painting, a misremembered painting.

"Love makes us almost sacred in our own eyes; it is the life of another that we revere within us; then and so begins for us the cruelest trouble of all."

"Order can serve as a metaphor for order." Gombrich

"Now if we try to call clearly to our minds any image whatever, we see it isolated and surrounded by a void... The greater the need for distinctness the more completely the image requires to be circumscribed, and to be detached the more cleanly from the abstract ground. Yet this detached plane offers in itself no hold to the imagination ; it is only through the line of demarcation, separating it from the void and defining the form, that a form can be seized by consciousness, and it is this line of demarcation, the contour, that consciousness first seeks."

“Perhaps it is this specter that most haunts working men and women: the planned obsolescence of people that is of a piece with the planned obsolescence of the things they make. Or sell.”
― Studs Terkel