You are a multiplicity. […] The one and the many are not opposed to each other, okay? You can have one thing that is a multiplicity. A multiplicity. It’s such a strange phrase, “a multiplicity.” You’re a one thing that’s many things. You don’t have to add all up. “Who am I, REALLY?”
This is what a lot of capitalism, for want of a better word, wants from you: What am I gonna be? I’m gonna be…a CHEF! I’m gonna be…a MARKETING CONSULTANT! Right? “What am I gonna be?” Such a ridiculous question.
The question is what are you gonna do, today? What are you gonna do tomorrow? What are you gonna do for a year? What are you gonna do?
You don’t have to be something. What ARE you? “I’m a, a…I’m a financial analyst!”
“You ARE a financial analyst?” Aren’t you, like, ten million things? One of them happens to be “financial analyst” because, in capitalism, they make you work 60 hours a week? They really want you to be just one thing. They don’t want the financial analyst who comes in and he’s also smoking a spliff, listening to music, and writing an Opera, and doing all the other things he likes to do. Right? He has to be ONE thing.
So, these idiotic questions like, “What am I gonna do? What am I gonna be? What’s my career?” Right?
Career is the most insidious, evil question. Never have a career. Who wants a career? It’s the worst thing. Like, what am I gonna devote my entire life to that’s gonna make someone else a whole lot of money? That’s what the question is. Remember those questions that are on the [chalk]board on Tuesday: “What’s at stake? Who pays?”
The question, “Who am I? What am I?” It’s a ridiculous question. You’re a multitude. You’re many, many things.
Daniel Coffeen, in “Rhetoric 10: Lecture 8,” February 13, 2008.