As I was writing a paragraph on what David Berry calls the ‘pre-thought’ or the ‘pre-cognitive’ and how it relates to my own ideas on the casual, I needed to cite his most recent book on critical theory (As customary and proper in academic work).
I am a big fan of Zotero and use it for my library and citation management. This has become such an essential tool that I must always run my MS Word with Firefox running in the background, even when off-line, least I require something from my library. (Zotero is installed as a Firefox plug in on my computers). And so, citing Berry I automaticall hit Ctrl+Shift+A, or zoterian for ‘open the search bar to insert new citation’ and typed Berry’s last name. The follwing result followed:
As you can see, the book (Critical Theory and the Digital, 2014) is not there. That’s because I only recently got acquainted with Berry’s work due to a Master Class of his I’ve attended as part of the 4M conference on Materiality organized in Utrecht, and thus haven’t yet automatically sucked his book data into my library using Zotero’s automatic web translators. Now, bear in mind that despite the lenghy description, this all occurs in this “crucial half-second of pre-conscious decision-forming processes” (CTD, p 211) that Berry talks about. My pre-concious reaction to this is pure annoyance. I am annoyed that I cannot make smooth translation of my knowledge (=this is the book I’m citing) into the proper format (=Berry 2014, 211) which will also automatically generate the required bibliography entree in the end of the document. I actually have to go and look for the book, put it’s details into my library and only then proceed. My need for immediacy and flow is unresolved.
While writing about the casual and pre-cognitive I experience such moment in fullest. My expectation of the technology to serve me on a habitual, almost embodied level (my fingers form the familiar Ctrl+Shift+A gesture) are leaving me frustrated. And to topple it all, I feel the compulsion to go write a blog post about it, further delaying and distracting me from the initial task.