Unfollowing

Following depends upon unfollowing.


(Every opposite pair depends upon each other, obvi.)


Unfollowing is poorly understood, rarely spoken about as an option, and exemplifies a power counter to all our current notions of what power is.


In earlier, more interdependent days, the punishments of shunning, banishing, exile, excommunication, all held great sway and struck fear into the hearts of men.


Now this power is almost taboo.


The orange one banned from twitter, the cries about how it's unfair or even a violation of rights.


The idea that everyone must be included.


The horrifically flawed dating concept of "giving someone a chance."


You might argue that people are getting cancelled, but cancelling as we are doing it now is an infusion of attention, not a withdrawal. It is a more intensive version of following.


We don't understand the power of following because we fear the power of unfollowing. We have cleaved unfollowing away from following, saying that you're not really following unless you're following everything.


That is straight-up tyranny. Following doesn't exist under tyranny.


It is a follower's art to follow and to unfollow. To grant and withhold energy and attention as a way of gracefully influencing the world around them.


Of course, following doesn't seem powerful when we understand it as subservience or obedience.


But with optionality, agency, and sovereignty, we can practice the wholeness of following, knowing the heft of our attention and the deathly vacuum of its removal.


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