That’s fascinating, because one of the greatest insults that you can level at a lover in the modern world, apparently, is to say, “I want to change you.” The Ancient Greeks had a view of love which was essentially based around education; that what love means — love is a benevolent process whereby two people try to teach each other how to become the best versions of themselves.
We need to recognize that care is complex and that we aren't always the heroic caregiver in all the care stories we tell. Care does not happen, despite the familiar pictures in our heads, one-on-one between a single powerful caregiver and a single needy care-receiver. This kind of dyad gives rise to a frightening, seemingly inevitable, outcome of domination. In everyday reality, we negotiate caring needs, responsibilities, caregiving and care-receiving in many directions at once. Once we begin to think about caregivers and care-receivers in more complex relationships, we can easily break down any lingering assumptions that care is necessarily hierarchical.
What’s left is the new aesthetic of lifelessness and void, a consumer culture of throwaway experiences that wash right over you like an Ambien. It’s made to be experienced without friction: seamless post-death entertainment from an empire ruled over by a sleepy, old man. “Avoiding friction,” the critic Rob Horning has noted, “becomes a kind of content in itself—‘readable books’; ‘listenable music’; ‘vibes’; ‘ambience,’ etc.” And this is in keeping with a generational preference for light demi-pleasures: bumps not lines; microdosing, not getting high; sugary milks made of oats; podcasts, not conversation; the simulated intimacy of ASMR. Each of life’s pleasures in small amounts.