"But, even if we cede sovereignty to perpetuity as a fantasy that sustains liberty’s normative political idiom, we need ways to talk about a more capacious range of activity oriented toward the reproduction of ordinary life: from the burdens of contemporary compelled will that fuel everyday employment and household pressures, for example, to the pleasures of spreading-out activities like sex or eating, aleatory modes of self-abeyance that do not occupy time, decision, or consequentiality in anything like the sovereign registers of autonomous self-assertion.
Without attending to the varieties of constraint and unconsciousness that condition ordinary activity, we persist in an attachment to a fantasy that in the truly lived life emotions are always heightened and expressed in modes of effective agency that ought justly to be and are ultimately consequential or performatively sovereign. In this habit of representing the intentional subject, a manifest lack of self-cultivating attention can easily become recast as irresponsibility, shallowness, resistance, refusal, or incapacity; and habit itself can begin to look overmeaningful, such that addiction, reaction formation, conventional gesture clusters, or just being different can be read as heroic placeholders for resistance to something, affirmation of something, or a world-transformative desire. I am not saying that any given response or evidence of sentience is not these things, but one should not take for granted, either, that subjects are always involved, universally and in full throttle, in projects of self-extension that seek to lock in the will-have-been of future anteriority. Self-continuity and self-extension are different things. Another way to say this might be that lives are not novels—or maybe they are, as no critic has ever accounted for all the acts and details in a novel either."