JF Ptak Science Books Quick Post in the Series on the History of Need.
There are diarists who record everything that happens and everything that they do during the course of a day. The diary entry is not a simple line or two of waking and seeing the morning sky–it is one that records the number of brushstrokes of the toothbrush, the amount of water used in drinking, the amount of time the tea steeps, the sound of the spoon on the saucer, how the cookie crumbles, and so on–and this all in the first half-hour of being awake.
By necessity then people like this would be trapped in their own terrifying need to record their actions; having an adventurous day imperils their sense of balance and the ability to record the event. The course of the day is lost to the record of time, and it is as if whatever happened that wasn't recorded never happened at all.
The less that is done, the better, insofaras it would be easier to record and capture. On the other hand, though, that allows for more time to be spent on the diary description of the moment–not only the number of toothbrush strokes, but also the reflection of whatever appeared in the sink bottom, or what besides the face was seen in the mirror, or how many rice krispies were in the bowl, and so on.
In such cases, going outside and becoming a witness to the rest of the world's event would be impossible–even a stolen glance through a venetian blind could dictate a 30-minute entry. The less to record that there is, the more recording of the lesser events could be made. As with Dr. Zeno, there really never is nothing to not record.
Its a scary thought, a life lived in an anti-Borgesian library like that, getting pulled closer and tighter into nothing. Well, its that, or it is a more zen-like observation of the world around you. Either way, the diarist is tied to a bad destiny.
There are probably many variations on this theme: people who must record everything that they purposefully look at during the day, or record everything that they hear but cannot see. I imagine that there is someone who can look at a notebook of drawn footsteps to see how their feet were placed in relation t the earth for every waking minute since 1965.
Its a crushing amount of nothingness. Unless of course that nothing was everything.
[These images are really early and very impressive efforts by Etienne Marey in recording the pace of a horse, as seen in (Etienne Marey), "The Paces of the Horse", in Popular Science Monthly, December 1874–they have nothing to do with human locomotion.