on connait la contradiction du racisme, du coloniaalisme et de toutes les formes de la tyrannie: pour traiter un homme comme un chiene, il faut d'abord l'avoir recconnu pour un homme.
While listening to a podcast on Eugene Delacroix I heard the following sentence: "a painting should form a bridge from mind to mind". Much of my doctoral thesis argued for the Aristotelian/Spinozist/Hegelian idea that the external world, including actions, formed such a 'mind'-bridge - from the chair to the cup, everything is posited mind - the external is mind's form made public; there is no subject-object dualism. I was able to expand on this to arrive at the claim that good agents are those who understand themselves as the sort of thing they are, and can articulate - express - this understanding, clearly, into action. Action and property are the concrete expression of an agent's internal process (desire and deliberation, to name but two such processes). Action and property are self-understanding and self-revelation. Freedom is acting in accordance with one's essential being.
Cet individualisme ne conduit pas à l’anarchie du bon plaisir. L’homme est libre ; mais il trouve sa loi dans sa liberté même. D’abord il doit assumer sa liberté et non la fuir; il l’assume par un mouvement constructif : on n’existe pas sans faire; et aussi par un mouvement négatif qui refuse l’oppression pour soi et pour autrui.
Such a position might lead one to adopt a rather bleak outlook - if the public is what is expressed, and we look towards the public culture, what sort of 'mind' can we see manifest? What sort of culture are we? It would appear that we are becoming a Buzzfeed society, concerned mostly with short, brightly coloured and trivial, distractions. Our minds are becoming lazy and want to replace the complex with the superficial and constantly changing. But whose mind is expressed in our orthodox cultural space? Can 'consumers of culture' be blamed for wanting distraction? If we accept the Marxist (or at least 'Marxian') Critical School's analysis of culture and its transformation (or, perhaps 'realization') to a 'culture industry' - and I think we do have to accept this analysis - then modern capitalism actively induces a bifurcation in the social world between producers of culture and value ('The Establishment') and consumers of culture and value ('The Public'). Once this production has attained total dominance, a hostile and aggressive 'cultural hegemony' (everyone should read Gramsci), an epistemic narrowing occurs - alternative worldviews and modes of being become increasingly inaccessible. This is remarkable given the absolute breadth of information we have access to, and the sheer effortlessness it would take to access it. Rather than participate in an existential, social, cultural evaluation, we are subjected to an endless 'you-loop' where the previous websites we have visited determine - through cookies and targeted advertisements - the websites we will visit in the future, thus re-enforcing the 'you' you have been shaped into. Currently the only way to escape this is through the ironic self-detachment personified by the Hipster. Of course, living a life of non-self-commitment is absolutely nightmarish and a way of resisting without revolting, but at least their nothing is their nothing. Their solution is an anesthetic, not a cure, as religion was for Marx.
Je préfère la pensée à l'action, une idée à une affaire, la contemplation au mouvement.
What is the solution? In virtue of The Establishment's value dominance attaining such proportions that the individual's consciousness is determined by it, it is getting increasingly difficult to imagine what such a solution would look like. Being told repeatedly that there is 'no alternative' has entailed that we simply cannot imagine what such an alternative would even look like. This consciousness forming is felt most strongly in political discourse where anyone arguing for an anti-austerity agenda are so roundly mocked and made to look ridiculous that the whole position appears discredited and unimaginable. Note that an anti-austerity position isn't in and of itself inherently radical (as it is portrayed by The Establishment), one doesn't need to be a card-carrying anarcho-syndicalist (and indeed, one can't be this), instead one could be, for example, an adherent to Keynesian-esque capitalism. Yet, anyone suggesting anything other than an all-pervasive neo-liberalism is marginalized and, eventually, ostracized. 'Alternativists' are made harmless (Corbyn as a 'silly doddery old man', Miliband as a gawky 'Wallace' who can't even exercise dominance over a bacon sandwich, never mind a G7 economy!) and the threat they pose is willfully unacknowledged and, therefore, dissolved.
Avoir de l'argent c'est se libérer de l'argent.
Engagement with society is nightmarish, non-engagement is sneering, irresponsible and cowardly. If there is hope, it does not lie in the proles. The slave no longer demands justice, but wants to wear the crown. During my more optimistic moments (which are fewer in number recently) I am certain that capitalism contains within itself the seeds of its own destruction, the dawn of which we are seeing with the gradual collapse of the financial system (the political and economic consequences of which we have still not fully comprehended) and the gradual rise of social media and open-source technologies. Social media currently drives the you-loop, but this doesn't always have to be the case - we don't have to be idiotized... Or perhaps I'm wrong and we do.
The sun was bright and the air was cold this morning when I walked to the gym. My journey involves walking on a bridge over the Itchen river and there are swans and ducks on the water, not bothered by my presence. The road is often free of traffic and there are very few pedestrians. The world has not yet woken up and appears to have been made just for me. This has a sort of ataraxic affect on my mind.
My walk home takes place around rush-hour and, as such, it is phenomenologically saturating. There are lots of faces. There is lots of noise, a cacophonous, quiet, din. The sun, now appearing brighter, is painful to be in and causes me to wince and squint. People are walking, quickly, in dark clothes and in shoes that click (like the wooden blocks one got a primary school in lieu of proper instruments) when the inhabitant foot strikes the pavement. An isolating barrier is formed using headphones and a tilted gaze. The cars on the road move very short distances very quickly. There is an anxiety in this act. One has to be a good, timely, prole.
I arrive home and eat scrambled eggs with peppers and spinach. I make a pot of coffee, which I enjoy while having some fruit with a coconut milk yogurt. Afterwards I make a few 'phone calls and write a few e-mails. I wash my dishes, I tidy my clothes away, I shower. I shave while listening to the London Review of Books podcast on Eugene Delacroix.