All posts filed under: society

Occupy Theory!

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becoming / event / interconnection / language / philosophy / Politics / self-organization / society

The 99% movement sweeping the globe is indeed something new under the sun. Little molecular revolutions, the occupations are rhizomes; in this clear revolt against neoliberal “realism” who does not see the spirit of sixty-eight, dormant for a long winter of four decades, awakening once more? Thinkers have not only the opportunity but in many ways a profound obligation to help focus and organize the will of the people, to help inspire and to amplify […]

Hegel and Universality

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awareness / Hegel / justice / language / law / levinas / objectivity / ontology / Politics / reason / society / teaching / time / tyranny

[Photograph by Will Godfrey] In an essay Hoffmeister suggests was written in 1808 or 1809, Hegel — certainly not without some irony — identifies an important ethical connection between abstract thought and power: Who thinks abstractly? The uneducated, not the educated. Good society does not think abstractly because it is too easy, because it is too lowly (not referring to the external status) — not from an empty affectation of nobility that would place itself […]

Happiness or Justice? Ethics and the Politics of Friendship

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Aristotle / difference / ethics / ethnology / friendship / happiness / humanity / justice / light / Plato / Politics / science / society / spiritual evolution

No one would choose a friendless existence on condition of having all the other things in the world. Aristotle In poverty and other misfortunes of life, true friends are a sure refuge. The young they keep out of mischief; to the old they are a comfort and aid in their weakness, and those in the prime of life they incite to noble deeds. A true friend is one soul in two bodies… ibid There is […]

Counter-action: Reflections on Sensory Anthropology

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counteraction / difference / ego / experiment / infinity / information / intensity / light / machine / media / metaphysics / monad / noise / origin / society / structure / transcendence

Towards a Metaphysics of Noise Let us return to the ‘alternate’ origin in noise, the conditions for any structure. From background noise to blank nothingness to signification: three distinct moments. Back again to the process of the development of the other structure: from noise into information. Mediation: the propagation of light which opens up space by filling it, makes absence present, sensible. The other structure: from spirit to letter; from ruptures, an alien coherence; from […]

Cyborg Nietzsche: Conscience, Affect, Transvaluation

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algebra / complexity / decay / diagnosis / ethics / insanity / language / literature / machine / mathematics / Nietzsche / Politics / prejudice / psychoanalysis / schizophrenia / Science / Mathematics / Technology / society / structure / transformation / truth / unconscious

Part One: Criticism and Untruth-Machines A. Neurosis and Transcendence: the Algebra of Bad Conscience We are healed of a suffering only by experiencing it in full.  Marcel Proust For Nietzsche, uncovering the peculiar logic of the unconscious, revealing the function of this or that unobserved striving, would only form part of the analysts’ role. A rich, analytic transformation of the real space of mental (political) activity is the full meaning of diagnostic criticism. Any real […]

Nietzsche and the Capture and Domestication of Peoples

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apparatus of capture / culture / custom / decay / democracy / genealogy / image of thought / individual / instrumentality / Nietzsche / nomad / overman / Politics / power / religion / society / sovereignty / state / unground / universal / universal politics / utopia / war / war machine / warrior / Zarathustra

  “You shall obey—someone and for a long time: else you will perish and lose the last respect for yourself”—this appears to me to be the moral imperative of nature which, to be sure, is neither “categorical” as the old Kant would have it (hence the “else”) nor addressed to the individual (what do individuals matter to her?), but to peoples, races, ages, classes—but above all to the whole human animal, to man (Beyond Good […]

Nietzsche’s Social Ontology: (Un)harnessing the Chaos

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coding / Deleuze / grand politics / guattari / individuality / instrumentality / Laruelle / Nietzsche / ontology / Politics / society

The individual is a chaos necessary to every political and social order, a chaos enveloped in a structural social machine. This chaos should be distinguished from a random distribution of intensities or an undifferentiated aggregate but instead should be thought of as overdetermined. From our point of view (against a flow of power that remains obscure in origin) this is precisely the problem that must be addressed according to the collective nature of the individual, […]

Time and the Cultural Unconscious: Nietzsche and the Future

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chaos / culture / freud / materiality / metaphysics / Nietzsche / resistance / society / subject-group / time / unconscious / value

Woman at the Window Salvador Dalí, oil on board (1925) What do we understand to be the boundaries of our neighbor: I mean that which he as it were engraves and impresses himself into and upon us? We understand nothing of him except the change in us of which he is cause — our knowledge of him is like the hollow space which has been shaped. (Friedrich Nietzsche, Daybreak 118) Stripped of its social connotations, […]

No Utopia

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complexity / deviation / form / freedom / information / instinct / knowledge / origin / society / symmetry / utopia

It is characteristic of our age that we no longer remember how to feel utopia. To experience the absence of place, a break in the flow of time. But the utopian vision is not merely a smooth or well-organized space outside of history, beyond danger and death. It is also a powerful impulse, a primary affect of sociality. The aporetic flash of insight which is glimpsed in the symphonic vision of an actual utopia is […]

The Sense for Custom and the Feeling of Power: Nietzsche’s Joyous Denial of the Old Ways

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custom / force / morality / Nietzsche / Politics / power / society / sovereignty

We should take Nietzsche seriously when he asserts that Daybreak is the work of the subterranean man, one who constantly undermines the foundations of our belief by illuminating the mixed origins from which those beliefs emerge (Preface 1). While Nietzsche indicates briefly that it is the scientist who best represents this figure, the subterranean thinker could stand in general for anyone who conducts thought experiments that examine and dismantle our faith in morality. The active […]

Culture, Language, Multiplicity

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culture / language / multiplicity / silence / society

The space of a remark is not merely a site for events, but always a sort of home: it plays host to flocks of fragmentary feelings, to parasitic swarms of minimal ‘incorporeal’ entities. Language is sense only in immense assemblages. Books are mass conflagrations of innumerable pieces of inchoate noise. This is why the novel is always — unresolved. Feelings and intensities are irreconciliable because they are irreversible and contain their contradictions: words are their […]

Lying

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denial / justice / lying / reality / society / truth

Words signify man’s refusal to accept the world as it is.Walter Kaufmann Sometimes you’ve just got to look reality in the face and deny it. Isn’t hope found finally in a (socially positive) sort of ‘lying’, a clear-eyed courage and a deep spiritual assurance? This natural social impulse could be literalized as something like: “even though you can’t help but be false, still always tell the truth.” I think this is actually the very beginning […]

Time Warp

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consciousness / ethics / metapsychology / other / phenomenology / society

A little time warp this time. This extract is from the first ‘series’ of scattered early writings, almost two years ago now. I hate looking at old stuff but in practice it can end up teaching you a lot. So here it is: A personal relationship with the universe is accomplished in the separation which constitutes daily existence. The portion of the universe which is given meaning by my observation and interaction is absolutely separated […]

Bergson (Theory of Laughter)

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bergson / laughter / society

As contrary electricities attract each other and accumulate between the two plates of the condenser from which the spark will presently flash, so, by simply bringing people together, strong attractions and repulsions take place, followed by an utter loss of balance, in a word, by that electrification of the soul known as passion. Were man to give way to the impulse of his natural feelings, were there neither social nor moral law, these outbursts of […]

Socioeconomics and Ideology

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capitalism / exploitation / ideology / Marx / society / surplus value

At first glance, the two spheres of human existence seem hardly even to touch one another. The socioeconomic situation in a given society already seems so material, so concrete, that the lofty abstractions and vainglorious rationalizations of political ideology seem almost as excrement of the functioning of the political economy, culture as mass-produced fractured residue of the production process, as a consumptive afterthought, called in only to justify, explain, speculate about or apologize for the […]