Friday, 28 August 2009

Affirmationism Again

ALAIN BADIOU: It seems to me that the problem with philosophical commitment is that it is often thought to be primarily critical. Very often, one equates philosophy and critique. So that philosophical commitment would ultimately amount to saying what is evil, what is suffering, of saying what’s not acceptable, or what is false. The task of philosophy would be primarily negative: to entertain doubt, the critical spirit, and so on and so forth. I think this theme must be absolutely overturned.The essence of philosophical interventionis really affirmation. Why is it affirmation? Because if you intervene with respect to a paradoxical situation,or if you intervene with regard to a relationthat is not a relation, you will have to propose a new framework of thought, and you will have to affirm that it is possible to think this paradoxical situation, on condition, of course, that a certain number of parameters be abandoned, and a certain number of novelties introduced. And when all is said and done, the only proof for this is that you will propose a new way of thinking the paradox. Consequently, the determinant element of philosophical intervention is affirmative – a point on which I agree with Deleuze. When Deleuze says that philosophy is in its essence the construction of concepts, he is right to put forward this creative and affirmative dimension, and to mistrust any critical or negative reduction of philosophy. When you just said that we should understand ‘inhuman’ as something other than a negation, I am obviously entirely in agreement with you. Once again I regret to say that we continue to be indefinitely in agreement, which besides proves that we engage in affirmation and not negation. ‘Inhuman’ must be understood as the affirmative conceptual element from within which one thinks the displacement of the human. And this displacement of the human always presupposes that one has accepted that the initial correlationis the link between the human and the inhuman, and not the perpetuation of the human as such.
Thanks to the Institute

Monday, 24 August 2009

Turn the thinker into a sort of surfer

Well not quite the Deleuze and Guattari injunction (to have a thinker who slides with new substances of being), but rather my bodyboarding at the West Witterings yesterday. Thankfully there are no pictures. I ache today.

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

A Coven of Bed-Wetters

Or the BM symposium. Considering the levels of invective in BM and the general attitude to academics I should think this is a mild start in the insult stakes. For a disturbing sample of such invective cf. the master - Sale Famine.

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Everything must go...

My second book, The Culture of Death, is on sale for the princely sum of £5, less than a packet of cigarettes. As most people know I have mixed feelings about it, but it's a bargain.

Monday, 17 August 2009

Stirner = Black Metal

Do I write out of love to men? No, I write because I want to procure for my thoughts an existence in the world; and, even if I foresaw that these thoughts would deprive you of your rest and your peace, even if I saw the bloodiest wars and the fall of many generations springing up from this seed of thought — I would nevertheless scatter it. Do with it what you will and can, that is your affair and does not trouble me. You will perhaps have only trouble, combat, and death from it, very few will draw joy from it.

If your weal lay at my heart, I should act as the church did in withholding the Bible from the laity, or Christian governments, which make it a sacred duty for themselves to ‘protect the common people from bad books’. But not only not for your sake, not even for truth’s sake either do I speak out what I think. No —

I sing as the bird sings
That on the bough alights;
The song that from me springs
Is pay that well requites

I sing because — I am a singer. But I use you for it because I — need ears
Max Stirner, The Ego and Its Own

Damage Your Soul (Further)

The Black Metal event in NY now has a blog site at which papers/MP3s et al will be appearing, and a facebook page for the event.

Should you think you are not dysphoric enough...

At Evan's recommendation I've been listening to this, which is excellent; who says epic is an impossible social form? (only Marx and Lukacs...)

All Reflections Drained

With thanks to Mark, for the 'Militant Dysphoria Event':

Militant Dysphoria
Wednesday September 30th
Room RHB 256, Goldmsiths, University of London 2-6 PM

Dominic Fox
Nathan Brown
Mark Fisher
Nick Srnicek
James Trafford
Alex Williams

Friday, 14 August 2009

Monumental Construction (for free)

My article in Third Text 'Monumental Construction': Alain Badiou and the Politics of Aesthetics has come out and T&F have sent me a bundle of offprints. Should anyone want to take one (or more) off my hands please email a mailing address to the usual place and I'll put them in the post when next in work.
The issue as a whole looks excellent, which is thanks to John Roberts, although annoyingly (so far) T&F haven't sent a copy of the issue itself. Also, for some reason, our library seems to cancel journals when I get published in them...

Recuperate the Recuperators!

Evan excellent on salvagepunk (although I must say I dislike the use of 'punk' generally, largely because I never found punk that good; although salvagepost-punk might be considered a little arch...).
I'm not sure I fully believe in the irrevocable apocalyptic structure, or the concept of late capitalism (late for what?) to repeat the famous quip, but salvagepunk as 'traversal' (to use the term I'm trying out in the conclusion to my book) sounds like what I am also struggling with in terms of the negative, although in Evan better materialised than my rather abstract 'musings'.
I'd be interested in more on the relation to modernism as historical past as well. I think the tarrying of modernism with salvage would also characterise those more dubious (politically) projects; after all Pound's 1912 essay has the title 'I gather the limbs of Osiris'...
Anyway, no doubt to be discussed at HM.
A strange connection appears between Evan's work and Owen's on Southampton: the tanker the 'Margaret Hill' has been impounded by the Environment Agency at Southampton to prevent its illegal dismantling...

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Blurb realism

I'm certain Mark's book will be excellent reading, but it has already achieved one significant feat: getting Zizek to write a reasonably hyperbolic blurb...

Let's not beat around the bush: Fisher's compulsively readable book is simply the best diagnosis of our predicament that we have! Through examples from daily life and popular culture, but without sacrificing theoretical stringency, he provides a ruthless portrait of our ideological misery. Although the book is written from a radically Left perspective, Fisher offers no easy solutions. Capitalist Realism is a sobering call for patient theoretical and political work. It enables us to breathe freely in our sticky atmosphere.
Slavoj Zizek

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

De- or Re- territorialisation?

Thanks to Infinite - you decide which
One day I may even read past the first fifteen pages... I really meant to read the section on Savages, Nomads, Barbarians.

Derrida avec Lenin

This from Jason Smith's excellent chapter 'Jacques Derrida, 'Crypto-Communist'?' (in this profoundly expensive book).

In 1968 I had the impression that the action of the students (which was not that of the workers) to provoke a revolution was unrealistic, and that it could have dangerous consequences. . . . What really bothered me was . . . the spontaneist eloquence, the call for transparency, for communication without relay or delay. . . . The mistrust with regard to all those things that I witnessed in 1968 corresponded not only to a philosophical-political position, but also what was already, for me, a kind of crypto-communist inheritance, namely the condemnation of ‘spontaneism’ in Lenin’s What Is to Be Done? In rereading Lenin’s texts recently, in an altogether
different context, I rediscovered this critique of spontaneism.
Derrida, A Taste for the Secret

At issue is ‘spontaneity’ or rather, ‘spontaneist eloquence’ and the denunciation of institutions (like the Party or unions). It is the rhetoric of spontaneity that Derrida dislikes most. Rhetoric: the elevation of spontaneity to the status of a value, an operation that conceals the divisions, stratifications, ‘delays’ and mediations at the heart of an immediate relation to self. For spontaneity is another name for the immediate presence to self of a subjectivity in actu, coinciding with itself in the vitality of its upsurge or its insurrection. It is another name for what Husserl called the ‘living Present’ of temporalisation, the ‘absolute beginning’ that – this is from Husserl’s The Phenomenology of Internal Time-Consciousness – ‘does not come into existence as that which is generated but through genesis spontanea’. To this spontaneity Derrida opposes the notion of the institution. From his earliest work on Husserl, beginning in the early 1950s, institution’ (or, in the language of Husserl and Heidegger, Stiftung) has signified nothing less than memory, relation, trace in general, the very possibility of history itself. It will be necessary to denounce, critique, deconstruct even this or that given institution in the name, always, of an institution ‘to come’ – not in the name of an absence of mediation or representation, or in the name of ‘direct’ democracy.
Smith, p.628