Even if we didn’t manage to solve it this time, we can defer things forward so that next time we assume it’s going to be possible. Perhaps when I’ve changed in some way? Improved myself? Made myself stronger? Or more resilient?
If our desires are imbricated in the circuits of capital, if we feel and dream in terms of commodities and within the horizon of the existing system, what does this mean for the possibility of moving beyond it?
This phrase used by Damon Young has stuck with me in the years since I read the book which contained this acknowledgement in its preface. It immediately resonated yet I’ve only come to understand what it means with time, as well as what it entails for partnership. I thought back to it when reading this wonderful short piece by Simone de Beauvoir, It’s About Time Women Put A New Face On Love, recommended by Jana Bacevic. I realise that Young’s phrase hinted at a horizon of being-with-another that Beauvoir explicated in beautiful and precise prose.
Behold him now, in utter solitude,
Welcomed by naught save fearful, deathlike silence,—
A silence which the echo of his steps
Alone disturbs, as through the vaults he paces.
There are lots of criticisms which can be made about Modern Family, as a distinctly old fashioned show dressed up in a superficial liberal progressivism. It’s nonetheless been a guilty pleasure of mine and I’ve been rewatching it during this grim coronic winter. There’s one aspect which stood out to […]
Theorising socio-cultural change: a note on the casual contemptuousness of John Milbank and Adrian Pabst
I just stumbled across this extract I recorded from John Milbank and Adrian Pabst’s The Politics of Virtue. There’s a confident contemptuousness to this passage which unsettled me at the time, expressing a belief that they can read back the spiritual condition of people they encounter through a brief glance […]
This passage from Keri Facer’s superb Learning Futures (pg 21) captures why I’m so interested in education. I wrote a PhD on what I called personal morphogenesis: how we become who we are and how personal changes are bound up in social changes. The reason I’ve moved into education is because […]
“A life. A life, Jimmy, you know what that is? It’s the shit that happens while you’re waiting for moments that never come”
This section from Amitav Ghosh’s The Great Derangement reminded me of my favourite line from Lester Freeman in The Wire. The substance of the lives we lead is mundane, reproducing who we are in circumstances which remain roughly the same. However we are culturally surrounded with representations of life which […]
On Ian McEwan’s Machines Like Me pg 96 there’s a lovely description of the mundane reality of reflexivity, as well as our tendency to assume other people could not possibly notice it: My days sometimes began with an unspoken soliloquy. A matter of seconds, usually after shaving. I dried my […]
I thought this advice from loc 814-829 of Pandemic! was helpful as well as charmingly earnest. It verbalises my own instinct about how to respond to this, at least after a week of drunken despair after I grasped that ‘normal life’ as I knew it simply wasn’t going to return. […]
From Zizek’s Pandemic! loc 439: What this contrast tells us is that panic is not a proper way to confront a real threat. When we react in panic, we do not take the threat seriously—we, on the contrary, trivialize it. Just think how ridiculous is the notion that having enough […]
This extract from Zizek’s The Ticklish Subject pg 451 left me reflecting on the edginess which pervades public spaces at the moment, with practical co-existence in a situation of implicit (invisible) threat clearly taking a psychological toll on many of us: This disintegration of paternal authority has two facets. On […]
I’ve been thinking a lot recently about how breaks, ruptures and transitions are conceived of an ontological level. They are evidenced through factors across a range of domains which are presented as indicators of change but the underlying rupture must exceed these particular trends in order to be regarded as […]
I’m reading Rosi Braidotti’s PostHuman Knowledge at the moment and I’m struggling with it. Leaving aside my other objections to her approach, due to be published by the end of the year, it perfectly embodies a tendency towards the theoretical avant-garde which I’ve found more problematic with each passing year. […]
Philosophical problems as existential problems: the difficulty of Nietzsche’s internal conversations
I’m currently rereading Thus Spoke Zarathustra as a cheery accompaniment to the early signs of civilisational collapse. The translator R.J. Hollingdale captures something important about what has always drawn me to Nietzsche when he writes that “unlike most people, even most philosophers, Nietzsche lived with his intellectual problems as with […]
There’s an interesting parallel between Durkheim’s conception of social regulation and what Archer calls ‘bounding variety’ and Cybernetics describes as ‘attenuating variety’. As Durkheim writes on pg 300 in a discussion of marriage and divorce, “One cannot avoid looking outside the place where one is when one no longer feels […]
From On Suicide pg 215-216. If I understand correctly this is what Durkheim understands by social integration. As he write on pg 216, “to say of a group that it has less communal life than another is also to say that it is less strongly integrated, because the state of […]
From Suicide pg 163: Reflection only develops when it becomes necessary for it to develop; that is to say, if a certain number of unconsidered ideas and feelings which, until then, had sufficed to govern behaviour, have become ineffectual. At such times, reflection intervenes to fill the void that has […]
There’s a fascinating connection between this account on Suicide pg 46-47 and what Bourdieu describes as hysteresis and Archer as contextual incongruity: Because of the extreme sensitivity of his nervous system, his ideas and feelings are always in a situation of unstable balance. Because the faintest impressions have an abnormal […]
From the forward to Escape from Freedom: The basic entity of the social process is the individual, his desires and fears, his passions and reason, his propensities for good and for evil. To understand the dynamics of the social process we must understand the dynamics of the psychological processes operating […]