“I’m so bored. I hate my life.” - Britney Spears

Das Langweilige ist interessant geworden, weil das Interessante angefangen hat langweilig zu werden. – Thomas Mann

"Never for money/always for love" - The Talking Heads

Thursday, July 19, 2007

and what are you doing? Oh, first let me tell you what I'm doing...

I was talking on the phone last night with a friend who is thinking of going to the Frankfurt Book Fair this November to peddle her translating talent. She lives in Barcelona and has translated two novels from Spanish, one for FSG. So we talked a little bit about plans and projects, and I admitted that I am in a trough vis a vis fiction. But, I said, I’ve been doing this thing on my blog that I’d love to, to do something with. Then I started spieling to her about how for the last year I’ve been developing these different themes that have a certain coherence: the career of the sage in the West, and the expulsion of the sage as one of the founding gestures of modernity; the construction of Happiness Triumphant, as happiness became not merely a mood or a feeling, but the keystone of all moods and feeling; the dialectical career of volupte, originally a liberating opening to pleasure, under the sign of Epicurus, rediscovered by the libertines, but soon adopted by the bourgeoisie as part of the pleasure-pain calculus legitimating capitalism; and these numerous capillary connections to two events of the longue duree, the treadmill of production (underneath capitalism and socialism) and the war culture. Such was my spiel. Well, believe it or not, I’m a spieler. It is unbelievable, sometimes, the bullshit that falls from my lips, as though the devil rode my tongue. I’ve exerted, to the right audience, a sinister and bizarre influence.

However, even to myself I could tell that these themes form something more like a cloud, a diffuse atmosphere, a certain temperature, rather than anything solid enough to climb upon. Imagine the Decline of the West as composed within the brain of an amorous cricket and you get some idea of the essay I’d like to gestate. But there it is…

My pre-occupation with these things has brought me back to certain philosophical concerns of my LI's wild years. Yet, as I look around at philosophy blogs, I don’t see a lot I feel akin to. Foucault, Derrida and Deleuze, to me, were all about tracing paths. Their successors are more like Calasso, or Ginzberg, or Hadot, or Veyne, rather than those who are currently popular with the theory crowd. Who are pretty indifferent to genealogies, traces, histories, all the old fuddery. That makes LI a bit of an outlier, eh? Still, I can see this … project, in the distance – a glorious outline in a pea soup mist, getting underway as crowds wave handkerchiefs and the crew blows kisses, goodbye!

ps - I can't wholly lament my inability to get ahead with this blog. I went to a google search reference that brought someone to limited inc and I'm proud to say that we are SECOND if you are searching for Suck My Big Cock. My parents will be so proud!

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Yes, Roger, I feel that way too about some of these philosophy blogs. Badiou doesn't really do much for me, although I haven't tried to read Being and Event. His politics, strangely enough, leaves me cold and uninspired. Lacan I'm willing to keep an open mind about. What bothers me, I think, is the dogmatism as virtue thing going on with Badiou and increasingly Zizek. All the talk about fidelity to the event, St. Paul, militancy reminds me of the fundamentalist christianity I've been trying to get away from since my teen years. Maybe some of it comes back also to the fact that I have a great appreciation for Hegel and Badiou does not. History is important to me, even if there are some severe problems with historicism. I'm not willing to jettison the baby with the bathwater (same goes with the recent arguments concerning experience). Could be too that all that I find interesting and useful in Marx is missing: the historical sense and the critique of the autonomy of philosophy.

Sorry, Roger, I suppose I'm carrying on an unheard conversation in my head with some of the interlocutors of the "experience" debate.

Anyway, gestate away. A few of us are cloud watchers. HvH

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