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Showing posts from May 30, 2010

Notes on where the hell I am so far

My intent, with this Kierkegaard thread, is to bring forward certain changes in the way boredom is experienced – or articulated, or signified – in the 18th and 19th century. Boredom, which, as we saw in Kant, provides a strange motive when needs are satisfied – boredom, a nameless suffering that would even afflict Adam and Eve in paradise, in as much as Adam and Eve are constituted as human beings save for the knowledge of good and evil. Surely in the artificial paradise, built on the surplus value squeezed out of the industrial system under the reign of capitalism, premised on viewing the world under the sign of substitution, whether of commodities or humans, all in the service of the abolition of the human limit, must, if Kant is right, produce boredom in ever greater amounts. And thus let loose a motive that plays a lesser role in the society of the limited good. In Kierkegaard’s Repetition, repetition is not linked explicitly to boredom – but to a certain impossibility to repeat.

Goethe's essay on experiment

I’ve been thinking about Goethe’s essay about experiment – Der Versuch als Mittler von Objekt und Subjekt – in relation to my recent, dogged circling about Kierkegaard’s ‘experiments’. Kierkegaard might have read it – it was published in 1790, and then in Goethe’s scientific works – but then again, he might not. Kierkegaard’s mature work is directed against not only Hegel, but also against Goethe – representatives, both, for the system of modernity, with its elimination of the religious ‘stage’, against which Kierkegaard fought. And yet, Kierkegaard’s very use of the term experiment shows – as he must have known – that he fought from within the net, the vast net of the Great Transformation, the net beneath the Artificial Paradise. Roger Poole quotes a passage in a memoir of Kierkegaard written by his friend, Hans Brochner, who wrote: “ I once walked through a whole street with him while he explained how one can make psychological studies by so putting oneself en rapport to passer-by[s