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Showing posts from May 22, 2011

an excrement in potentia

I’ve been thinking about the fact that two English philosophers – Shaftesbury and John Stuart Mill – were subjected, when young, to the educational regime of two other English philosophers: John Locke and James Mill. As far as I can tell, John Stuart Mill paid little attention to Shaftesbury. He certainly didn’t know of Shaftesbury’s strange notebooks, the Philosophical Regimen, as they were called by their first editor, Benjamin Rand, although Shaftesbury called them the Askemata, or Exercises. I'v e previously written about this, and thought I'd reproduce the following: Ginzburg did not include Shaftesbury in his brilliant essay on the geneology of Estrangement as a literary device, in which he traces, link by link, the connection between the Stoic practices recorded by Marcus Aurelius and the formalist notion of “making strange”, that formula which was so important to Victor Shklovsky. However, Ginzburg’s explanation of the Stoic method – a method that is neither dialectical

Doormen of genius

The great wheel of circulation is altogether different from the goods which are circulated by means of it. The revenue of the society consists altogether in those goods, and not in the wheel which circulates them. – Adam Smith How can we reconcile what Simmel says about the lengthening of the means – the lengthening of the instrumental interval – to ends in capitalism with our experience of what Marx pointed out again and again – that capitalism becomes a global second nature that conceals the system of production under the great wheel of circulation? For, starting from Marx’s perception, we notice that everything seems speeded up, and not slowed down, in capitalism. For Shylock and Bassanio, a bet on cargo would take months to come to some end – but for a Jerome Kerviel, hundreds of millions of dollars can be bet and lost or won on bundles of financial instruments in the course of a day merely by using a cursor. The sugar I put in my coffee today came Saint Louis, a company that refin