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Showing posts from September 27, 2020

Dis-identification politics

  To judge that a thing is bad is a philosophical task, but in the novel of real life, we more often judge that a person is bad. We more often think, that is, about how we don’t want to be or function like X, and create a negative figure out of that moment of negative choice. Those are the figures, in essence, that we compete with. And often, the badness of the figure becomes stronger than the reasons we hold an act or a function to be bad. Out of this comes snobbery and wounded dignity. The latter emerges from the moment in which we are squeezed between the figure that represents ‘how we don’t want to be’ and something that upsets our judgment about how we don’t want to be. I don’t want to be a liberal academic, or a poser, or a fan of country music, or a supporter of Donald Trump, or Bernie Sanders, etc., etc. translates into a satisfying comparison that emphasizes why I am not like liberal academics, posers, fans of country music, supporters of Trump or Sanders or whoever. At least

A day in the life in Paris

  My brain is a “who’s who of the forgotten” – to cop a phrase used by the critic Alexandre Geffen to describe Nerval’s Les Illuminés. Nerval’s book was devoted to various of the neglected fanatics of literature. The idea of lives as being, as it were, volumes in the Library of Babel is a metaphor for the brain – and has been used by neurologists and biologists themselves. There is a sense in which it is libraries all the way down, from the neurons in our head to the chromosomes in that mysterious thing called the gene. There’s a case to be made that the library is the most important invention of culture after fire and agriculture, for the framework around the text – the clay tablet with the tax list in Sumer, the voter’s shard in Athens, as well as the papyrus texts that we recognize as books, etc. ­– gave us a sense that information can be organized, that disparate objects can be collected, arranged and consulted, forming a larger whole than the parts. My who’s who would include my c

A good day to talk about taxes: reprising the problem with the liberal board game metaphor

  the liberal myth of the economy as a board game “Only through the forgetting of this primitive metaphor-world, only through the hardening and rigidifying of the primitive capacities of human fantasy that flowed out originally in a hot stream of images, only through the unbeatable belief, this sun, this window, this table is a truth in itself, in brief only through the fact that man forgets himself as a subject and really as an artfully creative subject, does he live with some rest, certainty and consequence. If he for one moment could escape out of the prison walls of this belief, immediately his self consciousness would be over and done with. Already it costs him some effort to admit to himself that the insect or the bird perceives a whole other world than humans, and that the question, which of both world perceptions is more correct is a completely senseless one, since here we have to measure with the standard of the correct perception, that is, a standard that is not at hand.” -Ni