Beyond the Blank Slate on July 26, 2011 - N. Pepperell
My argument would be that, in spite of superficial appearances, the blank slate approach – whether expressed in abstract notions of cleansing violence or in some other eschatological standpoint – is precisely not motivated by an attempt to be more aware of the boundaries of our current understanding. The motivation is rather a sort of magical belief that those boundaries can be smashed, once and for all, by some action we can take now, or by some sort of historical rapture that will magick up the worthy if they await its coming faithfully enough. These approaches may agree that we can’t think our way past the limits of our current understanding – but they haven’t given up on the notion that there is some sort of action within our control that can shatter the barrier between ourselves and some sort of absolute.
I think that Marx is after something radically different. He’s after an approach that allows us to acknowledge that our actions might have unpredictable consequences – to hold that we are in no position to dictate the end point and culmination of all social development – to maintain that future generations will have their own ideas about the sort of society they want to live in: we can do all this – refusing to write recipes for the cookshops of the future – and yet we can still put forward actual concrete proposals for the global institutional structures we’d like to see, as alternatives to the ones we have right now. And we can ground this analysis in actual analysis of the implications and possibilities suggested by actual empirical things, that we can experience now or have experienced in the recorded past. And we can therefore base political proposals on a kind of concrete, non-utopian foundation – that carries with itself the realisation that it, too, is still groping forward, limited in its ability to foretell consequences that will no doubt be transparently clear and sensible to those who come after, but that is nevertheless mining as well as it can the insights available within our own time.
Communization and its Discontents: Contestation, Critique, and Contemporary Struggles (Minor Compositions) [Benjamin Noys (editor)] on Amazon.com.
Bringing together voices from inside and outside of these currents Communization and Its Discontents treats Communization as a problem to be explored rather than a solution. Taking in the new theorisations of Communization proposed by Tiqqun and The Invisible Committee, ThÃ©orie Communiste, post-autonomists, and others, it offers critical reflections on the possibilities and the limits of these contemporary forms, strategies, and tactics of struggle.
Contributors include: Alberto Toscano, Nicole Pepperell, Anthony Iles, Marina Vishmidt, Evan Calder Williams, Jason E Smith, ThÃ©orie Communiste, Endnotes, Jasper Bernes, John Cunningham, George Ciccariello-Maher, and Alexander Galloway.
As Freud's English editor JamesStrachey informs us,Joan Riviere, thebook's English translator, played instead foratime with the concept of malaise, butchose finally the title Civilization and its Discontents. Itis under this title that Freud's ...
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