Monday, May 30, 2005

I wrote this up last night when I felt the urge to blog but did not have a computer at hand. By means of setting the scene, I'd just picked up and read Slavoj Zizek's introduction to Alenka Zupancic's Ethics of the Real, after letting my grasp of study slip over a few weeks or so. Or months, as may be more accurate.

Late Sunday / Early Monday, 29th-30th March '05.

--> As a testament to a small epiphany. I really must dedicate myself to this philosophy - Lacan, Kand, Freud, Badiou, Zizek, Zupancic. I get the impression that this is a part of philosophy that is dealing in/with fresh questions. Or at least, which is sharp.

But what is it that I want to cut through, if it is sharp? Interest in the philosophers mentioned above is where my 'gut' takes me - I do not think - or at least, I should not think - of it as the answer to a question, at least not at this stage. Obviously, this ['an answer to a question'] is not how philosophy acknowledges itself - not formally, anyway.

I would think that in truth, however, all this philosophy and theory is driven by a certain dissatisfaction - all these pearls must have begun with some sand. Even so, it is self-defeating to think of this as an action against. Such a way of envisioning the task will only lead to defeat - indeed, it defines the latter as the only possible outcome.

So what does draw me in to this sort of philosophy? In part, its 'newness' - this appears to be a new combination,* [It becomes clear here: the question I am semi-consciously answering is the eternal: 'am I justified in my choices?'] this Marx with Lacan and Kant and the reclaiming of the universal. That by itself is almost enough.

Still, the important thing is not to just laud this writing (as I feel I have done so far): I must study it, grip it, travel along (with) it. I cannot become a caricature of that which Wrong Side of Capitalism Tim mentions: my allegiances must not fall with Badiou's preference for bullet points, of all things. I do worry that I become possessed by the perceived sentiment of writers, rather than their philosophy itself ("affect, darling, no one talks about gaze anymore, it's all about affect... Meanwhile, have you read the latest Badiou?").

These caricatures scare us witless, of course - we hope to be disciples of truth, but are ever-aware that we may be faddish and witless after all, and so written off as merely pursuing/being swept up by an academic fashion.

> The above potential writing-off of trend/academic movement as 'mere' fashion misunderstands the nature of fashion, of course. The universal has a relationship with fashion, for instance. (Though the question remains: 'what sort?' Walter Benjamin would be the obvious source to turn to for this, I suppose, though what he would say escapes me at this late hour...)

Still, the main requirement is dedication: courage, discernment, moderation, as Badiou says. Beginning with such basics as a work ethic - for which there are many examples on this happy blog network - including Adam Kotsko, mark k-p, Glueboot, Infinite Thought...

To include later on the topic of the work ethic: Walter Benjamin's theses on the writer's method; those photos of Walter Benjamin working in the library that I've stuck above my desk.

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PS. Mel - the message stick thingo will be responded to as soon as I have some time.

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