22 / 10 / 2011

OWS (5): Corpse Clusters, Profanations and the New Literacy—in response to Vincent


President Obama phrased the death of Gaddafi the removal of a “dark shadow.” While darkness and light are the most generic of philosophistry, it is congruent with Agamben’s profanation of apparatuses, that is, “to bring them to light the Ungovernable, which is the beginning and, at the same time, the vanishing point of every politics.”
From Agamben’s, What is an Apparatus?
“The more apparatuses pervade and disseminate their power in every field of life, the more the government will find itself faced with an elusive element, which seems to escape its grasp the more it docilely submits to it. This is neither to say that this element constitutes a revolutionary subject in its own right, nor that it can halt or even threaten the governmental machine. Rather than the proclaimed end of history, we are, in fact, witnessing the incessant though aimless motion of this machine, which, in a sort of colossal parody of theological oikonomia, has assumed the legacy of the providential governance of the world; yet instead of redeeming our world, this machine (true to the original eschatological vocation of Providence) is leading us to catastrophe. The problem of the profanation of apparatuses—that is to say, the restitution to common use of what has been captured and separated in them—is, for this reason, all the more urgent. But this problem cannot be properly raised as long as those who are concerned with it are unable to intervene in their own apparatuses, in order to bring them to light the Ungovernable, which is the beginning and, at the same time, the vanishing point of every politics.” (§10)

I have tried to think Agamben’s government / machine claim on subjects: their appearance and their action, and their catastrophic potential and outcome in relation to the uprisings in the world at large. In particular peace and pacification, or pacifistic mythology that obscures or secures the absolute (violence) of truth and freedom. As noted by Allan Bloom only the misappropriated dogma of the “democratic personality” believes in absolutes. Absolute freedom is absolute origin, a no grammar language.
Revolutions of the 1960’s were not peaceful, they were fought by armies in many parts of the world, anyone who thinks boycotts or sanctions are nonviolent subscribe to illusions, effective today only in flits, twits and appearances. We are always tempering violence on kinetic scale. Death is pacification.
That the dead body of Gaddafi finds itself among the portable windows in the hands of his killers, as Vincent ended his response with was punctuation at its best. Arguably the co-rationale behind the new social contract shows the clustering as a peculiar community of writers. Technology is not the agent, but perhaps a co-agent, at least if we think about Agamben’s earlier verdicts and the status of the social contract today.
Lorenzo Chiesa looks at Agamben’s use of Benjamin’s messianics and thus Christian messianic time as a broader project. A ‘revolutionary’ subject Agamben doesn’t seem too optimistic about, at least in the short term, rather a sort of mastication of human thought leads to a catastrophic, short term transition. This goes in tandem from what Chiesa furrows up from the critique of Badiou on Agamben’s weakened being. What is this weakness?
Catastrophe is not violence and deadly revolution. Martyrs die for something they know never fully appears—they fight for absolutes—chaos generates their faith. Capitalism produces martyrs in so far it has captured this weakness of human thinking for its own valorization.
Is it toward some evolutionary adaptation to the percussive, embossing, and mind altering technology of the day that some are tempted consider themselves posthuman?, that is, the fooled who believe in magic powers thus find themselves a “democratic personality” rather than a “democratic thinker.” Following Bloom is heretical for the orthodox left, and evolution is totally underrated these days.
“The Ungovernable”, seems equivocal to Zizek’s violent desire. Yet here we see the difference between sophistry and philosophy. How thought and language is related to this new type of fiber optic sentencing results an image in the device and the literacy question. For example, the American Revolution (long since lost to mythical narratives presented to us in the Culpepper regalia and tricorne head gear). The revolution was not about absolute capitalism and few were literate. The goal was the absorption of otherwise divergent minorities toward the common good based on Enlightenment individuality. That is, our preindustrial attitudes about property and community have changed by way of material acceleration and the co-agency of devices to capture where politics otherwise disappears. This cluster of minorities extends beyond the individual level—“politics vanishes.” It is not merely positive communities unmediated, rather it’s about the aesthetically illiterate attempting a divine profanation. Is it possible to know how to truly and effectively read these devices hence a positive profanity in a time of over-exposure, or extreme exhibition, extreme messianism?
There are few places to think this democratic persona, as Chris Hedges demonstrated recently on the CBC, that the OWS movement is a conservative one. They seek to maintain the rule of law rather than the subversion of it by capitalists. Marx, it is often forgotten, explored industrialization as a very new phenomenon. The type of labor he began to criticize was in its infancy.

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