Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Chirruping Bird of Prey

I want to follow through on this not exactly heartwarming little train of thought I’ve stumbled into here by reconnecting it with what I was originally interested in exploring: pluralism and the power flows of pluralism and whether these can ever be effective enough to make a historical impact when faced with the more concentrated power flows of “oppositional”, antagonistic politics.

I don’t have any great confidence in pluralism as a political pragmatism, but without it I have no hope, either. It is very easy for me to understand why the Left would squander so much effort and energy on what looks like the lost cause of pluralism: what else is there for the Left to do? The only other course for it to pursue is to in some obscure manner to influence State power (centralized authority, centralized repression,) so that it be more rational, more “fair”, less “dominating”….This influence is exerted through a force which comes in on the centralized power from various marginal positions which are almost by definition much weaker than the centralized power…The centralized power is free to disregard these weaker forces, and except for some managerial or administrative problems occasionally perceivable, that is exactly what it does…

…Some crushing juggernaut of history sweeps down over the human particles of which it is composed, grinding them into even more minute particles, then imparting a form to this granulated particulate mass which is a form somehow simultaneously rigid and diffuse – a form which combines the worst characteristics of “form” as this concept applies to human life – the chafing, unbreathing, and the unrelentingly compressing nature of an externally-applied shape – with the worst characteristics of the opposite of “form” as the concept of the opposite of form applies to human life—without name or code, a mute “human” scream which is nothing but a scream screams into an amorphous nothing which is also nothing but this scream-- for a name or a code, a friendship or a warmth, which aren’t there and can’t be there because they are different from the scream, and the scream is all there is.

Domination—nothing else counts. The deed—the deed is everything. I’ve combined these ideas, but so far I’ve done so as if each of these positions is monolithic and even their combination yields something monolithic. I don’t think that’s the case, though. I think that the major error of Adorno and Horkheimer was to reach their conception of domination as the only contemporary actual or conceptual power relation while still trying to hang onto their dialectical visioning of history – postulating a kind of totalizing domination, they look around for some other dialectical force to oppose and sublate with domination, but are unable to find anything which could fit this bill. I think that the major success of Nietzsche, (and Deleuze and Guattari,) on the other hand, is to have realized the monism of “ the deed is everything” as the material basis for a pluralism which doesn’t shirk from its own power… Which doesn’t need to fear that its own totalizing (but totalizing has a different valuation and effect here,) force and power will do nothing more than betray it back into the form from which it hoped to distinguish itself by creating better, more progressive forms. I want to see if this reading works. I want to see how it works, if it does.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Yusef,

Many thanks for several inspiring posts lately. I have just returned from a long vacation in the U.S. and need to get my head together before I can add anything of value to your VERY interesting thoughts.

I'll be back.


6:13 PM  

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