Posts Tagged ‘Simon Critchley’

In the Tony Palmer film Bird On A Wire, 1972, Leonard Cohen reads from a poem in his book “The Energy of Slaves”.

Poem #92 (simplified lineation):

The killers that run
the other countries
are trying to get us
to overthrow the killers
that run our own
I for one
prefer the rule
of our native killers
I am convinced
the foreign killer
will kill more of us
than the old familiar killer does

Frankly I don’t believe
anyone out there
really wants us to solve
our social problems
I base this all on how I feel
about the man next door
I just hope he doesn’t
get any uglier

Therefore I am a patriot
I don’t like to see
a burning flag
because it excites
the killers on either side
to unfortunate excess
which goes on gaily
quite unchecked
until everyone is dead.

Leonard Cohen (in poem #92) resolutely refuses to take sides.
Today it would be more accurate to invert the poem’s neutrality.
Today, the killers that run our countries, U.S. / NATO, are more eagerly trying to overthrow the killers that run the other countries (Assad, Putin, etc, etc…) than they are trying to overthrow ours.
I suppose that was actually true also 1972, but it was too novel an idea to be useful in a poem and we are blinkered or cognitively dissonant to what our Military is doing in “our” name, or more accurately the goals of the Corporate masters.


 

“The sense of something lacking or failing arises from the realization that we inhabit a violently unjust world, a world defined by the horror of war, a world where, as Dostoevsky says; blood is being spilt in the merriest way, as if it were champagne.

Such an experience of disappointment is acutely tangible at the present time, with the corrosion of established political structures and an unending war on terror where the moods of Western populations are controlled through a politics of fear managed by the constant threat of external attack. This situation is far from novel and might be said to be definitional of politics from antiquity to early and considerably later modernity. My point is that if the present time is defined by a state of war, then this experience of political disappointment provokes the question of justice: what might justice be in a violently unjust world? It is this question that provokes the need for an ethics or what others might call normative principles that might enable us to face and face down the present political situation. Our main task is to respond to that need by offering a theory of ethical experience and subjectivity that will lead to an infinitely demanding ethics of commitment and politics of resistance.”

— Simon Critchley, Infinitely Demanding: Ethics of Commitment, Politics of Resistance(Verso, 2007) https://slought.org/resources/democracy_and_disappointment


“In disoriented times, we cannot accept the return of the old, deadly figure of religious sacrifice; but neither can we accept the complete lack of any figure, and the complete disappearance of any idea of heroism. In both cases, the consequences will be the end of any dialectical relationship between humanity and its element of inhumanity, in a creative mode. So the result will be the sad success of what Nietzsche named ‘the last man.’ ‘The last man’ is the exhausted figure of a man devoid of any figure. It is the nihilistic image of the fixed nature of the human animal, devoid of all creative possibility. Our task is: How can we find a new heroic figure, which is neither the return of the old figure of religious or national sacrifice, nor the nihilistic figure of the last man? Is there a place, in a disoriented world, for a new style of heroism?”

— Alain Badiou, The Contemporary Figure of the Soldier in Politics and Poetry (UCLA, 2007)

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Transkategorial (adj) | instances of fuzzy categories | there are so many mediums to use now. How do I choose how I engage?

I’ve been getting increasingly interested in collaborations with artists and activists – and what really interests me is the growing interest in collaborative practices in relation to contemporary art and politics. I’d like to start investigating fuzzy categories.

Even if I can never change things. Maybe I can offer a resistance?


 

George Henry Lewes (1817 – 1878), (author of The Life of Goethe) said:

Philosophy and Art both render the invisible visible by imagination.

Martin Heidegger  (1889 – 1976).

The most thought-provoking thing in our thought-provoking time is that we are still not thinking.

Noam Chomsky (1928)

Modern industrial civilization has developed within a certain system of convenient myths. The driving force of modern industrial civilization has been individual material gain, which is accepted as legitimate, even praiseworthy, on the grounds that private vices yield public benefits, in the classic formulation.

Now, it has long been understood, very well, that a society that is based on this principle will destroy itself in time. It can only persist, with whatever suffering and injustice that it entails, as long as it is possible to pretend that the destructive forces that humans create are limited, that the world is an infinite resource, and that the world is an infinite garbage can.

At this stage of history either one of two things is possible.
Either the general population will take control of its own destiny and will concern itself with community interests, guided by values of solidarity, sympathy and concern for others,
or alternatively there will be no destiny for anyone to control.

As long as some specialized class is in a position of authority, it is going to set policy in the special interests that it serves. But the conditions of survival, let alone justice, require rational social planning in the interests of the community as a whole, and by now that means the global community.

The question is whether privileged elite should dominate mass communication and should use this power as they tell us they must — namely to impose necessary illusions, to manipulate and deceive the stupid majority and remove them from the public arena.

The question in brief, is whether democracy and freedom are values to be preserved or threats to be avoided.

In this possibly terminal phase of human existence, democracy and freedom are more than values to be treasured; they may well be essential to survival.

The most effective way to restrict democracy is the transfer of decision-making from the public arena to unaccountable institutions: kings and princes, priestly castes, military juntas, party dictatorships, or modern corporations (the arche?).

John Dewey (1859 – 1952)

In an imperfect society (and no society is perfect)… fine art will be an escape from, or an adventitious decoration of, the main activities of living. But in a better ordered society than that in which we live, an infinitely greater happiness than is now the case would attend all modes of production. We live in a world in which there is an immense amount of organisation, but it is an external organization, not one of the ordering of a growing experience, one that involves, moreover, the whole of the live creature, toward a fulfilling conclusion.

Works of art that are not remote from common life, that are widely enjoyed in a community, are signs of a unified collective life. But they are also marvellous aids in the creation of such a life. 

The reconciling of the material of experience in the act of expression is not an isolated event confined to the artist and to a person here and there who happens to enjoy the work. In the degree in which art exercises its office, it is also a remaking of the experience of the community in the direction of greater order and unity. – Art as Experience, (London: Allen & Unwin, 1934) pp. 80–81.

‘‘Art has been,” according to Dewey (Art as Experience, p. 348), ‘‘the means of keeping alive the sense of purposes that outrun evidence and of meanings that transcend indurated habit.”8 In presenting a subject matter as a focus for thought and emotional attitude, distinctively fused to the imaginative exploration of material, art provides the evidence of things not seen. – (invisible?)

Contemporary philosopher Simon Critchley (in his book Infinitely Demanding) proposes a notion of post anarchist politics as resistance to state power on behalf of an ethical Call.

In a combination of Levinas, Badiou, and Lacan, Critchley deploys the notion of the subject as constituted by its recognition in an unconditional ethical Call engendered by the experience of injustice and wrongs.

– The subject emerges as a reaction to the traumatic encounter of the helpless suffering Other (Neighbor), which is why it is constitutively decentred not autonomous, but split by the ethical call,

“a subject defined by the experience of an internalized demand that it can never meet, a demand that exceeds it, an infinite demand“.

Things which do not exist yet – Simon Critchley

This is the whole point – logic of the event – to focus on those things which do not yet exist in order to bring to nothing the things that are.
The question here is simple: how are we to behave?
This is the infinite demand of art – to be in such a condition so that those things which do not yet exist might be brought about.

And that the things which are brought about are not finite.

The infinite demand is not a finite demand. It is not a demand that can be met. On the contrary.

It is like the work of love in Kierkegaard. In Kierkegaard (Works of Love) is the emphasis on the rigour of the commandment of love, on the nature of belief/faith, ‘be it done for you, as you believed’, refusal of the certainty and security of faith, faith is something that one must win at each moment, and not in some external way, emphasis on inequality (the speck in the other’s eye, the log in mine), then from 351 it gets really good: you have nothing to do with what others do to you, inwardness, this is reality, 352 infinite love, need for solitude, ‘everything you say and do to other human beings God simply repeats; he repeats it with the intensification of infinity.’ Inwardness again. ‘Here in the noise of life he perhaps does not discern God’s or the eternal’s repetition of the uttered word’.7 Need for resonance and repetition, 353, it is not just a question of sitting in sickness unto death and listening for the repetition of the eternal. No, but we need the rigor of inwardness in relation to love…

 

Adamson Hoebel (1906 – 1993) Regents Professor Emeritus of anthropology at the University of Minnesota, describes culture –

as an integrated system of learned behavior patterns which are characteristic of the members of a society and which are not a result of biological inheritance.[3]
Distinctions are currently made between the physical artifacts created by a society, its so-called material culture, and everything else,[4] the intangibles such as language, customs, etc. that are the main referent of the term “culture”.
Culture is central to the way we view, experience, and engage with all aspects of our lives and the world around us.
Thus, even our definitions of culture are shaped by the historical, political, social, and cultural contexts in which we live.[5]—Consumed cult.

 

 


 

Dr. Nina Power – ARTIST TAXI DRIVER Curates. – CULTURE IS NOT YOUR FRIEND:

http://t.co/KXqKYL62lw

 

Dr Lisa McKenzie – ARTIST TAXI DRIVER Curates. – CULTURE IS NOT YOUR FRIEND: http://t.co/16EEHXMaJS

 

David Graeber – ARTIST TAXI DRIVER Curates. – CULTURE IS NOT YOUR FRIEND: http://t.co/NXB0JPhZXl

 

Mark McGowan, ARTIST TAXI DRIVER Curates – CULTURE IS NOT YOUR FRIEND:http://t.co/4ydc2kVn9r – The Elites want to control the Avant garde. The largest buyer of art in London is married to an Israeli arms dealer. Art is on it’s ARSE.

 


 

 

This   symposium considers Critchley’s philosophy of an ethics of commitment in the context of contemporary art as a radical way to think the infinite demands of the present.

“Keynote address: Professor Simon Critchley: The Infinite Demand of Art: No Amount of Effort Will Save You From Oblivion” 1hr 55m

transcript  Keynote speech Critchley Infinite Demands of art (includes pdf)

Critchley has a growing interest in collaborative practices especially in the areas relating to Contemporary Art and politics.

Critchley collaboration with French artist Phillipe Parreno Google images of Critchley and Parreno

 the boy from Mars: Phillipe Parreno

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

http://www.critical-theory.com/watch-simon-critchley-explain-nietzsche-nihilism-3-minutes/

Video: http://youtu.be/MrI5WQ4u7MY

Critchley:

Nietzsche describes a mad man who runs into a public square shouting, God is dead.  God is dead and the people didn’t believe him, and he’s laughed at, and he leaves.  He came too soon.  He says, he came, I came too soon.

But the thought here is deeper, more interesting.  It’s not that the Nietzsche said, God is dead.  Something you can find on toilet walls the world over, is that God is dead, we have killed him, and what Nietzsche means by that I think is that the outcome of history is the death of God.

We no longer need or we no longer can believe in those sorts of assurances which theology gave us through let’s say, let’s say through the development of science and technology.  We’ve got ourselves to a position where God is an accessory that we can do without.

So, it’s not that Nietzsche was celebrating the death of God.  He thinks that God is a pretty bad idea.  He makes us cringing, cowardly, submissive creatures but it doesn’t mean the opposite is something to be celebrated.

We shouldn’t just celebrate our, you know, that would lead to sort of annihilism.  What Nietzsche thought is that, you know, human history is led to a point where we are, we find the idea of God incredible.

We can no longer believe it and at that point he says, there’s a risk of us throwing up our hands, and saying, well, nothing means anything.

That’s what Nietzsche calls annihilism.  Nietzsche’s thought is not annihilistic.  This is a key thing.  Nietzsche is trying to think, a counter movement to annihilism and this is what he calls a re-evaluation of values, or an overcoming of annihilism.  It’s what Nietzsche wants us to do.  Nietzsche is, you know, Nietzsche wants us to reject our usual ways of thinking morally in terms of a new way of conceding of value that would be in terms of life ultimately, the affirmation of life, something like that.

Simon Critchley’s Page of Dead Philosophers
“I have argued that philosophy doesn’t begin in wonder or in the fact that things are, it begins in a realization that things are not what they might be. It begins with a sense of a lack, of something missing, and that provokes a series of questions.”
— Simon Critchley

Simon Critchley: Disaffected by a politics that only serves power, the people are reclaiming democracy. (March 2012 Guardian article)http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/mar/22/occupy-arab-spring-political-protest

 


 

Postanarchism and Radical Politics Today by Saul Newman
“a spectre is haunting radical political thought, the spectre of anarchism”
pg1 of 29:
In a recent series of exchanges between Slavoj Žižek and Simon Critchley, the spectreof anarchism has once again emerged. In querying Critchley’s proposal in his recentbook, Infinitely Demanding 1 , for a radical politics that works outside the state—that take its distance from it—
Žižek says: The ambiguity of Critchley’s position resides in a strange non sequitur: if thestate is here to stay, if it is impossible to abolish it (or capitalism), why retreatfrom it? Why not act with(in) the state?…. Why limit oneself to a politics which,as Critchley puts it, ‘calls the state into question and calls the established orderto account, not in order to do away with the state, desirable though that might bein some utopian sense, but in order to better it or to attenuate its maliciouseffects’? These words simply demonstrate that today’s liberal-democratic stateand the dream of an ‘infinitely demanding’ anarchic politics exist in arelationship of mutual parasitism: anarchic agents do the ethical thinking, andthe state does the work of running and regulating society.
Instead of working outside the state, Žižek claims that a more effective strategy—such as that pursued by the likes of Hugo Chavez in Venezuela—is to grasp statepower and use its machinery ruthlessly to achieve one’s political objectives. In otherwords, if the state cannot be done away with, then why not use it for revolutionaryends?
One hears echoes of the old Marx-Bakunin debate that split the First International in the 1870s: the controversy of what to do about the state—whether toresist and abolish it, as the anarchists believed, or to utilise it, as Marxists and, later,Marxist-Leninists believed—has returned to the forefront of radical political theorytoday.
The question is why, at this political juncture, has this dilemma become important, indeed vital, again?

Simon Critchley; Slavoj Žižek, et al…