Saturday, January 15, 2022
Monday, December 27, 2021
The Matrix is a film about work. Long before Neo escapes the matrix he has to break out of a much more mundane space of confinement, the office cubicle. The film is thus part of that odd series of films that came out in 1999 that were about the confines of the cubicle and the working day, a list that includes Office Space, Fight Club, and American Beauty (and Being John Malkovich). It was an odd year, in the midst of the dot-com bubble and the Clinton third way, a year that on the surface was good for capitalism, the movies were telling a different story, a story in which work and the office was sucking the life out of people. An idea which The Matrix made literal in its dystopian future of energy sucking pods, in other words, cubicles 2199.
Saturday, December 18, 2021
Sunday, December 05, 2021
Thursday, November 18, 2021
Of all of the various concepts and neologisms that populate A Thousand Plateaus that of the "regime of signs" is one that never really caught on. It has not had the same effects as nomadology, rhizome, virtual, assemblage, body without organs, become etc., If I had to offer a quick explanation of this it is perhaps because the idea of the sign, and of a regime of signs, still seems like a remnant of an earlier period, more structuralist than post-structuralist. It is for that reason that it has remained something of a B-side or a deep cut, taking a clue from Deleuze and Guattari's assertion that the book is more like album with different plateau songs than a linear progression.
Friday, November 12, 2021
Wednesday, October 13, 2021
This post is an immediate follow up or even sequel to an earlier post on Spinoza and conspiracy theories. In a more oblique way it is also a follow up to something that I have said repeatedly on this blog, that not only is there more to Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit than the master and slave, but that other dialectical scenes or figures can also be wrested from the linear progression of Hegel's thought to become the basis of social and political criticism. Kojeve can't have all of the fun.
Friday, October 01, 2021
Sunday, September 19, 2021
There is a line that I used to attribute to Roland Barthes, "those who do not reread are doomed to read the same book over and over again." I liked the riddle like nature of the phrase, and the way it seemed to posit a first read which is often a restating of one's already existence preconceptions, hence the rereading of the same book under different covers, against a rereading that discovers difference in repetition.
Wednesday, August 25, 2021
As I have already indicated on this blog more than once, Spinoza's formulation of subjection remains in some sense a guiding question for me.
"...the supreme mystery of despotism, its prop and stay, is to keep men in a state of deception, and with the specious title of religion to cloak the fear with which they must be held in check, so that they will fight for their servitude as if for salvation, and count it no shame but the highest honour, to spend their blood and lives for the glorification of one man…" --Spinoza, Tractatus Theologico-Politicus 1670
So much so that I would be willing to agree with Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari when they repeated it three hundred years later.
"That is why the fundamental problem of political philosophy is still precisely the one that Spinoza saw so clearly, and that Wilhelm Reich rediscovered: “Why do men fight for their servitude as stubbornly as though it were their salvation?” --Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, Anti-Oedipus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia 1972
However, I have begun to think that it is time to update the question, or at least change its formulation, it increasingly seems to me that in the current era it is not so much servitude that is fought for as salvation, but subjection that is fought for as rebellion, or misrecognized as rebellion.