Sunday, October 5, 2008
"One important consequence of our actual history, with its persistence of thinking in terms of an absolute order, with its subtle transformation of the free market into the laws of the market, and with its confusion of the idea of brotherhood, has been the personal revolt that is modern individualism. Earlier forms of individualism were primarily the assertion of rights to do and say certain things - society was judged and reshaped to guarantee the exercise of this positive freedom. Modern individualism in part continues this tendency, but on the whole puts more emphasis on a negative freedom: the right of an individual to be left alone. There has been a very widespread retreat from social thinking, rationalized by he formula that almost all good things are done by individuals, almost all bad things by society. The image of society is then of something inherently bad: a restrictive, interfering, indifferent process, whether it claims the virtues of an established order or the creation of human brotherhood. In this personal revolt, nobody is deceived by what societies say they are doing; whatever this may be, the individual is likely to suffer, and the best he can hope for is to minimize its pressures: by detachment, by apathy and skepticism, by seeing that at least he and his family are all right. It is as necessary to acknowledge the great strength and emotional substance of this revolt as to point to its very damaging consequences such an idea of society could only gain currency in a context of major social failure, and it is no use trying to beat it down by repetition of the ideas (duty, responsibility, brotherhood) which have habitually accompanied the hated pressures and failures. The experience has been lived, and has to be expressed. But of course the withdrawal from social thinking leaves the bad society as it is."
Sunday, July 20, 2008
"The work of art - a new and triumphant fetish and not a sad and alienated one - should work to deconstruct its own traditional aura, its authority and power of illusion, in order to shine resplendent in the pure obscenity of the commodity. It must annihilate itself as familiar object and become monstrously foreign. But this foreignness is not the disquieting strangeness of the repressed or alienated object; this object does not shine from its being haunted, or out of some secret dispossession; it glows with a veritable seduction that comes from elsewhere, from having exceeded its own form and become pure object, pure event."
Sunday, June 15, 2008
"Abjection - at the crossroads of phobia, obsession, and perversion - shares the same arrangement. The loathing that is implied in it does not take on the aspect of a hysteric conversion: the latter is a symptom of an ego that, overtaxed by a "bad object" turns away from it, cleanses itself of it, and vomits it. In abjection, revolt is completely within being. Within the being of language. Contrary to hysteria, which brings about, ignores, or seduces the symbolic but does not produce it, the subject of abjection is eminently productive of culture. Its symptom is the rejection and reconstruction of languages."
Saturday, April 12, 2008
"I know that the artist, and the art lover, spontaneously express themselves in terms of 'creation', etc. It is a 'spontaneous' language, but we know from Marx and Lenin that every 'spontaneous' language is an ideological language, the vehicle of an ideology, here the ideology of art and of the activity productive of aesthetic effects. Like all knowledge, the knowledge of art presupposes a preliminary rupture with the language of ideological spontaneity and the constitution of a body of scientific concepts to replace it. It is essential to be conscious of the necessity for this rupture with ideology to be able to undertake the constitution of the edifice of the knowledge of art."
Saturday, March 29, 2008
Friday, March 28, 2008
"In other words, we are fascinated by the growth of freedom from powers outside of ourselves and are blinded to the fact of inner restraints, compulsions, and fears, which tend to undermine the meaning of the victories freedom has won against its traditional enemies."