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September 27, 2009

Twitterfam Sam put me on to this great article by Jeremy Gilbert. I’m assuming Sam read my last post (or had previously read “tokenism: 300 years for five cents”) because in a way it’s a perfect followup. Although Gilbert’s article is considerably more subdued in tone, it is no less incisive in its critique of liberalism. (Different ways of doing similar things, you know. Language! Communication as a pragmatic endeavor! Words approximating always! That’s cool!) Finally, it elaborates on much of the reasoning (that is, within the context of continental theory) that I associate with Jones’s/Baraka’s argument. Here’s a highlight:

“My position is not derived from the moral critique of individualism (selfish or otherwise) which motivates that tendency, but from the far more fundamental ontological and epistemological critique of individualism which derives from the radical tradition of Winstanley, Spinoza, Hegel, Marx, Nietzsche, Freud, Lacan, Foucault, Derrida and Deleuze. From this perspective, the assumption that ‘the individual’ is or ever can be the basic unit of human experience is simply regarded as a mistake: not a moral failing, but a logical and factual error.

This observation is not made, as liberals tend to fear, in order to promote some Stalinist or Maoist notion of the primacy of ‘the group’, ‘the collective’ or ‘the society’; but rather to insist that the arbitrary category of ‘the individual’ is too limiting, to restrictive, too weak a notion with which to try to delimit the multiple potentialities which every human body contains, potentialities which are only ever realised by virtue of the complex relationships which that body can enter into with other bodies (human and non-human, organic and inorganic).

There is no ‘individual’ because there is nothing that cannot be divided (which is what the word ‘in-dividual’ literally means – that which cannot be divided): everything and everyone is more complicated than that, and it is only in the realisation of that complexity that something like freedom can be attained.”

Similarly, in the words of Boy Crisis, “we are a partially decided reaction / the future’s so heavy cuz it’s always gonna happen.” Have you ever sat down with some Boy Crisis lyrics? Peep:

there’s gotta be a way for you / and me to taste this fruit  / without losing / and doesn’t it feel strange to you / to waste this groove / by not moving

Yea, you’re impressed, I know. This might be my favorite song by them:

Ok then! Peace!

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