"In capitalism, all media functions as economic media." Jonathan Beller (Video lecture, Economic Media; the Decolonization of Money. Goethe-Institut San Francisco) "Rampant narcissism surfaces as the final form of individualism; it at once negates the ego and perpetuates its mangled form." Russell Jacoby (Social Amnesia) "As an active partisan of many left-wing causes and movements, I was amazed (as the expansion of radical or revolutionary groupings gathered force in the late sixties and the seventies) to discover that on the left the most popular attitude towards the mental illnesses was to deny their very existence." Peter Sedgwick (Psychopolitics) "While negation, protest and … [Read more...]

Rebuilding Jerusalem

"...what exactly does ‘consent’ mean? This question is worth asking, since by leaving the matter unresolved one risks seeing the facts of ‘consent’ (where they exist) destabilise the concepts of exploitation, alienation, and domination, concepts that Marxist critique in particular relies upon as the trusted foundations of its intellectual toolkit. Each of these concepts is perturbed by the new, ‘motivational’ managerial tendencies that promise ‘fulfilment at work’ and ‘self-realisation’, and that appear at times to be winning the support of employees.” Frederic Lordon (Willing Slaves of Capital) “...capitalism is not a natural and inevitable consequence of human nature, or of the … [Read more...]

Falling Out of Love

“We will continue to be your single source of truth… Unless you hear it from us it is not the truth.” Jacinda Ardern (Speech, 2020) "The limit of photographic knowledge of the world is that, while it can goad conscience, it can, finally, never be ethical or political knowledge. The knowledge gained through still photographs will always be some kind of sentimentalism, whether cynical or humanist." Susan Sontag (On Photography) ”The alleviation of mental distress is only possible “in a society without exploitation and oppression.” Iain Freguson (Politics of the Mind: Marxism and Mental Distress) "And when I feel, fair creature of an hour, That I shall never look upon thee … [Read more...]

Nunc Stans, or The Empty Future

"The tradition of the oppressed teaches us that the "state of emergency" in which we live is not the exception but the rule. We must attain to a conception of history that is in keeping with this insight. Then we shall clearly realize that it is our task to bring about a real state of emergency, and this will improve our position in the struggle against Fascism. One reason why Fascism has a chance is that in the name of progress its opponents treat it as a historical norm." Walter Benjamin (Thesis on the Philosophy of History) “No less than any other religion, science organises and arranges its own structure through different forms and ranks. To its elaboration of a subtle and rigorous … [Read more...]

The Lost Initiate

"First, it should be noted that the death instinct was not introduced to account for the factor of destructiveness, as the later papers on culture and especially 'Civilization and Its Discontents' might lead us to believe, but to account for a set of facts which center around the compulsion to repeat." Paul Ricoeur (Freud & Philosophy) "The unseen suffers precisely from its continued nonappearance in any form and desires only access to a mode of appearance." Jean-Luc Marion (The Visible and the Revealed) "In one sense, the expropriation of experience was implicit in the founding project of modern science." Giorgio Agamben (Infancy and History) "This is why, in the paragraph on … [Read more...]

Ex Nihilo

"In order to further explain and/or defend our description, we in turn develop a story about what we believe is true. There is nothing wrong with storytelling. In fact, it is a very effective way of transferring ideas. If you stop and think, the way we communicate with each other is basically through a series of stories. Stories are open-ended and metaphorical rather than determinate." Ludwig Wittgenstein (Tractatus) “Death is the mother of beauty; hence from her, / Alone, shall come fulfillment to our dreams / And our desires.” Wallace Stevens (Sunday Morning) "European civilization is approaching the term of its existence..." Erich Auerbach (postscript to Mimesis) "There is no … [Read more...]

Xmas 2022; or the Artificial Oath

"Death is not an event in life: we do not live to experience death.” Ludwig Wittgenstein (Tractatus) "The mind that knows must of necessity have a past." Gaston Bachelard (The New Scientific Spirit) “ It is said that astronauts returning from space carry with them a changed perspective on the world, the “overview effect,” in which, having seen the Earth from above, they can fully perceive how fragile our little oasis is and how unified we ought to be as a species, as perhaps the only thinking beings in the cosmos.” Katie Mack (The End of Everything) There is a famous and often quoted remark of Einstein's that goes like this: *the distinction between past, present and future is … [Read more...]

The Shadow of the Golem

"The topic of religious, socioeconomic, and psychoanalytical fetishism concerns the concept of objects that stand in the place of a god, things that stand in the place of men, parts that stand in the place of the whole: that is to say, objects whose origin and sense of substitution have been lost or concealed." Alfonso Maurizio Iacono (The History and Theory of Fetishism) "Without wishing to detract from the grandeur of Pasteur's tenets, we can say without hesitation that the germ theory of contagious disease has certainly owed much of its success to the fact that it embodies an ontological represen­tation of sickness." Georges Canguilhem (The Normal and the Pathological) "The … [Read more...]