Spinoza / Hegel: The Phantoms of the Negative

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In the reproach that Hegel will make to Spinoza, that he ignored the negative and its power, lies the glory and innocence of Spinoza, his own discovery. In a world consumed by the negative, he has enough confidence in life, in the power of life, to challenge death, the murderous appetite of men, the rules of good and evil, of the just and the unjust. Enough confidence in life to denounce all the phantoms of the negative.

For Spinoza is one of the vivants-voyants. Spinoza did not believe in hope or even in courage; he believed only in joy, and in vision. He let others live, provided that others let him live. He wanted only to inspire, to waken, to reveal.

– Deleuze: Spinoza – Practical Philosophy

Thinking Too Much and Not Enough

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“…It is said that Spinoza kept his coat with a hole pierced by an [assassin’s] knife thrust as a reminder that thought is not always loved by men. While sometimes happens that a philosopher ends up on trial, rarely does a philosopher begin with an excommunication and an attempt on his life.” (Spinoza: Practical Philosophy)

I was also reminded of Zizek who in the past few years has come under scrutiny by partisans of the Left, who have both put him on trial and excommunicated him within certain factions. Strange how even his friends and admirers have also become part of that scrutiny… I was reading this today by Adam Kotsko : Would not the most radical political intervention for Zizek be precisely to STOP?! . Kotsko says,

Slavoj Zizek needs to stop writing political columns. He is not good at it. Some readers are still making heroic efforts to construe his political columns positively, but if you need a supporter to write a 2000+ word defense of your pithy political intervention — indeed, if most readers construe it as meaning the opposite of what is intended — then you are doing it wrong.

I’ve done it in the past, too. So, am as guilty… Maybe we need to rethink this issue?

Exit the Progressive Era Failures…

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That’s the problem, as long as the Left tries to compete with capitalism on its own turf it will always lose. The point is to exit the game rather than compete with it. Leave the board and there are no pieces to move around, smash, enslave, corrupt… time to forget the Voice, and Exit the Game. Of course on a Global Chessboard or a Realm of GO where does one go? That’s the BIG Question of our time… maybe it’s not a place, as much as it is a retroactive change in the Players and the Game itself… a reconditioning of the very symbolic field of play on a global level, a mutation, a slow substitution of the board itself and its subtraction and replacement by an alternative strategy…

The Progressive strategy has failed us… maybe fail better, a different strategy? An alternative? Fail better with something new, a creative strategy outside the box of democracy? Is there such a thing? Can we even create concepts or strategies anymore?

A friend Ivan Niccolai on FB, said:

Oh I know you weren’t defending capitalism, I’m arguing for a type of reformism, but today it is radical after 40 years of neoliberalism. We need time, we need space to think, we’re all precarious, simply not needing to worry about rent, or do a bullshit job, is far from a minor demand. What will come after that, who knows, but it would be huge first step.

I said:

Yea, exactly my point: we need space to think… that’s what I mean by Exit… a “space of thought and reason, as well as strategy” to think outside the box of localism and globalism… to create something new… a real alternative that isn’t bound to the repetitions of the past failures…”… and, of course that means building consensus and collective help systems outside current failures.. we act atomistic when we are singularities and plural… we seem bound to the subordinated and outmoded, habitual traditionalisms of the Left and unable to move forward, and like those on Salvage who seek to bewail our fate in melancholy estate we seem to be in a slump a bleak funk… we’ve got to fail better, try better… crawl out of our shit holes and help each other… Yet, it cannot be reformism… it cannot be resurrected Progressivism of any form… it must be something creative, something new for our moment… Maybe, we need a “space of heterogeneity” and subversion, a site of transgression outside the Law, outside the homogenized thought-worlds we’ve been habitually repeating for so long.