October 2019

Deleuze|Guattari studies conference Tokyo 2019

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on resistance and naming the enemy

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say, fear…

… is underestimated as a political risk. As soon as afraid, for loss of position, simple social advantage, or political status, the most primitive opportunistic intuition sets in–as if the limit condition for responsibility, in individual, social or political dealings, was accident aversion.

Safety culture is then symptomatic of a fearful society. Health is too: whether it is the health of the planet or of the foetus.

Fear does not drive career politicians or political usurpers to seek advantage, status and power. Fear drives them to avoid its loss.

Fear is the more forceful driver for those selfless ones on the left; and not because they have advantage, status or power but because they do not find in advantage, status and power as much meaning, while these are goods in themselves, in principle, for those others on the right. Still, for the ones on the right, fear prevents them from easily relinquishing advantage, status and power at the promptings of democratic process or change in political economy. They hold on: fear has them holding on; while the others on the left are fearful of taking hold.

The goods in themselves those on the left are fearful of losing are those based in the communicative realm, of consensus, or of the show of consensus, democratic principles, middleclass principles of fairplay, equality, and values called qualities to contrast them with the quantities of financial economy. This is the area where the left most needs a Nietzschean critique–an analysis that gets down and pulls up their servility by the roots.

What is called populism procures for the value of popularity a newly elevated status: but at the cost of those who care about it, who may even have gained most from it, becoming fearful for its loss.

What drives compulsive gamblers? It is a strange psychopathology, and a sociopathology when something large like global human ecocide is being gambled on: it is not fear of loss that compels the compulsive gambler. Loss can always be denied.

Loss can always be denied if it is seen to concern the future. A compulsive gambler lives inside the present moment of the gamble being made. This moment can be called mindfulness.

Mindfulness is inversely symptomatic. It diagnoses from within the pathology annulling the future for the present gain to be had from it. Mindfulness is not mindful of fear. It should be.

Fear is more basic than being mindful of what we have to lose. It is more direct and basic than any reflection on our own advantage, status or power. Yet fear is discouraged, except when dealing directly with our own personal welfare. A fear that is mindful of the risk of global human ecocide is discouraged. It is thought that this fear would be paralyzing.

The abjection of safety and health cultures consists in their continued reverence for what is to the advantage of the individual. The abject reality of safety and health cultures is the level of control they exercise over the individual, for the good of the individual.

The fear is not seen that drives people with power, status and advantage. In fact all we see of it is their paralysis.

They are paralyzed in the face of fear even while their faces attain a strange mobility and their actions acquire a character strangely hollowed out by hyperactivity. Their faces turn away, on the inside. They twitch. Their actions run in circles. They follow the same route as the traumatised, covering the same ground with a compulsion to repetition which resembles that of gamblers.

Fear in the case of those in the public media is of the nature of ongoing stagefright. It is visible in CEOs and in local and global leaders. But privately many experience the same stagefright.

Fear is the friend, the best and most reliable friend, to the one in whom it takes the form of the most primitive opportunistic intuition: it enables success through its utter lack of regard for consequences of any kind. It even makes the person in whom it is allowed to govern appear fearless. Fear then lives in an endless now where the one in whom it governs is only scared when he or she is not afraid.

[illustrated with images by Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes]

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