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Coincidentally - De File
Does Collecting Make You Feel Dirty?
cbertsch
cbertsch
Coincidentally
I spent the second half of last semester reading a lot of Alain Badiou. I started with his Ethics: An Essay On the Understanding of Evil and the collection called Theoretical Writings, then moved on to the collection called Infinite Thought in preparation for a review I was asked to write. At some point in April, though, I lost track of Ethics. I looked everywhere and simply couldn't find it. Today, though, as I was paging through Kim's family photo albums looking for the pictures she had asked me to scan, I suddenly found it again. Apparently I had it out the night we spent looking at those albums together, when I found that photo of her as a thirteen-year-old, the one I later presented here to my subsequent regret.

The last time I remembered having Ethics in hand was the Friday night when Kim met me at the Greek place on Park near Speedway for gyros, we then headed over to Congress for al fresco beer-drinking, walked to the MOCA gallery for a boring Tucson Poetry Festival reading at which Kim kept sticking her fingers into the pocket of my long-sleeve olive shirt, and finally rushed home, before picking up Skylar from Kid's Night Out, to break our rather lengthy dry spell. Have I mentioned that there's a huge leak in our sprinkler system now? It's funny how our environment seems to mirror our human condition back to us. I think John Ruskin had something to say about that. Anyway, I was reading Ethics while waiting for Kim at the restaurant. More precisely, I was reading around in the way that I often do. I feel guilty that I'm not going from point A to point B via the route kindly laid out by the author, but I learn enough to assuage my conscience.

It makes perfect sense that I would find Ethics where and when I did, because my mind is overflowing with heated debates on ethical questions right now, ones which overlap with my usual preoccupation with archiving. I decided to page through the book to see how it would look now that I've spent so much time thinking about the pieces in Infinite Thought. Unfortunately, I was too tired to read the fine print. But I did ponder the peculiar resonance to some of Badiou's subheadings: "Man: Living animal or immortal singularity;" "Return to the same;" "Ethics as the servant of necessity;" "Life, truths, and the Good;" "Return to the event, fidelity, and truth;" "Betrayal." I love it when the theory I'm immersed in suddenly turns into something as practical as a Chilton car-repair manual. No doubt I'm doing that theory injustice in the process, but can take solace in the fact that it's a highly productive injustice. And that beats the sterility of precision any day.

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From: sittinginaroom Date: June 10th, 2005 04:28 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
Just finished reading Ethics, actually. It's the first Badiou I've read and I too had a moment where the entire essay suddenly crystallized. I'm not quite sure what what I think of it, because it seems as if a "fidelity" to Badiou's conception of ethical behavior necessitates an all-or-nothing commitment; if we believe something Badiou says about ethics, we have to believe everything he says about ethics. In that way it reminds of what you said to me at Borders about a month ago, that he uses relatively common terms in such idiosynchratic and particular ways that he forces you to agree with him by rearranging the possible meanings certain particular words: "event," "fidelity," "someone," etc. Still, I'll probably read more later this summer.
From: songsiheard Date: June 11th, 2005 08:55 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
I liked the Badiou a lot, especially in thinking about writing. One thing I still wonder about is if one can be an "unethical subject" in Badiou's universe if subjectivity itself relies on a sort of ethical fidelity.
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: June 13th, 2005 02:49 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
It does seem a little too diffuse, too abstract to be practical. I mean, we have to make distinctions, right?

Sorry about your computer. I had something similar. I fear it's your motherboard.
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