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Tell Me About It - De File
Does Collecting Make You Feel Dirty?
cbertsch
cbertsch
Tell Me About It
From Félix Guattari and Toni Negri, Communists Like Us--
Work itself -- as organized by capitalism or socialism -- has become the intersection of irrational social reproduction and amplified social constraints. Fetters -- irrational social constraints -- are thus at the foundation of all subjective consciousness formed in the work process. And establishing this collective subjectivity of restriction and surveillance is the first imperative of the capitalist work apparatus. Self-surveillance and doubt prevent any intimations of escape, and preempt any questioning of the political, legal or moral legitimacy of the system. No one can withdraw from this capitalist legality of blindness and absurd goals.

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Current Location: 85704
Muse: the detourned Billy Joel song I can't get out of my head

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Comments
From: e4q Date: January 16th, 2008 02:06 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
i think that's what made me ill.
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: January 18th, 2008 03:56 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
To quote the brothers on The Wire -- I'm only half-way through the second season, but I understand now what all the fuss was about -- "No doubt." It's certainly helped to amplify my own illnesses over the past seven years here.
From: e4q Date: January 18th, 2008 06:16 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
plus, have you noticed that nobody gets out of here alive?
flw From: flw Date: January 16th, 2008 02:35 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)

Panopticon '08!

We should build a workplace that is circular, with the boss sitting in the center office hidden by one way mirrors. At all times, we would know that the boss could be looking at us. Then, we will move the boss's gaze into our own minds...

Why make more prisons when you can put a prison in every mind?

Man...
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: January 18th, 2008 03:59 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)

Re: Panopticon '08!

I've been writing something about the mirror stage, so your comment is a perfect chaser. Sometimes I wonder whether the real prisons of the world, despite the extreme and not-so-extreme forms of suffering they wreak on their inmates, are not there as much to give those of us on the outside a ground for the metaphor we need to feel adequately subjugated as they are to protect us from criminals. Actually, I wonder that pretty much all the time.
From: batdina Date: January 16th, 2008 02:35 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
when did Guattari and Negri team up to write? Wants now I does.
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: January 18th, 2008 04:00 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
1985 in French. The English translation of the original is, I believe, New Spaces of Liberty. The English-language edition is from 1990 and put out by Semiotext(e) in their series of smallish theory titles.
masoo From: masoo Date: January 16th, 2008 04:16 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
You can question the political, legal or moral legitimacy of the system, and still believe there is no escape in the larger sense. That is, we can escape the system, but the void is still there once we've escaped the system. The problem is that the capitalist apparatus convinces us that the greater void prevents us from changing the particular system under which we toil. Just because there is no future doesn't mean that we can't fight to improve our existence in the here and now.
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: January 18th, 2008 04:05 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
This is beautifully put. You do a nice job, perhaps without meaning to, of fusing Marxism and psychoanalysis without falling into the traps to which they are prone. In other words, I think Félix Guattari, who set out to realize more or less that project, would have liked your formulation. For my part, I'd add, articulating the same general argument from a slightly different angle, that a conception of the void which inspires action -- what Prince had in mind in "Pop Life" when he sang that, "We all have a space to fill -- is infinitely preferable to one that reinforces the tendency to in action.
masoo From: masoo Date: January 18th, 2008 04:15 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
It's the curse of the autodidact: to do nice jobs without meaning to :-). And what does it mean that I have a doctorate from a prestigious institution, yet I still refer to myself as an autodidact?

I hadn't put those ideas to use trying to figure out the issue in question here, but they are similar to ones I have about religion. I am perfectly willing to accept that humans have a need to believe. This does not mean that there is anything to believe in.
From: babyiwasshot Date: January 16th, 2008 08:19 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
Fetters -- irrational social constraints -- are thus at the foundation of all subjective consciousness formed in the work process

Related: http://babyiwasshot.livejournal.com/497765.html

"I honestly believe that 90% of the sex had in the world is in no way even remotely associated with abstract concepts like "love" and "devotion," yet most popular accounts of sex involve some sort of romantic narrative. SEx is sex, yet society seems intent on keeping it's essence--as a biological act that two MAMMALS engage in--a secret. "

Sometimes I think my ideas are wrong given everybody else's predilection to lash out at them (in all honesty, they're probably just lashing out at ME because they can't stomach my complete and utter narcissism; i admit it's imperious); reading your journal is encouraging insofar as it gives me hope that maybe--just maybe--my ideas aren't totally fucking nuts.

Really, the only difference between you (marxist) and I (existentialist) is that you believe these things are CONSTRUCTED whilst I believe they're the way shit really is.....both are pretty dismal outlooks, really. The marxist view is more OPTIMISTIC, given that it leaves potential for change.
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: January 18th, 2008 04:08 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
Sorry for the belated response. I enjoy reading you for similar reasons. Of course, this entry isn't "me" in a literal sense, though I guess the passage does stand in for something I more or less hold.

It's instructive to consider the example of Sartre, who while not my favorite thinker, is still fascinating as someone who tried to bridge the gap between Existentialism and Marxism. He's underread these days, just as he was overread in his heyday. I think I should read him again, if I can find the time somehow.
From: babyiwasshot Date: January 16th, 2008 08:51 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)

even MORE relevant

http://babyiwasshot.livejournal.com/499114.html

If secrecy and restraint are hallmarks of capitalism, then capitalism is an OVERWHELMINGLY solipsistic social system. Without TRUTH and HONESTY, communication itself breaks down, meaning we're all really just talking to ourselves (or, rather, the IMAGE we project of ourselves to others) when we interact.

People in this country must REALLY think they're important to be so secretive; if anything, perhaps it's a hallmark of being a superpower at the height of its decadence, waiting for imminent decline.
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: January 18th, 2008 04:10 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)

Re: even MORE relevant

I've been reading Lacan and some of his commentators tonight. He shies away from anything that sounds even a little like party-style Marxism. But I think there is support in his work for making just this point, which strikes me a good one.
From: babyiwasshot Date: January 18th, 2008 04:03 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)

Re: even MORE relevant

Damnit! I though I was being original; perhaps originality is contingent upon intent, which itself may just be an unoriginal thought that I think is original on account of ignorace.

Perhaps "real" originality is a myth, meaning that "practical" originality becomes little more than novel promulgations of stale ideas/concepts.
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: January 18th, 2008 05:00 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)

Re: even MORE relevant

I used to despair when I realized ideas I'd been entertaining since high school had been written about in ways that made any contribution of my own superfluous. Now I've come to see that the "originality" lies, not in being the first, but in articulating particular ideas at a particular place and time. The conjuncture becomes a point of origin, in other words.
From: (Anonymous) Date: January 16th, 2008 10:10 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
Isn't this exactly exactly what I said to you the other day as I departed for my "office"? That I'm willing to accept the terms of my own enslavement, more or less, but not the terms of my youthful labor? I want to be forced to live under the collective subjectivity of restriction and surveillance that is appropriate to my class and status goddammit!
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: January 18th, 2008 04:09 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
Yes, I guess that is more or less what you were saying. Your son would love this book, I think. Maybe he has it already.
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