Saturday, September 30, 2006

Manufacturing solipsism

(for the benefit of any poor, lost, misguided individuals who read me and not Le Colonel Chabert!)

The Individual, in a materialist perspective, is not the isolated Vitruvian man, infused with a demon intelligence, but the quantity (the commoner + the common). That is the smallest unit of human society. Only idealism concocts an abstract and impossible (dead, fictional) individual, a purportedly viable being, a subject, which is a human body without water and food but magically possessed of a mind and life nonetheless. This individual is not a living human being, but a cadaver. If it thinks and acts, it is a ghoul, a zombie, a phantasy. An adequate water supply is as indispensible a part of a person as blood, brain and lungs. Privatising water is no less an enslavement of the materialist individual than the privatisation of blood and bone which are distinctive features of legal chattel slavery.

What "keeps body and soul together" - soul perhaps being the wraith of the expropriated common, the phantom limb of humankind after the amputation that is property-right - cannot be eliminated from the concept of the individual, the indivisible.
Portia in the Venetian courtroom approached and evaded the question at once - no flesh can be collected without bloodletting, one bond (material) thus trumps another (phantastical, ideological).

In late capitalism we flail in vain for the roots of our condition, and for "sense", sense which consists in experience and meaning arriving at the same time, which we have been deprived of all our lives, so it's not a novel experience except on the evolutionary scale;
The thing which lies behind the divorce from sense, from meaning, and which therefore constitutes the underlying explanation for our existential ill, and for the sense of abstraction in the world, is something as basic as our continually reinforced (both materially and ideologically) separate individual identities, our atomised particulate subjectivities.
Which is the state of being an idiot (pace warszawa's comment to the above post) - "from [the Greek] idios "personal, private," prop. “particular to oneself,”". And this is the permanent state, as a consumer, deliberately created because it's profitable.


Anonymous warszawa said...

These last two posts have been really great, linking up (as you say) with some fascinating recent stuff by JP, Chabert and others.

Re idiot/idios: this was on a theatre programme I picked up last night, at a play about cowboys performed by four women in Stetsons and false beards:

"Macho: hermetic being, closed up in himself." (Octavio Paz)

Did someone mention Donald Rumsfeld?

On these themes and much else, the ex-Marine Stan Goff has a website called Feral Scholar, well worth reading.

12:09 PM  
Blogger ob fusc said...

thanks v much! yes, absolutely, it's that self-absorption is the state fostered and favoured in our current paradigm, but must lead to being "idiotic" (consumer instead of voter; desiring pleasure and status instead of justice and sustainability); to being "machistic" - wanting to conquer, to explore, seeing the world as prone to the course one charts through it, rather than acting in community.
All these thoughts are inchoate bumbles so it's good to be working them out and getting amazing leads like the idios reference...

I've checked out Stan Goff before but don't follow him often enough, I'll head over there now and get his RSS feed.

2:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do you mean that you're lonely?

12:54 AM  
Anonymous Luke said...

Hello, I shan't comment on the existential crises of the self, but the privatisation of water in Paraguay (which I think first prompted these comments) is also relevant from a different point of view, since Paraguay is currently the only country in the world to generate all its electricity from hydropower.

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