Tuesday, February 8, 2011

yet more politics in the subjunctive

The joy of spending cuts for a government is that the act of ruling slips into the subjunctive - this is what we would do if... becomes the dominant cry: We are on your side but...
Every promise can be broken,everything could be checkmated of into the big society or the community. or blamed on the opposition....
well they can be until the magic of the finical crisis wares of and people start to wonder they have been had?
Do you think we are there yet?

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Gone mad

Well that is it - it usually takes twenty years too kill a revolution, and that is about what it has had. Fr twenty years we have carried personal freedoms home, we have forced toleration of certain minorities, an faced down the vocal opposition in all its forms. And and now?
Well the struggle was always bitter. The first struggle saw a strange dual reaction by the right. On the one hand the forces for an change were put together a killjoys and the 'politically correct'. The were the ones stopping drinking and smoking, limiting fun. this move was no doubt effectively countered when politically correct comedians seized the stage (in Britain at least). Politically correct as a label moved then from the mockery of comics to the mockery of newspapers. I became a catch all phrase, whose acolytes were invariably thought of as Gone - mad. Truths, distorations, and frank lies could then be cobbled together and condemned.
At the same time of the margins of the politically correct movement, were those who turned freedom into pornography, and told us we all have a right to gaup now- as long as it is arty (it always said it was). Porn simplywent everywhere- and when the group most exhibitted - younger men started to hit their partners we merely thought the kids were going brutal, and not that we were a bunch of shits.....
So political correctness was initially contained and its force for actual change subverted. but now it is dead. political die when they become so wide spread that everyone can claim their rights under the movement banner. The right, the rich, the priveledge the sexist, the oppressors, these are the new minorities. These are the new people standing up for their right, demanding their right to be cunts and to force us to accept this fact. The language of toleration, was then be warped by those who would oppress and then claim that any attack on that oppression was somehow an attack on their rights to be at all. The language for critique has then been wonderfully recouped, taken back, ad has become the very language for the priveledge to proclaim their rights and their power. They have then settled themselves down into the existing set of tolerations (which they no doubt think have got 'it about right', and ensured any expansion is impossible or can only be made by further entrenching their priveledge position.
In the process the rulers have ensured something else. The twin process of toleration was clearly expansion, we noticed difference to revel in it and encourage it (based on the idea that difference might trump meritocracy- it is more important to have different voices of varying hues and genius, than many genius all saying exactly the same. but is political correctness condemns all noticing of differences (which was always one of its voices) then this move simply and very effectively collapses this fostering of difference. in the name of toleration, the group that the system left to itself manufactures and an elite and the 'meritocracy' tasks over. Yes there will be a few different voices, but they will be a few. The majority will be of a certain class, ad educational backdrop- simply because they long ago designed and then ceased control over the engines of merit. Then are who the meritocracy think of was with merit and that is it. They are exchange - ad not only has the eighties toleration revolution floundered, but it has bought down also the post war project to include other vices in government.
A fact, that like deficit reduction is surely the Tory wet dream - and for the rest of us resistance merely just got a lot harder.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


Marx was rather good at understanding if not religion, then the problem of what religion would be when it was not there-for what but opiate has replaced it
Who after all wants the truth these days? Who believes anything other than the opium delerium?
New papers, and now the Real news increasingly has slipped into conspiracy and mythology model- a model where the thrust of the story matter so much more than the actuality of fact. a world of simplest old testament moralities, which occlude anything else- a world sustained not by truth so such asa collective power to cause its readers to believe, and interact one with the other. A power to feel like every chosen people, there both The Enemy who needs to be resisted (although the way is hard) and a hidden, all powerful friend (call it their own common sense or the past or Britain as it should be) who they are serving, and who will come good for them in the end.
All the small trials of life can be poured into this loving soap opera- this all to a live tragedy. Hence no doubt that secret alliance between soap opera and tabloid reporting- both re heat the 'great stories of the past' ((Greek myth or old testament) and serve them up as stodge in the present. Both then use the quasi-mythological world, where old famously fashioned values. and urban myths infuse one another, to say alledge stuff in the present - of make claims and postures- To appear to find truths - or perhaps sense.
Likewise as with myth it is never really that clear hat drives the agenda forward. I mean the idea of a manipulative man such as Murdoch actually running the show and controlling thought is itself a mere myth. If only the world is simple. The problem is rather that High Priest Murdoch discovered something (a priest are wont to do) de discovered how to make a market for cheap sleaze sheets by confusing truth with myth. a discovery akin to the philosophers tone in its impact. But he doe not drive the mythological agenda. nor do the disreputable bunch of fools, rent-a-bigots or egoists that write for the rubbish. they merely say what they think everyone would say - given absolutely no thought about the issue, given rolling grudges, given no attempt at empathy and given utter selfishness. They then merely constantly run a 'default; lazy unreflective human, as the modern Odysseus, to travel the choppy waters of their hate. Not are the readers who merely read and believe- if only for an hour or a day. What drives it on the meta level are of course figures- garnered one way or others- figures that are thought to mean something. The mean one matters- be they audience for a web or money in the bank. In the best mythological manner the driver of the myth is its way to create ti own power - by pooping into minds, and articulating them in some way or other. The myth thinks it own nature- its own influence even as it spreads.
but why? But what is happening here> It is folly usually to give such mythological spaces a cod psychological theory (they are the province of the onlooker and never that indweller)- and one does clearly come to mind. The myth is working by creating in its readers it own headset- it own way of thinking (this is what make it myth) - The tabloid mind is a reach leach thing. this mind gains power - and resonates because it creates (again in the best tradition sense) a place of exclusion a modern ritual or initiation hut where rules might be different. to read a tabloid is to allow one to suspend the highly complex relation and intuition that bind us to our fellow humans. All that awfully inconvient guilt and complex world is swept away in a handful of prejudices and a dose of small mindedness. The world as difficult is the transformed, and one sees if but for an hour a day (or so) a simpler 'purer' world - a world beyond reality. Escapism perhaps, but one that is shared, and rammified across others belief- and one that breeds its own little community of believers, and has the possibility at least at certain times, and in certain ways manfesting in this world. That is escapism that has real elements of reality caught up with it- real policies that might happen - real effect of the escapism of modernity and the modern complex intricate self.
a moment then for utter mythological non-self indulgence.
and yet and yet the indulgence has the double coast- it warps one when one does return to reality- making ones views that little bit more intolerant, and creating always the other narrative in ones head-the world where the Tabloid might be right....It is always possible after all. ad worse that that there is always relationship between those in power and the myth makers of every culture- a relationship that is never that happy or simple (kings and popes). At some point then their are trials of power, but also moments where the actual powers of the land have to be seen to listen to the myth makers to keep their influence and bend to their judgement. Points then where the rulers need to pretend if only for awhile the myths are true and they too are real BELIEVERS - a belief of course to be demonstrated by action- the tabloids have then the effect of warping actual reality, as rulers listen to myth and e world becomes a little darker and more stupid because of it.
The real problem though is that all the screetching that and my ilk do on the sidelines has no more effect that the Luciferians on the medieval catholic church - we screetch, we know we are wrong, and then we have little power and may well end up burnt (or the media equivalent of being utterly ignored). And it is only the Anti-pope, wit their ability to ape the catholic church and lead followers new mythological paths that might break this impasse - And that will only happen - if the rulers want some answer to their church. a long call at the moment and one of course beset with its own tyrannies).

Friday, January 14, 2011

Now is here

It is always the problem of any and very serious attempt to grasp at tense - how does one step beyond the NOW- the bright blink of the present-. for the Now is always rather a stroppy and utterly complete moment in which all time is caught.
the Now is therefore the home of the presence of the past. a past that is rendered both different but essentially harmless, confined as it is to memory alone,and plundered accordingly The past becomes place to discover origins for the present, or else an endless teacher or a land of a few taundry myths and lessons. What is always lost is its own rhythms and patterns. The Past is not other country for the present merely the fixing of the boundaries for this country. The fact that past is always other than that present - always saying more than happened, and that other blind the possibilities lay caught up in it, is thereby reduced to a series of tale moral points. Or to put in another way, the present overcomes the inadequacy the past inspires n it- the feeling that the pas could have gone anywhere else but it (and so is greater) by inverting the relation. The pas is where things are to be learned in the present, or the story of this now and its triumph are t be read. it is the story of lost opportunity learnt (in this present)- and not merely a sorry tale of cock ups that then leads to this pretty pas, but could have just as easily gone elsewhere.
The future by contrast is fixed at permanent worry. Trend lines from the present (if not the past) of distorted into the future. - with two results. Firstly on a global level worry of the basis that what is happening now always happens or continues to happen or happens again. a worry that has a good rational behind it . After all our real future always depends upon what others hidden and visible are doing now in places we do not imagine. The (hidden) future is out there (if invisible). Unable to get at these hidden others doing their stuff, we worry about them or the only way we can by bending the present elsewhere and in the face of rhyme or reason. The future becomes the warping of he present (in which some of those hidden others are Brugel like surely somewhere caught). In contrast of course we have a second option on our future. We believe in t as we believe in ourselves and out own purpose. we therefore simply assume is the place to mine for our own possibility. Or perhaps better where all the bright fantasies we have about ourselves for all we know might be true. The future becomes then the whirling storybook for the present- the place my hopes and dreams my giving it heart, becomes real. This is the point of the cellbrity shows of course- it is all our futures made present.
Recently between these two be have created a third presence for the future- the one our believes create. If we all belief a thing we know then something happens - an economy is ruined or petrol runs dry or....Mass belief is a social power of considerable power. Well within limits. we all have to believe in the same way of course, and what actually happens form that realization of the initial presence of belief, what we individually conclude from it, or where the events that follow on from that belief are always very open and complex, and so other than our beleives.
The trouble with these nets for time- these kind of now in the past and now of the future, is that then tend to dominate the mind (and be the naturally ally of every claim to have self). hey tend then to be the theories we look to, the ones we assume. an other voices for the future (scientific futures based on probability for example, not possibility or philosophical futures based on not controlling the present, on it slipping elsewhere in the grasping or else the role of law to great lines that cut trough tense and are the same in spite of it) Are lost. We get caught in the same old story (one sees it clearly in politics, where every trend in the present is extended, every leader always failed or not - where change becomes hydraulic or organic - and never any real sense of time frame and timing actually lost.
Worse than that, is the fact that these presents, in the hands of media organization which are by economic necessity lazy and need quick simple stories, becomes engines of war, eroding every other possible tense, and any other way to understand the world. it all becomes then about the fantasies of the present a present where one or tow facts and a bit of local knowledge are cobbled together to become a rule a rule for us all; A rule which makes 'good' newspaper copy, but bad law: The problem the not that the present is wrong, but that it is fast becoming so dominant that other thoughts are slipping out of minds, other ways to understand - the irony being that when this happens we will actually lose control of the present itself. and far darker fantasies than the ones we imagine for ourselves are likely to take over.

Thursday, January 6, 2011


There is always something rather complicated going on when we talk of living fossils: There are no such thing - merely successful species. The line is surely all the open to abuse when it is applied humanity. That is when (traditionally) almost 7/8 of humanity where thought to be lesser developed or some how back in the darkages (with guns). It was so convenient for the west to believe this myth - for it meant we could strip the countries of their resources, cobble together unlikely boarders, support nasty regimes, safe in the knowledge that we were not rapping the land mass, merely helping other nations in someway or other develope.
But of course our tender conscious never really were happy with this- we did so want to be being good as well. and even more to be seen to be good. A desire that grow ,ore stark after the cold war ended. In a new world order we thought we as the winners ought t share in the political fruits of our victory- a victory we chose to understand in terms of political triumph and ideology (and not economics (it was both). The lesson then we took for the world was that it wanted, as Eastern Europe yearned for true democracy: Democracy an the ill defined idea of freedom that went with it, became the second position in the exploit versus develop rule book.
We aid - we make you western by, the argument went, giving what you really want- political freedom. no matter then that democracy makes you weak and corrupt and so open to big business to come in and exploit (yours or ours no matter then that crushing need and political freedom are odd bed fellows, and that traditionally democracy is the affitation of the wealthy. It is what all other nations want, we claim, what they really want (alongside some food, and so it is what we will give them.
At which point of course our bluff was called:that other model- the one based on material prosperity but no real political freedom, the model of Singapore and then China, and to a degree Russia has offered the opposite pole- a pole that is ripping through Africa,giving real progress, and being adapted in different ways (more democratic) in India and South America. the tendency of third world countries to have the party linked to a freedom struggle as the dominant one, becomes then itself a strength, as this party can get organized - get plugged in to this global growth machine, and do so in spite of the west.
nor should this move really surprise us very much. It has been an old old argument in philosophy that small scale local freedoms to consume what and when one liked) are always likely to be more powerful that large scale abstract freedoms. What is shocking was that the west thought this had changed. or perhaps merely that it thought it could palm the rest of with abstract (cheap) freedoms and deny the rest actually material change (which costs).
A world then emerges that is multi polar where one cannot say the west or even the Western political system is best. a world where wealth might well pull anywhere and everywhere: Th west has discovered it was no parent merely a spoilt eldest child.
The trouble then is always how on earth to we think of the existence of this multi polar many voiced worlds. the problem here is complicated: Just as the world has become more 'global' it has become also and even more strongly more regional, more multi voice with many economically powerful areas wanting to make their mark. The old tradition one world language of freedom and peace look utterly lost. The trouble is the newer languages of global warming or else global responsibility or a war of terrorism have not really caught on. They all stress when all is said and done the global over the local, and yet it is the local (in these sense of the regions growing strongly for the first time) that matters in this world of ours- that is where the voted are : New fridges and sewers matter more to those who have never had them, than abstract arguments about global warming that appear to the poor to be yet another reason to avoid development.
At which point as capitalism like nature abhors a vacuum that other periennal explication of capitalism seeping into the void. The one that immediately argues that this is it - the west is declining its time is over this is China's world after all - an argument we immediate and quaintly) root in history - China is merely reasserting its historical rights we claim - it has always been so and now will always be so. we there by tea up in an act of maginmous deniaist folly all the last five hundered years of history, that has changed rather a few things, asa mere blip. And argument that is almost beyond parody.
and yet there is a point to it that is right. it is in the past that we find those other worlds where the West is not King. it is to the past that we are likely to go in the near future then to try to understand a multi-pole world- the past that will provide the alternative to the West is doomed creed. And yet this move is problematic- the past comes loaded with excess simplicity- simplicity that might actually reflect badly on modernity ad make it looks worse than it is, in terms of both political and production. We might then very easily learnt o despise that which has made us powerful (and how given others power)- a heroic but pointless denial.
The trouble of course is that ironically we might not have that much time to get his right. Science os not a simple global language - and the failure of ecology to carry the day and become the global rubric for understanding development and what must be done), does not mean the science is wrong. It makes sense after all if the world really is not able to support everyone being as the West was (and is). The world might be finite to (well it is it is - the question of how close to that barrier we are). If we are very close then our options are tied - for non western regions are of course clearly. Their development matters too much for them, and our science sounds like yet another excuse for not allowing them to be rich - meaning that we the West really believes in global warming ti will have pay and pay through then those; which is of course strictly speaking fair - we made the mess so... that problem is then that it plays to the weakness of Western democracy (the hilarity of every one else) we cannot sell such osterity to a people- who apparently only accept economically created hardship and not politically created ones. We have then in the west to somehow tie our lack of development or allowing others to develope while working out and taking the hit for green policies, in an economic framework (so that we can politically accept it). A move that sounds rather complex- and yet in this global recession, with spiralling oil prices and finicial chaos, might just what is happening (if we are lucky.- but then I was always an optimist)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Its the trouble with the future

It goes without saying the future is one of the more problematic of tenses. As Hiedegger brilliantly realized, the trouble with ti really if that it needs to be understood not as merely a future present, but as it is right here right now. Time after all in itself implies some kind of relationship with the future = what else is being in time at all? The future is never something then hidden or some present far way - it is rather always right here right now - an entity all decisions political, biological, social economic and eve artistic are made - and made constantly .
Such an overhanging future has several key aspects. Firstly, following still Heidegger it is clear that the future is caught up with possibility. To have a future is always to feel something more can happen in our lives- we are never done never finished- life is always shaking new thing into us. w have the behave then in accordance with this possibility- We need to always open up certain options, and evolve them in the hope of more options to come. We have to plan now, but plan in the idea that what is planned is no necessarily what will come in itself, so much as the platform or deck that runs out into possibility, our projection into it, from onto which the possibilities far, and around which they coalesce. Heidegger would have us then at once revel in the creative of the what is to some that hangs over us- while suggesting we create nets of capturing those possibles we look to and for, those that we feel peculiarly suite ourselves and our lives. A move which defines reasonable enough personal choice but is lousy when it comes to the game of modern politics.... Hence is love of dictatorships which expend the politics of one person into the nation.
In opposition to this pole there is of course the future or probability (an option Heidegger for one derided). That is the future were one reckons up what one thinks is likely to be - what is likely to come and modifies ones behaviour accordingly in the here and the now. these numbers of course define their own reality - create there own level - on which historically at least policy tended to be made. It might hurt some the argument always goes, but over all the average or the expectation or the trend line is going our way. the trouble with this approach (and hi is Heidegger's critique) - is that it misses the key fat of temporality as such namely that it is self-conscious as it is time. Time is born in us, in the fact that we have being, and know we have a future. Probabilty then deadens that looking towards - or defines a level where it can be safely ignored. It does not matter where we know what is happening or no, the argument runs, the future is the same nevertheless - it does not matter what we think, the future appears in the numbers. A point of course heidegger lampoons,a s what is the point of time as we live it, as it is in us if it were not self conscious? to set theorize that deny that aspect is to create a theory that tears out the essence of temporality in describing it.
In terms of modernity we would of course now say that Heidegger is half right. The is wrong to demand the self-consciousness of being is the critical determinant - that it is all that matters and does so in defiance of maths, but he is right to insist that the fact that being knows what it wants effects the future. We are all very used to the fact that belief is something, in something in some mass happening is itself a real truth - and has become increasingly (and often very irritatingly) an increasing power in the land. indeed so much is this the case that it has become as it were a third pole of the future - the belief in others believing, and the way to manage their expectation in the face of the fact that belief is nonsense, is the task of modern politics. Debates such as health and safety or immigration are carried out in never never land of what we think is being done and the future we imagine we are running towards.
A new pole has then been created of the collectively imagines future - the actions we assume and assuming create other different futures. But as an opposite pole to this future is is then clear yet another has emerged. Starting from Heidegger's perspective has arise the demand that we all have a right to a future - to possibility to creation - and it ii
s the task of someone else - say the state or the society or the law or the nation or whoever to ensure those sacred rights. possibility has then moved into stroppy insistence of right to come, the future is come little more that an land grab for possibilities. a place were we anxiously stake out our claims and demand what is to come.
Between these different corners of ways we do the future many different poles exist, and we compose many futures for ourselves and for others . A composition which has clear rules. Firstly and most importantly such an act of composition is hand in glove with what we call our personality. that is our personality in a sense is(in part) the name we have to the manner in which we infer differing futures: Our prejudices or fear, our hopes and dreams, our dominant thougths are then all given in the kind of futures we are likely to make and remake; To be gloomy or introspective or hateful or lovable is to allows for certain futures. But such a personal composition is also in a sense collective, our personality also, defines how we allow others also into these future how we share them- and who we share them with (Heidegger brilliantly understands here that the past is the having been of mood and personality- that which one is already, which conditions what possibles are possible). The shared future then evolve in this merging of personality (and becomes a power). a sharing which will that enter are trend lines from the here and the now and develop them into what is to come. The here and the now then forms the bridge into possibilities- into those possibilities one looks to create - and the actions needed. an bridge building that is highly creative but also plastic and collective. many in the process, a mulitude that will of course warp the bridge itself and its direction - turning it aside or naming it take other paths in a shifting world, were belief as well what is believes itself is a force. moreover the bridges become then part of the non-believers the non bridge makers possibility as well pricing other action within them,actions that will further change the landscape for the bridge, making it increasingly tricky where it is going. the bridge of course ultimately becomes merely a jut into somewhere - and often so massive that it cannot be taken down or changed.
futures has an irritating habit of avoiding all plans, all believes and even any one set or series of possibilities. What tumbles into being is then always something from somewhere else - light by the vividness of reality, a light that shines never where it is meant to. The problem then with the future is that it actually out thinks us - while demanding that we think it: our thoughts are then always a part in this avoidance, in what othering it composes. a problem that of course haunts all our lives, and makes any attempt tp be free so very very difficult.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Vivisection of desire

It is one of those things we are all so used to we hardly notice anymore: But the real power of money surely lies in its ability to cut through the very futuring tense of desire. Desire yearns after all towards what s not their: Or perhaps better it makes the what is not into a positive place. It is then the art of not being where one should, and so yearning - or question or creating or perhaps blindly conjuring that other world, lost past or imagine present, into being: forcing to become whatever else it was to be also implicated in a futuring - in a becoming what I will be.
Desire quite probably left to itself is a bit of a messy affair. Its highly poly-vocal (if only he have the patients to listen) and quite likely to diffuse. a desire will the infuse a sequence of possibilities, when one gives it moves, shifts changes evolves across time - and this essentially is the point: It works across these shift of perspective - and never resolves itself exactly....
More than that it always oscillates in that strange land which runs between actuality and virtuality. So much desire is my internal yearning - it is not really realizable or i might not realize that it is realized:and yet of course something it needs to edge into what is actual - it is merely exactly what and where and when and even whether that is a movable feast.
A fact that become all the more complex as desire is collective - that is good desires are never purely mine- we share in them; but also in the sharing we find community- so its fact changes everything =makes in a sense what was not actual matter or event feel present. the slips into the virtual then might involve from another level a social reality that is far more important than any realization. Except of course it may well feel more complex in our heads. here is no reason we have top realize the power of the sharing - the desire is ours after all: We almost by definition then confuse what we are as individuals for a more nebulous communal feeling. we demand also to be that, and so loose sight (ironically perahaps given our indvidualism) of how our minds n there very essence and caught up with each other an actually- and compossible through one another
Desire then is often as not half dreams and a quarter hope and eighth reality, and sixteenth memory....and infinite harmonic series of shifting elements. And yet of course we routinely cut this creative if irritating and in neat form highly manipulative world with the cutting edge of money.
money operates by creating a hard divide between dreams and fiction. The former which are of course inchoate and complex and left free, while every actualityward of he latter becomes chargeble - and valued.
Money takes for itself all the mutlilayered aspect of desire. it then looks to what is and what will be and as you always to reckon up- according to it one voice the relative values of everything. Money threads desires which might have run in parallel up, in sa single thread of value: they become memory beads against it power. In doing so it usurps the futuring tense of desire. it is the future the future right here right now- the slip into what will be.
But of coruseti is a desire which one can desire. money is a sense is a coupe of the self-conscious aspect of desire over the merely conscious. that is it is what we hold in our hand, what in a desire is real (even i that reality is merely a number - and the necessarily communal belief that number works. It then becomes very quickly the only communal desire we all share- a desire which structures and infuses pretty much everything. The ambivalence of meum and tuum is thereby resolved and made into something: It becomes genuine and real, and sorted through. We dream the same dream on the level of money; But if we dream the same dream of actual things that will both cost us more (as we are competing) but also make that dream ore likely to happen (it is cost effective). Our power to think and feel then same is then marketed back to us - as ordered consurmerism
The irritating world of shifting selfish yet shared desire, is viviseted- forced into a single thread of realized thought: I is made then to account to itself in terms of another realized and actual desire (counted in money).
Accept of course does not work quite like that - for desire will not conform. It perculates money with is own polyvocal nature, and will recreate itself if it can - either when (by reason of wealth or poverty) one is set free from money- or else with money itself where one product will work by talking to many dreams (and needs then not merely to be judges by what it is) or else in resentiment (noisy or quiet) of the system and the desire to find another or finally be creating refuges of old fashioned desire, free from the scalple of money (the family, but also art, loyality etc). Desire then adds to its assemblage the desire to say otherthings than money does allow for - a quest that is in a sense forlorn as those desire main in the most part either marginal or mere dreams - as the money then become actually articulated money seeps in, as the lesser of evil - for desire left to its self need not be scary merely confusing to fail and confuse then spirit.
We vivisect then with a reason: We vivisect in spite our self- and every attempt to move beyond that vivisection will ail it is cannot find another way to be structures desire and so marshal it effectively.
The true power in capitalism is then the rendered powerful shifting decrees, and making our own nature an actual force in the world. Hard to out think that - without slipping into idiotic tyranny (that aspires to do the same)