Tuesday, November 13, 2012

"Follow-Up" #8

[from Giorgio Agamben’s The Coming Community. (Minneapolis: U of Minnesota P, 1993) Trans. Michael Hardt]
         “When the real world is transformed into an image and images become real, the practical power of humans is separated from itself and presented as a world unto itself. In the figure of this world separated and organized by the media, in which the forms of the State and the economy are interwoven, the mercantile economy attains the status of absolute and irresponsible sovereignty over all social life.” (78)
         “The extreme form of this expropriation of the Common is the spectacle, that is, the politics we live in. But this also means that in the spectacle our own linguistic nature comes back to us inverted. This is why (precisely what is being expropriated is the very possibility of a common good) the violence of the spectacle is so destructive; but for the same reason the spectacle retains something like a positive possibility that can be used against it.” (79)
         “For this very reason, ..., the era in which we live is also that in which for the first time it is possible for humans to experience their own linguistic being—not this or that content of language, but language itself; not this or that true proposition, but the very fact that one speaks. Contemporary politics is this devastating experimentum linguae that all over the planet unhinges and empties traditions and beliefs, ideologies and religions, identities and communities.
         Only those who succeed in carrying it to completion—without allowing what reveals [itself] to remain veiled in the nothingness that reveals [itself], but bringing language itself to language—will be the first citizens of a community with neither presuppositions nor a State, where the nullifying and determining power of what is common will be pacified. … [T]hey will enter into the paradise of language and leave unharmed.” (82)

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