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Re: <nettime> what if we were all right but all wrong?
Jaromil on Sun, 1 Nov 2015 18:05:53 +0100 (CET)

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Re: <nettime> what if we were all right but all wrong?

On Fri, 30 Oct 2015, Felix Stalder wrote:

> I don't think much interesting can be found in the opposition
> between critique & practice on the one hand, and between electronic
> & physical one other. [...] The key, it seems, lies in translation,
> between languages, between contexts, between people and between
> levels of abstraction. In the end, it's a question of personal
> preference where one's work is situated. There is no prime layer
> that is more relevant than others. In the same way, I don't think
> anyone, or even any group, no matter how large, can do all of this.
> We all live in very long chains, no need to privileging one link
> over the other.
> So the opposition that seems relevant to me would be between
> things/approaches/ideas that impose their structure on others, and
> those which are open to being translated into something else.

halleluja brother! then we must be on the right path with Devuan ;^)

I've became somehow passionate about this thread, so let me include
a blog post by Alan Toner which timely describes the epiphany of
Adam Curtis and Mark Fisher on some stage in Berlin, a city were the
remains of left liberalism seem to be buried nowadays (or perhaps its
orphans are being sheltered)

>From https://knowfuture.wordpress.com _____

The documentary maker Adam Curtis was at the Hebel Am Ufer theatre in
Berlin this weekend. There were screening of his films Bitter Lake and
the Century of the Self (and the selection prefigured the arguments
that he was to make), but the main events were a lecture and two
public dialogues, one of which with the leftwing critic Mark Fisher.
Contrary to what one might expect there isnât much online of Curtis
speaking about his work, so I went to check it out.

>From the outset he insisted on positioning himself as a journalist
rather than filmmaker, and he consistently emphasized the value of
narrative, the importance of stories, especially as regards political
movementsâ capacity to inspire and shape the materialization of
new worlds in times of crisis (i.e. opportunity). Questions focused
on more formal aspects of documentary production were pooh-poohed:
filmmaking choices were tersely explained as being either a matter
of personal preference, an intentionally self-evident result of the
propaganda approach, or simply the more economic to produce,

It turned out that what Curtis wanted to talk about was the failure
of liberals and the liberal left (amongst whom he counts himself)
to achieve âreal changeâ, their inability to imagine another
type of future as embodied in the defeat of the Tahir Square and
Occupy rebellions. Instead he described the descent into âoh
dearismâ, or the posture of impotently observing one disaster after
another with no idea about how to intervene to end or ameliorate the
situation. He links this to the end of the era of mass democracy,
where organizations made alliances and formed blocks capable of
confronting embedded power structures meaningfully, and the failure to
find any analog in a time where the basic unit of politics is not the
collective but the individual.

This segues nicely into the thesis of The Century of the Self, whose
second half tells how the defeat of the new left/counterculture of
1968 led to retreat by that generation into technologies of the
self and a turning away from society. Curtis curses the new left
for painting all politicians as corrupt, and sees this as both
a simplification and a precondition for the refusal of politics
wholesale by what he calls âhippiesâ. Later he remarked how
radical it would be to make a series about the ânobility of
politiciansâ as a necessary upending of this cynical attribution of
corrupt motives to all politicians. This judgement is seen by him as
both a simplification of the facts and an abiding impediment to the
organization of meaningful political action.

Century of the Self chronicles the emergence of a new type of social
actor/subject, whose sense of their own centrality represents a
decisive break with the type of collective subject of the era of
mass democracy. Now individuals are said to require that they be
addressed in a more persona manner, they grant inflated importance
to self-expression, and seek their own personal utopias â as one
interviewee characterizes it, their aim is âsocialism in one

Curtis sees this personality type as representing the vital
battlefield for political struggle in this time. He condemns the
âleftâ for failing either to appreciate it or find ways to appeal
to it. His prescription is always the same: the crucial failure is the
inability to imagine a future and convey it in a form which this new
type of individual can find compelling and persuasive. What the form
of this storytelling might be was left almost entirely unspecified,
but we were told that it waste exclude economics, because it was
boring; the mere mention of collateralized debt obligations would
make peopleâs eyes roll in a stupefied mixture of bafflement and
tedium. Simultaneous with this rejection of âwonk-eryâ however,
he repeatedly decried the tendency towards simplification and
worried that if a major crisis were to occur that not only would the
political vision be found wanting but the individuals would find
itself confronted with a level of complexity so unfamiliar as to be

Denis Roio aka Jaromil   htt ://Dyne.org think &do tank
  CTO and co-founder      yree/open source developer
GNUPG 6113 D89C A825 C5CE DD02 C872 73B3 5DA5 4ACB 7D10

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