Affective Struggle

negative-affektsThis post contained an draft version of a dissertation section. A more recent version is now available on the works page.

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4 thoughts on “Affective Struggle

  1. Long ago, starfish learned to extrude their stomachs in order to digest. It’s totally gross, and seemed to satisfy a part of their hunger. Those selfish shellfish were keeping their own nutrients locked up tightly, and quickly became an accessible prey…

  2. Reblogged with a comment, I’ll reproduce the comment here.

    The continual question of the negative passions. The undeniable potency of them, the undeniable force that erupts with anger and rage. I don’t question their value from a Neitzschean perspective but from an ancient one, from the perspective of Seneca. The oft remarked story of Plato who froze in his place for hours after raising his hand to strike a slave: “I am punishing an angry man”, he is said to have remarked to a passing student or friend (did Plato have friends? can a man with such a thought as his be so vulnerable as to be exposed in the production of a friendship?) Seneca says that anger does not attempt to influence the mind, as all the other passions do, but that it seeks to DESTROY it. Maybe such a destruction of the everyday consciousness- full as it is of its own impotence, its own solipisistic perspectival imprisonment (how we yearn to see through the eyes of the other), its own heavy sadnesses- is a goal worth attaining. But then what? Seneca reminds us that an enraged soldier can’t fight to win but only to inflict harm, he flails instead of striking at the weak spots, and he doesn’t notice when he is injured, outmanned, and about to be crushed.

    The same question returns to me again and again, and I still don’t really know what it means: how do we organise rage? This seems imperative! Crucial! If the negative passions are a weapon then how do we use them collectively and with skill and precision?

    Another thing: does the dreamer wake from his dream or does he wake to the fact that he is dreaming? The point is a simple one: don’t conflate the dream with the reality, the possibility with the condition of that possibility, this moment with the next. The troublemaker is a contemporary figure par excellence, and she inaugerates a new logic of the political (according to some) that the elder statemen of the left- from its reformist to its revolutionary, its anti-intellectual to its philosophically radical sides- can’t understand. Yet the eruption is still an eruption. To call it apolitical or post-political is to avoid it entirely, to refuse to look into the face of a nihilistic new dimension that the social pumps around itself like a noxious life blood. Yet still, how to organise? This is a time of rethinking everything.

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