If ‘anarchy’ is organization without authority, then the physical world exists almost exclusively in anarchy. In fact, as anthropologist Pierre Clastres argues, societies without a state aren’t evolutionarily ‘behind the times’ but constitute well-functioning human orders that anticipate the state and intentionally ward it off.[i] But, while some self-identified anarchists choose to be rocked to sleep to lullabies of primitive dreamtime, this project is something altogether different. Anarchism, as opposed to anarchy, is understood here as a conjunctural practice carefully constructed to intervene within problematics both historically and materially singular. Anarchy existed first as a nightmare to transcendent authority – first to the Priest and then to the King – whose paranoia began to secrete its own atheism, and only later was it taken up and given a material existence. Just as communism was the specter haunting Europe in the midst of an industrial revolution, as parts of the world now slip into post-industrial decay, anarchism extends as a figure of chaos hiding in the shadows of all ‘society.’ Continue reading “how to be an anarchist”
I know, it’s a bit absurd, but *pop music has prefigured the rise of Occupy Wallstreet*, according to a dialogue entitled “Don’t Stop Beliebing”.1 Raided their songlist, cooked up a mix. Take it for a spin.
From the foot of the Great Khan’s throne a majolica pavement extended. Marco Polo, mute informant, spread out on it the samples of his wares he had brought back from his journeys to the end of the empire: a helmet, a seashell, a coconut, a fan. Arranging the objects in a certain order on the black and white tiles, and occasionally shifting them with studied moves, the ambassador tried to depict form the monarch’s eyes the vicissitudes of his travels, the conditions of the empire, the prerogatives of the distant provincial seats. Continue reading “plane of nothingness”
But the cities visited by Marco Polo were always different from those thought of by the emperor. Continue reading “exceptional cities”
Kafka, incidentally, was a dedicated user of Ohropax (or ‘ear peace’) earplugs, the invention in 1908 of Maximilian Negwer, a Germany pharmacist who was initially inspired by the same episode of the Odyssey [where Odysseus used kneaded, sun-softened wax to block the ears of his crew as a protection against the song of the Sirens]. Continue reading “ear peace”
The domination-resistance paradigm has been replaced by modulation that de-centers power and makes it impossible to cut the head off of the king. Resisting the clutches of the school didn’t make one free of the police, or even the asylum for that matter. It was only vulnerable to entropy and sabotage. But when considered with the even more complicated relational network of control societies, formulating a radical political project on resistance to domination is inadequate. Contemporary resistance has to consider that governance thrives primarily off of transgression. Continue reading “resistance”
Emotions color the line drawings with which cognition represents reality. The philosophical distinction between the cognitive sense and private feelings can be traced back to Aristotle; it continues to our day in the concept of objective scientific knowledge. We take emotions to be distinctively human phenomena. Outside the crystal ball of the human psyche, there are only grass that does not wince when we tread on it, trees that are impassive as the chain-saw slashes them, water that does not shiver with pleasure when we stroke it, atoms drifting through the void without anxiety and colliding without pleasure or pain. If these things move us, it is because we are moved by the colors we project onto them. All colors, according to John Locke and seventeenth-century epistemology, including the “color” of emotion, are subjective effects within the pscyhe of the viewer.