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August 10, 2010


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You ought to know this. Which is correct? Materiel goods or Material goods?
The Material girl came to the bay area malls to sell her whatevers.

I happen to believe that if Marxism or Communism is ever going to make any progress it will be because of Materialism; work as sensual human experience, actions have consequences, inequalities breed hate, etc.
I write on facebook the word "Material" and get responses that that is sick, this collection of stuff! Sorry, just frustrated that my favorite notion has been co-opted by Capitalism!


"How long can people continue who view their lives in terms of appetites?"

-a very long time, apparently.

I think the crux of the problem (or question) here is ultimately a matter of belief. Of course, neoliberalism and the superego will compel us toward transience and enjoyment...but so will vast parts of the academic left, and in this way they seem to be aligned with popular opinion (generalizing here, but let's consider it for the sake of my argument)--as nuanced and valuable as I found postcolonial studies, queer studies-what zizek refers to as the culturalization of politics- to be, as a young person, the unfortunate sacrifice was truth and freedom and meaning. i don't want to rehash the culture wars or give way to too much tribalism but i do think this remains the stumbling block. While there is some truth in the critique of "narratives" of sovereignty or freedom or meaning--there is also something missing--think of a situation like that in the Gulf and BP telling the EPA to go fuck themselves regarding the use of dispersants--Things like a concern for a meaningful life or the faith in a deeper freedom--are a hilarious joke to such folks--the use of such terms as freedom or truth are "antiquated" "vacuous"--very recently, i actually had a friend in the academy dismiss my argument on exactly those grounds (followed by a long pause of pity), so it goes, it is not even worth discussing, we are past that now and can never return, this view is echoed by friends not in the academy (but then i am not in the academy and cannot say for sure).

i guess this is why i think all of these kind of debates are really ontological ones, in this case, meaning debates about belief. a negative view of the world (as in a lack, a void through which we protrude outward and create a world) or is it the case that "it is what it is" and we can never really know more beyond what is displayed in front of us though it may be complex and in need of critique--a non-all view vs. a one-all view.

without much more naysaying, what i really want to say is that, this line: "Private purposes are the privation of purpose, its evacuation from loci of meaning" was particularly poignant and beautiful. it made me really sad and i thought for awhile why this should get to me so much--well i know now, obviously: what is the purpose of talking about meaning if it is only a matter of belief?

someone on my facebook page posted something last week to the extent that they feel the need to hide updates of a political nature, after all this individual surmised (paraphrasing here): nobody holds the trump card to anyone else's hand. of course i disagree. there are still a few trumps out there. nonetheless, it is all a stupid joke; why even talk about it, the verdict is in. there is no truth.

i'll end with my favorite badiou quote and thanks again for this weeks posts.

"It is very fashionable right now to be modest, not to think big. Grandeur is considered a metaphysical evil. Me, I am for grandeur, I am for heroism. I am for the affirmation of the thought and the deed. "--Badiou

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