Subject: Re: [postanarchism] Always leaving the party early? Part 3 Date: Mon, 21 Jul 2003 08:40:08 -0400 (EDT) Philip wrote: Tom, First of all, thank you for the interesting posts. I have not had the time to \read all of them, but what I have read has been quite appealing. Your adherence to non-violence and its relationship to what you term "enarchy" is definitely worth some attention, considering the role violence often plays in anarchic events. Quickly, in pursuing non-violence, are you only seeking the negation of that form of violence which relates to bloodshed? or do you also condemn (perhaps not the correct term) sabotage, force and the violence which subsists in mass gatherings - ie, the broiling soup of flesh that is a peace march? TMB: Philip, TMB: “broiling soup of flesh”? Is this a joke on the idea that peace marches tend to be pretty blandly nonviolent affairs? Or do you mean that, insofar as peace marches, from a distance and in recent history are becoming less and less distinguishable from pro-war celebrations (since wars appear to happen after them over and over), actually do relate to real harm? I’m sure that you don’t mean the latter, however, I do, in certain ways. The “peace marches” we had were so spectacularly ineffective in a number of situations over the last 10 or more years; Iraq I, Haiti, Kosovo, Iraq II, that, insofar as they bear any *direct* responsibility for the failure to stop these wars, there was some real broiling involved. Besides, if the basic philosophies of “the peace movement” can be attributable in some way to the failure to do anything about the sanctions on Iraq in the last decade, again, a lot of flesh was indeed involved. Again, I don’t think that is what you mean. But well beyond that, and certainly inculcating the physics-postphysics division, any decent understanding of nonviolence and justice will include things like “economic injustice”. Now, at this juncture, I don’t know where you are coming from. Like it or not, “anarchism” as such, as a general umbrella, is a bit more neutral, at least, than “peace and justice”, an umbrella under which one could at least imagine that one was on the same page at least in being against war, given wars, etc. I don’t know whether that is the case for you, whether your association with “anarchism” involves some critical view of recent international events. However, “anarchism” in general, punk anarchism, etc., has tended to be pretty doctrinaire anti-war, in a very problematic way. As we know, peace activism, nonviolence oriented activism, charges that violence in tactics on the part of “anarchists” and others, is a problem, that “violence begets violence”, all that. I am not necessarily going there, though I am not advocating violence by any means, but there is some truth, I believe, that to use violence in peace demonstrations does have a tendency to register a vote for “violent forcing to comply, in general” which is, of course, what military actions tend to do. Philip: Also, this brief passage caught my attention : TMB: The being of metaphysics is being post-physics. While it's langauge> > games may have rules, they are in no way reducible either to rule sets or > gams. Philip: If we consider what metaphysics was, originally, to be, this is not true (that it is a "being post-physics", as you say). Or, it is a continuation of the misreading of Aristotle's "prote philosophia", which was mistakenly re-termed "meta-phusika" (hence, your etymological play of "post-physics") - a bastardization that was ossified by the stuffy old coots of scholasticism. TMB: True but not true, or problematic. The “order of things” in Platonic philosophy (I’m no expert by any means), in the story of the order of education, is one in which physics is at the bottom, the ideas at the top. Philip: In fact, for Aristotle, "post-physics" - more literally, "post-natural" - would have been considered a useless endeavor. The beyond was before. Philosophy was the yearning, in the form of thought, for the origin, for the source (Plato's "Timeaus" is perhaps the greatest, and most ingenious, attestation to this). Greek philosophy was, inherently, an aetiology. The "prote philosophia" - "first philosophy" - PRE-physics, instead of POST-physics - which bore the title of Metaphysics, spurned the idea of a post-natural : it was fashioned as a return, a casting back, not forwards. (Think of the Greek notion of the descending ages of man from the golden age downwards. Or of Aristotle's plea for the relocation of the Platonic Forms "within" nature.) Whether or not metaphysics came to ally itself with its misreading, so that it actually became a post-physics, might be an interesting topic for research. But, even Derrida admits that "the entirety of philosophy is conceived on the basis of its Greek source," and if you recall the form adopted by many POST-modern, POST-structural philosophers and theorists of the past 50 years, that of the "genealogy", as well as the "archeology" of a Heidegger for example, you must admit that those concerns of the Greek mind inhere within philosophy even in those thinkers who claim to be "overturning" that mind. TMB: At some point it seems that you can get past being either “pre” or “post”; that these have to be clues and directions that need to lead into some kind of original thinking, decent thinking, good thinking, in a certain independence. The same goes on an ethical level. Philip: What, after-all, was Nietzsche's "transvaluation of values"? Wasn't it an attempt to tear down the facade of fixed morality through an indexical pose backwards : "See, there, in the beginning." TMB: Well, I think there was a sense both of going back/genealogy and a certain free moment as well. As for transvalution, this is a first moment: meaning a valuation across, moving values, revaluing, etc. Envalution would be a more developed phase of this, and happens out of a rather Nietzschean spirit, although I end up putting “value” in quotation marks… Philip: Though Nietzsche's affinity for the Greeks was certainly not latent. Surely, many today adore the idea of metaphysics as a post-physics, because it caters to the eschatological, apocalyptic yearning of our "post-society". TMB: One doesn’t always have to be caught in a story of philosophy to grasp some basics concerning ordering of physics and what not, even if the tracing is always possible. There is a point at which the principle of it (a simpler sense of ordering) can be invoked. Look at the famous “Maslows hierarchy of needs”. This informs all sorts of institutional operations, works. It is cited often enough, carrying with it a story of “human nature” upon which whole institutions may be built. In terms of the massive US prison industrial complex, there is this sense that we can “get back to basics”, that imprisonment can have a prudent, step by step process of going back to “basic” needs such as food and shelter, the other needs being “higher up the hierarchy”. You can tell a history of philosophy story in that context, but I think it is not the only story to tell or positive, anachic/enarchic way to have at the situation. In many ways, owing if nothing else simply to its literary and textual demands, it would end up referring a prison activistism into a kind of endless academic process, whose grounds and contours, conditions of tenure, etc. would have some real problems both with the original issue, any activist approach, etc. But someone would write a “good paper” in some journal, hip rag or punk magazine. Puke. Furthermore, the “good paper” would tend not to be able to open the issues up very well, and would lead into the form of “prison activism” we have to day, an activism that is unable to make progress at all. Not all such activism is coming from some reference to a history of philosophy, but as a site where thought happens, and to which thought is referred (as you refer here to a story and orienting framework, perhaps even, in the end, a certain bureaucracy of thought, appropriate texts, orientations, from which my thinking has a certain partial and definite independence through which the fully appropriate disapprobation of Shawn’s responses is sort of grist for the mill and even an evidence of a certain accomplishment), it constitutes a major player in the intellectual directions that are taken. Philip: The old irony rears its ugly mane again, I suppose. The Greeks, who had everything to live for, philosophically and spiritually (their post-death was a living hell, ha ha), wanted nothing more than to "get back" as it were. While we modern "Volk", who have nothing to live for, want nothing more than to "get past". Thanks again, Tom! night, philip.
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