I’m now about 20% into the book. I like it because have lived some of this life she describes. Middle class intellectuals in some colony. I see other reviewers don’t like hearing the privileged ruminate about their agonies. But we are a select bunch! For everyone one of us who entertain marxist ideals of a change in the system there are hundreds who don’t. It takes a modicum of privilege to even read stuff. So to hear how thes commies and fellow travellers carried on in the fifties is of interest to me. But I can see you had to be there perhaps to get it.
But then I was not there. I’m a generation older. It may not be common knowledge but there was a small wave of Marxist revival in the late sixties and early 70s. I imagine all round the world. It grew out of the vietnam war protests and the countercultural movement. It dawned on some of us liberals that we did not just want Peace. We want the Viet Cong to win. The imperialists needed to be defeated, and they were. It became clear too that national liberation was a viable and worthwhile step in the march of progress. Maybe that was not so clear to Lessing in her time? And the communes and alternative endeavours did not really work, not as a way of changing the system. It may sound crazy but I, along with many thought the “Times were a’ changin”. But really, no. And then China was in a stage before the cultural revolution disasters. It was easy to see there was something to be learned from the communists.
And there was! And then there was not!
Why did she get a Nobel Prise for her work? I think of Obama getting the peace prize – do you have to be a phoney to get it? I don’t think Lessing is a phoney. However she may have been mistaken for someone who is anti communist. It is very different to be a disillusioned to being anti. Jesuit priests apparently do not need to believe in god, they need to be searching for god. I wish there was some sort of world order of people searching for the marxist line of out time. And a Doris Lessing of our time – or at least one for baby boomers. Perhaps Marge Piercy? Is there anyone like her today, filling that niche she filled in 62?
Amy Goodman from Democracy Now hosts this debate between Julian Assange and Slovenian Philosopher Slavoj Žižek — From the Troxy Theatre in London, July 2 2011. Also streaming in HQ from Democracy Now for those with faster lines. Brilliant debate!
I wish I’d got hold of this a year ago when it came out, but it is worth watching any time!
“Capitalism will have trouble with intellectual property” – Slavoj Žižek In the Amy Goodman interview with Julian Assange
I’ve come away thinking that if property is theft then intellectual property is the most obscene form of theft, as it steals from us what is most human, our creativity and spontaneity.
Are we in an information age, or is this still the industrial age where the workers will create socialism? What is Slavoj Žižek saying here? If capitalism can’t cope with intellectual property then it can’t cope because of some new relationship of production?
If that is the case who is the new revolutionary class? Is it still the industrial proletariat?
What clout does any other class have?
Or is it that as the information sector becomes the most consumed sector of the total produce – eg Amazon can afford not to make a profit on hardware as it sells intellectual property – as does Google – then these companies – like newspaper and music companies will falter as consumers protest about the punishments metered out to people who share!
Not only that but people who create – lets not call it property but intellectual goods and services – are the most advanced producers of social production (recall Marx ‘s point that the contradiction in capitalism is that production is social and ownership is private). Look at the credits in a movie, while that creation is tied to hardware there is a way to pay the creators and for the middle men to cream most of that off. Even solitary creation like a novel or science is mostly people standing on the shoulders of giants. All creation is a mash up.
Capitalism inhibits creation.
Capitalism inhibits sharing.
Capitalism inhibits the distribution of culture.
But information, creation that is not thwarted by capitalism has already been co-opted by capitalism.
The potentially revolutionary class then is the creators, and that is all of us. As Clay Shirkey put it so beautifully following Marshall McLuhan The fundamental shift in the electronic world is that consumers become creators. Just pressing a Like button is on the lowest end of the spectrum of creativity, with great art and science at the other end, but it is on the continuum! There is a qualitative shift that was made with the Internet.
Perhaps the early slogan – Information wants to be free – is a forerunner of a class of creators becoming a class that is conscious. Releasing information is a crime, Bradley Manning, Kim Dotcom, the latter has become a local hero, because he is fighting the superpower and exposing New Zealand’s subservience.
For people to move fully into a world where information is the dominant item of consumption, and we are probably a long way off that, then a new relationship of production is called for. New relationships of creation. New ownership of the means of production, distribution and exchange.
Think of what that might mean, no copyright, new forms of socialized payment for creativity, no advertising to pay for content. Most of all education, news and culture in the hands of the creators would change everything. Intelligence in the CIA sense would be free, releasing information would be heroic. Secreting publicly beneficial information wld be a crime.
Where does the money come from to pay for all this…
Wait… Money is information, it is currently owned by the ruling class, they create laws (also information) to control all information, about the flow of money, and the creation of money,
This does require a new relationship for the means of production of physical goods. The same dynamics apply, (material) goods too want to be free, and goods too are created by the very people who use them (could the but afford them) Its is not about the nature of the goods we are dealing with here. It is labour power, let think of it all as creativity power. Imagine the force of an alliance of all people who create, but who do not own or share equitably in what they create.
Marx said little about the future – but he did say we could all have the leisure to be philosophers. Sounds like he had an inkling there of the implications of his perspective related to creating ideas.
“By answering the question concerning technology with a sensuous mimetic account of presubjective embodied agency, Benjamin opens a path that can help technocultural critics dispel their residual (and, as I have argued, largely unthematized) commitment to representationalism.
Whereas Heidegger’s moods always presuppose a subjective response, we see atmospheres (in this provocative, anti-subjective sense) not as internal feelings of an individual or metaphors but as pre-subjective feelings, as spatially extended emotions.
I can’t yet make sense of that.
Mimetics seems to relate to Dawkins memes – see Wikipedia but the idea I’m pursuing here is more related to…
In ancient Greece, mimesis was an idea that governed the creation of works of art, in particular, with correspondence to the physical world understood as a model for beauty, truth and the good. Plato contrasted mimesis, or imitation, with diegesis, or narrative. After Plato, the meaning of mimesis eventually shifted toward a specifically literary function in ancient Greek society, and its use has changed and been re-interpreted many times since then.
This is interesting too…
The Frankfurt school critical theorist T.W. Adorno made use of mimesis as a central philosophical term, interpreting it as a way in which works of art embodied a form of reason that was non-repressive and non-violent.
Benjamin was of that school, was he not? Makes me think the opening quote really should read Mimesis.
atp: Are you also interested in the pre-subjective and in rendering it transparent?
ab: Yes, I’m influenced by how Philip K. Dick’s characters build models or prefigurative spaces. These can be nostalgic, like Dick’s “babylands” of the super-rich, who build and curate satellite demesnes to mimic a specific lost place and time of their childhood (e.g. Washington, D.C. in 1935), or the miniaturized “layouts” of off-world settlers forcibly evicted to colonize Mars, where a proxy experience of a day out in pre-climate change San Francisco is accessed through drug-enhanced “translation,” but experientially structured by the interior decor of a miniature home layout.
“A model provides a vision to inhabit, whether for a desired political future or a nostalgic past, or some combination of these—a form of continuity. So the pre-subjective could be about the possible experience of a future loss of the familiar via climate change—familiar birds and plants,
landscapes or food, or the familiar in terms of ideas of shared spaces or notions of experiential commonality, whether as a park or some formulation for an equitably shared space. So perhaps the question for me would be about a commons as a way forward versus nostalgia for a kind of shared land and resource use that was historically situation-specific.
This makes more sense, but I’m still not really a member of this discourse domain.
Was that story by Philip K Dick the basis for True Lies? No, I think the reference is to Now wait for last year but is could have been, seems like they pinched a few ideas. And they did use a Philip K Dick story for the other Arnold Schwarzenegger movie Total Recall. Perhaps the novel and the short story have a similar theme.