Bigsley the Oaf

Invisibility / Slow Thinking / Revolution of the Heart

Posted in Uncategorized by bigsleytheoaf on October 5, 2012

Here’s a video of a mini-diatribe by Zizek which culminates in the dictum: “Don’t act. Just think.”

Zizek’s shtick seems to be a pseudo-Derridian deconstruction of capitalism which results in the conclusion that Capitalism cannot be defeated by acting within its locus of power – because it is by its structural definition a system which absorbs any attempt to attack it and converts that attack into a resource.

The reason this occurs is that any revolution consists basically of a pair of emotion/driving force + structural concept. E.g. Occupy has all the emotion of lost jobs/material discomfort + the structural concept of “occupation” – the co-opting of public spaces (of every type). Thus, Occupy will ultimately fail because its emotional component will die out, but the concepts + ideals it generates will allow the State to generate antibodies that will serve to defeat future, similar  revolutions. Every aspect of the State’s apparatus is brought to bear against this problem – the media, law, political rhetoric, etc.

The answer must be invisibility, no? To deconstruct capitalism we must find something against which the State fundamentally cannot form antibodies. Pussy Riot (use the state’s media against itself) and Wikileaks (absolute transparency) might bear some hint of the answer. However, I think that probably the actual solution has to do more with invisibility. The State cannot attack something that it cannot see. Bin Laden understood this concept to some extent when he beckoned the United States to launch an attack on the barren desert of Afghanistan. He said, in effect, “come and waste your resources attacking nothing.”

But we must go one step further. Bin Laden was located Nowhere. We must be Nothing. If we can manage this then we will be unassailable. We must infiltrate, culturally, all elements of society without provoking the response of the Government’s antibodies. We must wait to strike until we are everywhere – and then a strike will result in nothing. No response – simply the swift and assured decoupling of our historically-accumulated but otherwise meaningless institutions.

—–

In this day and age it is very difficult to act invisibly. We have committed ourselves to our own techniques of surveillance. The internet is the ultimate tool by which we can watch each other and evaluate each others’ actions morally. There is a danger to this which is the complete systematization and resultant friction-laden dissolution of our beneficial social institutions (conversion of everything into a bureaucratic form). When we are too afraid and burdened to commit kindnesses ever again – then we have lost.

Therefore, we must commit to kindness in our hearts. We must think and feel slowly. We must bear our kindness and love for each other invisibly. We must not allow our sacred truths and our love to become an element for Capitalism to absorb and destroy. To think and feel slowly is to think and feel without the generation of disturbance – it is to operate invisibly.

—–

This is notional, of course, and I felt somewhat compelled to throw it on my garbage blog but I decided against it because it is close to something that I have been striving for for quite a while and will perhaps at some point be able to articulate clearly and completely.

When we think too quickly – that is when we act. When we act – that is when Capitalism co-opts our ideals and obliterates them. We must resist action. Non-participation. Step away. Do nothing. Go to work. Help people. Do not participate in the election. Do not read the newspapers. Do not perform any action that involves you in the mechanism. Escape the mechanism. Be true to yourself. Be good to those around you.

Does this make sense? Is there any other escape?

If we ignore the beast then the beast will die. But we must not allow it to know our ignorance – because its response will be to enflame our passions and ensnare us once again.

Our revolution must be spiritual and slow and complete.

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4 Responses

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  1. Graham said, on October 12, 2012 at 10:10 pm

    This makes sense. I feel like you’re on to something deep yet simple. I’m reminded of the Orwellian “Ignorance is Strength”, but you’ve infused this familiar warning with a sense of the true power of one’s attention. I struggle with non-participation, though. Like obviously working most jobs makes money from the very heart of the beast. I suppose it’s possible to ignore that and focus all efforts on sympathy, love, trust. But eventuellement we all “need” health insurance or IDs or some such institutional thing. Then what? There’s no way this middle way between thought and action can actually work for all. Is it really possible that all action can cease but morality can remain?

    • bigsleytheoaf said, on October 13, 2012 at 6:31 am

      Do we all need health insurance or IDs or some such institutional thing? Is that actually true? Who told you that? Where are you getting that from? I’m going to write a post about this right now.

      All action must cease so that the cancer that is our incoherent flailing society STOPS GROWING.

  2. Graham said, on October 15, 2012 at 10:13 pm

    I put “need” in quotation marks in an attempt to show that even though I don’t necessarily agree with the ubiquity of institutions, many do. Many rely on such institutions. So for these people, then what? We’ve got to at least eat and be well if any higher order Maslowian beauty is going to manifest itself in our lives. I’m wary of falling into the “X% of people are stupid and it doesn’t matter” trap. Doesn’t it matter? Shouldn’t the ability to ignore the beast in this way be multivariate and infinitely available? We’re white and traditionally intelligent/critical, so it comes easily, I think. But what about the vast cancer itself? The very incoherence on which our society relies can’t, by definition practically, be inactive.

    • bigsleytheoaf said, on October 17, 2012 at 5:39 am

      So there’s a question as to what it means that these people rely on such institutions. Should all institutions that are relied on exist in perpetuity? What are the standards for the destruction of an institution, besides social reliance?

      I don’t know if I believe in Maslow’s hierarchy.

      The idea that society relies on incoherence is interesting, but I’m not sure it’s true?

      I don’t really know what’s true, anymore.

      I don’t think people are stupid (except by a definition whereby I’m also stupid) – I think that people are afraid in a way that I am not.


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