What happens to a mind after reading, consuming, the Frankfurt School? What happens after the thick tar of paranoia and conspiracy fizzles out a little? After the depression my students feel when they read it? When we talk about the consequences of the thoughts there, that not only is the world fucked but there is no way at all that any individual human agency can do the first fucking thing about it? Then what? Who knows?
When you have understood the pressing horror of capitalism, and when you have understood the pressing horror of the west, and colonialism, and toxic masculinity. When you have understood your infinite guilt and criticisability? What then?
What about when you grow, not tired, but resigned to this condition. Not when you disbelieve it, not when you discredit it like an American film scholar, but when you merely accept that it is where you are whether you like it or not and the coordinates of your everyday are not only caffeine free, nicotine free, gluten free, dairy free, carcinogen free, emission free, cruelty free, but also metaphysics free. God free. What then? You wanted it, you railed against it at times, and now you have it. How do you like it? How does it feel when there is no longer the possibility of feeling? Feeling free.
I am an eternally prejudiced tourist in a world I can’t remember having been better. There were the nineties there, britpop, but that was all a front for the war in Iraq.
Now we may suspect that we are tourists everywhere, but really we always were, after all. We were always already only tourists.
I live on the central tourist street in the city where I live.
When I used to live not on the central tourist street in the city where I live I was a tourist in a fantasy of home. Or, I was a tourist in a hyperreal projection of a societally constructed image of home.
Regardless of whatever it is, was, I was only visiting, and didn’t really know how to behave there just as I don’t really know how to behave anywhere else. I didn’t believe the pictures they showed me of the flat there, and I don’t believe the pictures of the colosseum or the Capitol hill. I don’t mind so much because I don’t believe the flat or the capitoline or the colosseum either.
The standard reaction seems to be outrage that this could be the case. I wonder why? I wonder why bother to be angry about the fact there was always a gap between the concrete reality of material existence and being a speaking human capable of abstract thought? At what point did we not think that we had a brother in the moon as much or as little as we had a brother in Alyosha?
Home is a tourist destination.
Your family is a neighbour, at best, in all its terrifying and ghastly proximity.
And philosophers really only like art so long as it illustrates something they can feel like they are enunciating that no one else has yet, so it smells like a truth that stops not being written which will get them cash for the next spurt.
That it is a truth, or not, does not make it, ever, the truth that has stopped not being “written” by the work about which they write. The work has a truth quite of its own which bears no relation at all to the machinations of the professionally literate.
Artists, of course, sometimes only decipher the works of the philosophers, increasingly so in fact. A lot of times I can only see the illustration of a concept which was better written, better as simple mathematics, as arithmetic.
Deciphering only produces if it is also always already a reciphering.