In Corbyn’s hour

It has been joyous to watch Jeremy Corbyn campaigning. He believes in a peaceful and fair world, free of oppression and exploitation. He really does! And he thinks the way to get there is by listening and by discussion! He is where he is by hard work and chance. He got his seat, by all accounts, by working hard; he became leader of the Labour Party by chance – he didn’t really want to put his name forward, but it was “his turn”. His supporters can be very aggressive and unreasonable, but he isn’t. Unlike Tony Benn, he is not vain; or a smarty-pants, like Michael Foot. And that is important, because he is running a moral campaign for socialism. Corbyn’s socialism is a credo before it is a crusade or a programme.

I repent of all the disparaging remarks I have made about him. It is thanks to Jeremy Corbyn that I can clearly see again that socialism represents above everything else a moral politics.

Abolish capitalism gently

The spirit of critique and the spirit of the capitalist are the same. They both took hold around about the same time. Neither pursues solidarity and peace.

Scientific socialism “critiques” capitalism as if it were capitalism’s natural outcome, as if it were the future of capitalism, as if it knew better. This holds for the communist idea of the future dictatorship of the proletariat as much as for the “progressive” politics of today.

True socialism – the politics of peace and solidarity – is descriptive of an ugly state of affairs and thinks about how to bring about greater peace and solidarity. It won’t critique capitalism, it won’t know better, it will condemn it because it believes better.

Socialism has been damaged by scientific socialism, by the idea that socialism is a parallel or a development of capitalism. True socialism simply seeks the (gentle) abolition of capitalism on moral grounds. Western society must repent of its capitalism, and its critique, and its future; not to reinstate the past, but to reinstate eternity in a new way.

 

The aesthetics of shock and awe, pt.2

Beauty exists supremely in that which points away from man. Just as he does not find judgment in himself, nor does he find beauty. He only finds a beauty in himself when he finds something that points away from himself… this can be the unfathomable genius of his own personality, which is not his creation, or in any other created thing to which he is related. Art can create the link between man’s own beauty, the beauty of his creation, and any other created thing, and the very beauty of the creation which does not originate in his work.

A film of Baghdad being bombed is not beautiful, it’s ugly and attractive to deformed sensibility.

Critique 3: critique of critique

What judgment does life offer the culture of critique?

Environmental catastrophe

Abortion and euthanasia

Despair

Nuclear weapons

Breakdown of the family

Arms manufacture

Overproduction of shit

 

What “values” are suggested by this judgment?

Peace

Solidarity

 

Are we to repent or to progress? Have we gone too far – or just not far enough? He who puts his hand to the plough of progress and repents is not fit for the future, but eternity.

 

 

 

Critique 2: The value of critique

The value of critique – ?

Will critique help us create the values which affirm life? Who cares, because the affirmed life is a life not worth living.

God – call it life, purely, if you’d rather – requiring my affirmation? As if my values should do anything to life.

Was the idea to create the values which affirm life, or the values which life affirms?

Let my values be judged by life – or God if you’d rather. Thus, it is disingenuous to talk about creating the values which life affirms or condemns. If they are to judge us, we cannot make them, unless we wish to make ourselves defendants to ourselves as plaintiffs, and what could be more slavish and miserable than that?

What we have is the judgment of life – or rather, God – over us, and this is the judgment from which all value originates: Amen.

Critique 1: The spirit of critique

Deleuze wrote that, “one of the principal motifs of Nietzsche’s work is that Kant had not carried out a true critique because he was not able to pose the problem of critique in terms of values”.

“True critique”? Nietzsche starts by addressing the value of truth, so I do not know what he would have made of the adjective true critique. We would better ask: What is the value of critique? What spirit critiques? Who is the one who critiques?

Is it the spirit of a child running to the sea shore or digging a sand castle? Is it the spirit of a child discovering the flow of water and the resistance of sank banks? Is it the spirit of a child celebrating her castle: look mummy!

Or the spirit of the adult, who scans the text for mistakes?

Or the spirit of the one who says the unexamined life is not worth living, or has no value? Critique – the measure of all things, even life itself? No! Life is the measure of critique. A lifeless examination is not worth the examining.