Some rather peculiar argument has broken out amongst some of the radical philosopher types in the blogosphere, apparently kicked off, in part at least, by the comments of a blogger called k-punk (which you can read here – k-punks trackbacks don’t seem to work but the page is there). Larval Subjects has a kind of round-up and commentary and there’s some other stuff over at various other blogs. All a little odd and I’m not sure I really know exactly how important the argument is (it intrigued me enough to read through it all but when I came to thinking about it everything seemed a little too personalistic- then again, that’s kind of the problem the conversation encounters and shows. No doubt it will do it’s work in the unconscious as I think.)
Anyway, on k-punk (which makes me think of ketamine punk and that awful smell of monged k-heads comes to mind) ther’s a leaflet about the recent Tent State University held at Sussex University, which i really wanted to get along to but was unable in the end to make it. Looked like it might have been interesting…On the leaflet for that event Mark K-Punk is listed as a speaker and quoted as saying an ideological position can never be really successful until it is naturalized, and it cannot be naturalized while it is thought of as a value rather than a fact. Whilst I find the whole theoretical framing of this slightly problematic it is good to see this notion of the impact of taking something as a natural fact being brought to the fore. One of the examples I often try to use in lectures is of the natural fact of money which can be extended to the natural fact of capitalism, both of which are fairly quickly demystified merely by paying attention to their obvious contingent status, which doesn’t alter their facticity but does restructure their value as somehow natural and the concomitant idea that they couldn’t be otherwise. There are a huge number of problems, of course, with the K-Punk quote (not least the very way in which values and facts seem co-valued in a hierarchy, albeit one directed towards the goal of success) but it reminded me of a quote that I long valued from Gramsci:
For a mass of people to be led to think coherently and in the same coherent fashion about the real present world, is a philosophical event far more important and original than the discovery by some philosophical genius of a truth which remains the property of small groups of intellectuals.
Antonio Gramsci, (Prison Notebooks, Lawrence & Wishart 1982; 325)
This notion connects for me to the Deleuzian connection of Ideas with Lenin mentioned in the previous post and interestingly in my notebooks where the Gramsci quote was found, the next note was another quotation, this time from Merleau-Ponty and again a resonance with Deleuze:
Philosophy is not the reflection of a pre-existing truth, but, like art, the act of bringing truth into being.
Maurice Merleau-Ponty, (Phenomenology of Perception, preface, Routledge 1978; xx)