The Place of the Real and the Vocation of the Artist, Philosopher, and Theorist (via Larval Subjects.)

A wonderful presentation of the creative subject in relation to art, philosophy, and theory from Levi Bryant…

It is shameful whenever the philosopher, theorist, or artist bow to the exigencies of the “pragmatic”. When I evoke pragmatism here I am not referring to the philosophical school known as pragmatism, but rather to the term “pragmatism” as it functions in contemporary party politics in the United States. This variant of pragmatism celebrates the necessity of “being reasonable”, compromise, surrender, or bowing to what is possible within the current constraints of the situation. This sort of pragmatist makes the argument that “we can only get x number of votes from Congress so we shouldn’t even bother having the debate, publicly making the argument, or pushing for this particular cause[…]

[…] In this regard, the vocation of the philosopher, artist, and theorist is to occupy the place of the impossible, the Real, the unreasonable. The place of the philosopher, artist, and theorist is to render the possible available, refusing the constraints of the situation. All sorts of gymnastics are involved in the athleticism of these figures. One aspect of this gymnastics consists in the activity of critique. Critique painstakingly reveals thecontingency of existing relations and forms of organization. It reveals that things can beotherwise and that these ways of relating and organizing life are but one way of organizing life. In short, critique shows that the relations underlying a form of life or organization are external, despite the fact that they appear inevitable, obvious, natural, or the best way of doing things. Sometimes critique will take the form of historicism or ethnography, showing that things have been done differently in other times and places, that others do things differently; thereby undermining the seeming naturalness and obviousness, for example, of the nuclear family or heteronormativity or commodity capitalism. Critical archivists and cosmo-ethnographers will retrieve all sorts of missed possibilities and latent opportunities lurking here and there on dusty shelves. Sometimes this will even consist in a mere etymological athleticism that opens up entirely new opportunities of thought as in the case of Heidegger’s fanciful etymological inventions. Sometimes critique will consist in disclosing the foundations an organization appeals to in legitimating as being based on an illegitimate and indefensible myth. At other times it will consist in showing a bubbling anarchy beneath apparently natural couplings, as Freud showed in his early work when revealing the polymorphous, androgynous (or polydrogenous?) and prosthetic vocation of the libido in excess of all heteronormative Victorian couplings.
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via Larval Subjects .


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