, , ,

Nietzsche was so sane it drove him mad — Charles Fourier was so mad he attained a kind of perfect sanity.

Nietzsche exalted the overhuman as individual (“radical aristocratism”) — his society of freespirits would indeed consist of a “union of self-owning ones”. Fourier exalted the Passional Series — for him the individual failed to exist except in Harmonial Association. Polar opposites, these views — how is it then that I see them as complementary, mutually illuminative, and both entirely feasible?

One answer would be “dialectics”. Even more accurately — “taoist dialectics”, not so much a waltz as a shimmy — subtle, snaky and fractal. Another answer would be “surrealism” — like a bicycle made out of hearts and thunderbolts. “Ideology” is NOT an answer — that zombie jamboree, that triumphalism of spooks on parade. “Theory” cannot be identified with ideology nor even with ideology-in-process, because theory has set itself adrift from all categories — because theory is nothing if not situation(al)ist — because theory has not abandoned desire to “History”.

So theory drifts like one of Ibn Khaldun’s nomads, while ideology remains rigid and stays put to build cities and moral imperatives; theory may be violent, but ideology is cruel. “Civilization” cannot exist without ideology (the calendar is probably the first ideology) because civilization emerges from the concretization of abstract categories rather than from “natural” or “organic” impulses. Thus paradoxically ideology has no object but itself. Ideology justifies all and any blood-atonement or cannibalism — it sacrifices the organic precisely in order to attain the inorganic — the “goal” of History — which in fact turns out to be … ideology. Theory by contrast refuses to abandon desire and thereby attains to genuine objectivity, a movement outside itself, which is organic and “material” and cognitively opposed to civilization’s false altruism and alienation. (On this, Fourier and Nietzsche quite agree.)

Finally however I would propose what I call the palimpsestic theory of theory.

Click here to read the whole article