Wednesday, November 24, 2010

History never was, only Now is... scoot over, Fukayama

"History, so conceived, was inexorably culminating in nihilist catastrophe—in the form of inter-imperialist war and barbarism for the Left, or as The Decline of the West for the Right—and the will to confront this inescapable decline was, non-dialectically, the will for an absolute rupture from it. This took the form of projects of transcendence, the creation of a new man, understood either as the construction of an unprecedented universality, communism, or as a return to the vanished origin, fascism. It is important to note that Badiou never implies that this idea of creating a new man could or should ever be resurrected, for it was 'undoubtedly a bad project.'" -Gopal Balakrishnan, The Historical Absolute, on Alain Badiou's The Century (from Lana Turner, No. 3)

Balakrishnan casts some warranted doubt on Badiou's efforts to find "the real" in the shape (not contents) of the Subject, which so far sounds like a cheap neutralization of clashing, temporal ideologies. But I haven't read it, yet. I can appreciate the further atomization of relativism, and indicating the quasi-absolutism of mythologies like "History" and "periods," but I think there is more to analyzing contingent experience than the mere form of communications. Are the (yes, contingent) numerical and visual data subject to a formal consensus-or-nothing test, as well?

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