Friday, August 24, 2007

notes towards the politics of wonder

I cannot deny that I pursue this path for the sheer pleasure of it, for the virtuous (not to say smug) enjoyment and communication of one of the great joys, one that in its intensity, its commonness, its wealth and its equality is moreover an emblem of hope in a dark enough epoch. I am aware of the utopian diension of this work, and of the criticisms that can be and should be aimed at such high-minded and impractical imaginings. This project started in the rocky paths of negative dialectics. It is an attempt to develop a more positive, and to that extent practical way of thinking through the implications of materialism. My ambition is then to write towards an ontology of light, in the spirit in which Adorno writes, a propos the Wittgenstein of the Tractatus, that metaphysics stands

against scientism, for example Wittgenstein's position that fundamentally consciousness has to do only with that which is the case. That might call forth another definition: metaphysics is the form of consciousness in which it attempts to know what is more than the case, or is not merely the case, and yet must be thought, because that which, as one says, is the case, compels us to do so (cited in metaphysics: 196)

I believe the analysis of practice, and the remaking of the idea of form as informaing, are the royal road to this mode of ontological thought about media. The dream of the architect, as Gael Turnbull writes, depends on the patience of the bricklayer. Before demanding that patience, we should first attempt to recognise it, and then attempt to share the dream. The resulting edifice will only be the better for it.

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