The tricky thing about global imaginaries unlike other social imaginaries is the issue of totality. Whereas other kinds of social imaginaries (e.g. nations, publics, counterpublics, commons, etc.) can shore up identity by posing an external or excluded other, there are few possibilities of exclusion in the global. That does not mean, however, that we are doomed to some global apolitical homogeneity. Affect, when understood as a mode of investment through which social meaning is organized, opens a field of difference without succumbing to the closure of totality or the sedimentation of oppositional identity.
Posts Tagged ‘affect’
To write about something that is noncognitive and asignifying requires an incredible stomach for loss; whatever we write about affect necessarily entails the alienation of the very thing we are trying to describe. Is the best strategy to make affect’s necessary absence from our texts as apparent as possible?
My previous post sought to humble the principle of non-contradiction, and thus the logic of consistency it defines, finding it inadequate for thinking the temporal world in which we live and breathe and have our being. Parmenides first articulated this principle, calling “equally deaf and blind” those who would not think consistently according to it, those “hordes without judgment, for whom both to be and not to be are judged the same and not the same, and the path of all is crosswise (palintropos).” Without compromise, he recognized the conflict between his principle and our world of change and diversity. Consistently, he rejected time and the logic needed to understand it. His target here was Heraclitus, who claimed that “a thing agrees in disagreement with itself; it is a crosswise harmony (palintropos harmoniē), like that of the bow and the lyre.” This post aims to explain his earlier, contradictory, but nonetheless more accurate logic.
Anyone who has entered the labyrinth of A Secular Age should welcome this volume as a guide. Its contributors unwind many threads—some leading deeper inside, others promising a way out—but this series of posts can follow only one. Taking up Taylor’s distinction between traditions of transcendence and those of immanence, while remaining sensitive to its subtleties, William Connolly divides these traditions still further, observing that they are constituted not only by the beliefs they affirm about the world but also by the emotions they cultivate toward the world thus affirmed. Not content to delineate merely abstract possibilities, though, he adds that “each tradition is equipped to honor Jesus by offering a distinctive interpretation of his calling and mode of inspiration.” Accepting his invitation, this post (and those to follow) will attempt to offer such an interpretation—from the perspective of the Heraclitean tradition.