Writing in 2011

This year I’m going to more focus my writing. This past summer I started a broad strokes and this year my plan is to fill them in. This will be a year of writing in progress.

I’ll start by filling in the the first broad stroke – A radical theory puts the locus of control in your hands. Looking over the broad strokes the numbers aren’t really that distinct and some of the later numbers explain the earlier ones. But this is all an exercise in writing so I’ll go forward with the plan and see where it takes me.

I start from the basis that that we need change. This change is guided by a radical theory. Like the famous quote from Walden, (“To be a philosopher is not merely to have subtle thoughts, nor even to found a school, but so to love wisdom as to live according to its dictates, a life of simplicity, independence, magnanimity, and trust.”) theory dictates. And like Marx’s eleventh thesis, (“Philosophers have hitherto only interpreted the world in various ways; the point is to change it.”) the point of theory (praxis) is change.

What’s necessary for revolutionary practice is control. Where does the locus of control reside? Before I simply answer that I want to note that there are many traps that critical thinkers fall into, and not just traps, but grooves. You’ve probably met many critical thinkers who’ve fallen into the dismissive groove, rolling along dismissing all others as quaint. And there’s the conspiracy theory trap. For many in this groove or trap, the issue is a complete loss of control. When we conceptualize the world as a thing, we lose control. The world as an object is totalizing. Yes Marx says that the point is to change the world, but his conception of the world is not totalizing, the world is not an object, but an ensemble of relationships. These relationships are social, and practical, you are one of the points in the ensemble of social relationships that make the world, which has no existence except as a mental construction (concept). The world, the system, god, these concepts have no material, they are not objects, cannot be levered. If we lose control, if the locus of control resides outside, we lose agency, the ability to change our relationships.

The conspiracy theorists are not completely insane. We are living in a policed social. Our relationship to knowledge is not open and free. Capitalist controls resources. Governments control education and health care in a tight relationship with a militarized capitalist complex. And dissent is criminalized. But despite this, the locus of control resides in us. We are free to create social relations as we desire. Yes, social relations are policed, but no police state is total, compliance is still voluntary.

We have control of our own actions in all of our relationships. It is in this place where we have the control to make changes in the ensemble of human relationships we call the world where radical theory can be practiced.

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