/ Strategies for a discontinuous future / Selected work 2004-2009 /

2007 Markets, Networks, & Communities
2008 The Macropocalypse & Edge Competencies
2009 The Great Compression, Smart Growth & Constructive Capitalism

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Friday, February 29, 2008

Comment of the Month

From the TED thread:

"...Have you read the book Homo Sacer by Giorgio Agamben, an Italian philosopher? (I just finished it). While I find his style irritating and repetitive, I think he provides some deep thinking that supports your thesis here.

He writes about biopolitics (following Arendt and Foucault) but takes it further than them, identifying the root of Western political practice and its result, which he calls "the camp". (Read concentration camp, refugee camp, etc.)

Homo sacer (the sacred man) lives bare (naked) life - outside law, yet still in relation to it as exception. They are always in relation to a power that no longer recognizes them as having agency. They are men who can be killed without it being homicide, but cannot be sacrificed.

"In the final analysis...humanitarian organizations...can only grasp human life in the figure of bare or sacred life, and therefore, despite themselves, maintain a secret solidarity with the very powers they ought to fight." (133)

"...the camp is the new, hidden regulator of the inscription of life in the order--or, rather, the sign of the system's inability to function without being transformed into lethal machine." (175)

The book and its ideas require a great deal of thought, but when I read your post about TED it immediately resonated. In this reading, TED doesn't address biopolitical issues, and is, in fact, in a compliance with the very system that causes the problems to begin with.

This doesn't necessarily make TED a bad thing. Raising awareness of issues is helpful. And yet, it will get nowhere in creating real change, which requires an entirely new political system (acc. to Agamben).

Personally, I am not entirely sure where I stand yet on Agamben's ideas; I need to think and read more. But I thought I'd offer up the source, as I think it might help your argument."

Bolding's mine. An absolutely killer comment - reread it.

The bolded stuff has a deep resonance with one of the reasons why the DNA of the corporation (conferences, etc, etc) is in decay. It recognizes no agency but that of the boardroom.

In a world where the costs of doing business as usual are being revealed as well, the destruction of the world; in a world where power is shifting to connected consumers - these kinds of institutions are is in almost total decay.

Hey, Elizabeth - thanks. That was kind of awesome.

-- umair // 2:09 PM //


yes, it WAS a good comment, articulate, precise, referenced, and your boldings highligts the essence

i am interested in another question... all of this transformation seems to be going on automatically, nature in action. you may be leading the edge in insight, and the guys in power may be unawares, but psychics, clairivoyants, gurus, have been talking about this exact paradigm shift at this time, with its economic and institutional and social implications for decades!.

in many ways we merely are the audience to the flow of time, and depending upon your subtlety of vision, you have known it was coming for as longer or shorter time in advance of the general populace

the irony of our culture is that those most entrenched in political and economic power are the most ignorant, with very few exceptions, of what is actually happening in the world

we are not prophets, not even good analysts, we are simply handmaidens of time, pointing out the relatively obvious to those who actually don't want to see, and it doesn't matter what we say or know or see, nature is doing it, it is inevitable, if you are smart or just a bit psychic, you are already in front of the curve

making your living stating the obvious is kind of cool, eh?

the real skill is in living as if the shift has already happened, which, at subtler levels, it already has

enjoy, gregoy
// Blogger gregory // 9:13 AM

I am tickled you enjoyed the comment so much! It is fun when my doctoral study work leaks over into my online conversations. I must attempt to do more of this type of philosophy-social media mashup!
// Blogger Elizabeth // 1:25 PM
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