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Archive for April 26th, 2006

no more amazement

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Benjamin, Theses on the Philosophy of History, VIII.

The tradition of the oppressed teaches us that the ‘state of emergency’ in which we live is not the exception but the rule. We must attain to a conception of history that is in keeping with this insight. Then we shall clearly realize that it is our task to bring about a real state of emergency, and this will improve our position in the struggle against Fascism. One reason why Fascism has a chance is that in the name of progress its opponents treat it as a historical norm. The current amazement that the things we are experiencing are ‘still’ possible in the twentieth century is not philosophical. This amazement is not the beginning of knowledge—unless it is the knowledge that the view of history which gives rise to it is untenable.

No more amazement, bemusement, cute quips and quotes, expressions of horror that are down deep registrations only of indolent ennui. Not the exception, but the rule. Nothing special. Nothing new, all of this.

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Written by adswithoutproducts

April 26, 2006 at 2:03 pm

Posted in america, benjamin, everyday

benjamin on the blog

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From the Work of Art essay, thesis X:

For centuries a small number of writers were confronted by many thousands of readers. This changed toward the end of the last century. With the increasing extension of the press, which kept placing new political, religious, scientific, professional, and local organs before the readers, an increasing number of readers became writers–at first, occasional ones. It began with the daily press opening to its readers space for “letters to the editor.” And today there is hardly a gainfully employed European who could not, in principle, find an opportunity to publish somewhere or other comments on his work, grievances, documentary reports, or that sort of thing. Thus, the distinction between author and public is about to lose its basic character. The difference becomes merely functional; it may vary from case to case. At any moment the reader is ready to turn into a writer. As expert, which he had to become willy-nilly in an extremely specialized work process, even if only in some minor respect, the reader gains access to authorship. In the Soviet Union work itself is given a voice. To present it verbally is part of a man’s ability to perform the work. Literary license is now founded on polytechnic rather than specialized training and thus becomes common property.

Of course, it was probably just a passing phase, a little utopian flicker before the tubes grow tolls… You didn’t really think this could go on like this, did you?

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Written by adswithoutproducts

April 26, 2006 at 12:29 pm