8 Matching Annotations
  1. Nov 2020
    1. Radicals thus find themselves under fire from opposite directions. If they refuse to debate what kind of cultural policies might flourish under socialism, for example, they are being shifty; if they hand you a thick bunch of documents on the question, they are guilty of blue-printing. Perhaps it is impossible to draw a line between being too agnostic about the future and being too assured about it. The Marxist philosopher Walter Benjamin reminds us that the ancient Jews were forbidden to make icons of what was to come, rather as they were forbidden to fashion graven images of Yahweh. The two prohibitions are closely related, since for the Hebrew scriptures, Yahweh is the God of the future, whose kingdom of justice and friendship is still to come. Besides, the only image of God for Judaism is human flesh and blood. For Benjamin, seeking to portray the future is a kind of fetishism. Instead, we are driven backwards into this unexplored territory with our eyes fixed steadily on the injustice and exploitation of the past. Knowing exactly where we are going is the surest way of not getting there. In any case, the energies we invest in envisaging a better world might consume the energies we need to create it. Marx had no interest in human perfection. There is nothing in his work to suggest that post-capitalist societies would be magically free of predators, psychopaths, free-loaders, Piers Morgan-types or people who stow their luggage on aircraft with surreal slowness, indifferent to the fact that there are 50 people queuing behind them. The idea that history is moving ever onwards and upwards is an invention of the middle-class Enlightenment, not of the left.

      Classic arguments against utopianism ie. against trying to envision a radically better future:

      1. It's just forbidden
      2. It will distract us from doing it "Knowing exactly where we are going is the surest way of not getting there. In any case, the energies we invest in envisaging a better world might consume the energies we need to create it."

      We also have another citation of Marx being anti-ontological (and avoiding the tough questions).

  2. Oct 2020
    1. Theoretic chaos has replaced the idealistic thinking of old--and, unable to reconstitute theoretic order, men have condemned idealism itself. Doubt has replaced hopefulness--and men act out a defeatism that is labeled realistic. The decline of utopia and hope is in fact one of the defining features of social life today. The reasons are various: the dreams of the older left were perverted by Stalinism and never re-created; the congressional stalemate makes men narrow their view of the possible; the specialization of human activity leaves little room for sweeping thought; the horrors of the twentieth century symbolized in the gas ovens and concentration camps and atom bombs, have blasted hopefulness. To be idealistic is to be considered apocalyptic, deluded. To have no serious aspirations, on the contrary, is to be "tough-minded."
    2. No Utopias

      This is 1962 and the Port Huron statement and this is cited as a modern slogan.

  3. Sep 2020
    1. But my story line would be different from Jack’s: it would document not the exhaustion of utopian energies, but rather a continual, dedicated struggle for their renewal. Habermas would be the hero of the book, naturally. His contributions to the “unfinished project” of modernity would provide the dominant narrative arc. In turning away from Heidegger, in channeling the legacy of the Frankfurt School in new directions, in never shying away from public debate and exchange, Habermas has opposed valiantly the forces of what he once called “the new obscurity” — a term that seems to describe only too perfectly our current situation, marked as it is by the forces of social media disinformation, political polarization, and xenophobia. If only in a modest sense, Habermas has kept utopia alive. [28] Invoking the work of John Rawls, he has gone so far as to defend “the realistic utopia of human rights.” [29] It is something, even if it is not, as some scholars have suggested, everything. [30]

      We live in an era of small dreams, of pallid hopes.

      It is something, even if it is not, as some scholars have suggested, everything. [30]

      https://lifeitself.us/2017/10/20/pragmatic-utopians/

    2. One of the books for which Jack Diggins was most well known was Up from Communism, a group portrait of four American intellectuals — Max Eastman, John Dos Passos, James Burnham, and Will Herberg — who over time traded their youthful flirtations with leftist radicalism for supposedly more sober forms of conservatism. First published in 1975, the book was, in its own way, an account of the “exhaustion of utopian energies.” It was about thinkers for whom “the problem with utopia” became “not how to realize it but how to prevent its realization.” [25] In other words, up from communism meant down with utopia.

      +utopianism:bad name.

      It was about thinkers for whom “the problem with utopia” became “not how to realize it but how to prevent its realization.”

  4. Apr 2017
    1. rers. The inter- dependence of form and content in other areas of study teaches us that tools are not neutral. Although tools may begin as external objects, in learning to master their use we internalize them (Ong, 1982, p. 81). Thus they become perceptual agents - "new technologies for thinking," as Alan Kay calls them (1991, p. 140) - whose charac- teristics affect how and what we know and do through them. According to the Torontonian scholars Harold Innis, Eric Havelock, Marshall McLuhan, and others, and more recently Walter Ong, "writing restructures consciousness."9 Dis- covering how this happens (e.g. with e-mail) is a formidable task, however, since the new per- ceptual agent is itself a product of the mind it affects, and that altered mind is what attempts to understand the agent that has chan

      Willard discusses how email rewires the brain citing Ong, McLuhan, etc.

    1. we consider the future of CMC as a medium for scholarly commu- nication by discussing factors that threaten to impede its development as well as its potential to create a new and more highly interactive form of scholarship. Although CMC offers great promise, its development cannot be taken for granted. Systematic and organized efforts are required to integrate the use of CMC into the communication practices of an academic community. We recom- mend that professional academic organizations begin to undertake such efforts now. We also argue that CMC can have a more substantial impact on scholarship than that achieved simply in facilitating interaction. This new medium offers the opportunity to realize the advantages of oral and written discourse simultaneously, producing a text with "dialogic" qualities. Generated in on- going computer-mediated exchange between scho- lars, a dialogic text allows us to re-appropriate and preserve some of the interactive, conversational qualities of knowledge production lost since the development of printed text.

      on CMC as a completely new way of communicating

    2. makes possible the production of an altogether new form of discourse that could be of consider- able scholarly value.

      See lists as producing an entirely new form of discourse