RE: [Sartre] serialization of the group
First of all, to clear up a few basic matters, the English translation does speak about seriality and the serial group. The primary locus of this is found in Chapter 4 of Book 1 which is entitled Collectives. The first section is entitled 'series: the queue' and it contains the description of people waiting for a bus I was implicitly referring to when I made my first response to you.
Also while I tend to agree with you that "the Critique is nothing but the working out of the distinction between the "serialized group" and the "group in fusion"" I also think you need to place this in context. Sartre is doing far more that sociology here. As I see it, he is developing this structural analysis of group in order to lay the framework for a truly existential philosophy (which is also a praxis) of history, one in which history is not seen as merely relative, but which has a truth and a meaning which we must create ourselves through the conflict brought about through struggles with scarcity, manifested in the current era by class struggle.
Too many readers tend to dismiss this later Sartre becuase of his early defense of Soviet Russia after the war. They argue that the later Sartre becomes a Marxist and since Marxism is now dead as a world movement, this Sartre is now irrelevant and badly outdated.
Besides thinking this death of Marx is itself greatly exaggerated, I also think it mischaracterizes the position of Sartre himself vis-a-vis Marxism, failing to recognize the differences. It also doesn't do justice to the depth of his later work, which while flawed and incomplete, in many important ways still offers us a new way of conceiving philosophy, one that isn't automatically reduced to the realms of academia.
That is why, Sava, I think this thread you have opened up is truly important. Now that we have created a global information grid, one where, as the pundits have it, the earth is now flat; enterprises such as Wikipedia have shown there is the possibility of new group formations (perhaps even that of the vaunted fused group) made possible by these new advances in communication technology. The question is - can the later Sartre be used to develop a new philosophy of history that takes these new developments (which Sartre himself didn't live to see) into account? What would such a philosophy look like?
I personally think this offers much more toward a contemporary renewal of interest in Sartre's philosophy than anything offered by B&N, as important as that book remains.
While I have some disagreements with your characterization of groups in terms of Sartre's philosophy, Sava, I also think this is a topic worth exploring in much greater depth, and think we should move perhaps a little more slowly here, taking the full argument into account. Why don't we begin with a discussion, in more detail, of the serial group itself and the various ways it corresponds to the Internet?
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- The quote below is pretty clear as to the profound relation between
Sartre's philosophy and violence. The cogito, the generalized cogito,
is a crime (did I hear Nietzsche somewhere?...):
La situation veut que la vraie morale humaine prenne naissance dans
cet acte isolé, purement individuel, de violence purement négative.
Tentons de le comprendre dans son ambigüité et de légitimer cette
violence. en réalisant la liberté terroriste et négative de la pure
conscience du monde par consomption du monde en face de la
conscience, l'esclave réalise dans l'instant qui précède la mort
cette conscience de soi que le stoïcisme, le scepticisme et le doute
cartésien n'atteignent que dans la fuite et dans l'abstrait. La
destruction et le crime sont les conduites concrètes corrélatives du
doute méthodique. [dans le crime] la conscience s'affirme dans sa
solitude terroriste. Tout crime est toujours un peu un cogito.
(Sartre, Cahier 418)
What the heck, I'm giving it a try at translation:
"The situation requires that the true human ethics is born out of
this isolated act [the terrorist one], purely individual, of a purely
negative violence. Let us try to understand it in its ambiguity and
to legitimize this violence. ... by accomplishing the terrorist and
negative freedom of the pure consciousness of the world, the slave
attains in the instant right before his death to that self-
consciousness that stoicism, scepticism and cartesian doubt attain to
only in flight and in the abstract. ... Destruction and crime are the
concrete behaviour correlative to methodical doubt. [in the crime]
consciousness affirms itself in its terrorist solitude. All crime is
always a bit of a cogito."
Do I agree with this? Oh, not only that, I think these are some of
the best lines ever writen in philosophy.