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Purity

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  • Mary
    I d like to revive the thread concerning action. After reading Sartre s play Dirty Hands (yesterday, out under the sun, during an unseasonably warm day, in a
    Message 1 of 2 , Apr 11, 2011
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      I'd like to revive the thread concerning action. After reading Sartre's play "Dirty Hands" (yesterday, out under the sun, during an unseasonably warm day, in a comfortable cocoon of withdrawal), I find this passage which ties together many recent themes in a fairly condensed package. The excerpt is from "Contingency, Hegemony, Universality: Contemporary Dialogues On The Left" By Judith Butler, Ernesto Laclau, and Slavoj Žižek.

      — Let me simply mention what may appear to be Hegel's utmost `logocentric' notion, namely, the notion of totality: one should bear in mind that this notion does not designate simply a total mediation accessible to a global subject but, rather, its exact opposite, best exemplified by the dialectic of the Beautiful Soul: `totality is encountered at its purest in the negative experience of falsity and breakdown, when the subject assumes the position of a judge exempt from what he is passing a judgement on (the position of a multiculturalist critic of Western cultural imperialism, of the Western pacifist liberal horrified at the ethnic violence in fundamentalist countries) here the message of `totality is simply: `No, you are involved in the sytem you pretend to reject; purity is the most perfidious form of cheating.'... So, far from being correlative to the Universal Subject, totality is really experienced and `actually exists' precisely in the negative shock of failure, of paying the price for forgetting to include oneself in the situation into which one intervenes.—

      Mary
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