#18: Critique and Truth


Oxana Timofeeva /// Truth as Critique

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There is theory and there is reality. Theory is made up of thoughts and words, while reality is made of places and things. Some claim that theory is a part of reality; others, on the contrary, feel that reality is little more than a theoretical construct. But no matter what we think, one thing is clear: between theory and reality, there is a huge contradiction. This contradiction reveals itself in the alarm we feel for good reason (or for no reason at all), wanting to invent a theory that would put all things in their proper place.

But things will trick you; they don’t listen to words, and that makes us suspicious. On the brink of the gulf between words and things, thought lingers like a specter that knows no rest. Suspecting words of falsehood or things of subterfuge, the course of thought sometimes takes on the respectable form of criticism, whose very idea arises from the obvious contradiction between theory and reality.

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Keti Chukhrov /// The Critique of “General Intellect”

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I. (T)he crucial moment for the folk tale is not that of the parole, that of its invention or creation (as in middle class art). But that of the langue; and we may say that no matter how individualistic may be its origin, it is always anonymous or collective in essence. – Fredric Jameson

The revolution is (…) is the moment in which criticism, hitherto unarmed, recognizes its arms in the proletariat. It gives the proletariat the theory of what it is; in return, the proletariat gives it its armed force, a single unique force in which no one is allied except to himself. So the revolutionary alliance of the proletariat and of philosophy is once again sealed in the essence of man. – Louis Althusser

The philosophy of post-operaism undertakes a fundamental revision of Marx: it displaces the notions of work and production, claiming that these are no longer capable of offering adequate descriptions of contemporary capitalism under post-industrial, post-disciplinary conditions. According to Paolo Virno, the principal feature of neo-capitalism is the immaterialization of labor; it displaces commodities with the emergence of a “general intellect,” which, in turn, must resist governance through economic and juridical machines, undertaking an “exodus” from the apparatuses of state and capital.

In his book “The Revolution of Capitalism” (in the chapter “Enterprises and Neomonadology”), Maurizzio Lazzarato speaks of a stage of capitalism in which exploitation no longer takes place through work and production, but in the virtual zone of collective world-making, in the space of intellectual co-laboration or co-operation, which is then appropriated by a company or corporation.

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