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Saturday, 19 May 2012

Time for life?

This week I went to a conference on fantasy to talk about the principle of reality (which loves to hide), cross-dressing, Agamben on liturgy and mundus imaginalis. In a session with Peter-Erwin Jansen and Andrew Feenberg I heard two expressions (Marcusean in spirit, I suppose) that caught my attention. They were calling for actions that would allow people to have "time for life" and find ways to "actualise their potentialities". The expressions assume that there is a hidden tendency for something to flourish in humans. For which life should people have time? Which potentialities are worth releasing (or actualizing)? Even though I asked a question concerning the underlying political optimism behind the expressions - the belief that things are easy to mend - the issue that caught my attention is the unreconstructed assumption that there is a human realm - a human substance bearing (fixed) properties along with accidental features brought about by current predicaments). I tend to believe, rather, that there is an open space for composition where life and potentialities are in dispute. I realised how distant I became from the idea of a purely human political sphere where the starting point is an implicit anthropology. My starting point is rather some sort of experimental or speculative transanthropology or rather ananthropology - informed by facts and versions about the dissolving anthropos but also by other ecologies that go through the humanscape. In any case, I suppose politics is rather about how to live - and which transitory us one is attending. But are Marcuseans incorrigibly humanists?


  1. "Time" is ambiguous. William Connolly, drawing on Deleuze, distinguishes chrono-time from duration. Chrono-time or linear sequential time goes well with essentialist thinking. But duration lets us glimpse other attitudes to life, including not just actualising your potential but also creating new potentials.

  2. Good point. Very good point indeed. I thought "life" is ambiguous but surely "time" is ambiguous too. (And maybe
    "for" is also not so clear-cut...) Thanks.