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Re: <nettime> Forms of decisionism
Prem Chandavarkar on Sat, 16 Jul 2016 02:34:57 +0200 (CEST)


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Re: <nettime> Forms of decisionism


When one accepts that the exception is the rule, the question changes
from "How do I recover social order?" to "How do I live with being
lost?" Rebecca Solnit argues that we must acquire the wisdom of the
woodsman who can wander into the most unfamiliar woods, but because he
has learnt to discern the signs (the sun, stars, wind, smells...) he can
recognise the constancy of the universe and thereby knows, in the midst
of the most unfamiliar, how and where to return. As the title of
Solnit's book evocatively argues, we need "A Field Guide To Getting
Lost". 

If you are always lost, you stop expecting sameness or order.
Paradoxically, you have to drop that expectation to find your anchors.
Take human rights - and we forget how short a history the quest to
universalise rights is, and therefore how limited our understanding is.
The quest to universalise rights is based on the argument that rights
are inherent to the human condition: in other words, rights are
predicated on sameness. This leads to a distortion where rights are only
recognised where conditions of sameness exist. So a community can take
comfort in the recognition of rights within itself, and remain
relatively unmoved by the violation of rights of those who are remote
enough that their lives do not impose intersections that are both
routine and significant. Unfortunately, remaining remote is no longer
assured, and the resulting intersections release a vicious cycle of
increasing violation of rights. 

When you are always lost, you start with the condition of difference,
and rights must be predicated on difference. Rights are truly universal
when you recognise them in the person most different from you, the
person you are least able to speak to. In such a case, sameness or order
(I prefer the word 'resonance') is something you must actively and
continually seek and construct, rather than expect or demand as as a
priori condition. 

So, here's to being lost...

Sent from my phone. Please excuse typing errors

> On 15-Jul-2016, at 11:44 AM, Brian Holmes <bhcontinentaldrift {AT} gmail.com> wrote:
> 
> Past a certain point of chaos, the question is no longer whether or
> not to enter a state of exception. The question is when, how, with
> whom, by what means, and to what ends.
 <...>

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