How Small A Thought

[2, 5] to take the smallest fragment to make a whole life – an allusion to Wittgenstein (1998): “How small a thought it takes to fill a whole life”. Steve Reich (2005) took this line and put it to music in Proverb, a formal canon of contemporary minimalism performed by Paul Hillier (2016). Haven’t we tried too hard to take the smallest fragment to make a whole life? The essential problem in our post-postmodern period is that the world has splintered and the ‘fragment’ (Benjamin, 1995) has become the dominant structural concept of our age. The idea of a unifying framework for society and politics is broken. Does postmodernism, in its relativizing mode, actually support late capitalism? Does multiculturalism too easily support the fragmented, relativized condition that capitalism needs to sustain itself? A world of incommensurable self-enclosed ‘truths’, fractured from each other? And so we ask: do the capitalists [1, 24] prefer to keep things as they are in order to prevent a non-economic model of human organization to emerge? This is an implicit theme of the book. What forms of human organisation can override economic forms? Politics has become servile to the economic. Religion, in trying to resist economic hegemony, has entered an era of literalism and emptying of its own symbolic and metaphoric depth. What else is left?

May 16, 2016

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