One Hundred Years of Solitude

“Actually, in spite of the fact that everyone considered him mad, José Arcadio Sugundo was at that time the most lucid inhabitant of the house. He taught little Aureliano how to read and write, initiated him in the study of the parchments, and he inculcated him with such a personal interpretation of what the banana company had meant to Macondo that many years later, when Aurelian became part of the world, one would have thought that he was telling a hallucinated version, because it was radically opposed to the false one that the historians had created and consecrated in the schoolbooks. In the small isolated room where the arid air never penetrated, nor the dust, nor the heat, both had the atavistic vision of an old man, his back to the window, wearing a hat with a brim like the wings of a crow who spoke about the world many years before they had been born. Both described at the same time how it was always March there and always Monday, and then they understood that José Arcadio Buendia was not as crazy as the family said, but that he was the only one who had enough lucidity to sense the truth of the fact that time also stumbled and had accidents and could therefore splinter and leave an eternalized fragment in a room.” Garbriel Garcia Marquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude, p.355.

This is my second favourite passage from the whole book (the first one involves a two page long description of some rather animated and purposive blood trails and their passage throughout a town, across roads, under tables, skirting objects, etc. Blood is fairly magical in this book. Heck everything is magical, its fair to say.)


Donna Haraway, “Anthropocene, Capitalocene, Chthulucene: Staying with the Trouble”, 5/9/14 from AURA on Vimeo.

And a quick quote from David Collings’ Stolen Future, Broken Present:

“What happens to our orientation to the future when its livability is cast into doubt and begins to dissolve? ….What if we realize that the life we wanted to lead is ecologically outrageous, that the children we’ve been raising have no chance to live as well as we have, and that the political causes for which we’ve been fighting may never succeed?

The answer, I think, is clear: all our practical activities, our human relationships, our professions and goals, are harmed in their very substance. The value of our ordinary activities begins to fray, and the entire framework of our lives becomes suspect. Climate change does not just melt the ice caps and glaciers; it melts the narrative in which we still participate, the purpose of the present day. In this sense, too, we are already living in the ruins of the future.” (p.116)

Meillassoux on spectres

I might be rigorously atheist for myself, might refuse to believe in immortality for myself, but I could never do so for [those who have died odious, unjust, traumatic deaths]: For the idea that all justice is impossible for the innumerable massed spectres of the past corrodes my very core, so that I can no longer bear with the living.

– Meillassoux, Spectral Dilemma, p.264

(apropos: Gaza, MH17, etc.)

Ideology, An Introduction (more Terry)

It is important to see that, in the critique of ideology, only those interventions will work which make sense to the mystified subject itself. In this sense, ‘ideology critique’ has an interesting affinity with the techniques of psychoanalysis. ‘Criticism’, in its Enlightenment sense, consists in recounting to someone what is awry with their situation, from an external, perhaps ‘transcendental’ vantage-point. ‘Critique’ is that form of discourse which seeks to inhabit the experience of the subject from inside, in order to elicit those ‘valid’ features of that experience which point beyond the subject’s present condition. ‘Criticism’ instructs currently innumerate men and women that the acquisition of mathematical knowledge is an excellent cultural goal; ‘critique’ recognizes that they will achieve such knowledge quickly enough if their wage packets are at stake. The critique of ideology, then, presumes that nobody is ever wholly mystified – that those subject to oppression experience even now hopes and desires which could only be realistically fulfilled by a transformation of their material conditions. If it rejects the external standpoint of Enlightenment rationality, it shares with the Enlightenment this fundamental trust in the moderately rational nature of human beings. Someone who was entirely the victim of ideological delusion would not even be able to recognize an emancipatory claim upon them; and it is because people do not cease to desire, struggle and imagine, even in the most apparently unpropitious of conditions, that the practice of political emancipation is a genuine possibility. This is not to claim that oppressed individuals secretly harbour some full-blown alternative to their unhappiness; but it is to claim that, once they have freed themselves from the causes of that suffering, they must be able to look back, re-write their life-histories and recognize that what they enjoy now is what they would have previously desired, if only they had been able to be aware of it. It is testimony to the fact that nobody is, ideologically speaking, a complete dupe that people who are characterized as inferior must actually learn to be so. It is not enough for a woman or colonial subject to be defined as a lower form of life: they must be actively taught this definition and some of them prove to be brilliant graduates in this process. It is astonishing how subtle, resourceful and quick-witted men and women can be in proving themselves to be uncivilized and thickheaded. In one sense, of course, this ‘performative contradiction’ is cause for political despondency; but in the appropriate circumstances it is a contradiction on which a ruling order may come to grief. – Terry Eagleton, Ideology, An Introduction, (unpaginated forward)

Well fuck.