A few things to keep in mind as we try to think with Homo Sacer.
Reading from Tropic of Capricorn this morning, I came across a line that speaks to Agamben’s account of ‘whatever’, especially as Mark described it in his post on stem cells: “I want to go exactly contrary to the normal line of development, pass into a superinfantile realm of being which will be absolutely crazy and chaotic but not crazy and chaotic as the world about me…I want to break through this enlarged world and stand again on the frontier of an unknown world which will throw this pale, unilateral world into shadow” (145). Part of our last discussion addressed this state of overflowing potentiality, and we asked ourselves whether or not this was in fact a ‘return’ to a previous state or, rather, a mad embrace of the impulse/capacity to become something new. I’m inclined to say that, for Miller at least, time is decidely scattered and anything but linear, so this movement toward superinfantility should be understood as outside linear time, as occuring purely in the realm of becoming, or duration for the good Deleuze-readers. There is no going back, no returning, only a constant involution. For Miller later writes that “the first glimpse, the first realization, of the bright new world came through my meeting…the first mystic I had ever encountered who also knew how to keep his feet on the ground” (146-148).
I had a thought today: is whatever analogous to stem cells? Is whatever being, for example, being that has not yet been determined to be either common or proper, contingent or necessary…is it being that is capable of being either, or both? Limbo seems to work this way. It is a state before life, before we set off down the road to either salvation or perdition, just as stem cells have not yet set off down the road to being blood cells or muscle cells or (awesomest of all) neural cells…
Here is the white board from the discussion on the first half of The Coming Community. Also, Amy, Shannon, and Sush are on blog content this time. The rest of us are on (constructive!) comment duty…Of course anyone is welcome to post in whatever way they are moved to.
I do my very best to abstain from buying anything from the Wal-Mart of the internet (Amazon), so when I can’t find a book at Elliott Bay or the University Book Store, I typically make online purchases from Powell’s. However, in the wake of our last group meeting — where I confessed to having never associated with any proper anarchists, nor even setting foot in an anarchist bookstore — I walked in to Left Bank Books to see if they had a copy of Agamben’s The Coming Community. They did, and it was three bucks cheaper than Powell’s. I was in a hurry so I didn’t look around much, but the place felt a lot like City Lights and I’ll be returning soon.
Today we finished The Coming Insurrection, and decided to continue in that vein by reading Agamben’s The Coming Community starting in July.
Today we also worked out a writing plan: after each meeting about half the group will commit to writing a reflection on the reading/discussion (roughly 800-1000 words), and the other half will offer comments on one or more posts. For today’s session, Keith, Cheryl, Mark, and Amy will write reflections and Shannon, Sush, and James serve as commenters. Stay tuned for those!
Everyone also agreed to create an ‘about’ tab for him/herself on the main page.