Affective capitalism

http://www.bruno-latour.fr/sites/default/files/136-AFFECTS-OF-K-COPENHAGUE.pdf

Failure should be allowed to make you learn something; it cannot be transmuted into the inner comfort of being right because you so miserably failed to escape from the grips of capitalism. Such indifference to experience 136 – The Affects of Capitalism 9 attacks the soul and has created this deserted political landscape we live in when those who call themselves the Left and even the radical Left are simultaneously sure of failing and sure of being right — yes being right in the sense of conniving happily with the Right in letting capitalism be even more systematic than it is. Like science, politics opens possibilities. It cannot be associated with failure and helplessness. If you have failed, it’s not capitalism you should revolutionize but rather your ways of thinking. If you keep failing and don’t change it does not mean you are facing an invincible monster, it means you like, you enjoy, you love,to be defeated by a monster. This is a case of psycho- or better, as Eric Voegelin would say, of pneumopathology, a form of spiritual masochism, not of courage.8 Yet the moral upper ground is still occupied by people who give lessons to the others from no other authority than having dismally failed to change anything. We begin to see how difficult it is to disentangle the contradictory affects created by an appeal to the concept of capitalism: it generates a prodigious enthusiam for seizing unbounded opportunities; a dystopian feeling of total helplessness for those who are submitted to its decrees; a complete disinhibition as to the long-term consequences of its action for those who profit from it; a perverse wound of smug superiority in those who have failed to fight its progression; a fascination for its iron laws in the eyes ofthose who claim to study its development, to the point that it appears to run more smoothly than nature itself; a total indifference to how the soil on which it is rooted is occupied; a complete confusion about who should be treated as a total stranger and who as a close neighbor. And above all, it marks a movement towards modernization that delegitimates those who stay behind as so many losers. Actually now that capitalism is thought to have no enemy, it has become a mere synonym for the implacable thrust forward of modernization. From this tangle of effects, I get no other feeling than an increase sense of helplessness. The mere invocation of capitalism renders me speechless… It might be best to abandon the concept entirely.

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