Judith Butler:

January 19, 2016 § Leave a comment

Gayatri Spivak has argued that feminists need to rely on an operational essentialism, a false ontology of women as a universal in order to advance a feminist political program. She knows that the category of ‘women’ is not fully expressive, that the multiplicity and discontinuity of the referent mocks and rebels against the univocity of the sign, but suggests it could be used for strategic purposes. Kristeva suggests something similar, I think, when she prescribes that feminists use the category of women as a political tool without attributing ontological integrity to the term, and adds that, strictly speaking, women cannot be said to exist.

— Judith Butler, ‘Performative Acts and Gender Constitution: An Essay in Phenomenology and Feminist Theory’

Stephen Lukes, Power: A Radical View

October 2, 2014 § Leave a comment

is it not the supreme and most insidious exercise of power to prevent people, to whatever degree, from having grievances by shaping their perceptions, cognitions, and preferences in such a way that they accept their role in the existing order of things, either because they can see or imagine no alternative to it, or because they see it as natural or unchangeable, or because they value it as divinely ordained and beneficial?

(Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan, 2004, p. 28)

May 16, 2014 § Leave a comment

“Even though they all spoke the same language I did, they were all assholes.”

— Bret Easton Ellis, The Rules of Attraction

mantra, Tennyson, individuality

April 22, 2014 § Leave a comment

In a letter to Mr. B. P. Blood, Tennyson reports of himself as follows:—

“I have never had any revelations through anæsthetics, but a kind of waking trance—this for lack of a better word—I have frequently had, quite up from boyhood, when I have been all alone. This has come upon me through repeating my own name to myself silently, till all at once, as it were out of the intensity of the consciousness of individuality, individuality itself seemed to dissolve and fade away into boundless being, and this not a confused state but the clearest, the surest of the surest, utterly beyond words—where death was an almost laughable impossibility—the loss of personality (if so it were) seeming no extinction, but the only true life. I am ashamed of my feeble description. Have I not said the state is utterly beyond words?”

Professor Tyndall, in a letter, recalls Tennyson saying of this condition:

“By God Almighty! there is no delusion in the matter! It is no nebulous ecstasy, but a state of transcendent wonder, associated with absolute clearness of mind.”

— Memoirs of Alfred Tennyson, ii. 473.

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