Badiou: Truth-Processes and Evil

As part of my attempt to take better notes, I’ve been forcing myself to put information into tables and graphs where possible. Below are some sorted bits of the chapter “The Problem of Evil” in Ethics: An Essay on the Understanding of Evil by Alain Badiou. As it gets produced, I’ll be putting stuff like this on my reading notes page.

 

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Afro-pessimism’s different world

I think early 2016 Levi Bryant was awesome. He had kind of slowed down from the rapid-fire rate of posts of earlier years, down to one or two a month a few times in 2015, and then picked up the pace a bit near the end of the year. I think this post really represented some kind of turning point; although I guess his point was that the turn was there all along, and he just needed a few explicit statements to make it obvious to folks like me.

A post from a few months ago, “The Topology of Historical Time,” draws up a concept of multiple welts or worlds, worlds which are physically and chronologically contemporary and overlapping, but phenomenologically or existentially differing. Bryant exemplifies this by referencing the moment in American Psycho where Patrick Bateman professes a total, incommensurable divergence in being between himself and a homeless man he meets in an alley: “You and I have nothing in common, we come from entirely different worlds.  I can’t even understand you.”  Bateman and the homeless man obviously live on the same planet and do so at the same time; spatially, they are quite proximate to one another, relative to the rest of human (or non-human) existence. What Bateman is speaking to is the way a world is lived or experienced — beyond its mere self-sufficient existence, a world is a world for something. 

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The Conformist and fascist desire

(spoilers)

This morning, I took rare advantage of my Netflix account and watched The Conformist (Italian: Il Conformista), a film by acclaimead director Bernardo Bertolucci. The movie, based on the novel of the same title by Alberto Moravia, follows the young Marcello Clerici’s attempt to lodge himself within the bureaucracy of Mussolini’s fascist Italy by carrying out an assassination on his former mentor, the political dissident and exile Professor Quadri. Along the way, Marcello confronts his childhood sexual trauma and parental alienation, and is forced to navigate his relationship with his petit-bourgeois wife Giullia and his attraction to the professor’s wife Anna. Honeymooning in Paris as an excuse to seek out his mark, Marcello’s commitment to the task waivers as he lusts for Anna and debates with Quadri.

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