Surely k-punk is right when he criticizes the “quaint” and unjustified optimism of Gilbert Achar, as quoted in my previous posting by way of No Useless Leniency. I will stand by my basic point that I do not think that capitalist crisis somehow leads to increased opportunity for radical change. Crisis is how the capitalist system works: as Deleuze and Guattari say, it only functions — but precisely it does in fact function — by incessantly breaking down. I do believe that some sense of general abundance is necessary for there to be a radical questioning of the way things are — and that not being allowed to share in a general abundance is one of the most important stimuli for rebellion. When abundance seems to have vanished altogether, the largest effect is demoralization. I cannot even feel Schadenfreude over bank houses going under, once I am aware that I, and, non-rich people in general, are going to suffer from this more than the bankers and brokers will.
On the other hand, I do not see any possibility of an “optimism of the will” counterbalancing the necessary “pessimism of the intellect.” In fact, there is little that is more odious than the “positive thinking” and overall optimism that is a hallmark of our contemporary capitalism — as k-punk again was entirely on target in mentioning. As regards the current effort to save us from financial ruin and deep depression, I think this picture says it all:
Just one day of government injection of capital into the banks, and the Masters of the Universe at the Stock Exchange are back on Easy Street.
But I also don’t think that a dose of “negativity” is likely to help us in doing anything about the situation either. In fact, any optimism whatsoever seems to me unjustified. I am left, as always, in a position which could alternately be described as “Stoic” or as “petit bourgeois”: trying to observe and understand what’s happening with as much lucidity as possible, but utterly detached from any pretension of doing anything about it.