Note On A Return to Retro-utopias＃
In the eighth century the Japanese Buddhist thinker Kukai complied a set off religious observances in which he expanded the range of services on offer to the faithful: not on the basis of efficacy or fact, but on the basis of more is good. More superstition. Tell them what they want to hear. Simply, more cures, supplications and spells which could be sold, practiced and bring comfort to the faithful＃ not what most would regard as ＆enlightenment＊.
It is with a certain amount of sadness that I write this piece, provoked by a friend who wondered how Dave Graeber＊s ideas fitted in with my own on the theoretical issue of exchange; sadness, because as an admirer of Graeber＊s, I liked his critique of modern culture and found his guiding idea or difference, regarding two basic forms of exchange, fitted well with my own thought in this area, indeed seemed to support it＃ (but on closer examination＃). However the major cause of sadness is David＊s premature death 每 both knowledge and activism have lost immeasurably.
Debt, of course, means ＆counter gift＊, a means of establishing and perpetuating relations; relations between one and another or others (like a function, relating two sets, or outlining an input and output, a translation of another into one, from one to another or others＃). Key is the sense of a link or bond established or renewed by some form of ＆exchange＊＃. But a form of exchange often defined against the exchange of ＆equal＊ values＃ foregoing the formal equality of two terms as rational or calculable, as quantifiable exchange or equivalence. The suggestion is that this form of exchange relation may be non-equivalent, that it features relations or bonds that are hard to measure, but whose meaning is clear and often intense＃. (self-assertion, contrariness, belonging, community, emotional, ＆irrational＊, sacrificial, including destructive, both of self and of others＃as well as of objects).
So our first underlying binary difference is the relation of gift and its functions contrasted to relations based upon quantifiable calculation 每 and especially those enforced by force of law. Also present is the generalisation of this binary into another: community and organization, or personal and impersonal socialities, Gemeinschaft and Gesellshaft (after Tönnies, but also used by Weber and other sociologists). Regarding this opposition, Durkheim, however, altered the emphasis by suggesting the terms ＆mechanical＊ as in automatic family or kin relations, and ＆organic＊, in the sense of the ＆organs＊ or institutions of society as different kinds of culture (but we should also note that Gesellschaft can include the sense of duty to others and other cultural norms not linked to money). Perhaps not so much a figure counter-posing the extreme opposites of tribal versus modern societies, but rather of two types of relation or exchange which may coexist. However we do get the sense of ideal types (again after Weber) in the contrast of village or community scale democracy with their networks of bonds and face-to face relations and, at the other pole, the laws and codes of city life, of mass society, of the institutions of the nation state and state bureaucracies (whilst this opposition runs through Graeber＊s book on debt, nevertheless it is put aside in the book with David Wengrow for the proposal that cities also could be equalitarian, structured more like communities). These are two types of relation which appear to be based upon the difference of gift exchange and commodity exchange 每 of emotive or ＆irrational＊, perhaps ＆intimate＊, relations involving belonging and so also a sense of debt or loyalty as opposed to ＆rational＊ type, abstract, relations, perhaps codified in law (both types may be hierarchical and indeed violent 每 although this is often forgotten in utopian appropriations of this binary where one term is shaded good and the other as bad, and indeed left and right alike, find ＆gift＊ as either simply utopic or atavistic, and rational or commodity exchange as either a fall from equalitarian grace or a liberation from traditional bonds (perhaps needless to say this author finds the marriage of simplistic binaries, here social and moral, as a mark of myth-making, ideology or desire).
So the long history of the above two poles; to which we may add the longer history (including our prehistory and perhaps our hominid pre-history＃) of identity and relation-making/marking, as variations on ＆gift＊ or identity exchange＃ And of these to the equally long history of ＆self as others＊ (community, tribe, family, relations of mutual recognition and placing, ＆the Same＊) and of ＆objects as others＊, the root of Animism as bedrock or seed bed of early human evolution (pre-Neolithic and so at that time still capable of playing a direct role in genetic evolution and adaptation＃)＃ This last complex as the long preparation of the human sense of Nature as other, others, Other＃ and so also of Sublime type relations＃ (recently rediscovered by Romanticism, but always present in human history as Nature First philosophy 每 the pastoral in the history or narrative and art, Daoism, Shintoism＃). All attested to by our long art history; including the turn to depicting hierarchy (＆Object Right＊) in representation, three and two dimensional, as statue and in pictorial form＃ so showing our bond with Nature through our Culture. A culture which ＆then＊ becomes hierarchical＃. As with personification, gods/totems, (symbol, thought) and social difference, gender and generation as the basis of divisions of labour, with this as the basis of class or caste differentiation, the rise of priests and kings＃ and soldiers＃ (people who want others to feed them＃).
Implied in Graeber＊s writings on debt is the contrast of the (ancient or tribal) village with the (modern) city as models for community and mass society＃ (a difference only partly elided in his later work with Wengrow where they try to show that cities, or questions of scale, are not the problem). This contrast in turn is based upon, or shows a strong affinity with the difference of gift and commodity - as personal relations versus market calculations (but we must already note that state calculations, prescriptions, law etc, are not necessarily linked to ＆the market＊, rather it may be leader or caste inspired 每 so another kind of personal bond, more hierarchic, like those of feudalism or caste). Gift is defined such that social bonds are key＃ the other mode foregrounds personal calculation and a ＆rational＊ market supposedly working with no interface with community＃ Adam Smith, however, posed pure markets as merely ideal or mathematical entities, not directly applicable to reality 每 and incidentally used the notions of ＆market＊, or ＆what people want＊, in an anti-feudal, anti-state-monopoly role＃ (a point Foucault makes in his work on the eighteenth century＃). So in neither case do we have a deification of ＆the Market＊＃ this comes later).
＊Markets＊ really should be defined as wherever exchange as commodities occurs, that is quantitative calculation or comparison (＆exchange value＊) makes exchange of all for all possible, regardless of means of payment- still based on debt type (gift type trust but with calculated return) or a comparison to another item, like shells＃ (not necessarily themselves present as a medium of exchange rather a symbolic or mental medium of comparison, one hen two shells, one spade two shells, therefore hen = spade 每 swop, now or later). And not rhetorically limited to the negative aspects of modern law-governed, ＊rationalised＊ (artificial, read monopolized) areas of restricted choice, where the law, that is, the State, protects large companies at the cost to smaller, including the consumer and producer, the environment and health issues (waste pollution, health and safety). This later situation is more akin to feudal market practices or monopolies.
Whilst many economists are still in thrall to the idea of ＆barter＊ as preceding money (rejected by anthropologists, that is historians, see the work of Mauss, for example), however Mandel, by contrast, in another historically ambitious work (Marxist Economic Theory, 1962) precisely following anthropological evidence, only finds for barter as external, as between groups or tribes, as ＆silent barter＊ with ＆ceremonial gift＊ or the extension of internal gift exchange as the result of bonds established between groups (or maintaining bonds in an extended population or geography). Strangely when he comes to discuss the origin of money (＆universal exchange equivalent＊) he reverts to the a-historical and non-factual traditional economist＊s explanation concerning ＆barter＊ and abandons his anthropological history (which includes pre-monetary quantification in the forms of fines, compensations and punishments).
In passing it is interesting to note that, along with foodstuffs, it is tools and ornaments, that appear to make up the first items of trade: items for work on things; and items for ＊labour＊ on ＆the self＊ or identity. The two levels of work on objects and of work on the subject, as united in sociality, community or culture 每 and in exchange.
So not so good, is the book＊s central point＃ Graeber＊s somewhat surprising thesis is that markets seem to come after other forms of exchange. This order of causality, however, depends on what we call ＆other forms of exchange＊＃ But perhaps he simply means to go back to how we distributed what we made and found, before humans began to exchange things in the sense that parents give to their children or to each other, or sharing with in ＆family＊ units (however extended)＃ This is perhaps due to a limited definition of exchange (the above is usually called ＆gift exchange＊) and indeed a narrow definition of market exchange (tribes will exchange what they make according to their different geographies- the geography imposes a division of labour or encourages differentiation and specialization, further encouraged by the desire to have something to exchange for the other groups products 每 this then is the basis of trade). So he seems to mean exchange in human kinship groups and animals as of the gift/debt type (based upon and reinforcing identity and bonds), which he extends to relations with other groups (perhaps beginning with some form of barter before becoming ＆ritualised＊). Yet even with a time lag before any ＆counter exchange＊, payment of debt or return of object, these latter are still calculated forms of exchange＃ and not fixed by anyone outside of the exchange or ＆market＊ relation. This later fixing is perhaps what Graeber means in his negative portrayal of market exchange; laws of exchange disadvantageous to the weak (price of goods and price of labour) together with institutionalised debt and monopoly restrictions or levies as state fixed exchanges as in ancient societies and feudalism 每 and the introduction of a monetised market (and taxes) in order to force local populations to labour under colonialism.. But these later examples are either anti-market measures＃ They block the negotiations and ritualized agreements of producers over the exchange value of their goods＃ Or they introduce a State controlled ＆market＊ ran in the State＊s interest (and often running parallel to the local market, that is local exchange arrangements or spontaneous trade). So the proper opposition should again be between gift/debt types of exchange (within the group and at ritual events such as meeting other groups) perhaps with covert or intuitive quantification or comparison to ensure fairness, which may be opposed to that taking place between human/humanoid groups or tribes on an everyday or seasonal basis as labour and need based 每 and which establishes a market, a place for exchange, based upon overt forms of comparison or quantification. This is a matter of use and differentiation of the terms ＆exchange＊ and ＆market＊. The ＆outside＊ of these is a rhetorical move, indeed a metaphysical move (see Bataille and Baudrillard＊s appropriation of ＆gift exchange＊ for example), as well as a moral move, better to divide gift from commodity or market exchange, or tab or debt markets from money markets. Just as Graeber differentiates between ＆good＊ early debt-based societies (gift exchange) and the bad debt of the history of civilization going back to ancient Sumer (peasants and others indebted to temples - and now to banks).
Here we must stop to note the moral binary that appears to underlie the marshaling of facts and instead points to a biased, or ＆cherry-picking＊ approach to research - as ＆good exchange＊ (gift type debt) is opposed to ＆bad exchange＊ (the market together with other kinds of debt). A sleight of hand a bit like the cooption of ＆the carnival＊ by literary studies, notoriously with no evidence from anthropology or history - unless that of the counter-examples of pogroms and riot, as aristocratic sons lead feckless young males against all the others, the aged, women (sexual assault), old women, the handicapped and disabled, and racial and religious others, like Jews (under the excuse of child sacrifice and usury). And, in this context, we reminded of the ＆transgressive＊ rituals in anthropology that -whatever their cooption in ＆60s and ＆70s art and performance- have always been conservative＃ conservational of identity and institutions (as with tragedy -a hugely transgressive ritual- where we have a return to law, not its repeal). So internal exchange as dominated or altered, customized by gift relations, by emotional ties is opposed to its others as gift versus commodity (as gift or debt versus the labour theory of value, of time taken and skill required versus family and communal bonds). All this ignoring the sexual and generational division of labour (a ＆forgetting＊ that extends up to today＊s undervaluing of the received definition of ＆women＊s work＊ and especially of domestic labour). External exchange, on the other hand, is usually market-led, based upon labour time and skill, or on monopoly origin or outlet＃ and also on the degree of need in combination with the ability to pay (this was Ricardo＊s point) as part of the price, whether expressed in some form of ＆tab＊ or credit arrangement (for regular customers) or in some local cash equivalent＃ This latter form of exchange, as noted above, is as old as humanity and the division (or specialisation) of labour as geographic (fishing, farming, herding, quarrying, woodcutting). A world of cultural as well as ＆economic＊ manufacturing (domestic) where groups meet, first exchange on the basis of gift (ritual, including destructive or assertive exchange) then settle into negotiations over equivalence (barter or a calculated form of exchange where fairness, that is equivalence is paramount, a calculation usually based upon labour time)＃ which is pre-state and state appropriation. Note again the market as anti-monopoly (from finding and hording, to feudal ＆customs＊ barriers as tax, to the modern mega-company)＃ monopoly is not market (negotiation of individuals and communities of producer or even traders, ＆middle men＊) but the control of markets and so producers (and the ability to benefit from others work by artificial barriers) by a priesthood (the temple as store, origin of money as token, as recording list), the laws of the palace (and the city, ancient and feudal) so by State institutions and other interested parties＃
Important here is, the description of two polar extremes as different kinds of debt (respectively, the basis of mutual support and the basis for progressive impoverishment) is a good, but is very different, argument from the positing of two kinds of exchange (gift type or bond making and commodity type or general exchange in large scale, even global societies). These are different processes and whilst the commodity form is clearly important to the market forms of exchange, to trade and production for an international market, the use of debt to control or cripple producers or even entire states is quite another matter＃ (bad laws cannot be used to damn all laws, rather repeal or reform are the required action 每 the cry of ＆no law＊ is the cry of the strongest, the bully, so supported by Big Biz as the means to economic domination and Big State in imperial mode). Likewise the notion of gift/debt as community forming, renewing and sustaining (＆identity exchange＊ in my terms) as theoretically opposed to the rational, abstract, commodity form of price calculation is also useful and clearly correct 每 yet these forms (just like the subject/object, self/others and subjective/objective, that is diremptive, aspects of being human and the schism in our culture this generates) are found intertwined and co-dependent. Rather than demonizing one (reason and the commodity) and ＆romanticising＊ the other (gift/debt) as the source of redemption on earth, better would be to describe objectively the positive and negative aspects of both ＆types＊ of exchange, and point out their worst practices: exclusion and pogroms/ethnic cleansing as a destructive by-product of the sacrificial or gift/bond form (especially present when communities felt they are under threat, or mobilized by unscrupulous ＆leaders＊); and indebtedness in the poor (incited by the market at the behest of state and banking policies upheld by law and for the interest of managerial/speculative, read ＆financial＊, desire).
＃the above process of ＆debt-robbery＊ as a parallel with the origins (as far as we can recover them) of the state and its institutions (or of their worst aspects, as all cities, early city states, appear to require state institutions, as does mass society today) in the recognition and assertion by some priests, rulers, administrators, and soldiers that they were no longer willing to work＃ However the two Davids＊ late work suggests that early cities may have been more egalitarian than we assumed 每 so hinting at a greater range of choice in the construction of our own societies 每 let us hope that this is true, but, be that as it may, modern societies seem to tend towards institutionalised inequality (with the relative exception of post-World War Two capitalism till the 1980s 每returning with the onset of post-industilisation and neo-classical economic strategy- and those societies, usually called ＆social democratic＊ that continue to manage wealth redistribution). The historical question, as with the modern options for fiscal and economic reform, require further research.
Can one move from archeological evidence to generalisations about equality? In common with most commentators I remain to be convinced (however this commentary, as the reader will have noted, is theoretical and not empirical). Much depends upon how we define ＆equality＊ (as with ＆class＊ or social differentiation as hierarchy and labour role). Other evidence appears to show the opposite 每 especially if we look at ＆actually existing＊ tribal societies＃ and to be fair Wengrow in particular does not espouse the ＆primitive equality＊ thesis.
By contrast to those who plumb for the Neolithic revolution as the birth of ＆inequality＊ as of so many other human traditions and institutions, Gordon Childe seems to argue that the ＆metallurgical revolution＊ (the move to Copper and Bronze) as the moment of the ascendancy of the State (due to the trade required to import metals＃).
So it is that after a long utopian moment (stretching from Morgan and Marx to Douglas and now at least implicit in Graeber), many, perhaps most, commentators (Diamond and Harari are only the most famous) now regard tribal societies as structurally violent (Diamond also notes things we can learn from such societies). Harari, among many others who hold this view, too is a ＆progressivist＊ regarding recent human history＃ and in this respect we may note many others involved in research on the economy and on the (usually related) role of education. In fact, all this somewhat embarrassingly parallels the 1960s discovery of chimp societies as ＆one with nature＊ and so with each other in community and so suitable food for further utopian fantasy: further research showed rather the opposite - with evidence of systematic violence, kidnapping, rape, even cannibalism, notably among groups of young males (comparisons to Isis/Deash anyone＃). We need to learn from the facts and not our fantasies.
Regarding class and tribe＃ Another blind spot appears in many commentators when it comes to classifying social differences within tribal forms: class is supposed not to exist (can we seriously be surprised when we cannot find the same class structures as we have in industrial societies, in tribal societies＃)? However, ＆class＊ in tribal societies is: captured slaves and the differences of generation and gender, with their division of labour (economic and therefore ＆class＊ by any other name 每 a difference often augmented by residence) then there is the status of powerful families, kin groups or clans＃ (the chief＊s). Similarly any supposed peaceful coexistence of ＆man and nature＊ and ＆man with man＊ (sic) is counter-posed by present data regarding young males and war in tribal societies - with high attrition rates apparently the rule. Their inner or group cooperation is countered by a general competition with all others＃with high mortality rates as the result. Similarly, regarding the evidence pertaining to gender and generation and violence (＆domestic violence＊) 每 also decidedly non-utopic in tribal societies. Note that FGM, often attributed to Islam along with sex bias, was in fact inherited from earlier tribal practice＃ just as were traditional Jewish customs regarding gender status＃ and, indeed, but not of tribal origin, rather as reconstituted out of the ruins of the Roman empire, traditional Christian practice (and finally then these are all feudal religions 每 regardless of their origins or founding tenets with their emphasis on community and forgiveness). And in fact the balance of the evidence suggests that all inner cooperation, community-type societies are, on closer examination, divided and hierarchical - just not quite the way modern societies are＃ (I am reminded of a play, ＆Mary Barnes＊ by David Edgar, concerning mental health, therapy and group practice, where received hierarchies 每doctor and patient, familial, education as social status, etc.- are said to be replaced by a new equalitarian interrelation, relations of equality in communication, but where, in fact, as the play shows very clearly, the ＆new order＊ is based on ＆new＊ hierarchies based on assertiveness and gender＃ and yes, the difference of the roles of doctor 每＆the one who knows＊ and patient, are still there 每 as they are in the ＆therapeutics＊ of ＊Who is afraid of Virginia Woolf＊).
Surprisingly often (or not, if one finds diremption as foundational in human experience) it is the sense of ＊from inside＊ and ＆from outside＊ that is found to be key in organising conceptual difference and particularly moral difference, and so (unsurprisingly) appears in the case of the opposition of gift and commodity. An organization which is also a form of rhetoric (this form is found in much advanced rhetoric such as ＆deconstruction＊). The gift relation is not only read as prior, but also as ＆in＊ as more intimate and ＆natural＊ (and again, unsurprisingly these terms are often found together). Now whilst this is probably right, both historically and in terms in intimate relations and identity assertiveness (of community as of individual), today the two poles of exchange are hopelessly intertwined in modern mass consumption or mass commodity exchange. Yet all are still exchanges which can be ameliorated, when appropriate, by social bonds of debt and intimacy (and, yes, social, kinship and familial hierarchies)＃ But still present as intuited or based upon the experience of labour time (whence the value of giving, the ground of comparison, as with its apparent opposite, assertive expenditure) and of desire and scarcity. Witness destructive exchange and the awareness of unequal exchange as precisely either noted, recognized (as a problem), or deliberately used as a form of subject (＆chief＊) or community assertion＃ This latter gesture most definitely requiring some notion of the (exchange) value of the goods in question＃. (true of both fairness or equity and of ＆showing-off＊ or status claiming). The quantitative or comparative value thesis as implied in internal exchanges (we do know the value in labour or time, or perhaps as compared to other exchanges, other objects, of the object or service in question, and either ignore this knowledge as inappropriate or use it to show our valuing of the recipient, or in order to suggest the degree of debt the recipient is placed in). This sense of the labour or exchange value of an object or service is however required in external exchanges 每 until codified by relationships (marriage/alliance) or trade type treaty (based on the commodity as made for exchange and some notion of equivalence, quantitative, but not necessarily money based).
The appeal to Nature, to a ＆before＊, to a fall from grace＃ is perhaps the oldest trope (myth of pastoral to ＆nature first＊ philosophies (Plato, Daoism)＃ to Romanticism and its modern wake as the religion of intellectuals, artists and oppositional thought of all stripes＃ and so of the populisms＃ Nature as court of final appeal: a ＆before＊, before proof, so unverifiable＃ ＆outside＊ in all senses, so deemed universal (community) or maintaining an ＆eternal truth＊, uprooted only by a pernicious wrong turn＃ or automatic process into competition and domination (that will in the end, and in both cases, somehow, revert to its original pattern＃ but on a higher level of ＆synthesis＊＃). Greaber, as an anarchist, prefers voluntarism together with the former (the wrong historical turn), while the Marxists or economic determinists prefer the later (the automatic necessity of the fall into class as well as, of course, its redemption). Both, however, are in thrall to tropes or models of ＆the Fall＊; models that permit -or make unassailable- what would otherwise be fantasy＃ the final redemptive (religious or ＆secularised＊ Hegelian) step. Better a rationally presented mix of policies of cooperation, competition and reform based upon the here and now＃
Rediscovering lost or hidden essence＃ (again). So here we are still with Romantic metaphysics or ideology＃ In this respect we might further note that, again, we see the love of, the desire for, the restriction of thought to a single cause or dominant (sic) factor (as one side of a simple binary) as opposed to the general description of all the factors or elements involved. Instruction for this model might read as follows: find a binary; organize into a fall-redemption type narrative - and you have a ＆new＊ secular religion (most romantic ideology fits this pattern). On the other hand, a diremptive model (where the forces in question are grouped into a binary opposition, precisely by their actual opposition), by contrast would suggest irreducible agon or conflict without ＆synthesis＊ 每 alleviated by representative, reforming, and reformable, institutions (municipal, regional, national and international). To refuse the mediation of the latter is to return to the reign of the bully (the biggest dog in the room).
Note on diremption＃ and binaries in thought. First it is important to note that simple binaries function as clear sign of ideology (＆in the bad sense＊). Very rarely are things that simple＃ like class or social difference. Or so separable＃ as with gift and commodity or cooperation and competition (or community and mass society (or Community versus the State＃)). Sex is binary (the brute physical nature): but gender is not, as it consists of a variety of differing role plays and associations according to tradition and geography. So the choice of ＆sex＊ (actually gender role) is ＆non-binary＊ is plural＃ ＆Sex＊ then is binary by nature (but the concepts used to think it are cultural＃): but ＆gender＊ is ideology (in the good or descriptive sense)＃ varied and various across cultures. Diremption too is binary, ＆the＆ irreducible difference, which is perhaps the foundation of all our (conceptual, cultural) binaries, as it is the ＆non-foundation＊ on which we are ourselves appear to be built. Built as individuals (each with-in our own ＆eternal present＊, our on-going subjective experience) and collectively as the sum of our cultural products; with subject and object, subjective and objective, and subject and other (together with self as other as object) all, as in the experience of the individual, in permanent oscillation. Moreover a constitutive diremption reproducing its divisions in thought and philosophy (fact/ value, indicative/ subjective, use/ mention, general/ particular, to name but a few 每 with mathematics after Gödel appearing as subject-utilised natural language as founding and then employing, ＆undermining＊, the man-made object languages of science and logic). In the arts, we clearly have the clash of subject and object point of view as ＆narrative directions＊ (left/right) and left/right placement within the frame as ＆object right＊ (in the written or verbal arts appearing as ＆subjective＊ character and ＆objective＊ narrative point of view). In the social sciences (assertive/descriptive, gift/commodity, irrational/rational, identity or ＆non-equivalent＊ exchange and objective or exchange based upon quantitative equivalence) - providing our ＆join＊ to others 每 our identity, individual and collective and multi-leveled or plural. Whilst in the physical sciences (quantum/classical, positional /universal, the restricted human view and the general God＊s eye view) where, to reverse the terms just employed, the restrictive view of the classical model is augmented (but not replaced by, nor fused with) its incommensurable twin, into a general model; more inclusive 每and more empirical and useful, than the classical, ＆one-field＊, model alone. The difference running through ＆utopia and fall＊ redemption type models of human evolution, that is, the moralized difference of Community versus State or state institutions, or of gift type social and emotive identity bonds and the exchanges they elicit versus objective economic exchanges based only on quantitative equivalence or the market or reason, are just too simplistic to do reality credit＃ The opposition of these (to be sure a moral, political, even religious, opposition 每 ＆Good v Evil＊) are what was the problem with the human sciences, their evolution appears much more as one of co-dependency or fusion (or, in their analysis and description, of alternation). The problem only becomes worse when we add on a definitively religious model of fall and redemption.
And as we see from the above our (and Graeber and Wengrow＊s) guiding opposition is precisely that of identity exchange and rational equivalence, as taking the mutually exclusive but also mutually dependent roles of subjective and objective. The diremption＊s social product or extrapolation. As ＆both＃ and＊ replaces ＆either＃ or.＊
Indeed, ＆the Fall＊, as totalizing model, explains everything, predicts everything＃ So if old, of ancient origin, this point of origin must be the real truth of something - its real point. Suggesting also a return to this truth at a later date＃ (redemption, soteriology, oracular); and so we note also the role of ＊origins＊ as ＆the secret＊, the myth of origins (again featuring a simplification that would explain everything, ＆all our problems＊) as the process explained, as genealogy＃ But real genealogies are not fixed, are not a moment of ＆being＊, rather a process, ＆becoming＊, with a sequence of appropriations or transformations as the process of an ＆object＊s＊ evolution, and also (insofar as separable) its symbolic appropriation, as in its history of interpretation, understanding or linguistic, scientific description ＃ Including the latest, by group (of scientists, with collective witness as constituting the realm we call ＆objective＊) and by a given individual (perhaps one of the witnesses) as actual embeddedness or ＆embodiment＊ or ＆host＊ in space/time＃ (＆your＊/＊our＊/＊my＊ eternal present ＆now＊- in relation to its objects and others, including self as object, all in perpetual oscillation - a process set in motion by diremption).
Conclusion＃ The assertion of the values of community (including, equality and care, health and education), is better performed on the basis of possibility and will (political will), and so based upon achievable, practical ends (on ＆the left＊, Thomas Pickerty＊s work alone stands out here) and not on the basis of a proclaimed lost essence, or pre-lapsarian unity, a hidden essence waiting to be discovered (in nature, our nature, our inner nature＃) 每 but based finally only on wish fulfillment. A ＆solution＊ which, when failing, then requires a scapegoat＃ (a reversion to the solution of community or gift based societies or social relations＃ where the sacrifice of others, as ＆gift＊, is seen a key to redemption and cure) this latter is an aspect ignored by many such theorists (as often is the role of gender and generational difference and ＆race＊). The gift or bond or debt based relation (identity exchange) we find has never left us; but remains as a foundation of identity and community 每for better or for worse- as it does as one foundation (the symbolic use value) of mass commodity exchange or mass consumption (where all can have goods and services, not just the few＃ and where the ＆return＊ to a prior situation, what turns out to be a bureaucratic kind of feudalism, or the situation of early industrial capitalism, is what requires resisting＃).
Copyright Peter Nesteruk, 2022