Surrealpolitik

The Mixed Fruits of Enlightenment

Updated: March 31, 2016 08:47:37 PM

By John Schoneboom

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I'm a writer with an interest in all aspects of how we construct, filter, protect, and subject ourselves to reality. My first novel Fontoon was published...

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John Schoneboom
March 31, 2016 06:23:52 PM
Thanks for the excellent points, Mr Puddle. I do think the Frankfurt School does cover these contingencies, and that the Nazism/rationality objection seems a bit hasty and unfair. One of my objects in writing these sorts of things is simply to take the things I've been reading, fit them together as (hopefully) appropriate, and lay them out in terms that I myself can understand -- so that I can put them out there and elicit comments like yours that help me see what I've gotten a bit right and what I've gotten a bit wrong. So here we get my rather-too-dense composite of Adorno & Horkheimer, Bronner, Bataille, Badiou, Baudrillard, (that's a lot of B's!) and Frankfurt (so I've got the philosopher and the School covered).

If I've added anything of my own it's probably the element of paranoia (which also isn't uniquely mine -- it characterizes a whole literary sub-genre). My own research is mostly focused on the slice of this pie that represents intentional misdirection -- cultural gaslighting as I like to call it -- e.g., the role of intelligence agencies in stimulating crises and influencing policy, instances of which are well documented, but the extent of which is not publicly known. Whereas Baudrillard's simulacra or (as far as I understand it) the Frankfurt School's analysis strike me as focusing more on the inevitable effects of late capitalist culture, so to speak, driven in a more impersonal way by, I don't know, the forces of history. So I might exist in a sort of peculiar Frankfurt School eddy or backwater, or possibly a little tributary or something.

So I'm going to go back to my Bronner and my Dialectic of Enlightenment and in the meantime I'll soak up any critiques that might appear right here!

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