Tag Archives: Negation

Against Negation, or Positively Revolting – Patrick Dunn

Has anarchy trapped itself in a vortex of negativity, or can a call for love rescue it from itself?

Anarchism attempts to politicize this abstract negativity through a radical assault on social institutions, but the total negation of established reality is not a course of action that can be rationally undertaken.  The members of society cannot gather together and decide to do away with the totality, no matter how anarchist their ideology.  Such a decision simply is not available within the order of conscious agency, let alone the order of existing democracy.
What this condition reveals is the true nature of the modern, revolutionary subject – its true desire and raison d’etre.  This subjectivity, incessantly repeating its empty gesture of total negation, is not moved by an instinct for freedom, or a will to transform relations of power.  Rather, its nauseating logic of self-negation satisfies only the modern impulse towards death and destruction – the impulse of final surrender that underlies the entire Death-Machine that is modern civilization.

Then again, what other options do we have left?  Those who have been following the latest stages of the human death-march will undoubtedly want an answer to this question.  Near as we are to the apocalyptic endgame of mass society, what choice is there but to confront the global order on its own turf?  This would mean conjuring a voice as universal, as anonymous, as devoid of substance as the voice of the global spectacle itself.
But it is my key contention that this voice, which we identify as the voice of an oppressive totality, is already our own creation.  We hear this voice only because we are constantly listening for it, constantly tuned in for its latest News Reports, fixed in rapt attention to receive the “present order’s uninterrupted discourse about itself.”

But this discourse is a lie, and so is the myth of its total negation – a lie that makes the true believers among us accomplices in our own imprisonment.  Perhaps it is time that we unplug from this thought-vacuum and scatter our attentions and curiosities elsewhere. We are free to do so – perhaps even, as we may find, once we have learned to transmit new voices, and communicate through new channels of energy, freer than we think.

To put the point in slightly more metaphysical terms, the totality exists only as the abstract object of the thought that wishes for its negation.  By adopting this standpoint of abstraction, anarchism confines itself to the level of ideology.

Ideology, by its very nature, is rooted in hatred.  It binds itself to an abstract other, enslaves itself to its own self-constitution, simply in order to have something to be against.  Love, by contrast, is an attractive force; it opens up new fields of rebirth where once there was only barren desert.  If ever there was a time when we needed to find our way out of the desert, my friends, we have reached that crossroads.