Intra-being on Factishes, Cosmopolitics
by Adam Robbert
In response to a previous post I wrote on “Modes of Thought and Cosmopolitics” he writes:
Latour’s work leads us on a different path from one of simply trying to smash – i.e. eliminate – either myth or ideology (our own or anyone else’s). After all, where will those pieces go? The smashing of either (facts or fetishes, myths or ideologies), he shows us, is always followed by the construction of new ones that operate in ever more elaborate and complex ways, circulating through society and weaving new patterns of relationships as they do so. This is not something that we can ever get away from. Rather, we must strive to get better at acknowledging that splitting reality into myths and ideologies is much like splitting reality into fetishes and facts when what we are really dealing with are factishes: an endless stream of them that we keep reconstructing (in new guises) such that they keep returning, in new forms, to exercise their transformative powers – because of us and over us.
Only once we are able to come to terms with the ambiguous, paradoxical, constructed and autonomous powers of factishes, to grant them an independent ontological status, are we in a position to do the hard work of composing a new cosmopolitical order; one that does justice to the way the entities we create and encounter are born, circulate, weave the cosmos together and die – only to re-emerge, patched together, in a new guise, a new fusion of co-creaetion between humans and the cosmos. Learning to recognise the contradictions between our theories and our practices may well be a first step toward overcoming the blunders induced by both myth and ideology (while recognising that we can never quite be free from either). Another may be addressing the division of the world into subjects on the one hand objects on the other, a point I will explore in a subsequent post.
I wish I had more time to respond, suffice to say I am very sympathetic to where the author of this post is going. The full post is HERE.