Editor: A few of my thoughts from lockdown in Australia.
This post was originally intended as a bare-bones response to Bruno Latour’s challenge to list hopes for change emerging out of the coronavirus crisis, but ended up being prefaced by a preamble on my difficulties with writing and a reflection on my current context.
For quite some time, I have suffered (and I use the word advisedly) from the realisation that anything I have to say has already been said – and often far better by someone else. As an academic trained in the best traditions of high modernism, this incapacity to maintain a position at the forefront of the bleeding edge avant-garde has a stifling effect, muzzling one into a helpless silence. It is a recipe for endless disappointment, as one finds, in an overpopulated public forum, that one seemingly brilliant idea after another has already been articulated by someone else. Added to this is that other Enlightenment ideal…
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“IF MICHEL FOUCAULT had survived AIDS in 1984 and had stayed alive until the invention of effective antiretroviral therapy, he would be ninety-three years old today. Would he have agreed to confine himself in his apartment on rue de Vaugirard in Paris? The first philosopher of history to die from complications resulting from the acquired immunodeficiency virus left us with some of the most effective tools for considering the political management of the epidemic—ideas that, in this atmosphere of rampant and contagious disinformation, are like cognitive protective equipment.”