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Edwin Sayes “Actor-Network Theory and Methodology”

March 31, 2014 Leave a comment

Sayes, Edwin 2014. Actor-Network Theory and Methodology: Just what Does it Mean to Say that Nonhumans Have Agency? Social Studies of Science 44(1): 134-149.

In the first instance, the term ‘nonhuman’ is intended to signal dissatisfaction with the philosophical tradition in which an object is automatically placed opposite a subject, and the two are treated as radically different. (136)
More systemically, we can say that the term is used to denote entities as diverse as animals (such as scallops – Callon, 1986), natural phenomena (such as reefs – Law, 1987), tools and technical artifacts (such as mass spectrometers – Latour and Woolgar, 1986 [1979]), material structures (such as sewerage networks – Latour and Hermant, 1998), transportation devices (such as planes – Law and Callon, 1992), texts (such as scientific accounts – Callon et al., 1986), and economic goods (such as commodities – Callon, 1999). What is excluded from the circumference of the term are humans, entities that are entirely symbolic in nature (Latour, 1993: 101), entities that are supernatural (Latour, 1992), and entities that exist at such a scale that they are literally composed of humans and nonhumans (Latour, 1993: 121, 1998). (136)
Nonhumans (I): nonhumans as a condition for the possibility of human society
More specifically, it is the actions and capacities of nonhumans that are seen as a condition for the possibility of the formation of human society (Latour, 1993: 111, 1996b: 238). Indexicality, to deploy the language of ethnomethodology, is seen as temporality objectified through the mobilization of nonhumans. Leviathan becomes possible only when more than purely social ties are involved, when certain ties can be sufficiently stabilized, or placed in a black box. (137)
Nonhumans (II): nonhumans as mediators
In a now canonical article, Callon (1991) stresses an important distinction between intermediaries and mediators. While an intermediary is a placeholder in the sense in which it merely does what anything else in its position would do (Latour, 1992: 229), a mediator is something morethan this. Conceived only as a neutral placeholder, it is easy to consider a nonhuman as merelyan intermediary: it is merelythe sum of its constitutive parts, or its constitutive relations, and it merelydoes what anything in its place would do. However, conceived as mediator, a nonhuman is necessarily seen as adding something to a chain of interaction or an association. In classifying nonhumans as mediators rather than intermediaries, it becomes impossible to treat nonhumans as simple substitutes for human actors. Nonhumans, like anything else that is placed between two actors, are understood as continually modifying relations between actors (Latour, 1999, 2002a). (138)
Nonhumans (III): nonhumans as members of moral and political associations
We see, here [in the case of a seatbelt that won’t let you start your car unless tightened], the potential for a truly categorical imperative – a norm that is truly objective. With the help of a new type of moral or political actor, the texture of morality and politics has changed. The form of dissent is slowly narrowed and, in the final two scenarios, eliminated. It is, we might easily quip, far easier to make docile nonhumans than to make self-disciplining actors. As Callon (1991: 157, n. 28) writes in a particularly evocative phrase, ‘[t]he telephone creates a common space that integrates just as much as Durkheim’s religion or Bourdieu’s habitus’. The suggestion is incredibly powerful: that our collectives have, in effect, outsourced some of their regulating principles, some of their politics, some of their morality. (139)
[…] we should not be concerned with whether nonhumans are understood to possess the ability to make moral or immoral decisions – this is not suggested. Rather, what is elided and made impossible is the question of responsibility – of which individuals and groups should be held accountable for our moral and political associations. (140)
Nonhumans (IV): nonhumans as gatherings
The relevant point for current purposes is that morality and politics should not be linked to nonhumans separatedfrom all other actors, but to associations. This does not mean, to be sure, that nonhumans are divorced from the question of morality or politics. Rather, it means only that when one considers the relationship between a nonhuman and morality or politics, one must consider the associations of which it is a part. This is a point that is, in general terms, elementary for ANT, and develops into foregrounding the ways in which nonhumans are gatherings. (140)
What does it mean to say that nonhumans have agency?
ANT, in fact, attempts to pluralize what it means to speak of agency. As has already been noted, agency is decoupled from criteria of intentionality, subjectivity, and freewill. At first sight, it may look like this decoupling actually amounts to an amputated and restricted vantage-point (see, for example, Amsterdamska, 1990: 499). However, such a view would seem to be premature. Indeed, while intentional action is still recognized as a typeof action, this is not to the exclusion of all other forms of agency (Latour, 2005: 71). At the same time, ANT invokes not causal agency in the strictest of senses, but something ‘more’ (Latour, 2005: 70). What is this ‘more’? The best answer seems to be the following: ‘there might exist many metaphysical shades between full causality and sheer in-existence: things might authorize, allow, afford, encourage, permit, suggest, influence, block, render possible, forbid, and so on’ (Latour, 2004b: 226; see also Latour, 2005: 72). (141)
Latour (2005: 71) maintains that one need only ask of an entity ‘[d]oes it make a difference in the course of some other agent’s action or not? Is there some trial that allows someone to detect this difference?’ If we can answer yes to these two questions, then we have an actor that isexercising agency – whether this actor is nonhuman or otherwise. […] the ‘standard measure’ of agency becomes dehumanized: the ability to make a difference. (141)
The primacy of methodology in ANT
For ANT, a theoretical statement could never determine the extent to which nonhumans act and the nature of this agency.This is, and remains definitively so for the perspective, an empirical question. Latour (1998) is explicit in this regard: ANT has no general theory of agency. Thus, claims concerning the agency of nonhumans are part of the conceptual infralanguage of the position. (142)
Conclusion
Simply put, nonhumans do not have agency by themselves, if only because they are neverby themselves. (144)
By foregrounding the role of methodology, we better understand what it means to say that nonhumans have agency. For instance, this foregrounding allows us to understand that the term ‘agency’ is almost empty of meaning for ANT. Indeed, it lacks specificity – referring instead to a collection of possible modes of relating to other entities while not requiring any of them. (144)

 

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Luca Paltrinieri “Quantifier la qualité”

March 13, 2014 Leave a comment

Paltrinieri, Luca 2013. Quantifier la qualité. Le « capital humain » entre économie, démographie et éducation. Raisons politiques, 52(4) : 89-107.

Dans les théories économiques classiques, la croissance économique est fondée sur le jeu et l’interaction de trois sources : les terres (le capital foncier), le capital physique (ou les moyens de production), le travail. C’est la combinaison de ces trois sources qui, selon les différents modèles économiques assure la production de plus-value. (90)

La notion de « qualité » de la ressource humaine reposait ainsi sur le constat que le travail produit par une personne compétente a une productivité supérieure à n’importe quel travail. L’augmentation du stock de compétences, et donc du capital humain, à travers l’éducation ou l’expérience se traduit par l’augmentation de la qualité de la population. La croissance de la qualité populationnelle implique à son tour l’augmentation de la productivité du travail, et conduit ensuite à l’augmentation de la valeur économique du temps du travail, se traduisant par des revenus plus élevés. Ce cercle vertueux montre, selon Theodore Schultz, que l’accroissement du stock de capital humain représente « la plus grande réussite de la croissance économique moderne ». Dans l’« humain » on aurait découvert une source de valeur virtuellement renouvelable à l’infini, permettant de démentir l’idée d’une économie condamnée à l’exploitation des ressources rares et conflictuelles. (94)

Selon l’économiste américain, les économistes classiques n’avaient pas vu les potentialités de cette nouvelle source de valeur qu’est le travail humain précisément parce qu’ils ne s’étaient pas donnés une notion qualitative ni du temps de travail, ni de la population. Ce n’est pas un hasard si la polémique contre Malthus est un leitmotiv des analyses néolibérales : s’étant donné une « théorie quantitative de la population », il a réduit la qualité de vie à « la simple survie du commun des mortels », sans percevoir l’importance des aptitudes, des talents, des compétences acquises et améliorables. (95)

Autrement dit, là où Marx a pensé le salaire seulement comme une reproduction de la force de travail, Schultz interprète les salaires comme une source d’« investissement sur soi » se traduisant dans l’amélioration de la qualité de la population. (95)

[…] la démographie qualitative doit se situer sur l’échelle de l’individu : alors que la démographie quantitative concerne l’homme en tant que masse, la démographie devient qualitative lorsqu’elle arrive à apprécier la valeur de l’individu et les facteurs qui le conditionnent. Autrement dit, la démarche qualitative doit permettre de passer du constat des faits à la recherche des causes de l’action individuelle. (96 – Jean Sutter)

La question se pose d’expliquer la relation entre variation qualitative et quantitative de la population afin d’établir une série de mesures destinées, selon Sutter, « à augmenter la qualité intrinsèque de l’homme » : législation du travail, taxes, prêts, ou encore par exemple la durée de congé de maternité. En mettant sur le plateau la question de la qualité, Sutter ouvre ainsi la boîte de Pandore des rapports entre économie et démographie, restés jusque-là sous le signe de la variable quantitative. Parler de qualité signifie suggérer que la valeur économique de l’humain doit être mesurable et peut être augmentée. Qu’est-ce que peut être une mesure de la qualité, ou une quantification de la qualité de l’humain ? (98)

Pour expliquer la relation négative entre fécondité et revenu, Gary Becker inverse le modèle malthusien. Il montre ainsi que la fécondité des couples est soumise à des variables économiques et peut être étudiée dans le même cadre que celui de l’analyse de la demande de biens durables : il y a une demande d’enfants comme il peut y avoir une demande de biens immobiliers. Les enfants, en d’autres termes, entrent dans la ligne de compte de choix substituables, concernant la manière dont sont allouées des ressources rares à des fins concurrentes. C’est bien là le point de départ, l’hypothèse sur laquelle se base la théorie du capital humain. (99)

Conformément à l’approche utilitariste choisie par Gary Becker, la « qualité » est donc une certaine utilité de l’enfant : exactement comme une voiture, l’enfant produit une utilité pour les parents et plus particulièrement un gain « psychique » (psychic income). Cette utilité est intrinsèquement liée à un coût, exactement de la même manière que les qualités d’une voiture (confort, sécurité, vitesse, etc.) sont liées à son prix. Ainsi la « qualité » de l’enfant n’est rien d’autre qu’un paquet d’attributs qui peuvent être améliorés avec des investissements ciblés : par exemple sur la nourriture, sur la santé, sur l’éducation. (100)

Si la notion de capital humain rebondissait sur l’éducation et le soin dû aux enfants, on comprend pourquoi la notion de « coûts d’opportunité » permettait finalement de quantifier la qualité : lorsque le revenu augmente, non seulement le prix de l’enfant augmente, mais, parallèlement, la demande de qualité tend à dépasser la demande de quantité. Mesurer le capital humain devient ainsi possible précisément à partir du coût des investissements sur les enfants, notamment en éducation et en formation. Mais ces évaluations se fondent précisément sur la première quantification de la qualité que les parents en tant qu’agents rationnels opèrent pour ainsi dire spontanément, lorsqu’ils traduisent la qualité désirée des enfants en nombre d’enfants. (101)

Lorsque l’on se place au niveau des pratiques gouvernementales, on se rend compte que l’avènement du capitalisme impliquait non seulement le jeu de la terre, du capital et du travail, mais aussi la transformation du temps humain par une bio-politique. (102)

Pour les néolibéraux, la théorie du capital humain est un nouvel humanisme. « Mettre l’humain au centre » comme l’affirme encore aujourd’hui Gary Becker, signifie faire des acteurs économiques des auteurs de leurs choix et transformer ainsi l’économie de théorie de la formation du valeur à analyse de la rationalité d’individus libres d’agir et de choisir. La fiction du choix rationnel à la base de tout comportement, délibérément assumé, libérerait en effet les acteurs de toute déterminisme social. (102)

Ainsi, nous croyons que c’est l’analyse de l’investissement en capital humain qui révèle ce qu’est une biopolitique à l’âge néolibéral. Foucault, et avec lui une bonne partie de la réflexion philosophique, donne une importance exagérée aux facteurs d’amélioration d’un « bon équipement génétique ». Certes, il s’agit d’un thème fascinant, toutefois les modèles économistes néolibéraux l’éliminent d’entrée de jeu, car il est évident que le principal moyen pour augmenter à la fois le capital humain individuel et la qualité de la population est l’éducation. L’éducation est le domaine par excellence où les coûts d’opportunité se transforment en compétences, et donc en valeur économique du temps humain. (104)

le capital humain est cet espèce de miracle qui fait de l’éducation un « fait social » total et redéfinit la biopolitique comme une démarche d’amélioration de la qualité de la population axée sur l’éducatif. En même temps et parallèlement, le fait éducatif devient l’enjeu central d’une action de gouvernement à distance, par laquelle plutôt que de former directement des individus, on agit indirectement sur leurs choix d’investissement. (105)

Comme Michel Foucault lui-même le remarque, les néolibéraux américains dérivent leur conception du capital de Irwin Fisher, pour qui « à chaque instant, la valeur du capital provient de la valeur du revenu futur que ce capital est appelle à produire ». Cela signifie que la valeur d’un article de richesse ou de propriété ne dépend que de l’avenir et non du passé. (106)

D’où la condition schizophrénique du sujet néolibéral : il doit tout le temps s’évaluer au présent, mais cette évaluation constante porte toujours sur ce qu’il pourrait être. Autrement dit, le capital humain est composé par des compétences dont l’usage ou la jouissance sont toujours renvoyés au futur, comme une promesse toujours réitérée. Il serait faux de dire que le sujet néolibéral possède et dispose de son capital humain de la même façon dont le capitaliste dispose des moyens de production : en réalité on ne peut « jouir » du capital humain autrement que sous le mode d’une auto-évaluation infinie. Ainsi, l’expérience de « l’entrepreneur de soi » se rapproche de la dépossession plus que de la jouissance. (106)

Jean-Francois Lyotard “The Inhuman”

Lyotard, Jean-Francois 1993. The Inhuman: Reflections on Time. Cambridge: Polity Press.

Introduction: About the Human

In 1913, Apollinaire wrote ingenuously: “More than anything, artists are men who want to become inhuman.” (2)

To go fast is to forget fast, to retain only the information that is useful afterwards, as in ‘rapid reading’. But writing and reading which advance backwards in the direction of the unknown thing ‘within’ are slow. One loses one’s time seeking time lost. (3)

That it always remains for the adult to free himself or herself from the obscure savageness of childhood by bringing about its promise – that is precisely the condition of humankind. (4)

‘Development’ is the ideology of the present time, it realizes the essential of metaphysics, which was a thinking pertaining to forces much more than to the subject. (6)

1. Can Thought Go on without a Body?

Dehumanized still implies human – a dead human, but conceivable: because dead in human terms, still capable of being sublated in thought. (10)

Human death is included in the life of human mind. (11)

You decide to accept the challenge of the extremely likely annihilation of a solar order and an order of your own thought. And then the only left you is quite clear – it’s been underway for some time – the job of simulating conditions of life and thought to make thinking remain materially possible after the change in the condition of matter that’s the disaster. (11-12)

So the problem of the technological sciences can be stated as: how to provide this software with a hardware that is independent of the conditions of life on earth. That is: how to make thought without a body possible. A thought that continues to exist after the death of the human body. This is the price to be paid if the explosion is to be conceivable, if the death of the sun is to be a death like other deaths we know about. (13-14)

[…] what makes thought and the body inseparable isn’t just that the latter is the indispensable hardware for the former, a material prerequisite of its existence. It’s that each of them is analogous to the other in its relationship with its respective (sensible, symbolic) environment: the relationship being analogical in both cases. (16)

Thinking, like writing or painting, is almost no more than letting a givable come towards you. (18)

In what we call thinking the mind isn’t ‘directed’ but suspended. You don’t give it rules. You teach it to receive. You don’t clear the ground to build unobstructed: you make a little clearing where the penumbra of an almost-given will be able to enter and modify its contour. (19)

The unthought hurts because we’re comfortable in what’s already thought. And thinking, which is accepting this discomfort, is also, to put it bluntly, an attempt to have done with it. That’s the hope sustaining all writing (painting, etc.): that at the end, things will be better. As there is no end, this hope is illusory. So: the unthought would have to make your machines uncomfortable, the uninscribed that remains to be inscribed would have to make their memory suffer. Do you see what I mean? Otherwise why would they ever start thinking? (20)

2. Rewriting modernity

A secret would not be a ‘real’ secret if no-one knew it was a secret. For the crime to be perfect, it would have to be known to be perfect, and by that very fact it stops being perfect. To make the point differently, but within the same order of memory, à la John Cage, there is no silence that is not heard as such, and therefore makes some noise. (28)

By endeavouring to find an objectively first cause, like Oedipus, one forgets that the very will to identify the origin of the evil is made necessary by desire. For it is of the essence of desire to desire also to free itself of itself, because desire is intolerable. So one believes one can put an end to desire, and one fulfils its end (this is the ambiguity of the word end, aim and cessation: the same ambiguity as with desire). One tries to remember, and this is probably a good way of forgetting again. (29)

3. Matter and time

The soul has at its disposal the only language. The body is a confused speaker: it says ‘soft’, ‘warm’, ‘blue’, ‘heavy’, instead of talking straight lines, curves, collisions and relations. Matter thus denied, foreclosed, remains present in this violently modern thinking: it is the enigmatic confusion of the past, the confusion of the badly built city, of childhood, ignorant and blind, of the cross-eyed look of the little girl loved by René Descartes as a child. Of everything that comes to us from behind, ‘before’. Confusion, prejudice, is matter in thought, the disorder of the past which takes place before having been wanted and conceived, which does not know what it is saying, which must be endlessly translated and corrected, currently and actively, into distinct intuitions. Childhood, the unconscious, time, because ‘then’ is ‘now’, the old, are the matter that the understanding claims to resolve in the act and actuality of the instantaneous intuitus. All energy belongs to the thinking that says what it says, wants what it wants. Matter is the failure of thought, its inert mass, stupidity. (38)

Pragmatism, as its name suggests, is one of the many versions of humanism. The human subject it presupposes is, to be sure, material, involved in a milieu, and turned towards action. The fact remains that this action is given a finality by an interest, which is represented as a sort of optimum adjustment of subject to environment. But if one looks at the history of the sciences and techniques (and of the arts, of which I have said nothing, even though the question of matter, of material especially, is decisive for them), one notices that this was not, and is not – especially today – in fact their finality. (44)

An immaterialist materialism, if it is true that matter is energy and mind is contained vibration. One of the implications of this current of thinking is that it ought to deal another blow to what I shall call human narcissism. Freud already listed three famous ones: man is not the centre of the cosmos (Copernicus), is not the first living creature (Darwin), is not the master of meaning (Freud himself). Through contemporary techno-science, s/he learns that s/he does not have the monopoly of mind, that is of complexification, but that complexification is not inscribed as a destiny in matter, but as possible, and that it takes place, at random, but intelligibly, well before him/herself. S/he learns in particular that his/her own science is in its turn a complexification of matter, in which, so to speak, energy in itself comes to be reflected, without humans necessarily getting any benefit from this. And that thus s/he must not consider him/herself as an origin or as a result, but as a transformer ensuring, through techno-science, arts, economic development, cultures and the new memorization they involve, a supplement of complexity in the universe. (45)

4. Logos and Techne, or Telegraphy

Current technology, that specific mode of tele-graphy, writing at a distance, removes the close contexts of which rooted cultures are woven. It is thus, through its specific manner of inscription, indeed productive of a sort of memorization freed from the supposedly immediate conditions of time and space. The question to follow here would be as follows: what is a body (body proper, social body) in tele-graphic culture? It calls up a spontaneous production of the pas in habit, a tradition or transmission of ways of thinking, willing and feeling, a sort of breaching, then, which complicates, counters, neutralizes and extenuates earlier community breachings, and in any case translates them so as to move them on too, make them transmissible. If the earlier remain there at all, resist a bit, they become subcultures. The question of hegemonic teleculture on a world scale is already posed. (50)

It is perfectly possible to say that the living cell, and the organism with its organs, are already tekhnai, that ‘life’, as they say, is already technique: the fact remains that its ‘language’ (genetic code, say) not only limits the performance of this technique but also (in fact it’s the same thing) does not allow it to be objectified, known and complexified in a controlled way. The history of life on earth cannot be assimilated to the history of technique in the common sense, because it has not proceeded by remembering but by breaching. (52)

5. Time Today

The event makes the self incapable of taking possession and control of what it is. It testifies that the self is essentially passible to a recurrent alterity. (59)

Why do we have to save money and time to the point where this imperative seems like the law of our lives? Because saving (at the level of the system as a whole) allws the system to increase the quantity of money given over to anticipating the future. This is particularly the case with the capital invested in research and development. The enjoyment of humanity must, it is clear, be sacrificed to the interests of the monad in expansion. (67)

Capital is not an economic and social phenomenon. It is the shadow cast by the principle of reason on human relations. Prescriptions such as: communicate, save time and money, control and forestall the event, increase exchanges, are all likely to extend and reinforce the ‘great monad’. That ‘cognitive’ discourse has conquered hegemony over other genres, that in ordinary language, the pragmatic and interrelational aspect comes to the fore, whilst ‘the poetic’ appears to deserve less and less attention – all these features of the contemporary language-condition cannot be understood as effects of a simple modality of exchange, i.e. the one called ‘capitalism’ by economic and historical science. They are the signs that a new use of language is taking place, the stake of which is that of knowing objects as precisely as possible and of realizing among ordinary speakers a consensus as broad as that supposed to reign in the scientific community. (70)

Being prepared to receive what thought is not prepared to think is what deserves the name of thinking. (73)

7. The Sublime and the Avant-Garde

The inexpressible does not reside in an over there, in another world, or another time, but in this: in that (something) happens. (93)

Art does not imitate nature, it creates a world apart […] (97)

The avant-gardist attempt inscribes the occurrence of a sensory now as what cannot be presented and which remains to be presented in the decline of great representational painting. Like micrology, the avant-garde is not concerned with what happens to the ‘subject’, but with: ‘Does it happen?’, with privation. This is the sense in which it still belongs to the aesthetics of the sublime. (103)

The availability of information is becoming the only criterion of social importance. Now information is by definition a short-lived element. As soon as it is transmitted and shared, it ceases to be information, it becomes an environmental given, and ‘all is said’, we ‘know’. It is put into the machine memory. The length of time it occupies is, so to speak, instantaneous. Between two pieces of information, ‘nothing happens’, by definition. A confusion thereby becomes possible, between what is of interest to information and the director, and what is the question of the avant-gardes, between what happens – the new – and the Is it happening?, the now. (105-106)

‘Strong’ information, if one can call it that, exists in inverse proportion to the meaning that can be attributed to it in the code available to its receiver. It is like ‘noise’. It is easy for the public and for artists, advised by intermediaries – the diffusers of cultural merchandise – to draw from this observation the principle that a work of art is avant-garde in direct proportion to the extent that it is stripped of meaning. Is it not then like an event? (106)

8. Something like: ‘Communication … without Communication’

In the conflict surrounding the word communication, it is understood that the work, or at any rate anything which is received as art, induces a feeling – before inducing an understanding – which, constitutively and therefore immediately, is universally communicable, by definition. Such a feeling is thereby distinguishable from a merely subjective preference. This communicability, as a demand and not as a fact, precisely because it is assumed to be originary, ontological, eludes communicational activity, which is not a receptiveness but something which is managed, which is done. This, in my view, is what governs our problematic of ‘new technologies and art’, or, put differently, ‘art and postmodernity’. This communicability, as it is developed in the Kantian analysis of the beautiful, is well and truly ‘anterior’ to communication in the sense of ‘theories of communication’, which include communicative pragmatics […] This assumed communicability, which takes place immediately in the feeling of the beautiful is always presupposed in any conceptual communication. (109)

In the reception of works of art, what is involved is the status of a sentimental, aesthetic community, one certainly ‘anterior’ to all communication and all pragmatics. The cutting out of intersubjective relations has not yet happened and there would be an assenting, a unanimity possible and capable of being demanded, within an order which cannot ‘yet’ be that of argumentation between rational and speaking subjects. (110)

Any industrial production pays homage to this profound and fundamental problematic of re-presentation, and aesthetic feeling presupposes something which necessarily is implied, and forgotten, in representation: presentation, the fact that something is there now. (111)

[…] what is hit, first of all, and complains, in our modernity, or our postmodernity, is perhaps space and time. What is attacked would be space and time as forms of the donation of what happens. The real ‘crisis of foundations’ was doubtless not that of the foundations of reason but of any scientific enterprise bearing on so-called real objects, in other words given in sensory space and time. (112)

We find sublime those spectacles which exceed any real representation of a form, in other words where what is signified is the superiority of our power of freedom vis-à-vis the one manifested in the spectacle itself. In singling out the sublime, Kant places the accent on something directly related to the problem of the failing of space and time. The free-floating forms which aroused the feeling of the beautiful come to be lacking. In a certain way the question of the sublime is closely linked to what Heidegger calls the retreat of Being, retreat of donation. For Heidegger, the welcome accorded something sensory, in other words some meaning embodied in the here-and-now before any concept, no longer has place and moment. This retreat signifies our current fate. (113)

What we live by and judge by is exactly this will to action. If a computer invites us to play or lets us play, the interest valorized is that the one receiving should manifest his or her capacity for initiative, activity, etc. We are thus still derivatives from the Cartesian model of ‘making oneself master and possessor …’ It implies the retreat of the passibility by which alone we are fit to receive and, as a result, to modify and do, and perhaps even enjoy. This passibility as jouissance and obligatory belonging to an immediate community is repressed nowadays in the general problematic of communication, and is even taken as shameful. But to take action in the direction of this activity which is so sought-after is only to react, to repeat, at best to conform feverishly to a game that is already given or installed [gestellt?]. Passibility, in contrast, has to do with an immediate community of feeling demanded across the singular aesthetic feeling, and what is lost is more than simple capacity, it is propriety. Interactional ideology is certainly opposed to a passivity but it remains confined in a completely secondary opposition. (117)

Not to be contemplative is a sort of implicit commandment, contemplation is perceived as a devalorized passivity. (118)