Wednesday, 2 November 2016

Making Memories

'You gotta make your memories' - one of the schoolyard mothers, concluding an account of her family's day out. Another instance of the mode of suppression typical of the Neoliberal endgame: our willing, though unwitting, withdrawal from reality.

As a mode of experience, the 'making memories' mode works effortlessly to replace our concern with the present with a concern with the future - how this event will be remembered. But it also works, and simultaneously, to replace our concern with the future: we do not think to set up a cause and effect relation with the future, our present actions are not chosen for the manner in which they will bring about change in the future; no - the future is nothing more than the scene of our present, the time at which we will experience the event we are not experiencing now except as an event that will be experienced in the future. But in the future the event will be experienced only as it was 'experienced' in the past (which it never was). And there it is: the contemporary displacement of the experience of reality by throwing it to a future time at which we will be too busy recalling an experience we never really had to attend to anything that is really happening then. The present deferred for a future defined as review of the past.

The 'spin' of which the media and their politicians are often accused has by now infected us all. For what is spin but the repackaging of real events in a whirl of present, future and past such that those events are nothing other than that which they will have been. Not 'What will I say?', but 'What will I have said?' - Not 'What will I do?', but 'What will I have done?' You make your own memories and those of your readers, and those of your electorate...

A strong current in twentieth-century European philosophy would have it that human experience is defined by its being concerned, that is, by its being always about something or someone, by its being in order to, or for - by its being intentional. But this being concerned has now been seized upon and made to work against us, having been successfully entered into and refracted through highly determinate and closely managed categories that have replaced the more local, more organic - more human - categories that used to orient us in the past. Our society, in other words, has hacked into the way in which we were human, and is now, as a result, pulling all of our strings. That twenty-first century European philosophy would persuade us that the very notion of the 'human' is anachronistic and give its blessing of reason to the 'post-human,' may show that philosophy itself, and not for the first time, has been co-opted to buttress the status-quo.

Reality and the human - two concepts that we are now, explicitly and implicitly, being encouraged to believe are out of date.