bourgeois highdomes

Yoshie Furuhashi furuhashi.1 at
Tue Jan 4 15:50:42 PST 2000

>When I read your man Bloom's *Anxiety of Influence* many years ago I
>was impressed by it but also noted that it was only accurate if the world
>began with Milton. (I don't believe, for example, that his arguments would
>apply to the relationship of Homer and Virgil.) The irresistible drive to
>be "new" or "up-to-date" is for the most part a capitalist development,
>but at the same time capitalism left the poet (novelist / dramatist / critic
>/ psychologist) only one theme: the choice of a world from the outside
>by the abstract individual. So they all had to hide from themselves their
>working acceptance of Pope's "True wit is nature to advantage dressed /
>What oft was thought but ne'er so well expressed." This "drive" does
>indeed operate like a force of nature -- thus providing the grounds
>in individual experience for a psychology which posits "drives" which
>are somehow outside both language and social relations. (See Marshall
>W. Alcorn, Jr., "Talking with Jesse Helms: The Relation of Drives to
>Discourse" _JPCS_ 1 [Spring 1996], 81-90.) This need for originality
>in endlessly revisiting the same essential action (at this level of
>abstraction "superstructure" does simply mirror the "base": the base
>being capitalism's endless refashioning a new but same capitalism
>from the ashes of the old) probably has something to do with the
>extent to which most major poems of the last two centuries have been
>poems about how the poet came to write the poem he/she was writing.
>(I'm not saying anything that wasn't all there in *Paradise Regained*
>-- if you read it taking Milton's Son at his word in the Temptation
>of Athens and seeing it as Milton's recognition that in this new world
>there was only one book -- and that book only contained what anyone
>could gain from direct individual inspiration without the book.)
>But to develop all this (as I recognized a couple of decades ago) would
>require a book which I can't quite write for various reasons -- but I
>think if you think about it, I have established as a reasonable hypothesis
>that there is nothing to learn from the most advanced (bourgeois)
>thought of the late 20th century that was not already there in the
>most advance (or "even some minor, risible characters") of the 18th
>and early 19th centuries. And it isn't even better expressed -- it's just
>expressed in ever newly invented jargon (which by being that
>oxymoron, *new* jargon, conceals from its users the fact that it
>is jargon).

A while ago, I criticized Sartre, and Sam replied to me, pointing out the value of his later works. I agree with Sam in part, and Sartre, for instance, summarized the nature of an attempt to "go beyond" Marxism felicitously (while parts of his own revision of Marxism may be also subject to his own criticism of "going beyond").

Sartre wrote in "The Search for Method": "...there is the 'moment' of Descartes and Locke, that of Kant and Hegel, finally that of Marx. These three philosophies become, each in its turn, the humus of every particular thought and the horizon of all culture; there is no going beyond them so long as man has not gone beyond the historical moment which they express. I have often remarked on the fact that an 'anti-Marxist' argument is only the apparent rejuvenation of a pre-Marxist idea. A so-called 'going beyond' Marxism will be at worst only a return to pre-Marxism; at best, only the rediscovery of a thought already contained in the philosophy which one believes he has gone beyond."


More information about the lbo-talk mailing list