to think is to resist

June 1, 2011


“Equality does not mean that they all have the same say in the matter but that they all have to be present in the mode that makes the decision as difficult as possible, that precludes any shortcut or simplification, and differentiation a priori between that which counts and that which does not”

Stengers, I

In her piece, The Cosmopolitical Proposal, Isabella Stengers puts forward a series of thoughts that are meant, not to state the status of what things are, nor to mould how things will be in the future, but rather to encourage a moment of pause and reflection in re-evaluating the reality in which we live in – to create an awareness.

However, there is a worth in which the Cosmopolitical Proposal can give into in the realm of politics which Stengers believes has an inseparable nature with one another. In this light, she mentions that one of the only ways in which this proposal could be useful to society is through those who are already engaged and effective to the political realm (although still remaining as two separate discussions).

The idiot is brought about here (as also discussed by Deluze) not as an antagonist to the situation, but rather one that would stand defiant to the norm of society and function. In many ways, the idiot is one who will be an opposition towards the violence that refuses those who don’t subscribe to the general consensus. This proposal therefore endorses the opportunity for the idiot to be given a voice in these situations. It recognises the difference that each member of society brings to a politically driven state but does not necessarily affirm that the difference is equivalent to a solution.

In many ways, this proposal seeks to create a utopian vision of how society could function. In this case, Stengers mentions that “the utopia does not allow is to denounce this world in the name of an ideal; it proposes and interpretation that indicates how a transformation could take place that leaves no one unaffected”. The main point that Stengers seems to stress in all of her examples and instances where this proposal could be birthed into is the fact that it is one that “leaves no one unaffected”. It sparks awareness against the structures placed around us by politicians or shareholders or the supposed “experts in fields” who govern society and at times “bully” it into their frame. As Stengers quotes Deluze, “to think is to resist”. The cosmopolitical proposal is therefore and urge to awareness (not a solution to) that there is a reality that could start to question the violence that confronts us each day.

Joel Lee


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