Posted by: glue | July 14, 2008

Conative Politics

The passage between individual and collective expression is the “little sensation” guiding Cezanne’s invention of a new spatiality. Electracy potentially institutionalizes satisfaction, in the practices of an Internet with a voice body equal to those of ideology and science in the process of public policy formation through deliberative reason. Or, to put it another way, the ethics of conatus finds a natural alliance with the politics of well-being, making quality of life (grounded in aesthetics experience) as influential as belief or knowledge in making decisions.

Cezanne's Home Town

Cezanne's Home Town

The current scandal over the Bush administration’s censoring of scientific documentation of the impact of greenhouse gases on the environment, in order to avoid regulations negatively impacting corporate profit (ideology), neglects the third dimension of the conflict, (citizen quality of life) whose nature is signaled in the terminology. “The EPA is examining whether carbon dioxide, a leading greenhouse gas, poses a danger to public health and welfare. The Supreme Court has said if it does, it must be regulated under the Clean Air Act.” The newspapers reported that Vice-President Cheney (his office) deleted from the report some six pages documenting testimony from the Center for Disease Control. In a related story (perhaps), the EPA lowered the value of a statistical life to $6.9 million. The figure is used to calculate the cost-benefit ratio of regulations. If the economic costs to businesses is greater than the value of the lives its saves, the regulation may not be adopted.

The scandal is not only the suppression of science in favor of ideology (capitalism in this case), but the neglect of human welfare as a factor worthy of consideration. Who speaks for well-being? What institution has the power to advocate for quality of life in negotiations with ideology and science? Philosophy from its beginnings created a voice for eudaimonia (Greek term for happiness). Philosophy advocated (advocates) for the good life, defined in some traditions as “what is good for me.” Well-being was foregrounded in the modern movement of utilitarianism (with which Expression has important differences). It will be important within the context of electracy to sort out the specific relationships among conatus, experimental aesthetics, philosophies of Expression, and the diverse advocates for quality of life, to form a new hegemony.


  1. Apparatus Analogy

    The invention of electracy uses a grammatological analogy with the history of the other apparatuses.
    The analogy suggests that there is or will be one specific institution within which the practices of electracy will develop, representing a native worldview, including a metaphysics. The premise of electracy is that this institution is the Internet, framed within the commercial culture of entertaiment (the spectacle). The previous apparati will/are adapting to electracy, but the latter has its own orientation to reality, with an agenda distinct from the agendas of oral and literate metaphysics. It is not inevitable that the Internet be this institutional embodiment of electracy, but it seems to be the most likely candidate at this point.

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