Rancière on the Pure Nonsense of Life

The notes disappear in smoke, and the raised fist of the infant – a new kind of messiah different from Bartleby/Deleuze – celebrates, for all science, the hymn of life obstinately pursuing its own nonsense. Literary fiction has embraced the movement of history described by revolutionary science: the great upheaval of property; the rise of financial moguls, shopkeepers, and sons of upstart peasants; the artificial paradises of the city of trade and of pleasure, misery and revolt, rumbling in industrial infernos. But it does so only to replace the future promised by social science and collective action with the pure nonsense of life, the obstinate will that wants nothing. This is not because it enjoys contradicting the socialist science. Rather, it might unveil its flip side: the science of society, bearing a future freedom in its womb and the philosophy of the will-to-live that wants nothing were born on the same ground: the site where old hierarchies of social and narrative order break down.

–  Jacques Rancière, Aisthesis 52

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