The Way Out of the Bubble

Bubble-Bursting

In order to effectively criticise, the critic needs to have an alternative to the operating model. Herein lies the great impotence of the bipartisan system. Criticism is carried out in a basically sterile way, concentrating on the usual way that organisation is carried out. In other words, criticism is infected with Habitus[i]. This infection prevents criticism from attacking the structures of the System itself, and makes it impossible for it to offer any real alternatives to the bubble it floats in. Any real alternative has to begin with pulling down the house, but this is such a radical step that hardly anyone, except the most extreme groups, would be prepared to advocate it. “How could we possibly survive without the body that we occupy?” think the Leviathan’s parasites.

The idea is scary and it sounds impossible. Scary and impossible enough to dissuade any serious thought from forming in that direction. Nevertheless, as more and more people find themselves being fooled and lied to by the System, or become direct victims of its imperialistic and dictatorial reality, the need for demolition becomes ever more apparent.

But once one decides that we need to escape, the great paradox embedded in Systemology raises its ugly head. We need to get out of the System, but we need the System to survive. We cannot escape the bubble we are imprisoned in without bursting it. If we do we will surely die, won’t we? Psychologically then, in order for us to be strong enough to burst the bubble we need to have assurances that the atmosphere outside of the bubble will not be toxic for us. The first question leading us to liberation from the System must therefore be: What kind of atmosphere will exist outside of the System?

Criticism on its own, without the assurance of an atmosphere within which the alternative may be liveable, is always ineffective. Just as alternatives that offer solutions within the System itself are basically impotent and therefore also ineffective.

To see through the masks and the Habitus created by the System we need to analyse the ineradicable evils of that System – its necessary evils, so often blamed on human nature – and explain why those necessary evils are not necessary at all.

The will to change will come out of the need to change, which will become more and more apparent as the consumer-will society falls into deeper and deeper conflict with the atmosphere that sustains it. The consciousness allowing us to break the bubble will be a deeper consciousness of the greater bubble of the world that encloses the System’s bubble of economy. By breaking the economic bubble we don’t die of suffocation, quite the contrary, we expose our lungs to clean air and breathe freely again for the first time.

[i] See our entry on Habitus: https://pauladkin.wordpress.com/2015/02/28/habitus/

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HABITUS

background

Pierre Bordieu argues[i] that control is created and maintained through habitus. Habitus is a cultural unconsciousness through which social activity can be regulated and harmonised, but it is also an enslaving force. Through habitus we act without being conscious of actually obeying any rules. Capitalist habitus has to be flexible and allow dynamism, but it must also rule out alternatives.

But, how can this be? How can anything be dogmatic and dynamic at the same time?

Bordieu says that this paradox is resolved by inducing aspirations and actions that are compatible with its dogma. In this way you can have individual desires and act according to the fulfilment of those desires without upsetting the status quo. Do whatever you want. Become your dreams. These are the messages that capitalism inculcates in us. Subjective aspirations are therefore defined by objective structures that represent capitalism. What matters is that which is determined by tradition: things are wrong because they are not the proper thing. They are simply wrong because we all know it, because our sense of decency tells us so, because it is common sense – because it’s always been like that.

But Habitus is really the Big Brother. He is watching, criticising, making sure our individuality doesn’t get out of control, making sure we work for the System without being conscious of working for it. Habitus creates the Matrix.

[i] See Pierre Bordieu’s dialogue with Terry Eagleton “Doxa and Common Life: An Interview” in MAPPING IDEOLOGY, edited by Slavoj Žižek.