martedì 9 settembre 2014

Obsolete Capitalism: Admiration and revenge: the magnetic power of the winner and world-historical necromancy (pt. IX - The Birth of Digital Populism)

Admiration and revenge: the magnetic power of the winner and world-historical necromancy

How is it then possible that large popular strata obey and surrender without resistance to the new domineering subjects? Gabriel Tarde explains that ‘it is not fear, I repeat, but admiration, not the strength of the victory but the sensitive splendor of superiority, its bulky presence that gives rise to sleepwalking. So it sometimes happens that the winner is magnetised by the looser.’ As a consequence, a large part of Italy’s post-classist electoral substrate - who supported Berlusconi’s dominion until the day before - is today voting other authoritarian figures with equal sleepwalking passion, because of the same superiority and secret admiration towards the defeated opponent, ‘ since ‘the dominant character of sleepwalkers is a singular mixture of anesthesia and hyperaesthesia.’ As Tarde affirms, this phenomenon happens on a micro level thanks to the ability to quickly react of populism and its animal instinct; and on a historically-dilated macro level, as it happened in the Germanic tribes after the Conquest of Rome in the 5th Century or after the Romans’ conquest of Hellas in the 3rd Century BC. This deep disturbance, this intermittent and distant fascination can be found, albeit in a curiously reversed way, in Ernst Bloch’s drawing from Karl Marx’s ‘world-historical necromancy’: while Gabriel Tarde sees admiration as a deep cause of somnambulism, Ernst Bloch considers revenge as a stimulus for renewal movements and strong agents of change. He calls it the ‘original element’: because of it, the French harked back to the Consular practices of the Roman Empire, the Germans of the Müntzer peasants’ war looked at the deeds of the Jews of the Old Testament, and the Italian Renaissance artists and intellectuals were influenced by the Greek and Roman classics and to pagan culture. Complete revenge and hidden awe for the defeated are the incendiary ingredients of any revolutionary impatience, and yet they are still definable as political explosion of sleepwalking and imitation. (...)
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