…Or, “If religion is the opium of the people, critique is intellectual porn” or “The Pleasure of Marx on Hegel”

Criticism has plucked the imaginary flowers on the chain not in order that man shall continue to bear that chain without fantasy or consolation, but so that he shall throw off the chain and pluck the living flower. 

-Marx, Introduction to the Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right.

Her naked body cast an alluring shadow against the dull metallic hull of the hovercraft. Kneeling over the body prostate before her she unclipped the remote control from the man’s aluminium belt and with an awed calm pushed the small grey button. With a whisper the thin silver bars around her wrists, ankles and neck protracted and fell to the floor.

In the struggle against that state of affairs, criticism is no passion of the head, it is the head of passion. It is not a lancet, it is a weapon. Its object is its enemy, which it wants not to refute but to exterminate.

She looked down at him, his gun hanging flaccid under his belt. She had that effect upon these androids. Once her feline curves came into perceptive range, their powers of penetration turned against themselves, until occupied obsessively wih themselves, any offensive was useless. As fervently as they grasped their weapons and repeatedly pulled the trigger, one after another they all fell subject to her force, until, ammunition spent, their defence systems drained and exhausted, with a gasp they lost consciousness in a swoon of self-conscious delight.

The weapon of criticism cannot, of course, replace criticism of the weapon, material force must be overthrown by material force; but theory also becomes a material force as soon as it has gripped the masses. Theory is capable of gripping the masses as soon as it demonstrates ad hominem, and it demonstrates ad hominem as soon as it becomes radical. To be radical is to grasp the root of the matter. But, for man, the root is man himself.

She glanced over at the other one. He too had let his gaze wonder too wide and was now slumped against the neoprene- lined skirt of the craft. His hands were beginning to twitch out of their arthritic frigidity, but his eyes still stared down glassily to where he had tossed his gun. She strode over to him, stripped him of his fine chain-mail bodice and slipped it over her head. The light metal caressed her skin and gave her a renewed sense of immunity. The androids would wake soon from their convulsive stupor and then they would be a danger to her. Though made man they were not yet free of the seductive power of the machine. Although her initial effect was to turn them upon themselves, investing in each a self-critical desire to grasp himself, once the android had demonstrated the radical nature of his manhood, the consequent void in his desire would bring him into an ethereal identification with the surrounding mass. And then he would arise with a greater force, all too willing to abandon himself entirely to the idea that she was the root that had been lacking.

Meanwhile, a major difficulty seems to stand in the way of a radical German revolution. For revolutions require a passive element, a material basis. Theory is fulfilled in a people only insofar as it is the fulfilment of the needs of that people. But will the monstrous discrepancy between the demands of German thought and the answers of German reality find a corresponding discrepancy between civil society and the state, and between civil society and itself? Will the theoretical needs be immediate practical needs? It is not enough for thought to strive for realization, reality must itself strive towards thought.

But even she was not capable of gratifying their every need. She might offer an android time to reflect, she might even suffice to strip him of his presumptions, but the truth was that if he was to do more than just free himself from the role he believed himself constructed to play, he would have to test his metal and draw from deep within himself a beastly, visceral core. With this as her aim she stalked over and reached to open the pod hatch, her chain-mail clinking with her steps. Although she had succeeded in immobilising the craft she was yet to discover how to get the thing air-born. This would be no small task in itself, and yet the undertaking was complicated by the fact that it would require an ascent in the absence of a pilot. As she raised the hatch she felt a strong, almost fleshy arm close around her waist. The first stage of the metamorphosis was completed, and yet, his lust for her was still less than his desire to take control of the machine, to feel the cold hard metal of the thruster in his hands and soar up alone beyond the clouds.

But no particular class in Germany has the constituency, the penetration, the courage, or the ruthlessness that could mark it out as the negative representative of society. No more has any estate the breadth of soul that identifies itself, even for a moment, with the soul of the nation, the geniality that inspires material might to political violence, or that revolutionary daring which flings at the adversary the defiant words: I am nothing but I must be everything.

          Without a second glance he threw her aside. Unperturbed she leapt on him, twisting his head round to face her. Their gaze met and immediately, doubling over he knelt down under the burden of his freshly inspired breadth of soul. Taking the opportunity, and using all her force she jammed the thruster to full and began the launch sequence, ingeniously stripping herself of the chain- mail to provide the weight that would substitute for the pilot. With a surprising dexterity she then swiftly removed herself as the hatch automatically sealed closed. The hovercraft shuddered slightly and then with a decompression of air and a pulse of heat it rose and sped upward. Startled from his masturbatory convulsions, the man looked around and reflected upon himself as the craft’s negative representation. In its absence he had no choice but to identify himself wholly with her. And yet, standing naked before him, she offered him nothing. How could she then be the positive possibility of his emancipation?

Answer: In the formulation of a class with radical chains, a class of civil society which is not a class of civil society, an estate which is the dissolution of all estates, a sphere which has a universal character by its universal suffering and claims no particular right because no particular wrong, but wrong generally, is perpetuated against it; which can invoke no historical, but only human, title; which does not stand in any one-sided antithesis to the consequences but in all- round antithesis to the premises of German statehood; a sphere, finally, which cannot emancipate itself without emancipating itself from all other spheres of society and thereby emancipating all other spheres of society, which, in a word, is the complete loss of man and hence can win itself only through the complete re- winning of man. This dissolution of society as a particular estate is the proletariat.

PROLETARIAT

[ORIGIN mid 17th century: from Latin proletarius (from proles ‘offspring’ ), denoting a person having no wealth in property, who only served the state by producing offspring.]

Now that he was freed from the machine, his universal character became apparent to her. She looked upon him as he stood bewildered before her, the muscles on his biceps taut, the hairs on his chest prickling in the fresh air. His hips slim and melting into the luscious curves of his thighs. Suddenly, the struggle which she had so long fought in the negative focused upon him with the material admiration and fantastic delight that can only end in the production of a revolutionary daring. More than anything she desired to fling herself upon his every estate and caress his spheres into a particular emancipation. Delving into his receding memory he remembered her enchained and then revelled as he imagined the two of them bound together in an all-round antithesis of more than radical chains.

Philosophy cannot realize itself without the transcendence [Aufhebung] of the proletariat, and the proletariat cannot transcend itself without the realization [Verwirklichung] of philosophy.

No longer mere voyeur, no longer the purely negative urge of theory, Criticism was herself transformed and overcome by the pleasure of every adversary, not only stripping man of his chains but allowing him to throw hers aside as well. With the subtle poetry of a revitalised imagination, they sought consolation in one another, plucking the living flower in a free act of mutual transcendence.

When all the inner conditions are met, the day of the German resurrection will be heralded by the crowing of the cock of Gaul.

From The Barbarian Review

Philosophy stands in the same relation to the study of the actual world as masturbation to sexual love.

– Karl Marx, The German Ideology

 

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