The conversations of youth continue without pause, not because they have so much to say, but because they cannot bear the silence.
And so it was last night, with old friends round the various tables of various pubs, talking earnestly of what new things have been learnt. The learning of concepts, new conceits, has taken a nosedive. Ways of processing, dealing with information, coping with conflict and strain however have all been acquired to a greater degree.
But it is to the learning of concepts that I wish to return, and so it is to the bookshops and bookshelves that I journey. Sitting yesterday, reading Badiou, there were ideas I found clarified for the first time. Ideas too embarrassing to mention, ideas I should have thought of five years ago, more even.
All my most recent thoughts – no, clarifications – have been about politics, the way humans choose to govern themselves. Of course within this are so many more questions; is it choice, is it government, are there selves? But the real interest lies in the reflexive nature of politics in the truest sense, the imposition of liberties, the freedom of restraint, the way the whole shapes the individual who in turn shapes the whole.
(As I say, the actuality of the dialogue here is something else, is questionable. However the cyclical theory behind social organisation is what fascinates.)
Unsurprising then, that I find myself quickly drawn into Badiou’s The Century, having never encountered him, unsure as to whether he is loathed by those who are better informed than I and whose opinions I respect [see right]. I was drawn into The Century having read the daringly obsequious Zizek quote on the cover (almost daring you to not fucking buy it. Go on - ruin your life! Why this attracted me I am still not sure, because I know not of Zizek either and, indeed, until yesterday thought he was a woman – that too requires further investigation).
The premise is simple – to examine the twentieth century from within itself, to see what it claims about itself. I long to see the predication at work, the setting up of the century’s documentation and texts as self-condemnation or definition. The establishment of circular or self-aware arguments that factor in their own findings is a feat of reasoning I could lose myself in for hours.
Currently, all the fiction I write features a narrator, a narrator aware of the closed circle in which he resides, aware that the only escape is to imagine other closed circles and what their contradictions say. This as a conceit, for the time being, worth exploring.