20220221134307 📃 remarks on the secrets of capital
Note on the univocity of capital:
¶1. For all practical purposes, as we have said, the secret of capital is its univocity (as in Dewey) and in (as Marx has said) uniting exchange and use value. Now, both of these are really multivocal (equivocal) - this is capital considered in its social or necessarily discursive aspect. Capital stakes itself on being a one which allows this many. This is its essential schizoid power which, as Marx says in the Grundrisse and the Communist Manifesto, melts all things and continuously reconstitutes them. It is a one in and for the many. From this vantage, which is the literary or “zoon” or “animal” (as spirted and ensouled) vantage, man is a moving and as Plato has said, an intermediary between being and non-being. In this respect, he is insofar as he is a moment of being’s full manifestation.
¶2. The socio-cognitive secret of univocity is that it collapses this necessary and universally-recognized FACT into itself as a hardened “this,” pre-given, ready-made, and therefore closed to itself. But if we take the necessity of multivocity to its conclusions, then this fact self-contradicts itself, for the very condition for belief in closed univocity is multivocity. Therefore, discourse always precedes belief, and belief in a one is really always changing in and through its encounters with an other.
¶3. Here is the onto-epistemic, immanently other, aspect of capital and, therefore, its secret incoherence. This secret bubbles over into its use, so that all men of any hint of critical feeling in themselves know it. Of course, they have not derived it. They merely sense it, and so critique men for their misuse of capital, rather than capital itself as a condition for that very misuse. They have maintained capital’s ready-made power, and have merely undertaken to critique those who have distorted it. With me, capital itself is the CONDITION for any and all distortions, because it is none other than the INVITATION thereof and therefore.
¶4. This much is a secret because it reveals capital as a social power not only among men, but BY men. The beauty of this revelation is that men are opened up to the possibility of its reform, if only in contingency to this derived revelation. That is, a bank is one step and one moment in bourgeois institutions. The development of a proletarian ideology and epistemology qua Marx is not necessarily an overthrow of such an institution. Rather, it begins here, or more properly in Marx, with the illocution that one and many can reform that which is already in movement, capital. The question is - how?
¶5. Clearly, (1) personal resistance (2) group indexicality (3) proletarian institutions. Here, the first is merely a seeking-always to say-as-felt, melting all hard and fast fixtures of bourgeois social normalcy. By doing this in common, in a group, new fixtures arise in radical immanence to the illocutions. I do not assume you as “this,” for I have heard you speak as you! All that is left is you as you, and all categories fall as mere shades and phantoms cast by the light of your face onto that Golgotha of privacy, the vale of tears. Here you outstrip me, you I see, and you I feel! All my categories decimate under the pressure of your being, and I encounter that deep Ungrund of which Boehme saw only in the Dark.
¶6. Now, in (2) we risk cultishness, as has elsewhere been said. For, as a One, capital is the universal solvent and, in Christian terms, the formulable essence wherewith the priest (the banker) transforms bread into flesh (desire into living objects). In this way, meaning-relations, or relations of equivocity, are reduced into exchange-relations, or relations of univocity. In this way, the cultus ceases to have an us-them character and is instead all-embracing as a One-over-Many. The internal maniness is a moment of its oneness, and its oneness of a moment of its maniness. Capital is therefore a vicious circle, a cyclone whose internal logic sucks all Meaningful and Exchangeable tendency into itself. The banker is the high priest of capital, and the purchase is its sacrament. It is one of such sacraments, labor the other. Labor is to baptism as purchase is to confirmation. Whereas in the church these are once and done (a One which induces men into the Many-meanings of the cult), in capital they are many, (a Many-meant set of actions which induce men into One object, capital and its exchange-relations).
¶7. This is capital’s secret inversion of meaning. What was before a dogma preceding action is now action preceding dogma. What was before a dogma of action is now an active dogma. In the first, I mean virtues and commitments of belief, which directs action. In the second, I mean actions of labor and purchase, which direct belief in capital as a means thereto.
¶8. Thus, to discuss (2) is to risk an inversion back to the cultus, for we have exchanged capital-oneness for meaning-maniness. This is the essential critique of Marxism from the standpoint of capitalists - Marxism has forgotten the essential (and by Marx’s own terms, absolute) innovation of capital. Now we could take this doubly. First, a meaning-capital-meaning circuit could be sketched of history, so that new dogmas must precede new modes of capital exchange. In this way, capital never dies, but is only reconstituted perpetually as a social relation. Second, a meaning-capital-unknown process may be sketched, so that meaning is sublated through capital into the unknown, communism. This view is Engels at his most dense and inflexible. Here he has, unfortunately, slipped into the ideals of the cultus.
¶9. The task of Marxism qua ideology and theory is to take up capital as a critical object for reformation. Now, this occurs (1) through man-to-man relations, (2) group meaning-making, and (3) political reform, as said above. This process is already in movement. The key question: how do we expedite it?
This line appears after every note.