Capitalism Is Real



hello zero books readers this video will attempt to define reality we'll be taking a look at four books weird realism the prince and the wolf the writing on the wall and a surfs journal in order to look at four different explanations of reality or four different ontological propositions the first two books are clearly aimed at the question what is real while the second set our books on radical politics and we'll have to tease out metaphysical propositions the question what is real is one of those long-standing philosophical queries that comes across as ponderous at first flush it's the kind of question a college professor might ask in order to impress a co-ed at a party he shouldn't be at in the first place could be like one tiny atom in the fingernail of some other giant being what we're going to consider here however is a possibility that far from being a diversion or merely academic how you conceive of reality can have some profound political implications for instance in Graham Harmons weird realism he suggests that reality is a Lovecraftian monster for Harman every object in the world is like a Lovecraftian monster and so much as objects can never be reduced to their qualities nor can they be understood through relations with other objects quite the contrary in fact what's real about an object is how it withdraws from other objects objects hide their essence in a realm outside all relations just like Cthulhu objects withdrawn from any relation they might have and they can be of all different sizes objects are not ultimate tiny things as I was saying earlier they can be at any layer of size and scale there's also the additional interesting problem that if objects are withdrawn from each other we don't know how they can make contact at all in a book entitled the prince and the wolf the philosophers Latour and Hartmann can be found if not actually interacting then at least appearing to interact the book is a transcript of a debate specifically it is a record of Harmons attempt to confront Latour with objects Harmon rejects the tors depiction of reality as consisting of networks of relations as fascinating as the prince in the wolf is and it's an intricately academic and yet legitimately funny debate between two modern-day men who have the audacity to call themselves philosophers it's also a bit of insider baseball the tour and Harmon are at base on the same side they're both part of a project that dates back to the beginning of the 20th century at least a project to overturn dualism now as you know they caught mm was one of the founders of the new signs that is of modern physics and part of his scheme for launching the science dependent upon like the same kind of split between consciousness and the external world the mind schematized nature for quantitative measures for calculation for the purpose of manipulating nature and at the same time the human subject the consciousness doing that was set off against it so you what came out of it was the second kind of dualism between mind and the external world what I want to suggest is that we should want to hold on to Descartes and his dualism it may seem strange to hold on to Cartesian dualism a schema that is nearly 400 years old and that seems to rely on unjustifiable belief in ghosts or souls and even God does perhaps more than old-fashioned we want to split the world as he did to divide reality in half with an object on one side and a subject on the other the world that we are forced to accept as false and nothing is true then everything is possible but it is a split that cannot be avoided if we conceive of ourselves as self-conscious and free people we might ask ourselves for example how it could be that a world that was merely a network of relations or a world that consisted of isolated objects that were always and forever beyond our grasp could be bent and altered we might wonder how it's possible to resist the conditions of such a world and just who might change it antara taps book a surf's journal the story of the United States longest wildcat strike tap relates an exchange of letters between the president of the Teamsters Local 89 and himself dear Jeff boat employees we explained to Jeff boat employees this morning that local 89 has not authorised to strike at Jeff mode the company has notified us that the union's notice of reopening the contract was not sent to the company 60 days prior to contract expiration on April 29th 2001 therefore the contract automatically renews for an additional year until April 29th 2002 this includes the no strike clause it's important that all jeff boat employees in there strike and report to work jeff boat has a right to discipline and perhaps discharge employees for violating the no strike clause we do not want anyone to put his or her job in jeopardy therefore we urge you to return to work we're doing our very best along with your negotiating committee to find a way to solve this problem and get the best contract we can we will report to you as soon as we have more information fraternal II Fred Zukerman president of local 89 Perry writes I didn't want him to feel left out so I wrote him back May 3rd 2001 dear Fred Zuckerman we no longer give a damn what you did or did not explain to us the company may notify you about any contract it wants but we workers have no contract and we have no no strike clause we find it pretty damn disturbing that you our representative and the company are so friendly with one another maybe you don't see why that bothers us so let me tell you why you see we work hard we weld we drive cranes we rig and fit steel and put in piping and paint and try to figure out that crappy blueprints the company gives us with our brains and our hands we create the wealth that makes the world run and it makes scum like you rich but even though it is we the workers make the world come alive through our labor the wealth we create is pinched out of our hands and put into the pockets of stockholders and company management isn't that a shame the working person the person that makes the wealth is poor and the parasite sits on their head is rich when you think about that you realize that we working people have to stick together so that we can slowly make the world a good and fair place by putting wealth back into the hands of the people who made it deserve to reap the full fruit of their labor we call that sort of sticking together a union now Fred when you betray working people and plot behind their backs that's not a union that's treachery and betrayal you're a coward Fred and a scab we urge you to take a flying fuck Jeff boat workers flying squadron for truth and justice get a hold on yourself man's been hurt I'm sorry about it as you are savvy accidents are costly to everyone to the company most of all I see no reason to treat the occasion like a paid holiday suppose we all get back to work Bobby all right now there's the excitement's okay let's get to it today Oh what are they saying no savvy Barnes what about it tell them how to get back to work they don't work for me I worked for them per tap there was a definitive divide between his fellow workers and the institutions that ran the world and more importantly there was a divide between those institutions and the world as an object rather than viewing himself and his friends and co-workers at Jeff boat has caught in a network of relations that defined them he saw himself and his friends as subjects with the power to grab hold of the objects of the world and rearrange them rather than seeing himself as just one more monstrous object in a sea of objects he saw himself as a potential subject of his own life and of society what does this mean this means that precise you remember how I mentioned to you this paradox before how can our common sense Eddie do we think an object is there we are finite became of ever fully dressed with Soviet or multiple perspectives but for from a more radical materials stance no without becoming subjective no we should think that precisely that one fully constituted object is constructed to us deciding that is no again but the key reality in the cell is incomplete ontologically open fluid and so on however it's important to understand that the wildcat strike ended that it was ultimately a failure even it was a failure because while Terry and his friends were temporarily subjects at Jeff boat they were not able to become the driving subjects of society more broadly that is they were not able to take hold of more than what was immediate and obvious they did not reshape the world of objects by imposing a new subjectivity on the world in Altima oppas the writing on the wall he explains how capitalism and its various categories structure our world currently he applies Marxist conceptions of value to concrete political questions and by doing so he argues that our social being or social ontology is both the product of actions and events arising out of our subjectivity and the concretization the meaning of those actions in the objective world capitalism is not the conspiracy acted out by capitalists on unsuspecting workers it is not a political project or a plan enacted by bosses but is a system that operates objectively in order to mediate our collective social life it is a background the assumptions the contours on the canvas so we've created in order to render our individual and collective lives it is a historically derived context we live within and which through action we could change specifically capitalism is a mode of social production today is Thursday there are 1,200 minutes of productivity remaining before the weekend at the start of this video I promised to define the real so what is real what's real is the world of commodities of Labor the markets and of money in other words what is real is capital and this real thing called capital while born out of human subjectivity has turned us all into objects




Comments
  1. I watch you guys almost daily. While I work building a data center with loud cranes and generators and machinery and tools…. I just wish the sound quality was better. Anyway. Keep up the good work. You help to inspire me to create content of my own! Solidarity!

  2. Ring of Fire radio just threw out a report by some scientists on religious fundamentalism being tied to frontal cortex damage.
    I wonder how fragile we really are

  3. Holy shit.
    "Our solar system could be an atom in a fingernail" is exactly what part of my own deductions about the existence of God was but regarding the endless multiverse.
    I love being an atheist sometimes.

  4. There is no distinction between what is viewed and the viewer for one implies the others existence

  5. Aren’t all definitions of what is real arbitrary and designed to fit a particular model of the „known“

  6. Ah fucking hellz Nah! Capital is NOT "real". Capitalism IS a conspiracy fomated by the evil rich!! Capitalism IS a mass hysterical delusion 'cause cuz, you can always print more money.

  7. WHat does Zizek say at 10:33 i feel like that part is extremely important and i can't understand it. "…" that is no reality(?) or something? Any ideas?

  8. Geezuz Douglas! How about not allowing capitalism and commodification of society to get under your skin so badly. “Reality” is likely a lot more vast than any definition can capture. Definitions like this have no claim on truth, they merely frame and delimit the scope of your thought. People should not get so depressed about the current perceptions of reality which capitalism inspires. This sh*t will pass.

  9. The spectacle, as defined by DeBord is consumerism (and capitalism by proxy as it is the vehicle of social production that lead into consumerism), it pervades all aspects of our lifeworlds into the very fabric of our being and understanding of continued existence.

    Don't get me wrong, as far as systems go, I would argue it is far from the worst, ideally your 'labour' has social value (money in the terms we understand), and you can 'spend' that value on things you like and want to see more of (giving agency within the constraints of the system), which pays others the value of their labour, and creates a supply/demand chain that empowers what is popular and leaves the unpopular things to rot (which has a strong feeling of democracy attached).

    Putting aside the problems with the core of capitalist idealism in a production based society (and there are many), the real issues I would argue come in at that tipping point where a society shifts into mainly consumption based, as this point is where you have either massive outsourcing of labour or technology that replaces workers (or some portion of labour freely, or at some negligible cost) responsible for that shift, which further distorts labour value and the very idea of education and specialisation. At times this idealism has actually quite literally broken capitalism (too big to bust, golden parachutes, corporate subsidies etc etc), and often stifles technological/scientific/social advancement in the fear of how they might impact our fragile global/local economic balancing and/or labour value structures, rather than embracing betterment of life, we fear how that impacts our bank statements and begin to measure and attach new value meanings to suit this warped system.

    Not to mention what the continuation of into extremes of consumerist ideology has done to societal morality (examples of which are myriad and often extremely disturbing, cough advertising to children cough cough). It seems the creation of abundance through relatively well valued labour and mass production creates a large "middle class" that is predominantly democratic, and actual democracy is a threat to autocracy and monopoly (which are also a threat to capitalist idealism, but often are the driving forces of its historical actualities), which obviously conflicts with the winner/loser dynamic that capitalism runs by and the ideal of being the best in a particular business.

    Gah, I do try to be succinct but that's a lot of text, and I cut a paragraph out too lol. >.>

  10. Don't You LOve The Dead Jew?Paul Stringini3 months agoI can accept Marxism as immanent, like a virus is immanent to the body. It should be recognized as such, and rigorously opposed, all the time (I don't expect it to go away).<—-As a Born Again Blood Washed Christian Paul talks to Jesus before he goes out to Kill Sinners, and he talks to Jesus after he comes home covered with Blood And Guts. The Holy War against Marx. Christians only Virtue is they Now Bury their Dead instead of Eating Them. And that is a very recent phenomenon .

  11. 1:36 That sounds cute but… WTF DOES ANY OF THIS WORDPLAY MEAN? I'm sure these guys aren't full of shit, they're just too profound for us mere mortals to understand. 🤯

  12. What buggers me is, in all of these discussions about capitalism, why does no one talk about one of it's greatest evils; turning that which was not scarce into something which IS scarce and therefore sellable. Like the 1938 Agricultural Adjustment Act that had FDR's men bulldoze over farms and destroy food just so the prices of food could go back up.

    Capital died its natural death during the Great Depression, but the truth is, we have done everything in our power to keep it alive. It is hooked to an IV whose colostomy bag is filled with artificial scarcity, the cost of which to produce are millions of human lives that could have been saved if capital did not thirst for scarcity.

  13. Perhaps the problem is mixing abstract thought with politics. As self aware beings, we are never satisfied. If our environment is comfortable, we begin to question that comfort, some may see it as an illusion, a cover up to underlying "problems" that we cannot see. By over thinking our current comfortable position, some may take it as a reason to act out against these "problems" and establish a new movement/order. This is called paranoia, socialists are full of it, what they don't realize is that if they didn't try to other think everything, they could live comfortably. We must realize that no matter what, life will always be chaotic, some lives more than others. No system will change that.

  14. Still hard to believe Alex Jones is in Waking Life! I mean it makes sense because Linklater is from Austin TX etc but goddamn!

  15. Commies always focus on the corporate side of capitalism, they never focus on the self-employed individual trading his skills to other individuals for capital. I'm skeptical of this consistently macroscopic view. It is the kind of thinking that gets hundreds of millions killed, because the man-made machinery of communism is even more heartless and brutal than the machinery of capitalism already is.

  16. What audacity to confuse the imaginary for the real. The real isn't capital or commodity. They are the sublimations of the real. The real is the physical, material, constraints from which there is no escape, in which social fantasy must operate within or collapse.

    The real is the underlying threat of starvation and eviction that compels the proletariat to labor for subsistence. It is the requirement to consume in order to justify one's existence. Your "real" is petit bourgeois liberalism that exists symbolically within the material constraints. Your reality shatters when confronted by the trauma of the real. Your reality shaped by commodity means nothing when you are confronted with eviction having no where to go, with hunger having nothing to eat, with gruelling, endless labor having no hope of escape because of proximity to hunger and exposure, or with an emergency having no means of recovery.

    As you're trying to define the real you're abstracting it. There is nothing more real than the noose around your neck. Evolution is shaped to respond to this material reality, yet you suggest that the material is in the nature of commodification.

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