Smile

“’Elitists’ are those whose thought is abstract because it is concerned with the deadly abstractions which dominate our lives”. Bravo.

Just as laughable (or irresponsible) as the charge of “elitism” is the charge of “negativity”: apparently there are too many people going around critiquing “whatever one might critique”, too many professional snipers, or, one suspects, too many politicised philosophers.

Could it perhaps be that these politicised philosophers see something you don’t, that philosophy was always linked to the good life, and that the good life is sorely absent? In a world gone awry positivity can no longer be approached immediately, with naivety; it emerges if at all in what is unsaid in critique. Critique itself does no more than attest to the contradiction, the illusions in what is. Approached immediately the positive courts reaction, and affirmation lends a semblance of legitimacy to injustice. It was no coincidence that Nietzsche championed affirmation but wilfully rejected democracy and socialism. He who “cautiously adapts to this world by this very act shares in its madness”, Adorno once wrote. To those who have an inkling of the “a priori pain” (Sloterdijk) which critical theory articulates, affirmation and positivity always smack of the luxurious, the deck-chair rearranging, the smile which is now paid for with your coffee.