The Splenic Gaze

“The allegories of bourgeois culture do not find their truth content in an image of redeemed life, but, conversely, in an image of catastrophe. “Progress as catastrophe,” [in Benjamin’s language] therefore, is the sign under which the ruins of bourgeois civilization present themselves for decipherment to the splenic gaze of the allegorist, ‘The idea of progress must be based on the idea of catastrophe. That things have gone this far is the catastrophe. Catastrophe is not what threatens to occur at any given moment but what s given at any given moment. Strindberg’s conception: Hell is nothing that stands ahead of us – rather, this life in the present. The possibility of reconciliation has diminished correspondingly. Under such conditions, “Redemption preserves itself in a small crack in the continuum of catastrophe.”

p 130, Richard Wolin, Walter Benjamin Aesthetics of Redemption

Published by fldwrk

I am a painter.

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