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Olduvai III: Catacylsm
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The Performance is Over

The Performance is Over

Even if the artists don’t realise it.

Note: Last week’s comments got sidetracked into bad-tempered exchanges on climate change, which was not what the essay was about. I had several requests to delete comments that some people found offensive. I let them pass on that occasion, but as from now I will start deleting abusive comments. Discussion here has always been very civilised. Let’s keep it that way.

A reminder that Spanish versions of my essays are now available here. and some Italian versions of my essays are available here. Many thanks to the translators. Now on to the main feature.

Last week, I argued that the kind of crises that we can expect over the next few years will be beyond the ability of our enfeebled governments to tackle, and that in any case their room for manoeuvre to tackle them will be very limited. (If you think climate change is not a problem, fine, you can substitute any other of a long list of potentially ruinous events.) This week, I want to take the next logical step, of trying to begin to imagine what a society in which government could no longer deal with major problems would be like, and what the implications would be.

I want to discuss it via a consideration of the nature of Power. Now in English, “power” has generally-negative connotations, not helped by its incessant use by IdiotPol pundits, who are obsessed with it and see it everywhere. But “power” is derived from the medieval Anglo-French pouair with its roots in the Vulgar Latin potere, meaning “to be able to do something.” This is essentially the principal meaning of pouvoir in modern French: a good translation would be ‘capability.” (Foucault, who wrote about pouvoir a lot, was essentially interested in how things got done.)…

…click on the above link to read the rest…

Olduvai IV: Courage
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Olduvai II: Exodus
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