[OPE-L:7877] Re: John Holloway on time

From: John Holloway (johnholloway@prodigy.net.mx)
Date: Wed Oct 30 2002 - 23:25:57 EST


    Many thanks for your comments.

    I haven't read Bergson, but have been aware that I ought to. I hope I
can get around to it soon. 

    In relation to value, it does seem to me that the labour theory of value
is above all a critique of the object's negation of the subject which
created it. (If the recently much discussed VFT - value form theory - does
not mean this, then surely it ought to.) This surely also means a critique
of the notion that an object has a durable existence independent of the
labour which creates and re-creates it (through use), a critique, therefore
of duration. I suspect the critique of value can be extended to a critique
of nouns in general, since nouns deny the verbs which constitute them. This
would make communism the movement of verbs against nouns - a
self-determining society, in other words. 

>From: Rakesh Bhandari <rakeshb@stanford.edu>
>To: ope-l@galaxy.csuchico.edu
>Subject: [OPE-L:7872] John Holloway on time
>Date: Tue, Oct 29, 2002, 7:08 PM

>thanks to Jerry for the commoner website.
>Time to Revolt
>Reflections on Empire (1)
>John Holloway
>(October 2002)
>>The negation of doing is the homogenisation of time. To deny 
>>social-purposive doing is to subordinate doing to being, to that 
>>which is. The doing of today is subordinated to the doing of 
>>yesterday, the doing of tomorrow can only be conceived as a 
>>continuation of the doing of today. Time then becomes tick-tick 
>>time, clock time, like a length of railway track. Tick-tick time 
>>measures duration, a being separated from doing, an existence 
>>separated from constitution. Capitalism is the separating of objects 
>>from their subjects, of things which are from the doing that made 
>>them, of existence from constitution. This separating creates 
>>duration, the notion that things 'are', independent of the doing 
>>which created them. Value, for instance, appears to have an 
>>existence independent of the self-divided doing which created it: 
>>Marx's Capital (the labour theory of value) is above all an attack 
>>on duration, a critique of the separation of existence and 
>>constitution, a restoration in thought of the doing denied by 
>>One of the great advantages of this homogeneous time, duration-time, 
>>is that it can be broken up into periods, into lengths of time. This 
>>is crucial to the organisation of work in the factory and in the 
>>office and in the schools and universities. Homogeneous time is 
>>crucial in the organising of the doing of others for whom doing is 
>>purpose-less, object-less labour. But it goes further than that. It 
>>permeates our social thought, the way we shape and think about our 
>>social relations. Time becomes stodgy, almost solid, something that 
>>can be cut into wedges, into periods, into paradigms, a million 
>>miles removed from the timeless-time of intense love or engagement. 
>>But communism, a world in which we shape our own doing, a world in 
>>which doing is emancipated from being, a world in which doing and 
>>being, constitution and existence are explicitly reunited, can then 
>>be conceived only as a world in which we break the homogeneity of 
>>time, a world in which duration is shattered, in which time is not a 
>>long railway track or a slice of pizza, but tends towards the 
>>intensity of the Jetztzeit (now-time) of Benjamin (1973) or the nunc 
>>stans of Bloch (1964), towards the timeless-time of all-absorbing 
>>love or engagement.
>An interesting comparison here may be with Henri Bergson who 
>constrasted homogeneous  time with what he meant by duration, a 
>notoriously elusive but key concept for which a flowing melody was 
>used as an example of the interpenetration of the only apparently 
>spatially separate past, present and future.  John treats homogeneous 
>time and duration as synonyms, though I wonder whether he has the 
>same distinction as Bergson's in mind?
>John's work raises so many questions. I am only now beginning to 
>think through his very stimulating work. Of course approaching John's 
>comments here through the work of Bergson may not be very 
>illuminating. But I was just reminded of him because of John's usage 
>of homogeneous time and duration and because I had been reading a 
>draft of a chapter on Bergsonian vitalism. So this may well be a 
>false lead.
>Yours, Rakesh

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