The beginning of wisdom lies in the recognition that there are contradictions whose permanent tension has to be lived and which one should never try to resolve; that reality is made up of distinct levels which have to be acknowledged in their specificity and never reduced to an ‘average’; that necessity knows no morality and morality no necessity; that the physical laws governing the workings of systems can never be translated into ethical rules, nor ethical rules into physical laws; that there is no system able to free us despite ourselves or make us happy or ‘moral’ behind our backs. For happiness, like morality, always consists in being able to realise freely chosen ends and to take as ends the actions that one realises.Andrew Gorz (1982) - Farewell to the Working Class
In relation to that Gorz quote I would say videogames have become one of those “spheres” that was supposed to separated from “real life”, which explains, once again, why “gam3rz” are so virulent in their defense of sexism, separate spheres, border patrolling, racism etc. It’s that “private sphere” that they shared with others which was conceived as their private garden, their summer cottage. Mass produced hobbies, mediated through gatekeepers like trade and enthusiast press is one reason why “games” became a private sphere.
Under monopoly capital we get mass production of private life with private homes and the monarchy of the bourgeois family. The bourgeois class created the private because it had the resources to manufacture a world distinct from the aristocracy and the monarchy while the previous classes, farmers and serfs had no concept of the private. Think about how brands are supposed to be private - they are families you bring into your kingdom because they are lifestyles and ideas and whatnot embodied as subjects - even if those subjects are just commodities. Brands, rather than products, become citizens of sorts and are represented by their various manifestations in your private kingdom.
I think that these things are then, in a sense, under your care as a sovereign and that the gardens, the houses, the collections, the games, are your responsibility to protect from the pressures of capitalism. Remember, this separate sphere is all we have outside of work itself. It’s this private sphere that is supposed to lend true meaning to our lives - not our shitty job that we grudgingly wake up for every day. This is where shit matters and as it happens when things are under your care you give a lot of damns when something appears to attack them.
These responses can often be healthy if they are things like our families and our friends. Our private joys, our pets, our heirlooms, the objects whose use value without a doubt transcends any kind of exchange value. This carries over, however, also to brands and hobbies and things that are just as emblematic of fascist and reactionary imaginaries. In videogame culture that has manifested as a kind of knee-jerk move towards defense at all costs. It’s this kind of Churchillesque war against the aggressors that has lead to the transphobic garbage that has taken place over the past few days, and that which was manifested against Anita Sarkeesian last year.
So what comes out isn’t so much entirely about a hatred of women (though much of it is) but also about the reaction against the drive of a more communal impulse to challenge that hegemony of the private sphere. To move against bourgeois values means to attack, in one sense, that autonomous sphere of production and reproduction of the monarchy of the home. It means to rip that tiny sphere of sovereignty that so many people, robbed of any other space of control in their lives through rampant capital accumulation, have. It also shows how the economic movements of our world come around and viciously react against things they seem so far away from.
Essentially, the ‘freedom’ which the majority of the population of the overdeveloped nations seeks to protect from ‘collectivisim’ and the ‘totalitarian’ threat, is the freedom to create a private niche protecting one’s personal life against all pressures and external obligations. This niche may be represented by family life, a home of one’s own, a back garden, a do-it-yourself workshop, a boat, a country cottage, a collection of antiques, music, gastronomy, sport, love etc. Its importance varies inversely with the degree of job satisfaction and in direct proportion with the intensity of social pressures. It represents a a sphere of sovereignty wrested (or to be wrested) from a world governed by the principles of productivity, aggression, competition, hierarchical discipline etc. Capitalism owes its political stability to the fact that, in return for the dispossession and growing constraints experienced at work, individuals enjoy the possibility of building an apparently growing sphere of individual autonomy outside of work.
Andre Gorz - Farewell to the Working Class
Want to a read a pretty fucking intense book that positions itself against dialectical materialism, is a kind of pseudo Sartre-ian (yet anti-humanist-Hegelian?) post-Marxist tome about how utterly unsaveable the means of production are? Why, just read Andre Gorz!
It is impossible at the present time to write history without using a whole range of concepts directly or indirectly linked to Marx’s thought and situating oneself within a horizon of thought which has been defined and described by Marx. One might even wonder what difference there could ultimately be between being a historian and being a Marxist.
Michel Foucault, Power/Knowledge (via howtotalktogirlsdialectically)