By Jean-Marie Vincent
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Additional resources for Abstract Labour: A Critique
Author's Preface to the English Edition xxix social exchanges. He wanted a polarity to be maintained between individuality and sociality, that is, the possibility for individuals to take their distance from the social in which they are immersed, in order to plunge back in with new interrogations. There should not be complete continuity between subjectively produced meanings and significant objective structures, but rather, precisely, permanent elements of discontinuity that prevent the individual and the social from becoming rigid.
We now know that the 'great doctrines' or the theodicies disguised as philosophies of history are bankrupt and that the human and social sciences are ridding themselves little by little of the great schemas of explanation. This should be applauded and the narrow spirit of systems or schools of thought should be quietly repudiated. But at the same time it must be gradually and painfully rediscovered that thought needs interrogations - that the displacement of horizons and points of view is indispensable to thought, for it must live in a constant state of tension.
The world is no longer perfectible and must be taken as it is; all that can be sought is to limit the negative consequences for humanity. The elevation of reason and its powers to the status of myth has given way to a sort of self-mutilation of rationality, stripped of its reflexive capacities (the power to turn back towards itself) and transformed into a mere auxiliary resource in the face of constraint and necessity. Reason may well multiply the powers of humanity over the environment and natural processes, but it cannot be a guide for mastering these powers and grasping their meaning.
Abstract Labour: A Critique by Jean-Marie Vincent