Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Blog Post #4

In his essay Cognitive Mapping, Jameson’s discussion on the dilemma of Marxism strikes me:

It is, as well, supremely social and cultural, involving the task of trying to imagine how a society without hierarchy, a society of free people, a society that has at once repudiated the economic mechanisms of the market, can possibly cohere. (355)

In short, according to Jameson, the dilemma is how to imagine utopia. So according to this theory, Marxism's problem is that a communist society is unimaginable and therefore it is not possible to map it? I have difficulty understanding this statement. Does the difficulty of imagining a communist society lie in the fact that we do not live in one at the moment? So that communism does not enter the cultural/ideological system of mapping, and that it does not constitute a piece of the totality of the world that we carry in our head? But then isn’t this a problem that anything that is new and potentially subversive has to deal with? How do we ever initiate change if change is impossible unless it is first mapped in that totality? And how does this relate to the Jameson’s discussion on the League of Black Revolutionary Workers:

Most ironic in our context, however, is the very success of their failure: the representation – the model of this complex spatial dialectic-triumphantly survives in the form of a film and a book, but in the process of becoming an image and a spectacle, the referent seems to have disappeared, as so many people from Debord to Baudrillard always warned us it would. (352)

Does the movement enter a process of deformation precisely as it starts to work on creating an image of itself, making itself imaginable? Should we see it as incorporating itself into the totality as it does so? And, is it because of this incorporation that it ultimately comes to its own disappearance? If that’s the case, how do political movements find a way to represent themselves while avoiding this fate?

By Qian Yin

Anna Fisher session