Tagged: Benjamin

Allegorie und Revolte bei Baudelaire und Blanqui. Walter Benjamins Zeugen der Urgeschichte des 19. Jahrhunderts

  “Alles Ständische und Stehende verdampft, alles Heilige wird entweiht”[1] – Marx berühmte Formel aus dem Kommunistischen Manifest, die die Umwälzung der gesellschaftlichen Verhältnisse durch das Fortschreiten der kapitalistischen Produktionsweise beschreibt, darf auch für die Geschichte der Sprache in der...

Schweigen, Streiken, Vergessen. Mit Walter Benjamin für eine Dialektik der Aktivierung durch Passivierung

“Die grössten Ereignisse – das sind nicht unsre lautesten, sondern unsre stillsten Stunden.” – Friedrich Nietzsche “durch Passivsein zu siegen. Durch Erleiden Macht zu bekommen.” – Bertolt Brecht   Als man Kierkegaard 1843 den Zug zeigte, der ihn nach Berlin...

Derrida & Sons: Marx, Benjamin, and the Specter of the Messianic

Taking its cue from Derrida’s late figure of a messianicité sans messianisme, a messianic without messianism, a structural messianism without religion, this article is concerned with a  materialist – if not atheist – reading of the messianic. It is in Derrida where we can grasp the paradoxical structure of a messianic promise that can not be reduced to Judeo-Christian theology proper or, as others have argued, a theological turn of deconstructivism. Although messianic thought has its origins in the Jewish tradition, especially in the trends of Jewish mysticism, Derrida’s point of reference is of different nature. It was Walter Benjamin’s peculiar sort of Marxism who enlisted the services of messianic theology undermining – if not suspending – the instrumental logic of master and servant or, as his famous allegory of the chess automaton has it, puppet and dwarf.

Nihilism, Destruction, Negativity. Walter Benjamin and the ‘Organization of Pessimism’

Equally repudiated by today’s neo-liberal, left-liberal, and neo-conservative ideologies, the legacy of nihilism takes the position of an “accursed share” (Georges Bataille). Although nihilism as a political, philosophical, and ethical concept can be traced back to the most influential strands of post-Nietzschean thought and modern continental philosophy, it retains a bad name. Contemporary philosophies of agency, creativity, and communitarianism all agree that nihilism eventually leads to defeatism, destruction, or violence. Nihilism thus is mostly associated with destructive anarchism, right-wing or left-wing extremism.