Skip navigation

My last post was accused of “trying to convince”, which i take to mean trying too hard to convince, and maybe being too argumentative. But i’ve been accused of this many times before.

That got me thinking about how we face ideas and how we fool ourselves.

And Derrida against Deleuze, obviously.

Back when i had a politicianical role, i remember always surprising myself at my own efficacy at lobbying. I would tell myself that so-an-so was the best option, and then despair of that ever being voted, and then i would go around having those pessimistic conversations with certain people, and the next thing you know my prefered option had been voted. Of course i did choose the people to talk to very carefully. But i never set out to convince anyone. I never felt i could do it. I never really saw myself as an important cog in the machine, so i never expected to be able to order anyone around, so i guess i resorted to sweet talking people.

When i was a kid, i found out that asking my mother for $10 never worked, but that if i asked her for $50, and then got refused, and then sorrowfully asked for the $10 as “consolation”, that this almost always worked.

Then stupidly i went and told her so, and the trick never worked again.

What i mean is that when you set out to manipulate people, you almost never outright try to. That it is almost always a bad tactic to tell people you are trying to convince them, or in any manner let them know that you are. This much is obvious.

From that you can easily see that if i am being argumentative, i either am a very bad writer, or i am not trying to convince you.

Most of the people that accuse me of being argumentative would never tell me i am stupid. Mostly they say that respecting me as an intelligent being, but also getting passive-agressive against me, taking me for a bearer of ill news and attacking me as such. If so, shouldn’t they assume i am aware that outright trying to convince them is idiotic?

In the case of the last post, the girl accusing me of this never considered the possibility that i was not trying to convince her of anything, and she didn’t because she knew exactly what i was trying to convince her of, and why. I was totally transparent and obvious to her. Except she was totally wrong.

Namelly, the post is about how “just sex” is never as simple as that. We had a fling some time ago, in which i was her plaything. She thought the post was trying to convince her that we should have a relationship. But the post was actually about why my current relationship is way better than the one i had with her.

So it is pretty pathetic of her to assume i want to convince her of anything. But she fools herself because it makes her feel good. Which is very human. And in that case, all the power to her, i really hope she does never read this post here, and i really wish she keeps believing she is the rocks. But i also do know that i understood her better than she did me, both now and back when we had something. Her unwillingness to see herself as unimportant does diminish her importance, a lot.

(For the record, i do not hate her or anything, i think she is hot and cool, i wish all the best for her!)

One of the consequences of all of this is that you should fear the guy who flatters you much more than the guy who is “trying to convince you”.

Of course, our overly marketised society is flooded with people trying to sell you stuff, which is a very similar thing, and you should beware those, certainly. But that is the easy part.

That should be the easy part, at least. But in some cases it isn’t. And particularly when it comes to ideas, it isn’t.

So for example. Deleuse.

I take Deleuse for a motherfucking reactionary, a Catholic at heart, someone who would look down on you if your university credentials were not as good as his, a stupid navel-gazer who never cares about anyone else and sells his prejudices as libertarianism. I could go on, i just don’t care about him enough. But the thing is, Deleuse is almost universally seen as the defender of chaos and anarchy and creativity and freedom.

It just happens that the freedom he proposes is a freedom under his rule, that you are free as long as you heed papa Deleuse’s advice always. But he never presents himself as such. He makes a very ellaborate point of presenting himself as unorthodox. He wastes a ton of effort to look like his ideas are not rules to be followed.

Which means, he tries to look like he is not trying to convince you of anything.

(As my sole piece of evidence, i present that i read one chapter of “Mille Plateau” were he purports to define the nomad. I am a nomad. He describes something that is completely NOT what i am. Of course, if he was just wrong about the concept, that would be OK, i am wrong about a lot of things, but that is not really what is going on. He is not giving a bad definition of nomadism there, he is stealing the concept for himself, and twisting it for his own purposes. If i accepted any of his bull, i would be less of a nomad. But he pretends to be defending the nomads. And he never left his comfy teacher chair, the bastard. This other guy knows better what a nomad is. So there.)

Now take Derrida. At first glance, both are pretty much the same thing. Overly wordy french teachers that defend a form of hippie culture. But Derrida is the butt joke of everyone who complains about philosophers who write very hard to read stuff. Derrida never shies away from telling you he is trying to convice you. He even goes so far as telling you he is trying to convince you of stuff that is really awkward, and that if you believe him you are entering very hard territory. But in the end his ideas are much more open, much less restrictive.

If you quote Derrida, you are likely saying something new. Whereas if you quote Deleuse, you are likely rehashing some of his bull.

The point of this whole thing being that: It is easy to ascribe intentions to everyone around us. It is even very easy to go full Foulcault and claim every text must have an intention. But it is probably more true that every text has many intentions, that those intentions are messy and confused, and that mostly we can’t read even the simple ones. And so, sometimes, it is better to take words for toys, to play with the ideas instead of pretending they are part of a grandiose plan to either save the world or enslave it. Because in fact we can’t really take ideas seriously before we play with them.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: