Tangentially (but eventually related, I promise): I don't entirely agree with the "fuck theory, if you can't say it in a simple sentence, it's worthless" camp, though I think that effort is important, to an extent. The anti-theory approach I really oppose is that which says "fuck theory, let's go back to when we were all just humans cooperating and we didn't need theory to tell us what to do." It sounds sexy and utopic, but it is anachronistic, patrician, and infantilizing of human history.
Theory has always existed in the forms of cosmology, cosmovision, epistemology, etc. To deny that those who came before us had complex ways of understanding how and why they lived the way they did is to deny hundreds of generations of intellectual and philosophical pursuits. It also sterilizes our complex relationship to the present and disallows ideas and systems from the messiness and contradiction that arise organically.
Those things have long been important and useful to humans. Theory, generally, is important and useful to us. Talking out ideas, thought experiments, abstracting from perceived reality, questioning methods: all good and useful. Naturally, not everyone engages to the same extent. Not all ideas are useful to everyone. Nothing is monolithic. Theory isn't the end-all-be-all. Without action, it's not worth much. But the same is true in reverse.
Here's the related part: so I get frustrated when I see theory vs. praxis arguments. Y'all. Both are right. Both are necessary. And they do not apply in equal measure in all situations.
But also, "teaching the common folk" xyz dialectics isn't going to be your biggest hurdle (this is such a patronizing argument, don't get me started). It also won't automatically spell victory and revolution (as if) . In both cases, the lead up to Allende's presidency in Chile is illustrative.
What's going to make a lasting and cascading impact is embracing the discomfort of unlearning on a broad scale. We can't do that without theorizing how. We can't do that without implementing its practice.
@bedap Would you mind expounding on that a bit? I see the utopic snd anachronistic but not yet the patrician and infantilizing.
@mkb patrician and infantilizing because it tends to assume that today we're advanced and complex and have fancy things like theory, but in the past we were simple, unconcerned with the abstract, and lived without giving it any thought.
It's like a kind of modern exceptionalism that condescends to the past and denies it complexity, imo.
Makes sense. Thanks for clarifying!
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