Separation

by cominsitu

dolphins class struggle

In the cauldron of the negative – Jean-Marc Mandosio 

The fear of seeing the situationist theses degraded into an ideology (as had taken place with Marxism, for example, or with surrealism) is the origin of this mistrust towards the very idea that there could be a situationist “doctrine”. However, to the extent that the situationists attempted to formulate a coherent and “unitary” critique of society, it is not illegitimate to try to isolate this coherence and this unity. Moreover, everyone knows that even a hallucination has a logical structure; so there might not be a “situationism” but there is of course a situationist system of thought, which was enriched and became more precise with the passage of time. In order to demonstrate the coherence (or the incoherence) of a system of thought, the best and indeed the only way to do so is to address it more geometrico, according to the “method of geometry”, as exemplified by Euclid, Descartes or Spinoza. . . This treatment will be applied here to a particular question, but one that bears a decisive importance according to the situationists themselves: the theory of revolution. Such an examination might seem “anti-situationist”, insofar as it reveals what we could call a logic of the impossible. 

PROPOSITION 1

A phenomenon called separation or alienation exists.

This proposition cannot be demonstrated by reason; it is not, however, properly speaking, a , since the reality of alienation can be confirmed by individuals in their everyday experience.

PROPOSITION 2

Separation is not a phenomenon that is inherent to all human societies; it has a historical origin.

This proposition is neither demonstrable by reason nor is it verifiable by experience; it is therefore a postulate.

PROPOSITION 3

The cause of separation resides in a certain form of social organization.

This proposition seems to be derived from the one immediately preceding it, but it is actually a postulate.

PROPOSITION 4

If this social organization disappears, separation will not exist.

This proposition is derived from the previous one.

PROPOSITION 5

The state in which individuals find themselves when separation does not exist is called freedom.

Freedom thus defined does not need to be given a positive content.

PROPOSITION 6

The existence of separation exercises negative effects on the lives of individuals.

In effect, these individuals only have two choices in this matter:

A) Accept alienation; this behavior is paid for with the deprivation of freedom and a certain number of afflictions that are directly linked to this acceptance (occupational illnesses, madness, accelerated aging), not to mention the misery of the condition that results from it.

B) Reject alienation; this behavior is paid for with death or various punishments that tend to cause individuals to choose, either voluntarily or by necessity, choice A.

PROPOSITION 7

The suppression of separation exercises a positive effect on the lives of individuals.

This proposition remains unproven; it does, however, possess a certain degree of probability, to the extent that it is demonstrated (according to the previous proposition) that alienation exercises such negative effects that its suppression is desirable, regardless of the consequences of freedom.

PROPOSITION 8

The suppression of separation should be actively pursued.

This proposition derives from the two previous ones.

PROPOSITION 9

In order to abolish separation, the social organization that produces it must be abolished.

This proposition derives from propositions 3 and 4.

PROPOSITION 10

In order to abolish the social organization that produces separation, there must be a certain number of individuals who refuse to collaborate in its preservation.

The condition expressed in this proposition is necessary, but not sufficient; its practical implementation is incompatible with alternative B of proposition 6.

PROPOSITION 11

The violent refusal on the part of a certain number of individuals to collaborate in the preservation of the social organization that produces separation is called insurrection; the victory, even if it is only temporary, of these individuals, is called revolution; in other words, the suppression, even if it is only temporary, of that social organization.

The revolution thus defined does not need to be given a positive content.

PROPOSITION 12

The revolution is freedom.

This proposition derives from propositions 5, 9 and 11. It is only valid if the abolished social organization is not immediately replaced by another form of organization that produces separation (see the following proposition).

PROPOSITION 13

A revolution that does not bring freedom is a counterrevolution.

If the abolished social organization is replaced immediately by another form of social organization that produces separation, it is not a revolution but a counterrevolution.

PROPOSITION 14

Nothing indicates that such a revolution cannot endure.

This proposition is self-explanatory.

PROPOSITION 15

If freedom is impossible in the world of separation and if separation can only be abolished by way of revolution, it is impossible for anyone to be free before this revolution has taken place.

This proposition is self-explanatory.

PROPOSITION 16

The aspiration for freedom is the middle term that allows one to conceive the step from the state of separation to the state of freedom; what it does not by any means imply is that this step has to take place at any particular time.

This proposition is self-explanatory. The existence of the aspiration for freedom derives from propositions 5, 6 and 7.

PROPOSITION 17

If freedom is opposed to separation, freedom must consist in unity.

This proposition is self-explanatory. For if freedom were not to imply the realization of unity, separation could coexist with the revolution; which is impossible, since (according to proposition 11) the revolution is defined as the suppression of the social organization that produces separation. Since the preservation of separation is incompatible with freedom, the revolution is necessarily the realization of unity.

CORROLARY

If separation subsists despite the suppression of the social organization which is supposed to produce it, then it can be deduced that either (according to proposition 13) we are not speaking of a revolution but of a counterrevolution, or else that the postulates (propositions 2 and 3) upon which the theory is based are false. In this latter case:

A) separation does not have a historical origin, but is inherent to human society as such (contrary to proposition 2); or,

B) separation has a historical origin, but it does not result from the social organization that is supposed to have produced it (contrary to proposition 3).

However, because we are dealing here with postulates, that is, propositions that can neither be proven nor refuted, it is impossible to definitively provide an answer to this question.

PROPOSITION 18

A war, in order to be waged, implies the existence of separation within each army.

This proposition cannot be demonstrated by reason, but is verified by experience. An insurrection can be spontaneous, that is, it does not imply any repressive organization; but a war has never been waged without any form of division of labor, hierarchy and coercion.

PROPOSITION 19

If the revolution is not carried out all at once, but takes place in a more or less extended stage of confrontations between two sides, it is no longer a revolution but a war, which implies the preservation or the reestablishment of separation.

This proposition derives from the preceding one.

PROPOSITION 20

If the revolution is the realization of unity, that is, of freedom, it requires a global qualitative change in order to proceed, without any transition or more or less extended stage of confrontations, from generalized separation to generalized freedom.

This proposition is self-explanatory.

PROPOSITION 21

A total and immediate qualitative change is a transmutation; alchemy is the art of deliberately provoked transmutations.

PROPOSITION 22

The revolution is like an alchemical transmutation.

This proposition derives from the two previous ones.

PROPOSITION 23

An alchemical transmutation is something whose realization is impossible.

This proposition is born out by experience.

PROPOSITION 24

The revolution is something whose realization is impossible.

This proposition derives from all the previous propositions.

Q.E.D.

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