On infinite debt and circles of mutual acknowledgement



My problem is not with the friend but with the crony. The friend as conceptual persona is a positive transcendental requirement of philosophy from the beginning, as the Two is an essential component of its existence and founds philosophy’s dialogical nature. The “crony” is the debased atonal equivalent of the friend, its counterpart in the world of democratic materialism. The crony is a product of the suture of philosophy to politics that has itself been degraded to the capitalist law of the count (profit) and to the neoliberal law of free association (interests). The crony is in this sense not a subject, and conflates the active incorporation in a body of truth (immanent assemblage) with the reactive adhesion to and sharing of theoretical, sociological, collegial, and financial interests. Following a remark from Adrian Romero Farias we can say that the “crony” belongs to the logic of debt, including that of social capital, whereas the friend belongs to a logic of excess. The crony is the indebted man or woman, the friend is the transgressive one.

Note: This phenomenon is very close to what Michael Eldred analyses as the “gainful game”.

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4 Responses to On infinite debt and circles of mutual acknowledgement

  1. Thank you, Terence. In my language, your “crony” would be somewho who has succumbed to the temptations of the evaluation game via reified value, and hence to this fetish. The possibility of an alternative lies in a mutual valuing that sees through the fetishism of reified value. Thus, e.g., friends appreciate, i.e. value, each others powers, abilities and even mere presencing, be it dialogical or silent.

    Liked by 2 people

    • terenceblake says:

      Yes, I am glad that you added “or silent”, otherwise appeals to the dialogical can begin to sound a little hyper-active when retreat, contemplation, and the listening ear are all just as important. I think it is true that cronies are stuck at the level of manifested behaviour plus the calculation of interests “behind” (but not deeper than) the observed comportment; Powers, abilities, moods, and affects all make up the multiple tonalities of the world, and presencing is not the same as a-tonal behaviour. We evaluate all the time, there is nothing wrong with that, and we are forced to calculate our interests, but we do not have to give credence to those who impose such calculation and reification as the sole reality. “Seeing through” is by no means a passive stance in today’s world, and can inform all our actions and thoughts. We are the crony, there is no escape. But we do not have to be just that. Friendship comes in many forms, sometimes in an instant of grace, a brief remark, a glance, a smile, or some spontaneous act. There is no need to perennise such things.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Well put! I particularly like your word “tonality”, which I translate into my language as ‘attunement’. ‘Seeing through’, or better, learning to see what you already see and understand, I regard as the presupposition enabling any freedom you or I or anywho else may hazard.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Where academic philosophy went wrong | AGENT SWARM

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