Alain Badiou, Argument Seminar 2014-2015:
In the seminars of the last two years we have established the following points:
- The dominant ideology in the contemporary world, that of globalised imperial capitalism, reposes on the consensual acceptance of finitude. In this world the unsurpassable norm of the Subject is in effect satisfaction and its inevitable correlate: the competition to obtain this satisfaction.
- To oppose this ideology evidently does not amount to establishing oneself in the infinite as if it were a separate spiritual fatherland. That was, and still is, the strategy of religious spiritualism. Rather it is a matter of dividing the principal concept in play, namely that of finite reality.
- I propose that this division contrast two types of finite, and so of finitude, that which corresponds to the waste product, and that which corresponds to the work (oeuvre) We shall say that the finitude of the constrained consumer, the finitude of the democratic Westerner, corresponds to the passive circulation of waste, otherwise called “merchandise”, a circulation ruled by the inaccessible and unnamed infinite of Capital as such. We shall say that the finitude of the free man, egalitarian finitude, the finitude of Socrates, or of communism, corresponds to an active interruption of the circulation by the effect of a work. This interruption always takes the form of a demonstration, which ties it to science, of an action, which ties it to politics, of a passion, which ties it to love, or of a contemplation, which ties it to art.
It will be question this year of entering into the detail of the disciplined, creative, and living operations which allow us to stay as much as possible in the logic of the work, and to conquer, for the subject so engaged, the possibility of at last having the experience of true life and, as a consequence, of happiness”. (My translation).