Readers may see my blog as just more froth in the prevailing sea of philo-babble, but my goal is more democratic (and more pedagogical), and I have made quite a few enemies in trying to de-esotericise the philosophies I discuss.
The almost universal form that this enmity takes is that of ignoring my very existence, of refusing to acknowledge my work or to cite me. This has nothing to do with my use of the blog form, as the same authors occasionally cite blog posts favourable to their cause.
One notable exception is Babette Babich (
@babette_babich) who has referenced me in several papers, for my clarifications and contributions. This referencement is in part to highlight and in part to compensate my non-referencement by others who constantly pay lip service to pluralism, openness, and democracy.
Publicity, not dialogue, is their aim. Laziness, not openness, is their method. Tautological self-validation is their pay-off.
These people transpose the power structures of the university to discussion on the web. They seem to be unaware that academics talk of dialogue, its openness and pluralism in order to prevent it from happening. Dialogue would be too traumatic for them, and their careers are based on avoiding it, or repressing it.
In the neo-liberal university there is only one dialogue that counts in the last instance (to cite a cynical expression of the Laruelleans). Money talks to money, and deals are made on that basis.
Power, the power to make and to do, to think and to express oneself, does not count, and is actively discouraged. Anyone who has been to university has witnessed this obscene underside (to talk like Zizek) and its symbolic violence at work, and seen its casualties.
Popper told us that confirming instances prove nothing, yet academics feel content when students agree with them. When I was an undergraduate Alan Chalmers used to beg me to attend his lectures because everyone agreed with him, and he found that stifling. He was already an exception, along with George Molnar and a few others, and such love of wisdom is even rarer today.
Philosophy is not the creation of concepts. Deleuze, who espoused that idea, knew it was false. Concepts are simply the by-product of something more fundamental. Philosophy is dialogue unbound.
The internet makes this dialogue more possible at the same time as the fragilisation of the status of the academic makes it less likely.
This is a highly contradictory situation. Every day I ask myself whether my contributions are worth the effort. Today the answer is yes.