Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Hyperrealism, The Production of Space and Dialectic Materialism

Since I've been reading Henri Lefebrve's The Production of Space along with some minor research in the fields of hyperrealism and supermodernism, I've had to relearn the dialectical and the differences between Hegel's notion of the dialectic and Marx's dialectical imperialism. I know, I know, I should still know this but I tended to avoid anything that smacked of Marxism when I was in school. Now the off-shoots and intellectual movements sparked in response to Marxism I've been all over. Lefebrve, in writing on the production of space, is taking it from a Marxist perspective, sort of. Thus the dialectical is important. For Marx, the dialectic was the attempt to transcend the contradictions of the material world in order to attain a new height of history and human experience. Lefebrve believes this kind of attitude towards space (space meaning social space, mental space and material space) overlooks the necessity of both the distinctiveness of different kinds of space while admitting their intertwined relation.
For me, this attempt to span the contradictions of the human experience shows a misunderstanding of what the human experience really is. Camus spoke of this in The Rebel as the concepts of freedom and justice are constantly at odds with each other, neither existing without the other but without any foreseeable way of reconciling that conflict. It's a matter of not 'transcending' the contradictions of the world but allowing those contradictions to exist as is. The gap exists but it isn't a failure of philosophy. It's an acknowledgment of the limitations of the human mind. The dialectic originally meant, in the pre-Hegelian sense, a way of reasoning to arrive at a truth. Hegel and Marx turned it into some world-historical method to achieve a more perfect form of history and humanity when none was needed. Even though the dialectic has allowed us to realize the limitations of human logic it is not a system that one should take too seriously. Instead, I think the dialectic is a starting point for understanding those limitations and realizing how production in the Marxist sense is only one way to look at things. Postmodern, it may be, but it also fits within the realm of the hyperreal as attempting to expose the contradictions of the simulated reality of hyperrealism is an important task for futurists as well as philosophers.

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