Stop Being a Social Being


The human is a social animal, and the social is evil.  We cannot do anything about it, and yet we cannot accept it if we do not want to lose our souls.  Life can thus be nothing but laceration.  The world is uninhabitable.  And therefore we must escape to the other.  But the door is closed.  How long must we knock before it opens!  In order truly to enter, not to remain on the threshold, one must stop being a social being.

–Simone Weil, Cahiers, 1974

This quote opens Augusto Illuminati’s piece in Radical Thought in Italy.  Lots of echoes of Ranciere here, in the sense that she understands the social to be something like his partage du sensible, a social order that channels and constrains us.  Where she may part company with Ranciere is in the part at the end where she seems open to the possibility of crossing over into a new land…


4 thoughts on “Stop Being a Social Being

  1. I like Hardt’s remark in the intro:

    “What is perhaps most attractive about these Italian theorists and the movements they grow out of is their joyful character. All too often, leftist cultures have identified a revolutionary life with a narrow path of asceticism, denial, and even resentment.”

    About time for us to become affirmative and joyful about moving toward something positive, rather than the stasis of bemoaning our captivity.

  2. Pingback: Radical Thought in Italy | noir realism

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