I do not want to wage war against what is ugly. I do not want to accuse; I do not even want to accuse those who accuse. Looking away shall be my only negation. And all in all and on the whole: some day I wish to be only a Yes-sayer.
–Nietzsche, Gay Science, 276.
As someone who has spent some time accusing those who accuse, and feeling funny about the irony, I am glad to have this reminder. In the chapter linked above, I complain that:
As theorists of neoliberalism, we can only sing in the key of critique. We meticulously record and discuss its crimes and contradictions. When we imagine the world we want instead, we can only speak in terms of not-neoliberalism, of canceling out the current political-economic regime. When we act, we can only act in the register of protest, resistance, contestation, and refusal—of struggle against neoliberalism. We turn our faces and our bodies toward neoliberalism, it occupies the entirety of our vision and our imagination, we bathe in its dark light, and we can think only of blocking it, disrupting it, and, one day, in our fondest dreams, causing it to collapse.
I think that’s all true, and I do think we need to stop singing in the key of critique. But at the same time, in that passage I am complaining, accusing those who accuse. What would it mean to stop complaining altogether, to start “looking away,” to learn to focus on and say “Yes” to what we desire? How can we become, some day, “only a Yes-sayer”?