Gorz

Patrick Patterson ppatt at tiac.net
Mon Apr 29 18:07:56 MDT 1996


Rekesh,

I am afraid that I have to insist on the formulation: Husserlian attack on
the mathematization of the life-world (correcting the spelling of course,
which is irrelevant in any case!).
Writing about modern forms of work Gorz states that "...the tangible
substance of the world has been abolished. Work as a physical activity had
been abolished. All that is left is a purely intelectual or rather mental
activity. This is the ultimate, the absolute triumph of what Husserl
defined as 'mathematizated nature': reality as we perceive it has been
stripped of all its tangible qualities, the lived experience of the
original thought has been switched off. ...during their day's (or night's)
work they have imposed upon themselves that self-denial which consists in
repressing their sensory existence: existing as pure intellect, eliminating
and suppressing all living contacts with the life world in and through
their bodies, as so many potential disruptions of the function they must
fulfil." As a counter example Gorz insists on the fact that the world is
ours and we belong to it-are part of it-through our bodies."  Critique...
pp. 84-85
What is the ultimate substance of the ends which you refer to: "he does
examine critically both how action comes to be guided  by calculating
technique according to technical rules and the resultant loss of
self-reflexiveness and normative judgement about ultimate ends." Is this
guided by intellectual reflection which weighs the different options and
considers the one that is most... I have to insist on the primordial
character of our physical bodily relation with the world.It is true that
Gorz accepts the legitimacy of existing forms of work-something which I
think is an open question. What he rejects is their claim to organize our
lives! Instead it is the "realm of freedom" that should fuction as the
organizating principle of the "realm of necessity" in a perfectly orthodox
Marxist manner.
]
Regarding your criticisms of Gorz: I don't really know what Gorz's views
are on child rearing. It would certainly appear that he is rather
traditional in this matter. I am more informed by the world of Chodorow
(who I believe teaches at UC Berkeley) and Bulbus.
Chodorow provides a persuasive arguement for linking up instrumental
rationality with the failure of men's participation in the raising of
children, especially in the case of boys who after all are the main subject
of existing relations of domination. I certianly did not mean in any way to
imply that women should be forced to exclusively carry the 'burden' of
maintaining our relation with the life-world. I would consider this one
form of making labor life's prime want to use Marx's phrase from the
Critique of the Gotha Program. The other problems you raise are related to
the issue of commodification of the individual.If civilization would just
reverse the relation between free time and necessary time all these
problems would be solved!

By the way I have a lot more to say about the importance of Gorz who is
sadly neglected by the what passes for the left in this country.

Patrick Patterson
Ipswich, MA
ppatt at tiac.net




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