May 2015

The video of my Umea talk.

For anyone who’s interested, here’s the text of my talk for Umeå universitet on Wednesday the 27th (pdfbryantswedeninteractivism2015).

Mug_and_Torus_morphThe difficulty is that it is the form or structure, not the content, that must be transformed to produce genuine psychodynamic or political transformation.  One might believe that they’ve produced a radical transformation by switching from donuts to coffee, but both are still toruses.  The structure remains the same.  This was the criticism of Soviet style socialism.  At the level of content it had changed the nature of distribution, but structurally, in its reliance on the Fordist factory model, it still had the same structure or form of alienation.  Similarly, one does not undermine patriarchy simply by putting a woman in charge.  Patriarchy is not defined by its content– a particular gender occupying the position of power –but by its structure:  an autarch at the top structuring social relations.  It’s that structure that has to be addressed, not the organ of a person that occupies a particular point in a topology.  In this regard, it is not unusual to encounter atheists that were once religious fundamentalists that still have exactly the same structure of thought they had when they were religious fundamentalists.  The content of their thought has changed, yet they still have the same structure of thought:  dogmatism, evangelicism (their message of atheism and science must be shared with everyone as it’s the Truth), belief in a being that holds a privileged position (man replaces God), and inflexibility when encountering things that don’t fit their dogma, a curious lack of open mindedness, etc.  The question is that of how it’s possible to produce a structural transformation that is not simply a variation of the same, that’s not one more iteration of the coffee cup that is a donut.