I started writing for The Bolt as soon as arrived to Concordia for my first year, not as a Philosophy major, but as an English major. Back then, Nick Chevalier, Miranda Coleman, and Johnathan Tychy were the editors who were very welcoming over the two years I spent with them. Already looking back at 2013, I can already see a radicalizing shift from how I used to approach politics. Back then I remember having a kind of pestering cynicism about how commenting and reporting on politics would be the uttermost subjective task that I would drag with bias. Now, I regard bias to be more of a derogatory term towards the elements that structure the human experience – that being said, I would say there are more comprehensive approaches to those elements than others. For instance, my commenting on gender issues or racial issues is not a mere subjective bias that should be disregarded or suspect for not being objective, but rather, such commentaries are the result of more open and pervasive socio-cultural and political conditions that structure experience – namely, the intertwining elements between the subject and the object where something seemingly objective such as a body is also inscribed cultural, intersubjective meanings and symbolic presences (The Phenomenology of Perception, Maurice Merleau-Ponty). More intimately, something such as my previous name, a seemingly stale object of information circulating around, actively inscribed my body, my being in this world into the symbolic, meaningful order of the masculine; thus, foreclosing the horizons of my stylization in being.
So, I think politics have begun to constitute a suffocating situation for me – not that I can escape it or anything, but with the awareness of the socio-cultural and political conditions that affect us into motion, I can only think of my former view to be a naïve subjectivism that could afford to think of itself as innocent over the (re)perpetuation of the cycle of violence.
In a deconstruction of my former view, something as seemingly simple such as the clothes I wear are not some passive element of everyday life, but rather repetitious effects which constitute the idealization of a substantial notion of the everyday, the normative, and the intelligible. “Once this distinction is broken, we cannot just talk of politics without talking sociology, cultural studies, economics, [science,] literature, gossip, psychology, philosophy, history, acting, thinking, etc. The same needs to be said viceversa” (“The Socio-Politico-Cultural,” The Bolt). So, I would claim that what we are then facing is a perpetual constitution of the world by way of a vast array of practices. The unthinking, the unawareness, and the inconsideration of our activity as perpetrators only reinforces a repetitious reinstitution of the conditions that chain us into stale symbolic and ideological orders (“Ideology and the Ideological State Apparatus,” Louis Althusser) – in appropriating (Neo-)Marxist language, we are alienated from our productive participation in constituting the world to support the mere repetition of reproductive production, thus alienating us from our labor and our products into impersonal creations of our (dis)own(ed) making that fragment us. Appropriating the language of the cultural theorist, Hannah Arendt, it is this inconsideration of our existential condition as actors that numbs us into the banality of evil. So, from where I am now positioned, I see, provoke, and create ideological violence at any moment I look around, for this is an inevitability of (un)creative violence, a rupturing of (in)conventional being.
In a sense, so-called “bias” should be embraced to such a point that it is not a part of some solipsistic subjectivism, but rather as an open situation involving the negotiation from the situated, namely ourselves – so this is a call for collective, creative emancipatory movements that aim at reframing the situation for the situated and their various intersections.
What we need is to move on beyond the “fantastical, ideological masturbation as portrayed by the political performance” (“Between Machiavellianism and Ethics,” The Bolt) of the centralized One, the universal voice that denies the multiplicity of elements that situate us in dissymmetric lived experiences. We have no place for monologue, or the activity of talking at people. Dialogue, or the activity of talking with people, is what is needed, and this can only be done by giving up one’s voice as author(itative) – our creative products can be decentralized from us in the moment where our fellow interlocutor comments upon them. One does not own dialogue the same way one own monologue, for dialogue is of the multiple. Dialogue is the scrutinous task that admits to the incompleteness of itself and the monologue (this most evidently exemplified by the work of Plato, as the dialogue exceeds the text itself by supplementary commentators/interlocutors); of the monologue, because of the assumption of the infallibility of the authoritative voice; and of the dialogue, because of the aggregation of supplementary interlocutors that decentralize the discussion to further scrutiny. The idealization of the stale authority of monologue has to be replaced for the more nominal, transitive, incomplete, yet comprehensive method of dialogue which invites us to a negotiation on how to reframe our open situation. In this sense, I heavily agree with the communitarian critics of the individualist liberal, democratic monolith that continues to perpetuate and reproduce itself – political participation is not of a solipsistic individual in a vacuum. Politics are outside of our votes, as we institute with every action we put forward – in the sense, perhaps voting alone, the way we commonly talk about it, makes for a rather vacuous view of political participation. Politics need to be popularly reworked outside the box of the ballot. With this last reflection, after three years, I bid farewell to The Bolt.
I wish to thank Kayle Sieben, Nicholas Clark, Amy Stephens, and Melissa Martindale, the editors of The Bolt over this year. I particularly want to thank Kayle and Amy for their feedback, their patience, and their support with all these philosophical shenanigans I’ve been taking on in writing the Politics section. My experience working for The Bolt has been amazing as a way of playing with writing and maintaining myself informed with the on-going and fore-going situations that constitute the world we live in.
I also wish to bid farewell to Concordia Pride and the Model U.N., for they have made for some (inter)personal growth. Shout out to Kelsea Gillespie, whom I am sure will make a fine, responsible and creative president for the CSA; her friendship, conversation, and collaboration has been very important for my philosophical projects. To Paul Beach, Lisa Micheelsen, and Linda van Netten Blimke, I appreciate the encouragement to pursue critical theory and philosophy – without them I wouldn’t be writing the way I do or about the things I do.