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Late Evening Still Life with Babka, Alain Badiou, and Black Licorice.  Collegeville USA, May 2013.

“Badiou’s philosophy seeks to expose and make sense of the potential for radical innovation (revolution, invention, transformation…) in every situation. Simplifying things considerably, we might say that he divides the sphere of human action into two overlapping but sharply differentiated sub-spheres: (a) the ‘ordinary’ realm of established interests and differences, of approved KNOWLEDGES that serve to name, recognize and PLACE consolidates identities; and (b) an ‘exceptional’ realm of singular innovations or TRUTHS, which persist only through the persistant militant proclamation of those rare individuals who constitute themselves AS THE SUBJECTS of a truth, as the ‘militants’ of their cause.

“The realm of knowledge is essentially static, ‘objective’, and structured according to the interests of those who dominate and govern the situation; every ordinary situation is ‘structured in dominance’, as Althusser would say… In an ordinary situation, the domination of its state is effectively absolute – indeed, so absolute as to be beyond any precise measurement or determination. It is precisely this indetermination that ensures conformity or obedience from the (classified, divided…) members of the situation.”

– Peter Hallward, translator’s introduction to ETHICS: AN ESSAY ON THE UNDERSTANDING OF EVIL by Alain Badiou, English edition 2001

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