zizek1Creston Davis, in his “Crisis: A Liberation from Capitalism,” clearly lays out the stakes of the mess that we are in. We’ve lost our revolutionary fervor and so have succumed to the myth that we are at the mercy of social elites and their machinations on our futures and very selves.
 
Though we are not without a glimmer of hope. When all comes crashing down, when the crisis itself finally hits and illusion unveils itself for what it is, might we then have the chance to truly see and so act? 
 
But once confronted with the Real of capitalism, will we act?  And where exactly is apex of this crisis? 
 
Two revolutionary Marxists, who remain allies though disagEagletonree, provide two interesting viewpoints on how to understand crises. For Zizek, moments of crisis point to the normal run of things, such as economic collapse or psychopathologial symptoms.  For Terry Eagleton, it is the normal run of things that is the crisis.  In his short novel, Saints and Scholars, the revolutionary character Connolly states, “the fact that everything carries on just as it was…is the crisis.”  He continues his response to Wittgenstein with Walter Benjamin in mind: “an oppressed people knows that every moment is a state of emergency.  It’s only the ruling classes who can afford to view such situations as untypical.  What we have now is disorder, into which revolution seeks to introduce some stability.  Revolution isn’t a runaway train; it’s the application of the emergency brake.”
 
One of the blog responses to Davis’ post points in pessimistic direction.  We are back to Nietzsche; we are divided among the slaves and masters, among those who will wake up from the dream and those who, given to inertia as most humans are, choose to remain asleep.
 
The Matrix reference is pertinent.  With such a picture of the world in mind, all we can hope for is gnostic escapism.  We must arise as individual bearers of enlightened knowledge and so leave the cave completely, never to return to expose the shadows on the wall simply because the task is futile.  
 
But if were to begin with Eagleton instead of Zizek (and it remains to be see what degree of difference lies between them in regards to understanding crises)? Might we understand socialism better?  Eagleton wants us to understand the socialist cause not as some grand metanarrative of history, but as something more humble.  The ‘goal’ is to return to our roots as embodied beings with material needs, dependent upon one another for the sake of founding a common life. 
 
In the west, will the revolution come with an Jeffersonian overthrow of the ancien régime, or will it be a return to something else?  Catherine Pickstock, like Alasdair MacIntyre, argue that we might be entering a new dark ages.  All good revolutionaries know when to fight, when to hide and how to be strategic.  Maybe, just maybe, we are to embody a new monasticism – a strategic and alternative polis in order to save some kernel of humanity.  It’s bleak outlook, to be sure. But it will allow us to cherish virtue, cultivate peace and to practice a radical politics so as to re-educate our corrupted desires from capitalism’s reach. 
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