Amanda Wei from The Centre for Chinese Visual Studies of CAA
# Critique of Everyday Life
**Volume III—From Modernity to Modernism**
(Towards a Metaphilosophy of a daily life)
1. A First Glance at What Has Changed
# 1.A First Glance at What Has Changed (Page 538-546)
Within the continuity, the inertia, of daily life, and its passivity, factors of change—even disruption—of the established order are becoming clear.
Technology makes the end of work possible (in the long run). What seemed abstractly utopian yesterday is now taking shape, is on the horizon: the wholesale automation of material production. As we have seen, devaluation of a seductive, prestigious image—modernity—goes together with an intensification of technological modernism and an expectation of novelty, in a kind of frantic fervor for a different society, the product of computer science, telematics, and so on.
Thus, the separation between modernity and modernism undoubtedly already represents a change: it anticipate great change.
It is the spontaneous orientation of social practice. Modernity is dated: industrial society, with the abstraction paradoxically produced by material production.By contrast, post-industrial society will be characterized by the production and exchange of non-material goods, which are nevertheless more concrete: information, services and so on.
Workers want to work; those who employ them and profit from their labour (through surplus-value which can, if you like, be called ‘profit’-it dose not matter) want to make them work. Men of good will and what are called the left-wing parties demand full employment.
In philosophical terms, what exist is the conditions of possibility, not the conditions of realization, which exceed the mode of production itself! The radical revolution—that of none work—is foreshadowed in an obscure sort of way through aporias（esp？） and utopias.
It must be clearly recognized that theoretical—that is to say, conceptual—thinking has only a remote connection with social and political practice here.（Anyway，在一堆自我否定的反问之后,他说）Theory detects and state conditions of possibility. Nothing more and nothing less.
The problematic formulate here corresponds, however, to Marx’s most profound—most profoundly and paradoxically dialectical—thought: the working class can affirm itself only in its negation, unlike other historically superseded classes and the bourgeoisie. The self-determination whereby the working class attains the status of ‘subjects’, transcending the condition of objects, involves self-negation: the end of all classes, the end of the wage-earning class, and hence the end of work, the end of the working class itself.
The collapse of traditional reference points for—and by—thought; and a consequent collapse of value. From this crisis emerged technology, labour and discourse—three aspects of the Western logos.
This triad freed itself from subordination to a totality, with consequence that had not been foreseen by protagonists of such liberation, both in art (which declared itself to be ‘art for art’s sake’, not without breath-talking abstraction) and in science (which also unfolded for its own sake, in collaboration with technology).
In the triad ‘technology—labour—language and discourse’, technology then freed itself from any control. All along this dangerous path, critical points were not wanting.
技术、劳动和话语构成的三位一体会将他们自身从整体性（从属关系）中释放出来，而这在艺术（宣称自己为了艺术而艺术，而不是冷冰冰的抽象）和技术（为了自身的目的、与技术合作而出现）中的后果，还没有被革命者（文中使用了protagonists of such liberation=revolutionary？）预见。在“技术、劳动和话语”构成的三位一体中，技术总是能把它从一切控制中脱离出来。任何在这条危险路径上，任何临界点都不再必要。
There are other aspects of this process, and different critical points. Dwelling, a social and yet poetic act, generating poetry and art work, fades in the face of housing, an economic function.
With the rupture—that is the substitution of functional housing for ‘dwellings’, of building for edifices and monuments—what are know as modern town planning and architecture abandoned the historic town, if only as a example and a model. Towns have undergone an ‘implosion—explosion’. Crossing points and traffic have assumed greater importance than inhabited spaces. The facade and space on which the town imposed a style are becoming blurred. As the Architects say, a volumetry, and the settlement it determines, impact a different style, ever more sharply marked by the opposition between stability and movement, fixed places and flows crossing through spaces. This produces some contradictory —even chaotic—results. Continuities and discontinuities are thus interwoven in a confusion that is spatial disorder.
In there obscure early stage, the commodity and the spread of commodities stimulate the imagination. It is difficult for us moderns to comprehend, but it is definitely the case—as confirmed by history and, better still, by reading texts and understanding art works—that the great imagination creations followed an expansion of trade, which established contact between people, countries and towns that were oblivious of one another: think of Homer, the great Greek authors, A Thousands and One Night, Shakespeare, and so on.Thereafter, the commercial mentality stifled creative capacity.
As for technology, it is as unconducive to flights of spontaneity as to the imaginary.
Recent years have confirmed a surprising phenomenon, whose causes and import are obscure, but which seems in its way to mark a discontinuity.（列举一些大家：米开朗基罗、狄德罗、司汤达、巴尔扎克等等）Yet the striving that seeks release from anxiety and delivery from angst by mastering it stimulate the creativity which contemporary ideology still seeks among so-called normal people.
Classical subjectivity, capable of objectivity, gives way in the artist to a different condition: daily life has become so oppressive and repressive that dissolution (Rimbaud) is the sole means of escaping it. The artist can no longer make do with keeping this distance.
As his neurosis gives him creative impetus, he cultivates it. This provokes a break, possibly a gulf, between daily life and creation, reality and the work, the state of the creator and therapeutic techniques, which are inevitably normalizing.These observations – or, rather, self-evident facts – confirm what was previously said about modernity and, above all, the action ‘in the negative’ of contemporary art. This negativity involves neither revolutionary proposals, nor a subversive project.
Exasperation of the morbid is the one thing that allows the creator to rise above the everyday, if only to understand it and show it.
They authorize technological innovations only after obtaining guarantees; and no doubt this is the form形式 assumed假设 today by the contradiction 矛盾that Marx pointed out between the productive forces and social and political relations, as well as the ‘law of value’ considered on an international scale.These powers have disposed of – that is to say, destroyed or neutralized – attempts at direct democracy, for example in towns and local communities.
To revive and redeploy (another fashionable word) production and the productive apparatus would first of all require massive injections of technology, with consequences that are as formidable as they are unpredictable.Certainly, economic policy no longer consists in scrapping technology – something Lenin regarded as inevitable under monopoly capitalism – but in an adroitly balanced mix aimed at leaving the essential structures intact. Adopted or imposed, innovations are worked out in high places, in such a way as not adversely to affect the relations of domination, and even to strengthen them. Yet alterations occur that shake the system.
恢复和重新部署（另一个时尚词）的生产和生产设备首先需要大量的技术注入，后果是不可预测的强大的后果。实际上，经济政策不再是废除技术 - 列宁认为在垄断资本主义下不可避免 - 但是在一个平衡的平衡中，旨在使基本结构完好无损。通过或强加，在高处制定创新，不受影响统治关系的不利影响，甚至加强创新。然而，发生破坏系统的改变。
A hypothesis that has already been formulated concerns the dual character of the changes. Some, at the level of daily life, are imperceptible but cumulative. They are not merely minor events to be situated at the ‘micro’ level, simple isolated facts; they are added to, or superimposed upon, one another.
Hence they end up generating irreversible, decisive alterations. A well-known historical case: the slow transformation of the Roman world into Christendom during centuries of transition long neglected by historians, but whose significance they are gradually discovering, with their efforts directed precisely towards reconstructing daily life during these times. Other changes occur at a macro level; they are abrupt, disruptive, not gradual, and are thus akin to a ‘qualitative leap’. They come from on high, not from below: serious events, political decisions, mutations generally regarded as historic.
So they occur at the macro level, but in the majority of cases this does not mean that understanding, a project, knowledge exist at this level. An equally well-known case: the French Revolution and its sequels.
Intermediate changes can also happen, deriving either from one of the above modalities and reacting upon the other, or from their interaction and conjunction. In other words, the duality under consideration should not be frozen; nor should the possibilities of change be fixed in models.
A minor example: it would appear that today, within the framework of the current mode of production, the market is altering; there are more goods in demand and products for daily use, but in smaller quantities in each instance. So that it is necessary to envisage diversified production, and less mass production.
From this perspective, enormous concentrations of machines, with an extreme division of labour and monotonous repetition of fragmented tasks, have supposedly served their time, work on the assembly line included. Digitally controlled machines, as well as computer and remote control of complex processes, could replace repetitive, dangerous operations (which, it is belatedly recognized, can stifle workers’ capacity for invention and initiative). Such modifications of productive labour and the relation between men and machines would unquestionably entail recasting relations to labour, daily life and the world.
The crisis, so it is said, invariably ignoring or masking its profundity, affects daily life in surprising ways, at once crude and subtle, obvious and elusive, conservative and subversive, trivial and dramatic. A kind of crisis of consciousness and, above all, of confidence tends to weaken the relation between daily life and the major institutions that administer it. The consensus over the political and daily life alike, which political speeches ritually evoke on occasion, becomes increasingly blurred.
Notwithstanding what specialists call ‘dysfunctions’ or ‘perverse effects’, the great institutional entities – justice, the Inland Revenue, the army, the academy, social security, the police, and so on – were generally regarded as broadly fulfilling their duties.
尽管专家称之为“功能障碍”或“不正当影响”，但大型权利（具备社会功能性）机构 - 司法，税收，军队，学院，社会保障，警察等等 - 普遍被视为广泛履行职责。
Restored after the Liberation, severely shaken in 1968, it then regained some vigor and substance. Why? By dint of the growth to which all social classes and strata consented, each of them reckoning to be the beneficiary. However, the distribution of the fruits of growth remained extremely unequal; with the end of this relatively trouble-free growth, the bell tolled for the consensus over the established order, presaging the discrediting of those who banked on it ‘democratically’. As long as rapid growth, which aimed to be exponential, lasted, ‘progress’ brought sizeable（=huge） profits for some, and a certain comfort and improvement in living conditions for others. 解放后的自由，即使1968年几近颠覆，而后恢复了一些活力和实质。为什么？所有社会阶层同意的成长，每一个人都认为是受益者。然而，增长结果的分配仍然非常不平等；随着这个相对无障碍的增长的结束，这个提示对于既定的秩序达成了一致意见，预示着对民主的银行的信誉的抹黑。只要快速增长，以指数方式持续，“进步”为一些利润带来了可观的利润，对他人的生活条件有一定的舒适和改善。
Since the onset of crisis, the situation has tended to be turned upside down. The disadvantaged, the rejects, abandon the prospect offered them by the technological and scientific revolution – that is to say, unlimited growth. On all sides, people start blaming existing institutions, holding them responsible for all the illusions and depredations. There is more and more discrepancy between the institutional level and daily life. Without critical knowledge or formulated expression of the discontent that is materializing, what is established takes on a pejorative connotation, both factually and symbolically.
危机爆发以来，情况一直倒转。弱势者，拒绝者，抛弃技术和科学革命给他们的前景 - 也就是说，无限的增长。人们开始谴责现有机构，应该对所有的幻想和堕落负责。制度层面和日常生活之间的差距越来越大。没有批判性的知识或者表达了正在实现的不满，所建立的是事实和象征性的贬义内涵。
Bureaucracy, a brutal and inefficient hierarchy, both cumbersome and tactless, is revealed to the public in all its horror; critical thinking is then at hand. Moreover, suspicion is directed at official institutions but is liable to be extended to other organizations – trade unions, for example. The links between individuals and groups, and between these and the nation (perceived and felt identity), loosen, in such a way that democracy as it is experienced, as national and political community, and the state as a set of institutions, become obscured and in need of profound transformation.
官僚主义，一个残酷而低效的等级制度，既笨拙又无节制，并且向公众传递了恐怖的情绪;当时的批判性思维正在酝酿中。此外，怀疑是针对官方机构，但有可能扩大到其他组织 - 例如工会（工人自己的组织）。个人与团体之间以及这些与国家之间的联系（被感知和感觉到的身份），正如体会到的民主那样，作为国家和政治社会，以及作为一个国家机器，这都开始变得模糊不清并需要意义深远的转变。
For a certain period, neoliberalism, an official mystification, benefited from this mindset: a Western model, whose contours were very vague, was revalorized（-结合？） and identified with Freedom, while the standing of the socialist model, hypothetically identified with Soviet reality, fell.
In daily life, problems of an economic kind proliferate; they must be taken into account and taken on. This is the level at which people (people in the everyday) deal with managing the crisis. People at the base sense that what is involved is not a short critical phase but a long period, even though hopes of emerging from it shortly have not disappeared. Hence the shift in centers of interest, through a series of minute alterations that have produced a sizeable（=huge） change in recent years: the importance of micro-decisions and micro-adaptations, and a lack of interest in the totality and theory.
Such an analysis accepts various typical features of the ‘dual society’, without endorsing the central thesis: the split between the two fragments of society. It would oppose any appropriation of the concept of difference by this thesis.
The somewhat dislocated consensus leaves room, on the one hand, for constraint, should the state judge it appropriate; and on the other, for various currents, convergent or divergent. These currents of ideas and opinions – that is to say, of representations – are not unrelated to social classes and strata, but they do not coincide with them.
Marxism is not exempt from this: although ideology-critique was energetically pursued, and even inaugurated, by Marx, his theoretical thought is regarded as ideology, and sometimes as the prototype of the ideological. Contrariwise, technocratic ideology is not considered ideological, any more than religions, which are taken to provide models for everyday practice. Obviously, we are simply referring to social tendencies and trends here.
These studies do not concern the critique of everyday life directly, yet they are of relevance to it in that they disclose modifications in practice, not merely in the discursive or the imaginary. It seems that a certain understanding of social facts is emerging among a wide public, which in no way excludes impoverishment of the social, reduced to ‘community’ and social security or security measures.
The predominance of the visual – image, spectacle – over the corporeal is declining without disappearing —something that will slowly but surely alter the relation between daily life and space. Space is no longer defined exclusively in optical, geometrical and quantitative fashion. It is becoming – or once again becoming – a flesh-and-blood space, occupied by the body (by bodies). Judging from certain readily observable symptoms, daily life is tending to become, or once again become, multisensory; the quest and desire for a more actual presence are substituted for images as such. Hence a certain revival of the theatre and, on the other hand, the search for richer (three-dimensional) images.
Citizens – not to mention users – have a stronger and clearer sense of the relations of domination to the extent that authority as such impacts on them, the functioning of institutions no longer proceeding ‘all by itself’. They detect manipulation through interpretations of ‘facts’ that are in themselves ambiguous. The conditions for a rupture and real change in life seem to be being created bit by bit, gradually.
Decisions, events, catastrophes.
At the political level, in this perspective, we are witnessing a transition from impersonal power – abstract power and sovereignty – to authority; and from the latter to influence – that is to say, a personalization of authority requiring direct contact with ‘subjects’.
在政治层面上，从这个角度来看，我们正在目睹从个人力量 - 抽象权力和主权 - 到权力的过渡；从后者（权力）到影响 - 也就是说，权利需要与个性化的的“主体”直接联系。
Will the crisis generate differentiation or fragmentation?
For the time being, the question will remain without a definite answer, since that depends on both social practice and political practice, initiatives from below and decisions at the top.
But it is perceived only in its relation to what are called local and limited – in reality, everyday – actions. Without denying it, this situates the theoretical and practical – that is political – importance of the whole, but registers the recent fact that the local, the proximate – that is to say, daily life – allows for action by those ‘concerned’ and seems to them to be the privileged site, the only site (and in this they are mistaken), in which they can be effective.
但它只是在与所谓的地方和有限的现实 - 在现实中每天的行动 - 的关系。在不否认的情况下，这使得理论和实践 - 这是整体的政治重要性，但是注意到最近的事实，即当地的，即近似的 - 也就是说，日常生活 - 允许那些“有关”的行动，似乎给他们成为一个特权的场域，唯一的场域（在这是他们是错误的），他们可以在其中有效。
# 2 Recuperation (Page 546-550)
A question arises. The alterations now under way, which tend towards provoking rupture, encounter contrary – stabilizing and reductive – forces, which tend towards immobility under the pretext of equilibrium.这个问题正在出现。目前正在进行的这种改变倾向于引发破裂，遇到相反的稳定和还原力，这种力量在平衡的借口下趋于不动。
Recuperation is not something invented by intellectuals to explain the failure of subversive, innovatory ideas and projects. Its concept – for that is what it is – was fashioned to refer to a (social and political) practice. Moreover, in accordance with the famous Hegelian law, the concept appeared belatedly, when what it referred to had already occurred, been exhausted, and was even tending to fade.
知识分子发明的恢复不是解释颠覆性，创新思想和项目失败的事情。它的概念 - 就是这样 - 它被用来指代（社会和政治）的做法。此外，按照著名的“黑格尔规则”，但这个概念迟来了，当它提到的时候已经发生并且耗尽，甚至趋于褪色。
A remarkable instance, to which reference has already been made, concerns the family. Until recently the family was the dominant figure in social relations, but the twentieth century saw it discredited and weakened; it is increasingly out of place in its social location: the junction between the public and the private. In the current mode of production, the enterprise is gradually replacing the family as dominant figure, for the family itself is assuming the shape of an enterprise.
Whence the compensatory reference of these aspects of daily life to one another. Does this unquestionable recuperation of the familial derive from the state? From the strategy of the mode of production? From a spontaneous alteration in values and norms? Or from an unwitting return to traditions? It really doesn’t matter. The phenomenon is with us: a case of alteration and recuperation.
Above all, a basic socio-political fact is veiled: for two centuries and more, invention has been the fruit of critical thinking, that is to say, of the Left. Marx, to come back to him – is not in any way responsible for the degeneration and dubious use of Marxism. Another exemplary case is patriotism, a revolutionary invention that was appropriated over the course of the nineteenth century with national questions and their effects on social and political issues. Another example is planning, brainwave of Marxists and Marx himself, which obsessed statesmen the world over throughout the twentieth century. 最重要的是，一个基本的社会政治事实是被遮掩的：两个世纪以来，发明一直是批判性思维的成果，也就是左派的结果。马克思回到他之前，对马克思主义的退化和可疑的使用不负任何责任。一个典型的例子是爱国主义，革命性的发明在十九世纪被国家问题及其对社会和政治问题的影响所占用。另一个例子是规划，马克思主义者和马克思本人的思想，它痴迷二十世纪世界各国的政治家？。
First point: what can be recuperated is not, by the same token, recuperative.
Second point, which must be stressed: there is nothing – no proposal, no project, no idea – which cannot be recuperated, that is to say, used by different social or political forces from those in whose name it was advanced.
Third point: it is unjust as well as absurd to impute recuperation to those who initiate what is subsequently recuperated.
第二点必须强调：没有什么 - 没有提案，没有任何项目，没有想法 - 不能恢复，也就是说，不同的社会或政治力量与advance？的名字一起使用
So recuperation has been going on for a very long time, but not in the manner of the years of protest. During this period, which was fairly brief, the tactic of the consultancies directed by technocrats was simple: assigning the protesters themselves the responsibility for studying delicate questions, thus obliging them to make daring ideas and projects assimilable.
As a result, tendencies towards discontinuity, towards rupture, turned into factors for non-change. This fate was not reserved for Marxists, but even so they enjoyed a certain privilege. As the main target of these operations, Marxism was looked upon as the most fertile source once it had been appropriated. An exemplary case was the critique of everyday life, encapsulated as ‘Changer la vie’.
Human rights? Through a hard-fought battle they must be wrested from those who seek to use and abuse them. It was a serious political error
(a) to regard these rights as political tools permanently in the service of those who are dominant;
(b) peremptorily to refute the ideology that has historically supplied their envelope, throwing the baby out with the bath-water;
(c) not to give them a different foundation, extricating them from the old humanist ideology;
(d) not to open them out by adding a multiplicity of rights, including the right to live in the city, the right to difference, and so on.
I must insist upon this paradox: confrontations and crises, including wars, as well as the more or less Marxist-inspired theory of these crises, have hitherto served the mode of production.
From one recuperation to the next, the sovereign order and subordinate orders have acquired a capacity for integration that is achieved through opposition, demands, contestation. Recuperation has a most remarkable reduction effect – this observation applies not only to ideologies but to practice as well.
从一个恢复到下一个恢复，主权秩序和从属秩序已经通过反对、需求和竞争获得了一体化的能力。回复具有最显着的减少效果 - 这种观察不仅适用于意识形态，而且适用于实践。
In recuperative operations, it is often difficult to distinguish the mix of strategic intention, ideology and practical spontaneity. Let us examine the case of the reoccupation of town centers by the middle classes and a neo-bourgeoisie（=new-bourgeoisie？） – in short, by an ‘elite’. For a period of time, it was possible that the deteriorating urban centers, which had been abandoned for the smart suburbs, would be taken back over and even reoccupied by the people. This movement could have become decisive and determinant in a strategy of urban revolutions. Latin America in particular was poised for an enormous revolutionary campaign: starting out from the shantytowns and seizing hold of the centers. Yet this movement has been temporarily broken by repression, violence and corruption, but also by recuperation. Neither workers, nor the unemployed, nor expropriated peasants have taken back control of the town centers.
在恢复行动中，通常难以区分战略意图，意识形态和实际自发性的组合。我们来看看中产阶级和新资产阶级重新占领城镇中心的情况 - 简而言之，就是“精英”。一段时间以来，已经被摒弃在智慧型郊区的城市中心不断恶化，可能会被人民夺回，甚至被人们所重视。这种运动在城市革命战略中可能已经变得决定性和决定性。拉丁美洲尤其准备了一场巨大的革命运动：从棚户区开始，抓住这些中心。然而，这一举动暂时被镇压，暴力和腐败所破坏，也是因为康复而被打破。工人，失业人员，被征收农民都不能控制城镇中心。