Tuesday, February 21, 2006

continuing process

I do not believe we can go on posing a change of institutions and a change of attitudes as alternatives. From each polarity follows a rigid programme: in the first case, destruction and then innovation of institutions, imagined at some finite point in time; in the second case, a rejection of politics and social activity, with criticism becoming an activity in itself only by an acceptance, however sullen, of all other existing social habits and structures. Each position shares a negative character: an instransigent group against the whole social structure; an intransigent group against the whole intellectual structure. As such each corresponds to the positive needs of many intellectuals in our society; each attitude, I may say, forms almost every day in my mind. Basically, they are the last, and of course serious, positions of our pre-democratic politics; change, there, is essentially against others; to change with others is seen as compromise. Each group, similarly, accepts the liberal separation between individuals and societies, and the related separation between cultural content and cultural institutions; the divergence comes only when one or the other separate entity is seen as decisive.
... The individuals and the institutions will have, essentially, to change together, or they will not change at all. And my reason for going on working on these lines is that I know, from observing myself and others in very different institutions, that this is a continuing process, in which the moments of choice and of direction are often subtle and delicate, though the comitments they lead to are often profound. What I have tried to envisage is a radical change which yet includes a human continuity and i believe the pressure for this, in our actual society, is the most intense and valuable pressure we have. The job of any of us working in this field is articulation, for it is when it is articulate that the pressure becomes a discipline and a programme.

Raymond Williams

Still re-reading Kosuth's writings, that's cited by him in "Comments on the Second Frame"


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