Monday, April 04, 2005

Don't theorise, accessorise

You know what I like about Brian Eno?
He talks in aphorisms, not in theories.

A little while ago, a guy I know said to me: Don't theorise, accessorise.
I didn't like the idea at the time. I thought he was taking the piss.
It's growing on me now though.
I find myself desparately trying to disabuse myself of a will to authority.

Authority is utterly incompatible with truth, because truth is not a thing or knowledge you can possess.
Truth is more like a kind of vigilant humility. It's an ethic, not a moral law.
(Perhaps that is why we insist on talking truth to power. It's a way of
reminding power of its contingency, it's dependence on forms of coexistence.)

Anyway, aphorisms you can carry around. Theories are more like abodes. A theory is somewhere you take up residence, a territory that you may have to defend. Aphorism is to theory as nomad is to city.

What sustains an aphorism is good will. What sustains a theory is mastery.
We invite relations that sustains us, and I'd rather be inviting
relations of good will than mastery.

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