viernes, enero 23, 2009

Benjamin. Theses on the Philosophy of History.

We have a certain relation to our image of happiness that is tied with the image of redemption. The past carries with it a temporal index by which it is referred to redemption. Nothing that has ever happened should be regarded as lost for history. Only a redeemed mankind receives the fullness of its past, and its past become citable in all its moments. “There is no document of civilization which is not at the same time a document of barbarism. And just as such a document is not free of barbarism, barbarism taints also the manner in which it was transmitted from one owner to another” (256), so a historical materialist has to dissociates himself from it as far as possible, he regards his task as to brush history against the grain. The “state of emergency” we live is not the exception but the rule. Angel of history (Klee painting) says “awaken the dead, and make whole what has been smashed”. Politicians’ stubborn faith in progress, and the negation of exploitation of labor and nature avoid the issue that oppressed class itself is the depository of historical knowledge. “This training made the working class forget both its hatred and its spirit of sacrifice, for both are nourished by the image of enslaved ancestors rather than that of liberated grandchildren” (260). Progress was considered as progress of mankind itself, infinite perfectibility of mankind, irresistible and automatic through a progression through a homogenous, empty time. But history is the subject of a structure whose site is not homogenous, empty time, but time filled by the presence of the now. Present is the “time of the now”, always open to Messianic time of redemption in the revolutionary chance in the struggle for the oppressed past. The present is change and the time in which the historian write history. Calendar as monuments of historical consciousness. Wreckage of modernity.

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