Sabtu, 22 November 2008

The "WE" Of Identity Politics

Just as the eighties had been the "me" decade, early on it seemed as if the nineties were going to be the "we" decade. As it turned out, no one really knew who "we" were. At home, lesbians and gay men struggled to decide if "we queers" included bisexuals and the transgendered. Feminists worried that any notion of "we women" would end up essentialist, excluding lesbians, women of color, or the differently abled. The myriad groups classified as "Hispanic" grappled with the problem of finding any inclusionary identity category. Was the proper term "Latino," some compound form of American like "Puerto-Rican-American," or something more specific altogether, like "Chicano"? Situated at the borders and intersections of the "we," people with multiple identifications experimented with notions like "world-traveling," "hybridity," and "the new mestiza."[1] Academics fought over the terms "postmodern" and "poststructuralist," reluctant to claim an identity predefined by an opposing camp.[2] Even the Right and Left labels, which had apparently solidified during the Reagan era, were not immune. Republicans, despite their ability to capitalize on widespread public disillusionment with Clinton in the November 1994 elections, self-destructed in an effort to establish a core of family values, the espousal of which would separate "us"—the solid, untainted core of conservative Republicans—from "them"—the less-than-faithful whose alleged moderateness might conceal a latent "liberalism." Likewise distancing themselves from Jesse Jackson and much of the Rainbow Coalition important to Democrats in the seventies and eighties, the new voices of Clinton Democrats took up the themes of community and religion previously associated with conservatism.

Abroad, tribalism and nationalism came to the fore. As many of the boundaries constructed in the aftermath of World War II collapsed, migrations and immigrations resulted in confusing and exclusionary (re)assertions of identity. The phrase "we Germans" evoked the horrors of National Socialism. Serbs and Croats, and later Bosnian-Serbs and Bosnian-Muslims, rejected the idea of "we Yugoslavians" in favor of a pure identity that, for some, could only come from "ethnic cleansing." Finally, the dream of a European Community began to fray as the dissolution of internal borders seemed to come at the cost of strengthening external borders and ignoring the legacy of colonialism. For what would be the status of the guest workers, foreign nationals, and political and economic refugees in this new community? At the outset, then, the shift to the "we decade" floundered in the wake of the risks any articulation of identity seemed to entail.

Returning home, back to the more manageable microlevel of everyday life, I recently told my sister Dahn about the complicated identity politics dividing the lesbian/gay/bisexual student organization I sponsored at a Texas university. I described the debate over whether to include bisexuals in the group's name and constitution. I asked her how to handle the problem of racism—many Chicanas felt that their particular experiences were overlooked in such an Anglo setting and were considering breaking off to form their own group. Although sympathetic, Dahn was somewhat bored. "Labels are so eighties," she said. "We at Yale have moved beyond labels. We think people should just be people."

Dahn's response troubled me. The people-are-people line seemed defeatist in situations of continued exclusion and oppression. In fact, it reminded me of the response of one of the Anglo lesbians in my student group when she lost office to a Chicana. Deaf to the desire of many members to increase Chicano visibility and insure diversity, she argued that "race consciousness" was the term guilt-ridden white liberals used to mask their racism. In her view, the only proper response to "equal merit" was to flip a coin.

Such a laissez-faire approach to discrimination repeats the prevailing mentality of the "me" decade. While it may attempt to drape itself in a politically correct rejection of labels, the laissez-faire attitude nonetheless views social progress and change through the individualist lens of competitive self-assertion. Further, in so doing it fails to acknowledge the sense of community and responsibility underlying the hope for a "we." In place of solidarity, it offers only the possibility of the contingent integration of egocentric interests always on the verge of disruption.

Upon further reflection, I realized that my sister's response did not point in this direction, for at the very site of her rejection of labels she articulated an identity—"we at Yale." Clearly, identifying as a "Yalie" has its limits as a political option. But this is not the real insight contained in Dahn's remarks. She was saying that it's time to stop talking about ourselves and start thinking about and acting with others. Her simultaneous rejection of identity and assertion of community thus suggests the possibility of a "we" without labels, a way of conceiving social change through a politics that is neither the assertion and reassertion of identity nor the individualist resort to (un)free competition.

This book offers a way to conceive of a "we" without labels. Positioning reflective solidarity as the bridge between identity and universality, as the precondition of mutual recognition necessary for claims to universality under pluralist, postmodern conditions, it argues that a communicative understanding of "we" enables us to think of difference differently, to overcome the competing dualisms of us/them, male/female, white/black, straight/gay, public/private, general/particular. Further, it claims that the key to this overcoming can be found in the margins and spaces that mark the limits of our concepts, the boundaries of our discourses.

I define reflective solidarity as the mutual expectation of a responsible orientation to relationship. This conception of solidarity relies on the intuition that the risk of disagreement which accompanies diversity must be rationally transformed to provide a basis for our intersubjective ties and commitments. This means that the expression "we" must be interpreted not as given, but as "in process," as the discursive achievement of individuated "I's." Such an opening up of the notion of "we" makes possible a change in our attitude toward boundaries, a change which requires that each individual view group expectations from the perspective of a situated, hypothetical third.

Simply put, solidarity can be modeled as an interaction involving at least three persons: I ask you to stand by me over and against a third. But rather than presuming the exclusion and opposition of the third, the ideal of reflective solidarity thematizes the voice of the third to reconstruct solidarity as an inclusionary ideal for contemporary politics and societies. On the one hand, the third is always situated and particular, signifying the other who is excluded and marking the space of identity. On the other, including the third, seeing from her perspective, remains the precondition for any claim to universality and any appeal to solidarity. Conjoined with a discursively achieved "we," the perspective of a situated, hypothetical third articulates an ideal of solidarity attuned both to the vulnerability of contingent identities and to the universalist claims of democratic societies.

We can find a nascent conception of reflective solidarity at the interstices of the identity politics debate. Generally speaking, identity politics in the United States emerged over the past few decades in the struggle for rights. Frustrated with the failure of "equal" rights to secure equality amid the pervasive hierarchies of sex and race, racial and sexual minorities struggled for recognition by appealing to their identities. Although this appeal had the perverse effect of enabling the Right to score rhetorical points by coining the phrase "special rights," it nonetheless provided a focal point for collective action. Through affirmative action and juridical categories such as "suspect class," excluded and minority groups endeavored to gain access to the universal by articulating their particularity as groups with a history of discrimination.

This appeal to identity revealed the biases within the fiction of the subject of law. If claiming their status as legal subjects meant that women had to deny their femininity—that is, their biological potential for motherhood, or their position in the home as child rearer—then the legal subject itself was not universal, but particular—particularly masculine.[3] Similar experiences on the part of racial, ethnic, sexual, and disabled minorities exposed the legal subject as white, English-speaking, heterosexual, and able-bodied.[4]

In the course of articulating their differences, many members of minority groups felt empowered, taking pride in a self-identification denigrated in the larger society.[5] Submerged histories and traditions were uncovered that provided minority groups with a sense of self-in-community they had previously lacked and upon which they could now draw as a source of self-respect. As Todd Gitlin writes: "Identity politics is a form of self-understanding, an orientation toward the world, and a structure of feeling that is frequent in developed industrial societies. Identity politics presents itself as—and many young people experience it as—the most compelling remedy for anonymity in an impersonal world. This cluster of feelings seems to answer the questions, Who am I? Who is like me? Whom can I trust? Where do I belong?"[6] For many, finding answers to these questions within the comfort of a shared identy gave them reason to question the goals of their particular groups. If securing recognition as citizens required assimilation into the dominant culture, perhaps this goal should be abandoned in favor of the enhancement and celebration of their difference.[7] In place of the abstract identity of the citizen acting in a universal public sphere, many of the heretofore excluded have thus come to champion the situated and concrete identity offered in, to use Nancy Fraser's term, subaltern counterpublics.[8]

The articulation of particular identities has also led to the rigidification of these very identities. At the legislative level, this rigidification appears as the reinforcement of minority status with its negative connotations of inferiority. We see this in the critique of affirmative action and in the debate over pregnancy leave policies that explicitly recognize gender differences. Martha Minow highlights a similar dilemma with respect to the recognition of the needs and rights of disabled children: "Identifying a child as handicapped entitles her to individualized educational planning and special services but also labels the child as handicapped and may expose her to attributions of inferiority, risks of stigma, isolation, and reduced self-esteem."[9] At the level of the group, the assumption that a particular identity dictates a particular politics overlooks internal differences, stifling diversity and dissent. Voicing his frustration with gay politics, Ed Cohen writes:

Although the assumption that "we" constitute a "natural" community because we share a sexual identity might appear to offer a stable basis for group formations, my experience suggests that it can just as often interrupt the process of creating intellectual and political projects which can gather "us" together across time and space. By predicating "our" affinity upon the assertion of a common "sexuality," we tacitly agree to leave unexplored any "internal" contradictions which undermine the coherence we desire from the imagined certainty of an unassailable commonality or of incontestable sexuality.[10]

Indeed, the rigidification of identity concepts suggests that even "citizenship" in a subaltern counterpublic is suspect, encountering problems similar to the very ones it emerged to solve. Thus, in response to this rigidification, Cohen, like many critics of identity politics, urges the importance of inventing, multiplying, and negotiating the construction of the "we."[11]

The exposure of the particularity of the universal, the sense of community and empowerment, and the rigidification of identity categories have framed the identity politics debate. Supporters appeal to the already particular character of the universal and reassert their own particularity. Detractors point out the contingency of identity categories, the histories of otherness they risk reinstating, and their failure to live up to the promise of empowerment as they suppress internal differences.

But framing the debate as an opposition between solidarity and reflection prevents us from acknowledging the ideals shared by both sides. Supporters of identity politics are united by the ideals of inclusion and community. They struggle against exclusions enacted in the name of universality. They endeavor to establish a space of belonging, a community that strengthens its members and gives them a base from which they can say to others, "I am different, recognize me." Similarly, detractors and critics of identity politics also struggle against exclusion, this time that exclusion effected by the very sign of identity. Thus, they too strive to establish a space for the self, but one which frees the person to say within the group, "I am different, recognize me." They want to ensure that those aspects of the self that elude the boundaries established by any identity category will not remain silenced or neglected but will be allowed to appear and develop in all their difference and particularity.

Further, what each side fears from the other is the same: the loss of this space for difference, this "home" to which the self can retreat for sustenance, intimacy, reinvigoration, and play. For example, in their argument for a radical politics that comes directly out of their own identity, the Combahee River Collective maintains: "We realize that the only people who care enough about us to work consistently for our liberation is us. Our politics evolve from a healthy love for ourselves, our sisters and our community which allows us to continue our struggle and work."[12] On the other side, Diana Fuss writes: "The personal is political reprivatizes social experience, to the degree that one can be engaged in political praxis without ever leaving the bedroom. Sexual desire itself becomes invested with macropolitical significance."[13] Like the statement from the Combahee River Collective, Fuss's remark can be read as revealing a concern with care and intimacy. Once the personal is political we are left with the politics of the personal. There is no relationship that can serve as a retreat from politics; there is no space simply to be in one's difference. Thus, while the supporters' appeal to community seems to conflict with the detractors' desire for freedom, both sides share a longing for recognition, for a space in which they can explore, secure, and articulate the differences necessary for concrete individual identities. This book argues that reflective solidarity provides such a space.

connections, we cannot remain content with a focus on the local, for how can we even know what "local" means? More to the point, given the fact of our shared relationships, we have to reconceive solidarity so as to acknowledge our shared accountability for each other.

But, of course, as the critics of identity politics remind us, this accountability cannot deny our differences. According, in the first chapter of this book I argue that reflective solidarity provides spaces for difference because it upholds the possibility of a universal, communicative "we." Traditionally, solidarity has been conceived of oppositionally, on the model of "us vs. them." But this way of conceiving solidarity overlooks the fact that the term "we" does not require an opposing "they," "we" also denotes the relationship between "you" and "me." Once the term "we" is understood communicatively, difference can be respected as necessary to solidarity. Dissent, questioning, and disagreement no longer have to be seen as tearing us apart but instead can be viewed as characteristic of the bonds holding us together.

My emphasis on the importance of questioning and dissent for reflective solidarity overlaps with those poststructuralist arguments urging openness, multiplicity, conflict, and attention to difference. Skeptical of the notion of any "necessary opposition," I reject the idea that one must choose between poststructuralism and universalism. Indeed, recent theorists have begun exploring the intersections and commonalities among philosophers and philosophical positions previously assumed to be irreconcilable.[18] Some theorists have argued that the communicative ethics of Jürgen Habermas, far from providing some sort of closed and totalizing metanarrative, highlights a commitment to diversity, plurality, and contest that in many instances allows for fruitful dialogue and cooperation with the genealogical, deconstructive, and postmodern approaches of Michel Foucault, Jacques Derrida, and Jean-François Lyotard.[19] I want to extend this dialogue by bringing in feminist voices and exploring the ways in which these voices point toward and challenge us to rethink the relationship between difference and universality.

Thus, in the second chapter I show how the debate over identity politics leads us to reflective solidarity. As the recent work of queer theorists, critical race theorists, and feminists indicates, a set of exclusions confronts identity politics and prevents it from doing justice to the concerns of the excluded and marginalized. These theorists suggest a need for recognition that extends beyond the recognition of concrete particularities to account for the ways in which they are constructed. Contained within this insight, then, is a convergence between poststructuralist and universalist approaches to difference. For as they have developed notions of multiply situated and constructed subjectivities, recent theorists have drawn our attention to the relationships on which identities always depend. My intervention in this debate makes this convergence more explicit by emphasizing the ways these relationships require reflective solidarity if we are to respect and take responsibility for others in their difference.

The third chapter continues the engagement between feminist and universalist theories, this time situating it on the terrain of civil society. Feminists have long criticized those universalist approaches that locate justice in the public sphere while relegating women, particularity, and difference to the private sphere. Taking up these criticisms, I argue for an understanding of universality that rejects this opposition, suggesting a model of civil society based on the idea of multiple, interconnecting discursive spheres. Not only does such an understanding allow us to include women in civil society, but also it provides a conception of democracy no longer focused on the state. As it conceives of a variety of types and loci of action in terms of the participatory efforts of an engaged citizenry, this more open version of democracy shows us how reflective solidarity can be institutionalized as the mutual expectations of citizens in contemporary pluralist societies.

The fourth chapter also looks at the institutionalization of reflective solidarity, focusing on the role of law in transmitting solidarity. As it does so, it suggests a further convergence between poststructuralist and universalist approaches to difference by highlighting the democratic dimensions of the indeterminacy thesis developed by Critical Legal Studies theorists. In contemporary democracies, the indeterminacy of law enables it to serve as a transmitter of reflective solidarity. Its abstraction, its inability to lead to determinate outcomes, establishes a space and framework for interpretation, questioning, and critique. When law is embodied in a constitution, it provides a space of collected meanings upon which citizens draw in their debates regarding their shared histories, practices, and concerns. To the extent that they can enter this space and draw upon these meanings, citizens assert and reassert their connections with one another. Their relationship as consociates becomes strengthened and renewed as they contest the limits of this space and the various interpretations of its meaning. By focusing on shifting the notion of privacy from that of a sphere to that of a boundary, I show how identity-based defenses of privacy fail to keep this space open and indeterminate. In effect, they attempt to overdetermine privacy, failing to acknowledge the way in which it is always an aspect of legal persons' mutual and public recognition of each other.

Finally, in the fifth chapter I turn specifically to the theoretical encounter between previous hit feminism next hit and universalism. Although many feminists writing today have rejected the ideal of universality as blind to women's concerns, I argue that, properly conceived, the discursive universalism of Jürgen Habermas both stands up to feminist critique and incorporates feminist ideals of inclusion and accountability. If we are to take seriously the insights and goals of identity politics while nonetheless moving beyond it, we have to find a way to conceive of shared connections and responsibilities that allows for freedom and difference. A universalist approach that anchors rightness or normative validity in the communicative agreement of real, embodied persons—in the solidary relationships of those who have turned away from violence and agreed to discuss and argue—thus presents itself as a promising ideal for a contemporary approach to difference. Accordingly, in this chapter I elaborate the philosophical presuppositions of reflective solidarity, asserting the priority of solidarity over justice in discourse ethics, replacing Habermas's "neutral observer" with the situated, hypothetical third, and stressing the fallibility, contextuality, and openness of the ideal of discursive universalism. My goal is to break through the opposition between difference and universality and to present an ideal of a universalism of difference—the ideal which infuses reflective solidarity.

Returning to my Texas students, I am reminded of their heated and often ugly debates over gun control, the death penalty, abortion, and gays in the military. Despite, and perhaps because of, the intense confrontations between competing sides, these students remain bound to each other. For as they return time and again to the Constitution upon which each side rests its claims, both proponents and opponents of the issue at hand strengthen their ties to each other through their confidence in the validity of the Constitution and the principles therein. Their acceptance of the possibility of universal principles and ideals and their shared efforts to find the meanings of these ideals within their own particular life contexts enable them to avoid fragmentation and division and to effect their own precarious and reflective solidarity. Of course, since their solidarity, like all reflective solidarities, remains unstable, they often fall back into identity politics, asserting that the others inability to agree is the result of her inability to understand, a problem rooted in the absoluteness of her difference. Yet the difficulty of reflective solidarity does not belie its value or our need for it today. On the contrary,the very effort involved in achieving a solidarity that respects difference exposes our continued failure to include the voices of those others, those hypothetical thirds, who for so long have remained unheard.

I hope that the concept of reflective solidarity developed in this book can move us out of the "we" of identity politics and toward an inclusive and ultimately universal understanding of the "we" of discourse. Thus, as I shift from identity politics to discourse ethics, from Anita Hill to Lani Guinier, from an unnamed Somali woman to civil society, I endeavor to seek out and expand those spaces for difference in which the hypothetical third can appear. For breaking through boundaries is always the first step of reflection.


Senin, 17 November 2008

Nietzsche and Postmodern Philosophy

Nietzsche is commonly regarded as the grandfather of philosophical postmodernism. If, to cite its most prominent exponent, postmodernism is characterized by "incredulity toward metanarratives," a "delegitimation [of metanarratives] fueled by the demand for legitimation itself," Nietzsche's relevance is not difficult to see.[1] Such incredulity and delegitimation is precisely what Nietzsche reveals to be the defining feature of our intellectual-historical situation, one marked by what he calls the "death of God" and "nihilism"—the self-overcoming of theological and metaphysical world interpretations.[2]

Nietzsche's analysis of this situation over a century ago was certainly precocious (or, on his own account, "untimely"), given that only in the postwar period have these issues of postmodernism come to prominence in European and Anglo-American thought. It is no coincidence, then, that the past few decades have seen a remarkable "Nietzsche renaissance" throughout Europe, Great Britain, and the United States.

This renewed interest in Nietzsche has been most significant in France and the United States. Nietzsche's tremendous influence on postmodern French philosophy has been direct and well documented.[3] Beyond Hegel, Husserl, and Heidegger, and beyond Marx and Freud, it was Nietzsche who provided the central figures in contemporary French philosophy (Deleuze, Foucault, previous hit Derrida next hit, Lyotard, and Irigaray) with their most basic problems and resources.[4] The Anglo-American Nietzsche renaissance has had a less direct effect on mainstream contemporary philosophy in the United States. Yet here, too, Nietzsche has arguably "prefigured" the moves made by "postmodern American philosophers" (e.g., Quine, Sellars, Goodman, Davidson, Rorty, and Kuhn) toward antirealism in ontology, antifoundationalism in epistemology, and antidualism in the philosophy of mind.[5] Nietzsche's philosophy, then, is not only of interest for the history of ideas but is of genuine relevance to contemporary philosophy.

It is in this context that I have written the present book. Nietzsche is taken here as an important antecedent for more recent attempts at formulating a postmetaphysical epistemology and ontology, as traversing the same philosophical territory as the hermeneutics of Heidegger and Gadamer, the poststructuralism of Foucault, previous hit Derrida next hit, Deleuze, and Lyotard, the neo-pragmatism of Quine, Goodman, and Rorty, and the philosophy of science of Kuhn and Feyerabend. For the most part, these more recent figures remain in the background and the focus is on Nietzsche. But, throughout, my aim remains twofold: to make a contribution to Nietzsche studies by providing a systematic interpretation of his later epistemology and ontology; and to uncover Nietzsche's solutions to some current philosophical problems.

The Argument
A particularly important contemporary problem animates this project. Critics have consistently identified in Nietzsche's work a difficulty that has also been said to plague more recent postmodern positions: the problem of how an antifoundationalist philosophy can avoid vicious relativism and legitimate its claim to provide a platform for the critique of arguments, practices, and institutions. In Nietzsche, the problem is that of reconciling his genealogy and perspectivism (which seem to reject the notion that there is a uniquely correct conception of the world) with his doctrines of becoming and will to power (which seem to present just such a normative—perhaps even metaphysical—conception). I argue that Nietzsche successfully navigates between relativism and dogmatism and offers a viable, indeed exemplary, postmetaphysical epistemological and ontological position. I show that Nietzsche accepts the scientific project's naturalistic critique of metaphysics and theology but maintains that a thoroughgoing naturalism must move beyond scientific reductionism to accept a central feature of aesthetic understanding: an acknowledgment of the primacy and irreducibility of interpretation. I argue that the apparent relativism of perspectivism is held in check by Nietzsche's naturalism (which offers the doctrines of becoming and will to power in place of all theological interpretations) and that the apparent dogmatism of these doctrines is mitigated by his perspectivism (which grants that these doctrines are themselves interpretations yet ones that are better by naturalistic standards).

The first two chapters present an overview of Nietzsche's project. Chapter 1 situates this project within a genealogy of European thought that begins with Platonist metaphysics, passes through Christian theology to positivistic science, and culminates in "the death of God." It shows that Nietzsche accepts this inheritance and takes upon himself the task of rigorously thinking through the consequences of the "death of God." This "event," he believes, requires an elimination of the theological posits that remain implicit in the scientific concern for presuppositionless truth. Thus, Nietzsche sees "God's death" as forcing a reconciliation between truth and its traditional opponents, becoming and appearance, and a reconciliation between science and its traditional adversary, art. Chapter z explores the consequences of the death of God for epistemology and ontology and introduces the book's guiding figures: naturalism and interpretation. It shows that Nietzsche's

rejection of the traditional epistemological ideal of a "God's eye view" leads him to a thoroughly naturalistic conception of knowing and being. Yet it maintains that Nietzsche also comes to reject the corollary to the "God's eye view": the notion of an absolute ontology, the idea that there must be some one, true way that the world really is. Instead, Nietzsche comes to see ontologies as always relative to background interpretations and to claim that interpretations can be challenged only by other interpretations, not by recourse to brute facts. Nonetheless, Nietzsche's naturalism is seen as providing him with compelling, if not final, reasons for the assertion that some interpretations are better than others.

The remainder of the book calls on the twin notions of naturalism and interpretation to make sense of Nietzsche's central epistemological and ontological doctrines: perspectivism, becoming, and will to power. These chapters argue against prominent readings that hold that perspectivism assumes the existence of a pre-given world upon which there are perspectives, a world that becoming and will to power are taken to describe. Chapter 3 argues that Nietzsche's misleading language of "perspective" ought to be subsumed within his broader and richer language of "interpretation" and that "interpretations," for Nietzsche, are not construals of some primary ontological ground but rather reconstruals of world conceptions already on hand. It argues that Nietzsche's naturalism leads him to dissolve the traditional epistemological dualism of "subject" and "object" into a common field of "interpretation" in which "subject" and "object" are of a piece and boundaries between them are constantly shifting. Chapter 4 argues that, on the one hand, Nietzsche views "becoming" as a naturalistic doctrine that counters the metaphysical preoccupation with being, stasis, and eternity by foregrounding the empirically evident ubiquity of change in the natural world. On the other hand, "becoming" is also seen as describing the incessant shift Of perspectives and interpretations necessitated by a world that lacks a grounding essence. In the final chapter, I provide a similar reading for the doctrine of will to power. On the one hand, I see will to power as the empirical theory at which Nietzsche arrives after the elimination of all theological posits from prevailing scientific accounts of the natural world. On the other hand, I argue that natural change essentially involves "interpretation" in Nietzsche's vastly extended sense, that is, as every entity's impulse to extend its domain and incorporate others in its environment.

Questions of Terminology
My use of some contemporary philosophical terminology calls for comment. Throughout the book, I describe Nietzsche's position as a kind of "naturalism," a term ubiquitous in recent Anglo-American discussions of epistemology and metaphysics. As David Papineau has recently written, "nearly everybody nowadays wants to be a 'naturalist,' but the aspirants to the term nevertheless disagree widely on substantial questions of philosophical doctrine."[6] Though the term has a long history, its current usage is associated with the work of W. V. Quine, for whom "naturalism" signifies the rejection of first philosophy, the priority of natural science, and the redescription of philosophy as continuous with science.[7] Though Nietzsche does not himself use the term, his consistent appeals to "nature" and "the natural" and his overall project of "de-deifying nature" and "naturalizing humanity" (GS 109) ally him with Quine and other recent proponents of philosophical naturalism. Nietzsche's "naturalism," too, rejects first philosophy, whether conceived as metaphysics or epistemology. It denies the existence of supernatural entities and explanatory principles and endorses a broadly scientific conception of the world.

Yet Nietzsche insists that a thoroughgoing "naturalism" cannot be a scientism; that is, it cannot accept the Quinean view that "[t]he world is as natural science says it is" and "[n]aturalism looks only to natural science [ . . . ] for an account of what there is and what what there is does." [8] Nietzsche's genealogy of European thought (presented

in chapter 1) uncovers a residual theology in the modern scientific project's claim to describe the way the world really is. He argues that, if one carries through the naturalistic program implicit in modern science, one will discover that science overcomes itself, giving way to another discourse that can claim to be more rigorously naturalistic and that reveals the scientific to be but one among many true accounts of the world. That discourse is the aesthetic, which affirms sensuousness, materiality, multiplicity, becoming, historicity, creativity, and the irreducibility of interpretation. The aesthetic cannot and does not claim to take the place of science as the one true theory. It justifies itself holistically, by reference to a genealogical story; and it challenges the very idea of a single, final account.

I describe Nietzsche's naturalism as "antimetaphysical" or "postmetaphysical." This usage, too, must be qualified, since "metaphysics" has a notoriously wide range of uses. I use the term in two related senses. The first of them is quite literal. In this sense, metaphysics refers to discourses about what is beyond, above, or outside physis or nature. "Naturalism," then, is antimetaphysical in an obvious sense: it denies the existence of super-natural entities (souls, Forms, God, etc.) and extranatural (disembodied, ahistorical, noncontextual, foundational, infallible) points of view. This does not rule out talk of theoretical entities or principles such as quarks, force-points, différance, or will to power. Such entities and principles are perfectly admissible, provided that they are taken as revisable posits whose role is to explain (aspects of) experience and nature and are acknowledged to be the productions of a particular natural creature with its own peculiar purposes and projects. I also occasionally use the term "metaphysics" in a more specific sense drawn from Heidegger and previous hit Derrida next hit. In this sense, "metaphysics" names "the determination of Being as presence, " that is, the privilege of what is given, existing purely and simply—not contextually, holistically, or differentially.[9] In this sense, recourse to "the immediate facts of experience," to necessary and universal categories of the mind, to mental meanings, or to underlying substances and subjects (to name but a few examples) is "metaphysical." Indeed, Heidegger and previous hit Derrida next hit often call this metaphysics "ontotheology," since God is the archetype of such entities: a being untouched by becoming, context, or

difference. A "naturalism" that repudiates not only God but also his "shadows" (GS 108) will have no place for such entities.

A final set of terms needs to be qualified. I often speak of Nietzsche's "epistemology" and "ontology." Yet in contemporary philosophy it is common to view "epistemology" as a transcendental, foundational discipline that assumes the preexistence of subjects and objects and attempts to explain how the former can adequately represent the latter. As such, the discipline has been repudiated by those who, like Nietzsche, wish to move toward an antifoundationalist, holist conception of knowledge.[10] Nietzsche rarely uses the term (in German, Erkenntnistheorie ); and where he does, he, too, tends to treat with disdain the discipline it names (see GS 354; BGE 204; TI "Reason" 3; WP 253, 410, 462, 591). Yet the term can also be taken in a more literal and innocuous sense to refer to a "theory of knowledge," that is, a theory about what we know, what knowledge is, and how we arrive at this knowledge. In this sense, Nietzsche certainly has a "theory of knowledge," albeit a naturalistic, holistic, antifoundationalist one. Given the awkwardness of alternative terminology, I have opted to use the term "epistemology" in this latter sense. The same is true of "ontology," which can be taken to describe a metaphysical discipline dealing with "what ultimately, truly, or really exists." But, here too, the term has a broader and less metaphysical sense; in this sense, "ontology" describes "what there is" qualified however one likes (e.g., "what there is relative to a theory or interpretation"). Again, it is in this latter sense that I use the term.

Questions of Method
It has become obligatory, in works on Nietzsche, to make explicit and to justify one's methodological decisions regarding which of his texts one has chosen to take into account. There are two such decisions, one concerning periodization (how one divides up Nietzsche's corpus and which texts one takes to represent the "mature" Nietzsche), the other concerning use of the Nachlaß (whether or not to make use of those texts and notes that Nietzsche left unpublished). With regard to periodization, I generally restrict myself to the later texts, by which I mean the texts from The Gay Science onward.[11] I do so for several reasons,

most important of which is that in The Gay Science Nietzsche first proclaims the "death of God" and begins a concerted inquiry into issues of truth, knowledge, and being that results in the doctrines of perspectivism, becoming, and will to power. This is not to say that Nietzsche is unconcerned with these issues in earlier works, nor that his position on these matters is markedly different in those earlier works. In the earlier texts—particularly in "Homer's Contest," "On Truth and Lies in a Nonmoral Sense," Philosophy in the Tragic Age of the Greeks, Human, All Too Human, and Daybreak —one can find a host of claims, arguments, and analyses dealing with epistemological and ontological topics that resonate richly with those found in the later texts. Because of this, I occasionally quote or refer to these earlier texts in relation to issues raised in the later texts. But there is also another reason I choose to concentrate on the later texts. While I think there are significant problems with the standard tripartite periodization of Nietzsche's corpus—a schema first proposed by Hans Vaihinger and prevalent ever since—and with the more elaborate periodization of Nietzsche's epistemological and ontological writings more recently proposed by Maudemarie Clark, my view on this issue is heterodox, and substantiation of it would require a separate study.[12] Therefore, I opt for a fairly uncontroversial restriction to the texts beginning with The Gay Science, which provide sufficient material for the development and elaboration of my reading. Only in chapter 4 do I undertake an extended reading of an early text, Philosophy in the Tragic Age of the Greeks . I think the reasons for this are made clear and that I have given sufficient indication of how fully this text accords with the view of Heraclitus, becoming, and metaphysics Nietzsche articulates in his later work.

Among these later works, I refer to, but rarely quote or discuss at length, Nietzsche's long prose-poem, Thus Spoke Zarathustra . This text has much to offer on the issues that concern me. Yet the profusion of voices, styles, and narrative situations one finds in that text makes it especially difficult to quote and explicate in the sort of expository essay I offer here. I also believe that the philosophical themes explored in

Zarathustra are presented elsewhere in a style more amenable to my expository aims.
An explanation is also in order concerning my use of the Nachlaß, and especially The Will to Power . It can no longer be supposed that the set of notes compiled by Nietzsche's sister, Elisabeth Förster-Nietzsche, under the title The Will to Power represents what Heidegger called "the preliminary drafts and fragmentary elaborations" of "Nietzsche's chief philosophical work," "his planned magnum opus ."[13] This view has been effectively discredited by the publication, under the editorship of Giorgio Colli and Mazzino Montinari, of the new critical edition of Nietzsche's works and correspondence. On the basis of this edition, several scholars have shown that neither the selection nor the arrangement of notes that appear as The Will to Power is Nietzsche's own and that, before composing his final books, Nietzsche had, in fact, abandoned the project of writing a book to be called The Will to Power .[14]

For decades, Nietzsche scholarship has been divided over whether or not the Nachlaß constitutes a legitimate source from which to draw in developing an interpretation of Nietzsche's philosophy.[15] And the recent discoveries concerning the construction of The Will to Power have sharpened the debate, leading some scholars to consider suspect any interpretation that makes substantial use of this collection.[16] Yet some of the most influential and respected accounts of Nietzsche's philosophy have been offered by those who draw freely from the Nachlaß and, especially, The Will to Power: for example, Jaspers, Heidegger, Kaufmann, Deleuze, Danto, Müller-Lauter, Schacht, and Nehamas. These interpreters have provided a variety of justifications for continuing to make use of this material.[17] On my view, the most persuasive of these was offered recently by Richard Schacht, whose hermeneutical principles I most fully share.[18] Schacht grants the general interpretive rule that priority should be given to what an author published or intended for publication. Yet, he argues, Nietzsche's case is unusual and presents special considerations that warrant consultation of his unpublished material. Nietzsche's collapse was abrupt and untimely, coming upon him at a moment in his career when he had begun to publish with increasing frequency. The notebooks were always the workshop for Nietzsche's published writings; and the Nachlaß no doubt contains the seeds of what would have been Nietzsche's future projects. Moreover, Nietzsche's published works do not differ significantly in form from the material left in the notebooks. Like the notebooks, the published works contain relatively brief discussions and remarks that rarely, if ever, exhaust or provide Nietzsche's definitive view on any given issue. Instead, as in his notebooks, Nietzsche's published work continually revisits earlier themes, issues, and problems, adding new insights and perspectives

in piecemeal fashion. The large mass of material left in the notebooks provides a wealth of such insights and perspectives on which we can draw in constructing our interpretations of Nietzsche. And, while we can never be sure just how much or what parts of this material Nietzsche fully endorsed or intended for publication, responsible use of the notebooks as a supplement to Nietzsche's published work gives us a much broader and deeper view of his philosophical thinking than a purist restriction to the published texts alone could provide.

The same considerations support use of the material in The Will to Power . It is certainly true that, unlike The Gay Science or Beyond Good and Evil, The Will to Power cannot be read as a book, let alone as Nietzsche's Hauptwerk . But it is nevertheless a collection of notes that Nietzsche himself wrote and, moreover, the only such collection available in English translation. It is true that the editors of The Will to Power occasionally cut and splice Nietzsche's notes, instead of leaving them whole. But this occurs less frequently or egregiously than is claimed by critics of The Will to Power .[19] It is true that The Will to Power severs Nietzsche's notes from their original contexts and that a reconsideration of them in these contexts can be revealing. But we must remember that Nietzsche's notebooks are just that, books of notes rather than continuous works; that is, they are fragmentary and, hence, their original context is of somewhat less importance than it is in his fully composed books. Furthermore, just as in the treatment of Nietzsche's published works (which, after all, are composed of semiautonomous sections or aphorisms), it is often equally or even more revealing to consider these notes in other contexts, to consider them, for example, in relation to other notes or published passages that take up similar themes and issues. Because I aim to construct a general interpretation of Nietzsche's epistemological and ontological position rather than to present a reading of one or another of his books, this has been my interpretive practice: to read Nietzsche across his oeuvre[*] , "looking cautiously fore and aft" (D P:5).

For these reasons, I consider it not only legitimate but wise to draw on the Nachlaß and The Will to Power as supplements to Nietzsche's published work. Where I quote the published texts, I often refer the reader to notes in The Will to Power or the Nachlaß that correspond to or develop the issues under discussion in the quoted passage. And,

where I quote The Will to Power or the Nachlaß, I try to note passages in the published work that, I think, corroborate or significantly connect with the views presented in the notebook entry. For readers who wish to consult Nietzsche's original, or who want to consider the original context for any of these notes, I have provided, as an appendix, a concordance between The Will to Power notes to which I refer and corresponding entries in Kritische Studienausgabe .


Kamis, 13 November 2008


membunuh mockingbird--sejenis burung murai bersuara merdu--itu dosa,” ujar Nyonya Maudie kepadaJean Louise “Scout” Finch.

MOCKINGBIRD berlatar tahun 1930-an, di mana isu rasialisme masih kencang dan mengakar amat dalam di wilayah-wilayah Amerika Serikat, terutama di pedesaan-pedesaan. Salah satu sejarah tergelap Negeri Paman Sam. Klu Klux Klan, organisasi penyebar kebencian dan anti-kulit hitam, pada masa itu memiliki hampir 5 juta pengikut.

Lokasi cerita novel ini di sebuah daerah bernama Maycomb, Alabama. Pergerakan narasinya dikendalikan dari bibir Scout Finch, gadis tomboi yang memulai kisah ini pada usia 6 tahun, sebagai sudut pandang pertama. Selain Scout, ada beberapa nama yang tercantum dalam lembaran-lembaran novel ini diantaranya: Paman Jack Finch, Dill Harris, Calpurnia, Boo Radley, Tom Robinson, Nyonya Caroline Fisher, Bibi Alexandra, Sherif Heck Tate, Nyonya Maudie Atkinson, Nyonya Dubose, Hakim Taylor, Mayella Ewell, Bob Ewell, Stephanie Crawford, Tuan Gilmer, Tuan Radley, Walter Cunningham dan anaknya.

Scout kehilangan sosok ibu saat ia berumur dua tahun. Sejak itulah, Atticus Finch—serta Calpurnia, pembantu kulit hitam keluarga Finch—adalah penuntun moral dalam novel ini. Keduanya memersatu fisik dan emosional Jem dan Scout ke jalur yang benar. Atticus menjadi figur ayah-pengacara-pengasuh bagi kedua anaknya. Calpurnia adalah bayangan Atticus di ruang dapur. Dia tak cuma melayani urusan makanan tapi juga mengejarkan kebajikan-kebajikan sederhana bagi kedua anak majikannya.

Di awal cerita, pembaca disuguhkan petualangan Scout, Jem, dan Dill akan Radley Place. Sebuah rumah yang dulunya berwarna putih, kini telah menggelap sewarna dengan abu-abu batu di sekelilingnya. Genting rumah dikeroposi hujan. Halaman tidak terawat, banyak ditumbuhi semak-semak dan rumput liar.

Readly Place menjorok ketikungan tak jauh dari rumah keluarga Finch. Keluarga Readly tidak pernah keluar rumah. Mereka menutup diri. Nyonya Readly tidak pernah minum kopi bersama para tetangganya. Tuan Readly keluar ke kota setiap pukul 11.30 dan kembali ke rumah 30 menit kemudian. Menutup diri; merupakan kecendrungan yang tak termaafkan di Maycomb.

Dill memberi ide kanak-kanaknya pada Scout dan Jem untuk memaksa Boo Radley ke luar dari rumah misterius tersebut. Boo anak keluarga Radley. Dia tak pernah terlihat selama Jem dan Scout lahir. Dia seakan dikurung oleh ayahnya. Mereka hanya mengenal Boo dari cerita tetangga-tetangga. Ceritanya menakutkan.

Berbagai macam cara telah mereka lakukan. Namun Boo tidak pernah keluar dari rumahnya. Hingga, pada suatu malam, Atticus membangunkan Scout. “Sayang, bangun,” sambil menyodorkan mantel mandi dan jaketnya. “kenakan mantelmu dulu. Cepat sayang. Ini sepatu dan kaus kakimu,” kata Atticus. Dengan bingung, Scout mengenakannya. “Apa sekarang sudah pagi?” tanya Scout.
“Belum, baru jam satu lewat. Cepatlah.”

Di pintu depan Scout dan Jem melihat api menyeruak dari jendela ruang makan Nyonya Maudie. Sirene kebakaran meraung seolah-olah menegaskan apa yang sedang mereka lihat. “Rumah itu terbakar habis, ya?” tanya Jem

“Sepertinya begitu,” kata Atticus. “Sekarang dengarlah, kalian berdua. Pergilah ke depan Radely Place dan berdiri di sana. Jangan menghalangi jalan, mengerti!.
Saat Scout dan Jem sibuk menonton kebakaran. Tanpa sepengetahuan mereka berdua Boo Radley menyelinap keluar dari rumah untuk menyelimuti Jem dan Scout—berbalik—menyelinap masuk kembali. Keusialan Jem, Dill, dan Scout di balas dengan kebaikan oleh Boo.

Lalu kisah bergerak pada kasus Tom Robinson—pemuda berkulit hitam—didakwa telah memperkosa Mayella Ewell. Sejak Atticus menagani kasus Tom, ia sering mendapat cemoohan. Di sekolah Scout mendapat ejekan dari teman-temannya “Wee... pembela nigger, pencinta nigger,” ejek mereka.

“Aku minta satu hal, kalau kau mau,” kata Atticus. “Tegakkan kepalamu tinggi-tinggi dan tahan tanganmu untuk memukul. Apa pun yang dikatakan orang kepadamu, jangan dimasukkan ke hati. Cobalah untuk melawan dengan pemikiranmu…..sebaiknya begitu, meskipun mereka akan terus melawan,” Atticus menasehati Scout

Atticus yakin kasusnya tidak akan menang di pengadilan. Dalam ketidakpahaman Scout, Atticus menjawab. “Hanya karena kita telah tertindas selama seratus tahun sebelum kita memulai melawan, bukanlah alasan bagi kita untuk tidak berusaha menang,” tutur Atticus. “Satu hal yang tidak tunduk pada mayoritas adalah hati nurani,” tambahnya.
Akhirnya apa yang diyakini oleh Atticus, benar-benar terjadi. Meskipun dalam pembelaannya Tom Robinson tidak terbukti bersalah. Di dalam pidatonya—sebelum juri memutuskan apakah terdakwa bersalah atau tidak—Atticus berpidato.

“Tuan-tuan,” Atticus berkata, “Penjelasan saya singkat saja, tetapi saya inggin menggunakan waktu saya yang tersisa bersama Anda untuk mengingatkan bahwa kasus ini bukan kasus yang sulit, tidak memerlukan penelusuran fakta rumit secara sesama, tetapi hanya memerlukan keyakinan Anda yang tidak bisa disangkal tentang bersalah-tidaknya terdakwa. Pertama-tama, kasus ini semestinya tidak dibawa ke ruang sidang. Kasus ini sesederhana hitam dan putih.”

Tidak ada secuilpun bukti Tom Robinson bersalah, bahkan bukti medis menyatakan bahwa kejahatan yang didakwakan kepadanya tidak benar. Atticus yakin bahwa yang bersalah adalah Bob Ewell—ayah kandung Mayella.

“Apakah bukti pelangarannya?” kata Atticus “Tom Robinson, seorang manusia. Dia (Bob Ewell) harus menyingkirkan Tom Robinson dari hadapannya. Tom Robinson akan mengingatkannya setiap hari akan perbuataanya. Apa yang dilakukannya? Dia (Mayella) menggoda seorang Negro.

“Yang kita ketahui, Tuan-Tuan, bahwa asumsi tersebut adalah kebohongan sehitam kulit Tom Robinson, kebohongan yang tak perlu saya tekankan kepada Anda. Anda tahu kebenarannya, dan kebenarannya adalah begini: sebagian orang Negro berbohong, sebagian orang Negro tak bermoral, sebagian orang Negro berbahaya bagi perempuan—yang berkulit hitam maupun putih. Tetapi, kebeneran ini berlaku bagi seluruh umat manusia dan tidak khusus pada satu ras saja. Tak ada orang di dalam ruangan pengadailan ini yang belum pernah berbohong, yang belum pernah berbuat amoral, dan tak ada lelaki hidup yang tak pernah memandang seorang perempuan dengan hasrat,” tegas Atticus.

Sayangnya, para juri masih berprasangka bahwa seorang Negro derajatnya lebih rendah dari ras lainnya—apapun kesaksiannya adalah kebohongan. Hakim Taylor membacakan putusan juri: “Bersalah…….bersalah……..bersalah……” Begitulah pada akhirnya nasib Tom Robinson yang dibela Atticus.

Pada akhir cerita. Pembaca akan tahu mengapa Harper Lee memberi judul “To Kill A Mockingbird,” pada novelnya. Bagi Nyonya Maudie, kata ‘mockingbird’ terkait suatu perilaku ‘dosa’. Katanya pada Scout, “Kau boleh menembak burung bluejay sebanyak yang kau mau, tetapi ingat, membunuh mockingbird itu dosa.” Dia memberikan alasan bahwa “Mockingbird menyanyikan musik untuk kita nikmati. Mereka tidak memakan tanaman di kebun orang, tidak bersarang di gudang jagung, tidak melakukan apapun, kecuali menyanyi dengan tulus untuk kita.”

Selanjutnya ‘mockingbird’ hadir tatkala anjing pemburu bernama Tim Johnson berada di jalanan dengan sikapnya yang aneh. Pintu-pintu rumah ditutup. Jalanan Sepi. Mockingbird tak bernyanyi. Situasi senyap seperti itu diingatkan kembali oleh Scout tatkala para pengunjung sidang menunggu putusan juri akan nasib Tom Robinson.
Ujungnya, rencana pembunuhan Bob Ewell terhadap Jem di jalan. Jem terluka dan pingsan tapi Ewell mati seketika saat penyerangan terjadi. Sherif Tate meyakinkan Atticus bahwa Ewell jatuh menimpa pisaunya sendiri. Atticus tak mempercayai ini. Namun Heck Tate menegaskan itulah kenyataannya. Ini dibenarkan Scout saat Atticus berseloroh. Atticus terkejut dan Scout menjawab “Itu sama saja dengan menembak mockingbird”.

Pada titik itulah pembaca dapat memahami judul novel ini. Harper Lee membawa si burung ‘mockingbird’ bernyanyi di awal-awal ceritanya. Lalu dia menaruhnya di setengah bagian cerita ini dan berhenti di ujung kisah.
Sebuah novel yang unik, cerdas, dan bermutu. Pembaca tak mungkin bisa memahaminya dengan utuh dan lengkap jika tidak membaca lembar demi lembar dari awal sampai akhir kisah novel ini.


Rabu, 12 November 2008


Salam setengah merdeka!

“Ada jenis manusia yang harus ditembak dahulu sebelum disapa.
Begitupun, mereka masih tak sebanding dengan peluru yang digunakan untuk menembak.”

Ruangan bercat biru muda itu lengang. Pintu yang terbuat dari kayu setinggi 2.5 meter, tertutup rapat. Koran bertumpuk tak beraturan. Pintu lemari terbuka lebar, di dalamnya buku-buku berserakan. Ada banyak debu di atas meja. Empat buah lampu yang menempel di langit-langit ruangan, tidak menyala. Di sebelah kiri pintu masuk tertulis UAPM.

Dari ruangan itulah seharusnya persoalan mengenai para petani yang terus-menerus tidak diuntungkan oleh sistem penguasa dimulai. Nasib para buruh pabrik diperbicangkan. Budaya-budaya lokal yang mulai tergerus oleh modernisasi dibahas. Kebijakan-kebijakan kampus yang merugikan mahasiswa diberitakan.

Selain itu, pemberitaan harian-harian umum dianalisis. Persoalan agama diperdebatkan. Persoalan kebenaran dipertanyakan. Berlatih untuk terus membaca dan menulis dilakukan. Dan masih banyak lagi. Sayangnya, kesempatan itu tidak digunakan sebaik mungkin. Ada dan tidak adanya orang di dalam ruang itu hampir tidak jauh berbeda.

Akhirnya, ruangan itu hanya berisi sekumpulan orang-orang bingung. Satu sama lain saling mencela. Saling berteriak menyumpahi. Berbicara tanpa ada pangkal dan ujung. Hampir tidak ada satupun yang sadar pentingnya membaca buku, berlatih menulis, dan berdiskusi panjang lebar.

Sudah saatnya meluruskan kembali tujuan Uapm didirikan. Bagi Uapm, menulis adalah sebuah laku moral. Menyatakan sebuah kebenaran adalah tanggung jawab yang harus dilaksanakan. Pramoedya Ananta Toer dalam Khotbah dari Jalan Hidup mengatakan, “Orang boleh pandai setinggi langit, tapi selama ia tidak menulis, ia akan hilang di dalam masyarakat dan dari sejarah. Menulis adalah bekerja untuk keabadian.”
Andreas Harsono menambahkan, ada dua syarat sederhana bila ingin “bekerja untuk keabadian”: kau harus tahu dan kau harus berani. Jika ingin tahu, buatlah riset. Harus baca buku. Harus wawancara. Minta izin jika ingin mengutip omongan orang. Harus jujur. Harus transparan.

Janganlah menulis soal “peningkatan sumber daya manusia dan ekonomi masyarakat” atau “globalisasi dalam kaitannya dengan Pancasila serta Islam” dan sebagainya. Kata-kata itu cuma jargon.

Jangan membebek orang lain menulis. Mereka sok pinter. Mereka sering tak tahu perdebatan-perdebatan yang sudah dilakukan orang-orang macam Michael Sandel dan Thomas Friedman soal globalisasi. Mereka tak tahu kebohongan Muh. Yamin atau Nugroho Notosusanto dengan apa yang dinamakan Pancasila. Ada ratusan teori soal demokrasi dan mereka belum baca tuntas semuanya. Pakai kata-kata sederhana. Kalimat pendek-pendek.

Lebih baik tulis masalah sehari-hari. Penyair Widji Thukul menulis masalah sehari-hari bila memulai syairnya. “Tadinya aku pengin bilang: aku butuh rumah tapi lantas kuganti dengan kalimat: setiap orang butuh tanah. Ingat: setiap orang!” tulis Thukul dalam Tentang Sebuah Gerakan.

Tahu saja tidak cukup. Harus punya keberanian untuk menyatakan kebenaran. Pramoedya dan Thukul adalah orang berani. Pram dipenjara Belanda, Soekarno dan Soeharto. Perpustakaan Pram dibakar tentara. Bukunya habis. Kupingnya budek gara-gara hajaran serdadu. Thukul bahkan diculik dan hilang hingga hari ini. Jadi, kalau mau menulis, hanya dua syarat sederhana. Harus tahu sekecil apapun yang ditulis dan harus berani.
Sampai detik ini ke dua syarat sederhana tersebut tidak dimiliki oleh hampir semua baik pengurus maupun anggota Uapm. Akibatnya, banyak tulisan yang tidak terselesaikan. Bahkan di organisasi yang bergelut pada bidang tulis menulis ini masih ada yang tidak bisa menulis. Ironisnya, kenyataan itu berpengaruh terhadap berjalannya roda organisasi.

Akhirnya, hanya karena kita telah tertindas oleh kemalasan dan kebodohan sebelum kita memulai melawan, bukanlah alasan bagi kita untuk tidak berusaha menang. Jika tidak mampu melawan kemalasan dan kebodohan, maka kita adalah salah satu jenis manusia yang harus ditembak dahulu sebelum disapa.

Salam Setengah Merdeka.


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