I mostly read non-fiction books on academic subjects although I'll read a few other stuff here and there.
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Chaos has found itself, and anything may happen. The atoms whirl, the struggle for existence rages. Even reason itself becomes irrational. Ideas of duty and of fellowship become wholly unstable. The world is full of personal caprice and social unrighteousness — this is not a picture merely of Rome under the Caesars! The true nature of our unbroken existence is here unrolled before us. Our ungodliness and unrighteousness stand under the wrath of God. His judgement now becomes judgement and nothing more; and we experience the impossibility of men as the real and final impossibility of God.
We, indeed, ascribe both prescience and predestination to God; but we say, that it is absurd to make the latter subordinate to the former (see chap. 22 sec. 1). When we attribute prescience to God, we mean that all things always were, and ever continue, under his eye; that to his knowledge there is no past or future, but all things are present, and indeed so present, that it is not merely the idea of them that is before him (as those objects are which we retain in our memory), but that he truly sees and contemplates them as actually under his immediate inspection. This prescience extends to the whole circuit of the world, and to all creatures. By predestination we mean the eternal decree of God, by which he determined with himself whatever he wished to happen with regard to every man.
It is plain how greatly ignorance of this principle detracts from the glory of God, and impairs true humility. But though thus necessary to be known, Paul declares that it cannot be known unless God, throwing works entirely out of view, elect those whom he has predestined. His words are, “Even so then at this present time also, there is a remnant according to the election of grace. And if by grace, then it is no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then it is no more grace: otherwise work is no more work,”
Tracts on the Anabaptists and the Libertines, contain some of Calvin’s most significant and theological reflections ranging from infant baptism, …
How we think about historical events – this is itself conditioned historically – significantly affects these events, whereas astronomy cannot significantly affect the course of the stars. It is assumed of the views of socialisation sketched here that socialisation, as prophecy, has already begun to become a cause of its own realisation.
Dumb resistance and random destruction became the expression of unsatisfied proletarian longing and bitterness. These powerful forces can only become creative if socialisation, the conscious realisation of the new order of life, is based on an intellectual analysis and if utopianism becomes effective as science, as social engineering.
Marxists killed playful utopianism, thus saving the unity of the [Social Democratic] Party and ‘scientific rigour’, but also paralysing the resolve to think up new forms. The doctrine of historical necessity became quietism for many; what Marx said about active engagement in reconstruction was forgotten. As if conscious work on the order of society with a specific goal would be opposed to the realisation that what is willed as well as the willing are necessary for development!
The self-abolition of the proletariat implies the destruction of conditions of life that both control and protect the proletarians, blocks of flats and public amenities for instance. Both functions are intricately interwoven and it is impossible to completely distinguish the “bad” from the “good,” control from protection.
No social movement is crystal pure, even less so in violent times. Mercedes showrooms will go up in flames, possibly also a store of bed linen. The extension of communisation and proletarians’ control of their own violence are the sole guarantee that such waste will remain an isolated event, and that excess and purely negative rampage will be avoided, limited, or prevented. An expanding geography of freedom comes with intraproletarian conflict. When “you’re burning your houses, burning the streets, with anxiety,” as the Ruts sang in 1979, the arsonist might clash with the inflamed. There is no revolution without disorder: our problem will be to see to it that a new socialisation comes out of de-socialisation. Otherwise riots only reproduce themselves, proletarian self-destruction remains negative, police-free zones become the hunting ground of gangs, the impetus tires out, inertia sets in, and sooner or later the old order is back.
In communism, unlike in the economy, no productive act is determinant in itself. Everything has its singularity and can become debatable: building a table or a house, organising a training course or a journey. Restaurants as we know them appeared in the early nineteenth century. If restaurants are abolished, how do travellers feed themselves? Phasing out work to develop human activity includes dealing with such matters, with a strong degree of local and individual initiative. How they would converge is impossible to foretell. Human activity, or generic activity to use Marx’s term in his early writings, does not mean permanent harmony. Communism is not universal peace and love. Concord is not a given: it results from certain practices, and is negated by others, war obviously, also competition between companies, and work.