[-empyre-] on the 'destructive character'

William Bain willronb at yahoo.com
Fri Nov 28 19:20:45 EST 2014

Sorry for previous blunder--wrong key pressed. But just a couple of things. As the Benjamin essayhas been analyzed I feel like I should address some of the thoughts on it.Mostly I agree with those thoughts, perhaps especially the final paragraphwhere Heiner picks up on Benjamin’s opposition destroy/collect. I also readthat in his essay. But—probably pointing out the obvious—that space between theopposed terms is also important. Have we gone too far? is a question that’sbeen asked on this listserv a number of times. Benjamin’s awareness of theimportance of destroying brings that home, I think. Benjamin’s context in partwas Lebensraum, and it could be in part ours today. Then also, one destroyssomething in/by collecting. There’s the obvious destruction of an environment(loosely speaking—any “place”) simply by picking up a stone, say, andtransporting it to some collection. But also the destruction of putting thingsunder lock and key as in “Enfer” sections. Destroying or blocking access toinformation, knowledge. I think of Virginia Woolf lecturing to “working class”women, informing them about venereal disease. That kind of modernity, a commonreader modernity, seems to me to be a different kind of erasure (thanks, Ana,for your gloss on that, new to me). My couple of things and apologies for beingso hasty with this,, but (other) work calls. And thanks to Johannes for thetranslation! Best wishes, William 
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