Posted by: Dan | August 26, 2007

Change

“Politicians are 'like' that—all crooked. Nothing ever changes” (read: “I refuse to think the world can change so I myself won't have to”).
~ Brian Massumi, A user's guide to Capitalism and Schizophrenia: Deviations from Deleuze and Guattari, 97.

It is interesting to place this quote in the context of other hopes for social change.

For example, while I am quite certain that politicians will not bring us the change that we desire, I remain adamant that change can, and must, come from the Church. Consequently, following Massumi, my belief that “when the Church is the Church, the World is made new” can be read in the following way: “because the Church changes things, I must change.”

Of course, most everybody (Christian or not) tells me that the Church is just as hopeless — just as “crooked” — as the World. Christians, and the clergy, are said to be “'like' that” just as much as the politicians. Does Massumi's reading also apply here? “I refuse to think the Church can change so I myself won't have to”? I wonder.

The view that I hold to says this: “change is coming, so we will begin changing now.” Thus, those who share this view with me, tend to do things like move into inner-city neighbourhoods, and move into deeper levels of intimacy with those for whom change is most desperately needed.

The other view that I have described says this: “nothing really changes, so I'll just keep doing what I've always done.” Consequently, when those who hold this view encounter those who hold the view that I do, they ultimately only ever respond in one way. Whether they admire us or despise us is irrelevant, in both cases they respond from a distance. And that, as far as I can tell, is a problem (for everybody involved).

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