Monday, June 3, 2013

Money Wisdom #137

"The critical thinkers I have studied in The Economy of Literature know and are uneasy that a special logic, the money of the mind, informs and cannot be expelled from their thinking. As a god or an 'equal to the gods', Jesus tried to eject from inside the walls of the Temple the classical moneychanger and his changing coins. He wanted to keep the monetary agents of homogenization and uniformity out of view of the ark where he supposed the divine One to dwell. Plato, however, knew that money could hardly be eliminated from the Academy where human lovers of wisdom conversed. He knew that hypothecation informs hypothesization and that change-making informs the dialectical division of the One. Plato recognized and took into his account of metaphorization and truth the symmetries between money and the Idea or between rhetoric and its counterpart, dialectic.

The history of theory from Aristotle to Hegel to Heidegger is a series of swollen footnotes to Plato. These notes try - as does this book - to understand and define themselves against his thought. In the end, however, there is no easy way out of the field where theory encounters and tries to account for its own internalization of economic form. Wagner's operatic characters, perhaps, could return to the Rhine maidens the gold from which was fashioned the ring of Nebelungen, and perhaps Rousseau could reject the hypothetical offer of a ring of Gyges. The literary and political theorist, however, cannot ignore the economy of literature. There is no retreat from, no safe lookout onto, no island in the midst of, this intellectual battlefield."

Marc Shell The Economy of Literature (1978) p.156

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