January 31, 2011

Hypertangible Philosophy

"Lines of fracture, inversions, splits, rifts: there is, as it were, a line beyond which, for every expanding system - every system which, by dint of exponential growth, passes beyond its own end - a catastrophe looms."
- Jean Baudrillard, The Intelligence of Evil

To begin with I need to say that I have never felt completely comfortable writing about myself, there is something unsettling about revealing and explaining what might constitute yourself, an awkward intellectual undressing, that ends up seeming like a contrived strip-tease to somehow save face. With that being said my name is Hank Stolte. I come from an impossibly small (my graduating class contains 57 kids) rural Texas town named Thorndale, a town that is just what you would imagine it to be - filled with extreme right-wing/religious/populous sentiments. Probably due to this fact I have always felt more at home with any one who fell outside of these quite rigid and exclusionary categories.

My foray into critical though and philosophy was born through my participation in high school debate, when during the summer between my 8th grade and freshman year I happened across something called the "Nietzsche K" on a site devoted to the activity of debate cross-x.com (an excellent site,btw ). Now a discussion of how high school debate operates or what a "K" is are discussions for other times and places, the important thing is that this chance encounter with a certain dead German philosopher has put me on a trajectory that I am still highly engaged in. After I had read the short spinets of Nietzsche that made up the debate argument, I wanted more, so i got my hands on all the Nietzsche I could find and devoured his works in short time. A while after this the great game of debate introduced me to Marxism and other areas of anti-capitalism, most notably the writings of Slavoj Zizek. After an intellectual upbringing in Nietzsche and an adolescence in Marx my thought turned in probably the only way that was left - I discovered Jean Baudrillard and the rest of the post-68 gang, who still dominate most of my reading time. Other authors i have delved in include Paul Vrillio, Georges Bataille, Giles Deleuze, Felix Guarttari, Micheal Hardt, Antonio Negi, and (to save time) all the others in Brian's list of influences, except Kincheloe and hooks.

Its easy to describe my critical background, but my political grounding is a little more problematic. I would be hard pressed to admit to any political grounding, my ideas normally fluctuate depending on what is influencing me at the time. I don't care to much for teleological and dogmatic ideologies, but it would be safe to say that I probably near the Radical Left, if not in politics than at least in spirit. No matter what I believe is a good strategy for combating it at the time, I will always be put off by forms of violent exclusion. And this is probably how I will treat my participation in Lines of Fracture.There will probably never be a coherent meta-theme to my posts, rather I plan on approaching this blog as an expression of those fluctuations in my thought.

This is an approach I am not only taking in my individual post, but one i hope the blog as a whole embodies. An approach that hopes each post -whether it be scattered thoughts, esoteric prose, commentary on current events, or structured critical analysis- can be the starting point for trajectories that open up spaces for new ways of thinking, no matter how small these spaces may be. That we on this blog can generate ideas that can exploit the stress points of a system, crack and shatter previously solid ground, widen existing schisms, and become the ground work for larger processes of undermining and reorganization  - these are lines of fracture.

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