Criticism as Immanence

by Jonas Weaver

Criticism, deconstruction, breaking down are never in their own right truly right. There’s always a need (a demand) for a rebuilding. It’s well and good to complain or critique but what positive change is the dissident effecting? There exists a demand to fix, to rebuild. Even the French Revolution centered on fixing problems by instituting a new social order (being). Same goes for the Reformation, the American Revolution, etc. It’s always deconstruction to an end. This impulse/desire for the new, for the better, for the alternative to what is seems problematic to me. It’s fundamentally a negation of what is by raising high a brand new transcendent narrative. This is why the Reformation wasn’t really a shift, at least not beyond the surface level of existence. All it was was a replacement of one form of transcendence with another. It’s the “common installation of a transcendent plane” instead of an “immanent affirmation of the world” (Barber, On Diaspora).

Fundamentally, then, the criticism of criticism centers on the lack, the lack of a positive alternative, a plan of action. The criticism leveled at criticism is one of transcendence and the always already present desire for a new plane of transcendence. What the critique fails to appreciate is that deconstruction/criticism/whatever one calls the action of breaking down is the purest affirmation of experience, of living now. Criticism centers on the fact that whatever transcendent claim is being advanced fails to meet the needs now of persons, of the world. So, to replace it with a positive better way of being would be to counteract the purpose of criticism.