More Binge Reading of Theory of Lockdown


I continue my binge reading and binge commentary on identities journal. I have discovered something interesting – I really am only interested in reading an article 1500 words or less unless it is amazing. Otherwise TLDR.

Lockdown Theory by Jonathan Fardy clocks in at around 675 worlds – refreshingly short! All these essays are called lockdown theory,  and this is just called Lockdown #13 so I really don’t know what I am going to read – but it looks short and my internet is out so I persist. 

One of the interesting things about binge reading all these essays is that many of the authors feel the need to justify the practice that they are engaging in. I wonder if people in most professions are now doing this.

But, here I am reading this stuff, and then commenting on it, when. These are not all necessarily essays, because its hard to write an essay in such as short period of time with the covid19 cognitive load, and the myriad of distractions like  watching a celebrity live feed on instagram.

So while I call these works, essays, the authors call them something else. Fardy calls this work spit-up. What does it mean to “lockdown”? Fardy says it means to fix in place to “lock down”. That coincidentally, is also the purpose of theory, to lock things down. We can fix them to a grid of intelligibility (a philosophical system), or if they dont fit, spit them up as literature. 

But what else is interesting about lockdown is the notion of place. That in order to be on lock down or to lockdown you need to be locked down to something to a particular location.  I am reading a text on the Nakshatra, the houses of the moon in Indian astrologer.  Not necessarily because I am an astrologer, but because I am interested in different systems of meaning making -in different worlds.

In any case, various astrological systems have this notion of house or location. The locations are static, the locations themselves are in primary lockdown. Which house an object (planet, moon, etc) lives has an impact on location. In the tech circles I run in, people are nomadic, there is a disconnection from place. They have lived their life in the opposite of lockdown, whatever that may be. 

But locations have an impact on the thing. Where you lock it down, is just as important as what you are locking down, or that you are locking it down in the first place.  To spit something up as fiction, or to bundle it neatly as a system is to create a place for it. And perhaps as the the idea is released from lockdown, to roam, it will move through other houses. What other houses are there other than traditional philosophy and theory fiction for the manifestation of ideas? What is the celestial wheel that undergirds the entire endeavor? What is the wheel that undergirds that? Turtles all the way down.

CovId19 perhaps operates outside the lunar mansions, it cannot be locked down yet, because it is operating in different orbit and not cross over the terrain that theory crosses over. We can lock down the theory, but perhaps a different set of tools are necessary to lock down the pandemic. 


Fardy does not really describe theory fiction but has some excellent quotes that I suggest you read if you are interested. 

Theory in the time of covid19


Probably the only thing worse than being a close talker during the covid19 epidemic, is being a theorist.

The only way to recover is being a meta-theorist, . Welcome to my binge commentary on all the articles in Identity Journal, since it is the only thing in my browser when my internet went down.

Now we continue with Wark’s Theory in a Pandemic. Should we feel bad about theorizing covid19? After all, if we are theorizing then we are not sick, we are not treating covid, nor are we unemployed and starving. We, who are theorizing, are privileged. This is neither good nor bad it is a state of affairs that allow us to theorize.

What is the purpose of this theorizing. For some people it is to buttress their ideologies. But I read Wark as saying Be Speculative! Do not use covid19 as proof for a point of view but an opportunity event – a completely new thing. It is a rupture, in a good way, like when you pop a zit and all the puss comes out and you do not get staph infection (because it is the time of covid19 and you will surely die if this were to happen).

Why do theory in a crises? The answer is not necessarily action, praxis. Even Wark backs away from this, although he does acknowledge there is something action related to theory in a time of crises.

What I believe the call to action is techne. to act – or really to CREATE- poesis. I bet you thought I was going to say techne, well I almost did. But really we need poetry. We need the space of imagination and making to understand how to co-create this world and use our conceptual apparatus created in theorizing to create space for praxis in the world. Even if the theorists are not doing the praxis.

We have the movement from theoria to poesis to praxis, or from theory to poetry/world building to action.

We do not do theory to know, like to know how to cure covid19. We do theory to create new categories to make knowing, acting, building, etc possible. We do theory to understand how to world during the epidemic, and how to world after the epidemic.

One of the questions I have been asking is what sort of world do we want to build when this pandemic is over. But perhaps that is the wrong question. Time does not stop.Life does not stop. And perhaps the pandemic will never be over, just like AIDS and cancer were never cured, and the war on drugs was never won. How do we world with pandemic?

What do our bodies feel like, how do we touch other bodies, what do our minds feel like, what do our emotions feel like, what is it like to be separated from something (a disease) that is nothing but physical for those who encounter it?  The pandemic event is upon us. It is now up to the theorists to create the concepts and spaces that constitute this new world. Then we can all act in it.