Deleuze, Guattari, and the “Politics of Sorcery”


On the first page of The Dialectic of Enlightenment, Adorno and Horkheimer define the project of the Enlightenment in no uncertain terms. Its goal, they write, was to liberate the world from magic. The devastating success of the Enlightenment, they argue, is the ironic “technologization” of reason: having begun by setting the liberating power of critical insight against the power of myth, the Enlightenment ends with the reduction of reason to a set of techniques for the domination of the material world–a set of reinforcing principles that mythologize industrial productivity as the consummation of human creative power. On this account it might seem that to liberate reason and selfhood from its imprisonment in forms of technique, it would be imperative that the objects of thought not be prima facie reducible to the Enlightenment’s conception of “objectivity.” If the objectivity of objects, for the Enlightenment, consists in those features of the natural world that the human mind can universally manipulate, and if in fact, as Adorno and Horkheimer argued, this notion of objectivity actually inhibits rather than liberates reason, it might seem that to renew reason philosophy would have to take account of dimensions of objects not reducible to objectivity.  If the Enlightenment arbitrarily and disastrously reduced reason to formulas of technique, and did this in order to liberate the world from magic, might we not once again, to overcome the crisis of the Enlightenment, have to allow for the possibility of a magical rapport with the world?

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