I found this book quite a frustrating read for largely stylistic reasons. For related reasons, I am as yet unable to say how fruitful I think their apI found this book quite a frustrating read for largely stylistic reasons. For related reasons, I am as yet unable to say how fruitful I think their approach. Having said that, this review captures fairly well why I think the book is interesting. As such, let me (for now) simply quote a little bit from the review:
The argument, which presumably draws on Deleuze and especially Guattari’s work on “machinic enslavement” and “apparatuses of capture,” claims that capitalism does not reproduce itself thanks to the powers of ideology/illusion or alienation. Ideology/illusion separates a theater of appearances from an objective and truthful reality, as if by a screen (43), while alienation implies the existence of non-alienated intellectuals who are going to allow the masses to “become conscious” of the forces oppressing them. (106) By contrast, capitalist sorcery operates by “capture,” through a culture of “spells” that immobilise thinking and paralyse collective action. What anti-capitalist politics needs then is not so much demystification or dis-alienation, but a counter-magic capable of protecting its practitioners and breaking the spell.
First few chapters are quite thought-provoking, but the last 3 chapters are disappointingly superficial, because of the way the authors constantly conFirst few chapters are quite thought-provoking, but the last 3 chapters are disappointingly superficial, because of the way the authors constantly contrast a rather self-centered ‘hedonistic’ approach to marriage and relationship formation to ‘the’ Christian approach, which they feel everyone should strive for. Because the upshot of this dichotomous approach is that, apart from a providing a few footnotes in which they suggest that it is possible to not be Christian while still having an ‘other-focused’ marriage, they say next to nothing about what they think is missing from non-Christian, non-hedonistic marriages. Nevertheless, the authors raise a lot of interesting questions about what marriage vows can commit you to, in this way allowing the reader to think about the question why he or she would want to get married, and how this relates to the near-ubiquitous beliefs about how marriage ‘should’ be about self-development in the way you want; a stance they contrast with developing in order to become a better partner, as required by the promise you have made to your partner.
(Advisory: the author(s) is (are) extremely concerned with spiritual development, in what seems to me a Calvinist sense. He/they basically see(s) marriage as the primary vehicle through which one is supposed to become closer to god. This can make reading the book a bit tiresome, as it means you have to translate everything back into more earthly thoughts, but I nevertheless think it's worth reading the book if the topic seems interesting -- if only because I'm not aware of secular authors grappling with these questions in comparable fashion. Is anyone perhaps familiar with an author who has taken a relational ethics approach to marriage?)...more