By Howard Caygill
This ebook analyses the advance of Benjamin's idea of expertise in his early writings displaying that it emerges from an engagement with visible adventure, and particularly the event of color.
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Additional resources for Walter Benjamin: The Colour of Experience
SW, 246) Class struggle can either dispute the frontier between the classes, or challenge the entire terrain of struggle. Yet this position collapses Benjamin’s nascent speculative account of experience/freedom into an idealistic celebration of ‘pure immediate violence’, so abandoning the subtle insights into the complex configurations of experience in favour of a crude erasure of complexity in an absolute freedom. The ‘cross-over’ between the theories of ‘experience’ and ‘freedom’ seems, in the Critique of Violence, to incline towards an account of freedom which is less the ‘comprehension and recasting’ of law than its uncompromising casting out.
As might be expected from Benjamin’s emergent speculative concept of experience, tradition is but one of a number of possible options for the organisation of space and time. Its destruction raises the possibility not of a single but of a number of possible successors. In Experience and Poverty Benjamin mentions four possible options, but his entire authorship of the late 1920s and 1930s may be read as an exploration of the ambiguity of the new, modern conditions of possible experience. One response to the destruction of experience is the ‘oppressive wealth of ideas’ represented by such ‘new age’ nostalgic revivals as ‘astrology and yoga, Christian Science and Chiromancy, vegetarianism and gnosis, scholasticism and spiritualism’ (GS II.
This followed necessarily from the extension of the bounds of experience: if the absolute is immanent to experience, then the critical judgement of experience must also be undertaken immanently. There can be no externally given and secured criteria of critical judgement such as those Kant deduced from the nature of the apper-ceptive subject. Consequently, instead of making critical judgements according to transcendentally secured criteria, immanent critique looks for its criteria in the traces of the absolute left in an experience or work.