Life as Art
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Life as Art

The Good Life and a Fulfilling Life 2

Immanent Liberalism

Photo by Tim Mossholder from Pexels

Liberal State as not Transcendent

The liberal state, equipped with practically chosen principles that uphold a thin theory of justice, maximizes our collective ability to lead a fulfilling life.

Practical thought and social deliberation on such principles of justice are consistent with Deleuze’s ethic of the affirmation of difference in life.

The liberal political state is not transcendent, or true, or necessarily optimal. It is fragile, transitory, contingent, and dependent on a common understanding based in practical thought.

Further, it evolves, is not stagnant; there is no one theory of justice that is consistent with the affirmation of life, but many.

Liberal State in Flux

A thin theory of justice is consistent with a liberal state that is itself in flux; one that recognizes changing flows in society as all that ever eternally return.

The minimum requirements of a liberal pluralistic society, tentatively agreed, recognize deterritorialization as the social reflection of the return of difference.

Power that territorializes and striates, denies life, has no place in the liberal state, nor in an ethic of becoming.

A vision of a fulfilling life created within these minimum parameters, which are subject to modification, is not limiting of life; on the contrary, it affirms life.

Liberal State as Open

Justice in the Deleuzian liberal sense is a matter of practical debate in relation to the application of freedom of becoming, critical freedom, to our political and social institutions.

Clearly, Deleuze could not support in theory or practice the organic, authoritarian, totalitarian state based on a philosophy of abstraction, unity and wholeness. His overriding enquiry is into the conditions in which we would voluntarily accept repression.

Liberal states based on democracy and practical debate, are open and new; they are incremental in their approach, responding to shifting political and economic forces, and adapting to the changing needs of a society based on freedom of becoming.

A Political Environment that Fosters Fulfillment

Why is this important to leading a fulfilling life? Why are we discussing politics at all? Is it not the case that the pursuit of a fulfilling life is a personal matter only? I have argued in my writings that it is not:

A fulfilling life is both a personal and social matter.

Insofar as it is social, it requires a vision of the society in which we do our interacting and connecting, exercise our critical freedom, and evolve.

Practically speaking, society is the place we do becoming. Life is therefore inherently political:

A vision of going to the limit of what one can be requires, or goes hand in hand with, a vision of society that supports such activities.

Live and Let Live

In order to exercise freedom of becoming in our daily lives, we require a substantive justice that is open to change, is alive and evolves, in the spirit of pure difference; one that rejects macro and micro fascism in any sphere of life.

Such a society remains firmly fixed on the problem of creativity and experimentation in life.

Such a society affirms live and let live, in a spirit of tolerance and acceptance of a plurality of modes of existence.

These are the bare requirements of leading a fulfilling life; without them, we are caught in the striations of a society that would negate life.

I hope you enjoyed this article. Thanks for reading!


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Excerpt from my forthcoming book, Becoming: A Life of Pure Difference (Gilles Deleuze and the Philosophy of the New) Copyright © 2021 by Tomas Byrne. Learn more here.



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Tomas Byrne

Tomas Byrne

Jagged Tracks Music, Process Philosophy, Progressive Ethics, Transformative Political Theory, Informed Thrillers, XLawyer