Friday, February 11, 2011
Bert Oliver on the epochal Ereignis in Egypt.
It is possible to place the incipient revolution in Egypt in a wider historical and philosophical framework — one that is very illuminating regarding its potential for liberation as well as renewed oppression. The conceptual framework I am thinking of here is that of “modernity as crisis” — a notion encountered in different guises and in many thinkers’ work, from Nietzsche and Heidegger to Derrida, Deleuze, Kristeva, Virilio, Megill and others.

In Prophets of Extremity (1985), Allan Megill reminds us that the word, “crisis”, in medical discourse, denotes that turning-point in the development of an illness where it could go in the direction of either a rapid deterioration (followed by death), or an improvement, on the road to recovery. Transferred to the domain of history, it means very much the same thing, except that the “recovery” and “death” in question mean something different than in the case of a living organism.
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