Between Auschwitz and Tradition

Postmodern reflections on the task of thinking


The reference of the postmodern task of thinking is Auschwitz, the abyss and discontinuity separating us from the world of our ancestors. As inhabitants of Planet Auschwitz our point of reference lacks all transcendental warrants; it is not a non-referable reference which constitutes the abyss we must enter, endure, and in which our intellectual and cultural tradition must be transformed. The private/public transformations which constitute the texts of this book attempt to depart from the dystopic individuality and public life resulting from business-as-usual after Auschwitz. The three parts of the book are progressive reworkings of traditional metaphysics as adapted and modified by a modernism that refuses to grapple with its complicity. It is precisely that complicity which postmodern thinking takes up in its attempt to signify otherwise than the easy modernist translations and images of tradition. Thus it is a series of uneasy images imaging otherwise but never apart from modernity that take us away from complicity toward a transformed tradition. The uneasy images of this book are photogrammic combinations of photographs and texts, mutual supplements, pulling tradition through the Event against the persistent and murderous forces of contemporary idolatry and repression.

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”I do not know how to review this book. Perhaps I should return it but I can’t. There is something happening in these pages. Through photographs, poems, personal reflections, philosophical interventions - a visceral collage of the possibility of ethical thinking after Auschwitz - something is happening … This is a remarkable piece of work. A performance of ethical thinking - and of ethical provocation.” – David Owen, in: Journal of Nietzsche Studies, Issue 11
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