February 25, 2011

Rosi Braidotti on Affirmative Ethics


Negative passions are black holes. In affirmative ethics, the harm you do to others is immediately reflected on the harm you do to yourself in terms of loss of potentia, positivity, capacity to relate and hence freedom. Affirmative ethics is not about the avoidance of pain, but rather about transcending the resignation and passivity that ensue from being hurt, lost and dispossessed. One has to become ethical, as opposed to applying moral rules and protocols as a form of self-protection.

An adequate ethical relation is capable of sustaining the subject in his or her quest for more inter-relations with others i.e. more ‘Life’, motion, change and transformation. The adequate ethical question provides the subject with a frame for interaction and change, growth and movement. It affirms life as difference-at-work and as sustainable transformations. An ethical relation must confront the question of how much freedom of action we can endure. Affirmative ethics assumes that humanity does not stem out of freedom, but rather that freedom is extracted out of awareness of our multiple limitations. Affirmation is about freedom from the burden of negativity, through the understanding of these limitations.

- Rosi Braidotti, The New Activism, A Plea for Affirmative Ethics


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