Spirit’s “true concern is the negation of reification.” That we make our world is the time-full “truth” that “untruth” most wishes to silence. Reification is that hardening of historically produced conditions into “second nature” – a totalizing ideological and material environment experienced as timeless and unchangeable. It is an enforced forgetting of the political “truth” that structural barbarism is not necessary, not an invariable. Collectively constructed, the given world system can be collectively changed. The practical problem of how to change it, at this point, requires radically rethinking the categories of revolutionary theory. But that the world can be changed – and that both the desire for change and the negative utopian images that provisionally orient that desire can be found within the failures and contradictions of the system itself – remains the core of “truth.” To keep this negative dialectic moving, to resist its arrest and regression, is the work and play of critical thought.
- Gene Ray, Terror and the Sublime in Art and Critical Theory