Consolations of gnosis

I finished “Irreductions” from The Pasteurization of France.

To me, Latour looks like the most rigorous and radical fusion of Nietzschean and Pragmatist I’ve read.


Superficially, Actor-Network Theory looks almost amoral, but Latour always inserts a moral at the end of his fables.

ANT neutralizes the twin delusions of omnipotence in knowledge and helplessness in practice that prevents visionaries from taking an honest shot at actualizing their ideals. The consolation of knowledge has seduced the most imaginative intellects of the world to build paltry private kingdoms in their minds — each a place of its own — leaving uncontested the domination of the public world to whoever will dominate it.

ANT closes off all antipolitical paths. Those who wish to gain power have exactly one option: build alliances.

Latour’s novel insight is that those alliances occur not only between people but between people and things, and strength is nothing more or less than the cooperation lent by each participant in the alliance.


Some quotes from Heraclitus seem compatible with this line of thought:

“The waking have one world in common, whereas each sleeper turns away to a private world of his own. ”

“Men who love wisdom should acquaint themselves with a great many particulars.”

“We should let ourselves be guided by what is common to all. Yet, although the Logos is common to all, most men live as if each of them had a private intelligence of his own. ”


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