Overthrowing Institutions

Not inter-disciplinary but anti-disciplinary

This is not what they call critical or inter-disciplinary social science; strictly speaking, it should be useless for the contemporary institutions of social science.

It will be asked whether this odd little volume intends to be both a serious contribution to the sciences of society and a genuine effort to aid in contemporary political movements. While I do believe it is both, I am aware that it may function as neither for the simple reason that I have avoided at all cost the mystifying and inherently conservative impulse to be useful with respect to the institutional status quo it is precisely our goal to overthrow. Indeed, it is because instrumentalism is one of the social pathologies most responsible for our mass political pacification today that I avoid vulgar claptrap about usefulness, instead wagering on an ultimate “usefulness” which can only come through an unhinging from the pressure to generate value for currently existing institutions. For anyone in whom this manuscript increases free energy incommensurable with status quo institutions, an articulation of even its radical “usefulness” would be worse than redundant: it would quantitatively decrease, qualitatively corrupt, and ultimately slander the very energy it gives by reducing it to purposes and pre-sterilized interpretive schemas commensurable with status quo institutions (for that is always effectively what it means for something to register as “useful.”)

As for the social sciences, this is certainly not to be confused with those styles labelled “critical” or “inter-disciplinary,” because it is, strictly speaking, useless for the contemporary institutions of social science. Rather it is anti-disciplinary, interested in the science of resisting discipline. It is just one person’s effort toward developing a scientifically rigorous model of society which happens not to invest itself in the institutions which make science practically possible.

This will probably be of even less interest to mainstream contemporary activists, though I hope it will clearly betray my love and support for anyone currently struggling toward liberation and justice in whichever way they please. I have never felt especially at home in activist circles, though I have no doubt learned a great deal from many of my activist friends. Unfortunately, based on one of the main hypotheses I am interested in elucidating—namely, that we are living under a totalizing institutional pacification of human being as such, which includes misunderstandings deeper and more widespread than ever before regarding the relationship between institutions and identities—I cannot help but feel that almost all currently existing assumptions within mainstream activist circles are essentially incorrect and conservative.

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Murphy, Justin. 2015. "Not inter-disciplinary but anti-disciplinary," https://jmrphy.net/blog/2015/11/03/anti-disciplinary/ (December 14, 2018).