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Alexandros Stavrakas

born in: Athens, Greece
Alexandros Stavrakas was born in Athens, Greece. He studied politics, philosophy and economy, followed by graduate studies in philosophy at the LSE and anthropology at UCL. He has written articles, translated, lectured and worked as contributing editor. He set up Bedeutung... [more]

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Bedeutung Magazine

It is not only impossible, but profoundly dishonest to attempt a reconciliation of commitment and tolerance. Let us make it clear from the beginning: we are committed. That is not to say we are deaf. Although we are not autistically enmeshed in our opinions, although we are engaged in constant debates, most of which are over issues that are by nature irresolvable, and although we are open to alternate realities, so to speak, we can only be so because of our profound faithfulness to ours. In other words, our rigidity does not thwart our susceptibility; on the contrary, it is its catalyst. It is only because we are loyal that we can be amenable. Otherwise, we would simply be tolerant, and tolerant we do not aspire to be. The true ability to acknowledge otherness does not reside in some cunning proclamation that ‘it is only our opinion’ or ‘we could be wrong’. This is only a way of cloaking solipsism and arrogance at their worst. Of course we could be wrong, and of course it is only our opinion we voice. Why mention it if not to conceal what we are truly saying, which is: since it is only our opinion we are expressing, and we could be wrong, then equally it is only your opinion you are expressing and you could be wrong just as much. Is this not ideological withdrawal, if there ever was a perfect example of it? Is this not what ultimately leads to the conspicuous crystallization of post-political liberal vision which all it wants is to be left alone to exist, to be given the opportunity to flourish without ideological commitments? And is this not the vulgar project of tolerance? Namely, is tolerance not the emerging bagatelle of subsiding ideology? People have so far fought for and over many things: freedom, rights, equality. But it is only very recently that they have started a battle to be tolerated. The question is not to tolerate otherness. The true liberal does not tolerate, does not fatalistically acknowledge the primordial existence of others. We can either accept that the ‘I’ and the ‘you’ are fundamentally incommensurable, in which case they can only exist side by side or in conflict, but never unified; or, we can claim that they do share fundamental properties, problems, struggles, that they are parts of a common universality (existential, ideological), in which case we can find out how they connect and what we can do with this common ground. We subscribe to the latter. Tolerance is a post-political ersatz for political action. We endeavour to publish quarterly the works of contemporary continental philosophers, art critics, social analysts, artists and writers committed to the reinstatement of action to the locus it belongs to: ideology. We aim to demonstrate that our present predicament stems largely by an apparent incapacity and unwillingness to be ideologically committed, to be determined by the world which we inhabit and, also, by a promiscuous fixation to merely enjoy our culture, to be elevated above it and free to choose it. By elevating ourselves above our culture, we condemn it to vulgarism. We aim to propose that the so-called end of history, namely the end of ideological projects, the termination of our ability to predict and plan our own futures, the capitulation to an inarticulate corporeality and gesturality that facilitates non-belief and ideological abstinence can be fatally obscured by a discourse which itself is sample to the opposite. What the discourse will be, can only be revealed as the magazine progresses. But its ethos has, I believe, by now, been made known.
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Bedeutung Magazine

It is not only impossible, but profoundly dishonest to attempt a reconciliation of commitment and tolerance. Let us make it clear from the beginning: we are committed. That is not to say we are deaf. Although we are not autistically enmeshed in our opinions, although we are engaged in constant debates, most of which are over issues that are by nature irresolvable, and although we are open to alternate realities, so to speak, we can only be so because of our profound faithfulness to ours. In other words, our rigidity does not thwart our susceptibility; on the contrary, it is its catalyst. It is only because we are loyal that we can be amenable. Otherwise, we would simply be tolerant, and tolerant we do not aspire to be. The true ability to acknowledge otherness does not reside in some cunning proclamation that ‘it is only our opinion’ or ‘we could be wrong’. This is only a way of cloaking solipsism and arrogance at their worst. Of course we could be wrong, and of course it is only our opinion we voice. Why mention it if not to conceal what we are truly saying, which is: since it is only our opinion we are expressing, and we could be wrong, then equally it is only your opinion you are expressing and you could be wrong just as much. Is this not ideological withdrawal, if there ever was a perfect example of it? Is this not what ultimately leads to the conspicuous crystallization of post-political liberal vision which all it wants is to be left alone to exist, to be given the opportunity to flourish without ideological commitments? And is this not the vulgar project of tolerance? Namely, is tolerance not the emerging bagatelle of subsiding ideology? People have so far fought for and over many things: freedom, rights, equality. But it is only very recently that they have started a battle to be tolerated. The question is not to tolerate otherness. The true liberal does not tolerate, does not fatalistically acknowledge the primordial existence of others. We can either accept that the ‘I’ and the ‘you’ are fundamentally incommensurable, in which case they can only exist side by side or in conflict, but never unified; or, we can claim that they do share fundamental properties, problems, struggles, that they are parts of a common universality (existential, ideological), in which case we can find out how they connect and what we can do with this common ground. We subscribe to the latter. Tolerance is a post-political ersatz for political action. We endeavour to publish quarterly the works of contemporary continental philosophers, art critics, social analysts, artists and writers committed to the reinstatement of action to the locus it belongs to: ideology. We aim to demonstrate that our present predicament stems largely by an apparent incapacity and unwillingness to be ideologically committed, to be determined by the world which we inhabit and, also, by a promiscuous fixation to merely enjoy our culture, to be elevated above it and free to choose it. By elevating ourselves above our culture, we condemn it to vulgarism. We aim to propose that the so-called end of history, namely the end of ideological projects, the termination of our ability to predict and plan our own futures, the capitulation to an inarticulate corporeality and gesturality that facilitates non-belief and ideological abstinence can be fatally obscured by a discourse which itself is sample to the opposite. What the discourse will be, can only be revealed as the magazine progresses. But its ethos has, I believe, by now, been made known.

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