Duke University Literary Theorist, Michael Hardt has some very interesting things to say about how we might learn to live together.
In the TVO talk below (it’s not short but it is worth it) he suggests ways to look at the world that might change how we approach our problems.
Firstly, he describes what he calls the multitude. This, includes everyone – all shapes, sizes, beliefs – all singularities (i.e. people and groups each with distinctive individuality) working together or, as Michael Hardt very succinctly puts it –
Multitude = singularity plus cooperation.
He then goes on to suggest that this multitude will operate best if it uses love as its operational mode.
But not just any old love. Not love exclusively tied up in couple and family relationships, or driven by needs or appetites, or embedded in gain for the lover. This love is much more than any of those.
This is a love that includes those closest – and furthest – from us. It isn’t restricted to our partners or children or parents or siblings or neighbours or friends or race or nationality. This love is a love we extend to everyone.
This love is a love that is both personal and political.
It is a love that is based on differences. Rather than a love that tries to merge all parts into an homogeneous oneness, this love is an affirmation of singularity.
The passion of this love is not something that happens to us but something we use to power our actions.
Michael Hardt’s hypothesis is that love is the force that animates the multitude – brings it to life.
- Agonal sovereignty: Rethinking war and politics with Schmitt, Arendt and Foucault (2011) (foucaultnews.wordpress.com)
- The commons and real democracy (thefutureofoccupy.org)