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Are you foreign?

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"Being a stranger, that is to say "not-feeling-at-home", is today a condition common to many, an inescapable and shared condition. So then, those who do not feel at home, in order to get a sense of orientation and to protect themselves, must turn to the "common places", or to the most general categories of the linguistic intellect; in this sense, strangers are always thinkers.

As you see, I am inverting the direction of the analogy: it is not the thinkers who become strangers in the eyes of the community to which the thinkers belong, but the strangers, the multitude of those "with no home", who are absolutely obliged to attain the status of thinkers. Those "without a home" have no choice but to behave like thinkers: not in order for them to learn something about biology or advanced mathematics, but because they turn to the most essential categories of the abstract intellect in order to protect themselves from the blows of random chance, in order to take refuge from contingency and from the unforseen. (...)

For the contemporary multitude, instead, the condition of "not feeling at home" is permanent and irreversible. The absence of substantial community and of any connected "special places" makes it such that the life of the stranger, the not-feeling-at-home, the bios xenikos, are unavoidable and lasting experiences. The multitude of those "without a home" places its trust in the intellect, in the "common places": in its own way, then, it is a multitude of thinkers (even if these thinkers have only an elementary school education and never read a book, not even uder torture."

Paolo Virno: A grammar of the multitude

Post je objavljen 06.11.2006. u 14:50 sati.