Georg Lukács


The key factor that distinguishes Australia from any of the countries where I have been is the public toilet. Here you find public toilets liberally sprinkled toilets across the land, and they are always free, so much so that such a piece of intimate architecture should be on our new flag. Not elsewhere: either you pay, buy a drink or a meal in order to use one, dehydrate yourself before leaving home, develop immensely capacious bladders and bowels, or find curious instruction manuals as to how they should be used:

The best response: follow Lukács’s principle that if one does the deed quickly, the chances of being caught are minimal. Soon you will find that the brief corner of a building, a low shrub, a tree, or a moment’s pause in an open space is enough, even where shitloads of people swarm.

Some thoughtful responses to my earlier post on disenchantment call for a few more comments. In that post I argued that the narrative of former enchantment and later disenchantment (due to instrumental reason, capitalism, Protestantism etc) misses a crucial first step, namely that of a prior disenchantment. Enchantment becomes the anomaly in all this, so that efforts at re-enchantment are misdirected.

However, I would go a step further and argue not (as Michael Carden argues and Anne Elvey in a different fashion) that capitalism etc brings about disenchantment, but that the narrative of disenchantment itself is a product of capitalism (bouncing off Remy Low). The key here is Lukacs’s argument concerning that very modern development – the novel: one of its defining features was the sense of a world abandoned by God. In other words, the narrative of enchantment-disenchantment is a signal feature of a modern capitalist world, a narrative created by it in the first place. Ergo, the possibility of re-enchantment is generated out of this same narrative. Overcoming capitalism is not a case of re-enchanting the world (or at least one feature of it) but requires dumping the narrative too, for otherwise we stay within the logic of capitalism.