Solipsism as cultural condition : Some recent Irish Examples

Journal article


Ryan, Matthew. (2006). Solipsism as cultural condition : Some recent Irish Examples. Arena Journal. 27, pp. 159 - 191.
AuthorsRyan, Matthew
Abstract

[Extract] In his recent book, After Theory, Terry Eagleton provides a running critique of the dominant neo-liberal understanding of the self. Considering the image of the 'self-willed' individual, he reveals a self-defeating contradiction:

To exist independently is to be a kind of cypher. The selfwilled have the emptiness of a tautology. They make the mistake of imagining that to act according to laws outside the self is to be something less than the author of one's own being.

Seeing the self as wholly self-authored, made from elements somehow different to those that constitute the world beyond, is fundamental to a consumer economy that requires a continuous expansion of the market. The primacy of self-will becomes an ongoing project of self-construction through idiosyncratic choices of consumption and accumulation. Contradiction emerges in the asociality of this image of the self. It skips over the fact that the self is only ever formed from elements that have already been made meaningful by some community. Even the individual who chooses what is 'right for them' and feels they control the narrative of their life is, at the outset, in a social relation of assembling and adapting the offerings of a language community.

Year2006
JournalArena Journal
Journal citation27, pp. 159 - 191
PublisherArena Publications Association
ISSN1320-6567
Page range159 - 191
Research GroupSchool of Arts
Publisher's version
File Access Level
Controlled
Place of publicationAustralia
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