Alan Badiou : How to change the world? – Happiness against Satisfaction
By the sabha on April 25, 2016
(Nexus Conference ‘How to Change the World?’ Keynote lecture Alain Badiou, part 2, 2 December 2012, Amsterdam)
How can you change the world? By becoming a subjective part of the consequences of a local event. At the different level.
To fall in love can be change in the world. But it is precisely by becoming a subjective part of a local event.By creation of an equivalence between freedom and discipline. Not an opposition. But to point where to obstinate to do something is the same thing as freedom. And by the invention of new form of happiness which is a victory against the potency of death. That is potency of the patient to stay in your place.
At a very important moment at french revolution, one of the great thinkers said Happiness is a new idea in Europe. May be we must create the condition to say the same thing. We know that something is changing the world when we experiment that happiness is not the pre-determinate goal of the movement. But the advent subjectivization of the movement itself.
It has been fundamental idea of Marx. He wrote that among the new possibility of collective justice is communism. He wrote that Communism is not a program of new society or an abstract idea of justice. It is name of the historical process of the destruction of the old society. The change is not to achieve the result. The result lies inside the change itself. In the form of new subject.
May be we can say Happiness is the not the general possibility. Happiness is not the abstract ides of the good society where everybody is satisfied. Happiness is the subjectivity of a difficult task, to organise the consequences of some event and To discover under the sad existence of the world the brilliant possibilities of the hidden real of the world. To enjoy finally, the powerful collective existence of what was from the point of view of the world impossible. The powerful collective existence of the impossible as such when we discover the possibility of this impossibility.
So how to change the world? The answer is a nice one.
By being happy not by the result of change but by the change itself. But we must pay the price. The price is to be sometimes unsatisfied. It is the choice between happiness and satisfaction. And it is the choice, of which we can name the true life. May be the world of today propose, a false life. Life which is a seeming of a life. So to have a choice of happiness against satisfaction under local experiences, artistic creation political invention, in new freedom as discipline, It is the choice against satisfaction to some extent. So we are exposed to the possibility of satisfied in the name of happiness. It is a price.
A french poet wrote: The true life is not here, the true life is absent. I just say to you. After all you can’t decide that true life is not here, that the true life is absent.