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developmental paradigm that has colonized our imaginations over the past fifty years. By developing, with a point of departure in Africa itself, a true world-thinking. The new historical hypothesis will henceforth consist of understanding Africa on the basis of its potential or factual ability to become not only its own centre, its own force, but also a place where in a sense it is the future of the planet itself that is being played out. It is no longer about looking elsewhere for answers to the questions posed here, and vice versa. Nor is it about confusing terrains, taking detours through other modes of thinking, finally to acknowledge how much the Western archive is a product of a particular history. This we already know. What is not quite so obvious is that it is not exclusively so. The Western archive does not belong to the West alone. It is thus fundamentally about taking on board all the contradictions of our historywith others-in-the-world and resolving them as responsibly as possible. This is our right, but we must exercise it in total freedom and, where necessary, with detachment. In the course of this process, which involves translation, conflict and even misunderstandings, we shall encounter issues that resolve themselves. And when they do, a certain transparency will arise that will authorize a number of shared demands – demands for a possible universality. It is precisely this possibility of flexibility and an encounter between different understandings that a thought-world needs. so very different from things or animals. It is no longer certain that the manufacturing of species and subspecies within humanity is taboo. The abolition of taboos and the more or less total emancipation of all impulses, plus their transformation into materials in an endless process of accumulation and abstraction, are fundamental features of our age. This development, with several other tendencies of a similar nature, demonstrates splendidly how the fusion of capitalism and animism is becoming a reality. The same fusion is evident in the proliferation of all conceivable types of fiction, including the fiction of ‘neuroeconomic man’ – a strategically thinking, cold, calculating individual who internalizes the norms of the market and regulates his behaviour as in an experimental economic game, instrumentalizing himself and others to optimize his share dividends, and whose emotional skills are genetically predetermined. This fiction has arisen in the intersection of the economic disciplines and the neurosciences, and it kills off the tragic subject of psychoanalysis and political philosophy: the divided subject which is in conflict with itself and others, but nevertheless is the master of its own destiny. THE AFRICA TO COME How are we to conceive the Africa to come in this context of the re-coding of all the fields of our existence by econometrics and neuroscience? By resolutely backing out of the impasse into which we have been locked by the 261 longer inscribed in our memory as history. The fact is that events are only inscribed in memory as history as a result of specific instances of work, physical or social, and thereby symbolic. But democracy no longer undertakes to furnish us with this type of work in the present technological, economic and political conditions of our civilization. This crisis in the relationship between democracy and memory is further aggravated by the dual imperative imposed on our lives – to mathematize the world and to instrumentalize – and under this imperative we are expected to believe that as human beings we are in fact digital bits, not concrete beings; that the world is fundamentally an aggregate of situationdetermined problems to be solved; and that the solution to these situation-determined problems is to be found among the specialists in experimental economics and game theory, whom we should furthermore permit to make decisions on our behalf. So in the end what can we say about the confluence of capitalism and animism? As the anthropologist Philippe Descola notes, animism was defined at the end of the nineteenth century as a primitive belief. It was thought that primitive peoples ascribed an almost mystical energy and power to inanimate objects. They believed that non-human entities, natural as well as supernatural, such as animals, plants or objects, possessed souls and intentions comparable to those of human beings. These non-human entities were endowed with a spirit with which humans could make contact and even forge close bonds. This made primitive peoples different from us. For unlike them we were aware of the difference between ourselves and the animals and objects. What separated us from the animals and plants was that we were subjects and thus had an inner life, were capable of self-representation and possessed an independent will. Three drives have animated capitalism since its emergence. The first is the impulse constantly to manufacture ‘races’ and ‘species’. The second is to transform everything into commodities. The third is the urge to monopolize the manufacturing of happiness and of the living as such. With varying success, the civilizing process has consisted of maintaining a certain number of fundamental partitions. Under neoliberalism these dikes are being breached one by one. It is no longer obvious that the human is


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