The Book Of Pleasures

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(1934 - )
Raoul Vaneigem (Dutch pronunciation: [raːˈul vɑnˈɛi̯ɣəm]; born 21 March 1934) is a Belgian writer known for his 1967 book The Revolution of Everyday Life. He was born in Lessines (Hainaut, Belgium) and studied romance philology at the Free University of Brussels (now split into the Université Libre de Bruxelles and the Vrije Universiteit Brussel) from 1952 to 1956. He was a member of the Situationist International from 1961 to 1970. He currently resides in Belgium and is the father of four children. (From :


This document contains 8 sections, with 42,247 words or 260,017 characters.

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Preface. STARTING FROM SCRATCH The long dark night of trade is all the illumination our inhuman history has ever known. It will lift as life dawns. Death stares at our passions and we mute them; we mesh our desires with what is inimical to life; and we base the greater part o f existence on the bloody search for profit and power. We have been doing it for centuries and we have had enough. We have had enough of revolutions dyed in blood by intellectuals. Violence too is changing sides. Survival, going cheap these days in what is left of the exchange market, is the everyday production of misery, a totalitarian industry. It too is in what you call crisis, in fact the death spasm of this whole civilization. The only human thing this society based on commerce has made is the mold cast in parody of itself, which serves to propagate it world-wide. The fragmentation that exchange value imposes on life can only tolerate fragmented people, emb... (From :

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Chapter 1. INTENSE PLEASURE IMPLIES THE END OF ALL FORMS OF WORK AND OF ALL RESTRAINT 1. The world of the commodity is a world upside-down, which bases itself not upon life but upon the transformation of life into work. The factory has invaded the territory of everyday life. For years the privileged zone of alienation, factory walls simultaneously bounded the proletariat’s prisons and the bourgeoisie’s liberties. Those who escaped at nightfall briefly revived in the merrymaking of love and alcohol that vitality which labor’s daily constraints had failed to break. Ten hours a day of noise, exhaustion and humiliation were unable entirely to wear them out. It was society’s sinister curse which forced them to match their energies to the rhythms and wear and tear of machines. But the employers’ profit-seeking and fetid nets of exploitation did not poison their fundamental welling of desire, their sexual exuberance in lif... (From :

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Chapter 2. INTENSE PLEASURE MEANS THE END OF EXCHANGE IN ALL ITS FORMS 1. In civilization based on trade, all change turns into exchange. The history of civilized man has been only the history of the goods he produced, which self-destruct while destroying the producers. Barter is the starting point. It is set up with the agrarian economy and terminates in the industrial era. Its acutest crisis occurs at the point of maximum expansion and internal decay, which so rarefies life that it is business relations which have a human face. And this human face is what socialism hopes to give itself! When individuals have left only the miserable production of their misery, a way out suggests itself — the demand for self-management. This time the final swindle will spill the beans on all the others that were swung before. If each stage of economic development runs with blood spilled to get reforms which only modify slavery, it signifies q... (From :

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Chapter 3. INTENSE PLEASURE CAUSES BOTH INTELLECT AND THE STATE TO CEASE FUNCTIONING. 1. Commerce captures the intellect in its final expansive phase. The route intellectuality has taken expressed the economy’s priority concern with organization. In the 19th and the first half of the 20th centuries commercial imperialism was based on two main preoccupations: technical development and the conquest of markets. When State capitalism appeared, an omnipresent economic organization was needed. Commerce invests its power in the administration of resources where it is likely to produce or spend itself within a closed circle. It has to grow into the shape demanded by its blueprint of itself, and, as executioner of its own judgment, organizes and administers its own death as well as the death of the societies which produce it. Bureaucracy is the concrete form this abstraction takes; it drain... (From :

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Chapter 4. INTENSE PLEASURE MEANS AN END TO GUILT AND TO EVERY KIND OF REPRESSIVE SOCIETY 1. Life is the unpardonable crime for which trading business exacts perpetual punishment. What you restrain you always feel guilty about. How can what you exchange be perfect? How can a society based on the reification of life not find the simple fact of being human flawed? Guilt is to the economic organization of life what an insoluble debt is to the balance of payments. From our ancient belief in divine punishment we have retained the machinery of suggestibility, and if there has been any progress in intellectual work through the slow erosion of that mythical beyond, which business no longer finds useful, there still remains a last prop from ideological theater in the projector and screen which priests used to subjugate crowds. Intellectuality is caught in its own birdlime, guilt-ridden at being an unrepentant cheat. B... (From :

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Chapter 5. UNIVERSAL SELF-MANAGEMENT MEANS THE FREE REBIRTH OF THE CHILD REPRESSED IN EACH OF US 1. The old world’s death-struggle is rooted in our childhood desires. The economy grabs people’s childhood twice; once in their youth, and later, in what they repress as adults. If the social development of life-desires gradually slowed down towards the end of the paleolithic era, and the expansion of a sexuality creating the historical conditions which would favor it was halted, I cannot avoid the impression that the blockage goes on being reproduced in us from the moment each of us is born. Beyond genetic modification, the primary demands of food and movement have always, and still do, express the child’s search for completely satisfying pleasure, a sure if tentative advance towards the primacy of every satisfaction. That is what the chopper the family wields comes down upon, and at that point that it mercilessly trims the child t... (From :

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Chapter 6. UNIVERSAL SELF-MANAGEMENT WILL SEE THE END OF INVERTED PLEASURE 1. We live most of our pleasures under the sign of their fatal inversion. Passion itself has grown so feeble that repressed life has almost lost its self-destructive urge. The pleasures of bygone days were so much more violent than our own are because, however fucked-up, the will to live was then much more red-blooded. Excited by the myths surrounding power and restless in capitalism’s ideological inventions, the will to power has long been siphoning energy from sexual excitement to turn life towards hate and death. The breakup of hierarchy together with the endless pinpricks of commerce are exhausting in individuals and societies alike that aggressive energy common to kings and tinpot gods, tribunes, viziers, war lords, patriotic loyalists and cunning brutes of that kind. These days the will to power wilts in offices and in the family bosom, in dormit... (From :

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Chapter 7. IF YOU WANT A CLASSLESS SOCIETY FREE YOURSELF 1. The will-to-power is the will-to-live upside-down. The individual discovered! On the brink of extinction! The individual is the bourgeoisie’s finest conquest: as inhuman conditions draw to a close we catch the first glimpse of a real humanity. Flowering into consciousness in the social euphoria which everywhere succeeded monolithic regimes, whether tribal, feudal, despotic or monarchic, see them now, lifted out of the spooky corners of religion and raised to the misery of the Enlightened Ones, as humble followers of the Triponeme of Nazareth, the Tenia of Mecca and the Buddhist itch-mite Acarus. They’ve blown out the fart of God rumbling in their bellies and struck a more decorous pose, as citizen, producer, thinker, militant, as responsible prole. That is how the abstract individual is born: out of the concretization of commercialism, swept along by the curre... (From :


January 08, 1979 :
The Book Of Pleasures -- Publication.

April 26, 2020 ; 3:11:11 PM (America/Los_Angeles) :
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