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Honesty is the best policy, it is said, but when you style yourself an intellectual who writes in earnest, and you are not only a fraud, but also have serious mental health problems, there is an argument for keeping silent This autobiography, which reminds one of Rousseau s Confessions albeit without the charm , is perhaps Althusser s finest piece of writing although less because of its literary qualities or the insights it offers into his contemporaries than because it will completely prevent Honesty is the best policy, it is said, but when you style yourself an intellectual who writes in earnest, and you are not only a fraud, but also have serious mental health problems, there is an argument for keeping silent This autobiography, which reminds one of Rousseau s Confessions albeit without the charm , is perhaps Althusser s finest piece of writing although less because of its literary qualities or the insights it offers into his contemporaries than because it will completely prevent anyone who reads it from ever taking him seriously again Althusser documents his troubled relationship with his father his creepy relationship with his mother his deep insecurity his recurrent struggles with depression his broken marriage the wife was also disturbed and his struggles with mental illness, thanks to which he spent much of his adult life in and out of psychiatric hospitals and eventually resulted in his murdering his wife during a psychotic episode A committed, dues paying communist, his writing was ideological and primarily concerned with the politics and divisions within the Communist Party To the horror of his admirers, he openly admits to having been poorly read, an academic fraud, and a coward His life was grim grey, miserable, joyless, humourless, and spent in bad company A very instructive volume, but I was glad when it was over I would like to think I ve heard of this guy before, but it rings no bells.This is a great memoir Even if you skip around, it is a good read.Althusser is a French philosopher who wrote about Marx yawn, now I know why I never heard of him He was ready to go to college right when the war began, and ended up spending five years as a p.o.w., then starting his academic career He went to college and never left, staying as a teacher and professional until the awful end He is a provocative, color I would like to think I ve heard of this guy before, but it rings no bells.This is a great memoir Even if you skip around, it is a good read.Althusser is a French philosopher who wrote about Marx yawn, now I know why I never heard of him He was ready to go to college right when the war began, and ended up spending five years as a p.o.w., then starting his academic career He went to college and never left, staying as a teacher and professional until the awful end He is a provocative, colorful person who has bouts of depression and at times a contentious relationship with his eventual victim, his wife In 1980, he strangled her and got away it with it because he always was a bit crazy And, some say, the French government is soft on intellectuals Most of this book is what he wrote the couple of years he was in a mental hospital after the murder He was eventually released and lived a fewyears.If I had married that Philosophy professor prince of all boyfriends I might have knowledge of what phrases such as dialectic of nature and notion of praxus mean But never mind, there is some good stuff and there is always a minute or two when my mind gets something And LA does explain things pretty well at points.In addition to absorbing accounts of his various depressive episodes, he spins long paragraphs describing the bad side of his relationship with his wife Many of his friends blamed her for being such a wretch, but he takes full responsibility for his horrible behavior In the end, just another miserable match, but he loved her and needed her Until he killed her, which he doesn t deny.He tells a good story, and even if some of the stories cannot be fully believed, all the better He d been a great novelist, I think Better than Sartre, anyway Christopher Hitchens once described Louis Althusser as an utter fraud and even mocked his incarceration in his biography Hitch 22 Hitchens criticises the John Hopkins guide to literary criticism for not mentioning Althusser s refutation and self criticism, despite still citing his work as influential His work still plays a key role in sociology, continental philosophy Zizek, Butler and co , even with this book acting as the awkward elephant in the room, whenever Althusser is cited.So one is Christopher Hitchens once described Louis Althusser as an utter fraud and even mocked his incarceration in his biography Hitch 22 Hitchens criticises the John Hopkins guide to literary criticism for not mentioning Althusser s refutation and self criticism, despite still citing his work as influential His work still plays a key role in sociology, continental philosophy Zizek, Butler and co , even with this book acting as the awkward elephant in the room, whenever Althusser is cited.So one is left in a strange position Wither Althusser Should we listen to the madman who killed his wife, exaggerated his philosophical knowledge, suffered from dementia preacox and held shaky positions Why should we listen to an anti humanist, when he claims all his knowledge of humanism is from one of Heidegger s marginal books, and in between conversations Why should we listen to a Freudian, when he admitted Freud was largely impenetrable to him After reading this book I m still unsure Althusser certainly shouldn t have every word of his taken seriously as the translator points out , but this book certainly demonstrate that Althusser was one thing an ill man And like all intellectuals, he was not infallible He was a kind, humble, melancholic man who spent his life toiling for revolution and academic kudos His revolutionary goals were not achieved and his academic input is certainly still being questioned, mostly because of the impact of this book I think the correct response should be to listen to Althusser, but apply a dose of common sense and a critical lens to any of his work before judging their value in the social sciences, and their true integrity I recommend this hook not just for Althusser s writing on philosophy, which was slightly lacklustre at points, but also for his description his melancholic and hallucinatory state His discussion around and of French intellectuals is also interesting, we get a slight glimpse at Lacan, Foucault and Ranciere, as well as some of the political goings on in postwar France Likewise, Althusser depicts his experience during WW2 where Althusser acted as a cowardly POW, toying with the idea of escaping, only to act remain at post One is reminded here of the remark Sartre made about feeling the most free as a POW The class on Althusser was being offered my first semester of graduate school I did not know who he was and I could not parse the course description The course turned out to be quite controversial I guess cause LA was also controversial.So twenty years later, after reading Marx and LA s students Foucault and Ranciere I did not realize was one of LA s students until I read it in the memoir I got around to reading the theorist and wife killer I think that my experience with psychiatry and i The class on Althusser was being offered my first semester of graduate school I did not know who he was and I could not parse the course description The course turned out to be quite controversial I guess cause LA was also controversial.So twenty years later, after reading Marx and LA s students Foucault and Ranciere I did not realize was one of LA s students until I read it in the memoir I got around to reading the theorist and wife killer I think that my experience with psychiatry and institutions made my reading of LA s memoirrich.Althusser s narrative of himself is authentic The way he wrote about his wife and what she meant to him was some what beautiful He always knows that he killed her, but he tells a story that tries he uses to try to explain why he did it But the narrative is also trying to help him understand his fears and anguish LA clearly suffers and many times met the criteria for involuntary treatment, though he always says he wanted to go He was voluntary and he voluntarily submitted to ECT He says he found it helpful Because LA wrote a memoir in 1975 that is also included with the one he wrote after he murdered his wife, both narratives can be compared Both narratives have a consistent psychoanalytic interpretation that revolves around his mother and feeling like he really does not exist Both narrative emphasize his lack of sexual experience until his late 20 or early 30 s Both narrative pay tribute to the role his wife Helene played in his life This is why though all narratives of self are ultimately self serving, LA post murder narrative is not so different in content I think the post murder narrative isfluid and coherent The post murder, LA describes the problems associated with being found incompetent to stand trial and long term institutionalization He gives a good analysis of the communist party in France and what is has to offer future community organizers Both narratives describe the people LA knew at the l Ecole This volume actually contains two autobiographical writings by Althusser written several years apart, between which the philosopher strangled his wife to death in a bout of madness The two pieces, which predictably recount many of the same events from the author s life, are haunting to read next to each other They seem to confirm Woody Allen s pronouncement that any tale can be either a comedy or a tragedy based on the tone with which it is told The Facts , the earlier work, reads like a cha This volume actually contains two autobiographical writings by Althusser written several years apart, between which the philosopher strangled his wife to death in a bout of madness The two pieces, which predictably recount many of the same events from the author s life, are haunting to read next to each other They seem to confirm Woody Allen s pronouncement that any tale can be either a comedy or a tragedy based on the tone with which it is told The Facts , the earlier work, reads like a charmingly comic and self deprecating novella, in which Althusser nonetheless confronts his madness by describing his most grandiose delusions he at one point believed he had robbed a bank, stolen a jet, and advised the Pope as legitimate facts of his life As he writes in the latter work, hallucinations are facts for those who experience them The later, longer text from which the volume takes its title is an excruciating self interrogation with nary a humorous line At times, it is hard to take Some of Althusser s complaints about his parents and upbringing just seem like so much ugly self pity The tale becomes vastlycompelling after Althusser meets his wife Helene, who becomes a wonderfully intriguing, terribly trying character, somewhat reminiscent, I thought, of Nicole from Tender is the Night All of the agony is broken by a few chapters, roughly in the middle of Future , where Althusser discusses his philosophy in a wonderfully lucid, accessible way One senses the succor of intellectual labor for the author It is like the reader adopts Althusser s depression, and when the light of philosophy comes, it is beautiful and uplifting The last section of Future comes to the conclusion that Helene s death cannot be understood as the result of any one fact, be it objective or psychological, but was rather the overdetermined result of a web of contingent factors In that, this book seems like a classically Althusserian meditation This book although quite good really lasts forever Althusser became one of the most respected and interesting philosophers of Marxism in France during the 1950 s and 60 s, which is no small accomplishment considering the fact that practically every intellectual was writing about Marx at the same time In all honesty, I find his work to be of rather mixed value I have found his structuralist interpretations of Capital to be extremely insightful, as well as his work on Marx s epistemological break, though his Freudian and Lacanian readings of M Althusser became one of the most respected and interesting philosophers of Marxism in France during the 1950 s and 60 s, which is no small accomplishment considering the fact that practically every intellectual was writing about Marx at the same time In all honesty, I find his work to be of rather mixed value I have found his structuralist interpretations of Capital to be extremely insightful, as well as his work on Marx s epistemological break, though his Freudian and Lacanian readings of Marx suffer from the kind of overwrought intellectualizing that was fashionable at the time However, this memoir is an extraordinary read We are given painful descriptions of his struggle with bipolar disorder, culminating infamously with the murder of his wife during an hallucinatory episode Althusser does not apologize for this terrible action, but he does attempt to explain it He maintains that the killing of his wife was the manifestation of a kind of suicide via a third party, if you will For those who worry about the apparent morbidity of this material, the memoir also includes excellent commentary on his political involvements such as his work with the French Communist Party as well as reflections on the May uprising of 68 We are also provided wonderful reflections on private conversations with intellectual giants like Foucault An excellent read *READ KINDLE ☞ The Future Lasts Forever: A Memoir ⇲ On November Louis Althusser, while massaging his wife s neck, discovered that he had strangled her The world renowned French philosopher was immediately confined to an insane asylum where he authored this memoir a profound yet subtle exercise in documenting madness from the inside So, despite its dramas, life can still be beautiful I am sixty seven, and though it will soon all be over, I feel younger now than I have ever done, never having had any youth since no one love me for myself Yes, the future lasts a long time How is it possible to evoke emotions of awe and disgust at the same time Written four years after the murder of his wife, Althusser goes on to reflect on the factors that led to him doing it, though he encourage readers to judge the results for themsel So, despite its dramas, life can still be beautiful I am sixty seven, and though it will soon all be over, I feel younger now than I have ever done, never having had any youth since no one love me for myself Yes, the future lasts a long time How is it possible to evoke emotions of awe and disgust at the same time Written four years after the murder of his wife, Althusser goes on to reflect on the factors that led to him doing it, though he encourage readers to judge the results for themselves since he writes the book for his own use, since he realized he was damned either way as a criminal or a paranoid schizophrenic Moreover, he reflected on his life vis a vis The Communist Party of France, May 68 , and his philosophical life It s bound to offend some as a justification for what he s done, but Althusser himself knew this Even knowing that this book was about Althusser s madness, I found it hard to anticipate just how batshit crazy it would be Althusser says, for instance, that the happiest time of his life were the five years he spent interred in a German prisoner of war camp during World War II He also spent time in mental hospitals one was extremely noisy, so he mashed bread up into tiny, hard balls and shoved them in his ears to drown out the noise, because, sure, any adult would think that s a great idea Even knowing that this book was about Althusser s madness, I found it hard to anticipate just how batshit crazy it would be Althusser says, for instance, that the happiest time of his life were the five years he spent interred in a German prisoner of war camp during World War II He also spent time in mental hospitals one was extremely noisy, so he mashed bread up into tiny, hard balls and shoved them in his ears to drown out the noise, because, sure, any adult would think that s a great idea we ve all been there, right Then the bread started to rot, which caused horrible ear infections So he told the doctors that the rotting bread in his ears was giving him unbearable headaches without adequately explaining the logic that led him to put bread in his ears, and the doctors thought, This isinsanity the guy does not have rotting bread in his ears, but eventually he had to have surgery, because he was the sort of person who thought it was a good idea to put tiny hard balls of bread in his ears but couldn t convey that to anyone else, despite supposedly being an intellectual genius whose ideas about how the world works the rest of us should learn from.The stuff about the murder of his wife, Helene Rytmann Althusser claimed that murdering her was an act of love, because hey, that s how men show women they love them, right It s so revoltingly misogynist as is the entire book , anti semitic, and self justifying I can t describe it Words fail