August 25, 2018 (9:15 AM)

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Professor Erick John Reyes lectured about the belief in the Age of Capitalist Realism during the Philo Talk held yesterday at Miguel Pro Study Center, Multi Purpose Hall. Photo By Loraine Rubi

To examine the philosophical implications on current events, the Philosophers League of Ateneo (PLA) organized its first ever Philo Talk Lecture with Philosophy Professor, Erik John Reyes, yesterday afternoon at the Miguel Pro Multi-purpose hall.

Jamaica Hechanova, the President of PLA, conversed that this event aims to create a discourse between the students and the professors so both will have an avenue for a discussion about philosophy and the philosophical implications on current events and other relevant topics.

With the theme, “The theory behind beliefs, politics, and religion,” the keynote speaker emphasized the shift of belief in the contemporary times in his talk on “Belief in the Age of Capitalist Realism.”

“We often ignore the fact that the function of belief in contemporary times has shifted in terms of our… economic system, which is capitalism. There is a shift that our beliefs do not stay constant and that somehow these belief systems shift its function. So, Capitalism, considered as such, is not something that attaches to belief but somehow prefigures what changes the way we believe,” he said.

Professor Reyes also explored the British theorist, Mark Fisher, who defined Capitalist Realism as “the widespread sense that not only is capitalism the only viable political and economic system, but also that it is now impossible even to imagine a coherent alternative to it.”

Reyes elaborated his topic by explaining the power of Capitalist Realism to prefigure previous historical artifacts to monetary value.

“The way how Capitalism consumes all previous history, which can assign all cultural objects to monetary value is Capitalism’s great power. Historical artifacts like Van Gogh’s Sunflowers, and Michelangelo’s frescos, even the Icon of the Madonna, those are assigned to monetary value,” Reyes conveyed.

He also explained how Capitalist Realism prefigures the lives of Indigenous tribes through exposing them in documentaries.

Rather than exposing how Indigenous tribes authentically live, these footages place them in a system of commodities and exchange.

He stressed how selling indigenous products loses its cultural value and specificity rather than fostering their culture.

The speaker also highlighted his idea of the future and how Capitalist Realism cancels it.

“When I say future, I am not referring to the direction of time, but I am thinking rather of a psychological perception… a cultural expectation that was fabricated during the long period of modern civilization that somehow our civilization has always built on this idea that there is still a future to go on,” Reyes said.

He added that instead of having this concept of future, movies provide us a nostalgia of the future before. He showed how the idea of the future did not change even from the films shown decades ago.

The speaker concluded his talk by summarizing the key points he discussed and presented his three theses afterward.

The PLA conducted an open forum after the talk to address the questions of the participants.

Danzen Mil Andoy, a first-year Philosophy student, shared how the forum gave him an understanding of his consumption.

“Thankfully, I really got the point of Capitalist Realism and how it affects the subconscious mind of the human person in terms of how we consume products and how it affects our perspective on seeing things… it made me aware about my consumption of goods because as I grew older, I realized that my clothes, my hat and my bag are all products of capitalistic ideals,” Andoy narrated.

With the success of the event, the PLA plans to organize another Philo Talk on September 7, 2018.



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