It would be a waste of time to detail all that which is agonizing in existing social relations. They say the family is coming back, that the couple is coming back. But the family that’s coming back is not the same one that went away. Its return is nothing but a deepening of the reigning separation that it serves to mask, becoming what it is through this masquerade. Everyone can testify to the rations of sadness condensed from year to year in family gatherings, the forced smiles, the awkwardness of seeing everyone pretending in vain, the feeling that a corpse is lying there on the table, and everyone acting as though it were nothing. From flirtation to divorce, from cohabitation to stepfamilies, everyone feels the inanity of the sad family nucleus, but most seem to believe that it would be sadder still to renounce it. The family is no longer so much the suffocation of maternal control or the patriarchy of beatings as it is this infantile abandon to a fuzzy dependency, where everything is familiar, this carefree moment in the face of a world that nobody can deny is breaking down, a world where “becoming self-sufficient” is a euphemism for “having found a boss.” They want to use the “familiarity” of the biological family as an excuse to eat away at anything that burns passionately within us and, under the pretext that they raised us, make us renounce the possibility of growing up, as well as everything that is serious in childhood. It is necessary to preserve oneself from such corrosion.

The Coming Insurrection by the anonymous collective The Invisible Committee, trans. unknown, Cambridge: Semiotext(s), 2009, pp. 25-26. Available online.

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Original French version:

On perdrait son temps à détailler tout ce qu’il y a d’agonisant dans les rapports sociaux existants. On dit que la famille revient, que le couple revient. Mais la famille qui revient n’est pas celle qui s’en est allée. Son retour n’est qu’un approfondissement de la séparation régnante, qu’elle sert à tromper, devenant elle-même par là tromperie. Chacun peut témoigner des doses de tristesse que condensent d’année en année les fêtes de famille, ces sourires laborieux, cet embarras de voir tout le monde simuler en vain, ce sentiment qu’il y a un cadavre posé là, sur la table, et que tout le monde fait comme si de rien n’était. De flirt en divorce, de concubinage en recomposition, chacun ressent l’inanité du triste noyau familial, mais la plupart semble juger qu’il serait plus triste encore d’y renoncer. La famille, ce n’est plus tant l’étouffement de l’emprise maternelle ou le patriarcat des tartes dans la gueule que cet abandon infantile à une dépendance cotonneuse, où tout est connu, ce moment d’insouciance face à un monde dont nul ne plus nier qu’il s’écroule, un monde où “devenir autonome” est un euphémisme pour “avoir trouvé un patron”. On voudrait trouver dans la familiarité biologique l’excuse pour corroder en nous toute détermination un peu brisante, pour nous faire renoncer, sous prétexte qu’on nous a vu grandir, à tout devenir majeur comme à la gravité qu’il y a dans l’enfance. De cette corrosion, il faut se préserver. (L’Insurrection qui vient by Le Comité invisible, Paris: éd. La Fabrique, 2007, pp. 23-25; full French version available at the link)

The image is a still from Debord’s film In Girum (1978) showing a family. It illustrates a quote from the book The Coming Insurrection by the Invisible Committee
Still from Guy Debord’s film In girum imus nocte et consumimur igni, 1978

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