Conclusion
A C A L L T O A R M S
Iof
n this book I have both explored the charge of willfulness and
refl ected upon how we can take up that charge. I am not in thinking
this “taking up” as something that has been done, can be done,
prescribing willfulness. My aim is to fall short of prescription. After all,
willfulness remains a charge that can be brought against subjects in ways
that are diminishing. And, as I suggested in the conclusion of the previ-
ous chapter, when willfulness becomes an assumption, it can participate
in concealing how a will is in agreement with what is already willed or
how a par tic u lar will is aligned with a general will. To be wronged is not to
acquire a right to be right. How is it possible to take up this charge with-
out making willfulness into a right? In this conclusion I will address this
question somewhat obliquely, from a diff erent angle, by moving away
from willful subjects (those for whom willfulness is an experience of an
attribution) and rethinking the part of other parts: including parts of a
body such as hands, tongues, ears, arms, but also parts of a shared world
of matter, a world that matters, such as stones. To return to a hopeful
sentiment: when willfulness has priority, we can and do wander away from
the subject of will, and by wandering away, we take her with us.
Before moving on: is hopefulness more than a returning sentiment? I
have without question approached the materials I have assembled with
a sense of hope, a sense that there is a point to assembling them. Have
I in this pro cess become more hopeful about will, or even more optimis-
tic? One of the key “will phrases” exercised in cultural studies, usually
attributed to Antonio Gramsci, who himself was drawing on a formu-
lation off ered by Romain Rolland, is “optimism of the will, pessimism
of the intelligence.”1 I think it would be easy to give this phrase a mislead-
ing translation: as implying optimism in will. Any such optimism might
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