To conclude our study as Althusser did his own life’s work with his autobiography is to risk confusing the reader. Even if we follow Althusser in holding that there exists no intention but that which is incarnate in the work, we cannot help but regard The Future Lasts Forever as an extremely ambivalent work that actively both validates and undermines Althusser’s accomplishments as a philosopher. The reader’s confusion then is objectively determined; once understood as such and no longer regarded as a subjective, personal failure to perform the act of reading competently, the confusion becomes useful, an indicator of powerful and unmastered conflicts within Althusser’s works. These conflicts, of course, are not the personal or private dramas that consumed Althusser’s life (although they are not completely independent of them either), but are the necessary and constitutive contradictions that accompany theoretical practice as such. To conclude with The Future Lasts Forever and to experience the disorientation that it necessarily engenders, is not simply to understand but to feel the irreducible divergence in Althusser’s oeuvre as a whole. Perhaps this is the meaning of Brecht’s theater for Althusser: his theory of philosophy as an intervention in a specific conjunctive to produce certain effects itself calls for theatrical measures.
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