theory & political practice
Praxis (from Ancient Greek: πρᾶξις) is doing. Aristotle posited three basic activities that free humans engage in: thinking (theoria), making (poiesis), and doing (praxis). In modern Critical Theory, praxis is the action that is taken to enact a theory, to bring the theoretical to life. Praxis is the practice of the theory, the practical implementation of the critical knowledge that the theory articulates. Praxis is in this sense pragmatic realization of human knowledge (πρᾶγμα, “a thing done, a fact”). Design is the human constellation of these three activities at work.
At this historic moment, the political is a design issue. Politics is a system at work within other systems. The question is not does our political system work?, because it is always at work; the issue is what it does, and what it does is always how it is designed to work within the various systems we call human society.
The function of critique is the emancipation of ideas and events from strictures of ideology and institutionalization. Critique itself has been burdened with being coupled with theory and thus separated from practice. But critique has always been about freedom from dogmatic and orthodox thinking. The role of critique is to break down assumptions which frees humans to think diffferently. Critique is a living process of debate, discussion and action. Critique always already creates change by revealing possibilities. Identifying possibilities is an emancipatory event.
Theory and practice are not separate realms, just as critique and change are not separate operations. Theories are applied as soon as they are at work in critique, given that critique opens up possibilities. Practice/Praxis is literally what free people do. Practice/Praxis is not the result of but the process of change. In light of this, what we do is never done but is a work in process.