In his essay The Age of the World Picture, Martin Heidegger describes a series of paradoxes brought about by humanity becoming subiectum, or the subject, in “the midst of the world”. Heidegger’s paradoxes are these: firstly, the act of making humanity the central subject of concern is, in itself, an act of objectification by humanity itself (only by objectifying ourselves can we become the subject of our concerns); and secondly, the act of this objectified subjectification of humanity allows for the phenomenon of individualism to prosper and be resisted at the same time.

It is within the frame of this paradox that the great political conflicts and economic injustices of the last centuries have taken place. The struggle of the individual against the community-as-an-individual; of the community-individual against the state-individual; of the state-individual against another state-individual or against an individual unity of states.

The group individual struggle is seen clearly in the language we use around our team sports: when a club wins it is either we won or they beat us, although we did nothing except adopt some colours. The concept of the fan allows the individual to choose his or her own common identity, which is the large part denied us in the birth-right-condemnation of nationality.

Globalisation amplifies this paradoxical condition. The individual-community-subject suddenly finds itself made more vulnerable and isolated than ever before in a vast ocean of  competing individual-subject forms. No longer is one’s neighbour the principle competitor, the new enemies invade without even crossing the horizon.


Globalisation is a conquest, the ultimate conquest of the world, but a conquest by whom? The only positive and logical answer to that question is by humanity; by us as humanity. Any other conclusion is absurd, for it is an actual denial of the prize won. In order to escape the pernicious effects of Heidegger’s paradox we need to embrace it. Globalisation must imply, in its own definition of itself, the ultimate subjectification of humanity – simplifying and enlarging humanity at the same time into the first person singular of the plural. With globalisation the We are Humanity becomes I am Humanity or Humanity is Me. The individual-subject does not have to compete with the individual-object because it is subject and object at the same time. When we realise this, anti-human barriers start to collapse and the authentic human being begins to take form.


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