THE DOMAIN OF HUMAN PURPOSIVENESS

The second episode of the second season of the TV series True Detective opens with one of its protagonists, played by the actor Vince Vaughn, lying in bed and staring at two stains on the ceiling whilst soliloquising in an existential monologue. In the course of the interior narrative, which could be considered a symbolic confession before the eyes of God, the character discloses the absolute vanity of his life.

He lives to make money and obtain land – but why? He cannot take that land with him when he dies, and he has no heirs to leave it to. And even if he had heirs, isn’t that a superficial answer as well?

What he is complaining about is a lack of existential muscle, his life is purposively flabby. After thinking through the dilemma, it is obvious that he needs to revaluate his reasons for living and remake himself.

Like most confessions, however, once made it seems to be forgotten, and when the character reappears some scenes later he is still obsessed with money. Revelations may come to us, but that does not mean they are going to change the way we act. The revelation itself cannot necessarily open the doors that it presents to us. Actually changing the way we act is far more difficult, and one needs to see not just what the existential problem is, but also the purposeful solution to that problem.

As individuals we naturally individualise our problems and, as we live in a civilisation that encourages individualisation, the logical thing would be to do so. Likewise, we live in societies that value and propagate desires for money and what money can buy, and so possessing an obsession with making money is also a logically comprehensive attitude to have in our world. However, when the lust for money becomes a psychological problem, as any addiction is, then that can hardly ever be expected to be overcome through a self-analysis of one’s personality and dreams. Individualising one’s analysis will almost certainly opt for pleasure over duty, even one’s personal duty.

To resolve this protagonist’s anxiety, therefore, the script writers would need to imbue him with another quality, they would have to give him the power to have faith. A character possessing faith would analyse this dilemma from the position of that belief, and morally and psychologically this is always an advantage when dealing with meaningfulness, as long as the faith that one possesses is also a meaningful thing and not a Quixotic fantasy. For faith to be functional at more than an individualistic level or in a sectarian way it needs to more universal in its ambitions, for all faith is a kind of ambition as well.

Faith in humanity gives a clear indication of what the existential problem in the case of this protagonist is: i.e., a disconnection from human purposiveness. In fact, it is this disconnection and the vanity of individual existence it causes that opens the door for us towards the species, toward the human, conscious, thinking entity that grows and progresses together within the all-encompassing home of the species itself.

The domain of human purposiveness, therefore, is in the human. As human beings, individuals will also find their purposiveness there. When individualisation cuts itself off from humanity, it carries itself to the edge of the precipice of nihilism. Once there, the individual can firstly enjoy the freedom of being able to invent whatever fantasy of purpose he or she may want to, or devour the fantasies that others throw at them, but the price to be paid for that freedom will be the loss of authentic purposiveness, which is human purposiveness: a purpose that offers fulfilment found in this world.  

The alienation felt by any individual and the anxieties that alienation causes usually has its roots in a lack of connection with our humanity. Even in religious faith this is a fact, for religions are only authentically purposeful when they focus on humanity as something positive, likewise becoming perilously perverted when their own creeds become forces that confuse and separate humanity rather than bring it together. It is a faith in humanity not God that is needed to tone our existential muscles, and give wings to our purposive-lusting souls.

Faith in Humanity (part two)

(Continued from Part One: Faith in Humanity (part one) | pauladkin (wordpress.com) )

Faith is more than just a mental state: one needs to have confidence in that which one has faith in; confidence that the thing one believes in will be capable of resolving our problems – of saving us.

In order to believe this, one has to be primed into believing it: one has to me made aware of the Scripture, or in our case the Declaration, and, once aware, to appropriate its power. In order to do that, one has to already have a disposition towards it: one needs to be prepared to see and experience reality from a certain perspective, the human perspective, that overrides any antihuman standpoints.

Faith is a stance, and faith in humanity is an authentically human stance. Of course there is no Church of Humanity, and there should not be – nothing could be more absurd. Human ritual is one’s everyday life, applied to the unique experience of being human in the world in a way that glorifies the potential in the absolute whole of that which we all are. With or without a church, faith is an ennobling condition, and it creates a kind of existence that itself arises from the possibilities revealed by the uniquely human way of life. It is a rolling snowball – small at first, quickly growing large and always increasing in size for as long as we can keep pushing it – but, like all snowballs, it is also a very fragile thing that can just as quickly melt away into nothing if it is not cared for. This protective caring can come through faith but faith has to be grounded in practices and in necessities. For faith to exist in an authentic way, there has to be a need for it.

Humanity is in the world, and it needs to be in the world. This is an essential existential fact, and it needs to be taken into consideration in any future amendments to the Declaration of Human Rights and to all humanist thinking. To successfully be able to exist, humanity has to be successful at living in the world.

We think it feasible that faith in Humanity is an essential ingredient to be able to live in the world, and that it is our lack of faith in humanity and our antihuman historical process which has put us in such a dangerous position in terms of our relationship with the Earth. A humanity divided into competing nations and into the different prides of all those nations, cannot overcome the enormous challenges faced by our necessary partnership with the Earth and the protection of its fragile ecosystem. Likewise, our global economic system and its requirement for perpetual growth is also a cancer to the planet. A cancer that needs to be extirpated and its damage healed if Humanity is ever going to triumph.

Faith in Humanity is also a faith that tells us that only through Humanity itself can our partnership with the world be established in a harmonious and fruitful way that will ensure our mutual existence. Humanity contains within itself a tremendous duality of wretchedness and greatness. Humanity’s capacity for freedom allows it to be fervently antihuman, and capable of taking freedom away from itself.

We pursue happiness and associate material pleasures with progress, but that same progress pushes us to the limits of extermination while bringing about the extermination of many other species and causing the direst misery and deaths of many other exploited and enslaved humans. We live in antihuman civilisations that measure their progress according to their comfort and the pleasures they have attained at the expense of the sweat and lives of other human beings, as well as the devastation of the planet we depend on. This duality is our human/antihuman reality, and it causes much despair in the idea of Humanity. The result is that, even in the parts of civilisation that are able to fully enjoy the material fruits of the antihuman system, under the surface people are not happy, because ultimately the antihuman lacks enduring purpose. Without purpose their can be no enduring fulfilment.

Only faith in Humanity will ever ultimately resolve the contradictions of our dualistic nature and the paradox of freedom.         

Faith in Humanity (part one)

Doubt or fith, opposite signs. Two blank opposite signs against blue sky background.

To ask someone to have faith in humanity is not unlike asking them to have faith in God.

This statement sounds absurd: why would we need to have faith in humanity in the first place? Humanity is something that is manifest to us every day; something that we ourselves are a part of – why then should we need to have faith in what we are?

What’s more, we can define ourselves scientifically, as a species, the homo sapiens, animals with self-consciousness that stand erect on two legs and have thumbs and smiles and understand irony etc.. No-one doubts that humanity exists.

But that scientific definition, actually tells us very little about ourselves and our social interactions, purposes and desires. A proper all-encompassing description of humanity would be something else, something harder to grasp – it is our shared humanity that is the fundamental reason why we should be able reach out to each other and why we should feel united with each other. These reasons remain undisclosed, and to believe them requires a certain faith. Humanity (now with a capital H) as something we truly belong to is not a manifest thing, it is an abstraction embedded in Truth, with a capital T. We feel it must exist, and, by believing in it, it can bring meaning to our lives. Doesn’t this sound very much like a rationalisation of faith in God?

Not only is it through Humanity alone that we know Humanity, but it is through Humanity that we come to know ourselves. Without Humanity we do not know what our life, nor our death, nor humanity, nor ourselves really are …

This passage is a direct rewrite of a text by Pascal in which we have swapped the terms God and Jesus Christ with Humanity. The result carries a philosophical coherence, and points to why the Church has historically been so fearful of humanistic thought. However, Pascal, went on to point out that it is through the scriptures, which has Jesus Christ as their object, that God is revealed. Therefore, to continue with this shadowing of Pascal’s thought, we need to ask ourselves what the equivalent of the scriptures would be for Humanity. What written text reveals Humanity?

This is a pertinent question, especially as most of what has been fabricated and taught about the human condition has been stewed from an anti-human point of view, depicting human nature as an egocentrically segregating and separating force, and human beings as vain, competitive creatures. In the anti-human narrative Humanity gets buried, until we can no longer see the forest for the trees. Faith needs its own testimony, a witness that Humanity has never had.

So, what can we, those of us who want to believe in Humanity, base our faith on?

Of course, a great reservoir of humanity exists in the arts and sciences themselves, but not in any clear, defining way other than the testimony their very existence itself gives to what we are, but if we want a clear and concise description of Humanity to build our faith on, we need to look at a document like the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.  

This bill, drawn up by the United Nations in 1948, describes Humanity as the human family, and, if we return to our shadowing of Pascal and his text on the scriptures, we could say that – without the Declaration of Human Rights, which has Humanity as its sole object, we know nothing and see only darkness and confusion in the nature of humanity and in nature itself.

Through a faith in the Declaration, as humanity’s scriptural word, faith in Humanity is revealed. Act according to the commands and orders of the Human Rights and you will start believing in Humanity.

This is the kind of logic that religious faith is built on, but: Is it applicable to the Declaration which was more concerned with guidance for political states than in giving moral advice to individuals? In any case, each article in the Declaration does give us clues as to how a human being should act in human society, and how we should treat the other members of our human family.

Let’s look at the first seven articles:

Article 1: tells us that we should act towards each other in a spirit of brotherhood, respecting each other’s dignity and rights.

Article 2: that the brotherhood has no distinctions of any sort. If you are human you have the same dignity and rights as any other human being and should treat all others accordingly.

Article 3: tells us to respect the life, liberty, and security of all other humans.

Article 4: condemns slavery and servitude, implying that these things are anti-human activities and need always to be condemned.

Article 5: the same is true of torture.

Article 6: states that all humans should have the right to be recognised as persons (and therefore humans). Therefore, to be human yourself, you need to recognise all others as human.

Article 7: all are equal before the law.

Everyone is human, of course, but Faith in Humanity belongs to those who are able to act and live in a Human-faith way, which is according to Human Scripture (the Declaration). Faith demands that one has confidence in the object’s of one’s faith. Humans, of course, often act in anti-human ways, but to have faith in Humanity despite its flaws is certainly no more absurd than to believe in God despite all the flaws in the creation.

(Read part two: Faith in Humanity (part two) | pauladkin (wordpress.com) )

THE GREAT LIE

The greatest lie we live with is actually a chain of lies or misconceptions generated by the idea that civilisation is something inherently good.

This lie is easy to detect and unmask. If we want to subvert the system and make the foundations of civilisation’s so-called unquestionably benign existence start to crumble, all we need is to affirm any of one of the many irrefutable axioms such as all civilisations have erected themselves on the backs of enslaved or over-exploited human beings

… Ah yes, if only reality’s truths were so easily rationalised; those who have tried, know fully well that any criticism of systemic reality is rendered mute by the mere fact that the system is reality, and that makes any interrogation of it seem impertinent. And even if such criticisms were able to force a confession out of the system, civilisation has an enormous bag of counterarguments to defend, albeit apologetically, its own dogmas. We might be told that civilisation is an evolutionary phenomenon, in which moral standards are in a constant process of development and that, because of this, we should not judge past civilisations with our own present standards; or that the ends (the sublime complexity of civilisation and the benefits that such complexity has to offer) justify the means (the blood and iron process of the enslaving and exploitation of the billions of individuals who have had to suffer incredible hardships, torture or death in order to establish the great benefits of civilisation’s complexity that some few freely enjoy today).

To make matters worse, any attempts to find a truly humanistic escape from the exploitive nature of civilisation, have been gelded by the problems and failures of the most effective trials so far, the communist revolutions. Communism was right in pointing out the tyranny of Wealth embedded in the system, but wrong in throwing humanity out of the window in order to promote a class war. For the nature of the system to be changed in favour of humanity, it is humanity itself that needs to make and control the change.    

To unmask the truth about the system we need to analyse it, dissect it, and put it on trial. And to judge civilisation, we need to know its purpose. Only then can we estimate how well it has been able to serve and develop that purpose, or, more importantly whether such a purpose is universally desirable for those who are experiencing the realities which the existence of civilisation creates. Once we have begun such an unveiling of prime objectives, we immediately start to see how well the inherently abusive phenomenon of civilisation has been able to disguise itself behind a mask of something good.

Civilisation is a form of organisation, and the good argument will say that it is an organisation geared toward the creation of wealth and prosperity, by which a positive thinker would assume wealth and prosperity for all. In truth, all civilisations have built their wealth via a massive exploitation of labour. Whether real slaves, under-paid sweatshop workers, or other paid workers enslaved by commitments to abusive mortgages or loans, the result is the same: a malevolent exploitation of humanity.

The defining clause of wealth and prosperity for all cannot be applied therefore without creating a huge misconception about what civilisations are. The fact that civilisation as we experience it today has a deeper divide between rich and poor than ever before, only reinforces that civilisation is most definitely not designed for the wealth and prosperity of all human beings.

Once humanity is brought into the equation, all civilisations sadly fail. Humanity as a measure of things, seriously questions all of our positive conceptions about civilisation, making them quite obviously misconceptions. Through the prism of humanity, the light of civilisation has a very dark hue, emitting a list of absurd acts perpetrated over and over again by all civilisations which are anti-human and, ergo, uncivilised.

To judge a civilisation fairly we cannot obliterate the idea of for all, for it is embedded in our moral preconceptions of what a civilisation should be for. That civilisations have not progressed in favour of humanity, demonstrates a lack of real progress in civilisation itself. Yes, there has been technological progress that all of humanity today are able to benefit from, but at the same time, we are also suffering the consequences of such technology which are, in a fundamentally exploitive system called civilisation, designed to exploit the human component of that civilisation to the full.

That technological progress would have been impossible without civilisation is a powerful argument in favour of civilisation. Primitive people, like the Australian aboriginal cultures, never conceptualised the use of the wheel, but then again neither did the advanced civilisations of the Incas or the Aztecs. Organisation helps progress, but the idea of civilisation goes beyond simple organisation, it is organisation with a purpose, a purpose which should be to benefit humanity, yet this has rarely been the case with any civilisation. For a civilisation to be good for humanity, it needs to be explicitly and pragmatically good for humanity, and that has never been the case. It has never really been benign to humanity because its real purposes have no intention of doing such a thing, because its real purposes are always for the benefit of power-wielding groups. Humanity demands democracy, but civilisation has always fed its population with some form of oligarchy.

What this indicates is that our relationship to the term civilisation is not an authentic one because we constantly misinterpret the meaning of the term. How beautiful and impressive would civilisations have become if they had really developed in an authentic way, for humanity rather than for the privileged few.

Things are not the way they are because they have to be that way. If things should be a different way, then they should be a different way until they are: but the should be will only ever become the way it is when we understand the authentic human purpose of all things human.

At the moment civilisation is a term bestowing Wealth with a legitimacy to remain. Civilisation, in its pragmatic sense, is a message endorsing the necessary endurance of the presence of Wealth. It is a nexus between wealth and us that allows Wealth to perpetuate itself and become ever and ever stronger.

But for civilisation to really exist, it has to be everyone, and the outsiders can no longer be seen as barbarians nor the slaves as labourers. It has to be democratic in an idealistic way: anti-oligarchical and anti-plutocratical. Under the mask of benign terms like civilisation and democracy, Wealth is able to obtain a stable, enduring presence. Whenever threatened it can conjure up the image of barbarians or infidels, civilisation’s age-old enemies, and rally the polis around its flag to save the civilised world once again.

The civilisation of Wealth has always promoted itself, in whatever form it takes, as the only possible form of organisation, seeing itself as the necessary space: that which needs to exist before any meaningful architecture can take place. This, of course, is a misconception. Civilisation is a mode of organisation and is a result of organisation. Organisation is the primary principle and civilisation is the answer to the question of purpose tagged on to the organisational process. Civilisation is always a response to the what for of the organisation. Quite clearly there can be no singular answer to that question. However, for civilisation to progress and evolve the answer has to be for humanity.

Civilisation should be an enabling power in itself for all human beings, instead of a masking tool for the interests of Wealth. In its present state, civilisation is lacking, it lacks humanity, because it is not truly at humanity’s disposal.

As a term then, civilisation is our greatest hope, but it is also our most miserable perdition. We think we have it, but really it has us. It entwines our lives in a complex web of relationships that enslave us to the purposes of Wealth. It is the greatest lie.               

The Death of the Novel

Death-of-Literature-Skull-and-Book

In his book of essays, The Art of the Novel, Milan Kundera discusses the death of that particular art form. Such a death, he argues, is brought about when the novel removes itself from history, as in the literature of the Soviet Union where novels could only confirm the official line of things and by doing so remain entrenched in the status quo. For Kundera, therefore, the spirit of the novel depends upon its historical position, a place that allows it to reveal the human condition to us from beneath the mind-numbing effects of the actual. Novels are, Kundera says, “part of a process which is the conquest of being,” participating in a “succession of discoveries” that are related to the historical process itself.

The idea of the historical process as a succession of discoveries that unfold and enrich humanity, is a humanistic perspective, and literature, and the novel, are without a doubt art forms driven by humanity-enriching purposes. Nevertheless, in our own analyses of the historical process, we have seen that history has never been a humanity-enriching progression. In fact, what we have discovered is that historical evolution has taken humanity further and further away from itself into the segregating tribalism of the national state or religious sects. History has been a process of dividing humanity instead of developing its potentials through unity. For this reason, we talk about the anti-human historical process – but if history is anti-human, what does that tell us about the novel’s role in that development? And, if we agree that our historical process needs to be redesigned in order to eliminate its anti-humanism and make it authentically human for once, what should the novel’s role in that revolution be?

In the first place, however, Kundera’s perception of the nexus between the novel and the historical process is a limited one. He is right to point out the way the novel’s evolution has reflected social changes, but he is mistaken in seeing that reflection as the means itself when the real nexus is the analysis of what it sees, and, through that analysis, its power of being critical.

What dictatorial censorship, like the Soviet one, must do is castrate the novel by chopping out its ability to criticise. Made impotent in its critical faculty, the novel is thereby rendered useless. Kundera’s argument, therefore, is that chopping in any form, even by well-intentioned capitalist editors, is potentially deadly for the novel itself. But a very dangerous question arises here: Is criticism only possible, therefore, because the anti-human historical process is so humanly flawed?

If this is so, then we have to ask ourselves if a truly-human process of progressive history would eliminate the need for criticism, which in turn would create a debilitating process for the mind akin to those created by dictatorship?

Or, in other words: Is the novel important to us only because the System (civilisation) we are immersed in is so defective?

We believe that Kundera, from his experience with Stalinism, would agree that it would. However, beginning an authentic-human historical process is not the same as completing the historical process, which was the purpose of communism.

By understanding the creative forces of humanity in a positive, universal way, guided by art, science and technology rather than ideology and religion, would be far more transformative than the evolutions and incomplete revolutions that have so far been produced by any anti-historical processes we have.

Rather than dying, the novel would be in the front line of this pro-humanity transformation: both as an analyser and a critique of the new process. The novel, therefore, will not die with authentic-human history, rather its current moribund prestige will be rekindled and rejuvenated as wider appreciation will be made of its essential role in human (Sapiens) evolution.

Kundera admits in his book that the novel itself could have had a different history. He points to the different callings that the novel makes: The call to play (Tristan Shandy and Jacques the Fatalist); the call to dream (Kafka); the call to think (Musil and Broch); the call of time (Proust). There are other calls: the call to freedom (Joyce’s Ulysses); the call for justice (Zola, Dostoevsky and Tolstoy).

But the novel, like humanity has been more fettered than liberated by the anti-human historical process and our novelists now need to imagine new callings that can transcend the anti-human and embrace the calling toward an authentic Sapiens humanity. Yes, an evolution toward human authenticism, centring  history as a process of human-progress, would imagine more callings as the abstract and conditional perspectives of individuals are opened up. One of the major victories that humanity would gain through an authentic-human historical evolution would be the liberation of minds beyond the actual and into the abstract and conditional realms of the potential.

Where Kundera is most definitely right and acute in his book, is when he speaks of the Spirit of the Novel, and that Spirit needs to be analysed and continually vindicated in opposition to the spirit of the market-place or the spirit of selling books. Novels are meant to be written, published and read: and this implies distribution and/or accessibility, but it does not imply sales. A novel’s success has to be measured by how much pleasure it has produced by doing what novels do best, which is … to stimulate the mind. But even here we need to be careful of over-simplifying success: A novel that can stimulate the minds of millions might be considered more successful than another which only managed to reach a handful of readers, but the quantitative degree of that success is no real reflection of the qualitative importance of the two books. A book that is never read may be qualitatively far superior than another that is consumed by billions. We see here the importance of accessibility and distribution: a great, human civilisation would be geared towards ensuring the accessibility of quality. An authentically human ethics would have to always prioritise the production of quality above quantity in art.

Kundera says that “the spirit of the novel is the spirit of complexity,” a spirit which is also antithetical to the reductionist spirit of the market-place and its demands for simplicity.

Biblioteca-de-Babel-Erik-Desmazieres

Human Destiny – do we care?

To what extent can human beings concern ourselves with the abstract question of human destiny? – assuming firstly that the beings we are concerned with know, or think they know, what human destiny is. To what extent can any eschatological stand point be directly admitted to?

This is the basic question behind all religions. If the ultimate truth is known to be this, how must we accordingly act? Our duty as Sapiens is to perceive, learn, investigate, discover, LIVE, etc., but what will happen to those who prefer to be lazy?

The old system of separations creeps back in once more. Once we say: “We know what to do,” there will be those who will contest us with: “Fine, and I choose not to do it,” or: “But that is too hard. Please don’t make me exert so much effort; let me go about my life my own way.

This is our human failing: a failing which has no other finality than endless squabbling and, ultimately, internecine destruction. All separations emanate from the freedom-driven will to choose to differ, and any absolute truth will immediately run up against its absolute opposition.

Nevertheless, this has never stopped belief and inspired behaviour before. Ultimately it must boil down to convictions. Al action must stand on the knife-edge between success and failure; or rather success itself is the mere act of standing on the rope over the abyss of failure.

But from the Ideal-reality perspective, everything humans do contributes to the framing of reality, and in this way the framing is never finished until humanity is finished – which is the only truly undesirable outcome. Here is a deeply existential idea – anything is permitted as long as it does not incite extinction, and also, everything is welcomed, and should be encouraged, that encourages learning and framing. And by framing we mean the representing of reality and the communication of knowledge about that reality, as well as the unfolding that takes place from such communication and representation.

History needs the science of history to exist. An existence, the finality of which can never be reached until the science itself is no longer understood or practised. It is the framing of history that makes it historical, and that framing is forever being developed or disfigured by the continuous nature of that same framing. While humans are Sapiens the process is constant, and past and future unfold in a constant framing in the present continuous.

THE DANGER OF DESTINY – AND HOW TO OVERCOME IT

 

Once a destiny is accepted, nihilism is vanquished but dogma threatens. Dogma as a killer of creativity can only be thwarted by elevating creativity against it. If the ultimate purpose of humanity as Sapiens (that the new dogma is derived on) is to create as well as know – to be original and inventive and as critical as an inventive wit must always be – then the negative effects of dogma will always be mitigated. Freedom is intrinsic to creativity and so, if the purpose is to be creative, the ethical results of that dogma of creativity will be an anti-authoritarian one.

To be able to frame, one needs to know. To be able to know, one needs to have an agile mind. To have an agile mind, one needs to have freedom, time, and the resources to develop that agility. A Sapiens ethics would have to encourage the creation of an environment in which the human mind is freed, allowed and encouraged to fulfil its potential. The real great revolutionary step for humanity will have to be one of unleashing Sapiens’ potential in order to liberate humanity from the stress and tyranny of our current, economic-singularity framing, and its tremendous anti-Sapiens structures. Only when productivity is measured not in terms of dollars earned and spent but in terms of our accumulated capital of ideas and know-how, will humanity start to rightfully perceive itself as the Homo sapiens sapiens.

Adolescent Society and the Anti-Nihilistic Anti-Oedipus (a revolutionary statement)

anti-oedipus

Consumerism’s constant pressure on the pleasure button has fermented a nihilistic culture driven by a plutocratic system calling itself democracy. Our anti-human civilisation has embedded this nihilism with a deep, grass-roots pessimism. Modern life and its emphasis on individual fulfilment has fabricated a depressive tone with uninspired muscle.  Underneath the pristine glamour of the consumer society, lies the internal suffering of he or she who always wants more. Achievement is never enough – each acquisition creates or finds another lack that will open the doors toward another subjugation.

Psychologically we are an adolescent society, torn by narcissistic desires and paradoxical notions of conforming in rebellious ways. We hate the father-figures of power that govern us and will be quick to show our disdain for the present in the next elections, but, nevertheless, we are happy to receive the protection offered by that same parent without giving anything other than grudgingly back. The paternal power maintains its hold over us by creating our dreams and desires, but the Disneyworld factory of dreamworking is the system’s greatest instrument of repression. The anti-human civilisation can exert its power and control over all because the system tells the individual that he or she can also enjoy the same power. What the system promises each individual is the chance that they too can be a leader: a president or king of their own company, or at least a fascist parent.

Here we arrive at the same psychological root to the problem as Deleuze and Guattari: our society is Oedipal.[i] We submit to power because we ourselves are dreaming of achieving that power. The message manifests itself in positive thinking “You can do it!”, “Yes, we can”, “Just do it” etc.. The Fisher King is waiting for you to take his place. Laius must succumb   to you eventually, no matter how cruel he is to you now, no matter how much he wills your destruction. You are destined to step into his shoes and become the King of Thebes and, “Everybody loves a winner.”

Deleuze and Guattari argued[ii] that to fight the system one first of all had to become anti-Oedipal and become an orphan (breaking family ties), an atheist (without beliefs), and a nomad (without ties to any particular region, state or culture). To that list we would like to add a but – but without submitting to nihilism.

So, in our terms, the revolutionary must learn to be an orphan, an atheist, a nomad and an anti-nihilist believer in necessities.

Of course there seems to be a contradiction here: how can an atheist – the non-believer – also be an anti-nihilist moralist redeemer, the kind, let’s say, who believes and who can distinguish between good and evil. In order to resolve this apparent contradiction we would need to analyse what belief and non-belief is, starting with the premise that the pure non-believer does not really exist and the second, seemingly absurd proposition that it is possible to believe and not-believe at the same time. Here we don’t have room for such an analysis but … meanwhile, let a quote from the anti-Oedipal Nietzsche act as post data …

Nietzsche believed, like us, that the future survival of humanity required “another sort of spirit than those we are likely to encounter in this age.” What he called “the redeeming man of great love and contempt, the creative spirit who is pushed out of any position outside or beyond by his surging strength again and again, whose solitude will be misunderstood by the people as though it were a flight from reality – whereas it is just his way of being absorbed, buried and immersed in reality so that from it, when he emerges into the light again, he can return with redemption of this reality … This man from the future will redeem us, not just from the ideal held up till now, but also from those things which had to arise from it, from the great nausea, the will to nothingness, from nihilism, that stroke of midday and of great decision that makes the will free again, which gives its purpose and man his hope again, this Antichrist and anti-nihilist, this conqueror of God and of nothingness – he must come one day.”[iii]

Our redeemer must be Antichrist, Anti-Oedipus and Anti-Nihilist. The old edifice must be pulled right down to allow a new foundation of true, human reality to be laid. A foundation rooted in human purposiveness and a renewal of our necessary partnership with the world that is so important for our existence. Only from this completely new foundation will be able to reconstruct anything truly meaningful. Only from the ruins of our anti-human civilisation will be able to build the Human one.

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[i] SEE Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, Anti-Oedipus, Capitalism and Schizophrenia

[ii] Ibid

[iii] F. Nietzsche, On the Geneology of Morality, II, xxiv

Foucault’s manual for Anti-Fascism (with some notes)

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In his introduction to Deleuze and Guatarri’s Anti-Oedipus, Michel Foucault summarised the book into seven points which, he suggested, could serve as a guide for the everyday life of any anti-fascist. These seven points were:

  • “Free political action from all unitary and totalising paranoia.”[i] …or, in other words, avoid dogma at all costs.

We see this as the problems that arise from envisaging objectives as something fixed, or the perception of the Ideal as kind of frozen immobility. The essence of progress is that it is always moving beyond itself. The real revolutionary objective needs to be to maintain the linear impacts of progress and keep it out of the curving tendency that will render progress circular again.

  • “Develop action, thought and desires by proliferation, juxtaposition and disjunction, and not by subdivision and pyramidal hierarchisation.”[ii]

… let us add communication and visibility through social networking as real instruments of democracy and subsequently as destabilising instruments on all attempts to impose dogmas. This has to be done by uncovering and exposing manipulations, especially the most subtle, which are the ones that contemporary dogmas thrive on.

  • “Withdraw allegiance for the old categories of the Negative (law, limit, castration, lack, lacuna), which Western thought has so long held sacred as a form of power and an access to reality. Prefer what is positive and multiple, difference over uniformity, flows over unities, mobile arrangements over systems. Believe that what is productive is not sedentary but nomadic.”[iii]

Propagate a philosophical and artistic perspective of reality.

  • “Do not think that one has to be sad in order to be militant, even though the thing one is fighting is abominable. It is the connection of desire to reality (and not its retreat into the forms of representation) that possesses revolutionary force.”[iv]
  • “Do not use thought to ground a political practice in Truth; nor political action to discredit, as mere speculation, a line of thought. Use political practice as an intensifier of thought, and analysis as a multiplier of the forms and domains for the intervention of political action.”[v]
  • “Do not demand of politics that it restore the ‘rights’ of the individual as philosophy has defined them. The individual is the product of power. What is needed is to ‘de-individualise’ by means of multiplication and displacement, diverse combinations. The group must not be the organic bond uniting hierarchized individuals, but a constant generator of de-individualisation.”[vi]

Liberation of the individual must come through the liberation of humanity, not through the individual itself.

  • “Do not become enamoured of power.”[vii]

Escape the vicious circle of our sado-masochistic reality and our perverse fascination with power. Look for harmony rather than brutal domination and/or pathetic submission.

[i] (Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, Anti-Oedipus, Capitalism and Schizophrenia, UMP, Minneapolis, 1983, Preface, p. xiii)

[ii] Ibid

[iii] Ibid

[iv] Ibid, pp. xiii-xiv

[v] Ibid, p. xiv

[vi] Ibid

[vii] Ibid

THE IMPORTANCE OF THE END

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In order to break out of our bubble[i], transcend the retarding influence of Habitus[ii], unveil the ideological masks created by identity[iii] and escape the vicious circle of repeating our same mistakes, we need to question reality from a new perspective. Look beyond the actual and try to grasp the profound realities of possibility. Start to think in a teleological way in the direction of final causes. Perhaps we should even reinstate the idea of a final destiny for humanity as an inspiration. In any case, we have to look toward long-term future points of reference. Such long-term goals are now sadly lacking in the cyclical form of the global capitalist economy. The homo economicus is really going nowhere. And if there is no final aim there can be no becoming.  Sure, there are horizons, but we never get any closer to them – the horizon is never reached and the homo economicus becomes trapped in an endless circular pursuit of happiness-through-fulfilment-of-desire that really goes nowhere at all.

On the other hand, by revindication of the species and our Sapiens qualities, meaningful results become immediately tangible again and humanity can drift away from nihilism into purposiveness.

[i] See our entry The Way out of the Bubble –  https://pauladkin.wordpress.com/2015/03/02/the-way-out-of-the-bubble/

[ii] See our entry Habitus – https://pauladkin.wordpress.com/2015/02/28/habitus/

[iii] See our entry Ideology/Identity and Nihilism – https://pauladkin.wordpress.com/2015/01/27/ideologyidentity-and-nihilism/

Ideology/Identity and Nihilism

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Ideology/Identity tries to contain thought within an enclosed space that is the reality-that-is for those within it. It may be dynamically charged with the concept that it is also the reality-that-should-be or the best reality for everyone. In the latter case the Ideology/Identity runs the risk of exploding into a surge of imperialism (e.g.: the West, on one hand, and the Islamic Nation on the other). In the case of the West, despite its grand ideology of “freedom” the spaces enclosed by Ideology/Identity are consciousness-restricted spaces that are determined by dogmas and xenophobias as opposed to any authentic lust for liberating awareness and opportunities. The borders of the USA, for example, enclose an enormous conglomeration of Identity ideologies and the idea of the nation-state system working in harmony and bringing all these ideologies together within the same enclosed space is promoted as a magnificent example of what the Global-economy Ideology of Freedom can do. But, in truth, Ideology/identity can only be obtained by promoting the opposite of freedom. It requires false consciousness or even unconsciousness.

As for the Islamic Nation it has no borders and its Ideology/Identity is firmly rooted in the idea of Islam, which means submission to Allah, or, in practical terms, to those who profess to know how to interpret Allah correctly.

Seen as freedom versus submission the West and the Islamic Nation are antithetical forces which offer very little to each other in terms of creating any Yin Yang type harmonious separation. Nevertheless, both systems do have a common ground based on their shared anti-human nihilism created by a dualism of believers or non-believers. The nihilism of the non-believers versus the nihilism of the faithful; the nihilism in the belief in the paradise beyond the earthly versus the nihilistic faith in the fact that nothing we do in our lives makes any sense other than that we make the most of our limited time here on earth.

This nihilism is a direct result of the process of Ideology/Identity formation. As if the last thing we should consider is that we are human beings and that humanity has an authentic purpose in itself. It is a process of separation and segregation through the creation of enclosures. Separation breeds ignorance and ignorance is a kind of slavery for Sapiens. A fetter holding humanity back from uncovering its real destiny as a species.