There are two kinds of universes. Firstly, the kind that is perceived in different ways by each and every perceiving entity (Universe A), and, secondly, the universe that encloses and supports these perceiving entities (Universe B). The latter is that which allows perception to take place and part of it is the World. The World is the space in which conditions allowing for consciousness via a conscious, knowing, sapiens life exist.
This description of reality gives us a basic truth: the World is the part of the Universe made purposeful through Sapiens’ perception of it, and each sapiens entity has his or her own singular universe constructed according to the possibilities granted by its place in space and moment in time. Likewise, these individual realities are enriched by the possibilities engendered by the imagination of each and every sapiens entity BUT enclosed within the physical necessities that make up the form of the all-encompassing Universe that is the prime necessity making Sapiens possible.
The World is our world, open to all our possibilities, but at the same time restricted by the physical laws of the Universe and the fragile equilibrium that makes life on Earth possible. Each sapiens stands at the centre of the Universe (as the creator of his or her universe), but depends on the World and its ability to produce and maintain life (and life’s possibilities) primarily for its purposeful existence and, secondly, for its possibilities within the restrictions of that existence.
These restrictions are determined by each subjects’ position in time and space. Possibilities are modified by our accumulation (through education and culture and through the other possibilities allowed or disallowed us by societies).
By anchoring ourselves with the metaphysical truth, we are able to find an equally true teleology or final purpose, and through that a general purposiveness for sapiens entities.
The metaphysical truth that there are two kinds of universes, points to an inseparable connection between the multifarious universes coming from Sapiens’ individual perceptions and consciousness and the reality of the all-encompassing Universe itself. Both forms of the Universe need each other, and must never betray each other. So tightly are they linked that any betrayal would mean the annihilation of both universes. The existence of one, therefore, depends on the existence of the other.
The perpetuity of this existence, however, depends on certain laws that must be, firstly, discovered by Sapiens, and secondly, respected.
The general purposiveness (and meaning) in life has to be anchored to the idea of maintaining a perpetual relationship between universe A and universe B, or between Sapiens and the World.
Through perception, Sapiens has the ability to reveal the Universe whilst, through the creative powers of the Sapiens’ imagination, humans are also able to fashion different worlds of our own, each one replete with its own culture and society.
Sapiens’ creativity is a fundamental feature in the relationship between universe A and universe B. Through universe A, the universe B is not only brought into a purposeful Being (I am known, therefore I am ), it is also enriched and enlarged through the worlds imagined and created from that imagination via the inventive and creative power of Sapiens’ minds and their arts and technologies.
In our relationship with universe B, therefore, we have two purposes that fold over into a singular circular meaning of life: to know that universe and to create within it according to our own imaginations and use of the knowledge we accumulate through contemplating the universe we know.
The first law of purposiveness for Sapiens therefore, which is also a moral imperative, is to be creative and knowledgeable.
But from this conclusion arises another question. If this is an authentic moral imperative for humanity: How can our societies go about fashioning the creative and knowledgeable sapiens entities that are so imperative for a purposeful relationship with the World?
Truth implies a communication between people who share a similar view and experience of reality. In a global village, bearing a huge divide between the wealthy and the poor, this similar view of things is impossible. For society to be able to talk truthfully it needs to be authentically democratic and egalitarian. Our civilisation, that has been created and maintained by Wealth for the interests of Wealth, needs to impose its truth by control and repression, but also by concealing its desire to control and repress. This concealment is carried out by arguing that the control it desires is really an uncomfortable condition that is only imposed in order to ensure our safety.
The possessive adjective ‘our’ however, should be substituted with ‘their’ – it is their safety that is being protected, not ours. Our so-called democratic world is not democratic at all. Power operates with abundant freedom to protect Wealth whilst the society itself is chokingly repressed.
Problems are repeatedly decontextualized. A terrorist attack takes place because a group of people feel a need to act against the Power that is plundering the natural resources of its region, or because Power has carried out a military invasion of a certain region, or is occupying a certain area by force. Because Power is the real bad guy in this scenario, Power decontextualizes it. It concentrates on the barbarity of the attack perpetrated by the terrorists, while at the same time playing down or completely ignoring the importance of the underlying reasons embedded in the whole context of the event.
Likewise, the economy, which is all about the distribution of wealth and exchange between people, is also decontextualized through a narrative that concentrates on macroeconomic figures that have noting to do with the economic reality of the person in the street.
The truth is, in society we are all involved with each other. If we work, we think we are working for ourselves, but this is only part of the truth. We are also working for others: for the company, probably in order to produce things that may be used by the rest of the society. This complicity is not ignored, but it is often pushed out of the picture, because the real answer to the question of ‘who are we working for?’ often gives a very ugly answer.
In reality we are all part of the equipment that the System uses to gratify the wants and needs of Power. We are, as the Pink Floyd anthem tells us, just another brick in the wall, a cog in the machinery of the System. We are the bolts and nails that hold things together, the tiny wheels that get the thing running.
Once this fact has been accepted, we must ask another even more important question: ‘toward what?’. Towards which final result are our efforts, as we work in the System, supposed to be directed? What is the purpose of our toil? That the answer is to gratify the needs and wants of Power, needs to be concealed from us and, in order to achieve that concealment, Power invents other ambiguous and decontextualized explanations explaining what we are working toward.
Thus, the System talks about a better life and the obvious happiness that will come with it because through the distribution of money workers are able to buy things that will make that better life possible. In actual fact, the whole narrative of our WEIRD civilisation revolves around this simple idea: if you have the power to buy new things and accumulate objects, you will be happier and your life will be better. The toward what goes no further than that. The message is: you, the workers, are improving your own standard of living by participating in the System. And yet, the real toward is not this reality at all. It is, you are contributing to the desires and needs of Wealth and helping Wealth accumulate more wealth and more power.
By articulating this true context, and only by articulating it, a democratic dialectic is allowed to challenge the system. But is this the towards what that we really want to participate in?
We live in a society of control, but not because of the Covid-19 lockdowns. With the pandemic the control is obvious, what we need to remind ourselves of now is that our control-society existed a long time before the coronavirus spread. Of course, the rationale of lockdown in a pandemic is perfectly understandable, it is common-sense logic, the worrying thing is not the present but how easily we swallowed the perverted logic used to justify control before this actuality. The fact is that we have been in Orwell’s 1984 society for some time and the pertinent question now is, for how long have we been here?
When societies accept the controls of searches and inspections, the same society becomes immersed in a neurosis – a fear which is, for the most part, illogical.
We have been enduring compulsory inspections at airports and the entrances of government agencies or large corporations for decades. Any visitor is symbolically treated like a potential terrorist, and this treatment is in itself a form of terrorism. The best way to cope with the military control dished out at society’s checkpoints is with acceptance, which is resignation, which is the same as submission. We are told the control is carried out to ensure our safety. But is this is a valid reason for our uncritical submission?
For example, in order to discern whether or not the incarceration-style controls that we are constantly forced to endure at airports really do ensure our safety, we would firstly need to examine statistics concerning plane crashes before and after 9/11. If we do, we see that the numbers are more or less the same with a slight increase in accidents after 9/11. For while intense security-checks were made the new normal in all airports, the safety standards on the mechanical state of many planes worsened rather than increased. While society concentrated on stopping potential terrorists from boarding planes, it has been neglecting the vigilance of the emotional and psychological level of the pilots, or the thoroughness of inspections on the planes themselves.
Under any dictatorship, the first victim is always the truth. Power will only tolerate its truth, and control is a tool for turning its truth into the truth. Once established, the fact that its truth is actually a lie, is covered up by the acceptance given to that lie. If everyone accepts the lie as the way things are, then it no longer remains a lie, it is transformed into the way things are.
The problem with these imposed realities is that they are full of cracks. Problems are controlled rather than solved. Sometimes this is because the problems favour the measures the System wants to impose. Terrorism creates a need for maximum security controls and allows State repression of freedom. But the roots of the problem are created by the injustices provoked by the voracious appetite of our very same system-of-perpetual-growth (e.g.: capitalism or the neo-liberal economy). Because of this, no steps can be taken to properly eradicate poverty, which is the real root cause of most of our social problems, creating a breeding ground for most fanaticisms and, in fact, almost everything most people fear.
Likewise, the System, which is imperialistic, will not take measures to restrict the imperialist nature of its corporations, and neither will the neo-liberal financers combat the impoverishing effects of its debt-creating loans that are impossible to pay back.
The result is that nothing can be really done to fight the problems created by the System itself.
Everything we know and talk about is relative to our condition of being-in-the-world. Things can only make sense from the position of this fact. Without the world, there is no existence. This is the absolute basis of all the necessary respect that we must have for the world.
Life perceives, or, instinctively knows that it is immersed in an environment. Reality is that which is revealed. On the primary level, it is that which is revealed to the senses, and on a superior level, it is that which is unconcealed to the mind, or discovered by it.
Language permits reality to be an assertion, and it also permits others, who share the same language, to interpret – confirm or dispute – the assertions. A picture of what is true in the world comes through the confirmation or rejections of interpretations of what is perceived through the senses or through the intellect.
In section #120 of The Will to Power, Nietzsche argues that man, in the 19th century, had become more natural and his subsequent definition of the ‘more natural man’ is subtle, ironic and replete with satirical criticism as it is, essentially, an attack on Rousseau’s ‘return to nature’. Yet, seen from our 21st century standpoint, the short essay offers much more than a criticism of Rousseau’s noble savage, it is, like all of Nietzsche’s thought, full of prophetic insight regarding the kind of man to come, which is to say, the kind of people we now are.
One of the first points he makes is that there never has yet been a natural humanity, and this is true. The anti-human historical process that has created our WEIRD civilisation has always been a steady movement away from nature.
It could be argued that our de-naturalisation process began with the advent of language. As soon as we started representing everything in the abstract field of names, we lost our direct touch with the natural world. In many ways, the ability to use and understand languages defines humanity and, although it would be hard for most of us to concede human status to an AI machine, even if it were housed in a perfect replica of a human body, nevertheless, if a human mind could be transplanted into a mechanical body, it would be more human than a human being who had lost the capacity of language.
Pessimists often use the excuse of human nature to criticise the so-called Utopian fantasies created by faith in human potential, but the truth is, humanity is far more of a conditional animal than a prisoner of the restrictions of nature. In a sense, language liberates us from nature by alienating us from it. Whenever we look at an object and think of it in terms of its name, we are stepping away from it into the objective realm of being-apart which allows the naming process to take place.
When claims of the apparently flawed side of human nature are made, (usually defending a thesis that humanity is an incorrigible species and that society’s problems are inherent in our biological makeup) they often refer to restrictions born from the process of socialisation and other cultural manipulations than impediments coming from natural instincts. But this thinking is erroneous and mendacious: most negative pre-programming is, in fact, social rather than genetic.
For Nietzsche, however, the natural man is something which should be aspired to. Not because it is ennobling and we all have a noble savage inside us, but because, quite the opposite, we should nurture our natural sides because nature is immoral. The more natural man therefore is the immoral man – the nihilist. In section #120, he proceeds to describe this natural-immoral man, this nihilist, and much of what he sees can be found reflected in society today. Nietzsche knew the nihilists were coming, and in this essay, he seems to welcome it.
OUR NIHILISTIC AGE
Nietzsche’s attitude to nihilism is extremely ambiguous, he both welcomes and fears it, often seemingly at the same time. The only thing that seemed absolutely clear to him was that a nihilistic age was dawning. It would be an age that would bring with it the profoundly negative figure of the Last Man, in which he saw the hopeless, herd-following nihilist society that civilisation would only be saved if another, new kind of humanity can evolve out of the nihilistic mess. This Last-Man-transcending being he called the Übermensch, the Overman, which has also been translated as the Superman.
a) THE ONE PERCENT
In section #120, Nietzsche’s More Natural Man is presented as ‘our first society’, the wealthy class. In our own times, it would represent that 1% of filthy rich and the other 10% of very well-to-do individuals who belong to the star class of business folk, finance folk and celebrities (our film stars, pop stars and sports stars). Nietzsche calls them ‘the leisure class’, for whom love (sex) is reduced to a ‘kind of sport’ in which marriage ‘is an obstacle and a provocation’. It is a purely hedonistic class, who ‘live for pleasure’. This class is more natural because a nihilist system, without any grand or authentic purposes, demands an unethical breed of unscrupulous immoralists, the members of which are ‘curious and bold’.
Bold, perhaps, as lovers of extreme sports and high-risk gambling in the financial markets. According to these definitions,the Wolf of Wall Street would be a logical, and natural product of the nihilistic system he saw unfolding into the future.
Humans have a thirst for knowledge, but the more natural man does so with a ‘libertinage of the spirit’ that hates ‘pompous and hierarchical manners’ and delights in ‘what is most forbidden’. Or, in other words, Nietzsche was predicting a lust for the perverse and the radical. They ‘should hardly know any longer of any interest of knowledge if the way to it were paved with boredom.’ The more natural humanity, therefore, will only learn, and its members will only allow themselves to be educated, if the learning process is fun. They will learn what they want to learn, not what they need to know. This explains the enormous manifestation of ignorance in our information rich world. It is not because society is saturated by information, as many of our sociologists tell us, but because it is bored by the important stuff and seduced by the fun of triviality. And it is for this reason that so many of those in the information age prefer to remain in the most part ignorant.
What is more, in the nihilist civilisation, not only knowledge, but anything that has to be acquired has to be fun, or exciting. Given a choice, (and nowdays there is always a choice) the more naturally nihilist individual will always choose to do that which is pleasurable over something which is necessary or beneficial …
Or at least whilst the situation at hand does not involve a life-or-death consequences scenario like we have seen created by the Covid-19 pandemic. With the coronavirus crisis we have witnessed the hedonistic values of our nihilistic civilisation profoundly challenged, and the necessity of protecting our health has been able to put the universal libertinage of the spirit on stand bye.
b) NIHILISM AND COVID-19
The pandemic experience has also revealed all the dangers enmeshed within the nihilistic attitude of our times, and we can now see more clearly what we lost when we surrendered to capitalism and the nihilisms it generated. The first casualty of our nihilist era was reality itself. Wealth, and the power it wields, has denied, or tried to deny, any needs that do not favour the acquisitions of what it wants or which impede the playing out of its own exciting fantasies and games. It is for this reason, for example, that capitalism has resisted the necessary conversion to green energy sources, because lurking beneath any new green deal is a greater purpose for humanity which threatens the basis of the nihilistic era itself. Likewise, Wealth has created false needs (those which the marketplace is more or less defined by) in order to push all surplus upward and allow the wealthy to acquire whatever they can imagine desiring.
The Covid-19 crisis has also shown us what little regard the more natural nihilists that drive our System have for humanity and human suffering. In the major capitalist states like the USA and the UK, the desire to protect the economy and keep trade flowing has been eagerly expressed even above the aim to protect lives against the disease. The natural nihilists have even made calls to citizens to sacrifice themselves for the sake of the economy and President Trump went as far to call the American people ‘warriors’ as he incited them to sacrifice themselves to the greater good of American business.
The more natural nihilist, argues Nietzsche, is practically amoral and principles for him or her have become ridiculous. Duty is only ever spoken about with irony, says Nietzsche. But the nihilist is not completely immoral. He or she has the morality, he says, that comes from his or her instincts – without explaining what these moral instincts are. In fact, the idea contradicts another theme of the essay, that nature is immoral. If there is no morality in nature, Nietzsche suggests, what can our moral instincts be? And if they have no instincts regarding morality, why should the more natural nihilist have any instincts at all? So, when he does talk of the nihilist’s morality, we think that he is referring to the morality that the nihilistic system manufactures and propagates to serve the desires of Wealth: the morals involved in the patriotic duties that demand sacrifices in times of crises – when those crises threaten the interests of Wealth.
c) NIHILISM AND POLITICS
When he discusses politics in #120, Nietzsche intuits the evolution of his more natural nihilists into dictators and fascists. Politics is a problem of power, he says, and “we do not believe in any right that is not supported by the power of enforcement.” In order to rule the upcoming nihilistic societies, politicians will have to do it through force. All rights will be conquests, he says, implying that this necessary struggle for power, between “one quantum of power against another,” will make society strong.
Again, his prophecy came to fruition, although in a far shakier way than Nietzsche probably anticipated. At the turn of the 20th century the nihilist era quickly sank into a dark age of struggle, wars, revolutions, and incredible anti-human dictatorships, replaced, in the latter half of the same century, by less natural nihilist democracies. Representative democracy became the norm and politics was reduced internationally to a constant, if banal, struggle between left and right to win the votes of the centre, while the real natural nihilists, the capitalist corporations, accumulated incredible wealth and power by installing an economic paradigm above the political one. The resulting global empire, of corporations and international finance, became our most natural nihilist, driving the hedonism of consumerism to such orgiastic levels that it now threatens an ecological breakdown through an over-consumption of natural resources and a largely unchecked contamination of the environment. But while this global commerce increased its immense power, its fragility also increased at a reciprocal, chaotic rate. All it needed to bring about its collapse was a tiny germ; an unexpected new virus – with Covid-19 the world economy practically came to a complete standstill.
Nietzsche seemed to be speaking sincerely when he applauded the more natural nihilists’ politics of force, but what we have seen emerge from this constant struggle between each nihilist quantum is not a more noble kind of power, but quite the contrary. Civilisation has, for the most part, grown politically tired, at times even exhausted, with a tendency towards inefficiency and apathy rather than real struggle. A life that is continually fighting to obtain rights or power is not much of a life if there is no clear purposiveness to accompany the struggle. The obtaining of rights in the nihilist era is a step forward on a treadmill that takes us nowhere. All the more natural nihilist has is the possibility of the enjoyment derived from winning the game, but we are playing in a league that seems to have no end, because when it does the same team always wins.
This is where the seeds of apathy in our more natural nihilist world lie. The competition culminates in elections that become a race between the same old teams, and even when those teams are joined by new parties, the game still manages to retain the same predictable results only with an increased, cacophonic squabbling between the players involved. Our nihilist societies want excitement, but this same old game is boring. As with any continuum, when struggle is reduced to repetition it becomes insipid and pointless. Only an honest, authentic purposiveness is truly worth fighting for.
d) NIHILISM AND THE GREAT CRIMINALS
The more natural man, says Nietzsche, considers passion a privilege, and he goes on to explain this by adding the audacious: “we consider nothing is great unless it includes a great crime.”
The 20th century and what we have so far of this century, are full of these bold anti-heroes, and we have seen how so many of them have unashamedly committed their great crimes against humanity over and over again. Greatness, claims Nietzsche, consists of transcending social morals. In the purposeless universe there can be no true morality – and this is correct, but in the purposeless world even the greatest criminal nihilist will eventually disappear in the same void that the purposelessness they so revere creates.
The more natural nihilist reduces nature to the devilish and dumb, and for that reason he or she respects it, because they too are devilish and dumb. Neither the more natural nihilist nor nature itself aspires to virtue. In actual fact, the nihilist society respects nature only for what it can take from it. Natural beauty becomes an excuse to go somewhere, where that beauty exists, but when it is reached, if it ever actually existed, it is lost because of the invasion of those searching for it.
Above all, in the nihilistic age nature represents opportunities to make fortunes if one knows how to exploit it. Our nihilist society does have its base, vulgar purpose: making money, and all nihilistic purpose is embedded in it. Money equals exchange and implies acquisition. Nietzsche ignores this vulgar trend for consumerism, or relegates it to the realm of the Last Men. Devilish and dumb are the Last Men consumers, so is this what they have in common with the more natural nihilists that govern them?
e) NIHILISM AND POSITIVISM
The more natural nihilist remains cold to the beautiful, illusory lies of art and looks for something more brutal – positivism.
Positivism thus becomes the antithesis of beauty. This is an interesting aesthetic statement from Nietzsche: nature itself is not deliberately beautiful, but it is positive. Nature as something fecund, with a desire to manifest itself, grow and propagate itself. Beauty is a human prejudice on nature and so, to be honest in a nature-centred sense, it should be rejected.
But again, rejecting beauty is a rejection of purposiveness, and without purposiveness there can be no real positivism.
f) THE ANTI-NIHILIST PURPOSIVENESS OF UNCONCEALMENT
That Nietzsche saw nature to be devoid of purposiveness was his greatest mistake. Purpose through a will to Unconcealment is embedded in the ontology of the cosmos. The human ability to perceive beauty may in fact be one of the deepest instincts for survival in our species.
Another, more traditional, way of expressing this would be to proclaim our ability to perceive beauty as an essential element in our souls. An element that nihilism erodes by cutting it off from the nourishment it could receive from any meaningfulness.
Without that nourishment, beauty sinks into the swamps of melancholy and the subsequent depressions that our nihilistic society is infested with.
Nietzsche’s argument that we have grown stronger by being more natural nihilists is wrong – we have grown more adolescent, full of the great capriciousness and bored peevishness characteristic of adolescence. There is nothing noble in this, quite the contrary, its egoism is dangerous and its immaturity has created catastrophic levels of corruption, decadence and political stupidity.
With the Universe revealed (either through direct perception of it or through speculation) it invites the Sapiens being to try and understand it, which means being able to find the thing (or things) as it (they) really is (are).
Through Sapiens curiosity, the unconcealment is constant and the ‘cosmic will’ is in a process of being fulfilled. To be in harmony with the Universe, therefore, we have to be constantly revealingit.
This constant unconcealment is also a perpetual re-revealing. The revealing is unceasing once it is established in Sapiens as part of its nature and tied to its very Being. Once a Sapiens entity exists in the Universe, every millisecond moment provides a new un-veiling and revealing becomes as constant as the passage of time itself.
Nevertheless, despite this constancy, it cannot be assumed that a high standard in the quality of revealing is also constant.Societies have developed in ways that take hold of the individual’s power of revealing in order to trap its subjects’ imaginations within its own field of concerns. Individuals are therefore made dull by society, their minds atrophied by the predictability of the day to day and the banality of gossip. The societies of our WEIRD civilisation foments minds that stop searching, ones that prefer to have reality spoon-fed to them.
However, the Unconcealment embedded in such a profound systemic crisis as the pandemic we are currently facing, strips the System of much of its concealing masks and its dysfunctionality gives society enough distance to get an objective view of the paradigm in which we are immersed.
What is being unconcealed today is firstly, the tremendous power that the capitalist economy has over all our lives and secondly, the enormous weakness that power has in being able to provide a dignified existence for the humanity it organises. The selfish aims of the system and its shameful exploitation of humanity to create Wealth for a tiny minority are now easier to perceive.
Whether this general Unconcealment can be translated into a positive upheaval, remains to be seen.
In order for progress to happen in any field (social, scientific or cultural), there has to be a space cleared within societies to allow for the planting of possibilities. Without possibilities there cannot be any creativity in all social, artistic or scientific advances.
Once planted, the seeds of possibility need to be nurtured and protected from economic limitations. In fact, the first step that has to be taken to allow possibilities to grow and progress to thrive, is the creation of a new kind of economy that releases possibility from all economic restraints. In order to do this, there must be a revaluation of the purpose of money in societies and a new rationale concerning how rewards are gained and how incentives are distributed.
Democratic societies need to open such spaces by making them available to the mutual benefit of all. Each member of society should be able to feel empowered with the ability to plant their own seeds of possibilities, made available and encouraged by the collective society.
Our current, capitalist model of distribution and its global economy has been stripped bare by the coronavirus pandemic. Beyond the tragic effects of the human life lost to the virus, the ultimate legacy of the pandemic will be a collapsed world economy which, paradoxically, will actually be good for the health of the planet. This sad absurdity has to make us contemplative; in its essence it is crying out for us to revaluate the way we make exchanges and the existential prices we will have to pay for those exchanges.
But what the pandemic scenario also reveals, is that the current status quo is not the only way things have to be. With the walls of the current system cracking all around us and the foundations of the house we live in sinking into the bog we have created in building this house, it is time now to pull the house down and rebuild. But let that new home be a safe and beautiful edification for everyone, and one which is designed to make the space full of openings to other outward and inner spaces of all possibilities for everyone.
Giorgio Agamben has been publishing a philosophical chronicle on the responses to the Coronavirus Epidemic for the past couple of months. His articles keep getting worse and worse. Here is his latest thought piece on “Medicine as Religion“. I feel sad when I read his texts. A rudimentary ethics of care has risen to prevent undue deaths being caused by the corona virus, and all Agamben wants to do is to stamp it out as “totalitarian”.
There is a curiously abstract aura to Agamben’s interventions. In this new text, Agamben once again makes no mention of the hospital emergency services being flooded with too many cases to handle. Instead, he brandishes the principle of an abstract freedom, that in the concrete case of the epidemic can only amount to the freedom to infect and to be infected.
Returning to the question of Being – Unconcealment is an ontological necessity. Without Unconcealment, Being is impossible. In the ontic field, through an analysis of cosmological fine-tuning, we see that the cosmos has evolved towards Unconcealment by creating conditions for life forms that can be aware. What cosmological fine-tuning suggests is that there is a certain determinism towards Being. In moral terms Being is an absolute good, and anything that threatens Being should be considered an absolute evil.
In the 16th century, the metaphysical thinker, Giordano Bruno, intuited this idea of existential Unconcealment when he talked of universal Providence, to which, he said: “I apprehend three attributes … Mind, Intellect and Love, with which things have first, Being, through the Mind; next ordered and distinct Being, through the Intellect; and third, concord and symmetry, through Love.”
Existential Unconcealment elevates humanity and has moral repercussions in our own lives, especially ecological ones. Without sapiens life on Earth, Being itself is threatened with annihilation. The first priority of homo sapiens must be: not to allow ourselves to become extinct. This is a moral imperative, and our civilisation should adapt itself accordingly. If not, it must forfeit its right to be considered a civilisation. At the moment, we have to admit that we belong to an evil empire that threatens the perpetuity of Being itself.
Let me be quite clear: without Being there is Nothing. “To BE or NOT to BE,” needs to be written like that, with capital letters, emphasising the dramatic nature of this concept. Being is everything, and if unconcealing, sapiens life on Earth is threatened, then everything is threatened. The Apocalypse won’t be brought about through the wrath of God, but it will be caused by the disappearance of that which makes the concept of God possible. Without the Unconcealment of Being, everything is exiled to the ontic purgatory of the un-perceived, concealed, infinity of Non-Being.
As a conscious being, the homo sapiens is a naturally unconcealing one. Nevertheless, whilst we have this passion to unconceal, we also have an aversion to be the object of Unconcealment. The conscious being in society needs to protect him or herself from the prying eyes of the society itself. Without privacy, life is stressful and the structure of society is totalitarian.
A political dialectic exists, therefore, between the need to be able to unconceal, and the need to protect oneself from the unconcealing of others.
By embracing the Information Age, we have consciously and/or unwittingly surrendered ourselves to the stress and fascism of the unconcealed society. However, it is imperative to understand that unconcealment has different shades: from the gleaming brilliance of creativity and scientific discovery to the gloomy greyness of gossip and the invasion of privacy.
At the political level, the popular term for unconcealment is transparency, and whilst this is important for the healthy functioning of democracy, unconcealment also has an invasive, negative side. At the social level, this is called gossip. It is non-creative, accusative and stress creating and is often based on tenuous suppositions or blatant lies. The System loves it because it channels the creative and critical forces in society away from an unconcealment of the obscure world of power itself, into the mind-numbing noise of social chit-chat. However, with the surge of populisms in politics, the power of gossip has been thrown into the political arena, with the subsequent debasement of political theatrics, in which complex debate can be lifted out of the parliamentary setting and vomited forth in dangerous over-simplifications and memes propagated via Twitter.
The technology of the Information Age will not go away. Quite the contrary, it will offer more and more transparency, much of which will be negative and democratically dangerous. When freedom of speech devolves into the freedom for, and perverse enjoyment of, perjury and slander, democracy itself is infirm and knocking on the door of a dictatorship. To protect ourselves from this latent totalitarianism within the transparency-system itself, we have to nurture the brilliant side of unconcealment: the artistic, creative spirit and the unconcealment of scientific discovery.
In order to protect themselves, the corporate powers that pull the strings of our global-world, capitalist civilisation, do allow a certain space for this brighter light of unconcealment to take place, whilst at the same time fomenting a gossip society of atrophied intellects that will happily consume that which is absolutely unnecessary. This causes a gap betwixt the brilliant creative part of society and its gloomy, gossiping grey side: a rift less visible but just as profound as the economic divide of rich and poor. However, this brilliant/grey society is only one stride away from slipping into the totally grey world of fascism. A proximity narrow enough to envisage a sudden, massive leap to the dark side.
When society nurtures atrophied intellects, it creates a breeding ground for fascism.