Patriotism, Fascism, and the Death of Democracy

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Our Civilisation of Wealth has used very different kinds of political ideologies to sustain itself but its ugliest version is undoubtedly Fascism. That a vulgar and fascistic, personality-cult leader has now become President of the USA is shocking, but not so surprising if we consider that the fascism has always been there in a latent form.

The Great War against Fascism of 1939-45, that we call the Second World War, did not actually defeat fascism. Yes, it defeated Hitler and Mussolini and the personality cult regime in Japan, but it did not defeat fascism. It did not defeat fascism because it did nothing to eradicate the patriotic pride of the national states. There were victors and losers in the war: one way of perpetuating the patriotic spirit defeat another manifestation of those sentiments; in the Second World War “democratic” fascism defeated “authoritarian” fascism with the help of the national-socialist regime of Joseph Stalin.   

Authoritarian fascism is best defined by the term National Socialism and the key word in fascism is National. The patriotic spirit behind the democratic forces that defeated Hitler were nationalistic and therefore fascistic forces. All forms of wall building and border defining ideologies are inherently nestling fascist frameworks. All nationalism and patriotic feelings are essentially fascist sentiments. Even the great bridge building ventures since World War II, like the European Union and Globalisation have always clung on to the maintenance of state sovereignty, and by doing this we have maintained the roots of fascism under every progressive tree.

The problem of fascism is that, once the National State establishes its power it needs to extend its boundaries if it wishes to keep progressing. The fascist state is always a little empire, and the Fatherland Empire will always want to expand into neighbouring Fatherlands. The same expansionist need is also an essential part of neo-liberal capitalist growth. However, the capitalist powers that defeated Hitler, knew that they did not need the muscle of dictatorship to perpetuate itself and its growth, in fact, they understood that tyranny was counterproductive to expansion. Fascism had to be subtler, and democracy was a far more efficient machine for allowing the rich to get richer and for Wealth to legitimise itself. Civilian upstarts like Hitler, or military reactionaries like Franco were themselves a bigger threat to Wealth than the pseudo-freely elected parliamentary systems. Control from the unquestionable legitimacy of the ballot-box, contained within an easily controllable patriotic ambience, is the apotheosis of power that Wealth needs to maintain itself.

In theory, Democracy should be the system that favours the masses, but by restricting it within the patriotic bubble this is hardly ever the case. The seemingly illogical results of the Brexit referendum, the Colombian peace referendum, or the seemingly impossible election of a fascist president in the emblem of the Free World that has been the USA, seems to indicate that the democratic process no longer works. But, really, veiled with the mask of patriotism, democracy has always been an easily manipulated motor for the National Socialisms that pull the strings.

As for the United States, where democracy is so widely revered, a heavy paradox has always lain over that system; for an idea of politics favouring the masses is associated there with the “evils” of socialism, that most Americans think is an un-democratic process. By rejecting socialism, the Americans reject the role of the people in democracy. When the will of the people rejects the power of the people, then the situation lies in an essential paradox that is profoundly absurd and invites dangerously ridiculous solutions like authoritarian fascism.         

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DADDY DEMOCRACY IS NOT THE FATHER WE THOUGHT HE WAS

alienation democracy – Bing images

There is a general feeling of alienation between the electorate and the political echelons in most of the so called democratic world, and it is important to remind ourselves that this alienation, which is real, is taking place precisely when our democracies have applauded the downfall of most of the world’s dictatorships. So, how can this be? If the world is more democratic than ever, how can it be that people are feeling alienated from the political system? The situation should be the opposite. Could it be that the accuser, now left with hardly anyone else to accuse, is now revealed for what he truly is and always was? That the accusations were smoke-screens in order to cover up his own guilt? Aren’t we now like the child who discovers indications that our perfect father is not so perfect after all: we don’t go out and openly discredit him, although deep down we would like to; we don’t run away or disown him, although we are tempted to; we start to rebel and stand up to his authority, but we don’t really believe we can change him … do we?

What we have now is quite a unique scenario. Perhaps for the first time in history, we find ourselves having to turn our backs on that which we never really had. We thought we were free, but it was a lie. So, what should we do? Try and recreate that which never was? Try and create in a real way that which we thought we had but never really did? But, how could we ever trust them again?

Once innocence is lost, it’s impossible to return there again.

Globalisation and The Death of Democracy

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One of the aims of globalisation was to separate politics from economics, and yet in practice it has merely reduced the political to a slave-status, servicing the dictatorship of the global marketplace. The Economy, the economic world and its institutions, are not chosen by the people – the polis is for politics. Given free rein, the market will transcend politics, creating its own cultures that are totally at the mercy of Wealth. The creation of global, macro-economics is, therefore, an immaculate fraud against democracy and freedom. The logic of the fraud being that: in order to create a firm and unquestionable dictatorship, the people should firstly be given the illusion of democracy by allowing them to vote for their local and state governments while, at the same time, shackling those same governments to the dictates of the world market place. As such, no matter who the people elect for their governors, it can have no effect on the will of the market. What pushes wealth unto the wealthy is the economy, not the parliaments, and the polis are never asked to vote for any of globalisation’s economic institutions, even though the World Bank and the IMF are the real forces shaping our lives.

Without control of the economy, the life-blood of the State (money) is also pushed out of the realm of political control. The politicians try to put on a brave face, but even the neo-liberal parties are made to look like helpless buffoons before their electorates when the power that really runs the economy (Wealth) decides to get tough and make sure everything is flowing completely in its own favour. Local anger is vented at the local government – the economic regime is too abstract, or too distant. After all, how can it govern us if we didn’t vote for it?

Democracy melts away. There is no democracy at all. We didn’t vote for those who make decisions now. We all live in one huge global dictatorship.

It does not matter what the international financing institutions do or might do, whatever is done is carried out without any democratic mandate. Yet, they can do whatever they like. And though they may assure themselves that they are acting responsibly they are still acting without our blessings, and operating behind our backs.

A Diachronic reminder about Freedom and Democracy

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In linguistics, a diachronic study concerns itself with the evolution words. How does a word’s meaning change over time?

Freedom and Democracy were hoisted up onto a golden pedestal and worshipped, but, like all things that are worshipped, the true significance of their adoration is painted over with interested reasons and appropriations of the original meaning. The success of falsehood lies in an ability to manipulate language so that words maintain the power of their original definition whilst actually meaning something quite different – something that the manipulators want it to mean. Ideologies have manipulated words like Freedom and Democracy in order to create a belief that some original moral purpose is being maintained whilst in truth it has been completely undermined.

The truth, however, can always be found by re-evoking that original meaning of the word. By so doing, one can drill into falsehood by resurrecting the etymological measure in order to calculate the perversity of the reasons contained in its deformation.

PUSHING THE BRICK FROM THE WALL: EDUCATION IN THE PRAGMATIC DREAM

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Pragmatism stands opposed to all Utopias. In place of aspirations for something better and other dreams of human progress, it offers and breeds its own Pragmatic Dream. A fabricated fantasy that is accepted by individuals in the System even though this pragmatism itself does nothing to provide substantial advantages for the majority of the individuals dreaming it, or even protect them. Inculcated with a fear of Utopias, the hopeful individual must depend on the Pragmatic Dream to drive them forward. Even when, in the case of excluded sectors of society like the unemployed or the homeless, where that dream is obviously restricted or even prohibited, the pragmatic ideal will create a self-flagellating tolerance of the oppressors.

Our tolerance of it is needed by the System in order to hold it up. Without it, the Pragmatic Dream System would be unable to maintain its so-called democratic veil. Once it loses the tacit support of any sector, the democratic mask of the system quickly peels away as draconian measures are implemented. Once support wanes, freedoms are reduced and the Pragmatic Dream devolves away from its only good argument into an obviously bad argument, trying to sustain itself through pragmatic acceptance and a fear of bad alternatives.

However, for pragmatism, essentially, all real alternatives are necessarily bad. According to pragmatic ideology, the alternative to the system is the anti-system: chaos and anarchy. Utopias are impossible things from the pragmatic point-of-view, and any alternative to the Pragmatic Dream is a castle in the air. Of course, what this kind of thinking does is stifle political creativity. “The least worse of all systems is the only possible system,” says pragmatism. There is only one possible narrative: our dictatorship.

Underlying the Pragmatic Dream’s power is an unquestioning belief in its legitimacy, what it calls “democracy” – the legitimacy won through the ballot box. However, in actual fact, it is this tacit acceptance of the Pragmatic Dream that sustains not a democracy but a dictatorial system. Bipartisanism seeps through the system’s pragmatism to create a single idea working in favour of power, rendering the democracies of pragmatism to something that is hardly democratic at all. Politics succumbs to economics and the influence of corporations makes the Pragmatic Dream a plutocratic paradise.

When we look beyond the paradigm what we must be focussed on is what can be gained by doing so, and also what will be lost. This double-pronged question must be asked by anyone who wants to achieve something. Through each acquisition and ascension, there must be a sacrifice, and perhaps there can be no greater fear in humanity than throwing it all away for a futile dream.

However, it is precisely this paradox, that is both intellectual and sentimental, that sustains the Pragmatic Dream system. Pragmatism means the end will justify the means. What this really means in the context of the Pragmatic Dream is that that which will be acquired by my efforts will surpass what has been sacrificed to achieve it. Of course, in reality, most of the time one does not realise what one is losing until it has all gone – this is the moral message in Citizen Kane and his infatuation with Rosebud.

At the same time, however, the potential dissident who has very little or nothing to lose will be more likely to become an activist than the one who has plenty to lose. This is true even though the one who has possessions may be more conscious of the corruption and anti-democratic oppression perpetrated by the system. Nevertheless, the nothing-to-lose dissident has no resources to operate effectively and in order to find those means, he or she will have to let themselves be recruited into a group of activists led by an ideology which may well merely be looking for cannon-fodder in their own violent struggle.

In this sense, the victims remain victims no matter which side they join. They are the result of several millennia of violent hiccups that have exploited the needy with the same hypocrisy as the Pragmatic Dream has. This hypocrisy encourages most of the hopeless class to shun the intellectuals and their politics and reject any other dissidence other than the public display of their own wretchedness. The intellectual paradox that the system is favoured by rests in the fact that those who think about and denounce its evil are not the victims of that evil, and those who are its victims very rarely get a chance to think and talk about it. If the Pragmatic Dream is to be exposed and superseded by a more consciously necessary system (or non-system) then the victims must be given more cultural baggage or capital in order to visualise an escape for themselves. But, of course, that would be impossible within the Pragmatic Dream itself. That Dream depends on the existence of an apathetic class that is devoid of intellectual-culture baggage.

Neo-liberalism reacted against that kind of intellectual dissemination that was prevalent in schools and universities in the late 60s and 1970s and there has been a subtle undermining of the culturally creative and intellectually dynamic learning programmes since the 1980s. Now, we can most assuredly claim that universal education in the Western World is in a reactionary process of controlled segregation, anti-humanitarian specialisation and creative-thinking decline. It is this kind of education system that makes the Pragmatic Dream possible even though it offers no real progress for the masses that bolster it up. Pink Floyd summed it up perfectly: “All in all, we’re just another brick in the wall.” The only way to get us out of the wall is through self-education and through teaching what is learned by that autonomous learning independently, outside of the Pragmatic Dream itself. Such spaces beyond the wall exist and can be found. We are in such a space right now.

STANDING BEFORE A GOD: OUR SYSTEM-SUBJECT PARADOX

pro818_hand Our relationship with the spiritual is also paradoxical. Whilst we seem to be destined to be searching for some kind of relationship with the without, the other that is without is incapable of satisfactorily confirming itself to us. The only thing that seems capable of solving this paradox is the concept of faith, which boils down to a belief in that which is impossible to confirm. Yet this is not just a spiritual problem. It also describes our political and social condition. The Other can be a God, can be the Universe, can be the World, or it can be the politico-economic System that we are immersed in. It is the big Other from our perspective but it is also the Subject with a capital S, which is the subject that is always there even when we are no longer around. Each one of us is a small subject, subjected to the Subject, but what must our subjection entail, especially if what the Subject claims to offer is freedom for the individual. The Subject must be freedom loving because that is the only way that we subjects could really feel comfortable with it. But in the idea of freedom within the Subject/System there resides another paradox: the individual can only become free by subjecting oneself to the discipline of the System. And, of course, subjection is the opposite of freedom. So, how can this be? The Subject/System liberates by providing the liberating infrastructures that satisfy needs. Thus God or the Universe has given us the World. As for the social Subject/System, that provides protection from the hostile elements in the world that the Subject-God-Universe failed to eradicate for us. The individual in the System therefore can free him or herself of a need for shelter by obtaining a dwelling made possible by the System’s infrastructure. But, in order to earn that entitlement one must make sacrifices. In order to obtain things from the System we must subject ourselves to the System’s mechanism of reward (money) obtained through the sacrifice of production (work). The simple idea of rewards given according to sacrifice is the basis (the basic contracted form) of the System. What is expected of the individual subject is his or her subjection to this contract. The governance of the System is therefore expected to design a relationship in which the interchange of reward and sacrifice is ensured and perpetuated. Governance falls down when it is unable to satisfy this expectation. Democracy should ensure an equitable relationship or an equilibrium in the design of this relationship so that anyone who is prepared to sacrifice for the System will be rewarded accordingly. But when this relationship breaks down, or is not attainable or simply dysfunctional, who is to blame? The System-Governance-Subject or the individual-subjected-subject? From the subject’s point of view the result is either self-criticism (a masochistic guilt complex) or a critical condemnation of Governance (rebellion). In either case the individual/subject finds him or herself unable to grasp the Subject/System which has become absurd through its dysfunction. The result is a feeling of alienation and absurdity caused by a fundamental disconnection with the System it lives and breathes in, that comes about because the subject is not allowed to sacrifice itself to the master in a truly productive way. The rewards that are necessary for the individual’s survival are either given reluctantly or withheld completely. Confusion sets in: “What does the Subject/System want of me?”; “Why has it forsaken me?”; “What can I do to win back its love?” Freud tells us that the ego will rebel when the demand of the master becomes too much to bear. Nevertheless, the ideology inherent in identity not only keeps us in our place through the sense of belonging or being part of the group, it helps make the unbearable bearable by making the alternative to belonging seem even more unbearable. The Subject has given us the World, and we cannot survive without it. It is through Identity that the individual is dominated by the Master-ideology. Submerged in Identity the individual is pulled away from that which her or she is not. In this way Identity has a double-edged gravity that draws us into a reality and pulls us away at the same time. Drawing us into a reality we are pulled away from the reality. By creating sense for us, identity also makes nonsense of our true relationship to the world.

THE CHEATING GAME

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It is obvious that the triumph of Western liberal democracy[i] and its subsequent process of Globalisation has done very little toward bringing humanity more closely together. Quite the opposite is true: we all seem to be drifting further and further apart. But, if it has failed with humanity, what has two centuries of liberal democracy achieved with the individual? How successful has it been in its attempts to forge a society of strong-selves? If we have failed with the whole, then surely we must have succeeded with the individuals who are the antithesis of the whole?

But again it is obvious that we haven’t? In Nietzsche’s terms, we have achieved neither the Human nor the Superman, just the Last Man. The pathetic Last Man, bumbling through a cheating-game world of relativity and conspiracy theories. Conspiracy theories because, whether we accept them or not, they point an accusing finger at the basic fabric of the system, undermining all responsibilities and moralities with scepticism. How can one be morally responsible in a system which is inherently corrupt? The individual, rather than standing strong and finding a good position in the competitive world, finds him or herself immersed in a society of cheats. The system has now become a cheating-game and the strong-self has to be identified in such an environment as a morally irresponsible subject.

One can only be a strong, successful player in the cheating-game by being a good cheat. This of course makes all success seem suspicious. Eventually decisions need to be made in which “honesty” is needed, but… who can we trust anymore? A strong leader is obviously a good liar and a very good cheat. This kind of leader is useful at convincing us that we are happy in a world that in reality offers us very little… Useful that is until we start to understand the truth. And the simple truth is that we are being cheated.

The first great lie is freedom as individuality and its idea of the unfettered individual along with the creation of a passion for strong individuals. Freedom is now a term used to propagate the unfettering of power: freedom to dominate; freedom to manipulate. The second great lie is democracy itself. The lie of free choice. The lie of majority rule. The lie of the individual’s capacity for achievement in the system.

The only way to combat the lie is by establishing positive, human objectives. We must look beyond the individual and the tyranny of egos in order to establish goals that are out of the cheating game. Goals without any other reward except progress towards human fulfilment. Goals that would pull us out of the cheating-game into another game with real rules that we know will really protect us and protect the world we depend on for our survival. All the rest is petty bickering, which is inevitable when you’re playing the cheating-game.

[i] See Francis Fukuyama’s thesis THE END OF HISTORY AND THE LAST MAN http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_End_of_History_and_the_Last_Man

NIETZSCHE’S ASSAYING ANIMAL

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In his Genealogy of Morals, Nietzsche, searching for the essence of the human condition, uncovered the “assaying animal” the one that quantifies and qualifies. He observed that mankind is the species that sees itself as “the being that measures values”[1] and linked this self-perception to human pride and acuteness. Mankind is the assaying animal of the market place and “mankind soon reached the grand generalisation that everything has its price, everything can be paid for”[2]. But was Nietzsche here really associating the essence of the human with the Homo-economicus? It is certainly a very neo-liberal notion that we are, and that Nietzsche did… but how true is this assumption?

 

The assaying animal is a competitive animal, but is this a truly logical assumption? Assaying is not just a process of quantification: we don’t just compare things according to size or volume, but according to quality. In fact we could say that quality is considered uppermost over quantity, in almost all human assaying, in all fields of human activity except: (a) the economy and (b) the game. In these two areas quantity is the important thing. The economy is a mathematical reality in which pride can be measured according to the more zeroes one has following a figure that is not zero. Likewise, the game is usually devised as an accumulation of points. Sure, there is the idea of sportsmanship and cheating is frowned upon, but in the long run what matters, in the game and the economy, is that one has more points than one’s opponent.

 

Games and economies are abstract inventions, but in the real, beyond these abstractions, what is essentially important is quality rather than quantity. If one is ill, one doesn’t need any overdose of alimentation, what one needs is the right kind of diet to make one well. Offer a banquet to a starving man and you may kill him. The buffet bars that offer as much as you can eat, and the publicity campaigns that imply the same, are as damaging to public health as any drugs. When the assaying is quantitative the spirit cannot be an essential quality of our nature. There can be no real fulfilment in having more. The fulfilment comes qualitatively, by having what is better.

 

Human measuring, however, whether through quantity or quality, is inherent in the concept of freedom-granting power. It has always been in the interests of Power to determine quality by quantity and reduce reality to mathematical abstraction. Only when we can see all the perverse side-effects stemming from the subjection of the qualitative by the quantitative will Sapiens[3] be able to release itself from the cruelty inherent in the sadistic, aristocratic desires for the freedom of power.

 

All economic injustices are a direct result of aristocratic fantasies for the freedom of power. Fantasies which can only be conquered by a stronger desire – that which is inherent in Sapiens – the lust for knowledge, and the revaluation of all concepts via understanding and knowledge.

 

For example, only when democracy is understood as a universal granting of access to knowledge will the status quo of power elites be finally undermined. Power is knowledge and if the civilising trend is to be a democratic one then it must be understood that the universal access, distribution and sharing of knowledge is democracy; any secrecy is undemocratic; is anti-civilisation and barbaric. And knowledge cannot be measured quantitatively but qualitatively. A Sapiens measuring will be predominantly a qualitative one. Poverty will no longer be measured according to the amount of money one has, but according to the amount of fulfilment one has. Fulfilment for Sapiens will be a knowledge-based satisfaction. We are talking about an empire of Wisdom that is shared democratically and used for sensible, practical necessities primarily and for personal pleasure secondly. Dignity through a fulfilment of what is necessity. Pleasure through the quality of the life experience in the world. This is the Sapiens future.

 

[1] Friedrich Nietzsche, THE GENEALOGY OF MORALS, Second Essay, VIII.

[2] Ibid

[3] For more on Sapiens see my post “Where are we?” https://pauladkin.wordpress.com/2013/08/02/where-are-we/

The Labyrinth and the Fall from Freedom

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The labyrinth as a loss of transparency, as the creation of the “world’s opacity” as Borges called it. As if a confounding net were woven over us by Chaos or some other confusion-loving Titan. In the labyrinth we are without a map, and it is so difficult to explain or understand the real reasons why things take place. Without a map and lost we are, lost from our essence, our knowing, our sapience, and, because of that, reality is very murky here.

It’s not being in the maze that is the problem, rather it’s the fact that we don’t know how to find our way around it that is disturbing; that we don’t even know what it is we are moving around in. We have been modelling a new home in here according to our own fancies, and we think this model we have created is reality itself. We are lost because, unlike Theseus, we entered the labyrinth without Ariadne’s thread to guide us.

That thread we ignored is knowledge: not a periphery knowledge or a superficial understanding of the things that we have imagined our self-created world in the labyrinth to be, but the authentic map that shows us how to move within the corridors of the real world.

From this perspective the Judaic myth of the Fall from Paradise is turned on its head. It was not the consumption of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge that caused the expulsion of humanity from Eden, but rather the fact that they lost sight of the tree itself. Lost sight of it precisely because they were told to flee from it. The flight from the Tree of Knowledge, or the banishing from it, is the first anti-democratic crime in human pre-history. The Tree had to be rendered taboo to the tribe so that the king as priest could take total possession of it for himself. What is taboo for the tribe is power for the leader.

In the Greek myth of the labyrinth the Minotaur represents power in its most cruel and perverse form – the power that will demand your innocent children to be taken from you and devoured by power itself. Such a cruel power necessitates resistance. It incites rebellion, sows seeds of democratic revolution. But real democracy can only be obtained by acquiring the knowledge on which all power is based. To penetrate the labyrinth knowledge is needed, and the Spiderwoman Ariadne provides it for the hero Theseus by giving him her thread. With its aid the hero is able to kill the Minotaur, but he does not return knowledge to the people. Instead the hero clings to the Minotaur’s secret in order to increase his own power – and this has been the situation throughout human history, even unto our own imaginary democratic era. Knowledge is power whenever knowledge can be appropriated in select, closed circles; at the centre of labyrinth that everyone else is lost in.

Real democracy – democracy as a human phenomenon – is not created through the casting of votes, but through the freedom of knowledge possessed by the demos. Only by being granted access to all knowledge can a demos be considered free. Likewise, censorship and the concept of Classified Information has to be a criminal concept in democracy. Knowledge exists for the community, discovered by the community. In this way we arrive at a democratic communism of knowledge. The patent and intellectual property along with the Top Secret become inhuman crimes.

Perhaps in the information age we see a new chapter being written into the myth of the labyrinth. In this epilogue, humanity, in a world of patents and other totalitarian controls of knowledge and the power granted by its control, is finally pitied by the gods, and especially by the Titan Ariadne. Because of this a new web of knowledge is woven around the whole, allowing a free exchange of itself to all.

This new chapter is called: Ariadne’s WWW.

WHAT ARE WE ACCOMPLISHING?

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According to Heidegger, the essence of all action is accomplishment, and this is defined as an unfolding of something into the fullness of its essence.[1]

If we can agree with this then shouldn’t we asks ourselves what steps we have made, as Homo sapiens sapiens, towards achieving the fullness of our essence? Of course this can only be contemplated once we have agreed on what the fullness of our essence might be. And the problem now is: can it be possible in a world of individualistic minds to ever answer this? Or, in other words, is the idea of real human accomplishment impossible?

And yet, perhaps the answer is staring us right in the face, for who are we when we ask this question?

We are the Homo sapiens sapiens: the double sapiens, the double knowing; knowing that we can know; that we can know where we are (in the world) and knowing that the world is in our knowledge of it; that the world is known in us. Our essence and definition has to be that of knowing. Our essence lies in our knowing, but also in our being known, for all knowing implies a being known. Being is being known: the fulfilment of existence has to pass through intelligence, for only an intelligence can know.

From this we can see that human accomplishment has to come from the labour to create the fullness of knowing. A tremendous but impossible task, like Borges’ Biblioteca de Babel, forever unfolding and opening new doors and new possibilities for newer discoveries and the renewed uncoverings of the deepest wells of our past and that which is long forgotten. But in the futility of such an enterprise lies its strongest positivism: it is an eternal task, a destiny of ever-becoming.

Perhaps we can say that this idea is nothing new, after all how very much have we accomplished so far. And yet, how little we try. How much accomplishment has been frustrated by the unfocused structures of societies that measure themselves not by their wisdom and acquisition of knowledge but through their power to accumulate and separate by wealth comparison? How much anti-sapience is embedded in our market-orientated society of consumerism?

The essence of all action may be accomplishment and the unfolding into a fullness, but we have forgotten about the necessity of funnelling all action into the unfolding of that which is the most essential – the fulfilment of our knowing.

With humanity itself diverted away from its essence, the feeling of alienation will increase, as will the need for substitute essences, gods and idols, clubs, hobbies, sports – but these are mere distractions designed to fill the void of not-knowing. A not-knowing fuelled by distraction and maintained by nurtured forgetting. A process that teaches us to forget that we need to know, and once that is forgotten then likewise we become ignorant of any need to ask again what it is that we need to know.

Humanity’s greatest mistake was to unconditionally trust in its own techni,[2] its own amazing giftedness at inventing things – especially reasons and ideas. But without the consciousness that the ecstasy derived from this gift was tugging them away from the real essence of humanity, its ability to know.

This tugging away has been our most anti-human experience – the division of castes and hierarchies, the separation and privatisation of knowledge: the idea of the patent; of the profit to be made by sharing the result but not the means of reproducing it ourselves. The discovery of the power that knowledge provides – and knowledge is the key to all power.

For any democracy to be able to be truly considered real, it must bring knowledge back to the people in an authentic way. Knowledge must become a holistic concept, the common property of all of humanity. Intellectual property is the first abuse of knowledge, the intellectual patent – the most brutal crime against human nature.

In the democracy of knowledge as the most integral human right lies an unbounded freedom, but also a communism, an ideology of the common, human property of all knowledge. Knowledge as something sacred, for the sacred can never be the economic privilege of a minority. As sacred its purity must be preserved and the transformation of knowledge into a commodity that can be owned and sold is a perversion of that sanctity.

In order for Sapiens’ accomplishment to take place the battle for the demonetarising of knowledge and techni has to be the first to be won. The labour of unfolding knowledge and creating new techni from that unfolding has to be disassociated from the economic system of production of commodities for consumption and elevated into the field of production for accomplishment. Accomplishment therefore becomes an alternative force to consumption. Instead of working in order to make money so that we can buy consumer goods, we can labour in order to accomplish important things, work in order to unfold knowledge. Only in this way will the essence of the Sapiens’ nature be able to be fulfilled. Of course we are talking about a re-structuring of the capitalist system, which, despite all its claims to progress, is anti-accomplishment.


[1] Heidegger, LETTERS ON HUMANISM, PATHMARKS, CUP, 1998, p. 239

[2] We are using the Greek term techni to combine the concepts of both art and technology