PROGRESS VS THE GRAVITY OF WEALTH

wealth-cycle

PROGRESS

Progress is change with continuity. Revolution breaks continuity.

However, when the change gravitates into a cyclical motion, revolution is needed to reinstate progress.

In a positive, progressive sense, revolution is a poor term for the idea of this interruption of cyclical motion because it implies a new kind of cyclical motion rather than a positive redirection with a continual-change momentum. In a practical sense, however, all revolutions have in fact been redirecting-breakaways that have gravitated back into cyclical motion.

An analysis of this reality indicates a pessimistic vision of a never-ending cyclical reality. But, does it have to be so? And if so, why?

Nietzsche and Deleuze argued that this had to come about because ideals and purposes cannot be sustained once they are achieved. But, what happens if purpose has a deliberately unattainable objective? That purpose becomes the purpose of always becoming rather than the maintenance of what is? That it becomes motored by progress and creativity itself? Could this not be the basis for a forward pushing drive for humanity?

Yet, if this is possible; how is it that we’ve never been able to manage it before?

 

WEALTH

What is the gravity that has constantly pulled progress back around itself into a cyclical form?

That gravity is “wealth”. “Wealth” as a driving force within the libido of our very civilisation itself.

Any deep analysis of civilisation will always indicate (either positively or negatively, depending on the stand-point from which the analysis is carried out) the role of Wealth in the creation and maintenance of all civilisations. In other words, civilisation is a construct erected by Wealth in order to move all accumulations in an upward way that benefits Wealth itself. All revolutions, so far, have been simple replacements of Wealth without ever removing Wealth from the central position of society.

Wealth uses its own gravity to bend continuity, drawing it back and looping it in cyclical knots.

For this reason, the main foe to human progress is Wealth.

Cycles are necessary for the perpetuation of Wealth – and this explains why we have always had a cyclical reality. For Wealth to perpetuate itself it needs cycles. Wealth has always been the centre of Civilisation; therefore, Civilisation has always had a cyclical form.

If we now interpret Lampedusa’s famous political axiom: “In order for things to remain the same, things have got to change” from this point of view, we see the clever reversal that Wealth itself needs to bring about in order to maintain itself, takes place by bending the curve of progress so acutely that it can curl down and around and perpetuate itself as a cycle.

So, is continual progress impossible, or is it merely inconvenient for Wealth?

If progress is defined as economic growth, then continual progress is impossible; but if progress means an advance of humanity as a whole in the fields of learning, creativity and general well-being, then the answer is the latter – it is not impossible, it is only inconvenient for Wealth.

Wealth is diminished in authentic human progress, and maintained by a politics based on slave-creating economies that function in cyclical forms. For human progress to be possible we have to declare war on Wealth.

positive-wealth-cycle

Advertisements

THE PARANOID WORLD

What is more delusional: the paranoiac or the delusion forming civilisation that he/she is paranoid about?

To understand how enslaved we are by the system it is necessary to understand how vulnerable the human psyche is and how effectively Civilisation is able to manipulate this vulnerability in order to inhibit the natural, human instincts of progress.

Civilisation is, in effect, a monopolising of progress for itself. Only Civilisation has the resources to make progress happen. It not only decides to what extent it will happen, it also determines the speed at which the progress will unfold. Through the structure of Civilisation, a carefully controlled unravelling is carried out in a way that maximises the profit that those powers that drive Civilisation can make.

The combined creative potential in humanity is immense, and, if it were unleashed, societies would advance with incredible leaps and bounds. Nevertheless, Civilisation is designed to restrain this creative power in order to assimilate it for itself. Where progress appears cautious, it is because Civilisation hasn’t yet taken control of the innovations.

In this sense, Civilisation is paranoid about human progress. It is deeply concerned that creativity and know-how will develop societies in such a way that the profit from progress will no longer be guaranteed. Such an idea makes Civilisation extremely nervous. The accumulation of wealth is the basis of Civilisation, and it has grown addicted to it. It is time for it to go to rehab., but it says, no, no, no!

Transcending Our Hysterical Quixotic Age

don-quixote-windmills

Žižek makes a link between the end of opera and the beginning of psychology. The voice of authentic opera had to evolve into an atonal Schoenbergian cacophony in order to capture the hysterical voice of our contemporary condition.[i]

But where does this hysteria come from?

We think that its roots are not in the birth of psychology, but that it appeared much earlier. That in fact it can be seen in the birth of the modern novel, in Cervantes’ Don Quixote. In order to talk about our hysteria therefore, we need to talk about our Quixotic condition, which summed up comes to: you must even though you cannot. Or: you must do the impossible.

Did our modern human condition evolve out of a striving for that? And, if the tragic 20th century was driven by a Quixotic force, what will the motor of the 21st century be?

Hysteria is bad, and the contemporary world’s quest for achieving the impossible was a psychological motor behind so much of the disastrous aspects of the 20th century, which was undoubtedly a very tragic hundred years. Nevertheless, that does not have to mean that the future has to become an apocalyptic development of that same hysteria – as many believe it is. What if the impossible actually does become possible? What if Don Quixote’s insanity suddenly becomes realistic?

Technological developments have put us on a very real threshold from where the impossible now looks feasible. If this is true, then the 21st century should be a transcending of hysteria, allowing our Quixotic side to lose its madness and be seen for what it always could have been – inspiration. Such an optimism suggests that the future will be driven by a realization that the impossible is really quite possible, and from this – we must do the impossible because it is not impossible at all.

And yet, although we have arrived at a technological threshold in which our Quixotic dreams of human progress are made possibilities, there is still a pragmatic, skeptical Sancho Panza element holding us back. If we think about the current energy debate and the need for the development of affordable, green technologies, we can see a clear example of how a new, contemporary dialectic has arisen between Quixote and Sancho. A Quixote who is inspired and knows that his dreams can become realities, whilst the skeptical Sancho Panza is forever arguing that cheap renewables are a fantasy and that the only practical solutions is to keep going with what we’ve got. The same dialectic seeps into philosophy and politics. Whilst Quixotic dreamers try to see beyond the borders of nations, races and religions, for the abolishing of guns, and the end of war, poverty and hunger, the new sarcastic Sancho keeps reminding them that they both tried that once and it failed, with disastrous consequences; and that it would be madness to ever try it again.

In theory, with scientific advances, Quixotic positivism should eventually diminish the dictatorship of the pragmatic and propel achievements once more into the sphere of the truly great. But, why is this not already the case?

Of course Sancho Panza has a great benefactor now. He no longer works for Don Quixote, he lost in faith in the Knight of the Sad Countenance and abandoned him centuries ago, embracing skepticism instead. Now, Sancho Panza represents the beliefs of the System itself. Sancho’s current benefactors are the members of a System which transforms possibility into an impossibility that we should strive for in order to become enslaved not by the realization of the possibility itself, but by the idea of it. While the object of desire is unrealized it can still be exploited, and what capitalism is striving for is exploitation. Turn dreams into dollars – that is the function behind our System, and it well knows that once the dream becomes a reality, the exploitive power is lost.

Pragmatism is, therefore, a term used to defend exploitation and convert the possible into the impossible dream. It is a barrier between us and possible achievements, and subsequently authentic progress. It is a wall between civilization and humanity. Only by pulling this barrier down will we ever liberate possibility, rendering the impossible as something possible.

Of course, this also means that while pragmatism exists as a constantly skeptical force against inspiration, the hysterical, Quixotic paradox will be perpetuated. And … the human condition will remain hysterical.

In order to transcend hysteria, we need to bring the System down. In order to do that, we must ask what is happening and compare it with what could be happening. Bob Dylan’s Mr Jones’ dilemma that something is happening but he doesn’t know what it is, is not enough. He, and all the other skeptical Sancho Panzas, must be shown the real possibilities ahead of us, and, by so doing, brought to understand and believe in all the variegated complexities of the possibilities of the impossible.

 

 

[i] Žižek, TARRYING IN THE NEGATIVE, Chapter V

CAPITALISM AND INNOVATION

Sputnik_670

We tend to associate innovation with capitalism. Capitalism is a dynamic system and the incentives for making huge profits from patents have inspired many great inventions and innovations. However, it is often said that innovation would not happen without capitalism and that society would be a more backward place. How true is that? Just how necessary, if at all, is capitalism to innovation?

If we look closely into the market place we start to see instances of the opposite happening. In many cases, innovation is actually retarded by the market. One example is the way that corporations delay product releases until the most potentially competitive and profitable date arrives. Once the ideal machine is invented, an inferior version of it is released at first, and it may take a decade before the original ‘ideal’ product is actually up and fully running to its full potential in the market place. But by then there could be a much better product out there. In this way, technology under capitalism is always loping behind its real potentials.

If to this system of staggering we add the notion of pre-programmed obsolescence, then what we see is a massive waste creating machine that is supposedly geared to giving us what we want whilst ensuring that the quality of what we want is sadly lacking. Why can’t we really have what we desire and need, which is a good product that will not be obsolete two years after buying it?

But even this slogan that capitalism only gives us what we want is perniciously misleading. So much necessary technology has never been produced because there was no profit to be made from them, or, the maximum profit was to be made somewhere else. Clean, hydrogen-fueled cars could have been manufactured eighty years ago, if the profit to be made in petrol was not so lucrative. In the question of car motors what was at stake were the profit margins, not clean air. Capitalism is a system of waste, enormous, unnecessary and dangerous waste.

Clean-energy technology development is loping at least thirty years behind where it could and should be. Here we see how capitalism is completely antagonistic to necessity. But progress has to be intrinsically linked to necessity. Because of this capitalism has to be suspect of actually working in a non-progressive or even anti-progressive way.

In terms of innovation, the greatest achievements we have made in the last century would have to be those made in the space race. They were achievements made with public, not private money. Capitalist innovations have so often be nurtured through the breakthroughs made by state promoted projects, especially military ones, that, rather than a great innovator, capitalism is really just a very clever parasite.

THE IMPORTANCE OF THE END

starship-enterprise-wallpaper-4

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/

THE EVOLUTION OF THE STATE THROUGH SCIENCE

science-en-danger-bb-einstein-543po

We know from biology that states do not evolve into a better form either consciously or through an internal logic, but that natural selection is determined by exterior, environmental needs. If there is no environmental need to evolve, there is no need for natural selection. If the species’ existence is not threatened there is no need for it to change in any radical way, let alone improve itself. So, evolution is a question of need.

We think this same observation can be applied to social change. It is the environmental crisis which will necessitate a social evolution that will pull us away from the militaristic industrial and theological society we are dominated by now toward a kind of society that is equipped to deal with the current ecological crisis that threatens us with extinction.

If society is to evolve toward something that can adapt to ecological imperatives without regressing culturally and technologically, that evolution has to be led by a force that understands the imperatives we are adapting to. And what force is that? Science, of course.

The ecological nature of the crisis implies a revolution towards the moral authority of science. The moral authority of science? What is that? Doesn’t experience tell us that the “truth” of science is easily manipulated? We have seen how easy it is to make scientific arguments pale into the white background of relativity when economic or political motives need to be sceptical about certain scientific information. For a scientific morality to exist it must be equally vigilant of its own truths as it is of its grasp of the laws of the universe.

Science has always been a driving force behind all intellectual revolutions and only through its absence and/or manipulation have regimes been able to perpetuate their horrendous crimes and anti-humanitarian practices. Sure science is used by the military to advance their weaponry and authority. Likewise it has been used to exterminate the enemies of intransigent regimes and to spy on and control the citizens of those regimes. Any revolution through science, therefore, would have to be an un-anchoring of science from the military and industrial-theological powers that those militaries protect.

But, how could that be? To imagine a military without technology is absurd. Why would power give up what it needs to protect itself? So, we reason, if we are going to achieve this un-anchoring, we have to take it by force –and so the perverse cycle seems to be maintained. The only way to dislodge power is by force, creating a military substitute for the industrial-theological-military regime that we had. Naturally, this cannot be a solution.

The only way we can imagine an evolution to take place, rather than a violent revolution which would basically be a conservative return to the same, will be through a morally maturing process of the scientists themselves. Only when scientists have become a moral class will science be able to evolve the state, society, and hence, humanity.

THE CHEATING GAME

cheating

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

OUR CRIME AND PUNISHMENT

bad_conscience70c

Bad-conscience, Superego, Freedom: how much are these three things intertwined? Our Superego gives us a bad conscience, a sense of what should be done that we are not doing – it inspires an action. Freedom is to be moved to act – either because we want to or because we need to – and in the choice of either consummating or not that act. Only if we are inspired to act can we be free, and we will only ever be inspired to act if we have a sense of an action that needs to be carried out, of something that has not yet been started or finished. And this sense of duty is mainly generated by our bad conscience or our Superego.

When will humanity start to see itself as humanity? When will we start to judge the value of our lives according to what humanity has done? Not as a race, or nation; not as a competing thing – and all nations, classes, religions are competing things – but as Humanity.

                When humanity does do this, if it ever can, it will have to fall into a depression caused by the guilt of a terrible conscience. That guilt which will be the realisation of how much has been wasted; how much history of non-progress, of movement away from the humanity that has never ever been realised. Humanity is that which we are but have never been. Humanity: our great family that we have always been avoiding; that we have never been able to embrace.

If we look at history, the creation of the polis and its politics, the creation of the Nation State, and the empires of trade and religions, we must see a steady process of division rather than any unification. This should weigh on our consciences. What kind of guilt gnaws at us for that loss, not of innocence, but of unity and the potential civilisation that could have been born out of that unity? What kind of guilt for all our crimes against those of our own species? What kind of perverse diversion from reality made human beings the objects of fear and hate and the exploitation of one another?

 Raskolnikov[2]

But is this guilt, this bad-conscience for doing so badly at fulfilling our true human potential a bad thing? Doesn’t the guilt not remind us of a duty? Does it not evoke a direction for all of us? Knowing what one’s duty is liberates one from having to search for it. Duty anchors and liberates at the same time. Anchored we become free to float without fear of being carried away into waters we cannot possibly get back from.

                Has there ever been a more depressing age than our own nihilistic one? What is worse, nihilism has submerged guilt to far deeper subconscious levels than the religions ever did. Guilt and duty can only be positive forces if they are conscious ones. In Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment Marmeladov is healthier than Raskolnikov, but only because he is aware of a duty, albeit a phantasmagorical one. Both Raskolnikov and Marmeladov are disillusioned by the duties they think they must follow, because both of them ignore their most real duty, which is the duty towards humanity. Both become afflicted by the fantasy of sin, and become incapable of comprehending the real humanity they are told they should love. They are incapable of finding love for humanity because it is overshadowed by a love of the fantasy figure of the monotheistic God. Raskolnikov’s guilt is tripled by turning his back on Christianity to embrace nihilism, which unsatisfactorily maintains him and he finds himself struggling for the anchor of guilt. A guilt which is of such a nature that punishment cannot absolve him from it. The nature of guilt is in the non-fulfilment or in the losing of one’s way. It seems it can only be remedied by putting one on the tracks toward a real purpose and aim.

                And the only real aim for humanity can be the aim to be human and to recognise all other humans as human beings the same as we are. The only real aim can be the non-competitive aims of creativity and invention, not for personal gain, but for the satisfaction for having contributed in the furthering of human fulfilment as a knowing creature, as Sapiens.

EINSTEIN’S MESSAGE FOR POSTERITY

 

294733-albert-einstein-seven-things-you-didn-t-knowI’d like to reproduce Einstein’s Message For Posterity.

“Our time is rich in inventive minds, the inventions of which could facilitate our lives considerably. We are crossing the seas by power and utilise power also in order to relieve humanity from all tiring muscular work. We have learned to fly and we are able to send messages and news without any difficulty over the entire world through electric waves.

However, the production and distributuion of commodities is entirely unorgansed so that everybody must live in fear of being eliminated from the economic cycle, in this way suffering for the want of everything. Furhermore, people living in different countries kill each other at irregular time intervals, so that also for this reason any one who thinks about the future must live in fear and terror. This is due to the fact that the intelligence and the character of the masses are incomparably lower than the intelligence and character of the few who produce something valuable for the community.

I trust that posterity will read these statements with a feeling of proud and justified superiority.”1

How deeply we have betrayed that trust. Where is progress?

1 Albert Einstein, OUT OF MY LATER YEARS, Philosophical Library Inc. New York, 1950, p.18