If there is a question for “our-times”, an enigma which constantly rears its horny head in much of the political debates and opinion articles of all the so-called developed countries of the western world, it is that of why people support political agendas that are detrimental to their own interests.
The phenomenon is often treated as something new, which it is not, but it is certainly emphasized by the election of President Trump, or the Brexit debacle; the growing emergence of far-right parties throughout Europe; the Catalonian fiasco in Spain; the return of Berlusconi in Italy; or the massive support of President Putin in Russia.
For half the world there is a general feeling that the other half have gone mad. However, that conclusion almost inevitably provokes another conclusion – surely, so many people cannot be insane; and by assuming they are, we are losing sight of the real problem. Nevertheless, after making that very-wise, self-cautionary statement, the question is abandoned, and the dilemma is left beneath, poking his horns into our arse.
So, what is the real problem, and what is the real answer to that question: why do people support political agendas that go against their own self-interests?
We have been tackling this question for years, and its answer is partly wrapped up in what we call the anti-human historical process itself, but the other part of the answer must come through a second analysis of how an anti-human historical process was possible in the first place. As an answer to the enigma the anti-human process is not enough, for the real question is: what is the driving force behind the anti-human?
The success of the anti-human resides in its all-enveloping condition as a paradigm, and this is obtained by a sometimes deliberate, but more often contingent, process of distorting and corrupting language in a way that has shaped human reality into the impossible form of the anti-human, and it continues to solidify that shape.
This corruption of our architecture of language and its subsequent corruption of thinking, is what allows an anti-human civilization to exist and maintain itself, but the driving forces within that general perversion can be found in the distortion of certain key words that mould the anti-human identity. Of these key words, the most powerful one is love.
In an earlier entry (LOVE, THE REAL AND THE IDEAL) we described love as the capacity of appreciating, and the desire for understanding, and that this leads to a will for preservation. Through these three pillars of love, a sapiens humanity is tied to the existence of the Universe itself. It is through love that humanity is relevant in the enormity of the Universe we are otherwise so insignificantly placed in. But this is not the general perception we have of love now. Love has been corrupted.
The political philosophers, Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri, highlighted the corruption of love in an Intermezzo in their book Commonwealth. In that essay they associate love with the power of the common: ‘the power that the common exerts and the power to constitute the common’ in which the common can be understood as any social grouping from the family to the Empire.
In an ideal, uncorrupted form then, the common would always be an enlightened place, driven by its capacity to appreciate, its desire to understand and its will to preserve itself and everything that comes into its orbit. That this does not occur, does not indicate that we live in a loveless world, but rather that the love that drives us is a corrupted form of the concept that maintains its original and deeply positive intentionality, but perverts it in an individualistic or anti-human interpretation of that original force.
This explains why love is able to engender so much evil. ‘In the name of love’ we see the violence of the passionate, jealous lover or spouse; the unscrupulous justifications for immoral or criminal acts to protect our loved-ones; or the tremendous crimes and tragic violence that can be wielded from the stand-point of patriotic love.
Hardt and Negri cite Spinoza, who called love the antithesis of evil, and yet in all its corrupt forms, love embodies the evil it is supposedly opposed to.
The result is a perverted confusion: in order to protect what I love – in order to preserve and protect what I appreciate and understand – I must act in an evil way. This justification, of justifying the use of immoral means by the vindication that by doing so we are preserving that which we love, is a perverse manipulation of the concept of love. Once we analyse it from the point of view of a correct interpretation of what love is, the corrupted, self-interested, or anti-humanly motivated perception of love is revealed. Only when the ‘lover’ can see with clarity that his or her perception of love is corrupted can these anti-human crimes of love be eradicated.
In all the moral questions of the right or wrong way to act, the love that drives the individuals or groups making the decisions has to come into play if we are to ever improve things. A more humane, and subsequently Sapiens, world can only be possible through a revaluation of what we say we love. By rooting love in appreciation and understanding we are establishing a force that can drive becoming that is also tempered by the power of preservation that is also one of the pillars of the ideal love.
In its corrupt form, love drives violent crimes, acts of terror and tragic brutality of war. To eradicate these anti-human aberrations, we need to tackle this corruption of love. It is not love itself which is evil, but a corrupted form of it that clouds our perception of good and evil. To do this, we have to put love back onto the rails of humanity, for in its essence love is the most Sapiens of human drives. Love feeds all creativity and innovation through curiosity and its capacity for appreciation and its desire for understanding. It is the great unifying force and the only force that could bring humanity together and turn the anti-human historical process into a properly human one. Love’s true battle then, is the struggle against its own corruption, which requires a constant recognition of the corrupted anti-human forms of love – all love which puts its segregating point-of-view above the ultimate, universal forms of love. above the love of an object or an individual, has to be a passion for the common; above our love of family, a love of community; above all patriotism, a love of humanity and a world without borders; above a love of religion, a love of the Universe. The same is true of the struggle for rights, that your individual rights and the rights of every oppressed minority group are best served by understanding and appreciating the rights of all and the struggle to establish a common area in which everyone’s rights are appreciated and protected.
Corrupted love permeates the entire fabric of our Civilisation, pushing us towards a Dystopia with an ever-increasing, snowballing force. It is an evil, anti-human motor that needs to be recognised and turned off, so that we can re-direct the voyage toward a more positive, human, Sapiens place.
 Hardt and Negri, Commonwealth, Belknap Press, 2009, p.189
 Ibid, p. 192