Political Ontology in the Age of Global Capitalism Mehmet Zafer Demir--Denmark--Spring-2008
For Filip Micoletti
POLITICAL ONTOLOGY IN THE AGE OF GLOBAL CAPITALISM "It's death whether by killing or by cancer; it's the same thing. Nothing will change if it's an Apache (helicopter) or cardiac arrest. But I prefer to be killed by Apache." Abdel Aziz al-Rantissi Fanculo La maggioranza! Roberto Beningni
Introduction There are, of course, spates of ways for an introduction. Some might be dull whilst some might be bombastic. But if this is a text that deals with a politico-philosophical subject which is operated within a historical and philosophical context, then let us start out with two quotations in order that they may elucidate our departure point:
'We have now an opportunity of watching the manifold growth of the culture of a society of which commerce is the soul, just as personal rivalry was the soul of culture among the ancient Greeks, and war, conquest, and law among the ancient Romans. The tradesman is able to value everything without producing it, and to value it according to the requirements of the consumer rather than his own personal needs. "How many and what class of people will consume this?" is his question of questions. Hence, he instinctively and incessantly employs this mode of valuation and applies it to everything, including the productions of art and science, and of thinkers, scholars, artists, statesmen, nations, political parties, and even entire ages: with respect to everything produced or created he inquires into the supply and demand in order to estimate for himself the value of a thing. This, when once it has been made the principle of an entire culture, worked out to its most minute and subtle details, and imposed upon every kind of will and knowledge, this is what you men of the coming century will be proud of, -- if the prophets of the commercial classes are right in putting that century into your possession! But I have little belief in these prophets. 1 ' When we have reached the inevitable universal administration of the earth, then mankind as a machine can find its meaning in the service of this monstrous mechanism of smaller cogs adapted to the whole2
That the fascinating prophecy of Nietzsche should evoke a feeling of astonishment is by no means intended here. Nietzsche simply was wrong in proposing and hoping that there will be a 'reevaluation of all values', which is nothing else than a secular and worldly project of an individual salvation. Instead, what has happened is what the 'prophets of commercial classes' prepare for, crave for and vie for. This is to say that only may we speak of a devaluation and commodification of values by a quick gaze on what Eric Hobsbawm calls 'short' 20th century as opposed to 'long' 19th century, not to mention the period that was set in motion by the end of the so-called cold war which was unblushingly acclaimed as the 'end of history' by the professional scaremongers such as Francis Fukuyama. So, who of us can claim that the 'soul' of tradesman, ie., the valuation of everything as to their exchange value and the market demands has not inflicted upon all aspects of human life and all kind of will and knowledge? Is it only a coincidence that 'our' age is identified by the labels that presupposes a capitalist economy such as the 'information age', the 'post-industrial society', the 'free market economy', the 'global economy', the 'post-modern or post-colonial world', the 'consumer society', the 'network society', with virtually no end? 3 Has not the 'profitability' been the only desiderata, the only criterion, the only Kantian imperative as an 'end in itself', the only Hegelese 'absolute' for politics, arts, sciences and all kind of human
activities? Has not the human beings as small cogs been lost under the yoke of the 'universal administration of the earth' ie., global capitalism where they are subjected to an ultimate meaninglessness thus nothingness? Is not this desiderata that even has been nailed to the consciousness of those who have an antagonistic relationship with the boosters of global capitalism ie., the crack-brained Islamic fundamentalists and all kind of proto-fascist culturalists and ethnicists?4 To be sure, we are not devoid of the contemporary critiques that aim to strike at the roots of capitalism. Here is how Paul Bowles concludes his analysis of capitalism: 'This strikes me as an apt description of the characterization of capitalism as 'natural and free'. Markets in health which dictate that individuals who can pay will live and those who cannot will die are not 'natural'. Markets in food which deliver gastronomic delights to the rich and undernourishment for the poor are not 'natural'. 'Human nature' does not dictate that these outcomes must prevail and human societies do not have to be organized in this way or human institutions work in this way. Markets are indeed 'blind', as Hayek argued, but not in the way he suggested; rather they are blind to poverty, to environmental destruction and to inequality. Individuals who must give control of their labour to others are not 'free'. Individuals in the richer countries whose well-being depend on not losing their jobs, or on a family member not losing theirs, are not 'free'. Individuals in poorer countries whose well-being depends on the price of their labour, or upon the price of what they produce not collapsing, or upon not evicted from their land, are not 'free'. We can – and should – all be freer, and more human, than this. Starting from the simple mistake that private property, the pursuit of profits and markets are the route to human freedom, the proponents of capitalism logically and remorselessly deduce that the relentless pursuit of profits, the ever greater accumulation of private property and the ever-expanding scope of the market – phenomena which characterize the contemporary phase of global capitalism – must enhance our freedom. They are more likely to lead us to Bedlam'. 5
Well, it is only a matter of consolation that forestalls one to confess that we have already dwelt in Bedlam. Putting aside the fact that the quenchless lust for profit and private property and thus the permanent need for the market might prevail even in Bedlam, herein there is a critical point which is supposed to make us think beyond the funky commercial of capitalism, ie., profitability, private property, and the market are inevitable and not replicable ways to live on the earth. Thus, the contemporary phase of global capitalism forces us to ruminate in the realm of 'political ontology.'
So what can be had through Bowles' analysis of capitalism is the primordial traits of capitalism: profitability, private property, and the market. This is certainly in tune with what Boltanski and Chiapello defines capitalism as an 'imperative to unlimited accumulation of capital by formally peaceful means'.6 By dint of a little attention, herein one may easily recognize an inherent contradiction in the essence of capitalism. That is, 'unlimitedness' does inevitably connote 'violence' in the strongest sense and with the all implications of the word. It is this violent character of capitalism which has nothing to do with 'peace'.Yet, the capitalist imperative must perforce be implemented in the disguise of peaceful means in order that it may survive. Precisely because the capitalist cannot confront with what he exploits, saps, and chops off as it is. Such an imperative,following Boltanski and Chiapello, creates an 'indignation' which is the overall motive for critiques that has operated in the last two centuries. These critiques motivated by that 'indignation' can be subsumed under four kinds: 'capitalism as a source of disenchantment and inauthenticity of objects, persons, emotions and, more generally, the kind of existence associated with it; capitalism as a source of oppression, inasmuch as it is opposed to the freedom, autonomy and creativity of the human beings who are subject,under its sway, on the one hand to the domination of the market as an impersonal force fixing prices and designating desirable human beings and products/services, while rejecting others; and one the other hand to the forms of subordination involved in the condition of wage-labour (enterprise discipline, close monitoring by bosses, and supervision by means regulations and procedures); capitalism as a source of poverty among workers and of inequalities on an unprecedented scale; capitalism as a source of opportunism and egoism which by exclusively encouraging private interests, proves destructive of social bonds and collective solidarity, especially of minimal solidarity between rich and poor.' 7
So, considered from the perspective of critiques, we may have a broad definition: as an opportunist and egoist human act, capitalism brings about poverty and inequalities by dint of an unbearable oppression that led unswervingly to an inauthentic existence. From this it follows that global capitalism is a pluverse, to borrow a concept from Carl Schmitt, where capitalism, in the sense we just defined, hold sway. Following Bowles, we are convinced that 'globalization' is nothing else than capitalism.So, global capitalism that we deploy in this essay can be read as
'globalization' too. Based on this conceptual framework, the question arises: What does the realm of 'political ontology' correspond to? This is our first task in this essay. In order to accomplish this task, we shall deal with first Heidegger's Being and Time by particularly focusing on the concept of authenticity and thus inauthenticity.
We shall not only interpret the pair of
authenticity/inauthenticity, along with other primordial concepts within the context of Being and Time, rather we will test them with the critiques operated by Theodor Adorno. It is this dialectical apposition which will be our second task. The analysis of the concept of 'the political' through Carl Schmitt will be the third task. Thus, our question that comprises our problem formulation as follows:
Heidegger's Being and Time We have started out with two quotations by Nietzsche and put the interpretation of the primordial concepts of Heidegger's Being and Time as a first task in order that it may help elucidating 'political ontology' as a conceptual framework. We have also referred to Marx's and Engel's Communist Manifesto.9 These German thinkers, following Paul Tillicks, along with Kierkegaard, Jaspers among others, can be subsumed under 'existential philosophy'. Hence, it is worth to recall what it corresponds to in terms of its essential traits ere the primordial interpretation of Being and Time. The main opposition of existential philosophers, along with poets and artists,Tillick maintains, is directed toward to the 'rational' thought created by Western industrial society, which transforms the individuals into a mere machine that is crippled by an ultimate estrangement and alienation. It is this very struggle which explicates 'extremely aggressive, passionate, paradoxical, fragmentary, revolutionary, prophetic, and ecstatic' characteristic of their philosophizing. This, Tillick holds, nonetheless has by no means precluded them to enrich the philosophical thought with particularly regard to the 'sociological structure of modern society', the ' psychological dynamics of modern man', the 'originality and spontaneity of life', the 'paradoxical character of religion' and the
'existential roots of knowledge'. ' In their struggles against the meaninglessness of modern technological civilization,' Tillick writes, ' the several philosophers of Existence used very different methods and had very different aims.'10 It is this context in which Being and Time (1927) must perforce be understood. For Heidegger, 'the cardinal problem' is 'the problem of the question of the meaning of being in general' 11His method was a kind of phenomenology, which was an altogether different one from Husserl's, and without which ontology is not possible. This phenomenology must perforce be understood through the way the term 'phenomenal' is described ie., 'what is given and is explicable in the way we encounter the phenomenon.' By this, we reach the formula: the 'methodological meaning of phenomenological description is interpretation 12' For Heidegger interpretation operates within a process which ends up with meaning; starting out with understanding with which Da-sein projects its being upon possibilities.The project of understanding has a dynamic character that itself has its own possibility of development. From this it follows that interpretation is the development of understanding. Interpretation, based in understanding existentially, is the development of possibilities projected in understanding rather than the acknowledgment of what has been understood. What has been understood is supposed to be understood explicitly. What has been understood explicitly is always already has the structure of something as something. This 'as' does constitute the structure of being explicitness of what is understood as well as the interpretation, one which as the interpretation of something as something is grounded in fore-having, fore-sight and fore-conception. These features also structure meaning which is possible only as long as the intelligibility of something maintains itself. By taken for granted the fact that understanding and interpretation constitute the' existential constitution of the being of there', both meaningfulness and meaninglessness only become a property of Da-sein.13 But what or who or where is Da-sein? This question must be thought in accordance with the formula: the 'essence of Da-sein lies in its existence.' (p.43) Since Da-sein 'is a being which I myself am, its being is in each case mine.'(p.115) Da-sein initially 'finds itself in what it does, needs, expects, has charge of, in the things at hand with it initially takes care of in the surrounding world.' (p.120) It is this the surrounding world wherein the 'true dictatorship' of the they reign. What 'we' have done is bound to be in tune with the way they do ie., we enjoy, suffer, buy, party
the way they do(p.127)Thus, 'Everyone is the other, and no one is himself.'(p.128)Yet, 'the they is an existential and belongs as a primordial phenomenon to the constitution of Da-sein.' Thus, ' I am not in the sense of my own self, but I am the others in the mode of the they. In terms of the they, and as the they, I am initially given to myself.' (p.130) We may now deal with authenticity and inauthenticity along with ontic and ontological. Herein, it is worth to note that we are devoid of acute distinctions pertaining to the pairs that are operated in Being and Time. That is, we can by no means say that authenticity and inauthenticity respectively is this; ontic and ontological respectively is that. They must perforce be dealt with as to specific contexts in which they are operated. This is exactly the case for the pair of ontic/ontological too. Heidegger writes: 'Da-sein is a being that does not simply occur among other beings. Rather it is ontically distinguished by the fact that in its being this being is concerned about its very being. Thus it is constitutive of the being of Da-sein to have in its very being a relation of being to this being. And this in turn means that Da-sein understands itself in its being is some way and with some explicitness. It is proper to this being that it be disclosed to itself with and through its being. Understanding of being is itself a determination of being of Da-sein. The ontic distinction of Da-sein lies in the fact that it is ontological.'14
That having an acute deciphering of Heidegger's pairs by focusing on a specific context might be possible is an endeavor which is in vain. Every provisional description imposes itself through a relevant concept that is itself dependent upon what has been imposed. There might be a provisional understanding when a novel concept is operated within a specific 'system of relevance' that becomes discernible as long as the whole structure of Being and Time is taken into consideration. - It is worth to recall here that Nietzsche had already called all kind of systematization as dishonesty. But,in no respect is Heidegger's the 'system of relevance' a 'system'. It is a 'system of relevance' which constantly traverses itself so as to transcend itself. It establishes itself as a totality of relevant concepts that open up a new space where contradictions varnished by contradictions vanish. For example, this is the case when Heidegger operates temporality as a primordial constituent for Da-sein: 'All research â€“ especially when it moves in the sphere of the central question of Da-sein. The being of Da-sein finds its meaning in temporality.' (p.20) Incidentally, we are not devoid of clues that justifies why these pairs are operated, when the
everyday indifference of Da-sein is posed a positive phenomenal characteristic of Da-sein i.e., averageness: ' And because average everydayness constitutes the ontic immediacy of this being, it was and will be passed over again and again in the explication of Da-sein. What is ontically nearest and familiar is ontologically the farthest, unrecognized and constantly overlooked in its ontological significance.' (p.44) There is always a systematic tension in Being and Time. Every step increases this tension that requires a further step. This tension does not seldom take a tragic tone: 'What we indicate ontologically with the term attunement, is ontically what is most familiar and every kind of thing: mood, being in a mood.(...)The often persistent, smooth and pallid lack of mood, which must not confused with a bad mood, is far from being nothing. Rather in this Da-sein becomes tired of itself. Being has become manifest as a burden. One does not know why.' (pp.1345) In no respect is the pair of authenticity/inauthenticity an acute distinction. Nor is there an ontic or ontological hierarchy with regard to it . Heidegger writes: The two kinds of being of authenticity and inauthenticity â€“ these expressions are terminologically chosen in the strictest sense of the word â€“ are based on the fact that Da-sein is in general determined by always being mine. But inauthenticity of Da-sein does not signify a 'lesser' being or a 'lower' degree of being.' 15
Yet, inauthenticity does imply a state of unawareness and passivity as being entangled in the 'true dictatorship of the they, albeit ' Inauthenticity has possible authenticity as its basis' (p.259): 'The attestation is to give us to understand an authentic -of-being-one's-self (...) With the lostness in the they, the nearest, factical potentiality-of-being of Da-sein has always already been decided upon â€“ tasks, rules, standarts, the urgency and scope of being-in-the-world, concerned and taking care of things. The they has always already taken the apprehension of these possibilities-of-being-away from Da-sein of the explicit choice of these possibilities. It remains indefinite who is 'really' choosing. So Da-sein is taken along by the no one, without choice, and gets caught up in inauthenticity.'16
As is the case with ontic/ontological, that is, as is the case with all the structure of Being and Time, temporality is a crucial concept for authenticity/inauthenticity. How should it be read in this context? 'Temporality is experienced as a primordial phenomenon in the authentic being-a-whole of Da-sein, in the phenomenon of anticipatory resoluteness.' (p.304) But what is the inherent
characteristic of this temporality? What is the explicit relevance to authenticity/inauthenticity? 'Temporality can temporalize itself in various possibilities and various ways. The fundamental possibilities of existence, the authenticity and inauthenticity of Da-sein, are ontologically grounded in possible temporalizations of temporality.' (p.304) We have so far made Heidegger speak and have provided a primordial interpretation of Being and Time . There is one point to be emphasized ere we discuss the critiques of Heidegger. This point pertains to what we may gain through Being and Time so as to construct 'political ontology' as a conceptual framework in the age of global capitalism. Heidegger writes: 'Just barely living, which 'lets everything alone' as it is, is grounded in giving oneself over to throwness and forgetting. It has the ecstatic meaning of an inauthentic having-been.' 17
Adorno's The Jargon of Authenticity The harshest and most 'violent' critique of Heidegger has been operated by Theodor Adorno in his The Jargon of Authenticity18 Before our 'dialectical apposition' through Adorno's immense opposition, we must perforce be aware of the fact that Adorno's critique has a common 'enemy' with existential philosophy thus to a certain extent Heidegger's 'fundamental ontology' 19: the rationality which is created by the 'Western industrial society'. 'The bourgeois form of rationality', Adorno maintains, ' has always needed irrational supplements, in order to maintain itself as what it is, continuing injustice through justice.'
The bourgeois form of rationality, mutadis mutandis, is
tantamount to the inherent logic of global capitalism that operates within and through all 'wills' and 'knowledge'. What is more, one also recalls the metaphor of 'small cogs' that crave for a 'meaning' under the yoke of the 'monstrous, inevitable and universal economic administration of the earth', indicating that Adorno is also motivated by the 'indignation' that we spoke of in our introduction:
' It is the fear of unemployment, lurking in all citizens of countries of high capitalism. This is a fear which is administratively fought off, and therefore nailed to the platonic firmament of stars, a fear that remains even in the glorious times of full employment. Everyone knows that he could become expandable as technology develops, as long as production is only carried on for production's sake; so everyone senses that his job is is a disguised unemployment. It is a support that has arbitrarily and revocably pinched off something from the total societal product, for the purpose of maintaining the status quo. He who has not been given a life ticket could in principle be sent away tomorrow.' 21
For Adorno, the jargon of authenticity is a 'vulgar' one. It is a vulgarity that can be characterized as a monster-like ghostly thing, one which has a Heidegger face. It is sometimes a 'happy synthesis'; whilst it is sometimes a 'weak' and 'sickly' ideology which is used as a means of power by the interested parties. It is this jargon which is the embodiment of 'untruth' in Germany during 1950's.22 We are told, under the storm of metaphors, that the jargon of authenticity's language is a trademark of societalized chosennes, a concomitantly noble and homey thing that is a sublanguage as superior language. An absolutized authority.(p.3) It's metaphysics, which is in the least what philosophy is for Heidegger in On Time and Being , is the 'end of stupidity'. (p.21) It is a 'professional illness'. (p.13) It is a 'philosophy of As if' (p.23) and is a 'terroristic ' dialectic.(p.36) Heidegger is the 'armored man' who is the master of the 'most violent arrangement of arguments'. Just because Heidegger has not called subjectivity by its name and has invented a creature called Da-sein. (p.103) And lo and behold, 'Violence', Adorno argues, 'inheres in the nucleus of Heidegger's philosophy, as it does in the form of his language.'(p.109) We do suppose that we have had enough 'violence' through the 'jargon of authenticity' and a kind of 'counter-jargon' of the 'jargon of authenticity'. In no respect is there anything queer about this 'violent' confrontation. This is simply all about interpretation qua epistemological violence that we have tried to elaborate somewhere else.23 If we want to construct 'political ontology', certainly not a political ontology, as a conceptual framework in the age of global capitalism, then we must perforce deal with what we explicitly aim at. So, what is wrong with authenticity of Heidegger for Adorno is very well summarized here: 'Heidegger instituted authenticity against the they and against small talk, without deluding himself that there could be a complete leap between the two types of existentials that he deals with; for he knew that
they merge into each other precisely because of their own dynamism. But he did not foresee that what he named authentic, once become word, would grow toward the same exchange-society anonymity against which Sein und Zeit rebelled. The jargon, which in Heidegger's phenomenology of small talk earned an honored position, marks the adept, in their own opinion, as untrivial and of higher sensibility; while at the same time that jargon calms the constantly festering suspicion of uprootedness.' 24
It is at least admitted by Adorno that Heidegger in Being and Time had rebelled against something, one against which Adorno rebels too. So in the final analysis, Adorno's critique of Heidegger's authenticity is likely directed toward the 'form' rather than the 'content'. Adorno's 'violent' confrontation with Heidegger must perforce be accounted for via the horrific shock of Auschwitz so as not to be allured to the form/content confounding we have just pointed out. What is more, what armors Adorno against Heidegger is that the decision between authenticity and inauthenticity has been left to an arbitrariness.25 One might be sensitive about this in theory; but one must take into consideration its inherent dynamism in praxis. It is our contention that it is this arbitrariness which is concomitantly unsurpassable and necessary so as to construct 'political ontology' as a conceptual framework in the age of global capitalism; and that rather than demonising Heidegger's entire ontology through authenticity as 'jargon', one can and must perforce focus on and even accentuate and radicalize what inauthenticity implies. This is to say that the pair of authenticity/inauthenticity operated in Being and Time must perforce be stripped from its 'vulgar' dichotomous character. Let us to recall the maxim provided by inauthenticity: 'Just barely living, which 'lets everything alone' as it is, is grounded in giving oneself over to throwness and forgetting'. It has the ecstatic meaning of an inauthentic having-been.' Put it diffrently, Heidegger's ontology can and must perforce be modified so as to construct 'political ontology' as a conceptual framework by liquidating the conservative elements from what Bourdieu calls Heidegger's ontology as a ' conservative revolution'.26 Only through this interpretive adjustment can Heidegger's ontology be conceived as an incentive so as to provide a ground for 'political ontology' as a conceptual framework in the age of global capitalism. Yet, this 'modification' through a radicalization requires one more confrontation with Being and Time. Heidegger writes:
'As a primordial structural totality, care lies 'before' every factical 'attitude' and 'position' of Da-sein, that is, it is always already in them as an existential a priori. Thus this phenomenon by no means expresses a priority of practical over theoretical behavior. When we determine something objectively present by merely looking at it, this has the character of care as much as a 'political action,' or resting and having a good time. 'Theory' and 'praxis' are possibilities of being for a being whose being must be defined as care.'
Not necessarily so. It is our contention that that a 'political action' must be equated with 'resting' and 'having good time' is a sheer both ontic and ontological naivety, albeit this equation is consistent in itself in the context of Being and Time. This is to say that as soon as one ceases to trust the truthfullness of Being and Time, then one might be tempted to call this a 'passive nihilism' a pure 'decadence', a 'will to nothingness' in Nietzschean sense, albeit this disdainful molestation of 'political action' was a fatal flaw in Nietzsche's philosophy too. It is this naivety which not only puts in jeopardy the compatibility of Heidegger's ontology for 'political ontology' as a conceptual framework in the age of global capitalism but also of the credibility of Heidegger's entire ontology itself. Thus we must now perforce deal with 'the political' itself in order that it may help constructing 'political ontology' as a conceptual framework in the age of global capitalism.
The Concept of the Political: Carl Schmitt Carl Schmitt does also belong to those who have been motivated by the 'indignation' that aims to strike at the root of the imbroglio pegged to all kind of 'will' and 'knowledge', one which is created by the 'Western industrial society' and which is at stake and play on the pluverse as of now under the guise of global capitalism: ' That production and consumption, price formation and market have their own sphere and can be directed neither by ethics nor aesthetics, nor by religion, nor least of all, by politics was considered one of the few truly unquestionable dogmas of this liberal age'.28 For Schmitt, it is this liberalism, which is called and operated as 'neo-liberalism' in the age of global capitalism, begrudgingly negates the political. Its purpose is nothing else than to protect individual freedom and private property. The negation of the political does bring about a distrust toward all possible political alternatives at hand thereby it cannot produce its own 'positive' theory
of state, government and politics. Thus, the argument runs, in no way does there exist a liberal politics albeit it might be possible a liberal policy of trade, church, and education. There can only be possible a 'liberal critique of politics', but not politics.29 But what is the political? Schmitt does reach a definition of the political through the 'final distinctions' of morality, aesthetics and economics ie., good and evil, beautiful and ugly, profitable and unprofitable. (From this it might follow that the final moral and aesthetic maxim for a global capitalist pluverse is 'profitable is good and beautiful and unprofitable is ugly and evil). The final distinction of the political is 'friend and enemy'30 that refers to a union or separation; an association or disassociation. The enemy is the 'other', the 'stranger' and is existentially something 'different' and 'alien'. The friend and enemy conception understood in their concrete and existential sense does constitute the most intense and extremest antagonism. Since war based on this antagonism is the existential negation of the enemy. 31 As can be seen, the political is no way not related to ontology.32 And it has nothing to do with 'resting' and 'having good time'. To use Heidegger's pair: 'having good time' and 'resting' belong unequivocally to ontic whilst the political action does belong to ontological. Not that 'having good time' and 'resting' are themselves are wrong or evil but that while political decisions incessantly are taken in a human community, keeping 'having good time' and 'resting' is scarcely an authentic existence in the sense that it is only a slavish fatalism. 'If a people', Schmitt argues, 'no longer possesses the energy or the will to maintain itself in the sphere of politics, the latter will not thereby vanish from the world. Only a weak people will disappear.'33 But herein is not there a risk to be caught up in the steel spider web of the moral? Is the political an affirmation of the moral? A yes to these two questions is exactly what Leo Strauss's 'polemic' against Schmitt aims at in his 'Notes on the Concept of the Political'. 34 Strauss, the intellectual father of neo-conservatives who have been masterminding the immense military machine of the US on the almost every corner of the earth along with plots and putsches since a few decades 35, argues that Schmitt's entire analysis of the political must perforce be understood only qua polemical against liberalism ,(p.84) as though what 'polemical' is is not crippled by being 'polemical' itself and is not used as to sheer arbitrarinesses just as what god is, what good is, what evil is, what terrorism is, what truth is. For Strauss, Schmitt's analysis of the political must
perforce be considered in tune with his 'own general principles of understanding'. (p.83). Following these principles, the argument runs, Schmitt's proposition 'the political precedes the state' can manifest 'the desire to express not an eternal truth but only a present truth'.(p.83) Herein, one can hardly understand whether Strauss is trying to mean Schmitt's analysis of the political aims at an eternal truth and whether Strauss is convinced that there does exist some present truths. For the first, in no respect is Schmitt's analysis an attempt to pose an 'eternal truth' but rather it is simply a thesis based on an interpretation of the history of the political theories and institutions of Europe. For the latter, if Schmitt does by no means pose an 'eternal truth', then this also means that Schmitt does not intends a 'present truth' too. 'Truth' may be a subject for metaphysics, or for theology or for onto-theo-logy as Heidegger coins it to define metaphysics in Identity and Difference.36 Nevertheles, 'truth' ,as something that has a property of being true, has nothing to do with either political theory or political action. Verum ipsum factum, as Giambattista Vico puts it, 'True is what is done' in the realm of the political. It is scarcely to be too optimistic to expect from Strauss to have at least a bit of being aware of this ticklish character of the term truth, a man who is one of two editors of a book called History of Political Philosophy among others that is about one-thousand pages and who is the author of Plato, Marsilius Of Padua, and Machiavelli in that book.37 Yet, the question remains: Is the political an affirmation of the moral? Strauss holds that Schmitt affirms the political but he does not display this in a moralizing fashion but tries to conceal them in order to make his polemic more effective.(p.100) Strauss goes on to impeach Schmitt by quoting a sentence which we should quote in extenso so as to understand the whole context: 'The political entity presupposes the real existence of an enemy and therefore coexistence with another political entity. As long as a state exists, there will thus always be in the world more than just one state. A world state which embraces the entire globe and all of humanity cannot exist. The political world is a pluriverse, not a universe. In this sense every theory of state is pluralistic, even though in a different way from the domestic theory of pluralism discussed in Section 4. The political entity cannot by its very nature be universal in the sense of embracing all humanity and the entire world. If the different states, religions, classes, and other human groupings on earth should be so unified that a conflict among them is impossible and even inconceivable and if civil war should forever be foreclosed in a realm which embraces the globe, then distinction of friend and enemy would also cease. What remains is neither politics nor state, but
culture, civilization, economics, morality, law art, entertainment, etc. If and when this condition will appear I do not know. At the moment, this is not the case.'38
Strauss argues that entertainment is the ultimate term in the series; (p.100) no matter there is an 'etc.' By emphasizing the term entertainment Strauss reaches the conclusion: Schmitt is an enemy of entertainment and a world of amusement and he is a friend of seriousness.(p.101) It is Strauss' contention that Schmitt affirms the political only because 'he sees in the threatened status of the political a threat to the seriousness of human life.(p.101)And Strauss' final conclusion with regard to Schmitt's so-called affirmation of the political: ' The affirmation of the political is ultimately nothing other than the affirmation of the moral.'(p.101) Strauss' interpretation would have been plausible had he told us what the moral is. And of course, Strauss should also have explained what kind of relevance there is between seriousness and the moral? Does the moral require seriousness? Or vice versa? So, what is at stake in the passage from which Strauss takes a term (entertainment) and reaches that Schmitt praise seriousness and thus fall prey into moralizing is that the political world is not universe rather it is pluverse on which conflict will never cease. It is basically as simple as this. In the earlier pages in his 'Notes on the Concept of the Political', 'The political', Strauss maintains, 'is threatened in so far as man's dangerousness is threatened. Therefore the affirmation of the political is the affirmation of man's dangerousness.'(p.97) From this Strauss reaches the conclusion: ' the affirmation of dangerousness as such has no political meaning but only a 'normative' moral meaning '(p.97) (Italics and emphasizes are Strauss') To this we must say that even if Schmitt intended man's dangerousness with regard to his analysis of the political, this has nothing to do with a moral judgment, - albeit cruelty is the very origin of the morals as Nietzsche taught us in On the Genealogy of Morals â€“ but rather it is, technically speaking, a sheer realism, a realism that harks back to Machiavelli, for one. 'For in every city', Machiavelli argues, ' we find opposition between these two parties; because the people do not want to be dominated or oppressed by the nobles, while the nobles want to dominate and oppress the people.' 39 Does Machiavelli only accentuate the dangerousness of the human beings here? If he does so, then is this a moral judgment? So, if we follow the reasoning that Strauss operates pertaining to Schmitt's analysis of the political, then we must perforce call Machiavelli's and even Hobbes's
interpretations of human nature as the moral sans being informed by Strauss what specifically the moral is. Leaving aside this theoretical confrontation with Strauss, we may gain a clear insight over the dangereousness of man through the 'pupils' of Leo Strauss, the neo-cons, and see how dangerous human beings would be.40
Conclusion There is one point left to be dealt with that must not perforce be dismissed in order to be able to construct 'political ontology' as a conceptual framework in the age of capitalism and that will overlap with formulating our conclusions: the contemporary debates that revolve around an immediate need for a new ontology. In his seminal essay 'A Critique of Neo-Left Ontology' Carl Strathausen41, successfully deals with this issue. Strathausen points out that the term ontology has been a crucial subject in current politico- philosophical discourse; among others from Hardt and Negri to Laclau, from Badiou to Zizek.42 'My overall thesis is' Strathausen maintains, ' that the current interest in ontology signifies a profound change within the leftist politico-philosophical tradition, namely the belief that thought has the intrinsic power to affect and alter (but not to control or govern) the 'nature' of what it thinks'. 43 For Strathausen, the primordial problem is how to overcome Marxist dialectics without trapped in an' essentially conservative ontology' and he asks: 'Can one choose something other than (Marxist dialectics and (Heideggerian) 'Dasein'?'. 44 In his conclusion, Strathausen argues that all attempts to construct a new political operated by 'Neo'Leftist' thinkers are both important and insufficient. It is these last two points with which our discussion operated throughout this essay overlaps. Strathausen cites respectively Leo Strauss's thesis of the natural superiority of philosophers and gentlemen and Carl Schmitt's 'seminal' friendenemy distinction qua the constitutive of the political as 'essentially conservative ontology'. We categorically refuse the natural superiority of philosophers and gentlemen simply because we do not believe that there must perforce exist any kind of superiority of some men over the others, some transcendental fictions over men, and some moral restrictions, either posed by any institutionalized religion or imposed by a 'for the sake of itself'45, over men. From this it follows
that constructing â€˜political ontologyâ€™ as a conceptual framework in the age of global capitalism might and ought to be conceived on at least these three primordial principles: 1. Egalitarian (There is no superiority of some men over others) 2. Secular (There is no credibility of any kind of trancendental fictions, i.e., religions, over men) 3. Anti-moral ( Whatsoever its source and legitimation. there is no conventional morality that bounds men) Our maxim at this point, regardless his entire hasidist religious moralizing narrative, might be provided by another 'existentialistâ€™ philosopher, namely Martin Buber: 'Every person born into this world represents something new, something that never existed before, something original and unique.' 46 Yet, it is our contention that one can and should hardly identify Schmitt's friend-enemy distinction as a conservative ontology rather it primordially helps constitute 'political ontology' as a conceptual framework in the age of global capitalism. This is to say that the 'conservative' elements of Heidegger's fundamental ontology can be overcome by acknowledging Schimittian friend-enemy distinction, that is, by taking into consideration Adorno's critiques, as a constitutive of the political along with an 'affirmation' of the political as concomitantly ontic and ontological prerequisite.This does not only imply a 'fundamental' ontology but also a dialectical, in Heideggerian sense, synthesis of ontology with the political and vice versa. Because any kind of mere 'ontology' sans the political will always be vulnerable to be conservative and essentialist due to the fact that it will disavow the inevitability of political action and be stuck in merely ontological level thus serves to maintain the existing order. And because merely the affirmation of the political sans grounding on an ontological interpretation will not be able to encompass the whole reality in which as a constitutive of the political the friend-enemy distinction is to be operated. These are basically what is meant and intended by constructing 'political ontology' as a conceptual framework in the age of global capitalism. Not that this prerequisite is a condition in order to possess an authentic existence; but that this prerequisite must perforce be possessed in order not be entangled in an inauthentic existence as Heidegger puts it ie., just barely living and let's everything alone as it is thus surrendering oneself to throwness and forgetting. This is in tune with how Strathausen concludes his essay: ' After leaving behind traditional metaphysics and essentialist thinking, contemporary political ontology must now turn toward the affective realm of human existence as the new challenge for active thought'.47 It is our contention that constructing 'political ontology' as a conceptual framework through existential philosophy and Schmittian political philosophy may help 'turn toward the effective realm of human existence as the new challenge for active thought'.
Herein the question arises: 'Can the individual in anyway influence this network of inevitabilities, or could philosophy influence it, or could both together influence it inasmuch as philosophy could guide the individual or several individuals toward a specific action?' as Der Spiegel's interviewers have directed to Heidegger. Here is how Heidegger answers this question: 'Let me respond briefly and somewhat ponderously but from long reflection: philosophy will not be able to affect an immediate transformation of the present condition of the world. This is not only true of philosophy, but of all merely human thought and endeavor. Only a god can save us. The sole possibility is left for us is to prepare a sort of readiness, through thinking a poetizing, for the appearance of the god in the time of foundering (Undergang); for in the face of the god who is absent, we founder.' 48
Exactly. We founder. And we founder sans knowing what our fountain and destination are. But are not mere thinking and poetizing sans interposing the reality in which everything founders along with us and the absent god a foundering which only serves to 'the gods' that operate on the earth next to us? Let us suppose that there is a remote city somewhere in the universe where there are those who fight with their own shadows and those who attempt to leave their own shadows behind them even when the sun is behind them. What has been attempted throughout this essay is to be able to belong to the latter that has a long path.
REFERENCES 1 Friedrich Nietzsche, The Dawn(a.k.a. Daybreak), Thoughts on the Prejudices of Morality, 175, Trans.
http://users.compaqnet.be/cn127103/Nietzsche_the_dawn_or_daybreak/index.htm (My emphasis) 'Soul' and/or 'spirit' have been a widely used concept to identify the very characteristic of 'Western' societies i.e., capitalism. After a few decades Nietzsche wrote these, Max Weber argued that the spirit of capitalism is Protestanism:' One of the fundamental elements of modern capitalism , and not only of that but all modern cuture: rational conduct on the basis of the idea of the calling, was born – that is what this discussion has sought to demostrate – from the spirit of Christian ascetism.' pp. 122-3. See Max Weber, The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, Trans. Talcott Parsons, Routledge Classics. In a recently book , Boltanski and Chiapello also keep using the concept of 'spirit': ' In fact, the quality of the commitment one can expect depends upon the argument that can be cited to bring out not only the advantages which participation in capitalist processes might afford on an individual basis , but also the collective benefits, defined in terms of the common good, which it contributes to producing everyone. We call the ideology that justifies engagement in capitalism 'spirit of capitalism.' p.8. See The New Spirit of Capitalism, Luc Boltanski and Eve Chiapello, Trans. Gregory Elliott, Verso, 2007. (Hereafter, The New Spirit of Capitalism) (Italics are in the orignal text). 2 Quoted in Paul Tillich, ' Existential Philosophy', Journal of the History of Ideas, Vol. 5, No.1. (Jan., 1944),pp.44-70, in reference to Friedrich Nietzsche, Wille zur Macht, Werke, X, 114 (My emphasis) (Hereafter, Tillick, 'Existential Philosophy'). Nietzsche was not the only one who has predicted the coming of global capitalism. We read in Marx and Engels' oft-commented manifesto: ' The bourgeoisie, wherever it has got the upper hand, has put an end to all feudal, patriarchal, idyllic relations. It has pitilessly torn asunder the motley feudal ties that bound man to his “natural superiors”, and has left remaining no other nexus between man and man than naked self-interest, than callous “cash payment”. It has drowned the most heavenly ecstasies of
religious fervour, of chivalrous enthusiasm, of philistine sentimentalism, in the icy water of egotistical calculation. It has resolved personal worth into exchange value, and in place of the numberless indefeasible chartered freedoms, has set up that single, unconscionable freedom — Free Trade. In one word, for exploitation, veiled by religious and political illusions, it has substituted naked, shameless, direct, brutal exploitation. The bourgeoisie has stripped of its halo every occupation hitherto honoured and looked up to with reverent awe. It has converted the physician, the lawyer, the priest, the poet, the man of science, into its paid wage labourers. The bourgeoisie has torn away from the family its sentimental veil, and has reduced the family relation to a mere money relation. The bourgeoisie has disclosed how it came to pass that the brutal display of vigour in the Middle Ages, which reactionaries so much admire, found its fitting complement in the most slothful indolence. It has been the first to show what man’s activity can bring about. It has accomplished wonders far surpassing Egyptian pyramids, Roman aqueducts, and Gothic cathedrals; it has conducted expeditions that put in the shade all former Exoduses of nations and crusades. The bourgeoisie cannot exist without constantly revolutionising the instruments of production, and thereby the relations of production, and with them the whole relations of society. Conservation of the old modes of production in unaltered form, was, on the contrary, the first condition of existence for all earlier industrial classes. Constant revolutionising of production, uninterrupted disturbance of all social conditions, everlasting uncertainty and agitation distinguish the bourgeois epoch from all earlier ones. All fixed, fast-frozen relations, with their train of ancient and venerable prejudices and opinions, are swept away, all new-formed ones become antiquated before they can ossify. All that is solid melts into air, all that is holy is profaned, and man is at last compelled to face with sober senses his real conditions of life, and his relations with his kind. The need of a constantly expanding market for its products chases the bourgeoisie over the entire surface of the globe. It must nestle everywhere, settle everywhere, establish connexions everywhere.' (My emphasis) Karl
http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1848/communist-manifesto/index.htm 3 Paul Bowles, Capitalism, Longman, 2007, p.3 (Hereafter, Bowles, Capitalism) 4 In the foreword 'Globalization, Inequalities and Commodification of Life and Well-being', Samir Amin writes: 'The confusion which brings with it that non-scientific description has, moreover, the advantage of giving the appearance of legitimacy to political postures which are contradictory but, nevertheless, quite useful for the dominance of capital .based on that, one can, indeed formulate thus: 'if you want to develop yourself, make up for your bacwkardness, accept Westernization, or on the
Europeans to 'Americanize themselves. But one can, quite on the contrary, ' defend the specific cultural values of the ones or the others without questioning the economic logic of capitalism, which one seperates from the cultural, since occidentalism is the pecularity of the occidentals and has nothing to do with capitalism. That is what all sorts of culturalists propose, the defenders of 'communalism', the ethnicists, the Islamists and others who set out to preserve specific identitites defined outside of time like 'primordial' expressions, but accept economic capitalist globalization without batting an eyelid. Capitalist globalization generates the fragmentation.' See, Globalization, Inequality and the Commodification of Life and Well-Being, Eds., Mammo Muchie and Li Xing, Adonis Abbey, 2006 5 Bowles, Capitalism, pp.186-7 6 The New Spirit of Capitalism, p.4. 7 Ibid. p.36 8 Martin Heidegger, On Time and Being, Trans. Joan Stambaugh, The University of Chicago Press, 2002, p,4 (Hereafter, Heidegger, Being and Time) 9 See, footnote 2. 10 Tillick, 'Existential Philosopy' 11 Martin Heidegger, Being and Time, A Translation of Sein und Zeit, Trans. Joan Stambaugh, State University of New York Press, 1996, p.38 (Hereafter, Heidegger, Being and Time) It would be worth to recall Nietzssche's 'radical' perspective on the concept of 'being' in order that it may show the paradoxical character of 'existentialist philosophy': ' Through words and concepts we shall never reach beyond the wall of relations, to some sort of fabulous primal ground of things. Even in the pure forms of sense and understanding, in space, time and causality, we gain nothing that resembles an eternal verity. It is absolutely impossible for a subject to see or have insight into something while leaving itself out of the picture, so impossible that knowing and being are the most opposite of all spheres. And if Parmenides could permit himself, in the uninformed naivete of his time, so far as critique of the intellect is concerned, to derive absolute being from a forever subjective concept, today, after Kant, it. is certainly reckless ignorance to attempt it. Now and again, particularly among badly taught theologians who would like to play philosopher, the task of philosophy is
designated as "comprehending the absolute by means of consciousness," even in the form of "The absolute is already present, how could it otherwise be sought?" (Hegel) or "Being must be given to us somehow, must be somehow attainable; if it were not we could not have the concept." (Beneke) The concept of being! As though it did not show its low empirical origin in its very etymology For esse basically means "to breathe." And if man uses it of all things other than himself as well, he projects his conviction that he himself breathes and lives by means of a metaphor, i.e., a non-logical process, upon all other things. He comprehends their existence as a "breathing" by analogy with his own. The original meaning of the word was soon blurred, but enough remains to make it obvious that man imagines the existence of other things by analogy with his own existence, in other words anthropomorphically and in any event, with non-logical projection. But even for man-quite aside from his projection--the proposition "I breathe, therefore being exists" is wholly insufficient.' Friedrich Nietzsche , 'Nietzsche on Parmenides'. 12 Ibid., pp.36-8 (Heidegger's emphasis) 13 Ibid.., pp.149-152 14 Ibid., p.16 (Heidegger's emphasis) 15 Ibid., p.43 16 Ibid., pp. 268-9 17 Ibid., p.346 18 In his The Ticklish Subject The Absent Centre of Political Ontology, the intellectual rock-star Slavoj Zizek who has already two queer but funny documentary movies about philosophy - if his Lacan obsession can be counted as philosophy- puts a 'confrontation' (p.2) with Heidegger as a task. He starts out with the old story of Heidegger's 'passionate engagement', which is neither passionate nor engagement, with National Socialism and reaches the conclusion: 'Heidegger did not engage in the Nazi political project 'in spite of' his ontological philosophical approach but because of it; this engagement was not 'beneath' his philosophical level - on the contrary if one is to understand Heidegger, the key point is to grasp the complicity (in Hegelese: 'speculative identity) between the elevation above ontic concerns and the passionate 'ontic' Nazi political engagement' (All the italics are Zizek's) (p.14) To this we must say that at least minimum degree of intellectual dignity must perforce be a sine qua non for all
even they are neo-leftist, neo-liberal, post-structuralist, post-modernist etc. Just having a look at Heidegger's 'Only a God can save Us: Der Spiegel's interview with Martin Heidegger' , Philosophy
Today, 20:4 (1976: Winter), which was published after Heidegger's death, will show that there is no 'passionate engagement ' at all. Yet, Zizek is already convinced that Heidegger has a 'passionate engagement' no matter what Heidegger says. (For this controversial issue, see a recently published essay: Ian Thomson, 'Heidegger and National Socialism' In A Companion to Heidegger, Eds., Hurbert L. Dreyfus and Mark A.Wrathall, Blackwell, 2007, pp.32-49) On the other hand, there is also another failed confrontation with Heidegger on the account of Zizek. He argues that Heidegger's pairs do not overlap. (p.15) Our answer is simple: simply because they are not supposed to overlap. They are simply rhetorical elements in the context of Being and Time. So, as we have seen, Zizek has failed to 'confront' with Heidegger. But he has two other tasks: 'psychoanalysis is able to provide the foundation of a new political practice' and 'reformulating a leftist, anti-capitalist political project in our era of global capitalism and its ideological supplement, liberal democratic multiculturalism Does he reaches what he aims at? .To say the least, psychoanalysis far from being 'a new political practice' has a trouble with itself to express what it is about. The trouble has nothing to do with psychoanalysis as an 'art of interpreting' as Freud used it to justify his old mistakes in Beyond The Pleasure Principle (p.18), rather it is all about Zizek's inability to discern an ' art of interpreting' from useless mumbo-jambo, ie., references from triviality of popular culture â€“ the Hollywood movies â€“ to obscene jokes from his childhood; from a discussion of erection to an interpretation of viagra. So if one can be able to reformulate a 'leftist, anti-capitalist political project' from all these popular philosophy, then we would have to talk about the flexibility of the condoms we use or the emotional crises of the menstruation process in women in order to construct 'political ontology' as a conceptual framework. So, in the end of the book the 'subject' is still ticklish and the centre of political ontology is still absent. 19 After two years Being and Time, Heidegger gives a clear and concise definition of 'fundamental ontology': 'Fundamental ontology is the metaphysics of human Dasein which is required for metaphysics to b made possible. It remains fundamentally different from all anthropology and from the philosophical. The idea of laying out a fundamental ontology means to disclose the characteristic ontological analytic of Dasein as prerequisite and thus to make clear for what purpose and in what way, within which boundaries and with which presuppositions, it puts the concrete question: What is the human being?' Martin Heidegger, Kant and The Problem of Metaphysics, Trans. Richard Taft, Indiana University Press, 1997, p.1
20 Theodor Adorno, The Jargon of Authenticity, Trans., Knut Tarnowski and Frederic Will, Routledge Classics. 2003, p.38. (Hereafter Adorno, The Jargon of Authenticity) 21 Ibid., 26-7 22 Ibid.., XIX 23 'Epistemological Violence: Interpretation in and through Nietzsche's Thought' , CCG Project Winter 2007-2008. 24 Adorno, The Jargon of Authenticity, p.13 25 Adorno, The Jargon of Authenticity, p. 78 26 Pierre Bourdieu , The Political Ontology of Martin Heidegger, Oxford Polity Press, 1991, p.67 27 Heidegger, Being and Time, p. 193 28 Carl Schmitt, The Concept of the Political, Trans., George Schwab, The University of Chicago Press, 1996, p. 72 29 Ibid., p.70. (Hereafter Schmitt, The Concept of the Political) 30 Chantal Mouffe in her On the Political essentially affirms Carl Schmitt's 'friend-enemy' distinction to lay a ground for her 'agonistic' theory. Mouffe first makes a distinction between 'politics' and 'the political'. For Mouffe, while politics belongs to Heideggerian ontic level, the political belongs to ontological level.(p.8) Nonetheless, as we have seen above, Heidegger's pairs are not compatible for this kind of acute distinctions. Precisely because these pairs are not acute in themselves. Moreover, it is not plausible to abandon politics to ontic level as opposed to the political.. If in any case we are supposed to use the term politics, then we might use 'everyday politics' or 'vulgar politics' to identify the democratic game and the (s)elections -not choises as Lyotard has pointed out. The political, following Schmitt, encompassess politics as well as all aspects of human life. So, Mouffe's endeavor to transform the Schmittian antagonism to agonism and enemy to adversary can only be a temporary solution for the contemporary phase of depolitization of global capitalism and is vulnerable to vanish in the realm of the political. See, Chantal Mouffe, On the Political: Thinking in Action, Routledge, 2005 31 Schmitt, The Concept of The Political, pp.26-33
32 To be sure, Heidegger's 'fundamental' ontology is not the only one. According to Alain Badiou , ontology is mathematics. Yet, this, we are told, does not mean that mathematics does necessarily entail ontology but rather it denotes a specific ontology of mathematics, although one is unable to understand what this specific' specifically' refers to thoroughout entire Badiou's endeavour. Badiou reaches this premise through a distinction between the little style, which constructs mathematics as an object for philosophical thought and which amounts to a regional scholasticism, and the grand style, which provides a direct illumination of philosophy. For Badiou, there are five majestic examples of the grand style: Descartes, Spinoza, Kant, Hegel, and Lautreamont. Based on this hasty and clumsy distinction, as we shall see in a moment, he declares by referring to the Lacanian motto ' 'Mahematical formulaziton is our goal, our ideal' that 'Mathematics is our obligation, our alteration'. By referring to Hegel's Science of Logic,Badiou argues that mathematics and philosophical speculation share a fundamental concept: the concept of the infinite and in so doing Badiou thinks that he has proved his thesis and does continue to his argumentation through other majectic examples. Alan Badiou, 'Mathematics and Philosophy',pp. 3-22. In Alan Badiou, Theoritical Writings, Trans.,Ray Brassier and Alberto Toscano, Continuum, 2006. Nonetheless, we read from the same Hegel: ' The evident that characterizes this deficient knowledge, which is the pride of mathematics, and which it vaunts even against philosophy, relies only on the poverty of its purpose and the deficiency of ts material; therefore it is of a kind which philosophy must find repugnant. The purpose or Concept of mathematical knowledge is the magnitude. This is precisely an inessential, Conceptless relation.' Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, Hegel's Preface to the Phenomenology of Spirit, Trans. Yirmiyahu Yovel, Princeton University Press, 2005, pp.147-8 Let us to quote two other perspectives on the issue which is at stake. First Schopenhauer: ' Now if we look to mathematics for the desired more detailed knowledge of the representation of perception, which we have come to know only quite generally according to the mere form, then this science will tell us about these representations only in so far as they occupy time and space, in other words, only in so far as they are quantities. It will state with extreme accuracy the How-many and the How-large; but as this is always only relative, that is to say, a comparison of one representation with another, and even that only from the one-sided aspect of quantity, this too will not be the information for which principally we are looking.' Arthur Schopenhauer, The World as Will and Representation, 17, Trans E.J.F Payne http://www.marxists.org/reference/subject/philosophy/works/ge/schopenh.htm
The second interpretation is of Nietzsche: ' We still do not yet know where the drive for truth comes from. For so far we have heard only of the duty which society imposes in order to exist: to be truthful means to employ the usual metaphors. Thus, to express it morally, this is the duty to lie according to a fixed convention, to lie with the herd and in a manner binding upon everyone. Now man of course forgets that this is the way things stand for him. Thus he lies in the manner indicated, unconsciously and in accordance with habits which are centuries' old; and precisely by means of this unconsciousness and forgetfulness he arrives at his sense of truth. From the sense that one is obliged to designate one thing as "red," another as "cold," and a third as "mute," there arises a moral impulse in regard to truth. The venerability, reliability, and utility of truth is something which a person demonstrates for himself from the contrast with the liar, whom no one trusts and everyone excludes. As a "rational" being, he now places his behavior under the control of abstractions. He will no longer tolerate being carried away by sudden impressions, by intuitions. First he universalizes all these impressions into less colorful, cooler concepts, so that he can entrust the guidance of his life and conduct to them. Everything which distinguishes man from the animals depends upon this ability to volatilize perceptual metaphors in a schema, and thus to dissolve an image into a concept. For something is possible in the realm of these schemata which could never be achieved with the vivid first impressions: the construction of a pyramidal order according to castes and degrees, the creation of a new world of laws, privileges, subordinations, and clearly marked boundaries-a new world, one which now confronts that other vivid world of first impressions as more solid, more universal, better known, and more human than the immediately perceived world, and thus as the regulative and imperative world. Whereas each perceptual metaphor is individual and without equals and is therefore able to elude all classification, the great edifice of concepts displays the rigid regularity of a Roman columbarium and exhales in logic that strength and coolness which is characteristic of mathematics.' Friedrich
http://users.compaqnet.be/cn127103/Nietzsche_various/on_truth_and_lies.htm What we may gain from all these dialectical appositions is that it is our contention that mathematics and ontology has nothing to do with each other contrary to what Badiou proposes. But this is not to say that Heidegger's 'fundamental ontology', which poses the question of 'What is human being? (See footnote 19), is superior and unsurpassable but rather to say that it is still the most sophisticated and detailed analysis of the question of 'What is human being?.' It is completely justifiable and even necessary to be in cahoot with , as we have done with the equitation of political action with 'resting' and 'having good time', some of the propositions provided by Being Time in terms of the fundamental theses such as 'the essence of existence lies in its own existence' (See p.5) and temporality as an
ultimate horizon of human being, and so on it is still worth to be able to lay ground for an ontology and through a negative interpretation of authenticity by giving priority to inauthenticity to construct 'political ontology' as a conceptual framework. It is our contention that there is always already an existential gap, a void, a jointlessness which is the fundamental predicament of all kind of ontology. Every attempt to access to being must perforce take into consideration this gap. Thus, mathematics rather than overcoming this gap can only serve as an 'artificial supplement' to ruminate about being thus fails. 33 Schmitt, The Concept of the Political, p. 53 34 Leo Strauss, 'Notes on The Concept of The Political', Trans., J. harvey Lomax, In Carl Schmitt, The Concept of the Political, Trans., George Schwab, The University of Chicago Press, 1996, pp. 83107 35 For the embroilment created by the US's military machine in the case of Afghanistan from a 'committed leftist' perspective, see Tariq Ali, 'Afghanistan: 'Mirage of the Good War', New Left Review, 50, March-April, 2008. An anectode provided by Ali might give some insigths for the contemporary phase of the terror on 'war on terror ' that is itself a terror. In a meeting with Musharraf, Karzai complains about the drug smuggling through Pakistan border and demands more control. Musharraf's answer is that if something is supposed to be done about drug smuggling in the region , this must be done by starting out with the brother of Karzai who is the biggest 'drug baron' in the country! Needless to say that these both are appointed as president by the US and that their heads at risk to be beheaded by crack-brained Islamic fundamentalists as soon as the military machine of the US , along with the 'axis of good' international alliance including Denmark, withdraws from the region. For the debate about Schmitt's views and the contemporary neo-conservative strategy, see Chantal Mouffe, On The Political, pp. 76-83 36 For a symptomatic example of this 'truth' obsession proposed by a 'Ne-Leftist' theoretician, along with -after a mathematization of ontology (See footnote 32)- a mathematical mumbo-jumbo such as the 'numericality of political procedure', see Alan Badiou, 'Politics as a Truth Procedure', In Alan Badiou, Theoritical Writings, Trans.,Ray Brassier and Alberto Toscano, Continuum, 2006, pp.155163.
37 History of Political Philosophy, Eds., Leo Strauss and Joseph Cropsey, Chicago University Press 38 Schmitt, The Concept of the Political, p.55 Italics indicate what Strauss quotes from Schmitt. 39 Niccolo Machiavelli, The Prince and Other Political Writings, Trans. Bruce Penman, Everyman's Library, 1982, p. 75 40 Curtis investigates the origin of Islamic Fundamentalism through Said Qutb and the origin of the neoconservatism through Leo Strauss by comparing the both within their historical contexts. See Curtis Adam, The Power of Nightmares: The rise of the politics of Fear, BBC, 2004, ( BBC Documentary Television Program) For fundamental ideas of Said Qutb, see our 'Islamic Fundemantalism and Violence: Clash of Meanings?', CCG Project, 2007 41 Carsten Strathausen, 'A Critique of Neo-Left Ontology', Postmodern Culture, Volume 16, Number 3, May 2006 (Hereafter, Strathausen, 'A Critique of Neo-Left Ontology') 42 We have also briefly dealt with some of these 'neo-leftist' thinkers. See footnotes above: 18, 30, and 32 43 Strathausen, 'A Critique of Neo-Left Ontology' 44 Ibid. 45 Our critique of Nietzsche's abandonment of 'the political' does not prevent us what we might learn from his 'exhuming' of morals: ' If only those actions are moral which are performed for the sake of another and only for his sake, as one definition has it, then there are no moral actions! If only those actions are moral which are performed out of freedom of will, as another definition says, then there are likewise no moral actions!— What is it then which is so named and which in any event exists and wants explaining? It is the effects of certain intellectual mistakes.— And supposing one freed oneself from these errors, what would become of "moral actions"?— By virtue of these errors we have hitherto accorded certain actions a higher value than they possess: we have segregated them from the "egoistic" and "unfree" actions. If we now realign them with the latter, as we shall have to do, we shall certainly reduce their value (the value we feel they possess), and indeed shall do so to an unfair degree, because the "egoistic" and "unfree" actions were hitherto evaluated too low on account of their supposed profound and intrinsic difference.— Will they from then on be performed less often because they are now valued less highly?—Inevitably! At least for a good length of time, as long as the balance of value-
feelings continues to be affected by the reaction of former errors! But our counter-reckoning is that we shall restore to men their goodwill towards the actions decried as egoistic and restore to these actions their valueâ€”we shall deprive them of their bad conscience! And since they have hitherto been by far the most frequent actions, and will continue to be so for all future time, we thus remove from the entire aspect of action and life its evil appearance! This is a very significant result! When man no longer regards himself as evil he ceases to be so!' Friedrich Nietzsche, The Dawn(a.k.a. Daybreak), Thoughts on the Prejudices of Morality, 148, Trans. Walter Kaufmann, R. J. Hollingdale. http://users.compaqnet.be/cn127103/Nietzsche_the_dawn_or_daybreak/index.htm 46 Martin Buber, The Way of Man: According to the Teaching of Hasidism, Routledge Classics, 2002, p.9 47 Strathausen, 'A Critique of Neo-Left Ontology' 48 Only a God can save Us: Der Spiegel's interview with Martin Heidegger' , Philosophy Today, 20:4 (1976: Winter)
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Published on Nov 9, 2012
Published on Nov 9, 2012
Leaving aside this theoretical confrontation with Strauss, we may gain a clear insight over the dangereousness of man through the 'pupils' o...