Man is a Bridge:
the Twenty First Century is Nietzsche's Century

This site is a rhizome made possible by the
Internet
bb
Beyond Good and Evil, III, 62

 . . .  Man is the as yet undetermined animal . . .


Thus Spoke Zarathustra, I. 4

Man is a rope, tied between beast and overman--a rope over an abyss.  A dangerous across, a dangerous on the way, a dangerous looking back, a dangerous shuddering and stopping.

What is great in man is that he is a bridge and not an end: what can be loved in man is that he is an overture and a going under.



Eelco Runia, Moved by the Past: Discontinuity and Historical Mutation (Columbia Univeristy Press, 2014), p. 180, 184

How to make evolutionary sense of the fact that humans, alone among species, “took off” on a kind of autonomous development that made it their destiny “to ply the seas eternally"?

The more we disarmed our environment the more we became our own environment.
Man is a Bridge

Nietzsche, The Geneology of Morals, II, 16

Let us add at once that . . . the existence on earth of an animal soul turned against itself, taking sides against itself, was something so new, profound, unheard of, enigmatic, contradictory, and pregnant with a future that the aspect of the earth was essentially altered.  Indeed, divine spectators were needed to do justice to the spectacle that thus began and the end of which is not yet in sight . . . .  From now on, man . . . gives rise to an interest, a tension, a hope, almost a certainty, as if with him something were anouncing and preparing itself, as if man were not a goal but only a way, an episode, a bridge, a great promise.


This site is an enquiry into the post-paleolithic development of the primate homo sapiens--of culturally, historically, and politically-based developmental differentiation and divergence that is regressive as well as progressive, pathological as well as creative, and which, as Mary Midgley (The Solitary Self: Darwin and the Selfish Gene, p. 52) has noted, can be called "pseudo-speciation."  To see what I mean, consider this example from Sophia Rosenfeld, A Revolution in Language: the Problem of Signs in Late Eighteenth-Century France (Stanford, 2001).  Two other examples are the Musso rant and the Ground Zero debate.  Merlin Donald provides a broader context:

from Merlin Donald,  A Mind So Rare: The Evolution of Human Consciousness (W. W. Norton & Company, 2001)

 . . . modern culture contains within it a trace of each of our previous stages of cognitive evolution.  It still rests on the same old primate brain capacity for episodic or event knowledge.  But it has three additional, uniquely human layers: a mimetic layer, an oral-linguistic layer, and an external-symbolic layer.  The minds of individuals reflect these three ways of representing reality.  (p. 262)


from Merlin Donald, "The mind considered from a historical perspective: human cognitive phylogenesis and the possibility of continuing cognitive evolution." In D. Johnson & C. Ermeling (Eds.) The Future of the Cognitive Revolution (Oxford University Press, 1997), pp. 360-61

Mimetic representations are evident in human children before they acquire language competence. . . .  They continue to be important in adults, taking the form of highly variable social customs, athletic skills, and group expressive patterns (such as mass demonstrations of aggression or rejection).

This is just the beginning of creating a broad enough context for interpreting, for example, the political-theatrical (contextualized cognitive and psychological) performances of the right--for example: The GOP as the Stupid Party: an Inadequate Conceptualization.

In its approach to this variation--this developmental differentiation and divergence, psychological as well as cognitive--this site is, among other things, the antithesis of the prevailing racisms, liberal as well as fascist.  Figure 1 is an effect of this variation.  (For more on Figure 1 go to The PISA Results: Evolutionary, Historical, Developmental, and Psychological Perspectives.)


Figure 1.  PISA Math Scores, 2003 - 2012: 25 Nations

pisa
Southeast Asian nations are in light blue; Scandinavian nations + Switzerland in dark blue; Anglo-Saxon nations in orange; France, Germany, Belgium and Poland in green; Italy, Portugal and Spain in brown; the United States in red.   These are the advanced capitalist nations (some have been omitted for the sake visual clarity).

Test Finds College Graduates Lack Skills for White-Collar Jobs   (Wall Street Journal, Jan 16, 2015)  ["critical thinking skills"]
The Quantum Heterogeneity of Dasein: Five Genetic Ontologies, puts Figure 1 in a broader context.

The cognitive divide revealed in the Rosenfeld, Musso, and Ground Zero examples between primitive and modern discursive practices is the central feature of the two-party discursive field in the United States (the "Two-Party System": Semiotic Regimes).  In Piagetian terms, the two-party discursive field is dominated on the left by concrete-operational and pre-operational, and on the right by pre-operational  and gestural cognitive modalities.  Missing entirely from the two-party discursive field is the formal-operational cognitive modality of scientific thought.  Formal-operational competence is characteristic of the  internal discursive practice of the Keynesian Elite, but is not in evidence in the public sphere (for exceptions that prove the rule see 2008 Presidential campaign). 
These cognitive modalities are essential elements of contemporary cognitive psychology, and their deployment is a necesary but not sufficient condition for the understanding of such political phenomena as (for example) Rudolf Giuliani's charge that Obama doesn't love America, and the rhetorical dance during the 2012 election around the question of who "built it."  An attempt to organize these materials can be found here.

Following Ceci (right ➘),
The word "intelligence" ought to be retired in favor of cognitive complexity.  Rather than using measures or "intelligence" (like IQ), one ought to give descriptions of actual contextualized cognitive-discursive performances, bearing in mind Ceci's comment on the restless relationship between intelligence and context.  In this regard this whole site is a continuation of Vygotsky and Luria's work in central Asia in the 1930s (Luria, Making of Mind).  In this work they historicized Piaget, just as Hegel historicized Kant.  It is this kind of understanding that motivated the gathering of sources under the rubric of the Five Genetic Ontologies.  The reader should click on the Table of Sources now.

Three of these five genetic ontologies are central to Nietzsche's mature work (from 1882).  Two of them, ressentiment and nihilism, are clearly developed.  (See Ressentiment and the Mechanisms of Defense and Nihilism.)  A third, bildung and the will to power,
requires further development in the light of twentieth-century events (such as the Russian Revolution and the New Deal, the latter including the Keynesian Elite and the UAW).

This question of genetic ontology--of dynamic ontology--is fundamental.  The alternative to this is the usual primitive Cartesianism entrenched in neoliberal dogma.  In my usage of the term ontology I am in accord with de Beistegui and Barad (and Midgley and Keller . . . ). Genetic ontology refers to the generative matrix of each class of phenomena.  Ressentiment and the Mechanisms of Defense is thus both the overall characterization (ressentiment) and the generatrix (the mechanisms of defense) of a set of rhetorical performances provided for our convenience by Fox News. 

Two points: activity has both a cognitive and a psychological dimension; and the concept of genetic ontology is closely related to Bourdieu's concept of habitus.  What is new in our ability to understand the varieties of human activity (being/becoming) is the availability of a whole new class of material over the Internet.  Thus The GOP as the Stupid Party: an Inadequate Conceptualization fuses a mass of videos, images, and texts--the "empirical" stuff (but see Sellars*)--with the archive of theoretical and historical texts.  This is called transcendental empiricism by Deleuze (Hegel's concept of the concrete-universal).  See Difference and Givenness and Philosophy and History.


* Robert Brandom says, " . . . according to Sellars's view, the difference between theoretical objects and observable objects is methodologcal rather than ontological.  That is, theoretical and observable objects are not different kinds of things.  They differ only in how we come to know about them." (362)


Robert B. Brandom, "The Centrality of Sellars's Two-Ply Account of Observations to the Arguments of 'Empiricism and the Philosophy of Mind', in Robert B. Brandom, Tales of the Mighty Dead: Historical Essays in the Metaphysics of Intentionality (Harvard University Press, 2002)



The Quantum Heterogeneity of Dasein: 5 Genetic Ontologies

Ontologies

primate

paleolithic

ressentiment & the mechanisms of defense (despotic regime; fascism

bildung & the will to power (progressive narcissism)

nihilism (regressive narcissism and the culture of consumption; repressive desublimation; the last man)









Stephen J. Ceci, On Intelligence: A Bioecological Treatise on Intellectual Development, expanded edition (Harvard University Press, 1996)


The possibility that there exists a more restless relationship between intelligence and context, in which thinking changes both its nature and its course as one moves from one situation to another, is enough to cause shudders in some research quarters.  It represents a move toward a psychology of situations . . .  xvi

The term intelligence is often used synonymously with "IQ", "g", or "general intelligence", especially in some of the psychometric literature. . .  however, the ability to engage in cognitively complex behaviors will be shown to be independent of IQ, g, or general intelligence . . . cognitive complexity will be seen to be the more general of the two notions and the one most theoretically important to keep in mind when referring to intelligent behavior. 22


Pierre Bourdieu, In Other Words, p. 108


Habitus is one principle of production of practices among others and although it is undoubtedly more frequently in play than any other . . . one cannot rule out that it may be superseded under certain circumstances—certainly in situations of crisis which disrupt the immediate adjustment of habitus to field . . .
The concept of ressentiment is key to understanding the ultra-nationalism of the nineteenth century, the fascism of the twentieth century, and the persistence of fascism's inner logic into the twenty first century, as Robert Paxton has noted in his comments on the Tea Party.  Nietzsche's insights into right wing populism are confirmed and enriched by recent scholarship.  Ressentiment and the Mechanisms of Defense is related to Deleuze and Guattari's concept of despotic regime.  On fascism today, in addition to Paxton, the books by Max Blumenthal are informed by a psychoanalytic sensibility.  On politics and political culture Miles, Lowndes and Lieven are indespensible.  On the phenomenology of ressentiment What's the Matter with Kansas.  There are many texts, videos, and images that amplify, extend, and make concrete Nietzsche's insight subsumed under the term ressentiment.  And let's not forget Italy and Germany: Macgregor Knox's account of the nineteenth century roots of genocide resonates with Nietzsche's comments on the nationalism and racism--the ressentiment--of his time (Also Kallis and Smith).  As Robert Paxton has noted, fascism in the United States is as American as apple pie, and is treated with astonishing deference by the media (CNN and MSNBC). 

McMahon (right) makes clear the deep structure of the Right-Left model of politics which emerges with the Enlightenment and the French Revolution.  (See Enlightenment).  The Enlightenment not merely as ideology, but, more fundamentally, as cognitive development and cognitive modality.  The Enlightenment understood as an inflection point in cognitive development as historical process.  The Enlightenment qua Bildung and the Will to Power: the fourth genetic ontology of Dasein.  Enlightenment vs. Ressentiment is played out in the theater of modern politics. 

Finally Nihilism as the inner logic--the genetic ontology--of the postmodern, but it cohabits the sphere of becoming with ressentiment and bildung (and with our primate inheritance).  Cf. below:

from Eugen W. Holland, Deleuze and Guattari's Anti-Oedipus: Introduction to Schizoanalysis (Routledge, 1999)

The account which Deleuze and Guattari provide of three modes of social-production--savagery, despotism, capitalism--is best understood not as a history of modes of social-production but as a geneology . . .   Geneology, in the sense of the term Foucault derives from Nietzsche, is based on the premise that historical institutions and other features of social organization evolve not smoothly and continuusly, gradually developing their potential through time, but discontinuously, and must be understood in terms of difference rather than continuity, as one social formation appropriates and abruptly reconfigures an older institution or revives various features of extant social organization by selectively recombining to suit its own purposes.  As Deleuze and Guattari put it, "the events that restore a thing to life [in a given form of social organization] are not the same as those that gave rise to it in the first place."



from Darrin M. McMahon, Enemies of the Enlightement: the French Counter-Enlightenment and the Making of Modernity (Oxford University Press, 2001), pp. 48-52

What were the elements of this emergent right wing vision?  The fundamental importance of religion in maintaining political order, a preoccupation with the perils of intellectual and social license, the valorization of the family and history, the critique of abstract rights, the dangers of dividing sovereignty, and the need for a strategic alliance between throne and altar . . .  Even more fundamental was a Manichean readiness to divide the word in two: bewtween good and evil, right and wrong, Right and Left.

Yet to say that the anti-philosophe discourse fulfilled an ideological function is not to assert that it offered a fully developed political platform.  Rather it provided a "symbolic template" through which to construe a perplexing and rapidly changing world, a number of "authoritative concepts" and "suasive images" by which they could be grasped. 

By invoking this mythic golden past . . . anti-philosophes revealed signs of a romantic, qasi-utopian yearning for wholeness and social unity that would characterize a strain in far Right thinking for years to come.            

Reactive, reductive, Manichean, this thinking is less noteworthy, perhaps, for its particulars than for its general form.  It was precisely this tendency to view society as a battleground between opposing camps that stands as a hallmark of the bipolar, Right-Left model of politics so fundamental to subsequent European history. . . .  Dividing the world between good and evil, between the pious and the profane, anti-philosphes saw their struggle as a cosmic war in which the winners would take all.


from Ian Hacking (Collège de France), review of The post-revolutionary self: politics and psyche in France, 1750-1850:

Today's discussions of 'consciousness' and 'the self' too often suppose that items such as these . . . are timeless elements of the human condition. Goldstein's work shows how strongly they have been formed by forgotten events in our past.
Nietzsche's concept of nihilism is an uncanny premonition of the culture of mass consumption now sweeping the world, a culture that involves disindividuation.  See Bernard Stiegler (right)

Today's watchword is entropy as the reversal of bildung: the unwinding of the higher-level organizational structures and practices linked to cognitive development, self-discipline, and capacity for strategic planning/praxis.  See Dupre for a concise expression of this.  Mass consumption, regressive narcissism (Hall) the highest stage of nihilism conceived of clinically.  This is the post-modern triumph of capitalism (a word also in need of retirement through Aufheben).  Organization at the level of capital (financialization); but entropy at the level of culture.  State-sponsored regression to the primate, undoing of the Reformation under the aegis of capital.  Markets in action.  No such thing as the "free market."  Many markets, organized in various ways.  Alfred Chandler Jr. on corporatization as the subversion of markets.  Entropy as spectacle: the media in all its forms.  (Veblen lives!)

This page so far: man is a bridge, and fascism is a generic phenomenon of modernity and a central feature of American life.  Entropy (Nihilism): Does Figure 1 say anything about the cognitive effects of our enormously powerful corporate networks devoted to the stimulation of desire and envy (read this extraordinary article, The Extraordinary Science of Addictive Junk Food, New York Times, February 20, 2013)?  Is the whiggish variety of Progressivism a utopian pipe-dream, Hegel with smiley face?  Now we know that development can go awry; regression can occur; archaic forces persist and become the raw materials of opportunistic political elites; and an entirely new world of narcissistic regression and rampant desire gets added to the mix.  Shit happens, and the smile is wiped off Hegel's face.  This is disindividuation, nihilism.  This is what Bernard Stiegler writes about in The re-enchantment of the world: the value of spirit against industrial populism.  The word spirit should be understood as mind, and mind should be understood as the dialectic of individuation--"Individuation is always at once psychic and collective."


Bernard Stiegler, The re-enchantment of the world : the value of spirit against industrial populism (Bloomsbury Academic, 2014)

The prevailing event today is the loss of individuation qua pauperization (cognitive impoverishment) and the growth of information to the detriment of knowledge. (p. 83)

The ecological crisis of spirit translates itself in the first place as a crisis of education (p. 90)

the entropic vicious circle that leads to dissociation, desocialization, and disindividuation . . . ( p. 67)

The risk of disindividuation (p. 81)


Individuation is always at once psychic and collective. (p. 82)

The risk of . . . an entropic process of disindividuation.  (p. 82)

Ressentiment and Nihilism are not controversial concepts.  We may differ among ourselves on various points of exegesis, we may differ on ways in which such broad concepts might by deployed or further specified, but we know what Bernard Stiegler is onto, we appreciate Herbert Marcuse's prescient concept of repressive desublimation, etc.  Shit is happening, and we know it.  In this context, it is worth comparing Nietzsche and Marx:

1.  Each attacked the emerging hegemonic bourgeois regime, Marx along the lines of class and economic hegemony, Nietzsche along the lines of culture and bourgeois-Christian hegemony.  What they had in common was their overcoming of the field effect.

2. Each envisioned a cultural-historical developmental praxis as an immanent possibility, "as if man were not a goal but only a way, an episode, a bridge, a great promise."

3. Each viewed modern society as explosively dynamic, violent, repressive, and fraught with contradictions.  Yet it is Nietzsche, not Marx, who sees more deeply into the heart of our contemporary politics--who tells the story of the 2014 election better than anyone alive today.  When one is faced with the current American scene where sadism and ressentiment are the main currency of Republican politics, and nihilism has become the ideal of liberalism, it is only Nietzsche (and let me add, at the risk of a loss of credibility, Melanie Klein*) who can say I told you so

4. Thus, Nietzsche and Marx differ most strikingly, from the standpoint of our contemporary experience, when it comes to understanding nihilism, on the one hand, and the ressentiment, sadism and sheer brutishness of our present, on the other.  These are the two modern genetic ontologies of Dasein that dominate today's world, something that should be obvious to anyone reading this page.  Hence the title of this page--the twenty first century is Nietzsche's century.

*see Frank Ninivaggi, Envy Theory: Perspectives on the Psychology of Envy, (Rowman & Littlefield, 2010).  Ninavaggi takes greed--the greed of Wall Street--head-on as a clinical problem.




Max Blumenthatl, Republican Gomorrah: Inside the Movement that Shattered the Party (Nation Books, 2009)

Max Blumenthal, Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel
(Nation Books, 2013)

Michael W. Miles, The Odyssey of the American Right (Oxford University Press, 1980)

Joseph E. Lowndes, From the New Deal to the New Right: Race and the Southern Origins of Modern Conservatism (Princeton, 2009) refers to the "foundational violence of modern Republicanism." (p. 2)

Anatol Lieven, America Right or Wrong: An Anatomy of American Nationalism (Oxford University Press, 2005)

Thomas Frank, What's the Matter with Kansas (Henry Holt and Co., 2004)

Macgregor Knox, To the Threshold of Power: Origins and Dynamics of the Fascist and National Socialist Dictatorships, Volume 1 (Cambridge University Press, 2007)

Aristotle Kallis, Genocide and Fascism: The Eliminationist Drive in Fascist Europe (Routledge, 2010)

Helmut Walser Smith, The Continuties of German History: Nation, Religion, and Race across the Long Nineteenth Century (Cambridge, 2008)

Robert O. Paxton, Antomy of Fascism ()

Darrin M. McMahon, Enemies of the Enlightement: the French Counter-Enlightenment and the Making of Modernity (Oxford University Press, 2001)

Nietzsche's late nineteenth century comments on nihilism are uncanny.  Bernard Stiegler, The re-enchantment of the world : the value of spirit against industrial populism (Bloomsbury Academic, 2014), alerts us to "the risk of . . . an entropic process of disindividuation" (p. 82).  But Nietzsche's writings of the 1880s already grasped this entropic process (see Nihilsm).  But entirely unconceived by Nietzsche was that nihilism would become the social engineering project of global corporate networks of unimaginable reach and power.

Once upon a time, however, the now nearly forgotten genetic ontology--bildung and the will to power--was center stage, let us say roughly from the Enlightenment to its apogee in the Russian Revolution/New Deal.   The actual collapse of the historical left was accompanied by the demonization of all aspects of the historical trajectory E-->ND

There is a vast literature that subsists within the zone of signification of BWP.  This literature is listed in the Quantum . . . Dasein.  The concept of BWP is applied in decoding the Keynesian Elite in the New Deal State and the organization of the United Auto Workers in southeastern Michigan.






Dodge Main, center.  Midland Steel, lower right.
d
The very same new conditions that will on average lead to the leveling and mediocritization of man--to a useful, industrious, handy, multi-purpose herd animal--are likely in the highest degree to give birth to exceptional human beings of the most dangerous and attractive quality.    

Friederich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil,  242

Will to power can be understood as the driving force of bildung, and thus Nietzsche contributes to a concept of bildiung.  Nevertheless, it is Hegel, Dewey, Vygotsky, Alcorn, Raumph, Bronfenbrenner and others who more fully develop the dialectic of individuation (another way of conceiving of bildung).  LINK 
How do the five genetic ontolgies work in the decoding of history?

I have jsut come across Stiegler's work (Feb 2015)

The most striking intellectual deficit of Marxism is that it never understood the two dominant modalities of Dasein since the rise of the state: ressentiment, and nihilism.  This is what makes Nietzsche's project so uncanny.  The demoralized heirs of the Enlightenment must be overwhelmed not only by the persistence, but by the normalization of fascism in today's America.  As Robert Paxton has noted, fascism in the United States is as American as apple pie, and is treated with astonishing deference by the media (CNN and MSNBC).  And Nietzsche's concept of nihilism is an uncanny premonition of the culture of mass consumption now sweeping the world, a culture that involves disindividuation (see Nihilism).
habitus/historical trajectory E⇒ND


from Ian Hacking (Collège de France), review of The post-revolutionary self: politics and psyche in France, 1750-1850, ,

Today's discussions of 'consciousness' and 'the self' too often suppose that items such as these . . . are timeless elements of the human condition. Goldstein's work shows how strongly they have been formed by forgotten events in our past.



Ian McEwan, Amsterdam

from William H. Calvin, A Brief History of the Mind (Oxford, 2004)

It is just in the last 1 percent of that up-from-the-apes period that human creativity and technological capabiities have really blossomed.  It's been called "The Mind's Big Bang."  In our usual expansive sense of "mind," the history of the mind is surprisingly brief, certainly when compared with the long increase in brain size and the halting march of toolmaking. xiv

  . . . there are emergent properties lurking in anything that produces a steep gradient. . .  I can imagine softwiring emergents in the brain intensively engaging in structured stuff at earlier ages.  The steeper gradients between rich and poor may produce surprising social effects unless we do something about the rich getting richer.  Emergents are hard to predict, and they are not all beneficial . . .  (pp. 177-78)

Nietzsche the diagnostician: ressentiment, nihilism, and the myth of the individual

Today Nietzsche's most uncanny concept--nihilism--is today's truth.

this website is primarily clinical and revolutionary.  The 5 gen ont provide cognitive socio-cultural organizing tools.  Eternal Reccurence

Karl Marx: First Thesis On Feuerbach

The chief defect of all hitherto existing materialism – that of Feuerbach included – is that the thing, reality, sensuousness, is conceived only in the form of the object or of contemplation, but not as sensuous human activity, practice, not subjectively. Hence, in contradistinction to materialism, the active side was developed abstractly by idealism – which, of course, does not know real, sensuous activity as such.




Bernard Stiegler, The re-enchantment of the world : the value of spirit against industrial populism (Bloomsbury Academic, 2014)

Bernard Reginster, The Affirmation of Life: Nietzsche on Overcoming Nihilism (Harvard, 2006)

The Extraordinary Science of Addictive Junk Food (New York Times, February 20, 2013)

Sherry Turkle, Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other (Basic Books, 2011)

Carlo Strenger, The Designed Self: Psychoanalysis and Contemporary Identities (The Analytic Press, 2005)

Carlo Strenger, The Fear of Insignifcance: Searching for Meaning in the Twenty-First Century (palgrave macmillan, 2011)

habitus

The Interviews are a set of dialogic unfoldings that form a lens through which to examine the ontologies and events, the transformations and reactions, that are subsumed under the term
unionization.  The factories, meeting halls, and neighborhoods of southeastern Michigan are laboratories in which to investigate the play of forces: first, the deep structures, the genetic ontologies (the principles of the production of practices) that dominate the manifold areas of human activity; and second, the irruption of forces an entirely different kind, referred to variously as the will to power but also [Bourdieu]-----------Aufheben, emergence, praxis, agency, bildung, the will to power ---these concepts are entangled in a common vitalist sensibility.  Hegel and Nietzsche are two sides of the same coin.  In this context the concept of the übermensch is widely applicable to the understanding of Bolshevism in Russia and the UAW in Michigan--and the Keynesian elite in the New Deal state.  The links below indicate better than any abstract exegesis of philosophical texts how the intentionality immanent in both Hegel and Nietzsche can be more deeply elaborated through "empirical" investigation.




***All this renders the prevailing concept of democracy naive in the extreme.  At the heart of the Enlightenment project is the deep contradiction between development and democracy.  Exploration of this deep contradiction is the task of this site.  Above all, this site rejects the naive ontological myths and presuppsitions, the unthought-through ethos/habitus of Chrstianity-Enlightenment.  This site dares to go where allmost all shy away, into the heart of darkness.  Above all, man is not a given, but the undetermed animal, the desperate, crazed dreamer, the animal at war with itself, its very being the locus of a violent and perhaps irresolvable becoming--the ternal return as eternal becoming.  These naive presupsitons, this cognitive maialse, is everywhere, but nicely expressed in Furet's Lies, Passions and Illsions.

Proposition 1: one can neither escape from, nor reduce modern human behavior to, our primate inheritance. 


"Collective Violence: Comparison Between Youths and Chimpanzees," by Richard W. Wrangham (Department of Antroropology, Peabody Museum, Harvard University) and Michael L. Wilson (Department of Ecology and Behavior, University of Minnesota, and Gombe Stream Research Centre, the Jane Goodall Institute, Tanzania),  (Ann. N.Y. Acad. Sci. 1036: 233–256 (2004))

Cultural and biological approaches provide complementary rather than alternative perspectives in the analysis of human behavior. (p. 234)


from Merlin Donald,  A Mind So Rare: The Evolution of Human Consciousness (W. W. Norton & Company, 2001)

 . . . modern culture contains within it a trace of each of our previous stages of cognitive evolution.  It still rests on the same old primate brain capacity for episodic or event knowledge.  But it has three additional, uniquely human layers: a mimetic layer, an oral-linguistic layer, and an external-symbolic layer.  The minds of individuals reflect these three ways of representing reality.  (p. 262)


from Merlin Donald, "The mind considered from a historical perspective: human cognitive phylogenesis and the possibility of continuing cognitive evolution." In D. Johnson & C. Ermeling (Eds.) The Future of the Cognitive Revolution (Oxford University Press, 1997), pp. 360-61

Mimetic representations are evident in human children before they acquire language competence. . . .  They continue to be important in adults, taking the form of highly variable social customs, athletic skills, and group expressive patterns (such as mass demonstrations of aggression or rejection).
Proposition 2: the presupposition of the Cartesian self is the generative matrix of all of public discourse and much but not all of academic discourse.  In place of the taken-for-granted eternal subject, a first approximation: the quantum heterogeneity of Dasein: Five Genetic Ontologies.  [Five "principles of production of practices" (Bourdieu, In Other Words, p. 108)]

This presupposition recurs "eternally" in the semitoic field of the two-party discursive system.  (See Semiotic Regimes: the Two-Party System in the United States.)

Marxism in the late 19th and throughout the 20th centuries (as distinct from the more complex set of texts and contexts that produced and were produced by Karl Marx), itself an expression of the Enlightenment, was trapped in the quagmire of Cartesianism.  In practice, its conception of human nature* differed little from the atomistic hedonism of neoliberalism.  Marxism was never able to get beyond the cultural values of the welfare state.**  Even its concept of the working class was built on a neoliberal concept of material self-interest--the Cartesian self writ large.  But since Marxism  was really, on the question of human nature, indistinguishable from liberalism--which is to say that Marxism (but not Marx) never got beyond the presuppositions of the Enlightenment

Neoliberalism can be seen as derived from the Enlightenment taken merely as ideology: 1. the presupposition of the rational individual in a market economy--of the Cartesian self as the ontological given and eternal truth of our being; 2. markets are magic; and 3. institutions don't matter.  But there is the other Enlightenment of Progressivism, of Veblen and Dewey, Lunacharsky and Lenin, of Institutional Economics.  This Enlightenment did critique the three major shibboleths of neoliberalism.  At the risk of over-simplifying, one might say that progressivism arose out of civic republicanism, neo-liberalism out of commercial republicanism (Harold Mah, Enlightenment Phantasies, Cornell, 2003).  Veblen and Dewey, Hegel, Marx, and Vygotsky, Heidegger, Foucault and Deleuze--all are moments in the unfolding of post-Kantian philosophy.  On 20th century civic republicanism as political economy, see Gerald Berk, Alternative Tracks: The Constitution of American Industrial Order, 1865-1917, and Charles Perrow, Organizing America: Wealth, Power, and the Origins of Corporate America (Princeton, 2002).  Also The Keynesian Elite in the New Deal State.







Proposition 3:
Homo sapiens is a species unlike any other, whose "nature" it is to be subject to cultural and historical development as a result of its own activity, to be subject to the psychological consequences of such processes and of other complications and developments, and whose behavior contains but cannot be reduced to the "biological." 

Homo sapiens is a species capable of:

1. Progressive projects (progressivism--Vygotsky), originating out of the logic of the Enlightenment whose objective is self- and societal-transformation.  (Hegel's Bildung and Nietzsche's Will to Power--see Dupré, Chase, Nietzsche, and Wikipedia: ❪1❫, ❪2❫, ❪3❫, and ❪4here).  This is the project of Progressivism, both bourgeois and socialist.  A major expression of the enlightenment developmental project is found in the work of Dewey and Vygotsky in education, in Marx, Lenin and Brandeis in politics, in the Taylor Society in management, and in the praxis of the creators of the UAW.  (See The Keynesian Elite in the New Deal State.Mozart)

2.  Other kinds of projects, originating out of the logics of capital and political power, whose purpose is the stimulation and exploitation of appetite and desire on the one hand, and the mobilization and shaping of resentiment for political purposes, on the other.  Unlike the Enlightenment project, these projects of capital and power have no larger vision--no vision of any kind.  Their object is primarily the axiomatic of accumulation or the drive toward hegemony.  Secondarily, however, their impact is enormous, for there are . . .

3. . . .  manifold unforseen consequences of these projects of stimulation, exploitation, and manipulation. Here is one such consequence: Capitalism--at least advanced capitalism--requires advanced minds. Narcissistic regression--the culture of consumption (see Hall et. al., Criminal Identities and Consumer Culture)--undermines the very possibility of advanced cognitive development by undermining the self-discipline that is the sine qua non of such development.  In addition, in the United States the war on science is much more than ideology and politics.  It pentrates and degrades the zones of proximal development that are the sites of intellectual growth.  Figure 1 in part shows the result of this war.  This is discussed in The PISA Results: Evolutionary, Historical, Developmental, and Psychological Perspectives. 

Sarah Palin and her onetime fans on the right: It’s so over, Washington Post 1-28-15: the profound mistake of the discussion of Palin's flameout in Iowa is the Cartesian presupposition that precludes consideration of the complex relations between audience, speaker, Republican Party and political culture taken in historical context.  The crux of the matter is that Palin is the embodiment of her audience--the audience writ small.  The essense of right-wing populism, its brutishness, its primitive cognitive processes, is there for all to see.


Below is an excerpt from this page:


Why Deleuze?
(Elliptical?  How could it be otherwise?  But Bullshit?  Emphatically not.
)

Any name can be taken as posing a problematic for contemporary thought.
d
Why Deleuze?  If the name "Hegel" stands for a mode of thought, the name "Deleuze" can stand for a crisis in that mode of thought.  In the era of neoliberalism, and in the wake of the collapse of the historical left (this includes the Keynesian Elite in the New Deal state), philosophy suffers a kind of anomie, turning ever inward, making elaborate lateral moves and suffering stylistic excess while engaging in endless exegesis.  Thus "elliptical" as a symptom, but definitely not bullshit. 

One must understand the difference between the living and the dead.  Texts are just so much dead matter--they do not contain meaning absent a living mind--a contextualized living mind--to work them over (some call this reading, but that is too limited an account of what happens or can happen when one encounters a text--see Deleuze on the encounter).  This is what is wrong with exegesis: it assumes that there is meaning apart from life, that there can be correct readings of writers, even of facts (positivism as the death rattle of mind).

Exegesis is replaced with philosophically informed empirical practice, whether of an intellectual or political nature.  It is the essence of the Nietzschean textual sensibility (the text as a discursive field that exceeds the boundaries of its "author") that it not be explained or interpreted--it must be transcended in the execution of its own intentionality--Nietzsche was groping in the dark, and his writings, as Bhattacharyya notes, are better taken as provocations to thought rather than as objects of exegesis.  This intentionality must no longer be merely spoken or written from within the iron cages of our conventional existences (within disciplines and professions, unions and parties; and as consumers and victims--the set of incredibly shrinking selves sometimes referred to as "the people").  This is what this site attempts. 
from The PISA Results:

It is already clear that in the U.S. fundamentalist whites and blacks (and many working class Catholics) have been disgorged from the project of modernity, and now constitute, by twenty-first century standards, a barely literate mass, concentrated in the central cities, inner suburbs, small towns, and the rural heartland, and removed in toto from the possiblities of cognitive development implied by the term "education."

As the old America--Christian America--dies a sociocultural death*, it is being replaced by newer populations capable, for now, the kind of cognitive development equal to the tasks set for them by the regimes of advanced capitalism.  (see "Asian workers now dominate Silicon Valley tech jobs," San Jose Mercury News, 11-30-12.)


The question of the historical-developmental potential of homo sapiens is the main theme underlying Nietzsche's work.  Nietzsche's pessimism and his seemingly aristocratic ethos can be misleading.  Dewey, Lenin, Vygotsky, and Morris L. Cooke can be taken as the practiki

*see
The Immigrant Advantage, by Anand Giridharadas in The New York Times of May 24, 2014. 
k


A comment on Cultural Historical Activity Theory (Vygotsky et. al.).

Notwithstanding its success in the nation where it was most fully implemented (Finland), CHAT does not address the vulgarity, violence and greed of modern life.  It does not address such phenomena as The Stupid Party; it has nothing to say about fascism as a generic phenomenon of modernity and as a central feature of American life.  Nor does it have anything to say about the cognitive effects of our enormously powerful corporate networks devoted to the stimulation of desire and envy.  Cultural Historical Activity Theory is Hegel with a smiley face, a utopian Progressivism.  But development can go awry; regression can occur; archaic forces persist and become the raw materials of opportunistic political elites; and an entirely new world of narcissistic regression and rampant desire gets added to the mix.  Shit happens, and the smile is wiped off Hegel's face. This is in part what Figure 1 is about . . . and what this site is about.


 from Werner Stark,  Sociology of Religion: A Study of Christendom (Fordham University Press, 1966-72) vol. 1, p. 188

As democratic convictions became settled . . . 'the people' emerged increasingly as the true sovereign, and the conception gained ground that 'the people' is sane and sound, and its voice, at least to some extent, is sacred.


from Friedrich Nietzsche, The Will to Power, § 863


The values of the weak prevail because the strong have taken them over as devices of leadership.


from Yrjö Engeström and Reijo Miettinen, "Activity theory and individual and social transformation," in Reijo Miettinen, and Raija-Leena Punamaki, Perspectives on Activity Theory (Cambridge, 1999), pp. 25-6:

Differences in cognition across cultures, social groups, and domains of practice are thus commonly explained without seriously analyzing the historical development that has led to those differences.  The underlying relativistic notion is that we should not make value judgements concerning whose cognition is better or more advanced--that all kinds of thinking and practice are equally valuable.  Although this liberal stance may be a comfortable basis for academic discourse, it ignores the reality that in all domains of societal practice value judgements and decisions have to be made everyday.


And Eternal recurrence--the most problematic and exasperating of Nietzsche's concepts--in fact becomes astonishingly straightforward and productive if one knows how to run with it--if one knows how to escape the trap of exegesis (see
Bhattacharyya at right).  It is the key to a possible new kind of politics.  It is also a way of living through the impossiblity of a new kind of politics.  When taken literally it appears to embrace the givenness of one's life--when one takes Nietzsche's text rather than its open-ended intentionality at one's point of departure.  When put into practice it has the most revolutionary, transformative, developmental consequences, even if nothing can be "done".  One appearance of eternal return as intelectual praxis is in Deleuze's concept of transcendental empiricism--or rather, not the concept as such, as an object of intellectual contemplation, but as practice, as the production of planes of immanence.  The six pages/links below are products of this practice:

Semiotic Regimes: the Two-Party System in the United States

The GOP as the Stupid Party: an Inadequate Conceptualization

Ressentiment and the Mechanisms of Defense: the Current American Scene

Ressentiment and the Mechanisms of Defense: from the First Crusade to the Limbaugh Tirade

Bildung: Was Mozart a Communist
 
The Keynesian Elite in the New Deal State, 1910-1939  



from Anindya Bhattacharyya,
Notes on Nietzsche’s eternal recurrence, in bat020.com (emphasis added):


Treating eternal recurrence as a systematic doctrine fails to do justice in my eyes to the profoundly anti-systematic and indeed anti-philosophical tenor of Nietzsche’s work. The eternal recurrence of the same is a provocation to thought rather than a mystery underlying it. To adapt an image from Gilles Deleuze’s 1962 book on Nietzsche, the thought of eternal return is “an arrow shot by Nature that another thinker picks up where it has fallen so that he can shoot it somewhere else” (Deleuze, ix).

Stambaugh makes a similar point when she states that any interpretation of eternal return is “forced to ‘go beyond’ Nietzsche’s writings, published or unpublished, on the subject… If one adheres strictly to what Nietzsche wrote about eternal return, it is impossible to ‘solve’ the enormous problems inherent in this thought.” (Stambaugh, p103).


Lawrence Hatab, Nietzsche's Life Sentence: Coming to Terms with Eternal Recurrence (Routledge, 2005)

Bernard Reginster, The Affirmation of Life: Nietzsche on Overcoming Nihilism (Harvard, 2006)

Daniel Chapelle, Nietzsche and Psychoanalysis (State University of New York Press, 1993)


Bernard Stiegler, The re-enchantment of the world : the value of spirit against industrial populism (
***Thus, Nietzsche's Century and Man is a Bridge: Nietzsche's work, his key concepts, functioning as a lens through which to view the elements of this rhizome; and Man is the as yet undetermined animal.  This, at the bare minimum, includes the concept of development at the heart of Vygotsky's work--"Vygotsky" the name given to a whole current of thought growing out of Hegelian roots (four texts listed below the rhizome).  Also see DevDiverg Sellars
1. man is a bridge
2. Ressentiment (mechanisms of defense), the übermensch (the party of a new kind; the uaw creators), nihilism, the will to power (bildung), and perspectivism (Margolies on Hegel)
3. eternal return

-and critique of cartesian metaphysic

Bernard Stiegler




Nevertheless, Nietzsche has given us key substantive concepts--ressentiment, the will to power, perspectivism, nihilism--that make the 21st century intelligible. 


The incredibly shrinking self--this is Nietzsche's durable, usable concept of nihilism.

What is uncanny about Nietzsche's work is its increasing relevance as the world turns



This whole site can be conceived of as Deleuzian, as long as it is clear that this is just a name for the second Copernican revolution in thought.

This site for the most part takes a grim view of the whole developmental dynamic of the semiotisized primate homo sapiens sapiens.  It also takes a dim view of attempts to naturalize fascism.  The latest such intellectual fad centers on the cottage industry of Girard commentary (the growth of these cottage industries--Nietzsche commentary is another--is a moment in the unfolding of the twenty-first century's crisis of will).




Man is a bridge   On Nietzsche: exegesis must be replaced with philosophically informed empirical practice, whether of an intellectual or political nature.  It is the essence of the Nietzschean textual sensibility (the text as a discursive field that exceeds the boundaries of its "author") that it not be explained or interpreted--it must be transcended in the execution of its own intentionality--Nietzsche was groping in the dark, and his writings, as Bhattacharyya notes, are better taken as provocations to thought rather than as objects of exegesis.  Nevertheless, Nietzsche has given us key substantive concepts--ressentiment, the will to power, perspectivism, nihilism--that make the 21st century intelligible.  Eternal recurrence, on the other hand, is truly what one might called a bounded provocation.  Bounded, because as a provication to thought it is most frutfully pursued within the boundary conditions set by Nietzsche's major texts

This intentionality must no longer be merely spoken or written from within the iron cages of our conventional existences (within disciplines and professions, unions and parties; and as consumers and
victims--the set of incredibly shrinking selves sometimes referred to as "the people").  This is what this site attempts. 
Robert B. Brandom, Perspectives on Pragmatism: Classical, Recent, and Contemporary (Harvard, 2011), p. 36

But classical American pragmatism can also be seen differently, as a movement of world historical significance--as the announcement, commencement, and first formulation of the fighting faith of a second Enlightenment.
This goes against the grain of modern discourse, a fusion of a devitalized Christianity and an anemic Enlightenment.
Today Nietzsche's chickens are coming home to roost
The most striking intellectual deficit of Marxism is that it never understood the two dominant modalities of Dasein since the rise of the state: ressentiment, and nihilism.  This what makes Nietzsche's project so uncanny.  The demoralized heirs of the Enlightenment must be overwhelmed not only by the persistence, but by the normalization of fascism in today's America.  As Robert Paxton has noted, fascism in the United States is as American as apple pie, and is treated with astonishing deference by the media (CNN and MSNBC).  And Nietzsche's concept of nihilism is an uncanny premonition of the culture of mass consumption now sweeping the world, a culture that involves deindividuation(see Nihilism).

The question "What is to be done?" presupposes the non-problematic nature of Dasein.




Man is a bridge
: this can be taken as Nietzsche's key concept, .  Ressentiment, the übermensch, nihilism, the will to power, and perspectivism are aspects of this unfinished process--
Man is the as yet undetermined animal.  (The as yet implies the possibility of an end.  One might take this as a crypto-whiggish view, entirely out of character in the context of Nietzsche's work.) 

Man is a bridge . . . Nietzsche's apparent contempt for the "people" is better read as an uncanny opening up of what is by now a long overdue critique of the people.  Only now, for us mortals, are we forced to live what Nietzsche foresaw.  Nietzsche's major concepts of Ressentiment, the übermensch, nihilism, the will to power, and perspectivism
The Cambridge Handbook of Socioculural Psychology, edited by Jaan Valsiner and Alberto Rosa (Cambridge University Press, 2007)

The Oxford Handbook of Culture and Psychology, edited by Jaan Valsiner (Oxford University Press, 2012)

The Cambridge Companion to Piaget (2009)

The Cambridge Companion to Vygotsky, edited by Harry Daniels, Michael Cole, James Wertsch (Cambridge University Press, 2007)


***All this renders the prevailing concept of democracy naive in the extreme.  At the heart of the Enlightenment project is the deep contradiction between development and democracy.  Exploration of this deep contradiction is the task of this site.  Above all, this site rejects the naive ontological myths and presuppsitions, the unthought-through ethos/habitus of Chrstianity-Enlightenment.  This site dares to go where allmost all shy away, into the heart of darkness.  Above all, man is not a given, but the undetermed animal, the desperate, crazed dreamer, the animal at war with itself, its very being the locus of a violent and perhaps irresolvable becoming--the ternal return as eternal becoming.  These naive presupsitons, this cognitive maialse, is everywhere, but nicely expressed in Furet's Lies, Passions and Illsions.
Bernard Stiegler, The re-enchantment of the world : the value of spirit against industrial populism (Bloomsbury Academic, 2014)

My site is fundamentally identical in intent to Stieger's work. 

intelligence: p. 55  "desublimation"  BILDUNG  p. 7  "individuation"  p. vii-ix
"the manufacture of the consumer” p. 2
"organization and production of desire"
"We know that in the coming decades, the Earth and her inhabitants, human beings, will have to demonstrate like never before—individually and collectively—the worldly intelligence and sense of responsibility that, in principle, define them as human beings rather than cruel, vulgar, and gluttonous slugs."

mental regression . . .   4; brutish  4

entropy searches: read p. 11 to p. 12
p. 83  "The prevailing event today is the loss of individuation qua pauperization (cognitive impoverishment) and the growth of information to the detriment of knowledge"

p. 90  "the ecological crisis of spirit translates itself in the first place as a crisis of education"
very important

p. 67 "the entropic vicious circle that leads to dissociation, desocialization, and disindividuation . . . "
"The risk of disindividuation" (81; ref Steve Jobs re internet)

"individuation is always at once psychic and collective" 82

"the risk of . . . an entropic process of disindividuation"  (82)

p. 6 "a new spirit of capitalism" TS/civic republicanism

p. 7: "and here public opinion must come to the aid of industrial capitalism against financier capitalism, which is the true underwiter of indsutrial populism"  (FOOD) MORE!!!  TS/LDB

Stiegler states the obvious; it is the purpose of this site to shed more detailed light on why this is so ahd how it became so.
theses on bolshevism

1. the autonomy of Mind/Culture re class

2. Bildung as the practice of the working class circles (salons)

3. Vanguard: Bourdieu vs. Marx/Weber


emergences:

language (Chase)

ressentiment (Power's first inflection within the field of language)

Bildung/spirit/development

superorganisms: (E⇒ND); Food article/Stieger

E-->ND is Coyote (Paleolithic/Bildung)

entropy  In Nietzsche two formulations of "nihilism": a literary-cultural formulation of despair at the loss of values; and a clinical formulation that might be called reverse bildung: the unwinding of higher-level organizational structures and practices linked to cognitive development, self-discipline, and capacity for strategic planning/praxis: entropy.  See Dupre for a concise expression of this.  Mass consumption, regressive narcissism (Hall) the highest stage of nihilism conceived of clinically.  This is the triumph of capitalism.  Organization at the level of capital; but entropy at the level of culture. 

A further wrinkle on postmodern nihilism: state-sponsored regression to the primate, undoing of the Reformation, under the aegis of capital.  Markets in action.  No such thing as the "free market."  Many markets, organized in various ways.  Alfred Chandler Jr. on corporatization as the subversion of markets.