Invisible University: SITE MAP
Man is a Bridge:
the Twenty First Century is Nietzsche's Century

Edward Hopper, Manhattan Bridge Loop, 1928

This site is a a working notebook, a rhizome made possible by the Internet.
Bold type indicates a future link.

Who's that cat?  Whose cat is that?

Man is a Bridge (Pseudo-Speciation) 

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.  The concept of pseudo-speciation holds the key to decoding, among other things, the two-party discursive field of American politics, the inner life of those who created the UAW, and the patterns of police behavior so much in the news.
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.
Merlin Donald provides a necessary context for considering the post-paleolithic development of the primate homo sapiens:

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).

Group expressive patterns (such as mass demonstrations of aggression or rejection)?  Wrangham and Wilson have something to say on this matter:

from 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), "Collective Violence: Comparison Between Youths and Chimpanzees"

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

Abstract: Patterns of collective violence found among humans include similarities to those seen among chimpanzees.  These include participation predominantly by males, an intense personal and group concern with status, variable subgroup composition, defense of group integrity, inter-group fights that include suprise attacks, and a tendency to avoid mass confrontation. . . .  Youth gangs . . . differ from chimpanzee communities as a result of numerous cultural and environmental influences including complex relations with non-gang society. . .  Nevertheless, the concepts that sociologists use to account for collective violence in youth gangs are somewhat similar to those applied by anthropologists and biologists to chimpanzees. . . .  We therefore view the similarities in aggression between humans and chimpanzees that we review here as being adaptive responses to local conditions, predicated on an inherent male concern for social status. (p. 233)

              Figure 1.  PISA Math Scores, 2003 - 2012: 25 Nations
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.  (The advanced capitalist nations.  Some have been omitted for the sake visual clarity).

Note the decline in the Anglo-Saxon and Scandinavian nations.  The results of the 2015 tests will be released in December of 2016.

The context for this seemingly politically incorrect concept of pseudo-speciation is provided by Price and Feinman (right) and Ames, "On the evolution of the human capacity for inequality and/or egalitarianism," in Pathways to Power.  (Enter title as Google search term and download pdf.)  This is clarified in an instant by noting the reference to Vygotsky by some biologists studying the development of intelligence in both primates and humans (Lopez; Whiten, etc).  It goes without saying that this approach is the antithesis of the varieties of neo-racism that now permeate the semiosphere--for example, Nicholas Wade's neo-racist A Troublesome Inheritance: Genes, Race and Human History* (Penguin Press, 2014), and Gregory Cochran and Henry Harpending's neo-racist The 10,000 Year Explosion: How Civilization Accelerated Human Evolution** (2009).  Serious neo-racist works, such as these, have three characteristics.  First, " . . . the authors employ an undefined and oftentimes arbitrary racial classificatory scheme, assume race to be a natural fact, use ethnocentric metrics to measure intelligence and attempt to lay the ground work for the racial classification of humanity by intelligence."**.  Second, the works merely dress up in psuedo-scientific terms the dark side of neoliberalism--its racist mass appeal; and third--and the burden of this site--our whole culture seems to be animated by a feverish hostility to understanding humans as extremely complex cultural historical organisms.  In place of any actual study of real humans in their development, we have gross oversimplifications based on the prevailing ontological myths.  Thus, when I speak of psuedo-speciation, I am refering to culturally, historically, and politically-based developmental differentiation and divergence.  Ceci suggests that we speak of cognitive complexity rather than intelligence.  This is the approach taken in this site.  See also the excerpt from Chase.

*See Jonathan Marks'
review and blog
(anthropomics).  Also Geneticists say popular book misrepresents research on human evolution (Nature)

**reviewed by Cadell Last, Explorations in Anthropology, Vol.12, No. 1, pp. 120–123.
from T. D. Price and G. M. Feinman, Chapter 1, “Social Inequality and the Evolution of Human Social Organization”, in Pathways to Power: New Perspectives on the Emergence of Social Inequality (Springer, 2010)

In a very real sense, human society over the last 100,000 years or more may have been characterized by a fundamental tension between relations based on dominance, hierarchy, and kin altruism (part of our primate heritage) and new capacities for social cognition, cultural learning, alliance building, and cooperation, whether the latter behaviors were learned or part of recently acquired innate tendencies (Boehm 2000, Stone 2008: 79, Tomasello et al. 2005).

Also Philip G. Chase, The Emergence of Culture. The Evolution of a Uniquely Human Way of Life (excerpt)

Bruce G. Trigger, Understanding Early Civilizations (Cambridge, 2003)

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
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: The GOP as the Stupid Party: an Inadequate Conceptualization; or for interpreting the civil war within the early UAW, unfolding at the same time and generated by the same  inner logic as the Civil War in Spain (see Chicago Tribune 2-19-1939, pp. 1 and 12).  It is important to grasp the point of The GOP as the Stupid Party: sexual obsessiveness, rage and sadism--the stuff of Nietzsche's concept of ressentiment and Freud's concept of the mechanisms of defense--is a major force in history, the dark energy of politics, our heart of darkness manifested everywhere--on talk radio, Fox News, Republican rhetoric, everyday practice of the police, inter-personal conflicts . . .  With this in mind as a context for historical understanding, we can comprehend police violence, phenomenologically and analytically, as homologous with fascist violence.  This could be the framework for a phenomenological investigation, a joint enterprise of students and faculty of anthropology, history, political science, etc., with victims of police violence; in Baltimore, for example, where the victims and the students and faculty (from Johns Hopkins and other universities) could create a discursive field of shared intentionality wherein the victim is no longer a victim, but a phenomenologist, a historian, a theoretician, whose relation to the academics is not as informant or victim but as intellectual collaborator, as co-constructor of a discursive field.  (Some of my interviews with UAW organizers had this quality.)  Such a discursive field would also be a zone of proximal development.  This would have implications for a new kind of politics, a politics whose main objective would be the continuous development of "new capacities for social cognition, cultural learning, alliance building, and cooperation" (Price and Feinman)--a politics that is at least conceivable, even if impossible. (new link)  Such a politics would be a politics of Bildung, a pragmatic politics without a final goal, which in any event could only be a utopian fantasy in the absence of the development of new capacities, new ontologies.  Such a developmental politics would lack ideology in the usual sense of doctrine (whether the dogmas of neoliberalism or the dogmas of marxism).  Such a politics would dynamically reappropriate the Enlightenment heritage through a process of decanonization.  Put another way, no more exegeses of Kant, Hegel, Marx, Nietzsche and Lenin.  Think of authors as nodal points in the flux of thought and experience.  Such a politics--a politics of bildung--would find that there is much to learn from the bildungsproletrians who created the UAW. 

Some Bildungsproletarians of Southeast Michigan, 1920s to 1940s

my dialogical co-constructors under the sign of shared intentionality.  Complete list here.)

           Detroit's East Side

Frank Fagan
Murray Body UAW Local 2
Dick Frankensteen Dodge Main
UAW Local 3
Charles Watson Dodge Main UAW Local 3
Joe Adams Dodge Main UAW Local 3
Joe Ptazynski
Dodge Main UAW Local 3
Earl Reynolds Dodge Main UAW Local 3
Francis Moore Hudson
UAW Local 154
McDaniel Packard
UAW Local 190
Harry Kujawski Packard UAW Local 190
Eddie Dvornik Packard UAW Local 190
Leonard Klue Michigan Steel Tube UAW Local 238
Paul Silver
Det. Steel Prods
UAW Local 351
N = 35 interviewees
Midland Steel
UAW Local 410
Bill Jenkins Chrysler H.P.
UAW Local 490
Tony Podorsek
body-in-white supervisor Dodge, Cadillac

Friederich Nietzsche on the Bildungsproletarians of southeast Michigan

Of all people it is Nietzsche who best summarizes the praxis of these bildungsproletrians in southeast Michigan. 

from Friederich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil,  242

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.    

from Friederich Nietzsche, The Will To Power, Book IV, 960

From now on there will be more favorable preconditions for more comprehensive forms of dominion, whose like has never yet existed. And even this is not the most important thing; the possibility has been established for the production of international racial unions whose task will be to rear a master race, the future "masters of the earth"; a new, tremendous aristocracy, based on the severest self-legislation, in which the will of philosophical men of power and artist-tyrants will be made to endure for millennia -- a higher kind of man who, thanks to their superiority in will, knowledge, riches, and influence, employ democratic Europe as their most pliant and supple instrument for getting hold of the destinies of the earth, so as to work as artists upon "man" himself.  Enough: the time is coming when politics will have a different meaning.

              Detroit's West Side
 John & Minnie Anderson

Irene Marinovich

Dorosh (Silver/I)

CP Petrakovitz (II)
CP east side dist org

*Joe Jeffries (II)
Great Lakes Steel

*Al Rightly (III)

Mary Davis

Stanley Novak
Blain Marrin
Tool & Die Local 157

Ed Lock
Ford 600

Percy Llewelyn
Ford 600

To repeat the main theme of this site: 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."  This concept of divergence and differentiation emerged out of my effort to understand, on the one hand, the inner drive, the generative matrix, the psycho-cultural context and praxis, of the communists (whom I have known from birth), and the socialists, communists, and syndicalists (whom I met in the 1970s in southeast Michigan) who created the UAW; and on the other hand, the persistence of phenomena variously labeled as racism and fascism, and know by their more benign names as neo-conservatism and the Tea Party.            Flint and Pontiac
Norman Bully Buick (Flint)
UAW Local 599
Larry Jones Chevrolet (Flint)
UAW Local 659
Bill Genski Fisher Body #1 (Flint)
UAW Local 581
Cliff Williams Yellow Cab (Pontiac)
UAW Local 594
Saul Wellman

The Quantum Heterogeneity of Dasein: 5 Genetic Ontologies

This site is nothing less that a critique of the "people", and of the bourgeois-christian/cartesian presuppositional matrix that underlies almost all discourses on the cultural-historical trajectory of homo sapiens.  Among other things, this means that questions of belief and motive are seen as symptoms of a sclerosis of thought, manifestations of the above presupositional matrix.  One form this critique takes (and this owes something to Deleuze and Guatarri, who are my prehistoric--that is, pre-internet--ancestors) is--and this is only for starters--The Quantum Heterogeniety of Dasein: Five Genetic Ontolgies.  This is the point where you click on the Table of Sources.  This Table is generated by the application of the Cassirer Inclusion Rule and the Margolies Exclusion Rule.  (What Rules are these?  Click on Philosophy and History.)  The table at the right is a reminder of what is contained in the Table of Sources as a product of the two rules.  QHD-5 should be thought of as an operator deployed in any encounter with an "empirical" field.  The GOP as the Stupid Party: an Inadequate Conceptualization is a result of such a deployment.  It is a plane of immanence. 

Bildung: Bildung: Was Mozart a Communist?; The Keynesian Elite in the New Deal State; Bildungsproletarians on the Making of the UAW

The Quantum Heterogeneity of Dasein: 5 Genetic Ontologies

primate Mazur
paleolithic Whiten
ressentiment & the mechanisms of defense:
racism, nationalism, fascism
Nietzsche, Clarke, Paxton, Knox
bildung & the will to power:
progressive narcissism
Nietzsche, Hegel, Alcorn
regressive narcissism and the culture of consumption; repressive desublimation; the last man
Nietzsche, Hall, Ehrenberg

is a compression of Table of Sources.

Pseudo-speciation is a performative and phenomenological, not an ontological concept.  Ontological denotes a deep givenness of structure and performance.  Pseudo-speciation, unlike the evolutionary theory from which this term is borrowed, is supra-organic, referring not to the organism as a member of a species but to a super-organic field of performativity, so that it is not only possible but commonplace for the same organism to move from one pseudo-species (zone of performativity) to another, or to inhabit both fields simultaneously (see account of a classroom episode).  It is here that the concept of pseudo-speciation and genetic ontology meet.  Indeed, I am in the throes of working this out, and do not want to give the imprression of certainty where none exists.  What I can say with certainty is that failure to think along these lines--to incorporate the latest work in archeology, biology, psychoanalysis, history, and developmental psychology, etc.--is not an option.  This is the Cassirer rule.

Consider the role of financial and political elites in revitalizing the anti-intellectual cultures of ressentiment (the Scopes Trial of 1927 must therefor be viewed ironically), degrading zones of proximal development, and subverting the teaching profession; and also the triumph of nihilism as the socio-cultural engineering project of global corporate networks of unimaginable reach and power, generating an entropic process of disindividuation. This is an instance of psuedo-speciation: working class Christian fundamentalists, both white and  black, and working class cultures of ressentiment, both Catholic and irreligious, are undermined from birth in their cognitive development, confined to gestural and pre-operational modes of practice, increasingly isolated from "middle class" employment and lifestyle possibilities, and for whom instant gratification of the impulse of the moment is called "freedom" (see Dupre).  This is the neo-liberal base.  Its seeming embrace of neo-liberal dogma, however, does not reflect either belief (which presupposes the Cartesian self) or reason.  One must distinguish between a primate that can speak and one that can reason (as Deleuze does).  This is a phenomenon that must be approached clinically.  (Review the video of the Ground Zero debate.)

pseudo-speciation is a necessary context for understanding the threefold catastrophe.

the threefold catastrophe

One of the main points of this site
is to understand the current situation, the threefold catastrophe of:

a. the wreckage of socialism/progressivism*;

b. the persistence of fascism**;  and

c. the triumph of nihilism as the socio-cultural engineering project of global corporate networks of unimaginable reach and power, generating an entropic process of disindividuation. 

To most observers who care to think about these things
, the current situation represents a dramatic break with the whole historical dynamic that gave us the Russian revolution, Scandinavian Social democracy, and the American New Deal, so much so that it can be referred as the epoch of the threefold catastrophe, except that epoch implies some kind of stability within a delimited period of time.  Better to drop the term epoch and just leave it at the threefold catastrophe that we are living through, a moment characterized by the most explosive and yet unfathomable instability, notwithstanding Fukuyama-esque celebrations of the end of history (Francis Fukuyama, The End of History and the Last Man).  In other words, to use the language of complex systems and catastrophe theory, we are on the brink of or already entering into a singularity.  --breakdown of socialization qua bildung

Certain works allow us to approach this question of the singularity of the threefold catastrophe: Hall; Ehrenberg (The Weariness of the Self);  Stiegler--but especialy nietzsche: hence, the 21st century is N's century

wreckage of socialism, persistence of fascism

*I will argue elsewhere that the Russian Revolution and the New Deal (and Finnish Social Democracy) are homologous; that their common root was committment to science, planning, and human capital development (see Sheila Fitzpatrick, Education and Social Mobility in the Soviet Union 1921-1934); that their social base was amongst cosmopolitan moderns, in the universities, in workplaces (white collar and blue collar), and in progressive business and management milieux; and that their intentionality and habitus was bildung.  These latter involved identifying with and striving to achieve and further develop formal operational cognitive competence.  Their fundamental ontological modality--the generative matrix of their praxis--was Bildung.  (See Zelnick et. al.; TS)  I say this on the following basis: my own studies of the Keynesian elite and of the UAW; and on a selected number of texts related to the Russian Revolution.  Thus, the wreckage of socialism refers to--esp in the usa--the disintegration of the historical praxis-formation progressivism.

**The generative matrix of fascism is ressentiment and the mechanisms of defense.  "The legitimation of violence against a demonized internal enemy brings us close to the heart of fascism."  (Paxton p. 84)  Paxton sees the Tea Party as a current manifestation of the inner logic of fascism.  Today's public exposure of fascist police violence reveals only the tip of the iceberg.  Consider these two stories: Police Reject Candidate for Being Too Intelligent; and The Violent Legacy of Chicago’s Police. (ed. bd NYT)  1) Police forces vary sociologically according to the demographics they either serve or prey upon (Cleveland, Inkster)  2) nevertheless the blue wall of silence encapsulates the nature of the hegemonic culture and habitus of all police departments and precincts great and small.  3) the statement 99.9 % of cops are OK is a hopelessly naive and indeed primitive expression (i.e., on a fourth grade level of development)  if taken at face value, but also an index reflecting the degree to which our soft fascist culture establishes the boundaries of speech.
Pseudo-speciation (cont.)

Homo sapiens is a species capable of:

1. Projects 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
here).  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 (see The Keynesian Elite in the New Deal State), and in the praxis of the creators of the UAW (see Bildung: Was Mozart a Communist?)  The cultural-historical strategy of the Progressives-Socialists is most clearly expressed in the voices of post-war Finnish educational policy makers.  At that time the concept of brain plasticity had not yet been developed.  This concept, however, can be seen as implied by the theory and practice of progressive education.  Any future progressive politics will have to have as its centerpiece this developmental strategy, with the difference being that today we are living through a process of decognification, and the question facing "the masses" is one not of exploitation but of an imposed existential catstrophe that has cogntive and cultural as well as economic dimensions.  (Notwithstanding the apparent impossibility of such a politics emerging as a real practice, it can still be thought.)

2.  Other kinds of projects, originating out of the logics of capital and political power, are 1) the stimulation and exploitation of appetite and desire, and 2) the mobilization and shaping of resentiment in the struggle for political power.  Unlike the Enlightenment project, these projects of capital and power have no vision rooted in the higher cultural achievements of homo sapiens (Veblen, neolib)unless we call the apotheosis of consumption a vision.  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 penetrates 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. 

Nietz: as semiotics . . .

A 2015 case of a unformed fascist gang assaulting a black man (Inkster, Michigan) revealed that the officer charged with assault was dismissed from the Detroit Police dept; got a job at the Highland Park P.D. from which he was also dismissed; and ended up in Inkster.  Inkster, Michigan and Ferguson, Missouri.  Case of Cleveland cop

precincts and small towns does not vary: juror B7; interview with J. Jones; standard format of coverups and denials.

u ask.  Review the GOP as the Stupid Party

there is a much broader question here of the existential crisis manifested in the more violent expressionsof resentiment.  ehnce the genetic ontology rmd.

also the performative context of GOP stand your ground gun religion

The "exceptional human beings of the most dangerous and attractive quality" were the nuclei of the extraordinary praxis of those nominally called "workers".   In one sense this is all ancient (Fordist) history; in another sense its significance for understanding the (neoliberal) present has yet to be fathomed.  The present can only be understood through an understanding of the wreckage of socialism as a bildungspraxis, the persistence of fascism, and the triumph of nihilism.
sodalities vs. the enlightenment

Myths of the Archaic State vs. QHD5

Affairs of Party: The Political Culture of Northern Democrats in the Mid-Nineteenth Century

Most Dangerous Man in Detroit

Reformation & Enlightenment: the break with
the two racisms (liberal and fascist).  Ontological, epistemological, and behavioral racism.  Liberal racism is onto-epistemological; fascist racism adds the dynamic of otherization and sadism

But much more must be added . . .  cogntive and emotional, or biomental

cog dev once apeared to be on a different trajectory.  Bildung seemed to be a rising star.  The Scopes Trial can be taken as one marker; the New Deal another.  Progressivism--the Brandeis Brief and the Taylor Society.  Unbeknownst to me at the time of the above ineterviews (mid-1970s), I was collecting a documentation of the habitus of Bildung in the context of the historical vector of late 19th to mid-20th century industrialization.

I distinguish between two sets of informants. 
The Quantum Heterogeneity of Dasein: Five Genetic Ontologies

The table at the right, The Quantum Heterogeneity of Dasein: 5 Genetic Ontologies, puts Figure 1 in a broader context, elaborates with some specificy the implications of Nietsche's man is a bridge metaphor, and provides the means to better understand our recent history of wreckage, peristence, and triumph of socialism, fascism, and nihilism.  This is an effort to come to grips with the post-paleolithic development of the primate homo sapiens.

The cognitive divide revealed in the Rosenfeld, Musso, and Ground Zero examples between primitive and modern discursive practices (primitive and modern?  A first approximation, soon to be abolished . . . ) is the central feature of the two-party discursive field in the United States (the "Two-Party System": Semiotic Regimes).  It crops up also in Cliff Williams' (UAW, GM Truck & Bus, Pontiac) description of precisely this divide within the workforce of Pontiac, Michigan.  In Piagetian terms (the second approximation), the two-party discursive field is dominated on the left (liberal) by concrete-operational and pre-operational, and on the right (fascist) by pre-operational  and gestural cognitive modalities.  Missing almost entirely from the two-party discursive field is both the formal-operational cognitive modality of scientific thought, and the hermeneutical complexity of Geisteswissenschaften.  (Geisteswissenschaften in action: understanding Ferguson, Missouri.)  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."  It is my intention is to reconfigure developmental psychology in the service of decoding cognitive-discursive praxis throughout the entire semiosphere.  Examples: Mitt Romney's soliloquy on Michigan's trees; the Minutes of the Murray Body Committee UAW Local 2 at the Executive Board Meeting, April 26, 1939; the nihilistic chatter that characterizes much of CNN's discursive activity; comments posted on websites; the manner in which r*c*sm is discussed (Geisteswissenschaften is essential if we are to understand the phenomenological bundle denoted by the term racism).  And now, the brouhaha over Indiana's moral equivalent of lynching, The Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which can takes its place in the plane of immanence that is The GOP as the Stupid Party: an Inadequate ConceptualizationAlso takings their places Ferguson e-mails, report on police re Boston Mar. bombing

Following Ceci (right),The word "intelligence" ought to be retired in favor of cognitive complexity.  Rather than using measures of "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 Vygotsky and Luria 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.  (This Table is generated by the application of the Cassirer Inclusion Rule and the Margolies Exclusion Rule.  (What Rules are these?  Click on Philosophy and History.)

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).  The dying embers of Bildung are what Slavoj Zizek & Co. dance around.  Bildung in an especially concentrated form--that was the essence of Bolshevism--see the Wellman interview.  And see S.A. Smith, Revolution and the People in Russia and China: A Comparative History, Cambridge Univesity Press, 2008.  This book is indespensible.  Extensive excerts can be found here.  Also see Reginald Zelnick, Workers and Intelligentsia in Late Imperial Russia, University of California Press, 1999.  Steve Fraser's account of Sidney Hillman's first two decades is one of the best biographical accounts of the passion of bildung.  Even Stephen Kotkin's Stalin: Volume I: Paradoxes of Power, 1878-1928, cannot help but elucidate the inner cultural-historical, psychological dynamic of Bolshevism as Bildung even as he denies its existence.
Pseudo-speciation and the Threefold Catastrophe

the South African novelist "J. M." Coetzee has written an interesting essay on Philip Roth: " . . . a signal that the hunting season can commence."  Think "stand your ground laws" encouraging righteous homicide (Katz, Seductions of Crime, chapter 1, "Righteous Slaughter") as such a "signal", and George Zimmerman as one who heard and correctly interpreted that signal.

This is the emotional energy mobilized, stimulated, and manipulated by the economic and political elites associated with the ideology called neo-liberalism.  This mobilization occurs within a symbolic discursive framework whose cognitive modality is pre-operational and gestural.  This whole ensemble is a psuedo-species, chacterized by its cognitive and emotional performativity. 

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.)

These two dimensions of differentiation, the cognitive and the psychological, are antithetical to one derivative of the Enlightenment; let us call it the liberal humanitarianism indistinguishable from the Nihilism that Nietzsche wrote about.

 of commercial republicanism.  The key shibboleth of the latter is equality.  We are not supposed to talk about deeply structured inequality--we are not supposed to point out the absurdity and the stupidity of the slogan you can be anything you choose to.  This deeply structured inequality has nothing to do with genes and everything to do with history, politics, wealth and power.  The most direct and successful confrontation with this deeply structured inequality took place within post-war Finland.  On the other hand, an alaternative current of the enlightemnent--civic republicanism--can be seen as committed to development as much as to democracy.  Indeed, it can be shown that democracy is woefully undertermined and sel-contradictory as a concept.  Egalitarianism and evelopmentalism two very differnt things.  Marxism was fundamentally devleopmentalist raher tha ppulist.

Charles Taylor, A Secular Age (INDIVIDUATION)

Mitchell and Greenberg, Freud and Beyond

Hall et. al.




N=37 Bildungsproletrians

N=38 Midland

***And finally, depressing because this entire site leads to what at present seems like an inescapable conclusion: that nihilism and resentiment, the coexistence of incredibly shrinking selves (nihilism), and the permanent existential crisis that expresses itself in the politics of revenge and envy (ressentiment, the GOP base), are the now and future of homo sapiens.  It is simply impossible, under the present circumstances, to resurrect without major even violent alteration the progressive hopes and perspectives of the era of insutiral capitalism.

But why organize a discussion of this threefold catastrophe around Nietzsche?  Answer?  Because Nietzsche was strikingly--uniquely--prescient.  Nietzsche is to the post-modern era what Marx was to the era of industrial capitalism.  Nietzsche--and Marx--were immune to the field effect.  The Mind (the Absolute, not the individual mind) drives straight through conventions, shibboleths, prohibitions; drive through them and develops further by encountering and overcoming them.  The Pandora's box that Kant-Hegel opened proliferates in Marx, Nietzsche, Dewey, Deleuze--you get the picture.  Some call this the second Copernican revolution.  Brandom calls it a second Enlightenment.  But it is Nietzsche who speak most incisevely and directly to the era of the threefold catastrophe.

Critique of the people.  Consider the wreckage of socialism, which in part and only in part is the flip side of the persistence of fascism.  Enlightenment hopes of a rational collective subject arising in response to the challenge of capitalism proved to be illusory.  Instead, in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries ressentiment triumphed over Bildung as the hegemonic existential modality of homo sapiens.  This is seen clearly in the inner life of the United Auto Workers in Flint, Pontiac, Detroit, and Dearborn.  Elsewhere in the site I discuss the catastrophic civil war within the UAW from mid-1937 to April 1941, based on collaborative discussions characterized by a shared intentionality with 64 bildungsproletarians.*  This civil war was a microcosm of American politics as a whole in the period commencing with the rise of McCarthyism (which began with the late 1937/1938 reaction to the New Deal).  Nietzsche's understanding of ressentiment tells us more about the Tea Party and its predecessors than anyone writing today, and forces us to take a broader view of that which is called fascism.  (See Paxton.)  Two pages on this site are spun off from this concept of ressentiment: Ressentiment and the Mechanisms of Defense, and The GOP as the Stupid Party: An Inadequate Conceptualiation. 

 . . . To most observers who care to think about these things

Slavoj Zizek's "A Plea for Leninist Intolerance."

Bernard Stiegler, The Decadence of Industrial Democracies (Polity, 2011)

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

Alcorn, Narcissism and the Literary Self

Alain Ehrenberg, The Weariness of the Self: Diagnosing the History of Depression in the Contemporary Age ( (McGill-Queens University Press, 2010)

Pierre Dardot and Christian Laval, The New Way lf the World: On Neoliberal Society (Verso, 22013)

Paul de Gayand Glenn Morgan, eds., New Spirits of Capitalism: Crises, Justifications, and Dynamics (Oxford, 2013)

Steve Hall, Simon Winlow and Craig Ancrum, Criminal Identities and Consumer Culture: crime, exclusion and the new culture of narcissism (Willan Publishing, 2008)

Charles Taylor, A Secular Age (Harvard, 2007)

Naomi Klein

Judith Butler

Carlo Strenger
 Nietzsche's warning of the advent of nihilism--the future speaks even now in a hundred signs--is now being taken seriously.  Stiegler writes of disindividuation, of entropy.  Figure 1 is one of those signs pointing to our already well-advanced process of decognification.  Decognification is played out in real time on CNN.  Nihilism is now; Nihilism is everywhere.  Just consider the implications of these two articles:

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

Steve Jobs Was a Low-Tech Parent (the New York Times, 9-10-14)

Nihilsim as the socio-cultural engineering project of global corporate networks of unimaginable reach and power, generating an entropic process of disindividuation.  The most incisive psychoanalytically informed analysis of contemporary nihilism is Steve Hall, Simon Winlow and Craig Ancrum, Criminal Identities and Consumer Culture: crime, exclusion and the new culture of narcissism (Willan Publishing, 2008).  Click here for extensive excerpts.  In this context, read  Common Core, in 9-Year-Old Eyes (the New York Times, 6-14-14).  Read this with Hall and Stiegler and Nietzsche in mind, and you are on your way to becoming a transcendental empiricist.

Nietzsche on Nihilism

from Friedrich Nietzsche, The Will to Power, Preface, 2

What I relate is the history of the next two centuries. I describe what is coming, what can no longer come differently: the advent of nihilism.n This history can be related even now; for necessity itself is at work here. This future speaks even now in a hundred signs, this destiny announces itself everywhere; for this music of the future all ears are cocked even now. For some time now, our whole European culture has been moving as toward a catastrophe, with a tortured tension that is growing from decade to decade: restlessly, violently, headlong, like a river that wants to reach the end, that no longer reflects, that is afraid to reflect.
(Slavoj Zizek asks, "how are we to remain faithful to the old in the new conditions?"  I'm not sure what he means by this, but this entire site does just that (see remarks below on the cultural-historical trajectory, Enlightenment to New Deal), and in so doing is inevitably discourses marked and delimited by the field effect.

A second main point of this site is to open up the question of Being/becoming, of Dasein.  Without this it is impossible to understand the current situation.  Hence the concept of pseudo-speciation.  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."  Hence the references above to the work of Price and Feinman.  This cultural-historical opening  But much more must be added . . .

Norman Yoffee, Myths of the Archaic State: Evolution of the Earliest Cities, States, and Civilizations (Cambridge, 2005) is an invaluable resource in this exploration of the current situation (and is only 275 pp.).

" . . . the past is both the past as such yet present with the present as well." Levi R. Bryant, Difference and Givenness: Deleuze's Transcendental Empiricism and the Ontology of Immanence (p. 114). 

“The past isn’t dead.  It isn’t even past.”  William Faulkner, 1951.

Working within this kind of conceptual framework things, problems, and issues seemingly unrelated appear in a new light.  The recent video-related revelations of police violence and the civil war within the UAW in the late 1930s are two such "things."  Perhaps this is best developed through a narrative of my work on the UAW during April, 2015.

Amongst the workers in the uaw in flint and pontiac (and also in Packard and Hudson, and other plants in Detroit) the Black Legion, cousin to the KKK, was a real force in 1936-1939.  That's what I was working on in April.  In 1936 there was a grand jury investigation of the Black Legion which uncovered significant penetration of local government and law enforcement agencies in Pontiac, Flint, Royal Oak and Highland Park.  The black legion, after the flint sitdown strike had created a new institonal froawork for oportuists, took control of flint local 156 and pontiac local 159.  I had interviewed six uaw organizerts from flint and poitiac in the 1970s, and have begun to transpose them to digital format and listen to them after a laspe of forty years.

I also got a strikng insght from Bill Jenkins, leader of Chrysler local 490 in highland Park, on the sociological situation in pontiac.   Ark. group

As I am resrching this stuff while at the same time the whole string of recent police shooting is capped by the shooting of freddy___ , I am recalling an interview with a detroit police officer about his experience of racism in his precinct.

seen in the context of


1. interview with James Jones
2. discussions with Ira Todd
3. 4 cops in class discussion of Green case
4. Juror B7
5. Donald Sterling
6. Ferguson
7. Inkster (Detroit-->H.P.-->Inster P.D.)
8. Cleveland Tamir Rice
9. Blumenthal re police riot

the erformance of racism: rhetorical maneuvers and jabs
a note to no one in particular re. what to make of this blurb

My guess is that this collection, including the most recent writings contained therein, falls short on desire, rage, love, and grief, and focuses primarily on the self that seeks to make itself finds itself already affected and formed against its will by social and discursive powers.  It is now April 17, 2015I plan to get ahold of the book soon, but expect to find scant reference to the passions, as they manifest in fascism, Zimmermanian and Fergusonian racist violence; in the gesture of the lynch-mob that informs the rhetorical performances and audience responses of the GOP appeal to its "base"; in the fantasy of righteous slaughter at the heart of the GOP's rhetorical performances around the "issue" of gun rights, and so on and so forth (see The GOP as the Stupid Party: an Inadequate Conceptualization).

My guess is also that the question of cognitive development and of "class"-based divergent developmental trajectories (Figure 1) will not even be addressed, even though it is central to becoming a subject, and to individuation,  in the modern world.

And further, that the centrality of becoming a subject, of individuation, to the history of communism and of the CIO vanguard, will not be addressed.

That is, that the ground on which Judith Butler treads is safe ground, the ground of philosophical and literary criticism.

Maybe I'm wrong.

Judith Butler, Senses of the Subject (Fordham University Press, 2015)

from the Amazon blurb:

this book considers how passions such as desire, rage, love, and grief are bound up with becoming a subject within specific historical fields of power.

Butler shows in different philosophical contexts how the self that seeks to make itself finds itself already affected and formed against its will by social and discursive powers. And yet, agency and action are not necessarily nullified by this primary impingement. Primary sense impressions register this dual situation of being acted on and acting, countering the idea that acting requires one to overcome the situation of being affected by others and the linguistic and social world. This dual structure of sense sheds light on the desire to live, the practice and peril of grieving, embodied resistance, love, and modes of enthrallment and dispossession. Working with theories of embodiment, desire, and relationality in conversation with philosophers as diverse as Hegel, Spinoza, Descartes, Merleau-Ponty, Freud, and Fanon, Butler reanimates and revises her basic propositions concerning the constitution and deconstitution of the subject within fields of power, taking up key issues of gender, sexuality, and race in several analyses.
Eternal Return and the Absolute

the text is only an incident, a moment, in the unfolding of a problem.  The most important authors are those whose work resists exegesis precisely beause they provoke new thought; or because they are only beginning to grapple with a problem--thus, Hegel-Cassirrer-QHD/Philohistory

from Anindya Bhattacharyya, Notes on Nietzsche’s eternal recurrence, in (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).

Mammals (class Mammalia /məˈmeɪli.ə/) are a clade of endothermic amniotes distinguished from reptiles and birds by the possession of hair,[a] three middle ear bones, mammary glands, and a neocortex (a region of the brain).

A primate (Listeni/ˈpraɪmeɪt/ pry-mayt) is a mammal of the order Primates (Listeni/praɪˈmeɪtiːz/ pry-may-teez; Latin: "prime, first rank").[2][3] In taxonomy, primates include two distinct lineages, strepsirrhines and haplorhines.[1] Primates arose from ancestors that lived in the trees of tropical forests; many primate characteristics represent adaptations to life in this challenging three-dimensional environment. Most primate species remain at least partly arboreal.

Homininae is a subfamily of Hominidae that includes the members of hominini, which includes humans, as well as gorillas, chimpanzees, and some extinct relatives. It comprises all hominids that arose after the split from orangutans (Ponginae). The Homininae cladogram has three main branches, which lead to gorillas, chimpanzees, and humans.
re. Slavoj Zizek

This site is very close in spirit to Slavoj Zizek's "A Plea for Leninist Intolerance."  At the same time, it is critical of the ontological naïveté of the leftist dream-world, and the increasingly futile and apparently endless exegeses of Marx, Nietzsche, Lenin, etc.  This site is also critical of the ongoing search for a "class with radical chains," which, as Ranciere has shown, was bogus from the start.

Dreams of the emancipation of an ill-defined human subject are replaced, in this site, with a long-overdue critique of "the people."  (See below: The Quantum Heterogeneity of Dasein: Five Genetic Ontologies.)  In place of vague references to "the people" or "the working class," historical-cultural analyses--clinical analyses--of situations, actions, events.  Two arenas: the autoworkers of southeast Michigan, and the Keynesian elite (mostly in the northeastern United States).  The critical juncture: the "new deal" as contested ground.

Zizek asks (in the above link), "how are we to remain faithful to the old in the new conditions?"  This can only mean . . . [the historical trajectory . . . ] (fathful to the requirement that we constantly reconsider the past; hostility to doctrinization (Marxism, Freudianism, Leninism) as antithetical to dialectical practice; recognition of the enlightenment not as ideology, but as a new opening of being; that Vygotsky is still right-on (which is not say that he is correct) when seeing the need for Romantic . . .)

 . . . faithful to the inner logic of the historical trajectory Enlightenment to New Deal, which means now to go through what is hopefully a new inflection point in the trajectory of mind as embodied praxis.   The Enlightenment understood not as ideology, but, more fundamentally, as an inflection point in cognitive development as cultural-historical process; as not simply the emergence of the scientific frame of mind, but more profoundly, as developmental leap. Thus, the enlightenment as developmental trajectory of a superorganism marked both by the emergence and continued development of science and formal operational competence (see PISA results): the habitus of progressivism; and by the hermeneutical complexity of the Geisteswissenschaften: the Second Enlightenment of Hegel, Nietzsche, Dewey, and Vygotsky.

 (Luria, Mind)  To speak of "Marxism" or "Leninism" is utterly contrary to the spirit of pragmatism that understands itself as an ongoing praxis that inevitably proceeds through a relationship of aufheben with all that has preceded us.  Thus the spirit of Marx's efforts is best served by dispensing with much of what has been associated with Marxism.  What I mean by a new inflextion point will become clearer as you progress through this site.

Consider these two recent books.  New Spirits of Capitalism? Crises, Justifications, and Dynamics
, and The New Way Of The World: On Neoliberal SocietyIn the place of coming to grips with
the post-paleolithic development of the primate homo sapiens, these books give a tortured and unconscious expression of that which they want to problematize: neoliberalism.  The assumption is that there is an innocent human subject, oppressed by forms of adventadvent
What I relate is the history of the next two centuries. I describe what is coming, what can no longer come differently: the advent of nihilism. This history can be related even now; for necessity itself is at work here. This future speaks even now in a hundred signs, this destiny announces itself everywhere; for this music of the future all ears are cocked even now. For some time now, our whole European culture has been moving as toward a catastrophe, with a tortured tension that is growing from decade to decade: restlessly, violently, headlong, like a river that wants to reach the end, that no longer reflects, that is afraid to reflect.Friedrich Nietzsche, Will to Power, Preface, §2

What I relate is the history of the next two centuries. I describe what is coming, what can no longer come differently: the advent of nihilism. This history can be related even now; for necessity itself is at work here. This future speaks even now in a hundred signs, this destiny announces itself everywhere; for this music of the future all ears are cocked even now. For some time now, our whole European culture has been moving as toward a catastrophe, with a tortured tension that is growing from decade to decade: restlessly, violently, headlong, like a river that wants to reach the end, that no longer reflects, that is afraid to reflect.Friedrich Nietzsche, Will to Power, Preface, §2

What I relate is the history of the next two centuries. I describe what is coming, what can no longer come differently: the advent of nihilism. This history can be related even now; for necessity itself is at work here. This future speaks even now in a hundred signs, this destiny announces itself everywhere; for this music of the future all ears are cocked even now. For some time now, our whole European culture has been moving as toward a catastrophe, with a tortured tension that is growing from decade to decade: restlessly, violently, headlong, like a river that wants to reach the end, that no longer reflects, that is afraid to reflect., a subject conceived of in the mode of the early enlightenment as a Cartesian individual (even if dressed up in the language of class).

from Philip G. Chase, The Emergence of Culture. The Evolution of a Uniquely Human Way of Life (Springer, 2006)

Human behavior and ape behavior, like that of all mammals, is guided in part by ideas, concepts, beliefs, etc. that are learned in a social context from other individuals of the same species.  Among humans, however, some of these are not just learned socially but are also created socially, through the interactions of multiple individuals. . . .  Culture cannot be understood at the level of the individual alone.  Knowing the motivations and mental constructs of the individuals invlved may be necessary to understand cultural creations or cultural changes, but it is not sufficient.  It is also necessary to analyze the interactions of those involved.  In this sense, human culture is an emergent phenomenon in a way that nonhuman "culture" is not.  As Mihata (1997:36) put it,

what we describe most often as culture is an emergent pattern existing on a separate level of organization and abstraction from the individuals, organizations, beliefs, practices or cultural objects that constitute it.  Culture emerges from the simultaneous interaction of subunits creting meaning (individuals, organizations, etc.)

This emergent property of human culture has important implications.  It makes the nature of human social life different in fundamental ways from that of all other species (in spite of the continuities that also exist).  It makes it possible for groups of humans to coordinate their behavior in ways that are impossible for nonhumans.  It changes the relationship of the individual to the social group.  Because culture provides motivations for the behavior of the individual, it gives the group a means of controlling the individual that is absent among other primates.  Among all living humans, culture provides a (uniquely human) mental or intellectual context for almost everything the individual thinks or does.

Reviewed by Leonid Vishnyatsky, Institute for the History of Material Culture, Dvortsovaya nab. 18, St. Petersburg, 191186, RUSSIA

the Question of Neoliberalism and the Threefold Catastrophe

Eternal Return vs. Narrative (Plane of Immanence)