Invisible University: SITE MAP

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

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

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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.  These videos must be borne in mind, in the raw as it were.  This is the stuff of contemorary life, which should not be denatured by the substitution of abstract concepts.  Bearing it all in mind: this is one of the practices of transcendental empiricism. 

Merlin Donald provides a broader--that is, a theoretical--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.  (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.




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.)

Zizek asks (in the above link), "how are we to remain faithful to the old in the new conditions?"  This can only mean . . .  (fathful to the requirement that we constantly reconsider the past; hostility to doctrinization (Marxism, Freudianism, Leninism) as antithetical to dialectical practice; recognition that the enlightenment not as ideoloogy, 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.  (Someone should write a book on Ludwig von Westphalen, Marx's father-in-law.)  The Enlightenment not misconstrued (as it usually is) 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 power, a subject conceived of in the mode of the early enlightenment as a Cartesian individual.

from Donald Reid, Introduction to Ranciere's The Nights of Labor: The Workers' Dream in Nineteenth Century France (Temple U Press, 1989)

   The caesura in Marx's work was not the result of an epistemological revolution in 1845, but of his disappointment with the failure of the workers' revolution three years later.  The break was marked by repression of the knowledge that artisinal workers opposed to the spread of large industry had formulated the idea of workers' emancipation.  Marx (and Engels) came instead to place their hopes for a new revolutionary order in the factory proletariat to come, which would be molded by the discipline of large industry.  With this development, the proletariat left the real of social experience to become a normative category consecrated by a certain Marxist "science." (pp. xxi-xxii)

the Second Enlightenment
hnv                         Nietzsche                                                     Hegel                                                    Vygotsky


Robert B. Brandom, Perspectives on Pragmatism: Classical, Recent, and Contemporary (Harvard, 2011), p. 36 (emphasis added)

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.

Karl Marx, Theses on Feuerbach (1845)

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.


Zizek's convoluted paragraph (at the right) can be taken as our Gordian knot: if we could just cut to the chase, the language could be disentangled and we would have something like Nietzsche's formula  " . . . a Yes, a No, a straight line, a goal."  (
The Antichrist, 1)  But the question is not "What is to be done?" but rather, "What are we to become?"  What is to be done presupposes--unconsciously--the unproblematic givenness of the subject.  What are we to become?  There's the question.  M
an is a bridge.  What is to be done--what can be done--is dialectically entangled with what we can become.  And that question can only be addressed by first asking how we became what we are today.  Looking back from the vantage point of the early twenty-first century, we see

a. the wreckage of socialism;
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. 



Coming to grips with this situation and going beyond it would constitute the
new inflection point in the trajectory of mind as embodied praxis.  The Quantum Heterogeneity of Dasein has to be our point of departure.

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


What, then, is the criterion of the political act? Success as such clearly doesn't count, even if we define it in Merleau-Ponty's dialectical way (as the wager that the future will retroactively redeem our present horrible acts); neither do any abstract-universal ethical norms." The only criteria is the absolutely inherent one: that of the enacted utopia. In a proper revolutionary breakthrough, the utopian future is neither simply fully realized, present, nor simply evoked as a distant promise that justifies present violence. It is rather as if, in a unique suspension of temporality, in the short circuit between the present and the future, we are--as if by Grace--for a brief time allowed to act as if the utopian future were (not yet fully here, but) already at hand, just there to be grabbed. Revolution is not experienced as a present hardship we have to endure for the happiness and freedom of the future generations but as the present hardship over which this future happiness and freedom already cast their shadow--in it, we already are free while fighting for freedom, we already are happy while fighting for happiness, no matter how difficult the circumstances [Bildung makes this so much clearer!]. Revolution is not a Merleau-Pontyan wager, an act suspended in the futur anterieur, to be legitimized or delegitimized by the long term outcome of the present acts; it is as it were its own ontological proof, an immediate index of its own truth. [1]
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).  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 the 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 its 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 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 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.
 

This question of genetic ontology--of dynamic ontology--is fundamental.  The alternative to this is the usual primitive Cartesianism entrenched in neoliberal dogma (Bakhurst, p. 51, n. 39 right ➘).  In my usage of the term ontology I am in accord with de Beistegui.*  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 the rhetorical performances of the populist (fascist-conservative) right.  Without this revolutionary expansion of our understanding of being/becoming--the existence on earth of an animal soul turned against itself, taking sides against itself, was something so new, profound, unheard of, enigmatic, contradictory--we can understand nothing of our own recent history.  Instead, such understanding as we purport to have can only be taken as symptoms.

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 this second decade of the twenty-first century are two "things":

1.  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 Brandom-Sellars**)--with the archive of theoretical and historical texts.  This is called transcendental empiricism by Deleuze (Hegel's concept of the concrete-universal).  (On Deleuze see Difference and Givenness.) 

2.  the perspective afforded by looking back from the vantage point of the early twenty-first century, from which we see a. the wreckage of socialism; 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.



 *   Miguel de Beistegui, Truth and genesis : philosophy as differential ontology (Indiana University Press, 2004).  (What about Piaget's Genetic EpistemologyMore on this later.)

** 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." 
"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), p. 362.  Genetic epistemology meets genetic ontology--see Bakhurst and Shanker, Jerome Bruner: Language, Culture, Self (Sage, 2001)


The Quantum Heterogeneity of Dasein: 5 Genetic 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 . . .  (see Habitus.)



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.


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.


David Bakhurst, The Formation of Reason (Wiley-Blackwell, 2011), note 39

See, e.g., Løvlie (2003), who argues that a postmodern conception of Bildung must reject a ‘neo-liberal’ conception of the individual as a ‘free, rational agent firmly centered on his own ego and preferences’ and deny that ‘the linguistic and historical subject’ has ‘privileged access to itself as its own property’. He continues: ‘The “I” is neither a homunculus—the little man or agent within consciousness—nor is it free and independent in its capacity as an ego that plays with its different faces or identities. It seems, indeed, that the subject is not identical with itself in the process of Bildung. The subject cannot succeed in its quest for identity because this endeavour is suspended in non-identity, that is, in the impossibility of defining oneself as this person’ (p. 157).
kk

right vs. left (ressentiment vs. bildung
)



Nietzsche's 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 (Anatomy of Fascism, 2004) has noted in his comments on the Tea Party.  (The concept of
Ressentiment is also indespensible for an understanding of Stalinism*--Lewin, Getty, Mironov, Smith).  Ressentiment and the Mechanisms of Defense is related to Deleuze and Guattari's concept of despotic regime.  Nietzsche's insights into right wing populism are confirmed and enriched by recent scholarship.   On fascism today, in addition to Paxton, the two books (click now then return) by Max Blumenthal demonstrate what can be done by a journalism informed by a psychoanalytic sensibility (and thus able to expose our contemporary heart of darkness).  On politics and political culture Miles, Lowndes and Lieven are indespensible.  On the phenomenology of ressentiment What's the Matter with Kansas.  There are also 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 fascism (To the Threshold of Power: Origins and Dynamics of the Fascist and National Socialist Dictatorships) resonates with Nietzsche's comments on the nationalism and racism--the ressentiment--of his time (Also Aristotle Kallis, Genocide and Fascism, and Helmut Smith, Continuities of German History).  As Robert Paxton has noted, fascism in the United States is as American as apple pie.  Fascism in America is treated with astonishing deference and an even more astonishing simple-mindedness by the liberal media (CNN and MSNBC)--but I am getting ahead of my story.  And Lears, Rebirth of a Nation: the Making of Modern America, 1877-1920, is indespensible.

McMahon and Vincent (right) makes clear that the Right-Left model which emerged in reaction to the Enlightenment and the French Revolution is still the fundamental matrix of contemporary politics.  Too often this conflict is refered to as a merely ideological struggle.  Ideology is another of those terms that ought to be retired; it reeks of Cartesianism.  (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 (Rumph-Mozart).  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.  From the standpoint of genetic ontology as cognitive performativity, the Enlightenment is a different order of cognitive-psychological being from ressentiment. (Think of Sarah Palin as depicted in Game Change.)  {Just out and a must read: The Sacred Dead by Helen Graham.  Review of Franco: A Personal and Political Biography by Stanley Payne and Jesús Palacios, in London Review of Books, March 5, 2015.}

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."



**On Bildung: David Bakhurst,  The Formation of Reason (Wiley-Blackwell, 2011)
This book is a good example of the futility of debating cartesian materialism.  The point is not to look backward but forward; not to try to persuade but to do the work.  "Let the dead bury their dead" said one famous personage (Lenin in Sotsial-Demokrat No. 35, December 12, 1914) quoting another (Luke 9:60).




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 Mary Vincent, "The Spanish Church and the Popular Front: the experience of Salamanca province," in Martin S. Alexander and Helen Graham, eds., The French and Spanish Popular Fronts (Cambridge University Press, 1989)

Catholic polemicists writing during the Civil War had no difficulty in blaming the Popular Front for the tragic end of the Second Republic.  One of the innumerable tracts put out by Catholic apologists in support of the generals' rising [Franco] baldly stated that the Popular Front was essentially evil, 'a monstrous conglomeration of anti-Catholic political parties' whose tyranny was manifested in its persecution of the 'sacred institutions' of the family, relgion and property.  Manipulated by international masonry, it intended to deliver Spain to Soviet communism thus betraying both the fatherland and the Catholic religion. (p. 79)

This appeal for united action was given greater weight by the presentation of the Popular Front as the Church's declared enemy, a nihilitic alliance of the forces of evil.  The right was firm in its intentions to cauterize all 'unhealthy' elements in the Spanish state.  In 1933 Gil Robles had announced the need to purge the fatherland of 'judaising freemasons'.  In 1936 he broadened this considerably, saying on the eve of the elections that the party wanted primarily

to eliminate the sowers of discord who leave the fatherland broken and blood-stained, to eliminate in the realm of ideas that suicidal rationalism which, killing the great universal ideas of Catholicism and the fatherland, had broken with those supreme factors which made up the soul of the nation.

The CEDA called on all its supporters to work against 'anti-Spain', 'against the revolution and its accomplices', obscure figures commonly understood to be marxists, fremasons and Jews.  In similar vein, the Dominican Father Carrión published an article in his Order's journal which spoke of those three forces aligning themselves against Spain.  Jewish marxists, expelled from ghettos all over the world, came to Spain where 'they settle down and sprawl about as in conquered territory'.
rReady to Die, 2013. Iggy Pop on album cover

from Robert Fisk on ISIS


A remarkable AFP report tells of a 15-year-old girl from Avignon who left for the Syrian war last January without telling her parents. Her brother discovered she led parallel lives, with two Facebook accounts, one where she talked about her normal teenage life, another where she wrote about her desire to go “to Aleppo to help our Syrian brothers and sisters”. Mr Pradel said the “radicalisation” was very quick, in one case within a month. It reminds me horribly of the accounts of American teenagers who lock themselves on to the internet for hours before storming off to shoot their school colleagues and teachers.
Robert Fisk on Isis: Propaganda war of Islamic extremists is being waged on Facebook and internet message boards, not mosques    The Independent (Sunday 12 October 2014)

Patrick Cockburn, Iraq descends into anarchy: Shia militias 'abducting and killing Sunni civilians in revenge for Isis attacks' The Independent (Tuesday 14 October 2014)

A Norway Town and Its Pipeline to Jihad in Syria  NYT 4-4-15

‘ISIS: Inside the Army of Terror,’ and More NYT Sunday Book Review 4-1-15

Nihilism and Disindividuation: Entropy

Nietzsche's concept of
nihilism is an uncanny premonition of the culture of mass consumption now sweeping the world, a culture that involves disindividuation (the antithesis of bildung).  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 et. al., Criminal Identities and Consumer Culture) as the highest stage of nihilism conceived of clinically.  This is the post-modern triumph of capitalism (a word also in need of retirement 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 depending on culture and politics (Johanna Bockman, Markets in the Name of Socialism: The Left-Wing Origins of Neoliberalism, Stanford University Press, 2011).  Alfred Chandler Jr. (The Visible Hand) on corporatization as the subversion of markets.  Entropy as spectacle: the media in all its forms. 

A formula that generates the liberal media:  " . . . the happy nihilism of the 'last man,' who makes everything comfortable, small, and trivial." (Hatab, A Nietzschean
Defense of Democracy
, p. 28) 

This page so far: man is a bridge, and fascism a generic phenomenon of modernity and a central feature of American life (and thus one cannot escape the gravitational field of Melanie Klein, who was neither right nor wrong, but was  . . . ).  Entropy (Nihilism; the last man): Does Figure 1 say anything about the cognitive effects of our enormously powerful corporate networks devoted to the stimulation of desire and envy (read these two extraordinary articles,* The Extraordinary Science of Addictive Junk Food, New York Times, February 20, 2013, and Steve Jobs Was a Low-Tech Parent, New York Times, 9-10-14)?  Is the whiggish variety of Progressivism a utopian pipe-dream, Hegel with a 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." (Bakhurst, Thompson ➘)
So now we know: the "communal-humanist alternative to capitalism" was a pipe-dream--and also a symptom
("but as semiotics it remains of incalculable value") of an ontological weakness, a perhaps insurmountable contradiction within homo sapiens as an historical being/becoming.
* The significance of the junk food article is more or less evident: financial power centers have seized hold of the organism directly, through appetite and desire.  The Steve Jobs article is more subtle and more chilling: it shows that the leading Silicon Valley capitalists recognize that the new world of semiotic activity opened up by their products undermines Bildung, and they take measure within their own families to protect their children from this threat to their intellectual development.  These two articles are what Bernard Stiegler writes about.  (Also Tobacco and Psychoactive pharmaceuticals.  Merchants of Doubt)

**Esp. the rise of neo-patrimonialism. 
Thomas Piketty, Capital in the Twenty-First Century  (Harvard, 2014).  See Paul Krugman review.  The resurgence of “patrimonial capitalism” in our time is the subject of Richard Lachmann,  "American Patrimonialism: The Return of the Repressed."  Also see Thomas Friedman, Is It Sheldon Adelson’s World?  Op ed in New York Times March 11, 2015.  Wilbur Cash on the proto-Dorian convention.
 

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)


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 capabilities 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)


Bulletin of the Taylor Society, Aug 1925, p. 181

“The new commodity [autos] combined elements of appeal to pleasure, social status, and utility.”


Tamás Krausz, Reconstructing Lenin: An Intellectual Biography (Monthly Review Press, 2015)

. . . a communal-humanist alternative to capitalism.

Nietzsche, Twilight, p. 55 

To this extent moral judgment is never to be taken literally: as such it never contains anything but nonsense.  But as semiotics it remains of incalculable value: it reveals, to the informed man at least the most precious realities of cultures and inner worlds which did no know enough to ‘understand’ themselves.. Morality is merely sign-language, merely symptomatology . . ..

David Bakhurst, The Formation of Reason (Wiley-Blackwell, 2011)

Evan Thompson, Mind in Life: Biology, Phenomenology, and the Sciences of Mind (Harvard, 2007)

Marx and Nietzsche

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 critiqued the emerging hegemonic bourgeois regime, Marx along the lines of class and capitalist 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

But entirely unconceived by Nietzsche was that nihilism** would become the socio-cultural engineering project of global corporate networks of unimaginable reach and power.  (Food and Jobs articles above.)  The question of capitalism is thus posed in a far more intense and urgent way than ever before, for corporate power is no longer a question external to the question of being, no longer a question of the oppression and exploitation of an already given and thus unthought being. 

* 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.
** nihilism further specified: psychoactive drugs, therapy, quackery . . .








BOOKS

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

Lears, Rebirth of a Nation

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 (Knopf, 2004)

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

Der Spiegel Interview with Martin Heidegger (1966): "Only a god can still save us."

Bildung and the Will To Power: the Inner Logic of the Enlightenment

from S.A. Smith, Revolution and the People in Russia and China: A Comparative History (Cambridge Univesity Press, 2008)  (For more selections from Smith click here.)

I tend to agree with Charles Taylor that there are resources for self-reflexive thought, action and attitudes in all societies, but that the making of the self into a noun has been a relatively recent historical development associated with the West.  Taylor sees the modern western self as defined, first, by powers of reason, which are in turn associated with ideals of autonomy and dignity; second, by self-exploration; and third, by personal commitment. [Taylor, Sources of the Self, 113, 211]  p. 7

This chapter goes on to examine that minority of workers who, having come into contact with western-influenced ideas of the self via the intelligentsia, strove to educate themselves and to acquire 'consciousness', a term that carries the idea of reworking oneself morally and intellectually in order to assert oneself against the world. p. 70


It is impossible to overemphasize the importance of Smith's work, which for readers of this site should be apparent upon reading the selections in the above link.  This may be the point at which I say stop.  Read these excerpts, then read the excerpts from Rumph, Dupre, and Alcorn in Bildung: Was Mozart a Communist? (this will only take a few minutes), and then continue.  Although Smith's book is catalogued under Communism -- China -- History, and Communism -- Russia -- History, by making Bildung the central theme of his work Smith goes far beyond what is generally thought of as history and politics.  The emergence of modern Progressivism, the Keynesian elite, and the United Auto Workers can and must be understood within the same conceptual framework that Smith applies to the Russian and Chinese revolutions. 

Once upon a time the now nearly forgotten genetic ontology--bildung and the will to power--was center stage, and imagined itself to be the wave of the future.  It took many forms--in music (Mozart), literature (Goethe, Schiller), and philosophy (Hegel, Marx, Dewey), in educational theory (Dewey, Vygotsky) and in politics (Brandeis, Cooke, Ezekiel, Lunacharsky, Lenin).  In its most radical--and desperate--form, it was the Bolsheviks and the Russian Revolution.  In its more moderate--and confident--form, it was the Keynesians and the New Deal.  

Before objecting to this linkage, consider Michael Mann's comments at the right (︎➚).  The first point he makes is that modern nations are to be located on a "continuum of class relations."  That is, the concept of isomorphism applies.  The second point affirms the existence of  "a self-conscious, partly autonomous intelligentsia."  This is the social milieu of Bildung as a force to be reckoned with (see Sheila Fitzpatrick, The Cultural Front: Power and Culture in Revolutionary Russia.  More on Fitzpatrick later).  This applies as well to the cosmopolitan Progressives in the United States (see Daniel T. Rodgers, Atlantic Crossings: Social Politics in a Progressive Age, and The Keynesian Elite in the New Deal State, 1910-1939.)  For insight into the making of this partly autonomous intelligentsia, read  Jhumpa Lahiri's The Lowland.  This novel is a must read.

Bolshevism / New Deal: an Isomorphism

Isomorphism from dantestslayouts.blogspot.com

Michael Mann, The Sources of Social Power. Volume II: The rise of classes and national states (Cambridge University Press, 1993)

America has not so much been exceptional as it has gradually come to represent one extreme on a continuum of class relations.  America has never differed qualitatively from other national cases.  Differences have been of degree, not kind. . . .  Explanations asserting an original and enduring American exceptionalism . . . have only a very limited truth.  638

On representation, Russia was at the opposite extreme from the United States. . . .  But even the eastern edge of the western ideological community experienced the more liberal legacy of the Enlightenment. . . .  Among Russian professionals, gentry and aristocrats, and state administrators, a self-conscious, partly autonomous intelligentsia emerged, advancing alternative versions of progress.  660

  New Deal                    Russian Revolution 
w
Jeffreys, Fifty Years at Chrysler        S. A. Smith, Red Petrograd



S. A. Smith, Red Petrograd: Revolution in the Factories, 1917-1918 (Cambridge University Press, 1983)


S.A. Smith, Revolution and the People in Russia and China: A Comparative History (Cambridge Univesity Press, 2008)


Steve Jefferys, Management and Managed: Fifty Years of Crisis at Chrysler (Cambridge University Press, 1986)

A partly autonomous intelligentsia? (Yvon Grenier, The Emergence of Insurgency in El Slavador: Ideology and Political Will.  The use of the term ideology is a symptom of the hegemony of Cartesianism.  In fact, what Grenier is describing in his book is better conceptualized by Smith as bildung.)  I will go one step further: class is a secondary phenomenon, more analytical strategy (and Platonic metaphysics) than ontological presence.  What is ontologically prior to class are the five genetic ontologies that originate within the flux of primate evolution.  Attempts to see in fascism the machinations of even a fraction of capital have now been laid to rest by modern scholarship (Turner, Kershaw, McGreggor, Smith, Walser).  And attempts to see in the emergence of the UAW the manifestations of an ontologically prior class formation (the working class) also fail (William M. Reddy, Money and Liberty in Modern Europe: A Critique of Historical Understanding).  The very modality of thought through which the problem of class and agency is posed is intrinsically incapable of understanding becoming, emergence, praxis.  This is what emerges from the interviews of 64 UAW organizers I conducted in the mid-1970s in southeast Michigan (those I am actively working on are listed at the right).

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 of an entirely different kind, referred to variously as bildung and the will to power--aufheben, emergence, praxis, agency--these concepts are entangled in a common vitalist sensibility.  Hegel and Nietzsche (see Stephen Houlgate, Hegel, Nietzsche, and the criticism of metaphysics and Elliot L. Jurist, Beyond Hegel and Nietzsche: Philosophy, Culture, and Agency) 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.  Indeed, the more I read of Russian history* while simultaneously digitalizing and listening to my 1970s interviews, the more apparent it is to me that what is called bolshevism is a more generic phenomenon of modern times (Hobsbawm's short twentieth century, although I would define my epoch as 1890s to 1950s).  Hobsbawm's terminial date is the collapse of the Soviet Union; my terminal date is the defeat of bildung as historical praxis.  I know this is vague.  It clears up as you move along.

A close look at the battlefield between bildung and ressentiment, between progressivism and fascism, will help to clarify what I mean by
bolshevism as a more generic phenomenon of modern times.  That battlefield was everywhere, but unless one looks closely at the specifics one misses everything.  Detroit's east side was one of those battlefields. The two quotes from Nietzsche (below) nicely characterize the praxis of the bildungsproletarians who created what came to be known as the United Auto Workers.  This praxiological vanguard of autoworkers (circa 1933-1944) was virtually identical to the praxiological vanguard of the Petrograd Bolsheviks (circa 1912-1918).  Praxis, not ideology, is what must be attended to.  The rhetorical trope ideology is nothing more than a symptom of cartesianism as a sclerosis of the mind.  A fundamentally identical praxis (on the level of genetic ontology) can manifest itself under different circumstances in different rhetorical and political expressions, and can engage its larger context of other actors and different circumstances in ways that produce dramtically different outcomes.  It is profoundly stupid to seen in the Stalinism of the 1930s the inevtiable outcome of something called leninism (which is mostly in the form of an epithet: I am still looking for a decent piece of social history that gives us a picture of the bolshevik circles that contained the likes of Kanatchikov (A Radical Worker in Tsarist Russia: the Autobiography of Sëmen Ivanovich Kanatchikov).  Read Rabinowitz's The Bolsheviks Come to Power and marvel at the complete absence of Lenin in the crucial weeks from the July revolt (which Lenin opposed) to the seizure of power in October.


           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

           Detroit's West Side
 John & Minnie Anderson
Fleetwood
UAW Local 15
Irene Marinovich
Ternstedt
UAW Local 174
Stanley Novak

Communist Party
Blain Marrin
Tool & Die
UAW Local 157
Ed Lock
Ford 600
UAW Local 600
Percy Llewelyn
Ford 600
UAW Local 600

          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
Flint
Communist Party

Bildungsproletarians as Ubermenschen


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.    

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.
Dodge Main, center.  Midland Steel, lower right.  Detroit Steel Products just out of sight, lower left.  Michigan Steel Tube about five blocks north of Dodge.  Murray Body two block east of Dodge.  Chrysler Highland Park is just to the north west of Dodge.  Packard is just out of sight at the lower left of this photo.
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Packard
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Milieu and Class in Genetic Ontologies

The question of the autonomy of praxis is critical.  Class analysis misses the entire process, the phenomenology and praxis, of bildung and the will to power, that one sees in the Flint sitdown strike, in the inner life, the agency, of the originariers in Michigan Steel Tube, Dodge Main, and elsewhere.  Functionally the concept of class does not differ from the concept of God's will as an explanatory factor.  Both God and class are imposed from the outside (of the phenomena in question).  Agency is thus derivative, not originary.  For what may appear to be a class analsysis but is not, see The Keynesian Elite in the New Deal State, 1910-1939.  (To speak of elites wielding power is not a class analysis.)  Reddy, looking for actors and agency, disolves class into milieus, but is simultaneously aware that this is unsatisfactory.  No matter how far down you drill, as long as you are beholden to the Platonic metaphysic (see Deleuze): you will never find the source of agency in the external circumstances of its action, only the setting.  (See Nietzsche, Marx, and Moretti to the right.)

This is what makes Michael Mann's reference to autonomy so interesting.  By autonomy he must certainly mean a force, a source of agency, that cannot be reducible to the unfolding of a logic of class, that cannot be derived from anything other than . . . itself!  Of course, as Marx said (1852), "Men make their own history, but they do not make it as they please; they do not make it under self-selected circumstances, but under circumstances existing already."  But it is the Hegelian Marx who said this.

The word intelligentsia is in this context misleading, inasmuch as it refers to a social formation rather than to the inner logic--the genetic ontology--peculiar to it: Bildung and the Will to Power.  It is out of my own experience (from the 1950s and then from the 1970s to the year I retired) of two milieus that were intelligentsia-like in their praxis and habitus, but definitely non-bourgeois in class position, that forced me to aufheben the Platonic materialism and Cartesian individualism of my Marxist habutus.

But network and milieu, habitus and class, are useful concepts, as long as they are kept in their place.  Thus, I offer these two refinements, the better able to express the will to power through the negation of the Platonic germ lurking in any nominalization:

the plebeian upstarts among the various white collar strata of the twentieth century (see Splintered Classes: Politics and the Lower Middle Classes in Interwar Europe, esp. Jeffrey; and two chapters by Danniel T. Orlovsky); Quiz Show

and the bildungsproletarians.  Note first that I am not referring to "classes"--neither petty-bourgeois nor proletarian.  Intentionality, praxis, habitus--not class (except in a merely descriptive sense).  Plebeian upstarts would be the modal descriptor of the Communists I knew in New York (I was the kid in the room/fly on the wall).  Bildungsproletarians would be the modal descriptor of the UAW organizers I interviewed in the mid-1970s in southeast Michigan (Detroit, Flint, Pontiac)--see The Interviews: N=64.

The purpose of this refinement is to escape the gravitational pull of the black hole of Platonism.  This is done by retaining the plural--the bildungsproletarians, not the bildungsproletariat.  The distinction Moretti makes between the Bildungsburgertum and the Besitzburgertum ︎➚ is fundamental if we are to understand these plebeian upstarts and bildungsproletarians.  In this regard what could be clearer than this exchange between me and Saul Wellman (a leading Michigan Communist)?
↘︎


from Friederich Nietzsche, Geneology of Morals, II, 12

The democratic idiosyncracy which opposes [the will to power] has permeated the realm of the spirit and disguised itself in the most spiritual forms to such a degree that today it has forced its way, has acquired the right to force its way into the strictest, apparently most objective sciences;  indeed, it  . . . has robbed life of a fundamental concept, that of activity.  Under the influence of the above mentioned idiosyncrasy, one places instead "adaptation" in the foreground, that is to say, an activity of the second rank, a mere reactivity; indeed, life itself has been defined as a more and more efficient inner adaptation to external conditions (Herbert Spencer).  Thus, the essence of life, its will to power, is ignored; one overlooks the essential priority of the spontaneous, aggressive, expansive, form-giving forces that give new interpretations and directions, although 'adaptation' follows only after this; the dominant role of the highest functionaries within the organism iself in which the will to life appears active and form-giving is denied.


Karl Marx, Theses on Feuerbach (1845)

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.


from Franco Moretti, The Way of the World: The Bildungsroan in European Culture (Verso, 2000)

And  yet, in novel after novel, the protagonist of the Bildungsroman, whose social origin is often in what German historians call Bildungsburgertum, or bourgeoisie of culture, does not direct his steps toward the Besitzburgertum, or bourgeoisie of property, but rather--think of the frequent episode of the hero's 'farewell to his bourgeois friend'--toward an aristocratic universe with which it feels a far deeper kinship.  . . . outside of work, what is the bourgeois?  what does he do?  how does he live? (p. viii-ix)

The most classical Bildungsroman . . . conspicuously places the process of formation-socialization outside the world of work. . .  The process of formation-socialization placed outside work: a surprising and somewht disturbing development, given our automatic tendency to juxtapose 'modern ethics' and 'capitalism'.  25


Evelyn F. Keller, "Self-Organization, Self-Assembly, and the Inherent Activity of Matter," in Transformations of Lamarckism : From Subtle Fluids to Molecular Biology,  Snait B. Gissis and Eva Jablonka, eds. (The MIT Press, 2011)

John Marks, Gilles Deleuze: Vitalism and Multiplicity (Pluto Press, 1998)
Historcal Trajectory of a Superorganism

Bildung and the will to power is the inner logic of the historical trajectory Enlightenment to New Deal: the Enlightenment not misconstrued (as it usually is) 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,  Dewey, and Vygotsky:

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.


Selin Kesebir, "The superorganism account of human sociality: How and when human groups are like beehives," Personality and Social Psychology Review. 2012 Aug;16(3):233-61.

This praxis has several features besides the strictly cognitive-developmental, the most important of which is the self-awareness of one's own developmental potential, a potential that is at once cognitive and emotional, and which involves a reorientation of one's life force and of one's relationships, both to other people and to one's historical, political and cultural environment (A Radical Worker in Tsarist Russia: the Autobiography of Sëmen Ivanovich Kanatchikov; S.A. Smith, Revolution and the People in Russia and China: A Comparative History). This habitus of Bildung is therefore a cultural-historical and a cognitive-developmental field that can be referred to as a superorganism.  This superorganism consists of the literary world that is the distinctive mark of the Enlightenment (which is to say modern European culture) and the enormous number of salons high and low (but mostly low: see Coleman Young, Hard Stuff, for reminiscences of a "communist" salon in Detroit in the 1930s) that were at the heart of the "left."  (See Ed Lock interview on Schiller Hall as a salon.) 

There is one book that stands out in its deep understanding of the psychological dynamics within these salons and their associated miliues: Alcorn, Narcissism and the Literary Libido
.  Alcorn does for Bildung and the Will to power what Hall et. al. does for Nihilism.

This entire site can be thought of as a memorial to this rapidly disappearing genetic ontology: bildung and the will to power.  Today what there is of this genetic ontology is truncated, shorn of its philosophical-historical-political sweep, subservient to the socio-cultural engineering project of global corporate networks.  What I mean by this every red diaper baby knows.  (What about Occupy Wall Street?  An ephemeral puff of psychic smoke, whose very concept and practice of "democracy"--everyone could say a little, and only a little--was one of the many dances of nihilism performed by our incredibly shrinking selves.)

There is good reason to adapt the concept of superorganism to the understanding of Bildung (and the Will to Power).  The very concept of cognitive niche (see Dupre) and zone of proximal development (Vygotsky), and anything that addresses the dialectical-developmental relationship of the organism with its cultural historical environment (Bronfenbrenner) are concrete specifications of a superorganism as praxiological zone.  But superorganisms have lifespans that are independent of the lifespans of its individual elements.  Thus, the relevant segments of The Interviews: N=64 taken separately are moments in the unfolding of this superorganism.  But taken together--and especially with the addition of more biographical sketches--they are windows into the inner life of the fourth genetic ontology.  It is also evident--much more openly and much better documented--in the inner life of the Keynesian Elite. (See The Keynesian Elite in the New Deal State.)  Lahiri




On Becoming Communist: Flint, Michigan circa late 1940s


w
Photo: Saul Wellman, Robert Thomson, and David Doran at Fuentes de Ebro during the Spanish Civil War

Wellman
: Flint is what I consider to be the asshole of the world; it's the roughest place to be.  Now we recruited dozens of people to the Party in Flint, and they came out of indigenous folk.  And those are the best ones.  But we couldn't keep them in Flint very long, once they joined the Party.  Because once they came to the Party a whole new world opened up.  New cultural concepts, new people, new ideas.  And they were like a sponge, you know.  And Flint couldn't give it to them.  The only thing that Flint could give you was whorehouses and bowling alleys, you see.  So they would sneak down here to Detroit on weekends--Saturday and Sunday--where they might see a Russian film or they might . . .  hear their first opera in their lives or a symphony or talk to people that they never met with in their lives.

P. Friedlander:  to me that's one of the most significant processes of people becoming radicals, is this . . .

SW: but you lose them in their area . . .

PF: right.  You lose them, but I think something is going on there that I think radicals have not understood about their own movement . . .

SW: right . . .

PF: something about the urge toward self improvement . . .

SW: right . . .

and cultural advancement . . .

SW: right, right . . .

PF: and not to remain an unskilled worker in the asshole of the world . . .

SW: right, right.  But there are two things going on at the same time.  The movement is losing something when a native indigenous force leaves his community.  On the other hand the reality of joining a movement of this type is that the guy who is in the indigenous area looks around and says this is idiocy, I can't survive here.
These genetic ontologies are applied to the understanding of the enormous range of activity, of phenomonelogical complexity, eoked by these terms: New Deal, UAW, Commuism, Fascism




Reginald Zelnick, ed., Workers and Intelligentsia in Late Imperial Russia (University of California Press, 1999)

Reginald E. Zelnick, ed., A Radical Worker in Tsarist Russia: the Autobiography of Sëmen Ivanovich Kanatchikov (Stanford University Press, 1986)

Steve Fraser, Labor Will Rule: Sidney Hillman and the Rise of American Labor (Free Press, 1991)

S.A. Smith, Revolution and the People in Russia and China: A Comparative History (Cambridge Univesity Press, 2008)




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

 . . . a modality of what we call psychic and collective individuation following the philosopher Gilbert Simondon. Individuation is the process through which individuals constitute themselves, never ceasing to transform themselves and, along with them, the societies that they compose—as such, psychic and collective individuation is the manner in which a society forms a body and unites itself, while at the same time inheriting an experience of the past, what is often called recognition, but also, and more broadly, knowledge. p. 7

The re-enchantment of the world means to bring about a return to a context of as-sociated milieus, and to reconstitute individuation as dialogic association and competition. p. 36. 

Intelligence is above all social, which is why it presupposes the development of as-sociated milieus . . . p. 55.







Novels as expressive-analytical resource; FF to McElwain on thrill of higher-order thinking (Vygotsky)

What one gets from the interviews is a sense of the habitus--the sensibilities, reading habits, sense of active cultural space.  Bully-Jones-Genski on Flint.  Comments on leadership,reading, way in which workers viewed leaders, characterizatons of CP, SP, PP, IWW. improtanceoof this milieu--esp SP, PP,IWW locally; CP in the Leniist position.  Presence  being-in-the-world; aura

Packard Rept: can be read in context of interviews+theory

Dodge

Midland

Det Steel Prods

Mich Steel Tube

(Mont bus boycott: classroom guest (Janice C): milieu-ing about
To Dream the Impossible Dream . . .

But all this is but an echo of a past that seems so long ago, insofar as the disindividuation of homo sapiens has progressed so rapidly--faster than the speed of light actually--that our thinking falls farther behind the present with each passing second.  In order for thought to catch up, a transcendental cognitive maneuver is required.  Hence the concept of historical trajectory of a superorganism.  For thought to catch up we must make successive attempts at comprehending the enormity of the break that we have undergone but cannot yet conceptualize (and, as a species, whose last act may be to only, to merely, conceptualize.

These references to Bolshevism and the New Deal are not an attempt at nostalgia.  They constitute a dynamic reference point helping to focus a critique of the the socio-cultural engineering project of global corporate networks of unimaginable reach and power, generating an entropic process of disindividuation.  We cannot recreate these elements from the past, but we can undertake a reconnaissance of the terrain of their emergence, the terrarin from which we sprang.  It is not inconceivable that out of this we could develop a new process of individuation--a newly contextualized dialectic of individuation, including a new revolutionary practice (See this attempt to develop this idea.).  In this way we affirm the truth in William Faulker's comment that "The past is never dead. It's not even past."

"A context of as-sociated milieus, and to reconstitute individuation as dialogic association"--these words of Bernard Steigler capture the inner dynamic of the process of "unionization" during the 1930s and '40s.  At the very core of "unionization" was bildung and the will to power: individuation.  (See the excerpts from the Wellman and Lock interviews.)

This new practice can be easily imagined now, in relation to current events.  The only obstacle to its implementation is actually existing human beings.  That is, what if ressentiment and nihilism (and persisting primordialisms manipulated by political elites) are all there is, are all we are capable of?  Not as a limit imposed by "human nature", but as a limit imposed by history.  What if Nietzsche's bridge has collapsed in on itself?  What if the socio-cultural engineering project of global corporate networks of unimaginable reach and power, has turned humans into mere subroutines of networks of power, blobs of protoplasm pulsing with appetites stimulated, anxieties catered to, and by these processes "identities" defined and enacted?  What if, notwithstanding the multiple catastrophes that this process poses--ecological as well as psychological--catastrophes that we are already living through--what if Aufheben is an impossible dream?  And so, perhaps, the species destroys itself, and not only itself.  In that case, this site is a swan song.  Otherwise, this new practice can be easily imagined now, in relation to current events, as a series of instantiations of Steigler:

At the same time as this new practice is imagined, it has the effect of negating iterlf.  It is impossible to advocate a position--this who site is about not advocating a position, an alternative, etc, in the time-honred traiditon of radical critique.  The positon taken is that we, as political animals, are already dead.  Indeed, the discussion of BWP, esp. of the KE and the UAW--shows by its very dertail and historicity that the superorganism in which it was embedded is dead.  When that superorganisism is undertood in the context of the five genetic ontologies, it becomes apparent that, other than its rebirth in some for, we are left with ourprimate inheritance, the perisiettnce of resentiment, and nihilism as the fundamentals of 21st century life.  The very act of imagining an alternative brings this into sharp relief.  E.g., the hypothetical Ferguson response;






----


***


Fitzpatrick, Hatch, Viola: the superorganism much larger than the organizations and cultures that it encompassed: the spirit of the age: development/self-development/pol-econ development
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



Cartesianism--from Michel Foucault, Remarks on Marx : conversations with Duccio Trombadori, translated by R. James Goldstein and James Cascaito (Semiotext(e), 1991)

It was a matter of calling the theme of the subject into question once again, that great, fundamental postulate which French philosophy,  from Descartes until our own time, had never abandoned.  Setting out with psychoanalysis, Lacan discovered, or brought out into the open, the fact that the theory of the unconscious is incompatible with a theory of the subject (in the Cartesian sense of the term as well as the phenomenological one). . .  Indeed, Lacan concluded that is was precisely the philosophy of the subject which had to be abandoned on account of this incompatibility, and that the point of departure should be an analysis of the mechanisms of the unconscious. p. 56-7




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 capabilities 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)






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)


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)



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.  (neoloiberalism is nothing more than the popular carteisnism--whose fault is it?--manipulated by predarory elites and political opportuiists) 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 (and along with this an extraordinarily impoverished concept of psychological life, of inner life); 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.


 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.

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
****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. 
Belief, belief system; secular age, taylor
ideology
we still have a longing to believe in something


Ideology as a discursive strategy prempts the possibility of  . . .
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)

Michael Walzer, "Puritanism as a Revolutionary Ideology" (History and Theory, Vol. 3, No. 1 (1963)

For all his concern with revolution, Marx was himself the product of the same world which produced the great social novels, those elaborate, many-volumed studies of manners, status and class relationships in which the fundamental stability of the society as a whole and of character (what would today be called "identity") within the society was always assumed.  And Marx never questions the second of these assumptions:ourgeois and proletarian appear in his work as formed characters free at least from psychological instability even while their struggle with one another tears apart the social order  74-75
p. 3.  Humanity is faced with innumerable challenges. And if these challenges are not taken up, we fear that they will lead to the transformation of human beings into inhuman beings (and not only “posthuman”), of whose coming Alfred Jarry had a presentiment. Faced with these challenges, we know that there is no other possible solution but the formation and enculturation of a new human consciousness. Just recently, Laurence Toubiana, director of the Institute for Sustainable Development, declared:
the necessary change is so profound that one deems it unimaginable.
Declaring “the age of less”—less resources, less room for maneuver, less confidence, less hope [d’espoir] (if not less despair [désespoir])—Robert Lyon wrote for his part that the global human community “will not get out of this” unless it is able to situate itself on the side of being rather than of having.
In other words, humanity will survive only if it manages to overcome the age of consumption.


p, 49.  On the contrary, the founders of cities invent a process of individuation in which the relation of One and the Multiple is transformed in order to reconstitute an as-sociated milieu, but through a trans-formation of the relation to language that comes to discretize literal writing: the polis is an association in that sense in which it trans-forms the associated linguistic milieu, and so places it, as a principle of association, at the heart of city life, which thus constitutes a new process of individuation.
Over the course of this ancient period, through which the human enterprise passed from protohistory to history, and which spanned several millenniums, the process of psychic and collective individuation thus knew two great ancient epochs, between which a break was produced, in direct relation to the trans-formation of the process of grammatization. In imperial societies, individuals were subjected to autocratic royal power that controlled collective individuation in its totality, the king or the pharaoh incarnating the dynamic principle, which is also called dynastic (or basilic); in the polis, psychic individuation of the omoïoï, that is, the citizens insofar as they are equal in and before the associated milieu that is language, and which the Greeks henceforth call the logos, becomes the dynamic principle of collective individuation, and overturns the dynastic or basilic principle—the associated milieu having been grammatized and having thus become hypomnesic.
p. 7. At Ars Industrialis, we believe that spirit, which always presupposes techniques or technologies of spirit, or “spiritual instruments,” is a modality of what we call psychic and collective individuation following the philosopher Gilbert Simondon. Individuation is the process through which individuals constitute themselves, never ceasing to transform themselves and, along with them, the societies that they compose—as such, psychic and collective individuation is the manner in which a society forms a body and unites itself, while at the same time inheriting an experience of the past, what is often called recognition, but also, and more broadly, knowledge.

p. 36.  The re-enchantment of the world means to bring about a return to a context of as-sociated milieus, and to reconstitute individuation as dialogic association and competition. Like all human milieus that are constitutive of individuation (and in that, carriers of a “preindividual charge of reality”22), language, which is a more or less happy process of adoption and trans- formation of ways of life, is one such associated milieu.

p. 55.  Intelligence is above all social, which is why it presupposes the development of as-sociated milieus, while the typical industrial exploitation of the service economy and cultural capitalism, which must lead toward an industry of knowledge and the socialization of technologies of spirit, tends to reproduce the outdated model of dissociated milieus that initially will have been at the root of industrialization as the industrial division of labor and affectation of social roles based upon the opposition between producers and consumers.

If entrepreneurial discourse tells us that we must raise social intelligence, the entrepreneurial reality is for the time being what organizes desublimation, social degradation, and every form of intelligence—in that intelligence, of which the usage of the word still current in the eighteenth century preserves the memory, is as-sociation as inter-legere, being-among.