Examining Terms of Art that Idealize Statism and Suppress Generativity…

31 Jan

[This is an excerpt of a longer essay]

Come, come and sit you down; you shall not budge,
You go not till I set you up a glass
Where you may see the inmost part of you… (Hamlet 3.4.23-5)

“The unity of the manipulated collective consists in the negation of each individual and the scorn poured on societies that could make people into individuals.” If academia is to retain its integrity and humanity it must disengage from “the powers that manipulate the collective as an agent of violence” against what is coherent, distinct and non-generic. In the postmodern age, the substance of discourse, language is subject to maximal control. When “nothing can appear [or be discussed] that does not bear in advance the trace of [the] jargon” [1] of the dominant tendency, our efforts and hopes as humanists and educators are done and we enter the stage the follows history and humanity.

Phrases like “the interconnected world of the 21st century”; “integrative and cooperative policies” that will be “advanced” (or, rather, imposed) by “institutional structures” made by oligarchies for media publicity and implementation upon peoples of the world by the soi-disant “international community” are perfect examples of commoditized language that enable a totally administered, that is, a sterile and a dead world. If your concern is with the “challenges” that limit this power and its advance toward total dominion be of good cheer. The triumph of “the great petrifact” [2] is within sight while the velocity and reach of its imperatives are speeded by plaints of obstruction. Then too is the ongoing solicitation to serve; an everlasting audition for admission to the oligarchy for whom humans are imperfect machines in urgent need of fine-tuning and management. Not only in the social sciences, postmodern academics participate in an everlasting ‘American idol,’ an idyll in which “passions are first let loose, then curbed and suppressed with utmost brutality” [3] under the rubric of ‘cooperative solutions’ that manage life into the grave. In the same way, the media over-stimulates children, indeed all people who then are punished according to the status that the oligarchy assigns them. The committee, ‘cooperative’ or ‘team’ displaces the human and accountable. “The dreams of the world-improvers have turned out to be the tools of the masters” [4] that degrade people into rootless, pliable mobs while the media supply bread and circuses.

“The wholly enlightened earth is radiant with calamity.” Imagery displaces humans and humanity; fictions, not least those generated by the State and its compliant media, displace and dominate life. Progress has been “reverting to regression” for a long time [5]. Literary masterworks of the past century and a half have noted how science via centrally planned and enforced ‘welfare’ prompts savagery, barbarism, control of minds and degradation of the human. Reason is the servant of will; will of appetite and under the rubric of multinational cooperative management, reason serves the fictions that eat up the world [6]. It serves them with managerial methods, moralistic methods and ideological worship. Reason worships fiction and serves a compulsive lust for power. If we wish to serve and support what is humane in humanity and restore enlightenment to its goal of “liberating human beings from fear,” it is our task to restore to enlightenment “the necessity to reflect on itself” [7] on its goals, instrumentalities and rewards “if humanity is not to be totally betrayed.” In the postmodern era (c. 1964 – present), the impulse to and rhetoric of liberation increasingly has been “entangled in blind domination” and its many perquisites. Given these ironies, it is clear as many great students of society have written that we are enmeshed in an era that “turns lying into a universal principle” [8]. The academy must stop lying to itself and lying about the State to the people to ingratiate itself to oligarchic domination of the human; then it can speak truth to power and liberate human beings from terror and dearth. In its decay, the postmodern West generates and exports a culture of terror in which imagery displaces life. Public discourse now works through terms of art that pervert language and suppress thought.

The identity and drive of academia in furthering a world collective exemplifies that stage of the triumph of the image-fiction when apocalypse blends, like twilight into night, into elegiac forms of expression and representation. In Spengler’s formula, this defines the end stage of a culture hardening into a civilization of the “world city” or Cosmopolis or “great petrifact.” The ultimate forms of this petrifaction are the imperialism of finance, discourse and collectivist ideologies masked by spectacles of enervated democracy that include mass culture. These are marked by “the reappearance of panem et circenses” and the desuetude of political forms into fictive decision-makers, into puppet-shows. The media, the technical form of the lust for power elaborates fictions of representation while disguising the NGO’s and corporate masters who, in their “indefinite relation to the State” escape scrutiny and the vestiges of accountability that Republics once inscribed as cultural norms [9]. In the end stage of world-state oligarchic imperialism, terms and norms of governance reduce to the transmission of power and codes for the same; an increasingly dazzling digital technologies evoke power worship for the spectacular from the masses. This is postmodern doctrine; academia’s doctrine. It may be quixotic, an attempt of a decaying fruit to regain its bloom; an attempt to turn stadium ‘rock’ and ‘rap’ back into Mozart but it is in principle our choice to regain a critical stance toward power and the State; to “attack and affect the life of [our] period in its inmost depths” by renouncing the ring of power in favor of generative and local models. We could de-couple from eugenics if we would turn in disgust from its emoluments not least the appeal to power and control over the lives and generativity of others.

As it now stands and has been increasingly in recent decades, much of academia excuses and rationalizes the dialectics, centralization and imposition of power. Subordinating its best qualities, it increases “the powerlessness and pliability of the masses.” For example, it encourages State control and ‘security measures’ while public education “prepares ground for the greedy acceptance of charlatanism and superstition.” Media apologetics filled with professional rationalization provide a dazzling sheen that eases “habitual acceptance of political delusion” as truth [10]. As has been noted, these “hygienic factories,” transmit the Galton, Darwin, Sanger and J. Huxley managerial and de-population agenda until “the past is erased, the erasure forgotten and the lie becomes truth” [11]. As State power is vested in the media and the Professor fuses with the anchorman [12], the betrayal of liberty and abundance is complete. It is the lust for power, the compulsion to dominate discourse that forms this horrible hybrid. But if academia can regain its critical stance toward power and toward clichés of domination clothed in the gauze of pseudo-therapeutic apologetics for control it can move the peoples of the world toward a very attainable era of plenty, fertility and de-centralized governance. Share, don’t enforce.

It is doubtful that abundance or even sustainability can be achieved via the current matrix of intensive governmental intervention in and management of financial markets. Intrusion or to use the core term of art, “intervention” is done in the name of the collective, “the people” or “the middle class” or “the poor.” But the utilitarian and managerial thrust of socialism ensured that it would become imperialist, “arch expansionist with all the vehemence of destiny,” [13] “required as a necessity requires” [14]. The rubrics of professional and enlightened management have “bound together virtue and terror, freedom and despotism,” license and the ensuing punitive response like the nemesis of Dionysus in The Bacchae is adopted by the State, its media and financial instruments: over- stimulation ensures depression, collapse and enhanced control. The collectivist “longing for catastrophe” [15] is utterly self-serving. It is that of Empire which exults in dreams of the apocalypse its own impulses and compulsions embody. Intervention spurs uncertainty, paralyzes investment and creates terror by threatening to destroy or reward businesses and trade by political criteria. Intervention, uncertainty and terror refracted by statistics are key terms and facts of postmodern culture. They encode geopolitical policies that break down societies at their most basic levels and impoverish nations, communities, families and individuals. Excessive focus on “sustainability” as a concept or political strategy masks its de facto links to eugenic agendas that undercut sources of innovation, prosperity and fertility. The eugenic agenda, like postmodernism generally is the final fruit of rome’s negation of life. New insights into the nature and trajectory of this counter-productive trend may be gained from a non-technical analysis that draws on aesthetics and the Liberal Arts….

[1] Theodor Adorno & Max Horkheimer, Dialectic of Enlightenment (1947; Stanford University 2002, E. Jephcott translation), 9, 22, 101 from “The Concept of Enlightenment” and  “Enlightenment as Mass Deception”

[2] Oswald Spengler, The Decline of the West (1921; 1962 one volume edition of Helmut Werner arranged by Alan Helps from the Charles F. Atkinson translation), 378-9

[3] Thomas Molnar, The Decline of the Intellectual (NY 1961; author’s introduction to 1994 edition), xiv

[4] Spengler 326; 24-6

[5] Dialectic of Enlightenment op cit, 1, xviii (preface 1944; 1947)

[6] Shakespeare, Troilus & Cressida, speech by Ulysses 1.3.76-128

7. Dialectic of Enlightenment 1, xvii

8. Franz Kafka, The Trial (1925; 1968 Muir translation revised by E.M. Butler), 220

9. Spengler 24-33

10. Dialectic of Enlightenment xv-xvi

11. George Orwell, 1948 (NY 1949), chapter 7

12. Molnar op cit xiv

13 Spengler 28

14. Wallace Stevens, “The Plain Sense of Things” (1954), 20, the mind imagining its own apocalypse

15. Spengler 370

16. Adorno xiv-xv, 2


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