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WEBS OF DECEPTION

Section Index


  1. Constructions
  2. Power
  3. Mechanisms of Control
  4. Extremist Ideology
  5. Brainwashing
  6. Apology is Policy
    Interlude:
    The Comparability of Systems
  1. The Mask of Marxism
  2. Communism - Utopia?
  3. Terror
  4. Evolution - Revolution
  5. Responsibility
  6. Permanent Deceptions

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  Subseq. Pages - Essays & Papers  
 






caveat: As can be inferred from the date of publication, this article may no longer represent my current views and style. It remains here for archival purposes to provide a sense of documentation and should be treated as such.

1: Constructions

After the much more theoretical parts preceding this one, my intent is to drive the dagger home into a much more practical, much more general and understandable area. Philosophy, religion, science, literature - all these are worthless when they are not applicable in so-called real life situations. Also, the need for such thought is fueled by this either possible or impossible application - even art has a function, even if it be just esthetics. Is there in truth no beauty - and is there in beauty no truth?

First now I will wrap up some lines of thought from previous essays, tie up some loose ends and clarify some positions of mine. This site, these essays in particular, are dedicated to issues of post-structuralism, science fiction and transcendentalism as well as to metaphysics, sciences and religion also. A professor of mine once asked me how these all would be connected, how that could be possible, and he was right to ask this question: I have asked it myself. I do not even know how to define myself, how to define my beliefs in a concise and precise way. The most basic truth would be my being a Catholic[1a], but that doesn't give an answer to all the issues at hand. Also, not every Catholic has the same belief - it is a name, a description which - in effect - has little or no practical worth. Second, I also see myself close to Buddhist and Native American religious ideas, and, with being Christian, also to Jewish, as long as the identity of the messiah doesn't enter the formula. Personally I think religion is far superior to philosophy as it also integrates the practical aspect of it much more. But I also am close to theses originating from post-structuralism[1a] and transcendentalism, and I like science fiction very much. What this makes of me I do not know, and it doesn't matter at all.

All these categories are just constructions, dividing reality alongside borders which are fixed just in our human culture, fixed just in our understanding of reality, fixed in the terms and descriptions we assign to the things. But are they parts of reality? What is reality at all? I think in the previous essays it has been made clear that reality is nothing like an absolute thing, nothing like existing outside of perception - reality is what we make of the information entering our brain. How I come to that conclusion? Because that's the only thing we can rely on, it is the smallest possible element of reality we might be able to prove. How do we know something is out there and not in our mind? In our imagination? But I will not enter this field of discussion now, perhaps it will be better to take a step aback to things less theoretical, to things related to what we ascribe to reality. Reality thus possesses the meaning of something essential, some common element shared by a lot of other people.

What do I mean by construction? A construction, or rather an artificial construction, is any part of the naming process we engage in through speech and thought, for reality doesn't present itself in letters nor numbers nor words nor sentences - these figures of speech and mathematics are applied by the human brain to its surroundings. This is further illustrated by mathematics not belonging to natural sciences - mathematics is a tool, it is a universal language not spoken by nature, but by which nature can (partially) be understood. Recent physicists like Sir Roger Penrose even assume that consciousness is not easily accessible by logic - but logic is the foundation of mathematics. Logic is also the foundation of grammar, while it is not the foundation of the original naming of things[1].

But the arbitrary denotations and also the again arbitrary connotations that are associated with words and terms suddenly get a life of their own. What once was used as a tool to describe, to define a certain issue, now restricts through its limited scope any possible meaning or further perspective this issue might have - thus the truth is being distorted. This is not necessarily an act of ill will, it is a natural process. Perceiving is changing the matter perceived - naming is restriction. This is sort of the uncertainty principle of philosophy[2]. Once started as a matter of practicability, both generalizations and limitations govern the way we think about the world. And what possibly started as an effort to simplify certain things (out of whatever intentions) now creates entire generations of problems - problems also being generated by themselves. We like to think in role types, but these role types are arbitrary constructions - leading to conflicts which are far from academic in its range. In the following, some of these constructions will be critically questioned, they will be deconstructed. The intention is to look behind the masks of some webs of deceptions which have spread throughout the world.

PJK
July 7th, 1999







2: Power

To control the discourse of reality, to being able to actually form and shape the constructions we encounter, power is needed, power which will determine how the story has to unfold and which characters have to be playing in it. How should we see reality? I don't know whether or not there can be a definite answer to it, but I tend to accept the idea that there is none available to us, never will be, not as long as we are part of this reality. The way I see it, reality is structured a lot like a piece of fiction - and it contains much more fiction than we would ever dare to admit, ever dare to recognize even. To most of us, reality is a fixed entity which we can easily rely on. We surrender to the world we see, accept it to be real - although there cannot be even the slightest proof for that. What is out there is, first of all, in us. But let me set this issue aside again and try to handle reality as if it were indeed a fixed institution.

What does this power I have spoken of do? Is it destructive or constructive? Or is it beyond any kind of judgement? - Of course it ain't beyond judgement, but there is nothing like the power, or the force in this case. I'm not talking about something like divine intervention here, I'm talking about how the discourse of reality is formed, how it is formed in society, in science, in our culture, in our mind. Is it mind control? In a way it is. But it is a mind control we, funnily, have come to accept or even to embrace, partly because we do not even know it exists.

Power is a transitive thing. It has to be exercised by someone or something upon someone or something. But in this case it is a bit more difficult. The one using this power is not any more just a single person, the power has been transmitted to the discourse of reality - it is a collective power somehow, being nurtured and sustained by society and its parts, by us. What is this power? There is a saying that knowledge is power, but in this case, it is even more than that: Not only knowledge, but the distribution and arrangement and definition of this knowledge, the way this knowledge is being constructed - that's the power I'm talking about.

Speech is a very powerful medium. But since it is artificial, we have to name the things around us. This process of naming but is an act of arbitrarity. There is no reason for naming a rose a rose. We just associate a thing with a name, and, vice versa, a name with a thing. However, there seems to arise a discrepancy between the first process, naming, and the second one, identifying. There is no 1:1 relation between the name and the object described, there are always irregularities, lingustics calls that fuzzy edges. A penguin still is a bird although it can't fly. A carnivorous plant still is a plant although it eats insects. A milk shake which consists out of ice is still a beverage, although it isn't really a fluid.

But these are harmless examples. The tricky part of it deals with so-called abstract concepts, with the things we cannot really see. We do not any more have the possibility to check for ourselves if the name does justice to the object denoted, we have to rely on others much more. But as there is no way to name a thing in a uniform way, any kind of pretention that there would be something like an identical association would in a way already constitute a deception. Such deceptions can be found throughout every part of reality, throughout history and in all places. Post-structuralism now can be seen as a tool to go beyond these structures, to understand that these structures are artificial in nature - and to demask the masks of deception in the infinite webs of reality we are confronted with.

PJK
July 9th-11th, 1999







3: Mechanisms of Control

Deception is quite an ugly word, and you would expect the process of deception I alluded to being very dirty work too. While this is true in a specific way, most of it happens underneath, happens almost in the subconscious part of society. Deception also is a very misleading word - if you apply it to an outside agent. But deception can happen both ways: There might be a deceptor decepting a decepted person, but the decepted one might even decept him- or herself: Seeing is believing, believing is seeing[3].

Naming has already been named as one critical part of deception. There are some deceptions which are obvious, but some are hidden in a better way. Some deceptions are being performed consciously, others rather unknowingly. Some of them we subject to our free will, either knowingly or not, some of them we object against - either openly or in secret. But most of the time, we do not even know about the deception going on. We are unaware and thus stuck in the webs of deception around us.

But to make myself clear: I am not (yet) talking about grand conspiracies here. I'm talking about normal life, daily routine, books, television, newspapers, science, culture, politics. I'm talking about every single aspect of what we call reality. Sometimes we settle for things too easily; we accept certain words and names and denotations without even thinking twice. Certain concepts can thus enter the mind without us consciously knowing it. So it sometimes is enough for somebody to simply call himself a socialist or a communist so that others believe he would be interested in the social well-being of the community. Hitler naturally is a bad guy, and I would underline it, but he is even more so because he is a fascist. And fascism is something really bad. Stalin, on the other hand, is a communist, a socialist - nothing to worry about? So he might have caused the death of some people, but he can't be compared to the ultimate evil of Hitler. So he has to be a better person. Same holds true for the "dear uncle" Ho Chi Minh, for the "reformer" Mao Zedong, for the one with the all-too-popular cigars, Fidel Castro. And beware those who helped overthrow an inimical system! Pinochet in front of a court? What an outrage! And last not least, the poor little GDR, the former communist East Germany, how could I speak of atrocities! We have the very convenient ultimate bad guy! Why need we anyone else? They are socialists! Communists! Nationalists! Patriots! But no fascists, of course! Remember: Hitler was no fascist, he was a national socialist, abbreviated: Nazi. He called himself something else, too, but do we believe his lies? Why do we believe the lies of Marx and Lenin and Stalin - or McCarthy?

Of course, these people were not bad because they would be socialists, but in spite of calling themselves this way. That's the way propaganda works. But I'll come to ideology later. First of all it is us who should be more sensitive: We need to question everything. That's what deconstruction is about. We even need to make sure that we use no irony and be politically correct here, that's why I need to assure you again and again that it is not the evil of Hitler which I'm questioning but the goodness of people like Stalin and Honecker and Castro.

Most of the mechanisms of control are not to frighten people, not to expel them, not even to kill them. The best way is propaganda. But for this to work you have to let the people believe it. Not even this: You needn't even believe the propaganda, you just need to use their words! These seemingly innocent words which themselves are constructions. Words like "white race", "black race", "Aryan", "communist", "revolution". Once you let your mind be poisoned by these lies, once you use the same words, you have given up your resistance. That's what deconstruction is for: To actually go deep into the webs of deception and to determine the root of this poisoning, the root of all evil, to expose the lies so that the truth can be made visible.

PJK
September 27th/28th, 1999







4: Extremist Ideology

To expose the lies - to make visible the truth - but what are these? What are the lies? What's the truth? What is truth? Ideology's prime motivation is, and always has been, to make excessive use of these words, and to drastically attack those who would endanger the system with a self-made new catalog of definitions of what truth and lies would mean. In ideology, there are no complicated answers. Everything is utmost easy - that's what's so appealing about it at first glance, at least for some people. Everyday society normally presents us with problems so grave and vast that solutions seem so complicated that no one is supposed to find them, and to solve the problems.

Especially the "modern" state is a very complex system, first of all, because there is no state any more, not really. We live in a global community with a global economy, and a global information structure. That, however, is just the grand scheme. Of course you (still?) have national and regional sub-divisions and partitions - but everything seems to be aiming towards a grand family, sometimes thereby with necessary over-simplifications and the loss of specific information. To see the grand scheme, you have to take a step aback. But when taking a step aback, you'll soon be too far away for a close-up. Today, politics usually follows pragmatic policies; but still, for every expert opinion on some topic there'll be another expert proving just the opposite. Politics has become a field of experimentors - but they're experimenting with the economies and societies of countries. Trial and error, but the risks are high - and rising.

Not that it wouldn't always have been that way, on the contrary. But especially today, the risks are of alarming dimensions, the consequences of failure even rising in the future. However, the more appealing are the benefits. But benefits don't make the news. Worst news are always the best - the most intriguing. Everybody seems to know your mistakes while nobody'll be interested in what you did right. Extremist ideology is always growing strong in times of great peril - people seek for easy answers. Sometimes also, the initiators of such ideology might even believe in the righteousness of their doing, some might even wish to do the best for the people. But wish-thinking and self-reliance are not enough.

But is there something like extremism? Like totalitarianism? Can you compare systems and ideas which seem so different, which have led to very different results and concepts of how a state would be like? Penetrate the mask of ideology. Ignore what they say about themselves. Look at them, look at the results, look at what's actually there. Soon you'll find the differences between the National Socialist and the communist system disappearing into a realm of vague and not-so distinct nuances. Both systems talk of peace but bring war, both talk of equality and freedom and mean equality in suppression, freedom of violence. Both call themselves socialist but create even starker injusties. Both attack contemporary governments as decadent but are even worse. While both have their very own distinctive "elements" (like Holocaust and World War II; like purges, GULags and the Prison House of Nations), they create terror, violence, poverty and misery - not only during their existence but for decades or even centuries to come. The legitimations they use to come to power are artificial, meaningless constructions - race and class - with no real connection to reality (Stalin had to firstly create a workers' class, and after murdering the so-called "rich" farmers, of whom most of them could barely sustain their life, the remaining ones were transfomed into workers on state-owned plantations).

Ideology isn't just to be found in a negative sense, on the contrary, it is rather neutral as a term. The important thing is not that something is said, but what's the substance of it; and not only slightest parts, but the general whole. There is no aspect of National Socialism at all which could be called positive, and the system in a whole is kind of a pure incarnation of evil, you could say. With communism it seems different at first. Communism is a bit cleverer in the way it presents itself; it seems to be aimed against injusties, and parts of it might even be applicable. Indeed, the social market economy we have today is sort of resulting from a cross-over between liberal and socialist theories. But that's not the point. Communism in whole propagates violence, propagates mass murder as a means of reaching an aim. But what is seen as an intermediary stage will shape the system in the future - you cannot create a peaceful system out of a brutish and anti-human frenzy - for which the word "revolution" is quite an abhorring euphemism.

PJK
October 17th/22nd, 1999







5: Brainwashing

When you open a newspaper, or just look at the front page, or if you just consider the volume it has, all the pieces of information it contains; or if you watch CNN or any other news program; if you check out the internet for news or turn on the radio; whatever; everything seems to be so important, so thoroughly researched, so prettily compiled and put together that what you see is what you read is what you hear is what's the truth. Equally, if you browse through a book, be it fiction or non-fiction, through one of these tidy magazines so aptly arranged, you might think you get informed. But you don't. What you get is that you get thrown into a discourse - mostly without knowing how you got into this strange thing at all.

You are being made to believe that this term means that and another one the opposite; that this part of the world is so and another part so, you get to see only pieces of a puzzle but believe you see the entire tapestry of life unfolded right before you. But you don't. You might even believe you know something - or that you've learned something of value, something you can shine with. Don't be fooled. Reality is so vast that nobody can ever comprehend it - all we ever may see are shattered pieces of a grander whole, pieces which without the whole make no sense at all; but the whole we'll never grasp. Humankind is a child of matter and energy and time, not of eternity. Still we believe we could actually know something - but isn't it so that a partial piece of truth would be more dangerous than a lie?

I want to believe; we all want to believe - believe that we can understand a thing. We might even get close to it. But sadly, things are not that simple. The little and large divisions made by all kinds of scholarly institutions, may it be in science, philosophy, arts; the partitions and definitions and explanations which can be found in text books and lexica and dictionaries might all seem very impressive. But are they a representation of reality? Aren't they rather artificially constructed pieces, either mimicking the part of reality we have already understood, or just mimicking an abstract idea of a theoretically thinking Greek guy? The more you take a dive into the stormy seas of history, the more you realize that of the things you know, rather, of the things you think you know, most of it can be discarded in the next trashbin. Yes, some things might even be true. But they are irrelevant pieces of information because the context is not known. We might know much about a certain culture just because its artifacts were preserved - of others, even far greater, we might know nothing because they were destroyed and the remnants are only partial at best. Native American history, mostly oral, would serve as a shining example.

Still we are being told about things because they belong to tradition, to national mythology, or simply because our parents and grandparents and so on were told the same thing. Same old story being told doesn't make it right if it wasn't right from the beginning. Unexpected things have to be dealt with, unwanted things, edgy and fuzzy corners of history no one would want to look at. The method itself has to be looked at. Why is it that history taught in the Western world is still mostly European and US history? Why is it that antiquity means Rome and Athens - not Persia, Egypt, India, China? Why are heroes being constructed which would not hold as such - like Alexander and Napoleon? Why is it that African Americans, Native Americans, women, gays and other "minorities" are only lately added to the agenda of culture? Still, things are left unsaid because of unease towards them. Unease! Wouldn't lies and exclusive canonization have to make us even more uneasy?

The method mostly has been not to talk about it, to simplify things (just as I am doing right now also). Simplifications are necessary, you have to reduce the amount of material into something you can deal with. That's not great, but it is necessary. But why then sell it as the whole truth! You might have to simplify even further for children at school, that's ok, but only up to a certain point. Beyond that, you need to give them a chance to discover the whole mess themselves - that's the privilege of education. But still, it is rather teaching "solid facts" than the giant holes in the story - but is it done deliberately? Is it a grand conspiracy I'm talking about? I would deny that, much more we seem to be restricting us ourselves. Let us be bold and look for some new answers - and for old ones with new eyes. Let us think for ourselves, not let the thinking be done for us. For mostly it is us ourselves who, out of laziness, let our hands be tied by others. We ourselves are responsible - and for our mistakes and omissions the most. We brainwash ourselves, submit to "common sense" and "normality" and "political correctness" - but not by heart but because, like zombies, we would just follow the lead. We join the others who are joining us. Lemmings?

PJK
December 1st, 1999







6: Apology is Policy

Believe the lie. If you think you could trust external sources, try again. If you actually think you could trust the statements of politicians, the information on television, on the internet, in magazines and newspapers, try again. Can you trust the statements given by any other person than yourself? Can you even trust your own judgement? Everything you see and hear is already filtered information - filtered twice: Firstly, by the source of information, secondly, by yourself. The first filtering can again be deconstructed into source and perceptor so that the chain of thought and information would become endless or at least very long indeed. That's not new thinking, but usually it is easily being discarded as conventional truth instead of being applied more thoughtfully to see things in a more complete light.

The result of such filtering is the distortion of the actual truth. But then, what is the truth? Do we even have access to the truth? Haven't we rather constructed such a truth from incomplete findings, don't we rather prefer to jump to conclusions when only half of the matter would be lying bare in front of our eyes? Of course you could argue that I'm doing the same thing. Indeed! But I prefer not to pretend otherwise. Post-structuralism has done a great deal to remind us of that, self-reflection being the first step to getting a much deeper insight into the discourse of reality. Part of that reality is our imperfect perception.

Somehow I have the impression that criticism is being criticized for using much more secondary material than primary one. Read the sources, not the interpretation. Of course the sources have to be read, but the interpretation, the impact of the source material is even more important than the source as such. Discourse. Marx's Capital might be an interesting piece of work. But its impact is dwarfed by the impact of the Communist Manifesto. So you could actually proceed through his writings, but that would not necessarily give you a right direction. What is a book that only a small minority would ever read good for? Equally, how interesting his analysis might be, if the initial thought, the starting point is wrong and has been proven wrong by history also, why try to stick to it? Marx is just an example I'm using here, the same would hold for other occasions as well.

The discourse opened by a matter can easily develop a life of its own. Freud, for instance, has been widely read by literary critics and authors of his and later times, although psychology (and common sense, although this wouldn't count that much) has always disproven his findings as being nonsensical or imperfect. However correct or incorrect his theories, they have surely stirred the fascination and imagination of countless readers: The uncanny is a concept which is simply more interesting than the things we do knowingly. The discourse thus opened grew to be more relevant than the scientific basic would allow for, thus making Freud - contrary to his scientific value - one of the most important and influential men of history.

One of the classic examples for such discourses is also the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. The case, still rather unsolved, can serve as a masterly example for the superiority of the momentum of the story. The theories which spawned decades and inspired various books, movies and television shows, proved to be even more fascinating than the entire case might be. Regardless of any pleas for plausibility, it is just more interesting to have a grand conspiracy than to have just one or two independently working assassins. The official version, the Lee Harvey Oswald tale, did its best to invoke such theories, itself being even less plausible than any of the following theories. Fiction is more interesting than fact. Hero worship is more interesting than pragmatism. For the resulting havoc, apologies might be issued. But the truth is buried - with no or little attempts made to cover the story up. After so much time, who would believe a less fascinating story anyway? Wouldn't it also destroy the immense creativity the discourse would otherwise allow for? Believe the lie.

PJK
February 3rd, 2000







Interlude: The Comparability of Systems

What is a comparison? Two or more issues are being discussed together, the similarities and differences between them are analyzed. But first of all, the specific issues have to be checked for comparability. Everything is comparable, you just have to find a justifiable element of comparison, a tertium comparationis to check them against. Comparing two issues doesn't mean to declare them being equal phenomena, to be the same. Certain issues can be comparable under certain viewpoints without being the same; each has to retain its specific properties, otherwise it wouldn't make sense to speak of different phenomena. If they were equal, they weren't comparable - they would be one. You cannot compare a thing with itself. So the very procedure of making a comparison presupposes a difference, but also enough simililarities. Basically you can compare a rock with an apple, both are based upon matter. In physics, this would make sense if the objects were to be considered simply as possessing a mass. In chemistry and biology, such a comparison would be ridiculous. The context is important.

If the task were to compare certain political systems, firstly you would have to state your agenda, to make the comparison relevant. There has to be a point to do it. What definition exists for the specific system? How correct is the terminology for the specific system? What are the main characteristics, are the systems too different to be comparable, or too similar? Also, you have to overcome traditional propaganda and taboos. If such an analysis is to produce a result, taboos are of no good. The comparison between, say, National Socialism and communism wouldn't mean that the crimes of each system would be equaled, that the different aspects would be ignored. Such comparisons won't be valid.

The terminology used to describe specific systems is of extreme importance, and thanks to post-structuralism, this is becoming much clearer now. In a comparison between Marxism and capitalism, firstly it has to be stated that the term "capitalism" itself is a Marxist term, already paving the way for initial misconceptions and deceptions. If the task were to describe Marx's view on a system he would call capitalist, such a terminology could be used. But in seriously comparing the two concepts, it is absolutely misleading to use Marx's terminology. Such a view would already distort the system. The communist system by the Marxist model is defined as a combination of economic and political elements; the term capitalism however lacks a political basis. The Europe of Marx's time and the Europe of today are different in that today, democracy is the prevailing system, not aristocracy. A term like capitalism is of no use here, which will be shown later.

The National-Socialist self-terminology is equally misleading, for the term "socialist" enters the formula of the NS state only as a means of propaganda. The NS state cannot be said to be a socialist state. Equally, the Stalinist system isn't simply a communist one because it would call itself that way. And also, today's democratic and republican systems have only little in common with the concepts of democracy and republic developed in antiquity. In explaining this, factors like population numbers and technological advances have to be taken into account.

What would such a comparison be good for? Surely this shouldn't and wouldn't be done out of sheer boredom. The question, however, is of extreme importance not only for an understanding of history but also of the present, to being able to shape a better future for all. The truth, if it were to be approached whole-heartedly, has to be looked for beyond propaganda and tradition. The perspective needed for this would be a totally objective one - a perspective no human being could ever hope to possess. Being aware of this, we can only try to look at as many facets as possible to finally being able to see behind the façades of deception.

PJK
February 5th, 2000







7: The Mask of Marxism

There can be no real doubt as to whether Marx really believed in helping the case of the workers: His intentions were to help against poverty, exploitation, suppression and estrangement from work. There is no good in exploitation, nor has technological progress always helped improve working and living conditions. But Marx's work fails to recognize the nature of what it calls capitalism, it fails to deliver a fitting model for world history, it fails to offer a working solution, it fails to create an acceptable model of a future society. These claims will of course earn me nothing but protest from Marxists, and perhaps I'm overstating my case here to provoke second thoughts. Nor may these arguments be new. But their being old doesn't make them outdated, on the contrary. This only shows how prevailing anti-Marxist criticism is. Neither do I want to be confused with political affiliations of any direction, I don't believe in such directional terms. But it seems that today such affiliations are not debatable, and if I have to think of a wing I would belong to, as a Christian I would have to assign myself to a central-leftist position.

The term capitalism itself is a construction which cannot honestly be upheld, could never be upheld. Profit and capital are two important factors driving today's economy and the economy of Marx's time; but so it has always been since the upcoming of trade and exchange between people. Money and wealth are just currency; they are not the nature of the economic system. The function of the capital for the economic system is that it measures its productivity, its power, its strength. Money has no worth in itself, it is an indicator. The more money, the more potent a society, a human being. Money is being accumulated not for the mere fun of it but to do something with it. That this something isn't necessarily evil has been proven throughout history time and again: Euergetism, liturgies, private funding - these elements have been crucial for antique societies, they have continued to be important until today, although in different scope. Today we have taxation of the great mass, taxation, through its larger scope caused by stronger economies and a larger population, being able to gain more money for the affairs of the public than private funding ever could contribute. Today's political and social structure is different, different also from that of Marx's time who rather lived in a time of transition.

Exploitation isn't the soul of capitalism. Capitalism can only work properly when a market exists - a market where the products produced by the economy can be sold. In antique, medieval, mercantile and early capitalist societies, this market was usually divided into lower and upper classes, the lower classes only able to be interested in subsistence, the higher classes only able to be interested in luxury, commodity and comfort. A good-bad scheme, however, is utterly wrong here: The upper class also provided for feeding the lower classes. It is a ridiculous argument of Marxism that workers and farmers could run a society on their own, that they are the ones who do the work and feed the upper classes. The results of labor have to be made accessible for the public, for the market, for society. This distribution is no evil act, it is no act of estrangement. On the countryside, farmers could very well sustain themselves and make a good living. But for city conditions, such a solution cannot work out. But as soon as a farmer would give his agricultural products to somebody not being able to grow his own food, he would rightly have to be given a compensation in labor or something valuable. The easiest form of such exchange is money. But is the farmer now a capitalist because he gets money from the exchange? If he demands a reasonable price for his goods, doesn't he deserve payment? And as he himself has produced and distributed the product, doesn't he deserve to set the price? Workers in the factory might produce something, and they do. But the production isn't finished without distribution and the necessary steps: Advertisement, logistics, coordination, planning. The work of the "capitalists" belongs to the act of labor, without them, all labor would be useless. There is no sense in producing something when it isn't made accessible to the market - this process of distribution but is worth a compensation also. This is called division of labor. The worker cannot be estranged from the finished product because it isn't only him that produces it. The work the "evil capitalists" do is ensuring that the worker gets paid his wage, and it ensures that the product can gain the best profit possible. The higher the profit of the enterprise, the higher the wages of the workers can be:

"In the days when all the parts of the human body were not as now agreeing together, but each member took its own course and spoke its own speech, the other members, indignant at seeing that everything acquired by their care and labour and ministry went to the belly, whilst it, undisturbed in the middle of them, did nothing but enjoy the pleasures provided for it, entered into a conspiracy; the hands were not to bring food to the mouth, the mouth was not to accept it when offered, the teeth were not to masticate it. Whilst, in their resentment, they were anxious to coerce the belly by starving it, the members themselves wasted away, and the whole body was reduced to the last stage of exhaustion. Then it became evident that the belly rendered no idle service, and the nourishment it received was no greater than that which it bestowed by returning to all parts of the body this blood by which we live and are strong, equally distributed into the veins, after being matured by the digestion of the food."[4]

Marxism blatently claims that the proletarian class would be the one favored by history, and that this process should be accelerated and catalyzed with the means of violence, within a revolution. The concept of revolution and violence will be dealt with later, the claim of creating a class-less society by eliminating all other elements of society being dealt with first. In antique societies, class was a very concrete term. In democratic Athens, class defined citizens (who were all male), non-citizen strangers, women, children and slaves. Only citizens were allowed to take part in political life, rich citizens were entitled to make extensive fundings through liturgies. In the army, money played a role in that the richer citizens were better equipped. In late republican and imperial Rome, in addition to this more general division, very concrete divisions were created by taking into account the possessions of the citizens: Senatorial, equestrial and, less directly defined, plebeian order. A religious class existed in both examples. Later, in following centuries, senatorial and equestrial order could be understood as equalling aristocracy and knights. Aristocratic and oligarchic systems rely on such clear-cut distinctions, the political structure dictates the economic structure, a system of patronage and euergetism exists to perform the acts of distribution. Almost all basic welfare tasks relied upon this client-patron relation and later on the Church. Quite ironically, mercantilism and capitalism succeeded in breaking up that political class system, in fact abandoning class borders. Today's definition of class is rather blurred, taking into account the economic and educational conditions of each person. But, unlike in the Indian caste system, no one is restricted by any imaginary aristocratic class borders; it is possible to change one's economic situation. A class term thus has rather become unproductive, it is not helpful to assign classes to a political-economic system like the modern democratic market economy in which something like the so-called "middle class" defies any definition. Capitalism, by creating a market, has to embetter the financial and educational situation of the workers and former lower classes in order to survive.

Capitalist systems which are in its initial phase, like in Third World countries or, in history, at Marx's time, usually haven't grasped this. But that's not a question of system, it is a question of individual personality also: Some people believe they could get rich in a free enterprise society by charging high prices, they aim at getting rich over a short-term period. This exploitative method, regardless of any cost of material or lives, is nothing which can be ascribed to something like a capitalist world system (which doesn't exist), it is rather a sign of lacking morality and wisdom and can be found throughout all history. Examples would be the acts of plundering and devastating conquered lands and cities, of over-taxation, American slavery and slave trade and the exploitation in early-capitalist factories Marx rightfully complained about. These acts of exploitation are not happening because of capitalism but in stark contrast to what capitalism aims for. Over a long-term period, such destructive techniques hinder the development of a market, destroy the infrastructure and hinder technological progress. Today's industrial countries make their money not because of their exploiting Third-World countries but mainly through their own markets: It is no use selling computers to a desert tribe without electricity. The exploitation of the Third World in colonial times, again ironically, hindered the development of the colonizing countries rather than it helped. Short-term monetary gains through exploitation corrupted free trade and entrepreneurism. In the Southern United States, slavery might have made some slave owners very rich but the infrastructure was destroyed, the South lost its leading financial position. Countries like Germany, the Scandinavian countries or the US had either no colonies or not for a long time, with no monetary gains worth mentioning. Colonization only helped spreading language and culture, in turn destroying and hindering the countries that were colonized. Exploitation and conquest did happen, and they happened also weighing heavily on the colonized countries. But these are side effects which created profit mostly for single persons, not for the state. What is true for capitalism in its own country is true for the world market: In globalization lies the chance for the poor countries to get out of their misery. Marxists usually don't realize this, and in doing so they worsen the situation of the lower classes and poorer countries rather than helping them. This will be further shown in the ensuing parts.

PJK
February 6th, 2000







8: Communism - Utopia?

Apart from the economic notions, communism claims to create a better society, claims to be a better society. Granted, there can be seen a certain change within the way political control is organized in today's countries, compared with the past. But how do these differences arise? How do they come into being? This question, the quest for a guiding principle behind history, would be one of the most difficult and yet most sought after themes of humankind. Wouldn't it be nice to predict the future by judging from the past? And, if such a prediction could be reached, couldn't we actively transform the present to already have that kind of a paradisal state today instead of tomorrow? How about the claim of Marxist theory that there exist clear-cut and gradual steps from one system to another? Slave-holding societies, feudalism, capitalism, imperialism, socialism, communism? This is the theory at its shiniest high, demonstrating wish-thinking and ignorance where a more factual and pragmatic perspective could lead to results instead of chaos.

Politics doesn't like to follow the demands of a theory. It doesn't like to adhere to philosophy, morality, wish-thinking or humanity. What we might perceive as new systems being instituted, pushing aback the old ones, rather follows strict pragmatic paradigms. There's a difference between the reason for a change and the trigger for a change. The Roman Republic wasn't just overthrown to be replaced by the empire, it was a gradual process firstly, and secondly, the larger state demanded for another type of rule. Democracy in antiquity was only possible in the small scope of a town, that has mainly to do with distance and speed: The distribution of information wouldn't have allowed for a democracy larger than this. Rome, even in imperial times, did have some forms of a local democracy at work. Small communities work differently than large ones. But the size of the community isn't the only factor: As soon as information is possible, as soon as the system allows for something more than mere subsistence economy, people will have the means and the will to question the legitimacy of an aristocratic rule. The so-called American Revolution was no revolution, it was a consequent development from the actual facts: American society depended on the individual so much and had to teach individuality that any other system than a democratic one would have had to fail - like it did[5]. Strangely, although America was a democracy, slavery took place - in a capitalist society, to use Marx's term. Slavery, initially, seemed to some like the ideal solution, a key example where (blind) pragmatism can also lead to clearly bad results. But it is also an example for the arbitrarity of history: While it might seem that over time a certain end result is reached for, circumstances can do just the opposite.

History cannot be predicted. As someone studying history, this gives me a bad motivation for my studies: Isn't the commonplace argument in favor of studying history that we could learn from it? And yet, it is the necessary explanation. If there is a master plan of history, it is surely not us to know about it. Judging something because of history and historical examples is always a dangerous step. The context is always different - thus making a comparison between past and present and future conditions and necessities a vain choice. Marxist theory only presupposes the reign of the proletariat as the future outcome because of a misguided sense of justice, misguided as has been poignantly shown in the Menenius Agrippa example. There is no logical reason for it. It is also a gross ahistorical step: If we can learn one single thing about history, it is that societies tend to grow more complex, more divisive. The individual plays a greater role, although community isn't unimportant. With all its celebrating individuality, America is a good example for a nevertheless prevailing sense of belonging together (this being illustrated by concepts and ideals like Civic Religion, political correctness, the American Dream and the American Way of Life). In a more diverse society, division of labor is the key to maintaining it: The splitting up of traditional classes into dozens of new ones with a lesser importance and greater transparency. Any action against that, any attempt to communize, to homogenize such an advanced society would be like a violation, an act of lunacy.

Communism is no working solution. It is destructive much more than it is constructive, and it assigns its blessings only to one "class". Whether or not a classless society would be the aim of communism is no issue, and it doesn't matter. The end result is strongly influenced by the steps that need to be taken in order to arrive at that solution. The explanation of history as a history of class struggle is not just ridiculous, it is utterly wrong and fails to realize the reality of power and power distribution. As proven by history, any time such a system was tried to be established, the power necessary to do this either corrupted the people and let them become tyrants themselves, in most cases much worse than those whom they wanted to disappear. Mostly, they had been corrupted before by Marxist ideology in splitting up the world into bipolar oppositions formed by such criteria as greed, envy, destruction and anarchy. Those who tried to uphold morality usually had to perish. Communism, in propagating common ownership of property, might look like an interesting alternative, and indeed, these ideas are nothing new and nothing especial communist. Common property can be found within Native American societies, it is further to a degree part of the frame of early Christianity. All these concepts, however, which exist or existed in reality have a rather small scope; common property might work in a tribe or family, but in a nation? What if somebody chooses to have private property? Common property means a restriction of the rights of the individual. The injustice and oppression thus created would exceed the injustices of capitalism by far.

Communist economy is supposed to take care of what's necessary, regardless of profit. Such a society would never be able to advance, it would stagnate. Economy and progress need a balance between chaos and order, if this balance is disturbed, the economy and consequently the society are going to suffer. The state knowing best what its people need - that's no liberty, it is autocracy. But who said communism would be a liberal society? The basic presumption that such a society had to be created by force, if necessary, to push away the "bourgeois" and "capitalist" system, implies the greatest of all arbitrary decisions: Anybody not in agreement to the communist revolution is a class enemy, he is no human being anymore and needs to be either assimilated or liquidated. Class struggle is used as an abhorring euphemism for genocide, or rather, ordocide. If such coercive measures are needed, there has to be a mistake in the general theory. More modern systems like socialism have recognized this, modern society growing into a mixture between market economy and socialism. Communism is indeed an utopian thought, gratefully, referring to où tópos, to no place.

PJK
February 6th, 2000







9: Terror

There cannot really be any surprise concerning the terror and violence and suppression unfolded by regimes following the communist scheme. Communism doesn't merely describe a state, a condition - it describes also a method, a way to arrive at a certain target condition. Be such a link implied or directly established, it would be the only way for communism and Marxism to prove themselves right. Just describing an assumedly paradisal future doesn't help if not the means for achieving it are included in the ideology.

"Political power, properly so called, is merely the organized power of one class for oppressing another. If the proletariat during its contest with the bourgeoisie is compelled, by the force of circumstances, to organize itself as a class; if, by means of a revolution, it makes itself the ruling class, and, as such, sweeps away by force the old conditions of production, then it will, along with these conditions, have swept away the conditions for the existence of class antagonisms and of classes generally, and will thereby have abolished its own supremacy as a class.

In place of the old bourgeois society, with its classes and class antagonisms, we shall have an association in which the free development of each is the condition for the free development of all."[6]

And even more poignantly:

"The proletariat, the lowest stratum of our present society, cannot stir, cannot raise itself up, without the whole superincumbent strata of official society being sprung into the air.

Though not in substance, yet in form, the struggle of the proletariat with the bourgeoisie is at first a national struggle. The proletariat of each country must, of course, first of all settle matters with its own bourgeoisie. In depicting the most general phases of the development of the proletariat, we traced the more or less veiled civil war, raging within existing society, up to the point where that war breaks out into open revolution, and where the violent overthrow of the bourgeoisie lays the foundation for the sway of the proletariat."[7]

The use of violence is explicitely described not only as a last resort, it is rather the very ingredient of the process. Here it is actually believed that through the explicit use of force, suppression, violence, repression, war and despoty a better society, even a free one, possibly lacking all these evil things is to be created. This is the gravest paradoxon, or rather an oxymoron, I have ever encountered: To actually believe to abolish negative conditions by using the same or even worse measures. But somehow violence is claimed not to be such a bad thing after all if we follow communist (and fascist) ideology. And here it is that both become very closely related: They justify the use of violence with the natural superiority of a certain group, be it a class or a race. History is believed to be following certain rules man is able to discern: But such historicism[8] will always fail to realize its own limitations, it is - contrary to what itself believes to be - totally unscientific as it cannot be falsified. Yet this pseudo-science is declared a science anyway, the natural superiority, the almost divine choice of a certain class resp. race as the chosen people in extremist ideology is the path allowing for the grossest violations of human rights. Anarchy needs no such rules - that's why it is called an-archy. So why should anarchy, as unfolded by a revolution, be bound to such human rights? Terror is allowed because it is constructed to be a re-action to what is constructed to be counter-revolutionary. Binary oppositions are erected to justify a cause which - seen naïvely - might seem just, but which will consequently lead to the same result, to the same mishaps it might be intending to overcome. The curse of violence.

The problems in Marxist and communist thinking arise mainly out of an overly simplified world view: Classes like the proletariat or the bourgeoisie neither did nor do exist as a homogeneous entity; neither is there anything like a capitalist world system. There is no great theory of exploitation, no great theory of class superiority - which has been proven, ironically, by history, by exactly that history Marx was so keen on predicting. There have not been revolutions in the evil capitalist states, but the great revolution took place in a country of farmers and czars. The situation of the so-called working class didn't deteriorate but improve. So-called capitalism today cannot exist properly without democracy, without socialist additions to its constitution. In fact, the system Marx so wrongly decried as capitalist proved to embetter the situation of the people in each country in which this system was truly erected. Globalization will not lead to Third World countries being "exploited" further, it will lead to their integration into the world market. Let's not forget that today's number one industrial nation, the United States, has still been mainly agrarian at the turn of the 19th century. The difference, however, is, that the colonial powers - when finally retreating from the land they had stolen - failed to promote freedom and democracy, they failed to repay these countries with helping them lose the grip of death. Today, the main reason for Third World countries lagging behind is because they've inherited despotic regimes which preferred terrorizing their peoples instead of building up their countries, countries whose borders were often drawn quite artificially by colonial powers, spawning border conflicts like in the case of Israel or Kashmir. However, colonial politics do not necessarily belong to capitalist ideology (if such a thing exists).

What Marxism describes as the evils of capitalism may have a source much different, and perhaps too disturbing for philosophers believing in the goodness of man. With all his misjudgements, Marx did honestly believe in fighting against injustice. He was not Stalin. Today, he might have seen things differently. Philosophers have to be seen in their historical and ideological context, from which they often cannot escape. However, the people of more modern times should have recognized the flaws in his theories, should have adapted, right-heartedly and not just in a minor way (like Lenin's introducing his New Economic Policies instead of abandoning the whole cause). Somehow it is sadly ironic, again, that the Marxist belief in the goodness of man, believed to surface when the conditions would have improved (being determining the state of consciousness), should on the contrary lay bare the very worst of man: hatred, rage, envy, corruption, betrayal, lying, terror, violence. The sad consequence could be to abandon a belief in the innate goodness of man. Some men, even when they suffer no wrong and have nothing to worry about, simply out of boredom perhaps, can do bad things - their otherwise well-being not influencing their conscience in a positive way. Others, facing incredible odds, starvation, exploitation, have a good heart which cannot be killed off under no circumstances - bad conditions not influencing their conscience in a negative way. What to do with these exceptions from the rule, exceptions for which to name examples no necessity would exist, as we all know of them?

In his Feuerbach Theses, Marx expresses his wish to change the world, unlike philosophers, who only interpreted it. But to change the world, your first step has to be to interpret it - and to do this correctly. Nobody of us can tell of the exactly right way - but there can definitely some statements be made as to what is the wrong way. A wrong way of explaining the world is to see it too one-sidedly, to try seeing binary oppositions where shades of grey are the most prevailing element, to explain away oddities, to shape the perception of the world into artificial constructions like race, class or gender - and naming these artificial definitions laws of nature or society. Of course there exist phenomena resembling these constructions somehow - otherwise the constructions couldn't possibly be upheld by so many people. But there is a line between resemblance and identity - as there is a line between causality and co-incidence. Any attempt at smoothening the differences, at creating rigid laws and images, at reshaping the world according to these constucted lines will lead to friction in the system, to resistance. Explaining away this resistance as inimical doesn't help: The consequences would be very similar to what happened in France and Russia following their "great" revolutions: Terror, violence and new injusticies, leading to something very different, to a despotic state. The result of the French Revolution have been the Jacobines and Napoleon, the result of the Soviet Revolution, Stalin and the Evil Empire. Different in approach and philosophy, both revolutions aimed for improvement of the human conditions but led to havoc and terror.

PJK
PJK February 28th / March 1st, 2000







10: Evolution - Revolution

Changes occur throughout all history, changes sometimes necessary, sometimes disturbing, sometimes unnoticed. Sometimes they are even deeply necessary, the key question however remaining: How. A question integral to the solution of the problem. The noblest of aims, realized with the dirtiest of means, cannot lead to a real solution: The means corrupt the cause. Violence can be argued against in different ways, some even argue in favor of it. But in the most general of ways, violence always raises the stakes. Violence is a non-solution, its application already demonstrating the incapability of those using it to find worthy solutions to a problem. The use of violence is a declaration of one's inability to act. To force a situation into change always causes friction, resistance, scars which have to heal. All ethical argumentation set aside, yet alone out of pragmatic reasons violence is always the worst of all options.

There are different levels of violence, of course. Besides physical aggression, violence can also mean psychological violation. Propaganda is a kind of violence, hate is, so are prejudice, lies, suppression, discrimination, any kind of compulsion. The degree of pressure may vary, but it is usually less constructive than the non-pressure solution. If pressure is kindly applied to motivate somebody to arrive at a conclusion, deriving this conclusion not out of this act of pressure but out of inner agreement and resolution, that's a constructive approach - but if such an agreement cannot be reached, this doesn't imply reinforcing the pressure, inacting retribution. It is always better if two parties find agreement and understanding in dialog, this solution would guarantee long-time collaboration, pressure and force would create resistance and an inimical relationship.

Sometimes it might be necessary to use force in defense of oneself or somebody else. This self-defense or assistance in an emergency mustn't exceed the absolutely necessary amount of necessity: Anything exceeding this cannot anymore be justified by the initial act of aggression. When the defender becomes the aggressor, the level of necessity is left. Self-defense cannot include a right to commit atrocities. The outbreak of violence instigated by something like the French or Soviet revolution clearly disqualifies these events as anyting of superior humanity: Even more, the deeds of Stalin, Mao, Hitler, Milosevic, justified by the respective philo"sophy" their movements were based upon, may it be racist or class-based, reveal a violent ground of these respective movements - evidence of this clearly visible in the Communist Manifesto (as cited above), the violent nature of Nazism, however, being much more obvious.

It might seem tautological to criticize Nazism and national socialist propaganda, at least that's what I was thinking for quite some time. Only recently I have become aware of the much greater scope of that problem, of its "foundations" in philosophy. It is easy to believe that, in the case of the Nazis, there were just some madmen having gained access to the throne, but the conflict goes much deeper. The nationalist movements resulting from the national resistance groups spawned by Napoleon's conquering Europe led to a relatively new concept in European history: The nation state, the nation as such - such thinking, initially believed to be constructive, was later combined with pseudo-evolutionist thinking, with racism of the extreme kind. Gobineau, Chamberlain, Nietzsche, Wagner - all these delivered the background, although perhaps none of these could have imagined the consequences. The hard fact, however, is that neither Communism nor Nazism were the domain of an uneducated mass public, but that these extremist positions were very well sponsored by high-ranking intellectuals, by people who should have known better than to incite a murderous mass raving. Enemies were constructed that were to be fought against, anti-semitism prospering in both Communism and National Socialism. Both systems, both so different in their background, both leading to similar results; only that the USSR and its minions have never been defeated and never had to stand trial.

Evolution in its simplified version is construed as a struggle for life - the "survival of the fittest" being the key phrase here, also being the most misused phrase ever as the term "fittest" has to be seen in a much more critical light than it usually is. In nature, a lion or a shark or a tyrannosaurus rex might seem powerful predators, but their very existence is only possible by the existence of their prey. If the prey population is diminished, the hunter population goes down; not vice versa. Who's now playing the strong part, who is the fittest? Is it Nietzsche's Übermensch? Is it the brute, in-human, anti-humane "Aryan"? I don't think so. Violence loses in the long run. So it is somewhat ironic that the literal meaning of the word "revolution" means a turning back: not a progressive move, but a regressive one. Revolution doesn't mean progress. However, literal meanings might only be a nice little game, nothing that really matters, though it might be somehow revealing. But exactly which revolution has brought forward the positive results some of their contributors might have aimed for? Hasn't progress rather occured in spite of all the violence? Isn't the real revolution the one happening in the minds of the people, without any violence necessary? Isn't the real revolution the silent way of reform - much less spectacular for the impatient revolutionist? Isn't the real revolution the one which unites the people rather than dividing them? Isn't the prevailing motivator for progress continuity rather than rupture? The wild, violent anarchy of traditional revolutionary maze might be a convenient scenery for false heroism and agitation. But it is not the environment in which truth and humanity are born.

PJK
March 5th, 2000







11: Individuality & Responsibility

As you surely will have noticed, this essay has somewhat drifted into a strange direction, and with it the entirety of its preceding seven essays. The scope has shifted from the more general to two, rather one very special case. The conclusions derived here may, no, they surely will invoke harsh criticism and spawn misunderstanding, I'm pretty sure of it. That may be intentional, to a certain degree, as it is a controversial topic. Whoever deals with such a matter surely has to expect to be drawn into the controversy, and one man's truth is another man's nemesis. But here I have already arrived at precisely the place which will carry the rest of this essay into conclusion: Relativity, Individuality, Uncertainty.

Wouldn't it be nice to have something like universal truths? Something like a universal religion, philosophy, science? Something like a great unity in thinking, a great convention - no compromise? Easy answers instead of difficult ones? No tough questions, no death, no disease, no starvation, no crises, no doubts? Clear-cut lines instead of uncertain fuzzy edges? But on the other hand, wouldn't that be somewhat unproductive? Static? Uninspiring? We do not live in a state like the one Plato imagined - there is no stable state. Everything is in movement - but unlike Herodot's pejorative interpretation of his "panta rei" - "everything flows", this motion should be construed as actually something positive, or rather, as something beyond good or evil, something perhaps like a law of nature? But I would rather be very cautious about such a judgement. Let's just see it in a rather neutral light.

Change can affect people in very different ways - one may prosper while another person has to perish. Perspective is the key word here, and it is never easy. It might be convenient nowadays to be sitting on one's couch, dry and warm, while thousands of Mozambican citizens are threatened by immense floods, thousands already dead or deprived of their homes. It is very arrogant and cynical and uncaring to just be glad that it is them and not us, but it is also very human. While the people in Western Europe, North America, Japan or Australia may be enjoying relative stability, peace, democracy and prosperity, people are dying or suffering in other places: Kosovo, Chechnya, China, Tibet, East Timor, Congo, Cuba, Ethiopia, Palestine and countless places else. Somehow you have to be sympathetic, but on the other hand you also have to be realistic and, to a certain degree, selfish; selfish not in a negative sense of being entirely self-centered: But rather being aware of oneself, of one's restrictions, of the smallness of one's own role in a global scope. Humbleness. This can include being happy to be alive - and to feel sympathetic for others and trying to help them.

The self - the "Me, Myself and I": that's all we can be sure of, can we? It is this self to which all exploration, all interrogation, all excavation eventually has to lead to: In the end, in our end, in the moment of our death, in our awaiting either darkness or transcendence, in this moment everything else collapses into this single point, the universe vanishes, convenes in ourselves: Everything comes down to this shivering, lonely soul, to our very individual fears and hopes and worries; this moment of utmost self-awareness and -questioning casting its shadows into all our life. Mortality, weakness, fragility: In the end of our lives, nothing else can matter but what we have become inside, what we ourselves have grown into, into what we have transcended already during our dwelling on the Earth: From all material things will remain but a corpse, a stinking, decaying, rotten bunch of minerals. There is no dignity in that, and all our masks of deception, all our transpiring to greatness will be in vain: What remains, is in us, our universe is carried by our soul: It is being reduced into that, the charade is over: What comes next is an issue of religion, a place into which science cannot proceed.

The individual is all we can be sure of, that is, if we can be sure of anything, the individual is what carries the hightest degree of probability. We are not governed by a group, by no class nor race nor gender, not primarily: We are individuals. No two men are the same, no two women. The inner soul resists classification: resists prediction. Being does not determine consciousness: It might influence it to a certain degree, but it is rather secondary. Nor is one individual more worth than another, whatever its strength or "vitality" might be. In paradise, we are naked. In our inner soul, we are just human. Nothing more - but nothing less. With individuality comes responsibility: Accepting other people's individuality, and guarding it. If we are anything like a group, we are a group of individuals. A government failing to realize this will consequently fail, as has been proven by history countless times. It will fail because of its own inadequacy. Resistance is not futile.

PJK
March 5th, 2000







12: Permanent Deceptions

The world has become anything but simpler - that is true perhaps for every time. Still, it might seem it has been simpler or even better in the past. That would be something like wish-thinking: It is always easier to have a certain past behind you than an uncertain future yet to come. The basic problems, the basic conflicts, however, remain rather the same.

There are no easy answers, there are no easy questions. The easiest questions seem to be those which are not asked: But through not asking, the truth is hidden, time and again. You cannot just hide behind your tv and let the world go on without you. At a certain point you have to join it - unless you should choose to leave it. But the chance may be that you'd have to complete the unfinished task anyway. The answer thus cannot be to go into hiding - there is neither honor nor profit nor revelation in this. But by accessing the world, the world's descriptions and categorizations and discriminations are to be faced.

Question everything - in order to understand a thing, this thing needs to be examined thoroughly, in its context: There should be no limitations as to how far scientific exploration should go, the only limitation would be the costs of such an endeavor: the ethics involved. What could an unethical science achieve - isn't science an instrument of truth, isn't truth an instrument to support ethics? Science without ethics isn't science anymore, it is a violation of everything science would be standing for. No, when I said there should be no limits to science, these limits have to be understood as intellectual limits: It musn't be forbidden to question conventional wisdom. It mustn't be forbidden even to challenge religion. If traditions and religion are true and valid, they will prevail. If they don't, they are useless and should be modified. This is deconstruction, again: Anything valid will hold, anything fake but perish.

The result of such an undertaking will never be a world without deceptions: If one of the webs of deception is destroyed, others, more elaborate ones, will be erected, will erect themselves: Task solved, proceed to next level. The game will be over one day for each individual, but in its entirety, humankind will go on: History is the history of individuals, but it is also the history of time: Speaking mathematically, it is the lives of countless individuals integrated over time: No going back, but always adding life by life, thought by thought, spark by spark: There is no going back. May the tasks become more difficult, so do our means become more elaborate. There is no inadequacy in the test of time.

Nothing can be lost in the true search for truth - a lie exposed may create short-time confusion and even havoc. The truth may prove destructive for some, for a corrupt politician, for a criminal whose wrongdoings are discovered, for a theory whose inconclusiveness is exposed. But in the long run, truth will be the only thing of worth, the only thing which can save us from ourselves. Philosophy is about the truth, truth being an integral part of wisdom. But it is also a very pragmatic issue: Every lie, every deception will once be exposed. So the truth is always the hardest, but always the safest way. Deceptions come and go, but truth stays the same. Truth is Logos. En archê ên ho logos. [9]

PJK
March 5th, 2000

(The entire essay was minimally reworked by July 25th 2001, concerning spelling and minor corrections, while the substance of it was left intact.)






Endnotes

[1a] not any more, yet I'll leave this in for historical reasons [August 23rd, 2003].
[1] by this I mean the naming of word stems, not derivations - because derivations are again formed with a certain logic in mind
[4] The parable of Menenius Agrippa (Livy 2.32.9-2.32.11), which he told the Plebeians after their leaving the city in order to refuse to work under Patrician rule. He convinced them that society could not work without all members working together; and through their leaving the city and returning, their position was even strengthened.
[5] cf. Turner's Frontier Thesis, see my papers on The Frontier and Native Americans
[6] The Communist Manifesto. Part II, my highlighting
[7] The Communist Manifesto. Part I, my highlighting
[9] John 1.1

For a bibliography, please check the Selected Bibliography page.





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