Below is the second section of Part II of a four-section essay by Hans-Peter Raddatz about the EU, the Mediterranean Union, the Islamization of the West, and the deliberate engineering of the “Arab Spring” by the global elites to serve their own long-term goals. Previously: Section 1. For the links to Part I, see the archive list at the bottom of this post.
Islamic Seasons and “Democratic” Global Policy
Part II: Fall and Winter in the Cycle of Radical Culture
by Hans-Peter Raddatz
Dr. Raddatz uses references which may be unfamiliar to some. Therefore there are reference notes. These are of two types: translator’s notes and endnotes:
|1)||Translator’s Notes: An asterisk (*) following a word or concept in the text indicates the presence of a “Translator’s Note” immediately below. These provide immediate clarification for concepts or expressions which may be unfamiliar to some, or even most readers.|
|2)||Endnotes: Numbers in superscript following a term or a concept in the text indicate endnotes for readers who wish more detail grounded in original sources.
In Section I, of this paper Dr. Raddatz refers to Islamocentric Euro-elites who have brought the “jihad culture of Islam into an anti-Semitic “new interpretive model” in the West. This penetration of Islamic law, with the assistance of the Left-Right extremes, heralds “a new dominant culture”. In Dr. Raddatz’ estimation, the “…root cause of this trend, which can lead to a Western cultural autumn and winter, lies in the fundamental destruction of human reason (Islamic Seasons, Section 5). In Section 2 below, Dr. Raddatz suggests the Enlightenment separated itself from its cultural roots and introduced a new counter-concept to the Judeo-Christian tradition, a new ethos which materialises man in the sense of making him “system-like”; that is, reflex-like, passive and reactive. The central image for the direction of movement is the dichotomy of logocentrism versus hylocentrism (Gk. hyle, matter, hence materialism); that is, a movement from Logos (reason) to bio-mechanical system. The Enlightenment figures who trace the trajectory of the new ethos are Kant and Derrida. In both philosophers Dr. Raddatz identifies central elements which express this movement toward a man as a “socio-technical” function which nullifies the individual and creates a mass social order characterised by reflexivity, automaticity and a narrowing of consciousness to a binary on-off system which is therefore ahistorical and acultural.
2. Radical Philosophy and Evil
Where there is no alternative, then there is only power. Kant and Hegel knew this, as did Adorno and Arendt, Heidegger and C. Schmitt, Foucault and Derrida. This power finds expression in the totalitarian curtailment of thinking and then the extinction, first of the spiritual, and then of corporeal existence. As anticipated in Part I of this paper, this is where radical evil* comes into view, the metaphysics of totalitarianism, which has been preoccupying the academic discourse in philosophy and science since the early Enlightenment at the latest, and has been gradually transforming the modern age into a universal counter-concept of the Judeo-Christian old-culture. The metaphysics of totalitarianism, having allowed change to become an end in itself, manifests as an epochal paradigm, in which power prevails in the “procedural Gestalt” (Habermas) or “structural coupling” (Luhmann)** of social relations, and transforms people into functional elements of labour and consumption.
*[Translator’s Note: “Radical evil:” Although the word “radical” is used in this paper in its sense of “extreme”, for Kant, the term as it appears in the expression “radical evil” refers to its derivative sense of the Latin radix = “root”. Radical evil is “rooted in mankind” (Kant, Immanuel. Religion within the Boundary of Pure Reason. Section III, “Man is by Nature Evil” Edinburgh: Thomas Clark, 1838. p. 36)]
**[Translator’s note: “procedural Gestalt” (Habermas) and “structural coupling” (Luhmann): It is sufficient to note here that Dr. Raddatz represents these theories as mechanistic, desubjectivising, sociological theories of “communication”. Man’s interactions are reflexive rather than reflective. “Mechanism” is embodied in the statement change becomes “an end in itself”, or more literally translated, change becomes its own purpose (“Wandel zum Selbstzweck werden läßt”: Kirsten Reich calls ‘mechanism’ “Communication as Desubjectivised System”.
(Kommunikation als entsubjektiviertes System cf. Kirsten Reich: Luhmanns Entsubjektivierung des Konstruktivismus — “Luhmann’s Desubjectivised Constructivism”).
For this reason the “Islamic Seasons” also take on a different meaning, which in the Autumn and Winter, harbinger a phase of cultural atrophy, but from the standpoint of the new, hybrid radical culture [of Islam and the West], it signifies a rather redemptive revival. In Islamic eschatology there is hope for the disappearance of the old world, the transgression not only of its limits, but of all limits; the hope of a liberation into a mass-existence which simulates matter, liberation into the phantasm of social “plasma” (Bruno Latour: [cf. Latour’s Plasma pre-scientific mass, socially formless, and without subjectivity. cf. also Endnote 2, Section 4, identification with the crowd as “transformation into animal”, implying a backward utopia, a pre-Eden state where without “limits” there is no conscious differentiation.] The quality of this mass state is manifest in the “procedural paradigms” [prozeduralen Gestalten]* of two levelling homogenisations [Uniformierungen] which are in the module of functionalism and the gender module (gender mainstreaming). Along with jihad, procedural paradigms also belong to the faith of Muslims and are fostered by the Western “dialogue”-avant garde. With a view to a better understanding of this structural change, which has the makings of a new world ethos, it is worth taking into account the formative conditions and frameworks which are common to the radicalism of the West and Islam.
*[Translator’s Note: Procedural (or radical democratic) paradigm: “…we do not know what exactly is the referent of the procedural or radical democratic paradigm” (Arato, Andrew. Procedural Law and Civil Society: Interpreting the radical Democratic Paradigm. Habermas on Law and Democracy: Critical Exchanges. Ed. Michel Rosenfeld and Andrew Arato. Berkeley and Los Angeles: U. of California P., 1998. 27.).
Dr, Raddatz understands procedural paradigm or gestalt (or radical democracy) as voluntary obedience. It as a form of functionalism which generates a self-controlling mass society characterised by reflexivity and not reflection, hence “homogenisations” like gender mainstreaming which remove even biological limits, discriminations or distinctions; in other words, the elimination of cognition itself. (cf. The Slavery of Radical Democracy Gates of Vienna).
In the following paragraph in Dr. Raddatz’ paper, the word “system-like” (systemhaft) appears. “System” is a generic term referring to a complex, abstract philosophical, sociological or societal networks of interrelated parts, like the “money-standardised coding” defined above, or Habermas’ procedural paradigm, which function reflexively, autonomously and therefore without subjective or conscious experience. ‘System’ is all-encompassing, and at the same time becomes increasingly “narrow” in breadth, hence totalitarian and “dehumanising”.]
Another system emerges in the following paragraphs as well, Immanuel Kant’s Categorical Imperative: The word “Categorical” means independent of external conditions, non-hypothetical, hence, an absolute and universal imperative: “The Categorical Imperative: “… is thus only a single one, and specifically this: Act only in accordance with that maxim through which you can at the same time will that it become a universal law.“ For other formulations cf. “Abbreviations” in the following source. (Source for this entire note: Kant, Immanuel. Ed. Allen W. Wood. Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals. Yale, 2002, p. 37)
Maxim: A maxim, for Kant, is distinguished from a law in that it derives from a ‘disposition’ (Gesinnung), a pre-existent tendency within each individual to produce a rule of conduct which one wills to become universal law (the Categorical Imperative). The maxim is a non-tautological proposition and knowable independent of experience (a synthetic judgment a priori). The maxim and the predisposition appear to be indistinguishable in that they are both posited only by inference: “… the regulating maxims of the will are no object of possible experience”, hence their existence can only be inferred from observable actions (Kant. Religion within the Boundary of Pure Reason. Edinburgh: Thomas Clark, 1838. p. 19). By contrast, the law is an external (objective) application of the maxim to society as a whole and is open to direct experience. A disposition or maxim can be good or evil. If one can will that the maxim generated from the disposition be applied as a universal law for everyone, “without contradictions” (widerspruchslos) arising, then it is a good maxim (op. cit p. 46). Since a maxim is an “inner principle”, and since the process by which it is generated and then becomes transferred to a law for the collectivity is unclear, it is open to co-optation. Thus, who decides which maxims have universal validity? This question captures the drift of the following discussion.]
Between Kant [1724—1804] and Derrida [1930-2004] there lies a span of two hundred years of academic discourse in the development of European ideas, a trajectory which has in fact kept the transformation of the world ethos on course, intensified it and critically examined it; but under the monetary pressures of technical innovation it has steered it into a tunnel-thinking which is in itself dehumanising. In system-like (systemhaft) manner this academic discourse became increasingly narrower; and with degrees of fluctuations tended to radicalise. Kant created the epoch-making Categorical Imperative, which is supposed to allow man to act according to maxims [Maximen]. Maxims provide man with the infallible certainty that these must also be made into [universal] law. From this process of generating universal law from maxims, Kant excludes experience on account of its “deceptive appearance”. He subjects experience to the requirement of proof due to its proneness to dangerous illusion. At the same time, however, Kant disassembles it because, although evil actions can indeed be experienced, one cannot experience maxims* which are conveyed to man through an inner principle. (cf Christoph Schulte, radikal böse — Die Karriere des Böse von Kant bis Nietzsche, 20 — München 1991).
*[Translator’s Note: “One cannot experience maxims” because they arise from a subjective (inner) a priori disposition (Gesinnung). Therefore, even though evil acts themselves are subject to experience (observing someone’s behaviour), attributing such acts to an evil maxim based on experience (observation) is deceptive: “One does not know therefore in the case of an evil, unlawful act, whether the perpetrator also willed it ‘consciously’ … whether his maxim, which is to say, his subjective [inner] rule of action was contrary to law and evil. Therefore, ‘the judgment that the perpetrator is an evil person, cannot be grounded in experience with certainty’ (Kant, Rel. BA 6). One declares a person evil, not because he carries out actions which are evil (illegal); but because these acts are such that they indicate evil maxims in him.” Schulte, op. cit., p. 42]
Of course Kant knew — above all in law — that there are changeable maxims, which bring about the classical distinction between morality and legality [distinction between inner maxim (morality) and external law]. Given this distinction and owing to the vague means by which the Categorical Imperative is generated, experience rooted in disposition [Gesinnung] intensifies ideologically and can develop categorical strength [the force of an absolute]. According to Kant, because radical evil is [rooted] in human nature , it cannot be made accountable [zurechenbar] because no disposition [Gesinnung] can be attributed to the laws of nature [since acts stemming from nature would then be determined and not attributable to free choice]. Accordingly there must be a moral law which does not merely bestow on man the freedom to accept the good. Beyond his openness to evil, the moral law should give him the capability of acting according to maxims which also convey the force of law to his will and lead precisely to that Categorical Imperative [which is “that maxim through which you can at the same time will that it become a universal law”]. The philosopher leaves the central question in this remarkable constellation open: how does the individual actually come to this exclusive “inner principle” [of the disposition or maxim] and how or in which direction does the diffuse transition take place, which moves from the individual’s disposition [Einzelgesinnung] to the maxim which lies in the sphere between the individual and the society, a sphere which is to this day almost unknown?
We are dealing here with a highly developed form of aesthetic power transformation which obligates the individual to follow the moral law as formulated by the elites, solidifies it into an inner principle and creates structures of directed thinking and behaviour. Should Kant not have intended this, then historical praxis has abused him, although his leading thinkers often refer to him as the “all-destroyer” [Alleszermalmer]. This can be taken all the more strictly since Kant understood Enlightenment as “emergence from self-imposed immaturity [Unmündigkeit]”, which expanded into a principle advantageous to the elites, because under the modern power-maxim, the mass also follows the elites’ roles and codes [cf. An Answer to the Question: What is Enlightenment?]. Since the masses react and scarcely act, they cannot infantilise themselves [sich nicht selbst entmündigen], but at most follow the imperative of the “moral law”. If at the moment the “moral law” consists of the concepts of tolerance toward Islam, and Islam is a religion of peace, then it replaces the version of the “moral law” belonging to the old culture [which is the natural law], occupies the inner principle of ‘disposition’, and the said “moral law” of tolerance toward Islam solidifies itself, in the course of physical immigration and psychological “dialogue”-manipulation, into a uniform operating system* [Betriebssystem], which, along with immaturity [Unmündigkeit], obtains particular effectiveness by means of technological networking in the labour, consumer and entertainment sectors.
*[Translator’s Note: The term “operating system” (Betriebssystem), the software platform for computers, is another ‘system’ metaphor for reflexivity, automaticity and therefore of desubjectivisation of the mass. This “software” metaphor will return in Section 4.]
The possibility of self-infantilisation appears to be still less of a given with Jacques Derrida. Hardly two centuries later, this French-Jewish philosopher of Algerian origin, following Hegel and Heidegger, developed a sophisticated, which is to say, modified high-version of the Categorical Imperative, cleansed of everything human. It defines an inner ontological alternative principle to the individual and it makes apparent, by its mechanism of disintegration, the paradoxical transformation of the individual into an external, socio-technical function. This transformation centres on the neologism of différance (a deviant spelling of différence), with which Derrida set in motion the spatio-temporal deconstruction of the individual as the counter-concept of the old-cultural metaphysical logocentrism* [individual centredness]*. The unified force field in which thinking and ‘being present’ [Sein], God and animal, culture and nature are combined, the physical component [of each pair of opposites], by virtue of being determined, is simultaneously reified [be-dingte] . This physical component gains ascendency as the labour- consumer- and fun-coded deratiocination increases; and it gives way, in the context of the interminable discussions about body-soul and subject-object, to an alternative hylocentrism;* that is, to a fundamental materialisation of human existence in which the thinking individual drifts into the status of a reacting or functional mass component.
*[Translator’s Note: Logocentrism for Derrida carries the primary meaning of a “speech-centred” Western old-culture; but Dr. Raddatz’ context emphasises its meaning of “the individual” derived from its reference to the second Person of the Trinity, as the incarnate Logos, and the supreme individual. For Derrida, logocentrism is an “ethnocentric metaphysics … related to the history of the West” (Of Grammatology, p. 137), which has its origin in philosophy “…as episteme [knowledge], and of truth as the unity of logos and phone“ [voice]”
(Derrida, Jacques. Freud and the Scene of Writing. Writing and Difference, Trans. Allan Bass, London: Routledge, 1978. 246).
Hence deconstruction of logocentrism is to deconstruct meaning.
Logocentrism and hylocentrism (Gk. hyle, matter, hence materialism) are opposites. In the “unified force field” between logocentrism and hylocentrism the individual “drifts” toward matter. With Kant, human nature is no longer logocentric, but autonomous, independent of Judeo-Christian tradition; with Derrida, the “system” is “cleansed of everything human.”]
Within the disintegrative and negative spectrum of différance , Derrida identifies ‘presence’ as automatically influencing consciousness. ‘Presence’  must be understood as an expression, in voice, of writing, and therefore is to be understood as audiovisual semiotic signification* which constantly repeats itself in the world-in-progress (Weltverlauf), as it deletes itself for the sake of sustaining itself; “presence” being replaced by “non-presence”, in order to be present again .
*[Translator’s Note: audiovisual semiotic signification refers to a visual or auditory sign which “… represents the present in its absence. It takes the place of the present. When we cannot grasp or show the thing… when the present cannot be presented, we signify, we go through the detour of the sign. We take or give signs…. The circulation of signs defers the moment in which we can encounter the thing itself… — signification as the différance of temporization.” (cf. Différance, emphasis added) To defer, as in temporise, is one of the roots of différance.]
In this process an ominous power of signification is meant to take effect (in the psyche, life, will), which consolidates the ontological intermediate status, between a no-longer and a not-yet, and keeps the binary on-off-”presence” going. With Derrida, as with his source, Edmund Husserl (d. 1938), “presence” means the simultaneous and expressionless immediacy of the conscious act, as it is lived -through [er-lebt: cf. Heidegger], which necessarily is freed from the old-cultural humanitas [vom altkulturellen Humanen].
While the conscious act continuously foreshortens thinking and time by its accelerated cycles of innovation, by the cycles of its own working existence and by the cycles of the technological artefacts it un-lives itself so to speak [ent-leben cf. Heidegger].
[Translator’s Note: Er-lebt and ent-lebt, lived-through and un-lived, themselves constitute a binary, on-off signification; their alternation being a narrowing of “the conscious act” to a temporal series of single transient incidents, which is “necessarily freed from the old-cultural humanitas“. Such a transient consciousness is by necessity therefore ahistorical, for it is sign without a referent (meaning). The transient “on” is merely a “deferral” (différance) via “off” to the next signification, the next “on”. The binary on-off repetition of “presence” expresses différance, in its derivative sense of différer, to defer, shift or elude. The “ominous power of signifying [which] is intended to take effect” in the psyche etc., stems from sign being transiently “deferred presence” (Différance). Presence-absence is part of a binary on-off coding, the result of the deconstruction of the Logos. (See Endnote  for an elaboration on these Derridian concepts.)]
The act of consciousness is abstracted to a symbol between digit and sign, which in the programmed socio-technical text, oscillates between 1 and 0 and transfers the old-cultural moral forms into money-standardised time-series. This socio-technical transformation explains the (well-financed) intensity with which certain discussions are conducted, such as those over Swarm intelligence, artificial intelligence, genetic technology and gender mainstreaming; it also explains the rising techno-reflexive aggression with which the bio-machine of the culturally radical parasitism (Michel Serres)  proceeds against the epochal enemy of the superior intellectual tradition of the “old” science and religion; — superior, because it is differentiated, and above all constructive. Additionally, it is understandable that the intellectual figure of Derrida, who is as difficult as he is successful, owing to his destructive genius, worked for a long time aloof from the public eye. He met with a conscious-unconscious [bewußt-unbewußte] reception in the culturally radical structural change which swept him up into the diverse changes in trend — linguistic, cognitive, pragmatic, cultural, and the cybernetic turn — and brought him to an ever-expanding mainstream of mathematisation and monetarisation.
Reduced to on-off signals in the work and consumer network, the subjects are condensed between no-longer and not-yet, between interval and sign into a functional mass in the world society, which is to be standardised globally and in the end is to speak with one voice. Against this background, which is by no means utopian, because it is already so far advanced, Islam comes into perspective as an important, but not absolutely central aspect of the transformation. Islam is inherent in the modern power process itself, where the self-reflexive technologisation asserts itself in tendencies to pre-modernity; to magically fixated, repetitive thinking; stereotyped faculty for speech; ritualistic reflex behaviours and empathy with the animalistic (see below, [Section 4]).
In this respect, the expansion of Islam is encountering increasingly improved conditions, as the ideological consensus in the West — which is directed against its own cultural predecessor — is to a very large extent assisted by the simultaneous regression of Western civilisation to the pre-modern, partly archaic “equal footing” with Islam. The evolutionary “hardware” of the cultures is involved in this regression, as Islam and the West have been growing more like each other since the Enlightenment’s tolerance dogma emerged. Today, however, the more fundamental basis of the transformation is to be found in the “software” of the cultural propaganda, which suggests to the public that by their participation in the “dialogue”, they can influence the process of change. That such is not possible is proved by the long-term nature of this prayer-wheel-like institution, which has been repeatedly exchanging the same expressions for a half a century and has long been revealing its real system-purpose: the Islamisation of Europe.
Since the objections of so-called Islam criticism in this regard remain ineffectual, the trend of the media toward Islamocentric filtering of their information can only be explained by their own deratiocination [Denkschwund], because for a long time now all the relevant sciences have also been following the Islamic model of interpretation and a censure can effectively be avoided. Wherever the players compete not only in tolerance, but also meanwhile in “radical tolerance”, it becomes clear that the charismatic competition* is for the favour of Islam, which not only belongs to Europe, but has taken over sovereignty of interpretation there. In this respect Mohammad’s example can also provide a guidance in gaining a perspective, for long ago he built up a broad spectrum ranging from helpers to contract killers by asking the charismatic question: “Who will protect me from my enemies?”. Since the culturally radical trend appears to be without limits and is intensifying continually, an as yet untapped totalitarian potential is to be anticipated, which will become more like the cycle of the Islamic seasons, and also in the Fall and Winter Muhammad’s timeless harvest of violence in Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, and elsewhere will be declared the result of Western “provocation”.
*[Translator’s Note: “charismatic competition” (charismatische Konkurrenz): This ‘salvation’ language refers to rivalry among different claimants for the achievement of the same salvific goal, in this case Islam. Dr. Raddatz provides his own definition: “I have always adverted to the interesting phenomenon of ‘charismatic competition’ which forces all participants in the dialogue to surpass each other as animal trainers (Dresseure) in bringing about obedience above all. This process leads the participants to identify ever more closely with their salvific- and lobby-object, because it serves their careers and attracts subsidies” (Raddatz kritisiert “charismatische Konkurrenz”, Politically Incorrect. Dec. 2008).]
This cultural radicalism leads back to Kant’s radical evil, with its role of taking over the Judeo-Christian old-culture in a modern age fixed in the crosshairs of Islam. Since evil, as an act of freedom, derives from reason which is susceptible to change;* and since the disposition [Gesinnung], which determines the moral law, must reconcile the anthropological discrepancy between animalism and humanity (cf. Schulte, loc. cit., 78), the latent position of evil remains all the more powerfully unresolved. In this respect reason contains an asymmetrical power, inclining more toward evil than good; the latter in particular is susceptible to “cultural vices”* — greed, envy, schadenfreude [these suggesting the widespread (“asymmetrical”) propensity to evil]; and today, it is also prone to so-called Islamophobia. Kant speaks of “reasonable malevolence” as a normal condition against which the Categorical Imperative is supposed to be the panacea. According to Kant, the example of the Stoics shows how close one can come to error, for they had confused evil with folly [the appetites]  and overlooked the actual danger. At work here is “an invisible enemy, as it were, one who hides behind reason”; an enemy who, according to Kant, steals about using deception and subversion. In this perfidy, he says, lies the actual radical evil, which constitutes the most important difference between man and animal, a distinction which brought his critic Franz von Baader (d. 1841) to the assessment that because the animal lacks these qualities, man can only stand above or below it (see below).
*[Translator’s Note: “…reason which is susceptible to change: “Reason, considered as an activity occurring in time (not pure reason), is an act of self-determination, for out of freedom it can accept maxims which are unlawful. The “cultural vices” are an expression of a “reasonable malevolence of man” (Kant) which is widespread. Reason cannot be the first basis of accepting a good maxim, but requires a good disposition “of unconditional attention to the moral law” “for which every man … carries the predisposition in his personality”. (Schulte, Christoph, radikal böse — Die Karriere des Böse von Kant bis Nietzsche, München: Wilhelm Fink Verlag, 1988. 76-78]
While the asymmetrical gravitational pull favouring the self-liberation of evil [over good] forms a scarcely accidental parallel to the asymmetry in the relation between power and the masses [elites decide the maxims], it also underscores not only the moral freedom of the elites, but also highlights ‘disposition’ [Gesinnung] as an instrument of power. As an exclusive inner principle, the ‘disposition’ is the decisive index for all thinking and behaviour, which knows only the totalitarian toggle-switch between yes and no, on or off, plus or minus, ‘brown-red or dead’ and Islam or non-Islam: “Between a good or bad disposition [Gesinnung]… there is nothing” [Kant, in Schulte, op. cit. 70]. The Kantian cycle engages afresh at its initial stage where, so to speak, the “original choice” of the [good or bad] ‘disposition’ remains inscrutable. Precisely for that reason this choice of ‘disposition’ is entrusted to the following cadres of specialists operating in the service of power: the philosophers, intellectuals and bureaucrats, who are entrusted with the formulation and conveyance of a folk-digestible ruling doctrine to those service personnel who function at the interface between power and mass; namely, to those who today pursue the limitless intercultural propaganda in their capacity as consultants, representatives and experts, thus earning for themselves the bio-political appellation of differentiation parasites *(Armin Nassehi).
*[Translator’s Note: Differentiation parasites, according to the German Sociologist Nassehi, are highly specialised technocrats who mediate at the point of intersection between two groups whose functional codes are normally incomprehensible to each other. Dr. Raddatz is employing the concept of differentiation parasites: to describe a cadre of middle level, highly specialised elites who operate between the power-elite and the mass by disseminating propaganda which is “folk-digestible”. (Source: Eliten als Differenzierungsparasiten… Outline of a Research Programme)
For additional material on differentiation parasites see “The Slavery of Radical Democracy”]
Associations evoking predecessor structures, that is, calling to mind the countless variations of the Numinous and inscrutable divine resolutions of the history of religion are not out of place here. Similarly the parallels between Islam and the Kantian system come to mind. Of course, the disposition [Gesinnung]* does not come from the Muslim himself, but from the Categorical Imperative of sharia law; nonetheless the disposition is controlled by a moral law, which became incarnated in Mohammad and over the centuries was compressed into a maxim which was simply insurmountable (Tilman Nagel, ( Allahs Liebling), p. 153 [Allah’s Darling]). The system-like connections of these historically powerful structures are not limited, however, to their similarity to each other, but they are also invariant over time.
*[Translator’s Note: Dr. Raddatz appears to shift the Kantian disposition (Gesinnung) from its position as a pre-existing generator of maxims in the individual directly to a pre-existing position in the (Islamic) collective. The moral law is “incarnated in Mohammad”; that is, “…the system of the sharia has already been conveyed in its fullness by Mohammad” (Nagel, Tilman. Allahs Liebling, München: Oldenbourg Eissenschaftsverlag, 2008. 153). Prof. Nagel arrives at this position partly on the basis of Hadith.
Mohammad, as a messenger, as a bringer of the fullness of what is salvifically necessary, appears here as the type of the Gnostic intermediary between God and man. The device protects Allah, free of contradiction, as impassible, ingenerate and remote, while acting in the human realm through his din, His ongoing creative act .
Kant makes it clear that while radical evil has its origin in reason, it does not originate in time*: “Pure reason [reason free from any sensory input], as a merely intelligible [a priori] faculty, is not subject to the form of time, and hence not subject to the conditions of temporal sequence” (Schulte loc. cit 109; English Translation: Kant, Immanuel. Critique of Pure Reason. Trans. Guyer and Wood. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998, B 579). The reason is causality: causality is conditioned by time, in nature, and not in freedom [If radical evil had its source in causality and time, man would be determined by it, and his acting on it would therefore have no moral value.]
*[Translator’s Note: Radical evil originates in reason but not in time: This is a deepening of the discussion of the origin of radical evil in reason. A distinction is to be made between reason as it occurs in time, which has dominated the discussion up to now, and pure reason. From the above quotation it is to be noted that pure reason is a negative concept (“not subject to” form and time). For Kant, man is born into time with a substrate which is, hypothetically, already structured, but is not directly accessible to consciousness in time, and therefore its characteristics are inferred by indirect signs and indicators. Words like “faculty”, “a priori”, “timelessness” suggest a pre-existence underlying phenomenal reality. Hence pure reason is to be distinguished from actual reasoning in time, which is changeable (see above). As we see below, in pure reason lies pure freedom; and in Allah’s “ongoing creation”, there also lies pure freedom, which is the real meaning of “no compulsion in religion” (cf. Endnote 5]
The situation is similar in Islam, where freedom arises from the continuing creation of Allah, which means “no compulsion in religion”* (Sura 2:256), because His continuing creation assigns the good of the believers and their entire existence to the spread of Islam in the world. The converse applies to the Christian version, where although matters are just as independent of time, original sin derives from nature and not from [pure] reason and is only healed by Baptism and Divine grace, which Kant dismisses as counterfeit fetishistic belief and delusory faith [After-,Fetisch- und Wahnglauben] .
*[Translator’s Note: “no compulsion in religion”: According to Dr. Tilman Nagel, in the phrase “there is no compulsion in religion” (Sura 2:256), “religion” should be translated as “order of existence” (Arabic ab-din; Ger. Daseinsordnung). The professor then uses the following Sura 2:257, with its dualistic (binary), light-dark imagery (“Allah…leads them from darkness into the light”), to elaborate on this “compulsion”. Prof. Nagel writes: “Whoever conforms himself to the order of existence, to the din, which corresponds completely to the creative act of Allah, for him every compulsion resulting from deviation from this order is annulled.” (Was ist Salafismus? emphasis added). Readers will recall that Sura 2:256 is the abrogated sura used as propaganda to convey that no one in the realm of darkness, idolatry (tagut); that is, outside of Islam (din), is under compulsion.
By comparing Allah with pure reason, Dr. Raddatz is suggesting that He is Kant’s de facto deity, his Allah. For both contain the origin of good and evil, wherein lies their freedom . The binary “on-off” character of ‘disposition’ (Gesinnung)’ “…which knows only the totalitarian toggle-switch between … ‘brown-red or dead’ and Islam or non-Islam”, corresponds to Islam’s dualistic system of turning toward Allah (din) vs. turning toward idolatry (tagut), in turn projected onto the social order as dar al-Islam vs. dar al-harb (House of Islam vs. House of War). It is this correspondence between Enlightenment and Islam that forms the basis of Dr. Raddatz’ claim that the two have been growing closer together since the advent of “tolerance” (see above).]
Kant sees every evil action as a transition from the state of innocence, a condition which also contains the alternative of good. But the asymmetrical subordination of good in favour of evil confirms the power of man as the primary motor of evil in the world, and relieves God — at least the Christian God — of being its originator [Omne bonum a deo, omne malum ab homine] . In conjunction with man’s asymmetric power for evil [to act according to evil maxims], the Kantian system offers its most important imperative, according to which no maxim should contradict the moral law, a status which Kant describes as the foul taint in our race or simply calls it devilish. Therefore, that zealots in Islam and the West accuse each other of having devilish characteristics is not surprising, because each is an obstruction to the moral law of the other. Associated with this dynamic of accusations of devilishness is the propaganda about Islam’s historical transfer of peace and culture; of which Europe is beginning to be the result, in its swelling mainstream*, to the extent that it fulfils the Koranic ‘ought’ [Soll] of enmity toward Jews and Christians. In this respect it is clear that Islamisation is proving to be the transvaluation [Umwertung] of Europe’s own historically evolved form of being [Seinsform], not only by means of a transformation of individual structures, but of the entire Western culture. [The allusion here is to Nietzsche’s “transvaluation of all values”, — Die Umwertung aller Werte, — which is not a ‘revaluation’, but a turning upside down.]
*[Translator’s Note: “mainstream”: This English loanword is part of a lexicon with several synonyms. “In the routine business of politics” it refers to “reforms for which there is no alternative”. “In the academic discourse operations”, it is known as “radical democracy“; in economics, “structural change“ or ‘deregulation“ (Hans-Peter Raddatz. Der Bischof und die Kirchenfeinde, Section 2. In Die Neue Ordnung (Dec. 2013) p. 459.]
Next: Freedom, Coercion and Time
|1.||(Habermas) and “structural coupling” (Luhmann).
The definition of structural coupling is below. But first, a brief description of what Luhmann means by a “system”. A system contains elements whose mutual operations are unique to that system. Hence a system is self-referential and therefore expresses a sharp demarcation from its environment. Each system has its own strictly unique binary code, for example, in Law, the code is just/unjust. As in this example, every system’s code has a positive/negative valence. In this way, systems generate themselves from within in a purely functional way; that is, without conscious purpose. Each system, however, forms the environment of the other systems, and each is sensitive to the others’ perturbations, which are non-causal influences. A perturbation of one system can be translated into another system’s unique code, hence allowing further change or development to take place within it.
Structural Coupling: Two systems are structurally coupled when they rely on each other’s perturbations for their own internal self-generation (autopoiesis). For example, the political system whose code is power can be sensitive to the economic system whose code is money by means of the perturbation of aggregate data from the latter, such as GNP, deficits and the like. These perturbations are registered as “power”-relevant by the political system and translated into its own power code, which allows it to change.
Broadly speaking there are also social systems (communication) and psychic systems (consciousness). But these systems are desubjectivised. Prof. Dr. Kersten Reich, University of Cologne, quotes Luhmann as follows: “If we start with the single individual as subject, his ideas are, through participation in societal communication networks, socialised to such an extent, that the only decision-making freedoms which exist are those that can be made changeable socially” (Kersten Reich: Die Ordnung der Blicke. Band 1: Kapitel II.2.5).
Now Kersten Reich’s representation of the concept of “Structural Coupling”: This term denotes the relation between different systems. Inside of the systems all elements, of which the system consists, are self-generated. Psychic systems, for example, generate thoughts, which can be operatively managed [within the system]. But psychic systems cannot communicate. Social systems on the other hand generate communications, although they cannot think. They completely contain, however, something thought. Therefore, psychic systems constitute an environment for social Systems, which is what makes their structural coupling possible. Social systems, (as interactions, organisations, and functional systems such as Economics, Politics, Science, Law, Art and Education) are structurally coupled with psychic systems by means of language [language is not a system]. Despite the self-referential nature of systems, structural coupling thereby permits the possibility of allowing perturbations in the other system levels to act, so that these, as perturbations, can become triggers for a new developments inside the systems” (Reich, Kersten: Die Ordnung der Blicke. Band 1; Kapitel II.2.5).
Like many psychological and sociological theories, structural coupling has its origins in a biological model, and is projected onto social “systems”. The concept behind it is borrowed from the Chilean Biologist Humberto Maturana Romesin (bd. 1928).
|2.||Categorical Imperative: Kant contrasts the word “categorical” with “hypothetical”. A hypothetical imperative is conditional, hence empty until a condition upon which it depends becomes known. The Categorical Imperative is not limited by conditions external to it. Each individual wills that his maxim become a universal law, and knows that his maxim is a Categorical Imperative if no contradictions arise from it when he thinks of it as being applied as a universal law to everyone, including himself. It contains only the necessity of the maxim, which “is the subjective [inner] principle for action”, and must be distinguished from the objective principle, namely the practical law”…. valid for every rational being, and in accordance with which it [the subject] ought to act, i.e., an imperative.” (Source for this entire note: Kant, Immanuel. Ed. Allen W. Wood. Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals. Yale, 2002, p. 37).
The significance of the Categorical Imperative for Dr. Raddatz: The Categorical Imperative is derived from the “disposition”, which pre-exists and is independent of the world of experience. The maxim generated from it is absolute and valid universally for the world of experience, the law. This constellation is analogous to din, the world of Allah, whose law, the sharia, is also universally valid.
|3.||Maxims do not derive from experience. In the following definition, “subjective” means “inner” and “objective” means “external”. “A maxim is the subjective principle of the volition [will]; the objective principle (i.e., that which would serve all rational beings also subjectively as a practical principle if reason had full control over the faculty of desire) is the practical law” (Immanuel Kant. Ed. and Trans. by Allen W. Wood Groundwork for the metaphysics of Morals. 2002. p. 16)
|4.||Universal law: According to Kant’s Formula of the Universal Law, or the fundamental principle of all morality, “[o]ne must be able to will that a maxim of our action should become a universal law: this is the canon of the moral judgment of this action in general” (Immanuel Kant, Groundwork for the metaphysics of Morals, Edited and Translated by Allen W. Wood, p. 41)
|5.||“radical evil is [rooted] in human nature”: By human nature, Kant understands man’s reason in the sense of an internal principle independent of experience. Evil can only have its origin in reason, for only by reason is man free, and not coerced by natural causes and effects in his determination of what is good and what is evil; for example, when a person establishes the order of importance among various motives for the acceptance of maxims; that is, for the acceptance of his disposition (Gesinnung) (Schulte, Christoph, radikal böse — Die Karriere des Böse von Kant bis Nietzsche, München: Wilhelm Fink Verlag, 1988. p. 109]).
The distinction between actions rooted in reason, and those rooted in time includes the choice of both legal and illegal actions. It goes back to Kant’s discussion in the Critique of Pure Reason dealing with whether or not man has freedom of choice (Ibid. p. 109). In the following quotation offered by Schulte to document this idea, the expressions “mode of thought” and “merely intelligible” refer to an inner principle behind our actions, an a priori principle which we cannot know directly, but which can only be inferred from sense experience (“mode of sense”) available for immediate cognition:
Now the action, insofar as it is to be attributed to the mode of thought as its cause, nevertheless does not follow from it in accord with empirical laws…Pure reason, as a merely intelligible faculty, is not subject to the form of time, and hence not subject to the conditions of the temporal sequence…For then it would itself be subject to the natural law of appearances, to the extent that this law determines causal series in time, and its causality would then be nature and not freedom. (Kant, Immanuel. Critique of Pure Reason. Trans. Guyer and Wood. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998. B 579 — B 580)
Kant specifies three degrees of radical evil. All have in common a turning away from the good maxims, an “ignoring” by dint of a tendency [Hang] to weakness, confusion of incentives or substitution of maxims.
|6.||physisch be-dingte Komponente: These pairs of opposites listed, “culture-nature” etc, have a spiritual and material component in common. Dr. Raddatz uses the expression “force field” to describe the tension between their poles. In Derrida’s deconstruction of logocentrism, there is movement from left to right in the force field of such opposites toward the material pole. Matter being determined (cause-effect), anything that moves into that pole itself becomes determined and reified. The adjective bedingt by itself means ‘determined’, ‘conditioned’ or ‘contingent. Its root is Ding which means ‘thing’ or ‘matter’. Dr. Raddatz creates an untranslatable neologism here by hyphenating the adjective and emphasising the root ‘Ding‘. Hence determinism and “thingification” or reification become inseparable as the spiritual moves into the realm of the material. The physical component in the thinking-being, God-animal and culture-nature pairs ‘thingifies’ or reifies by the very fact that it is determined. This reification is what Dr. Raddatz refers to elsewhere as “reflexivity” “automaticity” and being “desubjectivised”.]
|7.||“Within the disintegrative and negative spectrum of différance”: Différance is a neologism, a deliberate misspelling of the French word différence. When uttered vocally, the difference between ‘a’ and ‘e’ is not audible or visible. “The a of différance, thus, is not heard; it remains silent, secret and discreet as a tomb”. It is this silent device which lends the term its primary characteristic of being unfixed, and outside the range Western logocentrism as Derrida sees it; that is, outside the field of consciousness (i.e., the word, logos). It is a term which can only be described by virtue of what it is not. The emphasis on the voice rather than writing stresses movement in the world as process (Weltlauf), while writing, regarded as a Western prejudice, is fixed. Dr. Raddatz’ idea that différance is “disintegrative and negative” begins with the fact that it is not definable in affirmative language but can only be addressed in negations:
NOTE: All quotations by Derrida in this endnote are taken from his paper Différance.
Derrida’ adds further to the “negative spectrum” or range of application of différance in the following additional negations: “Différance is neither a word nor a concept”; “those aspects of différance which are thereby delineated are not theological, not even in the order of the most negative of negative theologies”; différance is neither simply active nor simply passive. Altogether we see the “negative spectrum” encompasses the negation of metaphysics, theology and grammar or language.
One of Derrida’s most telling negations, and one which brings the concept of différance in line with a more familiar Freudian concept is the following: “it [différance] bypasses the order of apprehension”, which means it “bypasses” perception, and therefore consciousness. Thus différance shows a close affinity, though not an identity with, Freud’s negative concept of the unconscious, and this negation is to be understood in relation to consciousness.
The unconscious has other negatives as well, one of the most important of which is timelessness:
Derrida’s “presence”, on the other hand, has its closest analogy with Freud’s ‘perceptual consciousness’, which is ‘present’ to the immediate focus of attention.
It will be seen that this description of Freud’s Pcpt-Cs is a close reflection of Dr. Raddatz’ description, properly placed in the passive voice, of “presence’ as a state in which consciousness is influenced automatically.” Derrida’s presence, like Freud’s Bewusstsein (being conscious) is a passive phenomenon, a characteristic not reflected in the English word ‘conscious.’ Bewusst is a past participle and is therefore must be understood passively.
Derrida’s presence further corresponds to Freud’s Pcpt-Cs in that he introduces its “symmetrical opposite”, absence, which is similar to Freud’s ‘latency’. It works like this:
Derrida’s presence is an elaboration of Pcpt-Cs in that presence-absence becomes a binary code (coding) in motion, but still unconscious. Between immediate presence and absence there is a “difference” in time, which is a spatial ‘difference‘ or a temporal deferral, both of which meanings are found in the root of the Latin root of the French différence. It is this “difference”, spatial difference and temporal deferral, which makes consciousness of an element possible. The element present to consciousness is different than the “spacing” or “interval” before or after it. Without postulating anything concrete, this flow of differences is the dynamic significance of différance, as movement consisting of spaces between perceptual elements, the spaces never in themselves being present to consciousness. Here is where Derrida borrows another term from Freud, the trace. The space between successive elements present to the focus of attention is called a trace, though it in itself has no presence; that is, it is not conscious. A given element in the focus of attention is connected to the element which preceded it and that which it anticipates by a space or interval called a trace:
A careful reading of this passage will allow the reader to understand the implications Dr. Raddatz draws from the binary on-off-”presence”, or presence-absence. It is a momentary consciousness which has no history. It is purely reflexive and mechanical.
|8.||“[C]ulturally radical parasitism”:
For a review of Michel Serres’ The Parasite see Michel Serres: Science, Translation and the Logic of the Parasite by Steven D. Brown.
|9.||“For they had confused evil with folly“: The point made here is that evil does not arise from the sensual, but from reason. Of the Stoics, Kant says:
|10.||Kant on grace and fetishism:
Kant’s application of the concept of delusion:
|11.||Pure reason and Allah compared: Professor Prof. Tilman Nagel in What is Salafism? attributes the following to Ibn Taymiyyah, a forerunner of Salafism:
It is the containment of the duality of good and evil that defines Allah’s freedom. This quotation lends significance to the concept of Allah’s “continuing creation”. The phrase “there is no compulsion in religion” refers to this freedom of Allah, hence Professor Nagel says:
|12.||Omne bonum a deo, omne malum ab homine: (“All good derives from God, all evil from man”): This aphorism goes back to early Christian times. While Kant moves both of the transpersonal opposites of good and evil from metaphysics into man’s nature, he gives evil an asymmetrical strength whilst making the good maxim incorruptible, hence the applicability of the aphorism in this case. Dr. Raddatz suggests that a consequence of this downward movement of moral opposites into man, there is the danger that the individual unconsciously identifies especially with evil, and then projects it onto others. Each “zealot”, whether in the West or in Islam, automatically [unconsciously, reflexively] places himself on the side of his own maxim of what is good, and attributes evil to the party that “obstructs [his] moral law”. As it applies to Europe, Islam’s “peace and culture” become the new maxim of what is good, and the Jews and Christians embody evil, hence the “transvaluation of Europe’s own historically evolved form of being”.