Below is the final 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, Section 2, and Section 3. 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
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.
While in the previous sections Dr. Raddatz emphasised an ever-increasing narrowing of consciousness and reflexivity in the West due to the divorce of omnipotent reason from connection with non-rational roots, a “lost reference to God”, Section 4 views Western deratiocination (Denkschwund) from the standpoint of a drift of the “new man” into “biological proximity with the animal”. The central image is “devouring” drawn from Elias Canetti’s work Masse und Macht (1960), the English translation of which is Crowds and Power (1962). By “devouring” is meant not only the physical consumption of men through wars but also the obliteration of “form” (Georg Simmel) or culture through the reduction of man to the mechanical level of biological existence, literally an anthropological exodus (Hardt and Negri). Canetti correlates man’s primaeval behaviour in the early evolutionary pack with that of the modern individual in relation to the crowd, basing the comparison on the existence of an archaic memory of the pack. It is this primitive mnemonic inheritance which Dr. Raddatz places at the root of the modern social revolutions and their unprecedented scope of murder. The regression to collectivism is the counter-concept to the advanced, Judeo-Christian old culture, which is “differentiated”, and above all constructive” (cf Section 2).
4. Crowds and Packs
Just as the epochal philosopher René Descartes (d. 1650), with his inconvenient insistence on knowledge, was established as an enemy among the representatives of the Enlightenment and their extremist successors straight through to the culturally radical ideologues of the present, so too he serves at the same time as a subtle background figure for sensitive literati who treat in their works of the totalitarian character of the modern age. One of the most important of these genres is represented by Elias Canetti (d. 1989) in his much cited work, Masse und Macht (Crowds and Power). His book takes a wide-ranging perspective, drawing on mythology, history, religion, ethnology and psychology, and examines man, who, as a mass creature, retains a potential for archaic affect. In such a creature there is little which would not be traceable to the early evolutionary impulsions [Antriebe] of the “body machine”* (Descartes), which are capable of being activated at any time: “The greater the fear of unknown historical figures,… the more there exists the basis for fearing one’s self” (Peiter, Anne. “Auseinandersetzung mit der Shoah in Elias Canetti’s ‘Masse und Macht’“ [“Engagement with the Shoah in Elias Canetti’s Crowds and Power“], Zeitschrift für Germanistik 16, (2006), 558).
* [Translator’s Note: Body-machine: This reference to Descartes’ mind-body dualism parallels the logocentrism-hylocentrism (reason-matter) dualism in Section 2 of this paper. The direction of thought in the Enlightenment, from Kant to Derrida, is from left to right within the “force field” of the duality, indicating a trend toward the Enlightenment’s deratiocination (Denkschwund), which ends in the collapse of the Cartesian dualism into the “bio-machine” of the “mass creature” — hence the antagonism between Descartes (thinking) and the Enlightenment (reification) alluded to in the above paragraph. As for Descartes: “I rightly conclude that my essence consists in this alone, that I am a thinking thing” (Mediation VI).]
By bringing in the pre-modern world outlook, characteristic of myths, primitive peoples and magical ideas, Canetti fatefully calls to mind the intellectual regression, the deratiocination [Denkschwund] which is turning “modern discourse” into a reflex mechanism. Within the range of this dynamic, the “new man” can drift into biological proximity with the animal and into the particle format of physics; and can “express astonishingly, possibly even horrifyingly, much about the present character of man”. By striving for an “unfragmented conception of the subject” corresponding to the power-mass model [elite vs. reflexivity of the mass], Canetti circumvents the patchwork effect of the small field of vision and short-term thinking and forces open the all too restrictive limits of sociological coding [technologisation of communication], and of the power-serving sciences, which determine what knowledge is suitable for the mass.
In this manner he is able to discover anthropological constants… which in their density and universality evade reduction to concepts. Canetti draws on the representation of images and metaphors, which in his opinion goes far beyond the power of abstract concepts.* (Cf. the assessment of Canetti: Gilles, Susanne. Der Wille zur Form; — ein ästhetisch-anthropologischer Diskurs, Diss. Mainz: Johannes Gutenberg-Universität, 2006. p. 204ff)
*[Translator’s Note: A discourse expressed in “images and metaphors” rather than in the analytical form of cause and effect, or in a linear train of thought, is a current within German literature which follows a trajectory from Goethe at the latest. A recent example of this genre is Oswald Spengler’s Decline of the West (Untergang des Abendlandes) where the entire work is organic and cyclical, and where a broad but penetrating intuition is at work rather than deduction and induction.
In what follows,, an example of this tradition is the appearance of Canetti’s image of “devouring”. The Catholic, Franz von Baader (cf. Section 3), with his Romantic sympathies, his strong anti-rationalistic orientation, may well be in a similar vein (cf. his use of images in the “satire” on Kant’s radical evil). Because they harbour meaning which is otherwise inexpressible, images and metaphors are the antidote, as it were, to “the power of abstract concepts”, which are in a state of separation from their creative, non-rational wellspring, which Franz von Baader expresses as “reference to God”.]
Since metaphor is to abstraction as nature is to technology*, the philosophical discourse forms and conceals the process of devouring entailed by the transformation of the world-ethos, which uses symbol as the means of collapsing thought and thing into a single entity, and as a by-product, causes [“be-dingt“]  the parasitism of their institutional protagonists. Granting the evolutionary differences and commonalities between primitive times and the present, Canetti does not make distinctions with regard to them based on time, but relates these commonalities and differences to each other over time. There then arises a pattern, which renders transparent the above mentioned concealment and exposes the relations between individual and mass, God and animal, thinking and machine, non-simultaneity and simultaneity as bio-technological power factors. Man emerges as a mass-being, who oscillates between an archaic similarity to the animal and ethical individuality, and derives magical power from a mysterious empathy with men or animals (similar to chemical affinity). Empathy increases with the increase of the crowd, “within which all are the same and all enjoy their strength”.
*[“Since Metaphor is to abstraction as nature is to technology”: Susanne Gilles (Ibid.) provides a quotation from the German philosopher Hans Blumenberg which provides the key to this analogy: Just as “[t]he metaphor […] conserves the richness of its heritage, which the abstraction must deny”, so too does nature preserve the inheritance (vitality) which technology, as system, must deny. The analogy is yet another expression of deratiocination, the movement from logocentrism to hylocentrism (cf. section 2). Philosophical discourse uses symbol to hide this devouring, the “collapse of thought and thing”. Canetti’s method of relating commonalities and differences of the pack with today’s world uncovers patterns which reveal what the philosophical discourse has concealed, the transition from man to thing.]
While a physical movement comes to rest once again after an impetus is applied, a social movement continues in a self-reflexive dynamism, into an unstoppable pressure for change, which comes from life itself, and which in the modern age has its source in the differentiated thinking of man and his profitable renunciation of existence as labour and consumer modules. It is always a question of the parasitic breakdown of the old cultural structures, the steady decomposition of which frees up energy and information for technology and money in the current productivity network. Like every physico-chemical process, this reaction also generates entropy; in the present case, post-functional human waste which accumulates or is left over in a river of depleted bodies. They are the metabolic outcome of structural transformation, the digestive product of the global bio-machine, at the basis of which is the Derrida-différance* of the human existence which is to be destroyed.
*[Translator’s Note: “the Derrida-différance” of the human existence … to be destroyed”, means in effect the darkening of the light of self-consciousness. Derrida’s concept of différance has an affinity with the concept of the ‘unconscious’, for it can only be described in terms of what it is not. “Différance is not, does not exist, is not a present-being (on) in any form”; that is, it is not present (presence) to consciousness. Presence and différance are interdependent, however. Presence refers to the focus of consciousness at any given moment. Any element present to it is related to what immediately preceded it and also to what is immediately in the future “…thereby keeping within itself the mark of the past element, and already letting itself be vitiated by the mark of its relation to the future element”; therefore “constituting what is called the present by means of this very relation to what it is not, what it is absolutely not…. An interval must separate the present from what it is not in order for the present to be itself… this interval is what might be called spacing, the becoming-space of time or the becoming-time of space (temporization).” This “(simultaneously) spacing (and) temporization” is différance in the sense of its root différer (deferral). Consciousness is therefore reduced to a binary on-off coding by which man becomes ahistorical and acultural. It is in this sense that human existence is “destroyed”. Dr. Raddatz expresses variations on this reductionist phenomenon with the term “reflexivity”, also an automatic and unconscious system. (Derrida, Jacques. Différance. Trans. Alan Bass. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1982. 3-27)
Canetti attributes what he terms “transformation” [Verwandlung: meaning, in part, the change from animal to man] to that which from the earliest times has been the propelling force of change, to that which derives from the expansion and increase [in pack members] . He places the origin of transformation in the earliest phase of evolution from animal to man in which the first hominids broke out of the pack and herd existence of the animal and into the experience of isolation [ver-einzel-ung, — al-one-ness]. This isolation lifted them out of the animal life-world and set in motion that special existence which is human [a transformation], but their isolation was never able to completely expunge atavistic memories. This virtual [unconsciously mnemonic] communication with archaic existence has endured throughout all the ages; and in relation to it, individuals stand in an infinitesimally graded spectrum of positions, because their affinity to massification depends on their respective genetic compositions. All the more radically does the modern anti-culture struggle against the Christian vision of man as a transcendent creature, who comes out of the hated turn of the Jesuanic era and who comes from the Orient into the West.
Nevertheless the Canetti thesis contains a functional approach to the asymmetry between power and crowd. The virtual memory of ancestry in the herd has a dominant effect owing to its statistical predominance compared with individual experience. In this respect, however, it is individual experience which elevates the individual above the ancestral herd and causes a psycho-magical, self-reflexive interaction effect between the mass-compliant signals of submission from the herd-class and the individualised distance-experience of the leadership [the power-mass model]. In the end, there accrues to the leadership class that stable alpha roll which lends the relation between power and crowd its evolutionary asymmetry. [Alpha roll: like “dressage” is an animal metaphor for the pack leadership’s training of the crowd.]
As an explanation for the psycho-magical difference Canetti offers the experience of death, which instills anxiety in the collectivised herd-class; however, to the leadership whose experience is individualised, it imparts a completely different awareness; namely, that of survival as a triumph over death. The more frequently death is lived-through [er-lebt], the more strongly individual experience brings the leader to believe in his “one-of-a-kindness” [Einzigartigkeit], to believe that he has an inborn right to power. This results in delusional ideas such as invincibility and immortality, which are rife among elites of all times; and with counter-concepts of the Gnostic type such as Islam , which force the purging of the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus.
Throughout the fluctuations of history the affect of triumphalism leads to cycles of energising death experiences, which consolidate killing into a “life’s mission”. Therefore archaic inheritance enabled the “modern” social revolutions to reach a hitherto unknown dimension of murder, which only briefly subsided after the Second World War and increased their apparently insatiable devouring of people [Menschenverbrauch] with countless resource and ethnic wars in Africa and Asia. At the same time the war machine of American global power grew with technical innovation, electronic control efficiency and “surgical” operational technology, which, in defence of the raw material base, entered into a close alliance with the power interests of the Islamic elites. Here the cycle between technology and archaic inheritance closes ever more like a short circuit, as Islamic terrorism stocks up with Western weapons technology for the destruction of its archenemy Israel; and the world power of the “democratic” US, by way of secret service outsourcing, has information tracked down and tortured out of people (not filtered from them), preferably by individuals of Syrian origin.
Both militarily and propagandistically (on the civilian level), pressure generating pilot groups or impetus groups become engaged; these are called the vanguard, or avant-garde. Their civilian function is not limited to the arts, but reaches all state institutions which the aesthetic transformation includes under its culturally radical world-interpretation. In the context of Canetti’s primaeval world, these groups are represented by the packs, which hunt initially in small groups with increasing success; which is to say, they increase their accumulation of prey, attract additional members and gradually combine to form a larger mass. The twentieth century teaches that the prey-pack — out of radical conviction and/or favourable times — most certainly can get out of control, albeit through charismatic self-reinforcement. The drawing power of the techno-aesthetic transformation allows for no distinctions as to motives, but expresses only the bio-mechanical dynamic of the transformational world view [Weltbildwandel], which under suitable conditions develops a virtually unstoppable tendency to increase itself self-reflexively:
It [the pack] consists of a group of men in a state of excitement whose fiercest wish is to be more. In whatever they undertake together, whether hunting or fighting, they would fare better if there were more of them.” [Canetti, Elias, Crowds and Power, Trans. Carol Stewart. New York: Continuum Publishing, 1973. p. 93].
The increase-pack [Vermehrungsmeute] qualifies as the standard model of mankind because it has always kept cultural evolution [Kulturevolution] going and it arises anew in each of its phases. Two conditions apply here for the increase pack’s effectiveness: a sufficient number of pack members and their dressage or indoctrination.
The full range of its [the increase pack’s] effectiveness has never been properly understood because the concept of propagation has distorted and obscured the actual processes of increase. These can, from their very beginning, only be understood in conjunction with the processes of transformation. (Masse und Macht, 126 — Stuttgart 1984) [English Source: Canetti, Elias, op. cit. p. 107].
From the converse of the argument it follows that with the decline in sexual reproduction, not only does the ersatz production [Ersatzproduktion] through immigration and technology increase, but so does the formation of packs. Such trends correlate with increasing proneness to violence, which is heralded in the brutalisation of language and in illiteracy.
Furthermore, along with the growing similarity to the Islamic model, emulation of [Islamic] religious police is to be expected through the formation of Western packs, which suppress the emergence of Islamophobic nests of activity; and just to maintain the same Canetti-metaphor of the archaic herd, the packs can be expected to radicalise themselves from being the guardian of the herd to the function of bloodhound.
In the context of the profitable deratiocination affecting the globalised human modules, money is the motor for the devouring of humans [Menschenverbrauch], and it is also the “the most terrible destroyer of form”* [on the cultural level] (Georg Simmel). On the biological level, the anthropological exodus ** of the radical neo-culturalists functions as if it were a “Canetti light” version, because its own principle of archaic devouring of humans [Menschenkonsum] is aimed at the mechanical level of biological existence; this holds for radical neo-culturalists from Foucault to Derrida and Latour to Sloterdijk and Judith Butler. In the birth of culture out of digestion the continuing transformation of the world of crowds and power is fulfilled as a product of bio-technological peristalsis of prey, chyme and excrement (money); that is: modern labour, interconnectedness and the disposal of depleted bodies respectively:
The constant pressure which, during the whole of its long progress through the body, is applied to the prey which has become food; its dissolution and intimate union with the creature digesting it; the complete and final annihilation, first of all functions and then of everything which once constituted its individuality; its assimilation to something already existing, that is, to the body of the eater — all this may very well be seen as the central, if most hidden, process of power” [Full quotation taken directly from: Canetti, Elias, Crowds and Power, Trans. Carol Stewart. New York: Continuum Publishing, 1973. p. 210].
*[Translator’s Note: “the most terrible destroyer of form” (fürchterlichste Formzerstörer:): The meaning of “form” here embraces ‘the holistic’, ‘the aesthetic’ ‘the unique’, ‘the individual’, ‘the qualitative’. For Dr. Raddatz, culture belongs to form and Georg Simmel’s destruction of “form” by money is the destruction of culture through “money-standardised coding”. See Section 1). For background on this important opposition of money and form, see endnote . — The above quotations are from: Simmel, Georg. The Philosophy of Money. Trans. Tom Bottomore and David Frisby. London: Routledge, 2004. p. 274) German source: Philosophie des Geldes. Leipzig: Dunkler & Huniblot, 1900. p. 268)]
**[Translator’s Note: anthropological exodus: “There are ‘…no longer boundaries between human being and animal, human being and machine, male and female, etc.’“ For more on the definition of anthropological exodus and the elimination of boundaries see Endnote .
The compulsive nature of the increasing throughput [Durchsatz] of masses of people by Western production and war machinery, as well as the exponentially rising share of the consumed, vegetating and starving people, lends the Canetti thesis an eerily strong interpretive value. A reversion to the archaic is taking place in plain view in the form of the continuing birth of radical culture out of power- and money-technological digestion, which at a fundamental level feeds off of the advancement of consumption and entertainment and compensates for losses in the financial gaming market by siphoning off tax potential. In the Gulf region, a centre of the monetary oligarchy is coming to the forefront, an oligarchy which is more and more superseding the exhausted West in the leadership of the globalised devouring of human beings, which is to say, of the degradation into the archaic power-hierarchy of digesters and digested. For the members of the Christian old-culture, patience and a return to their own strengths are certainly called for, being that these derive from that turn of the Christian era [aus jener Zeitenwende] which has overcome the archaic.
|1.||“be-dingt“ (infinitive = bedingen, to bring about, — cause, — determine or — to condition): Dr. Raddatz has created a neologism with overdetermined meaning, lost in English, by hyphenating the verb and emphasising its root with italics. The root is Ding (thing). Hence the verb now suggests two actions simultaneously, to bring about, and to ‘thingify’ or reify. Thus the intellectuals of the “philosophical discourse”, by their manipulation of symbol, bring about the unity of the thing and its representation (reification). It is also a regression to a primitive state as the context shows. The “philosophical discourse” causes the “institutional protagonists” themselves to become parasites. See Section 2 of this essay on “differentiation parasites”.
|2.||“Transformation … the propelling force of change… derives from … the expansion and increase [in the pack]”: The background behind this statement on “transformation” comes from Canetti’s introduction to his section on the “increase pack”, the primitive social formation whose urge it is to increase in number like the animals:
Dr. Raddatz uses the term “transformation” for the third time here. In Crowds and Power it has two meanings which carry a paradoxical relation to each other:
Dr. Raddatz, rather than presenting empirical research, uses Canetti to express, in symbol and metaphor, the central conflict of our times, collectivism vs. the Judeo-Christian tradition. The atavistic memory of a collective state gives rise to backward utopias, an urge to return to the undifferentiated reflexivity of the pack and its increase. Identification with the crowd is tantamount to yearning for a pre-Eden condition of unconsciousness. Dr. Raddatz makes a similar reference to the backward utopia in Section 2 of this essay:
Opposed to this regressive tendency is the Christian vision of the individual, in its sense of a unique, “transcendent” person. The “Jesuanic” era is the second experience of separation from the crowd; and like the first primaeval separation, it is irreversible; but regression is possible, and regression is what Dr. Raddatz is addressing. Jesus is the “unparalleled” figure of aloneness (the Sonderexistenz), human and divine, who is crucified by the pack between two thieves; the thief on the left identifies with the pack, the other on the right points to transcendence (Luke 23: 39-43). In the traditional (non-“dialogue”), Catholic, chanted re-enactment of the crucifixion on Good Friday, the choir plays the part of the pack, crying Tolle, tolle, crucifige eum (Away with Him, away with Him, crucify Him: John 19:15). That is the conflict described here, collectivism versus the hated Christian ethos. Christ, “has now become part of the consciousness of mankind”, (Elias Canetti. Crowds and Power p. 467)
|3.||“with counter-concepts of the Gnostic type such as Islam”: In the limited context of Dr. Raddatz’ paragraph, it is not possible to do justice to what exactly he means by this remark. There are, however, scholars who find Gnostic elements in Islam. One of these is Prof. Dr. Tilman Nagel whose lecture, What is Salafism? appeared on Gates of Vienna (Trans. JLH) in July of 2013. Although Prof. Nagel never once mentions Gnosticism in this lecture, he nevertheless clearly describes Islam in Gnostic terms which are far too involved to outline here. Prof. Nagel has a full chapter called Islam and Gnosis in his book The History of Islamic Theology (2000).
Keeping in mind that there are Gnostic traits behind the dualism in Islam, the salient point here is collectivism vs. Christianity. Islam, as an opponent to Christianity, correlates with Islam’s dualism: Allah vs. Satan, din vs. tagut, (the world of Allah, vs. idolatry) and dar el-Islam verses dar el-Harb, Islam vs. apes and pigs etc. The foil to collectivism is Christ, the supreme individual, who possesses “one-of-a-kindness” (Einzigartigkeit), and who is crucified by the collective.
|4.||Money “is the most terrible destroyer of form“: Since “form” is analogous to culture, what follows is Georg Simmel’s (1858-1918) elaboration of form from different standpoints: Gestalt vs. quantity, individuality vs. reification and the aesthetic vs. devouring. In each case, the second term in the “force field” of each duality represents the counter-concept of form, which is money. A discussion of form-culture is salutary from two standpoints: one, for Dr. Raddatz, it is the old-cultural ethos which is replaced by system (money-standardised coding); secondly, the word culture is much overused, as with multiculturalism, but its characteristics rarely elaborated.
Georg Simmel’s term “form“ is well expressed by the term Gestalt, attached to which is the principle that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts; or in Georg Simmel’s language:
This principle in turn is based on the more fundamental character inherent to form, which is that “things derive their significance from their relationship to each other” (Simmel, Georg. op. cit. p. 127).
Therefore a focus on the individuality of the parts themselves, rather than their relations, is fundamental to the concept of form:
Form also carries with it an aesthetic component. When we value an object aesthetically, we surrender to it, the object does not surrender to us; that is, we do not take possession of it (Simmel, Georg. op. cit. p. 70):
This term “consumed has an echo with the “devouring“ imagery that Dr. Raddatz uses in this section because it is central to Elias Canetti’‘s metaphor. The aesthetic is the very antithesis of devouring: With the aesthetic sense, the object
Georg Simmel defines money as
Hence its abstractive nature derives from its focus on the relations between things and not their individualities, a type of remoteness which goes beyond lived experience:
Money is a denial of form, in that, in contrast to the gestalt principle, it has a reductionist character “as a purely arithmetical addition of value units”.
Consideration only in terms of quantity, money “disregards form”, which is most evident when objects are weighed: “money as such is the most terrible destroyer of form“ (Simmel, Georg. op. cit. p. 274). Just as form is irrelevant to weight, so it is irrelevant to money:
|5.||Anthropological exodus: The elimination of boundaries includes the removal of all forms of discrimination, from political borders, legal boundaries (“no one is illegal”) to sex differences and even to the very basis of discrimination, cognition. Anthropological exodus is at the pseudo-biological extremity of this “deratiocination”.
Hardt and Negri first use the term “exodus”, without an adjective, in a purely sociological sense reminiscent of the class warfare of pre-Frankfurt school classical Marxism. “Exodus” emerges as a negative act of mass refusal, an opting out of the “Empire”, such as in a “mass migration” or “exodus” which contributes” to the collapse of the system”; for example, a “mass exodus of highly trained workers”. The “mobility of the labor force can indeed express an open political conflict and contribute to the destruction of the regime” (Hardt, Michael and Negri, Antonio. Empire. Cambridge: Harvard UP, 2000. p. 214)
Anthropological exodus retains the passive element of the more purely sociological mass exodus or refusal, but there is a strong pseudo-biological component: it is a mass exodus from, or refusal of the old body. There is also an added active feature, in that anthropological exodus “creates a new body”. Note there will be a high frequency usage of the term “new”. This active component is called “creative evolution” (Hardt and Negri. op. cit. p. 216). Thus we see unfolding here an extension of Social Darwinism or bio-social engineering, whereby the putative mechanisms of nature are taken in hand and deliberately manipulated. The “methods” of “corporeal transformation” are “hybridization” and “radical mutations”. (Ibid.) There is even a vague metaphysical component, for Hardt and Negri also speak of “ontological mutation”, which is not defined exactly, except it is strongly associated with change and “desire”: …Ontological mutation suggests
The “new place” is the uncharted future wherein the utopia will be realised, and Social Darwinism, “creative evolution”, is the basis for Hardt and Negri’s claim that “human nature is in no way separate from nature” (Ibid. p. 215):
Dr. Raddatz emphasises the trend in the West to deratiocination, to the degradation of thought, which is the diminution of consciousness itself, essential to which is the function of cognitive discrimination: the ability to separate inside and outside and one’s self from the other. The removal of all boundaries, all limits, constitutes this de-differentiation into a borderless collective.
A backward utopia emerges, in the sense of a regression to a state where there are no distinctions. It is a backward utopia, the world of Eden before the Fall, although it is felt as an advance; everything is “new”, even a “new body”. In this vein the authors quote Walter Benjamin (1892-1940), who was associated with the Frankfurt School, in the context of “escaping from the local and particular constraints of their human condition” … “to construct a new body and a new life”:
For Hardt and Negri, the “deconstructive phase of critical thought” [a reference to the Critical Theory of the Frankfurt School], “from Heidegger and Adorno to Derrida” has completed the “exit from modernity”. It is now “a closed parenthesis” leaving a “new task”: “constructing, in the non-place, a new place; constructing ontologically new determinations of the human living — a powerful artificiality of being” (op. cit. p. 217-18). Hardt and Negri speak of…
Here they draw out explicitly to a rebellion against nature itself which is a common characteristic of all the modern social engineering utopias: