War, Euthanasia, Abortion: A Trinary Nexus

I. Deterrence, Moral Disarmament, Total War and Euthanasia

Total war, therefore nuclear war, is once again in the realm of the thinkable, the possible. And on the other hand, in the West, we are discussing the legalization of euthanasia. One does not see a priori a connection between these two facts. However, the conjunction of the two phenomena is extremely worrying. Why is it so? Because the possible legalization of euthanasic suicide would lead to the dynamic tendency of replacing the balance of terror by what Thérèse Delpech calls the “imbalance of terror.”

To wage atomic war is to commit suicide by killing one’s opponent. This is why the more suicide is contrary to the logic of a culture, the more credible is the classical deterrence (renunciation of killing for fear of dying) on the part of a state structured by this culture. It is thus understandable that, if suicide enters in a quasi-normal way into the logic of a culture, the economy of deterrence is profoundly disturbed.

If, in a nuclear power state, suicide becomes the normal way for the individual to leave life, its opponents have reason to be alarmed. Indeed, the reasoning that “no one wants to commit suicide” loses much of its force. Such a state becomes much more unpredictable because of an inevitable contamination of its political culture by the logic of the ethics that now govern private life. A heavily armed state that then turns suicidal is even more frightening than before, although it is not the same kind of fear at all. The relative security one feels when faced with an opponent who is not afraid to die, but who one is certain also prefers life, is replaced by a painful uncertainty when faced with an opponent for whom the idea of committing suicide seems to be a normal prospect.

But that is not all, because this preference for life, which makes deterrence not only credible but also stably pacifying, is itself suspended on the conviction that life has meaning. Now, euthanasic suicide participates in the idea that life has no other meaning than that of preserving it as long as it is interesting, or not too unpleasant. Overall, this normalized suicide is part of a system, where the absence of a somewhat transcendent meaning logically implies an irredeemable existential despair. Such despair is self-destructive. Having become habitual and culturally shared, it will gradually make collective as well as individual suicide thinkable, acceptable, desirable. For if suicide is the normal death for any individual, it will be the same, sooner or later, for a society where such individuals are aggregated.

Let me explain precisely the most dangerous consequences:

  1. Loss of credibility for a suicidal person but fortuitous deterrent when facing non-suicidal and more robust adversaries—the latter no longer respect him, because they know, or think they know, that the suicidal person only seeks to survive in a pleasant way and has no more reason why he would prefer to die rather than capitulate, provided that his victor assures him a small comfortable life;
  2. Loss of security of nuclear partners facing a suicidal deterrent, whose emotional stability, psychic balance and capacity for rational objectivity they begin to suspect, as with any suicidal person;
  3. The temptation, for these adversaries, to resort preventively, before it is too late in their eyes, to any adequate means to neutralize a dangerous suicidal person, a madman who could well end up seeing in war, one day, the most honorable way to commit suicide.

Deterrence is not a matter of a simple formal theory of games, because if it is a game, and a very dangerous one, it only functions by certain principles in culture. The legalization of euthanasia is a powerful marker for a state. It signs with certainty the tipping of this state into a non-functional culture, especially if this state is a nuclear power. It deprives this state of its character as a reassuring, credible, rational and predictable actor. Under these conditions, total war becomes not only possible in the medium term, but practically certain.

II. Euthanasia: From the Right to Die to Obliged to Die

We are debating the right to die. Many people seem to agree with establishing this right, out of respect for freedom or out of compassion for suffering. They would no longer be in agreement if they realized the price of the obligations it entails. To acquire a certain right to die is indeed to renounce a certain right to live.

If the law establishes a right, whatever it may be, it also establishes three obligations, without which this right would be empty and non-existent:

  1. Not to oppose the exercise of this right;
  2. To provide the means without which the right would remain completely theoretical;
  3. To accept to suffer the effects resulting from its exercise.

Application: The right of X to kill himself implies three obligations for others, taken collectively: the first is not to prevent X from killing himself. The second is to help him to do so, if he does not have the means to do so alone. These first two are obvious. But what is the third? The obligation to kill oneself, in certain circumstances. Nothing less. And this can be demonstrated.

For the law to grant a right, and impose corresponding obligations, it is necessary that the state, or the elites, or the people as a whole, judge that the object of the right, the subject of the authorized action (in this case, killing oneself), is not immoral. One does not imagine that the state could ever establish a right to evade taxes, to set fires, or to collect inheritances. One can conclude, at worst, that the object of the right is not good, but excusable and tolerable, at best, that there is nothing wrong with it and it must be held to be perfectly moral. Some people will undoubtedly be granted the right to think the contrary, and to say so, but not to disturb the enjoyment of the right. In other words: by establishing a right, the state does not simply give an order—it validates in the name of all, despite the dissent of many, a value judgment of a moral nature. As Blaise Pascal says, the people are not mistaken. If they share the judgment that affirms, or concedes, the morality of euthanasia, then they will support the legislator’s action. And in general, the legalization of a practice contributes to the progressive generalization of the belief in its relative or complete morality.

This is where the difficulty arises. For if a type of act is judged to be moral, at least in certain circumstances, not only may we be entitled to it, but there is nothing to prevent it from becoming our duty in other circumstances. If there is a single counter-example, I will renounce this last statement. It will be asked: would this not be the case for the right to die? Well, no.

Experience clearly says the opposite. Among the Inuit, in the past, the elder, when he considered his mouth too useless, went out of the igloo to die slowly in the cold. He probably thought that such was his duty. In the Polynesian tropics, other elders, or even young supernumeraries, would voluntarily leave in a pirogue and never return. They did so because they believed that killing themselves was not immoral and therefore could be a duty. Otherwise, they would have acted differently.

Now, when a person has (by hypothesis) the duty to kill himself, what will the group do, what will society do, if this person refuses to do his duty, when “public necessity, legally established, obviously requires it?” The answer is sadly obvious. He will be forced to do so. If, therefore, we establish a right to commit suicide, we admit the possibility of an obligation to commit suicide, under certain other conditions. The assistance required to fulfill this obligation by the recalcitrant citizen may take the form of those constraints by which, as Rousseau said, “one will force him to be free.” Let’s not mince words. We can only acquire the right to give ourselves death by recognizing the right of the state to give it to us.

III. Two Logical Implications of a Constitutionalization of Abortion

Legislators have an obligation not to legislate in a hurry, but to consider carefully the logical consequences of their decisions. The constitutionalization of abortion would have two rigorous implications in this respect, undoubtedly unnoticed by its short-sighted promoters, but each of which would amount to nothing less than the breaking of the social pact.

First, it aims to reinforce, legally and symbolically, a woman’s right to freely perform an abortion.

Unfortunately, this decision goes much further. It also gives the state the right to implement a demographic policy, which would include, if necessary, the obligation for mothers to have an abortion, as was the case in China.

Indeed, what is the object of a fundamental right can also become, in certain circumstances, the object of an essential duty and, consequently, of a legal obligation. By constitutionalizing a right, the state does not simply give the most imperative order, it solemnly validates, in the name of all, and despite the dissent of many, a moral and very absolute value judgment.

The state proclaims and declares that abortion causes no real harm to anyone, is neither an evil nor a lesser evil. It becomes a pure and unmistakable good. I do not argue with this moral judgment. I am only drawing attention to the fact that, if our state affirms in this way, as strongly as possible, the unqualified morality of this type of act (this would be true for any other), not only do the citizens have the right to it, but absolutely nothing prevents this act from becoming for them (in this case, for women), in certain circumstances, a categorically imposed duty.

If, therefore, one recognizes a fundamental right of the individual to abortion, then one automatically gives the state the right to do an abortion, insofar as public necessity would require it. The short-sighted do not see what a nightmare they are preparing. For the fight against the more than predictable fraud of compulsory abortion, and the securing of the state’s right to do so, could go so far as to prohibit in utero gestation and to make artificial gestation compulsory. And because of the constitutionalization of abortion, it would be legally impossible to escape all these consequences. The constitutionalization of abortion would legally open the way to a totalitarian biocracy with all power over bodies.

Secondly, this constitutionalization would legally open the way to totalitarianism over minds.

No conscientious objection could hold under these conditions. But beyond the problems of the medical profession, as important as it is, what is at stake, universally, is nothing less than the future of enlightenment.

The theoretical and practical debate on abortion centers on the notion of the person. From the theoretical point of view, the question is—is the embryo a person or not, legally, anthropologically, metaphysically? That is the whole question. From a practical point of view, assuming that we cannot get out of doubt, should we apply the adage “when in doubt, we are free” or the adage “when in doubt, we abstain?” That is the question. The current decriminalization remains consistent with doubt and chooses to apply the first adage, “when in doubt, freedom.” Now, in good faith, is this not a theoretical question on which there is legitimate discussion, uncertainty and doubt? And a practical question that does not have an immediately obvious answer either?

If we therefore constitutionalize abortion, we outlaw in the Republic, by an untimely dogmatization, the free discussion of a question, about which any rational and thoughtful person knows with what obscurities it is surrounded. If such an abuse is allowed on such an important and difficult question, where are the limits? A person respectful of the Constitution will feel obliged, before thinking, to ask the authorization of the Republic, which will thus have become despotic. On the grounds of defending this fundamental right (and soon, which others?), one thing leading to another, the list of unconstitutional opinions will be extended ad infinitum, rightly or wrongly, and no doubt in spite of common sense, until there is nothing left, not only of freedom of conscience and expression, but also of the audacity to reason and to communicate the fruit of one’s reasoning—and finally nothing left of reason at all. The Senate will have to say whether, in its opinion, the audacity to think is legally inferior or superior to the Constitution, and whether, without the audacity to think, there can still be a Republican Constitution.

Conclusion? For these two reasons, and some others, it is to be hoped that the Senate, acting with reason and gravity, will conclude to reject an uncultured and inconsiderate proposal, by which the social pact would be broken and despotism substituted for the Republic.

Henri Hude is the former director of the Ethics and Law Department at the Research Center of the Saint-Cyr Military Academy. He is the author of several important works of philosophy, among them, most recently, Philosophie de la guerre (Philosophy of War). These three articles appear through the kind courtesy of Pierre-Yves Rougeyron and Le cercle Aristote.

Featured: Brennende Stadt (Burning city with Lot and the Angel and his Daughters), attributed to Daniel van Heil; painted ca. 17th century.

The Leviathan Leads to War: A Talk with Henri Hude

Former director of the Ethics and Law Department at the Research Center of the Saint-Cyr Military Academy, the philosopher Henri Hude has just published, Philosophie de la guerre (Philosophy of War), a book written for decision-makers who, in the tragedy of history, have an urgent need to rise to the level of the universal, in order to appreciate situations objectively, and master them effectively. Faced with the persistent risk of high-intensity war that threatens the world, Hude defends the thesis that the solution to the problem of war does not lie in the power of a planetary empire, a kind of “global Leviathan,” but in a philosophical and spiritual awakening, in which religions are called upon to take an essential place and to cooperate in view of a “cultural peace.”

[This interview was conducted by Guillaume de Prémare of the magazine, Permanences, through whose kind generosity we are able to bring you this English version].

Permanences (P): In the present state of our civilization, what are its weaknesses and strengths in the perspective of a return of the tragedy of History?

Henri Hude (HH): It was Reason that made the fortune of Western civilization. The major weakness of the West today is the loss of strong reason and the sense of truth, if that truth is objective, universal, demonstrative and binding. Human freedom, which also characterizes Western culture, is a power of rational self-determination. If reason weakens, thought becomes delirious, and freedom arbitrary.

The great modern philosophy—Kantian, for example, that held sway under the Third Republic—was idealistic; but while losing reality, it had kept objectivity, that of science and morality. Man was everything. Nature and God were who knows where, but Reason remained an impersonal principle at the core of the human soul, capable in theory of absolute truth and in practice of universal and categorical obligation.

Postmodern thinking has swept all that away. Neither God, nor Nature, nor Reason, nor Being. The individual replaces everything, and facts are only what he wants them to be. Individuals therefore spread the infinite magma of data, giving it through their discourses a form of consensual objects, temporarily consensual. It seems that shared envy and common arbitrariness, in affirmation or negation, will suffice to produce reality, even objectivity. Even science bows before desire and interests. There are only fictions left—but these fictions are also all of reality. Western society thus begins to look very much like an insane asylum. Of course, this is only a collective paranoia: one bomb falls somewhere in our country, and very real realities, which mock our discourses, are destroyed and this philosophy collapses. While waiting for war and defeat, or a revival of rationality, to restore, perhaps, realism, the West lives without foundations and plunges into a kind of blur, into a non-functional culture and a somewhat ungovernable society. The powers that be no longer have any leverage to reform—they are all-powerful to deconstruct, powerless for the rest. Let’s not be surprised that history is becoming tragic again.

P: How do you define the tragic?

HH: The tragic is not evil, it is fatal evil. The tragic is beyond the dramatic, where we still oscillate between fear and hope. The tragic is when there is no way out and we are forced to go through it. We sometimes imagine that tragedy would disappear completely if all problems could find a technical solution. This would be true, if all reality were mechanical. But it is not the case. To believe this is to institute a society in which everyone is treated as a cog in a machine. This is why technology, which solves so many problems, immediately creates other, even more serious ones. It itself becomes an unsolvable problem—through technology. This is what the invention of the atomic bomb clearly shows.

P: This tragedy, which we may have thought we could escape, was very much present in the ancient culture from which we come. Why did the Greeks write so many tragedies?

HH: The Greeks were the first humanists of the West. Aristotle said: “Man is the animal in which there is a lot of the divine.” Humanism guesses the greatness of man. Courage is part of this greatness and expresses the awareness of it.

Heroism is the depth of courage. It is the capacity to measure the tragic without dissolving it, without hiding it. It is the capacity to face death, destiny, freedom, salvation or perdition, and evil in all its forms, including war—that universal phenomenon, in time and space. It is part of human existence.

P: We thought we could overcome war, and some say that we have become somewhat soft. Can a nation and a people adapt and quickly convert their mentality and worldview in a crisis situation?

HH: Experience must answer, more than reasoning. What will happen if we have to switch from a soft dream to a hard reality? For example, if we cut electricity in Paris or Lyon for several weeks, what would happen? If the Internet stops working, how will we react? Will we be able to adapt quickly to a new situation that radically shakes up our daily lives and our gentrified mentalities? No one can know a priori. In Ukraine, which is a more rustic country, it is a return to their youth for the older people, because the memory of very difficult times is still recent and vivid.

Generally speaking, humans are built in such a way that they can cope with all sorts of hazards, but this capacity to adapt—to be resilient, as we say today—depends a great deal on the culture: to adapt to the torment, one must accept the very idea of suffering, so that suffering has a meaning, that life and death have a meaning. I fear that if culture is unable to offer us such a meaning, it is not functional—it does not put man in a position to face the hazards of his condition. There is tragedy. Perhaps we will have to bear our share of it. But if the collective meaning of our existence is reduced to consuming satisfactions and living to be old in almost good health, we will not be able to face it. We escape from this nonsense by recognizing the transcendence of man’s soul and that of the Absolute, of God.

P: This sense of transcendence is not very developed today, to put it mildly.

HH: The great philosophy of the Enlightenment, which—as we have said—still reigned in France under the Third Republic, was a religion of Man. There was no longer any Transcendence in the biblical sense of the word, but there was still one, within the Great Divine Whole that man believed to be between the impersonal universal ground that was Reason and the individuals in which it was, so to speak, always incarnated. And this Reason founded objective truth and moral obligation. This dissolved with what is called postmodernity, coming from Nietzsche or Freud among others.

The great rationalist philosophy was rejected because of its neurotic moralism; also because the evolution of sciences had made it partially obsolete; also because it was very aristocratic, elitist, not very accessible, hardly taking into account the individual, of his lived experiences, of the affective, of language, of the body and finally, perhaps especially, because this residue of transcendence constituted still a source of obligation and a limit to the pretensions of the individual freedom to a boundless independence.

Demolishing God, Nature, Reason, Being, Truth, etc., this postmodern evolution leads in practice to nihilism. Living together in confidence under these conditions becomes almost impossible and society becomes ungovernable. Without a cultural revolution, including the recognition of metaphysical foundations, the West will persevere in this nonsense and it cannot even imagine to what extent it will lose its aura and its position in the world. It is a functional culture that allows a civilization to be present in history and to stay there.

P: The prospect of a philosophical, spiritual and cultural upsurge seems rather distant today. Can a time of crisis make decision-makers arise and/or new leaders emerge who will be able to face the situation, and give meaning to events and involve all citizens?

HH: The great crisis occurs when culture does not allow solutions to be found to problems that have become absolutely vital. The non-functional character of culture is today, in my opinion, the root of all problems. I think that we will have difficulty in seeing the emergence of true decision-makers, without a cultural awakening.

P: Today, the West is still dominant, despite its non-functional culture, but it is fragile for the reasons you indicate. On the other side, there is what we can call the rest of the world, which functions according to very different mental patterns. We have the impression that, for the other civilizations, war and the tragedy of history are quite normal things. Doesn’t this create a gap between the West and these other cultural realities, confirming in a way the famous “clash of civilizations?”

HH: We exaggerate cultural relativism. There is a human universality, a community of human nature: each of us is born, dies, suffers, works, exchanges, loves, speaks, questions, invents, negotiates, wars, is cunning, meditates, is anxious. Every man in existence becomes aware of our common nature; and it is this common awareness which is the culture. In all functional cultures, the fundamentals are present, like friendship or truth. The same questions arise everywhere. Zhu Xi could dialogue with Thomas Aquinas, Socrates with Confucius.

However, the human condition also depends on technical progress. Now, in technology and in science, a whole way of thinking is forged. If this way of thinking does not manage to be in harmony with immemorial wisdom, culture becomes dysfunctional. This does not prevent the sciences from being true, nor the techniques from being efficient. And since the West is the place where science and technology first developed, Westernization is inevitably universal. But as it is the reason which made the fortune of the West, so its unreason deprived of wisdom is making its ruin. For the West is becoming the least rational fragment of the planet. If it does not return to reason and wisdom, we will see, in our lifetime, its marginalization—and its great suffering.

P: All the same, the fundamental principles are not the same in all civilizations; for example the notion of freedom in China, or that of equal dignity of persons in India.

HH: You have to look at things in the long term. The simple fact of owning, for example, an iPhone provides a feeling of individual power that was previously unimaginable. This feeling leads to the emergence of an individualism, which is not necessarily negative and anti-social in itself. Technology allows man to realize his power and nourishes the consciousness of a transcendence of the human being. This phenomenon can be devastating for all premodern cultures, and lead to non-functional ways of thinking, where we no longer understand anything about the Absolute or about God, about life, about the universe, about good and evil, about Salvation… But it can make a civilized humanism grow everywhere. The most reasonable solution is to profoundly rethink the relationship of humanist culture to the religion of the God-Man, that is, of Christ. Otherwise, the West will go out of history. But I believe that all its positive values will survive, carried by other peoples.

P: The Romans, then Christianity, developed the concept of the just war, and the Church tried to moralize war. Are there equivalent reflections in other civilizations?

HH: The Canadian researcher Paul Robinson has written a book entitled Just war in Comparative Perspective, in which he shows that all civilizations have had a similar reflection. It is easy to understand why. On the one hand, everyone realizes that goodness is found in justice, peace, mutual service, good understanding; and that war, which uses violence and trickery, is the opposite of the charity we owe each other.

On the other hand, absolute pacifism, in its pure state, seems equally immoral. For if the use of force were unconditionally immoral, intrinsically perverse, there would be no right of collective self-defense, and surrendering to an intrinsically perverse power would be a duty. Moreover, all non-violent resistance would be physically eliminated. Thus, on the one hand we have the immorality of war, on the other the immorality of pacifism. The theory of the just war is an attempt at a solution. War is evil itself; but one must be ready to defend one’s own against aggression. For it is a fact—conflict exists, not just cooperation. The world is full of transgressors, aggressors and unjust people, who take pleasure in appropriating everything and find their enjoyment in the persecution of others. One must therefore be ready to defend one’s own. This is what every functional culture must teach its members. But this is not possible if we sink into the illusion that everyone can remain quietly in his corner, in a passive individualism.

P: The classical theory of the just war has, however, been challenged by Pope Francis.

HH: I read very carefully the chapter of the encyclical Fratelli tutti that deals with war. Paul VI also said, at the UN, “Never again war!” Surely, you don’t want the Pope to be in favor of war! The text expresses, I believe, a fear of the possibility, once again very serious, of total war, therefore nuclear. In this chapter, which (with all due respect) can be described as rather vague, the only perfectly clear formula, although drowned in pacifist rhetoric, maintains the Thomistic doctrine of the just war. It seems to me, therefore, that the Pope is not changing anything in substance. In previous years, in the face of the terrorist problems of 2015, he had in fact, unlike his predecessors, a much more classical and Thomistic attitude on the question of war. What terrifies us today—for example, the atomic bomb—will be surpassed tomorrow by other, far superior means of destruction. It is in this perspective that the Holy Father’s words in Fratelli tutti are justified.

Today we do not know how to live in peace without the balance of terror. With the postmodern crisis of culture that we are experiencing, it is possible that this balance of terror will give way to what Thérèse Delpech calls the “imbalance of terror.” The preference for life makes deterrence credible; but this principle is itself suspended from the conviction that life has meaning. To wage atomic war is to commit suicide by killing one’s opponent. If suicide becomes possible because culture induces a preference for death, then nuclear war is ultimately possible. The desire for euthanasia manifests a preference for death. La Fontaine said in one of his fables, “Rather suffer than die is the motto of men.” But the postmodern culture is suicidal. It says, “Rather die than suffer.” That is why the Pope is right to draw attention to the fact that deterrence between rational actors is no longer guaranteed within the framework of this culture that the West is spreading throughout the world.

P: What is the basis for an ethics of war?

HH: The basis consists in knowing that the good is peace, and that nothing should be done in war that would give rise to a definitive hatred, making the conflictual relationship irreversible. It is a matter of, for example, not to create a hereditary enemy, but rather to use force in a measured, proportionate way, and to limit the time of the war. The ethics of war is the imperative of peace regulating war.

P: In 1945, was the use of the atomic bomb by the USA against Japan proportionate and morally acceptable?

HH: When the means are extremely debatable, the end justifies the means, if and only if the end is morally necessary, and if this means is rigorously necessary to reach this necessary end. Thus the question is: what was the end pursued by the United States? Was this end necessary? And, if so, was the bombing necessary for that necessary end? These are the principles, expressed as questions. Their application is obviously by nature more contingent and dubious than the principles themselves.

The political goal of the United States was to impose on Japan an unconditional surrender that would allow it to change profoundly, militarily, politically and culturally, and to make it a satellite in its Empire. Such an imperious goal is part of a policy aiming at imposing on mankind the Pax Americana. If one considers this goal to be morally necessary, then, in relation to such a goal, the use of the atomic bomb was certainly a necessary means. The conditions demanded of Japan by the USA were exorbitant, and it was to be expected that Japan would put up a tremendous resistance. The atrocious use of the bomb broke this resistance and certainly spared more lives, American and Japanese, than it sacrificed.

The answer to the question you ask leads back to the answer to a more fundamental question: Is the global hegemony of one state morally and politically necessary for the common good of humankind? If so, then the use of weapons of mass destruction is probably justified, at least objectively. If not, then not. In other words, Hiroshima and Nagasaki are an impressive show of force and decisive action, which are legitimate only if the United States can reasonably pretend to be the universal Empire, to be the universal hegemon bringing peace and a true flourishing civilization. Otherwise, what would have been legitimate would have been a reasonable negotiation in which the loser would have accepted to take his loss, without being totally subjugated. When a head of state judges that an end is necessary and that the means to that end is necessary, it is he who makes that judgment and assumes the ultimate moral responsibility for it—it is he who will be accountable to the Supreme Judge.

P: Today, some people seem to think that a universal empire is better than war. Does this seem justified to you?

HH: The “great game” for empire has always existed. Powers want to ensure their hegemony, out of ambition but also out of fear. Let’s think of Athens and Sparta, or Rome and Carthage. Is building an Empire, ideally building the Empire, a just cause for war? The Empire brings peace after the time of conquest, the Pax Romana for example. But every Empire will end. What chaos follows! Today, would the constitution of a planetary Empire be a just, permitted and necessary end? As the techno-scientific world becomes more and more unified, the idea that some kind of universal political authority could emerge has some logic and appeal. But this does not necessarily mean a world state, led by a universal imperial power. The “function of empire” must be fulfilled. Exploring this question is precisely what my book does.

P: How do you characterize the Leviathan and the peace it proposes to us?

HH: I reflect upon the future, from the probable state of technology, in a century or two. We must imagine that we will be able to colonize the universe. We have to imagine the military technology that goes with it. Today, it is science fiction, but tomorrow? If there has been no cultural revolution, it is highly probable that we will have such a fear of war that we will accept an absolute security tyranny. The Power will have access in real time to the brain and the whole body of each individual to take immediately, on the basis of automated and very fast anticipations, the decisions required for the collective security. The security requirement will become such that freedom will be reduced to nothing. This is what I call the “Leviathan.” People will accept it and want it, because there is apparently no other way; and there will be no other meaning to existence than to keep this miserable meaningless life.

My thesis, which I believe I have demonstrated, is that far from being a guarantee against a possible nuclear war, the advent of the Leviathan, on the contrary, will make it highly possible. It will bring us total war; and that will be the sad end of history. That is why we need another solution, without the Leviathan.

P: You are looking for the solution of a political and cultural peace without the Leviathan.

HH: If we do not take the risk of freedom, we take the risk of the Leviathan. It is a profoundly unstable regime, extremely oligarchic, concentrated, dictatorial. The dictatorship will have to rely on a kind of planetary and omniscient “Stalin,” with the right to life or death on any human being. Let us be sure that utilitarianism can justify everything, even the worst, in the name of the good. This supposes the injection of a culture of powerlessness upon the planetary people. It is necessary to develop egoism in order to kill courage. It is necessary to fear death in order to favor materialism. It is necessary to suppress all morals and laws in order to make the crimes of the Leviathan seem normal. It is necessary to fear everything in order to cling to the Leviathan as the one who will save us.

P: All current transgressions are justified in the name of the good. Western elites do not present themselves as villains who would like tyranny, on the contrary.

HH: I am not thinking only of Western or Westernized elites. I am a philosopher and my book is neither a political position nor a geopolitical interpretation. I think that any leader, both powerful and influential in the world, is tempted by the Leviathan solution. The Leviathan is not necessarily a conscious and assumed project; it is in any case an objective dynamic that unfolds, as long as the culture remains unchanged, and which can in this framework be seen as the lesser evil. If we want to avoid the Leviathan, preserving the pluralism of states is necessary, because it is the only way to ensure the division of powers. It is also the only way to have a basis for social justice and regulation. Of course, states remain rivals, with their various ambitions, their greed too. But these States, because of the danger of the Leviathan, must be able, individually, to renounce the universal Empire, whose concrete figure is the Leviathan, and, collectively, to take on the function of Empire.

P: However, one can imagine a strong resistance of the people to the Leviathan.

HH: In order to resist an excess of power or exploitation, one needs a coil—to reduce this resistance, one needs to break this coil. This is why the Leviathan must reduce the intellectual and moral strength of individuals and peoples to a minimum. It must intoxicate the masses with a “culture of impotence”: all sorts of nonsense, even monstrosities, but it must remain unharmed. Indeed, if the Leviathan’s elite began to believe in the nonsense it inoculated into the people in order to subdue them, the Leviathan would reduce itself to impotence.

For the Leviathan to exist and last, it needs a caste of hard, rational, ruthless, cruel, immoral men at its head, who are in solidarity with each other. But how to believe that beings armed with such a culture and endowed with such a psychic apparatus will be able to live in peace without devouring each other? The Leviathan cannot keep its promises of peace. We therefore need to find a culture of peace and a political system without the Leviathan, allowing a world balance, a kind of planetary civilization which does not fall into the absurdities we know. For this, we must start from what exists. The religions and wisdoms that have lost the initiative in relation to the philosophy of the Enlightenment must take the initiative again, now that the Enlightenment has gone mad.

P: However, religions themselves can cause wars.

HH: Of course, religions can cause war. Men fight for an interest, which can be material or moral, i.e., political and economic, or cultural. God, or the Absolute, being the supreme Good, religion or wisdom is also, by definition, a supreme interest. Why should men fight for oil or a piece of territory, but not for the very meaning of life? The more necessary the goal seems, the more man is theoretically inclined to use all means to reach it.

P: When Cavanaugh says that there are no wars for religious reasons, but that all so-called religious wars have a political, cultural or economic underpinning he seems to be reasoning against reality.

HH: Most wars have three aspects: economic, political and cultural. In the term “cultural,” I include the religious dimension. The so-called “religious wars” therefore always have both political and economic dimensions. When, in the 16th century, the English nobility seized the property of the Church, or when the German princes strengthened their independence in relation to the Germanic Emperor, it was not primarily out of religious sentiment. In spite of this, fighting for a metaphysical good is possible, because it touches on the absolute, an absolute for which men are willing to die. To pose the problem well and to be able to solve it, it is necessary to universalize the notion of war of religions and to speak about wars of cultures. Thus, the wars between ideologies born of the Enlightenment, although they do not have a motive that would normally be qualified as “religious,” are nevertheless battles waged for what seems to have an absolute value. These wars of ideologies have probably caused more deaths than all the religious wars. However, if religions can be a factor of wars, they can also be a factor of peace.

P: How can religions be a factor of peace and also bring part of the solution to the problem of war, and thus spare us the advent of the Leviathan?

HH: If we take into account and respect a factor of personal freedom in adherence to the truth, religion automatically leaves the logic of war. For peace to reign, a formula of equity must be found, a way of sharing power, authority, wealth, territories, natural resources, etc. This is why most of the great wisdoms and religions are capable of making an extremely positive contribution to the definition of a kind of global social pact of equity.

I am not at all sure that the current Western formulas, which are liberal extremisms, can achieve anything other than instituting selfishness and war. It would be absurd to deny the potential or actual frictions between the various wisdoms and religions; for they exist, as between the various modern ideologies. However, a very new fact has appeared—from now on, we see the Leviathan emerging; and we know that, if religions allow themselves the luxury of wars between religions, they will all “die.” Indeed, the Leviathan has two ways to impose itself against religions: to divide them in order to throw them against each other, or to dissolve them in a relativistic syncretism.

P: A kind of universal and humanitarian soft religion?

HH: Yes. Religions will be tolerated if they manufacture impotence; but they will nevertheless remain suspect, under surveillance. The important thing is that they produce power for the Leviathan and powerlessness for the citizens. The situation being what it is, with the Leviathan on the horizon, either religions will show exceptional stupidity and will be dissolved by harshly opposing each other, or they will find what I call “a non-relativistic understanding” based on a culture of philia, excluding armed struggle and discrimination, but not excluding proselytizing and conversions.

P: So, you believe that friendship between religions is possible.

HH: Yes, this philia is the natural law itself, which allows a decent public order. Natural law proposes a system of virtues, a golden rule, universal ethical principles, even if we justify them differently by our metaphysical and religious beliefs. I believe that this can work.

P: This assumes, however, that this culture of philia is shared by the different religions. Do you think, for example, that contemporary Islam, as reaffirmed since the early 1990s, could adhere to this this principle of philia?

HH: There are two options: either we practice this philia without denying ourselves, that is to say, by following our conscience and continuing to seek the Truth; or this philia is a dream, a utopia, and there will be no alternative to the Leviathan. This is my conviction.

P: For the Islamists, the West still represents Christianity, a land to be conquered.

HH: Any intelligent person who opens his eyes knows that the West is no longer Christianity, and that the present Western powers have practically nothing Christian left. As for wanting to conquer seven billion people with 5% of a billion and no up-to-date military technology, this is nonsense. This is what the Egyptian president Al Sissi once said.

P: For religions to cooperate, they would have to recognize a common enemy of sorts.

HH: The Leviathan is obviously this common enemy, which is at once a pure concept, an objective dynamic and a real potential for power. Faced with this enemy, an alliance of non-relativistic religions and wisdoms and of nations, excluding the universal Empire. If to this is added a philosophical progress which takes us out of modernity and postmodernity, but which is at the same time traditional and ultramodern, then yes, at this moment, we can hope to live an era of peace and freedom.

P: So, you include the religious question in what you call, in your book, “cultural peace.” In this perspective, Catholics fear that Christianity is moving from a reasonable humanism to an unreasonable, almost naive humanitarianism, and that interreligious dialogue is accelerating a kind of post-Christian decomposition within Christianity, even within the Catholic Church itself.

HH: If you have faith, if you believe that God is God, that Christ is truly the Son of God, that He is seated at the right hand of the Father, that He will reign in glory, you can perfectly well go to your Buddhist or Muslim neighbor and talk to him. Knowing each other is important, so that we don’t get the wrong idea about each other, without deluding ourselves about others and ourselves. Since we have the choice between surviving together or dying together, we must learn to talk to each other.

Father Bertrand de Margerie, a Jesuit theologian, a very good man whom I knew well, wrote a book entitled, Liberté religieuse et règne du Christ (Religious Freedom and the Reign of Christ). He thought that religious liberty, properly understood, was the best way to establish the reign of Jesus Christ in the future. However, without this freedom, clashes between religions or wisdoms are most likely and the Leviathan will prosper by capitalizing on these conflicts. Yet it is by taking into account the dimension of personal freedom in the religious act that a religion can extract itself from a logic of war.

You will tell me, of course, that this or that religion gives less importance to personal freedom and seems fatalistic. But one should not caricature. You will also find Augustinian texts which will give you the impression that Saint Augustine was a fatalist and that he does not really believe in human freedom because Grace does everything. But the praxis of man shows that he is nevertheless aware of his own will and of a certain capacity for self-determination. This is part of the universal human experience. If you want freedom, and if you want to save your soul and not end up as a slave of the Leviathan, you have to get out of a logic of religious war.

You ask me if I believe that the Leviathan will impose itself. I answer that it has a reasonable chance of success. But I also think that the future is very open. The more the postmodern West loses control of the world with reason, and the more diverse Asia remains, the less chance the Leviathan has in the short and medium term. The problem will undoubtedly arise again in a hundred years, but in very different terms and circumstances.

P: My hypothesis is that the extraordinary technical power on which the Leviathan relies is inseparable from economic reality. It is therefore a techno-market reality, a power of technique and money that exercises a form of tyranny. In this context, what is likely to prevent the triumph of the Leviathan is the collapse of technical civilization, as the collapsologists tell us.

HH: To the question “Will the world destroy itself?” Zhu Xi answered: “Men will one day reach such a degree in the absence of the Way, that they will fight each other, giving rise to a new chaos during which men and other beings will disappear to the very last.” Very dark perspective, but very profound. Technology however is not in itself a monstrosity.

P: In itself no, but we are reaching technical levels that are becoming monstrous.

HH: What is monstrous is not the great power of man, it is the decorrelation between science and philosophy, between technology and spiritual reality. For example, we do not see that the human body is a “body of spirit” and we treat it as if it were only a machine without a soul. It is true that, if this decorrelation persists, the future state of technology, in the next centuries, will be absolutely monstrous. More likely, History will have come to an end, despite the Leviathan’s promise of immortality, and especially because of the Leviathan’s inability to keep his promises. To re-establish the correlation, it will be a Cultural revolution which will not block technology, but will humanize it radically and will make it, paradoxically, infinitely more efficient by avoiding most of its perverse effects. But this is impossible without a return, in grace and in strength, of religions and wisdoms.

P: Nevertheless, there remains the hypothesis of an impossible control. At a certain level of sophistication of technology and the means it offers, notably in terms of absolute control of social life, it can become impossible to resist it by wisdom, by culture and politics. The task is perhaps too complex because the temptations are too powerful to resist.

HH: This is unfortunately possible, but it is always possible to hope with reason, because evil is always self-destructive. The will to power, carried to its paroxysm, wants its own death, which frees us when all seems lost. Like the scorpion that stings itself. A dark future is therefore not at all written, and we can try, with a reasonable hope, which can also be supernatural, with all that is humanly possible, to give back to our world, and particularly to the West, the cradle of modern technology, a culture and a philosophy worthy of the name. A humanized technology, too. A non-reductive, humanistic science. I believe that that is the urgent work, both necessary and possible.

Beyond the Right and the Left: Against the Financial Oligarchy

As Nietzsche had the courage to undertake Jenseits von Gut und Böse, (Beyond Good and Evil), so the theoretical-practical challenge of our time coincides with the will and the capacity to propel ourselves “beyond right and left.” Beyond intellectual and political agoraphobia, and overcoming nostalgic fidelity to conceptual maps and identity symbols incapable of shedding light on the present, theoretical courage and creative passion must prevail, capable of recategorizing reality on new cognitive bases and theorizing new scenarios from political philosophy. In specie, it will be necessary to count on a “hermeneutic surplus labor” that alternatively conjugates the dichotomy of Freund und Feind (“friend and foe”), coessential to the political sphere, and which does so in such a way that it can once again take hold of the magmatic reality of the politics of market globalization.

The latter, which is the humus of the new absolute-totalitarian capitalism (turbo-capitalism), cannot be questioned, understood and, even less, practically “solved” by means of the traditional categories of right and left. On the contrary, it requires the mise en forme of new conceptual figures which are currently lacking; and which, in practice, as has been underlined, neoliberal power, with its centrist extremism, diligently strives to prevent from maturing, mobilizing for this purpose the intellectual power and the proscriptive semantic archipelago of the Neo-language. Recalling Gramsci, the old world is dying, the new one is slow to appear, and it is in this chiaroscuro that the most insidious monsters come to life. De facto, the absolute-totalitarian capitalism of globalization is accompanied by a symbolic organization of political space, which is unilaterally managed from the top down, by the global-elitist Lord against the national-populist Servant.

The image, used by us, of the neoliberal eagle with both wings open, appears, at this point, heuristically fruitful—in fact it alludes, on the one hand, to the organicity of the right and the left within the dominant power; and on the other, to the vertical movement of the unidirectional class struggle waged by those at the top against those at the bottom. The class war in the epoch of turbo-capitalism, as it is set forth, is presented as a univocal massacre. And it is iconically represented by the rapacious gliding of the eagle over the middle and working classes, over peoples and nations. In short, over the dominated pole which, from below, passively suffers the aggressions of the dominant pole.

In particular, the symbolic organization of the political space is managed today in a monopolistic and pro domo sua manner from above, on the basis of a symbolic rent accumulated in the social imaginary of previous generations. And the antithesis between right and left is an integral part of this symbolic inheritance, capillary managed in such a way that the really existing opposition between above and below is never manifested. And since—Gramsci docet—the class struggle is always also a cultural struggle, this concealment of the really existing dichotomy between high and low, by diverting the gaze to the now fictitious struggle between right and left, is itself part of the cultural class conflict, directed in a unique sense by the high against the low.

On the stage of the falsely pluralist “great theater” of the system, the blue right and the fuchsia left, totally subsumed under capital, stage a representation that produces, at the same time, distraction and dissociation with respect to the vertical conflict univocally managed by the dominant pole. Right and left, as has been evidenced, represent indistinctly top versus bottom. Thus, the dichotomy, on the one hand, is emptied by the subsumption under capital of the two poles, now redefined as prostheses of the neoliberal single party and as wings of the capitalist eagle; and, on the other hand, it is artificially reimposed from above to innocuously organize the symbolic space of politics, so that the latter ratifies flatly and without inopportune interference, the sovereign decisions of the market and of the borderless neoliberal oligarchic bloc. This inoffensive organization of the political space is obtained by creating the sense of the possible alternative (which, of course, is always resolved in an alternation without alternative), and preventing those from below to structure themselves in a potentially revolutionary way against capitalist globalization, that is, by giving a compact outlet, in a vertical movement, to their own anger, teeming with good reasons against the sky of neoliberal plutocracy.

From another perspective, the neoliberal high triumphs, to the extent that it imposes its own conceptual maps and its own political symbology on the low, ensuring that the latter always orients itself towards the interior of the steel cage of capitalism, without ever becoming aware of the necessary exodus. In this respect, the dyad of right and left coincides with an artificial political prosthesis of consensual adhesion of the low to the project of the high, of the dominated to the hegemony of the dominant, of the Servant to the tableau de bord of the Lord. This prosthesis is forcibly imposed, thanks to the symbolic violence organized by intellectual groups. The objective is, on the one hand, the capillary control of consensus and dissent within the steel cage of the capitalist mode of production; and, on the other hand, the vigilant and supervised maintenance of identity ideologies of belonging for electoral periods, so that the latter, under a false pluralism, allow the neoliberal order to reproduce itself imperturbably without any electoral possibility of really questioning its integrity.

In this way it is guaranteed that the electoral periods are controlled and domesticated, so that what is already decided from above, in closed rooms and in a manner that is anything but democratic, appears to be consensual and democratically elected from below. Specifically, in elections, reduced in the age of turbo-capitalism to the rank of mere choreographic performances, designed to cover up the undemocratic character of the management of public affairs, time after time they turn out to be “freely” and “democratically” chosen by those from below, oligarchic variants of the same management of reproduction of the neoliberal order that guarantee the univocal domination of those from above. To paraphrase the title of Arnaud Imatz’s study (Droite/Gauche, 2016), that of the antithesis between droite et gauche (right and left) is now only an equivoque from which it is necessary to escape as soon as possible; ultimately, it would be—in the words of Costanzo Preve—an “incapacitating myth aimed at breaking the popular resistance to oligarchic crystallization.”

As Alain de Benoist and Costanzo Preve have corroborated, democracy in the age of neoliberalism is thus reduced to an intrinsically undemocratic game, to the self-government of the possessing classes. The latter, from above, generously allow those at the bottom to choose among political forces, candidates and programs that, in a falsely plural form, express equally the same interests, objectives and class views of those at the top. The plural options that can be chosen from time to time in elections are preemptively passed through the sieve of the neoliberal order. This demonizes, ostracizes and delegitimizes any possible formation that is not organic to the liberal order itself and its fictitious division according to the right-left dyad.

Also—but not only—for that reason, the neoliberal order of turbo-capitalism legitimizes itself ideally as democratic, but in essence turns out to be a plebiscitary oligarchy of financial brand. It uses the procedures of democratic legitimization to impose contents that are not democratic, and that only reflect the same interests and sovereign decisions of those at the top. It autocratically decides, in the “closed rooms” of the neoliberal plutocracy and in its very private summits (Bilderberg Group, World Economic Forum, etc.), the paths to follow, the “reforms” to carry out and the priorities to be implemented; and causes them to be implemented by the alternation, without alternative, of the blue right and the fuchsia left, legitimized through elections in which the peoples are questioned and called to choose “freely and democratically,” which of the two wings of the neoliberal eagle should carry out the decisions taken upstream from the neoliberal apex. Thus, Mark Twain’s saying that power would not allow us to vote if, sic stantibus rebus, the vote really served to change the order of power relations becomes true.

Thus, in the time of absolute capitalism, universal suffrage itself is emptied of all efficacy. And it mutates into a simple acclamation of dramatis personae which, both on the right and on the left, must preventively prove to be “credible,” that is to say, coherent waiters of the order of market globalization. These dramatis personae of politics, increasingly indistinguishable from influencers and advertising actors, must attract behind them the necessary consensus, so that the undemocratic class project of the plutocratic elite, from above, appears to be democratically shared and, moreover, sovereignly elected from below.

For this reason, consensus is of fundamental importance, so that the power of the dominant groups is exercised through hegemony, which is precisely a class domination not imposed by violence, but consensually accepted also by those who, because of interests and positioning in the scheme of balances of power, should oppose it. The intellectual power and the superstructural force administered by the heralds of the single thought must, in any case, prevent the dominated classes from acquiring true consciousness of themselves and of the effective conflict between the high and the low. And it is mainly in this direction in which they are oriented, finding in the cultural and political contraposition assumed by those from below, according to the antithesis between right and left, their own and most relevant weapon of division and, at the same time, of mass distraction.

The distraction of the masses means that the tele-dependent and techno-narcotized people do not realize that decisions are taken punctually and outside them, in private spaces and far from parliaments, which simply ratify these resolutions, giving them a semblance of democracy. Berlusconism, in Italy, has created a school: besides marking the decline of politics, replaced by the figure of the entrepreneur who treats the State as a business (the “Italia business”), it introduced the model of television and the “society of the spectacle” into the sphere of politics. According to what Stiegler has defined as la télecratie contre la démocratie (telecracy against democracy), the citizen-voter, from that moment on, has come to be understood and treated as a spectator-consumer (homo videns), guided without solution of continuity, from the television in the living room to the electoral booth, choosing, both on the screen and on the ballot, the figures and faces he finds most agreeable.

The electoral choice is at all points fictitious, in the same way as the choice between the various commodities that, highly differentiated in expressing the same order of things, populate the reified spaces of the civilization of consumption. Whether one chooses commodity X or commodity Y, the horizon of market civilization is always reconfirmed from zero. Similarly, the choice of the blue neoliberal right or the fuchsia neoliberal left equally validates the dominant order. Politics itself, therefore, ends up being marketized, as is evident from the way in which candidates and parties advertise themselves like any other commodity. And it is also for this reason that politicians, as waiters of the dominant global class, are systematically blackmailed by special unelected staff; a “staff” that, using judicial or intellectual power, must always be ready to intervene when necessary, even in the remote case—Costanzo Preve insisted at length—in which the aforementioned politicians in fuchsia or blue livery would dare to try to escape the control of the sovereign plutocratic oligarchies. The “politics of the parties,” antagonistic to each other, typical of the dialectic phase, is replaced in the post-1989 scenario by the “politics of the markets.”

Diego Fusaro is professor of History of Philosophy at the IASSP in Milan (Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies) where he is also scientific director. He is a scholar of the Philosophy of History, specializing in the thought of Fichte, Hegel, and Marx. His interest is oriented towards German idealism, its precursors (Spinoza) and its followers (Marx), with a particular emphasis on Italian thought (Gramsci or Gentile, among others). he is the author of many books, including Fichte and the Vocation of the IntellectualThe Place of Possibility: Toward a New Philosophy of Praxis, and Marx, again!: The Spectre Returns[This article appears courtesy of Posmodernia].

Featured: The Munitions Girls, by Alexander Stanhope Forbes; painted in 1918.

On the Incompatibility of the Sacred and Finance

The destruction of the element that Rudolf Otto defines as the tremendum, that is, that perception of the sovereign majesty of the divine that generates in man a feeling of creatural finitude, is indispensable for the unfolding of the absolute subjectivism coessential to the will to power and its presupposition of man as an omnipotent and limitless entity. For this reason—Otto explains—the sacred is the authentic mirum, since it shows the “totally other” (Ganz-Anderes), sending back to a different and superior dimension, with respect to that of only human things. The sacred—Otto writes—coincides with the “the emotion of a creature, submerged and overwhelmed by its own nothingness in contrast to that which is supreme above all creatures.” The seductive, as well as treacherous, promise of the serpent—eritis sicut dii—allows us to fully understand how the most desacralizing power, that is, capital, pretends to become more and more similar to God, as omnipotent, unlimited, inscrutable, above everything and everyone. In this meaning, the θέωσις, the “divine becoming” thus emerges as a figure of the unlimited and of pride, quite distinct from the deitas theorized by Eckhart.

At the mercy of techno-scientific Prometheism, and an order of things in which “sudden gains/pride and immoderation have generated” (Inferno, XVI, 72-74), man ceases to recognize himself imago Dei and pretends to be himself Deus-homo homini Deus, with the syntax of the Feuerbach of The Essence of Christianity—in the fulfillment of the ancient temptation of the serpent. Herein lies the arrogant boldness of the man who wants to elevate himself “Who opposeth, and is lifted up above all that is called God, or that is worshipped, so that he sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself as if he were God” (2 Thessalonians 2:4).

Prevailing over the entire horizon, prefiguring ever new disasters of instrumental reason, is the Promethean will of human self-management of the world with no further links to transcendence and, at this point, guided only by the nihilistic logic of the will to power of the planetary technocracy. The biblical image of Noah’s Ark, which saves the living in the name of God, is contrasted with the Titanic, as an image of unbridled technology and Promethean imperialism, which causes the whole world to sink under the deceptive promise of its liberation.

In the reified spaces of techno-form civilization, there are no longer the limits of the φύσις of the Greeks or of the Christian God—in the age of the ἄπειρον, of the “unlimited” elevated to the only horizon of meaning, there survives exclusively the factual limit, id est, the limit that the uncontainable techno-scientific power finds every time in front of itself and that it punctually surpasses, in order to be able to fully deploy all its premises and its promises. The technoscientific Gestell, the “dominant system” of Technik in the sense clarified by Heidegger, does not promote a horizon of meaning, nor does it open scenarios of salvation and truth—it simply grows without limitation. And it does so by surpassing all limits and by self-empowering itself without end. It emerges, therefore, fully justifying the fear of Zeus, in Aeschylus’ Prometheus Bound, when Zeus fears that man, thanks to the power of τέχνη, can become self-sufficient and autonomously obtain that which previously he could only hope to achieve through prayer and submission to divine power.

As Emanuele Severino has shown, if technique is the condition for the implementation of any end, it follows that not hindering the progress and development of technique becomes the true ultimate end, in the absence of which no other can be implemented. So, following Severino’s syntax, with the decline of truth there remains in the field only technique, i.e., the open space of the forces of becoming, whose confrontation is ultimately decided by its power and certainly not by its truth. In addition to this, the techno-capitalist system reduces the world to the limits of calculating reason, so that what cannot be calculated, measured, possessed and manipulated is, eo ipso, considered as non-existent. The logic of the plus ultra, founding of techno-capital, is determined in the ethical and religious sphere according to the aforementioned figure of the violation of all that is inviolable, which presupposes achieving the neutralization of God as a symbol of the vόμος. The libertarian instance of the Enlightenment is reversed in its opposite, as already evidenced in Adorno and Horkheimer’s Dialektik der Aufklärung. The annihilation of every taboo, of every law and of every limit, gives rise to the new taboo of life that is sufficient unto itself.

Freedom without limits; or rather—more properly—the anomic caprice and the “infinite evil” of self-referential and deregulated growth, precipitates into the slavery of the compulsion to transgression and the violation of all that is inviolable; hence into the falsely emancipatory imperative that prescribes enjoyment without impediment or delay, aiming only at individual self-interest and the unreflective rage of growth as an end in itself. In this way, calculating reason—the “arid life of the intellect” of which the young Hegel wrote—sets itself up as the judge that distinguishes what is real from what is not real, what is meaningful from what is meaningless, what is valuable from what is worthless. To allow techno-capitalism to develop without limits of any kind, be they material or immaterial—this sounds like one of the most implausible definitions that could be postulated of the regressive myth of progress, civilization’s unreflective cult of integral reification, whose members are increasingly converted, Heidegger emphasized, into mere “priests of technics” and simple apostles of capital’s march of claritate in claritatem.

To provoke the disjunction of Desire with the Law, so that the former can develop without limits and inhibitions, according to the figure of that violation of all that is inviolable on which rests the essence of the absolute chrematistic system as metaphysics of the unlimited, is one of the falsely emancipatory cornerstones of the disordered order of the civilization of the markets. It is what was already glimpsed in Dostoyevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov: “But then, I ask, what will become of man, without God and without future life? Is everything then permitted, everything lawful?” Tod Gottes points to the fulfillment of nihilism as a process of devaluation of values and the twilight of the foundations. It coincides with the “transvaluation of all values,” the Umwertung aller Werte enunciated by Nietzsche.

The nihilism of the death of God seems to be concretized in four decisive determinations, which trace the contours of the epoch of the existing anomic society of the evaporated father post mortem Dei:

  • on the ontological level, if God is dead, then “everything is possible,” as marketing strategists keep repeating endlessly and as the mechanics of the technical reduction of being to an exploitable depth reveal;
  • on the strictly moral level, if God is dead, then everything is permitted and no figure of the Law survives;
  • his means, therefore, that everything is indifferent and equivalent, without a hierarchical rank or an order of values, in the triumph of a generalized relativism by which everything becomes relative in the form of commodity (the “dictatorship of relativism” thematized by Ratzinger);
  • at both the moral and ontological levels, if God is dead and everything is possible and permitted, it follows that every limit, every simulacrum of the Law and every barrier are, as such, an evil to be overthrown and a limit to be violated and surpassed.

The death of God as the dissolution of every order of values and truth (Nietzsche) and as the evaporation of the very idea of the father (Lacan) is, for this very reason, coherent with the dynamics of development of capital absolutus—in the globalized perimeters of the total and totalitarian market society everything is licit, subject to there always being more and more, and to the availability of the corresponding exchange value, elevated to a new monotheistic divinity. The desertification of transcendence and the depopulation of heaven are coessential to the dynamics of the absolutization of the mercantilized plane of immanence, whose most appropriate figurative expression seems to be identified by the desert, as Salvatore Natoli has suggested.

On the basis of what has been underlined by Heidegger and by Hölderlin, the epoch of economic nihilism corresponds to a Weltnacht in which darkness is so dominant that it makes it impossible to see the situation of misery into which those of us who find ourselves living in the epoch of the fled gods have fallen:

“The default of God means that no god any longer gathers men and things unto himself, visibly and unequivocally, and by such gathering disposes the world’s history and man’s sojourn in it. The default of God forebodes something even grimmer, however. Not only have the gods and the god fled, but the divine radiance has become extinguished in the world’s history. The time of the world’s night is the destitute time, because it becomes ever more destitute. It has already grown so destitute, it can no longer discern the default of God as a default” (Heidegger, “Wozu Dichter?” “What are Poets for?“).

The death of God announced by Nietzsche and evoked by Heidegger corresponds, in effect, to that complete nihilistic de-divinization of the world that produces the loss of meaning and finality, of unity and horizon. The ongoing de-divinization—which, with the Hegel of the Phenomenology, we could also understand as a “depopulation of heaven” (Entvölkerung des Himmel)—corresponds to the emptying of all meaning and of all ulteriority with respect to the capitalist market, which has become the exclusive horizon—capitalist mono-mundane immanentization dissolves any point of reference other than the commodity form, before which everything becomes relative. Things and men, more and more interchangeable, cease to be “gathered” in a framework of meaning. And they are projected, as isolated and unconnected fragments, into the dark infinite space of the global market, hypostatized in the sole sense of petrified universal history.

With Heidegger’s syntax, the “splendor of God” as a value of values and as a symbol of symbols has been extinguished and, with it, the very idea of a sense of the flow of universal history and of a meaning that exceeds mere exchange value. Everything wanders in the cosmic void of fragmentation and global precariousness, ready to be manipulated by the will to power of infinite growth and the déraison de la raison économique. Following Pasolini’s analysis, this is the essence of the new “Power that no longer knows what to make of Church, Homeland, Family”—and that, moreover, must neutralize them as so many obstacles to its own self-realization.

The death of God corresponds to the post-metaphysical nihilistic relativism proper to the unlimited extension of the commodity form elevated to the only horizon of meaning and to the unlimited will to power of technical endeavor. According to the teaching we draw from Weber and his considerations on the Protestantische Ethik, a fully functioning capitalism no longer needs the superstructural system—the “mantle” over its shoulders, in Weberian grammar—that was initially indispensable to it. Taking the discourse beyond Weber, it must precisely discard it, given that now the absence of that powerful support of meaning is as vital as its presence was before.

Post-metaphysical consumerist relativism prevents the recognition of the veritative figure of limits (ethical, religious, philosophical). And, with synergic movement, it empowers the infinite tastes of liberalized consumption, and detached from any perspective of value. Along with that, it draws a reified landscape of monads exercising their will of unlimited consumerist power, free to do whatever they want, as long as they do not violate the will of power of others and, ça va sans dire, as long as they have the corresponding exchange value.

The fanaticism of economics cannot withstand the axiological, veritative and transformative power of philosophy. It is founded, instead, on the power of technoscience, which serves it to produce always new commodities and new gadgets destined to increase the valorization of value. Compulsive consumerism itself, which has become the ordinary lifestyle of the inhabitant of the integrally reified cosmopolis, is nothing more than the subjective reverberation of the techno-capitalist paradigm and its fundamental structure.

The new techno-capitalist power, in Pasolini’s words “is no longer satisfied with a ‘man who consumes,’ but pretends that no other ideologies than that of consumption are conceivable.” It allows the permissiveness of “a neo-secular hedonism, blindly oblivious to any humanist value” to prevail ubiquitously and without any free zones. The new power, with respect to which nothing else is going to be anarchic, does not accept the existence of entities that are not so in the form of merchandise and exchange value: “Power,” Pasolini explains, “has decided to be permissive because only a permissive society can be a consumer society.” Man himself, reduced to the rank of consumer, ends up being himself consumed by the techno-capitalist apparatus.

Diego Fusaro is professor of History of Philosophy at the IASSP in Milan (Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies) where he is also scientific director. He is a scholar of the Philosophy of History, specializing in the thought of Fichte, Hegel, and Marx. His interest is oriented towards German idealism, its precursors (Spinoza) and its followers (Marx), with a particular emphasis on Italian thought (Gramsci or Gentile, among others). he is the author of many books, including Fichte and the Vocation of the IntellectualThe Place of Possibility: Toward a New Philosophy of Praxis, and Marx, again!: The Spectre Returns[This article appears courtesy of Posmodernia].

Featured: Untitled, by Zdzisław Beksiński; painted in 1978.

Socrates on the Radio

It’s eleven o’clock on Tendencies Radio. It’s time to hand it over to George Waddle for his program “Open Mind.” Hello George.

Hello, Armanda. Hello all. Welcome to this new edition of “Open Mind,” along with Claudine Idiotintown. Good morning, Claudine. How are you this morning?

Good morning, George. That’s a beautiful shirt you’re wearing!

Isn’t it? Today we welcome the philosopher, Socrates. Good morning, Socrates.

Socrates greets kindly.

“He’s really ugly.” Claudine whispers in the host’s ear. “Thank God we’re not on TV.”

Hello, Socrates. Hello…!

Why doesn’t the clown answer? thinks Waddle. But like the good professional he is, he continues.

So, Socrates, you are a famous philosopher. You have written a lot.

No, by Zeus, I have not written anything.

You haven’t written anything?

Not one line.

But, but, OK. Well, I really want to ask you your opinion on something that concerns us all. Yesterday, as you certainly know, the prestigious site Manip-Media published a damning report about the minister, Constant Waffler. Let’s recall what happened. The young Waffler stole three or maybe it was four marbles from Stephanie Gasbag when both were in kindergarten and, when latter complained, Waffler replied, “Girls don’t know how to play marbles!” The association Stop Girlphobia immediately denounced this slip of the tongue and demanded the head of the minister, and the leader of the opposition followed suit. In short, here we are in the middle of Wafflergate. What do you think, Socrates?

I don’t know. I am not able to answer that question.

But come on, Socrates, such a violation of equality, of justice!

What justice are you talking about?

Well, justice, you know, justice!

But isn’t justice a difficult question?

Yes… no…. And you Socrates, what is your definition of justice?

I don’t know. Justice is lived rather than defined. I talked about it with Thrasymachus and we agreed that injustice is a vice and justice a virtue.

Thrasymachus, Thrasymachus, who is this weirdo? But then Waddle said to himself that he had found a good angle of attack and continued.

A vice, a virtue. Those words sound a lot like what a reactionary would say. You wouldn’t be a reactionary, would you, Socrates?

I don’t know. What do you mean by reactionary?

You know, those narrow-minded people, those backward-looking people, those populists.

You know, the only thing I know is that I know nothing. I wouldn’t be able to answer that.

Well, then would you be on the side of the populists?

I don’t know. What do you mean by populist?

This guy’s impossible, thought Waddle. But bravely he continued

You know, Socrates, these people who criticize the elites, these narrow-minded, these reactionaries.

No, I don’t know.

Well, finally, to which side do you belong?

Which sides are you talking about?

But Socrates, did you just crawl out under a rock? I’m talking about the opposition between people of progress, the people of the Enlightenment and the conservatives, the retrogrades. And Socrates, will you stop answering my questions with questions?

Why? Is it forbidden to ask questions?

No, but the rule is that the journalist asks questions and the guest answers

Yes, but is that a good rule?

Oh, that’s not the point, Socrates.

I mean, why don’t journalists want to be asked questions?

Because that’s how an interview should be. But tell me, Socrates, aren’t you one of those people who scapegoat journalists, who constantly criticize them?

You know, I’m new in this country. I wouldn’t want to pass judgment. But why can’t we criticize journalists?

That’s a different question entirely! But the answer is easy—because journalists embody freedom of expression, because to criticize them is to undermine freedom, democracy.

What freedom are you talking about?

There you go again! Freedom of expression at all costs! This is obvious.

For example, does the freedom of expression of journalists include the freedom to say uncertain or erroneous things?

Uh, what are you talking about? No, of course not.

Does it include the freedom to say untrue things?

No, no, no. Look, I’m asking the questions!

Let me finish. I will be brief. So, you agree that the freedom of expression is based on something beyond it?

Maybe, maybe not. But, please, Socrates, let’s get back to the subject. Let’s go back to… I don’t know.

Let’s go on, if you don’t mind. What is freedom of expression for?

Now you’re getting annoying. But how should I know. They never talk about these things in journalism schools.

What freedom of expression is based on, wouldn’t that be the real thing?

Yes, maybe, if you like.

So, the freedom you claim is the freedom to tell the truth?

Yes, that’s it, that’s it.

So, if a journalist does not tell the truth, is it not reasonable to criticize him?

If you want to, yes, but that never happens.

Are you saying that journalists are infallible and that they abhor cheating?

Oh, that’s too much! Thank you, thank you, Socrates! This was Open Mind, a program by… by… Waffler George. Next week, …well…, you’ll see. A few ads up next.

As he left the studio, a gaggle of journalists were all over Socrates. He managed to escape, but one of them, the fastest, the youngest, caught up with him.

“Please, Socrates, please, a word. If I come back empty-handed, my editor will fire me. Besides, I know you. I’ve read your disciple, Plato.”

Socrates stopped.

“I work for Time,” said the young man with pride. And he quickly continued:

“Here, here is my question. I’m sure it will interest you. You say in the Phaedrus that the written word is inherently defective because one cannot know to whom one is speaking, whereas the spoken word allows one to tell each person what it is good for him to hear. So, why did you agree to speak on the radio? You will tell me that you spoke without a doubt, but radio has the defects of the written word—you could not know precisely to whom you were speaking.”

Yes, yes, I congratulate you. But can you say that I said many things on the radio?

“Yes, well, no. I mean you asked a lot of questions.”

That’s my usual way. But do you think we’ve gone too far?

“I suppose you’re going to blame the journalists again.”

I’m just asking if an ordinary radio interview lends itself to dialectic, I mean to a real dialogue.

“But it certainly does. The microphone was all yours.”

Isn’t it true that radio journalists usually stay on the surface of things?

“You are very severe!”

That they shy away from developments?

“But that’s the law of the genre!”

That they like to make a show of things and play the arbiter of elegance?

“Now, you’re exaggerating!”

And that the best thing to do is to make the journalist pass an examination that is useful to him and to those who listen?

“Ah, that’s it. You went to the radio to say bad things about the radio! Or rather, to show off. But, but I can’t write what you say. My editor would have a fit. Tell me something I can write. I don’t know, about… about… OK. What advice would you give to a young man?”

But, my young friend, I don’t know anything. I am only trying to give birth to the mind of the one I am talking to.

“Go ahead, go ahead, I am ready.”

I would be happy to, if it were possible, but time is too short. I have to be at the Champs Elysees this afternoon.

Philippe Bénéton is Professor emeritus of Rennes I and is the author of Le dérèglement moral de l’OccidentLes fers de l’opinionIntroduction à la politiqueLe conservatisme. This interview appears courtesy of La Nef.

Giorgio Locchi and the Suprahumanist Myth

Philosopher, journalist and essayist, Giorgio Locchi (1923-1992) was one of the tutelary figures of non-conformist thought, which deeply influenced two streams: the New Right and Neo-paganism (with the myth of the Suprahuman). In this interview, his son Pierluigi Locchi explores the essential ideas of his father. The interview, conducted by Eyquem Pons, appears through the kind courtesy of Revue Éléments.

Eyquem Pons (EP): Many readers are unaware of the very existence of Giorgio Locchi. Can you resituate who he was? His life, his struggles, his passions?

Pierluigi Locchi (PL): I will answer your question by mentioning some key stages in his life.

Born in Rome on April 15, 1923, my father entered the Nazareno College by competitive examination at the age of ten. Four years later, his Italian and Latin teacher, Padre Vannucci, gave him a book on his fourteenth birthday with these words: “This book is on the Index, but as you will get there one day anyway, I want to be the one who gave it to you. This book was The Birth of Tragedy Out of the Spirit of Music by Friedrich Nietzsche. My father remembered it all his life: “Thanks to him,” he confided to me one day, “I discovered that others felt the same things as me!”

At the end of the war, just 22 years old, my father had to give up higher studies in philosophy that he would have liked to pursue, since he had to provide for his parents quickly. Having opted for a doctorate with a faster course, in philosophy of law, he had nevertheless been chosen by his professor to succeed him in the chair of philosophy of law at La Sapienza University in Rome. Unfortunately, for financial reasons, he could not afford to wait the necessary number of years and took up a career as a journalist. This took him to Paris in 1957, as a correspondent for the Roman daily Il Tempo, where he remained until the end of his life.

The 1940s, 1950s, and early 1960s saw Girogio Locchi holed up in his office, but he did end up finding the audience that the University of Rome had not been able to give him, initially in the circle of young French intellectuals frequenting the Librairie de l’Amitié and gathered around the magazine Europe-Action by Dominique Venner and Jean Mabire, among whom a certain Alain de Benoist already stood out, and then especially in the community gathered around GRECE ( Research and Study Group for European Civilization) of which he was one of the co-founding members. Though my father was also a member of the editorial board of the magazine Nouvelle École, to which he contributed very regularly until 1979, his role was rather different. Being the thinking head of this new movement, Locchi was more than a philosopher, journalist, essayist and thinker; he was, as Guillaume Faye rightly wrote, “an awakener and a dynamiter,” exactly in the spirit of Friedrich Nietzsche.

And a whole generation of intellectuals has drunk from the spring of this master, who, after having evolved within or around GRECE and then branched off, still constitutes today the spearhead of non-conforming thought, starting with Alain de Benoist, today the undisputed leader of the New Right. And “old-fashioned” master, my father transmitted a lot orally. I remember in particular the two years when he received on Tuesday evenings in our house in Saint-Cloud, near Paris, a whole assembly of students and young workers, eager for knowledge, gathered in particular for two training periods, one dedicated to Richard Wagner and the other to Friedrich Nietzsche. Who would have believed that? On this double filiation rests a good part of the intellectual formation of those who played and still partly play a preponderant role in European nonconforming culture.

Another great passion of my father was music, and perhaps above all the work of Richard Wagner. I will be eternally grateful to him for letting me discover Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg at Bayreuth at the age of eleven! Among his other areas of interest, some, such as history, linguistics, our Indo-European past, are well-known. Others, such as quantum physics or logic, are less so. All his knowledge, all his passions, however, were always put by him at the service of a work of unveiling, with Giorgio Locchi holding particularly to his role as historian.

If the history of which he speaks to us is clearly part of a suprahumanist perspective, which I will have the opportunity to speak about, he has always insisted on the role which must be that of any historian, which is to carry out an analysis, sine ira et studio, without hatred or passion, as Spinoza said, that is to say without letting his own necessarily partisan positions influence the way in which this analysis is presented; therefore without taking sides in the exposition of the facts, or more exactly, specifying each time in what perspective, from what point of view the facts are presented. From there, the fight of his whole life became one of working for the understanding of what the suprahumanist myth is, what are the different forms in which it has successively manifested itself for more than a century and a half, and in what it carries within it, which is the renewal of our civilizational heritage. It is a work of both historian and philosopher, the same myth taking each time, from Wagner to Nietzsche, from Heidegger to Locchi, to name but a few, a new form in whoever carries it within him, by the laws of becoming.

EP: What does it bring to this family of thought?

PL: I am always wary of exaggerated enthusiasm and grandiloquent assertions, but I have to repeat the terms used by Guillaume Faye in his “Archaeofuturist reflections inspired by the thought of Giorgio Locchi”: “I weigh my words carefully—without Giorgio Locchi and his work, which is measured by its intensity and not by its quantity, and which also rested on a patient work of oral formation, the real chain of defense of European identity would probably be broken.”

It is therefore a major contribution in two ways, and major for looking to the past, for considering our present, or for projecting ourselves into the future. Major, first, for looking to the near past, considering his work of formation of the new generations of the 1970 and 1980s, generations which in France and in Europe carry today the most radical alternative and innovative thought in face of the system in force, a true system “to kill the people,” as Guillaume Faye rightly wrote. Second, major for looking to the distant past, considering the centrality, that he was the first to grant in the post-war period, to the significance of the Indo-European fact. Regarding our present, we owe him the highlighting of the epochal conflict, recently appeared, between the opposite historical tendencies, irreconcilable and irreducible to each other, which are the egalitarian bimillennial tendency and the suprahumanist tendency. This is a particularly valuable key to understanding. Moreover, the suprahumanist perspective allows the definition of what is common to the various sensibilities and organizations that compose it, beyond the visions and the individual or partisan specificities. As for the future, it is by this same suprahumanist perspective that Locchi allows us to think the alternative to the anthropological decline that Europe is experiencing and to aim at a rebirth of Europe that is only conceivable by the regeneration of our history.

EP: What is the importance of the two works, Wagner, Nietzsche et le mythe surhumaniste (Wagner, Nietzsche and the Suprahumanist Myth), and Définitions (Definitions) by Giorgio Locchi?

PL: First of all, a clarification. Only the essays that appeared in Nouvelle École some fifty years ago are being “reissued” in Wagner, Nietzsche et le mythe surhumaniste—and the half-century that has passed is in itself an answer to your question. Wagner, Nietzsche et le mythe surhumaniste remained unpublished until now. Even though it takes up the theme of Nouvelle École, no. 31, this book is entirely reformulated in the perspective of the author’s open theory of history, which constitutes a key to interpretation briefly sketched out in one or two writings published in France in the 1970s, and brought out here for the first time. This is therefore its first presentation to the French public.

Giorgio Locchi’s work is central for those who want to think about the new European renaissance. It even constitutes a true unveiling, Locchi allows us to understand how and why, after having passed through pagan antiquity and the Western Christian cycle, European identity finds itself today, in a world undergoing profound change, in the midst of forgetting itself, for some, and in the midst of rediscovering itself, for others.

Even unfinished, his work represents for me a true cornerstone of our vision of the world, in the same way as the works of Wagner, Nietzsche or Heidegger, which is why I am delighted that the Iliad Institute is committed to publishing in the coming years the complete texts written by the Roman philosopher.

EP: What is the place for suprahumanism today? And what is the difference between anti-egalitarianism and transhumanism?

PL: I will answer in one or two sentences, by affirming first of all that the suprahumanism corresponds to the crossing of a new stage by the European man and the European civilization, and that by this very fact it is situated in a stage of conscience superior to the one of egalitarianism—which cannot be the case of the simple anti-egalitarianism that is satisfied with inverting a scale of values that would not be convenient for it in egalitarianism. I will also add that transhumanism corresponds to the egalitarian way, to face the anthropological mutation that we know today, and a way whose harmful consequences can be fought only by the suprahumanist vision.

EP: Could you elaborate further?

PL: Certainly, I am well aware of the innovative aspect of the “suprahumanist principle,” and it is therefore necessary, here more than ever, to define the terms we use.

Suprahumanism is this new historical tendency whose founding myth appeared almost at the same time in Wagnerian dramas and sacred scenic representations and in the Nietzschean philosophy and poetics. The suprahumanist tendency spread like wildfire throughout Europe, which in the second half of the 19th century was largely ready to welcome it, in all artistic, cultural and political circles. The founding myth that animated this tendency carried with it a new vision of historical time, the one that Heidegger would define as “authentic temporality,” in which man expresses his historicity, his being-for-history, and that my father named the “three-dimensional conception of historical time,” a spherical vision of historical space-time.

This conception was consubstantial with the work of the authors of the German Conservative Revolution, as with that of a Gabriele d’Annunzio and even of a Charles Maurras. I quote Giorgio Locchi:

“The suprahumanist conception of time is no longer linear, but affirms the three-dimensionality of the time of history, time inextricably linked to that one-dimensional space which is the very consciousness of every human person. Every human consciousness is the place of a present; this present is three-dimensional and its three dimensions, all given together as the three dimensions of physical space are given together, are the actual, the become and the to-be.

“This may seem abstruse, but only because we have been used to a different language for two thousand years. Indeed, the discovery of the three-dimensionality of time, once made, turns out to be a kind of Columbus egg. What is indeed human consciousness, as a place of time immediately given to each of us? It is, on the dimension of the personal becoming, memory, that is to say the presence of the past; it is, on the dimension of actuality, the presence of the spirit in action; it is, on the dimension of the future, the presence of the project and of the pursued goal, project and goal which, stored and present to the spirit, determine the action in progress.”

Giorgio Locchi’s first contribution is precisely to highlight this kinship beyond the strong specificities of each one; this common vision of history; this way of feeling man as a historically free being, which constitutes an absolute novelty: “What we have called up to now the past, the historical past, exists in fact only on the condition of being in some way present, and present to consciousness. In itself, as the past, it is insignificant, or more precisely, ambiguous: it can mean opposite things, have opposite values: and it is each of us, starting from our personal ‘present’, who decides what it should mean in relation to the foreseen future.”

Likewise, Locchi notes, suprahumanist authors “always attach the idea of ‘myth’ to that of ‘revolution,’ within the framework of a conception of history in which the linearity of historical becoming is no longer more than an appearance, in which the ‘origin’ returns in each ‘present,’ is born from each ‘present’ and rises from each ‘present’ toward the future in a project.”

Suprahumanism, as defined by my father, is therefore not an expression or a trend among others, but the common matrix of all artistic, literary, cultural, political or metapolitical expressions aiming at the rebirth of our European civilization, whenever the latter is seen as having come to the end of a cycle and condemned to “rebirth or death.” Another definition—in a way, the term “suprahumanism,” was chosen by Locchi in homage to the Zarathustrian myth of Friedrich Nietzsche.

EP: We are indeed moving away from anti-egalitarianism.

PL: If every suprahumanist is, by definition, in the camp opposed to the egalitarian tendency, every anti-egalitarian does not necessarily belong to the suprahumanist camp, since there is also an anti-egalitarianism that claims egalitarian values simply inverted, such as Satanism, for example.

It should be noted here above all that the appearance of the new suprahumanist historical tendency has allowed the two-thousand-year-old egalitarian tendency to become aware of itself and its unity beyond the differences of the religious, philosophical and political currents that compose it. This explains the ever-increasing “unnatural” rapprochements between the Church and communist unions, between financial oligarchies and anarchist or revolutionary “ecologist” movements, and so on.

There remains the question of transhumanism. Independently of the lexical proximity with the term of suprahumanism, which readily creates at times a confusion, what makes the question particularly complex, is that one meets supporters and detractors of transhumanism in the egalitarian camp and in the superhumanist camp, each one going off its own definition, privileging this or that aspect, and ignoring others.

Let’s try to see more clearly.

Here too, the work of Giorgio Locchi is of great help, but I must once again move the cursor and refer first this time to his description of the three great stages passed by man in the course of his history, and which correspond to three types of social organization. There is no question of going into detail here about hominization, the Neolithic revolution and the contemporary technological revolution. I refer, in particular for the first two, to the second part of the study on ” Lévi-Strauss et l’anthropologie structurelle [Lévi-Strauss and structural anthropology],” in particular in Définitions.

However, I point to an essential observation: where man transforms his environment, he transforms himself. The first man created himself by giving himself, through culture, the means to live in spite of his incomplete biological condition—indeed, where the animal is inscribed in the specific environment given to each species, benefiting from a mode of use inscribed in its genetic code, man is born incomplete and defenseless, exposed to the hostility of the world. No fur to protect himself from the cold, no claws to defend himself, etc. In other words, where the animal has received everything by its own inheritance, where it is born finished, man, in addition to his own biological inheritance which leaves him unfinished, needs a period of extra-uterine gestation, then a long period of education, to appropriate the cultural inheritance, starting with language, which will make him become man. If, as an unfinished mammal, man survived, it is because he forged himself, by forging his own culture, that is to say the weapons that allowed him to create his own environment; he adapted to his needs according to the objectives that he set himself. These can obviously differ according to the types of man and the latitudes, but a constant is common to this first hunter-gatherer man—he is himself both subject and object of his own domestication.

EP: Then the Neolithic revolution.

PL: Things changed radically with the Neolithic revolution, when man added a new string to his bow, that of domesticating living nature. Now, domesticating living nature implies sedentarization and specialization, and therefore a radical modification of the social organization. Locchi indicates in several essays, short and concise, of a crystalline clarity, how our Indo-European ancestors faced this revolution, making their own this new type of man, assuming this splitting of the originally unique man in different types of men and solving the problem through the communitarian link and the assumption of a common destiny. They thus projected a pantheon in which the gods, human and too human, embody the ideal of a world where man has become multiple, while reflecting in their functional trilogy—Jupiter, Mars, Quirinus to put it in the manner Roman—the three social functions (priestly, warlike and productive) of Neolithic society, which the Indo-Europeans therefore conceive of as a community of destiny, chosen and even desired, with its uncertainties. The acceptance of this becoming, in which divided man rediscovers his original unity, is what we call the tragic meaning of history. But Locchi also indicates how, for another part of humanity, this revolution was, on the contrary, a curse, a bitterly regretted loss of the original unity of the first man, a metaphysical unity that must be rediscovered. For this part of humanity, history is to suffered; it is the consequence of a transgression, an evil that must be rid of in order to reconnect with unity, to rediscover the uniqueness of the first man. This other humanity therefore ideally sees itself as One—and expresses it in monotheism. We see here how, already, by redrawing the picture of this previous revolution, we are led to speak of the meaning of history, and of opposing visions of history.

Which brings us back to transhumanism, which is perhaps the most striking symbol of the third great stage just taken by man, that of the domestication of matter-energy, and where man is once again transformed into transforming his environment.

We must of course start by agreeing on the term. This can be understood (at least) in two ways. Either we mean by transhumanism all the new techniques of appropriation, including of man himself by man, that the domestication of matter-energy now allows—biotechnologies, genetic manipulations, but also artificial intelligence and techniques of influence, for example—and in this case transhumanism is an objective fact, a concept that can sum up in one word the new human situation; either we see in transhumanism the objectives that some think they can achieve thanks to these new techniques—and in this case transhumanism is defined according to subjective data specific to the one who judges it “immoral,” because of transgressing or even aiming at abolition of “natural” and “eternal laws.” Now, the key to the domestication of matter-energy enables us to understand that we have no choice but to “deal with” its consequences; and the key to the epochal conflict between opposing tendencies enables us to understand that we find ourselves faced with the same alternative as during the Neolithic revolution—accept the transformation of man or reject it out of nostalgia for the previous state. Our Indo-European ancestors took up the challenge and adopted this transformation. This is exactly what the suprahumanists intend to do, faced with the challenge of modernity.

EP: What can a young reader find in Locchi’s demanding texts?

PL: I remember how, on reading these texts, different elements of my vision of the world, of my way of feeling things, of my analysis of past or recent events found an interpretative key that satisfied both my intellect and my heart, and how they have allowed me to structure my thinking and guide my action throughout my life.

I can only wish the young reader to experience the same sense of unveiling that I experienced for myself many years ago. As a young auditor of the Iliade Institute’s training cycle told me, Locchi’s thought is a “radically modern thought, turned towards the future and which intellectually equips anyone who appropriates it, whatever the field in which he will exercise his talents: artistic, literary, cultural, political or metapolitical.”

EP: Giorgio Locchi developed the idea of “interregnum,” a transitional phase in our history. What does that mean?

PL: As mentioned, we are witnessing the emergence of a third man, even more specialized and socially divided, and therefore, from our European point of view, even more under the obligation, on pain of pure and simple disappearance, to find his unity, his fulfillment in a community of destiny based on a new origin, just as there was a new origin for the second man, a new origin expressed with Homer, with Greek tragedy, the Germanic Edda, Indo- European in its various forms.

This new origin naturally claims continuity, the appropriation of our European heritage, but also requires its overcoming. This new origin—and the Locchian teaching takes on its full meaning here—appears in the form of a new myth. And just as the works of Homer, or the Eddas, or the Rig-Veda embody the European worldview of the Second Man, the suprahumanist myth, as represented by Richard Wagner and formulated by Friedrich Nietzsche, embodies the worldview of the European Third Man. This is the subject of the second book published by the Iliad Institute, Wagner, Nietzsche et le mythe surhumaniste (Wagner, Nietzsche and the Suprahumanist Myth).

EP: The Interregnum we are experiencing today corresponds to the period when the two epochal tendencies mentioned above clash without one or the other having really won.

PL: The interregnum will last as long as this conflict between the egalitarian tendency, certainly the majority, but shaken, and the suprahumanist tendency, minority but more determined than ever, is not resolved. We can also say that the interregnum will last as long as the partisans of a European response to the challenges of modernity rise up against the very people who use transhumanist techniques to cause peoples to regress to a stage comparable to that of the animals, enclosing them in an eternal materialistic and hedonistic present which is none other than the end or exit of history. The interregnum will cease only in the event of the total victory of the suprahumanist tendency, or the complete eradication of its representatives.

Contrary to a Dominique Venner who, even if he did not know when it would take place, did not doubt the awakening of Europeans, Giorgio Locchi does not pronounce on a final outcome, and limits himself to indicating that the choice is always possible as long as men will carry within them the suprahumanist myth. In this he is on the same wavelength as Nietzsche, who gave us a first vision of this interregnum by describing man as this bridge stretched between the Beast—the last man—and the Superman, whom he calls for.

EP: Since one of the two books is a collection of definitions, is there a quotation that could summarize or introduce Locchi?

PL: Just one seems difficult to me to find. So, I’m going to skip this.

EP: In spite of a certain mutual affection, Nietzsche nevertheless wrote a pamphlet against Wagner. Isn’t it problematic to present them both as the fathers of suprahumanism?

PL: On the value of these pamphlets (The Case of Wagner, Nietzsche contra Wagner)I refer to the entire chapter Locchi dedicates to the “Nietzsche Case,” which answers your question in a detailed and even “definitive” way, according to Paolo Isotta, an Italian musicologist and author of the afterword entitled, “La Musique, Le Temps, le Mythe” [Music, Time, Myth], where a Stefan George, for example summarizes rather dryly: “Without Wagner, there would be no Birth of Tragedy; without the awakening provoked by Wagner, there would be no Nietzsche…. The Wagner case is in reality the Nietzsche case itself.”

I will limit myself here to quoting two extracts from this chapter:

“Nietzsche drew in philosophical terms the structure of the suprahumanist myth and, by a new language, conferred the first evidence of the implications of this myth. But this myth already existed, because it was represented by and in the Wagnerian drama. Nietzsche did nothing more than give it a ‘name’ and a ‘philosophical’ formulation.”

And further on:

“The fact that Wagner and Nietzsche, one by representation, the other by formulation of an identical myth, create the ‘mythical field’ of suprahumanism and insert it concretely into history, does not mean, moreover, that below the respective representation and formulation of the same myth, they do not have divergent ‘reflections’ on the retrospective opened by the myth and, consequently, on the strategy with which to pursue the ‘goal’ of the suprahumanist tendency.”

EP: In the current debate on the notions of the West and Europe, what place can the thought of Giorgio Locchi take?

PL: You asked for a quote earlier, I’m giving you one as a prelude to my answer: “Europe only exists, and is only possible, when it ceases to be the West of the world. As long as the Europeans do not renounce this logic, any political project will have the effect of nailing them to the historical destiny that stems from Yalta.” Locchi says so in the last of the twelve Definitions brought together in the work which has just appeared, named, following the example of the first Italian edition of the Definizioni: “Europe is not heritage but future mission. If we look more closely, the whole current debate on the notions of the West and Europe can be resolved by adopting this perspective, which is none other, once again, than that of Nietzsche, for that Europe is “Land der Kinder,” land of children and not of fathers, and of Heidegger, when he calls for the “new beginning” of Europe (for example in his first course in the lecture course, Introduction to Metaphysics).

Once again, the distinction between the spherical vision of history, specific to the suprahumanists and the linear, parabolic vision specific to the egalitarians, makes it possible to better understand the distinction between Europe not-heritage-but-mission-future and a Western Europe doomed to disappearance or to the triumph of the annihilation of our civilization.

The fact remains that there is still debate between Europe and the West in the suprahumanist camp. This is due above all to reasons of a semantic order and generally comes from the absence of a possibility of precise expression, because many are still those who feel things in a suprahumanistic way, but remain prisoners of a vocabulary and terms which I hope Locchi’s thought will make it possible to understand to what extent they belong to the opposite tendency. In his study “History and Destiny”, the second of the Definitions, Locchi speaks of a “modern schizophrenic West,” in majority “Judeo-Christian West which ended up discovering itself as such” and where “only the small minorities, scattered here and there, look with nostalgia on the achievements of their oldest ancestors… and dream of resuscitating them”—recalling however that such a return “can never happen” (“we do not bring back the Greeks”), but… can turn into a regeneration of history. And he who says regeneration of history, says regeneration of Europe, uncoupled, therefore, from a now ambiguous and mostly enemy “West.”

The West, with which Europe was certainly able to merge in the past, and to which most of the current leaders of European nations claim to belong, has in fact today become egalitarian and now seems above all to aim for the establishment of a new leveling and populicidal world order. From the Locchian perspective, Europe is opposed to this egalitarian West which no longer has anything to do with the Europe that the suprahumanists are calling for (and it is moreover not without interest to see that more and more, and even within the European Union, a tendency is emerging which, in the name of European sovereignty, opposes the dominant vision which aims to include Europe in the sphere of influence of the United States, rightly perceived as the new center of the West).

EP: How do we apply the “Locchian” reading grid in 2023?

PL: I believe I have already given a certain number of examples, and the last just now. In summary, I would say that with Locchi, any fighter for a new European renaissance has a precious compass allowing them to distinguish, beyond the appearances of a major and complex epoch conflict, what is the responsibility of their own tendency: suprahumanist, within the scope of the opposing egalitarian tendency.

Trembling, or Troubling, Identity?

There are books that one hopes for or expects like certain boxing matches or a medieval chivalry tournament. We know that a fatal reckoning and a confrontation between opposing powers will take place, but also that at the end of the fight the darkest essence of the fight will be delivered to us as if by extra. The latest book of the philosopher Paul Audi, Troublante identité is one of those.

The denunciation of identity-based passions or struggles—whether on the part of the internationalist or alter-globalist left, cosmopolitan and progressive liberalism or the republican and universalist right—is certainly part of the obligatory obstacle course for a broad spectrum of the Western intelligentsia, on campuses on both sides of the Atlantic. Since the end of history announced by Fukuyama and his disciples in 1992 was constantly postponed indefinitely, an explanation had to be found, and still has to be found. Hence the persistence or revival of national, religious, ethnic, social or sexual identities is often summoned to the dock by our Kantian or liberal clerics to explain the postponement of the Sunday parousia that should have been that of the great reconciliation of globalized consciousness.

Usually, this kind of rhetorical exercise ends up as a kind of parody bullfighting without a kill: the muleta is painstakingly drawn up in front of the bullfighting monsters of the collective identity, but the matador’s sword never finds a firm enough place to end the fight.

Most of the time, progressivism is content to consider the narratives, representations or passions of identity as pathological illnesses caused by the harshness of global capitalism, the archaic wickedness of violent and radical beings, or by some confusing perversion of a misguided and vengeful cultural Marxism. Let’s suppress capitalism and/or Marxism, and the identity impulses, evanescent reflections of all the historical frustrations felt by the alienated souls or peoples, will disappear like the shadows of the Platonic cave in front of the sun of Truth.

Condemned to be Free

Paul Audi’s work is more interesting because it is at the same time more ambitious, more intimate, more original, more complex and more honest. Instead of reciting in a traditional way all the republican, liberal or revolutionary catechisms, in the name of which the ceremony of exorcism of the identity-demon whose tracking is required will be pronounced, the learned exegete of Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Romain Gary or Thomas Bernhard (his three favorite authors, with Sartre and Lacan, which will be discussed later) prefers to start from his own personal experience: that of a young, uprooted Lebanese exile who arrived in France at the age of eleven, at the beginning of the civil war, in 1975, son of a famous and wealthy Greek-Catholic banker from the Land of the Cedars (Raymond Audi), naturalized French from adolescence, and who, out of love for his adopted country and hatred for his country of origin, tried to break all ties with any kind of filial allegiance or identity, whatever they may have been.

What is interesting (sometimes also exasperating, but one has to play the game) is precisely this bias assumed by the author, after all not very different from that of Montaigne or his favorite classical authors, to try to think through and fight the hold of national or religious identities—the others are of little interest to him, truth be told, from his own biography, from his own intimate discomforts, from his most personal or most obviously idiosyncratic recurrent anxieties, and from the painful and improbable fight he claims to have led for half a century, at the risk of psychic collapse, against the hold of his two separate, almost contradictory identities, the Lebanese and the French.

Strongly inspired by the philosophical work of Jean-Paul Sartre, in particular the famous and brilliant psychological analyses of sado-masochism and self-hatred deployed in L’Être et le Néant, but also in Les Mots or the critical essays on Baudelaire, Mallarmé, Flaubert and Genet, Paul Audi places from the outset the question of identity at the crossroads of two human experiences that he deems to be complementary and inseparable: those of self-love and shame, the morbid antechamber of self-hatred.

The Syndrome of the Naturalized

These psychological experiences can affect almost everyone; but according to him in a particularly painful and ferocious way those torn between two distinct cultural and historical worlds, one of which comes from an ashamed and forever twilight family past (Lebanon, he says, ancient Phoenicia, became in the twentieth century the “Finicie,” the artificial, bloody and clan-nation which never stops agonizing and sacrificing its sons), and the other one (the republican, Hugo’s or Gaullist France) from a literary, personal and phantasmatic mythology, elaborated since the first narratives of the Levantine childhood.

This is what he calls the “syndrome of the naturalized;” this uneasiness of the soul that strikes any allogeneous citizen, fearing that he will never be sufficiently assimilated in the eyes of his new compatriots, fearing therefore to be brought back in spite of himself under the effect of the glance of the others in the confinement of ancestral identity that he wanted to flee at all costs (Arab, Lebanese, Catholic uniate, great bourgeois).

In a rather evocative passage, Audi compares himself to Charlton Heston at the end of Planet of the Apes, when he understands, in front of the ruins of the Statue of Liberty abandoned on the banks of what was once the Hudson River, that it is indeed his own race, and not that of the cruel apes, which is responsible for the disaster present before his eyes since the end of his space travel. All his life, Audi claims to have felt the feeling of despair and shame of Pierre Boulle’s hero each time the past of his family or his native country managed to destroy the self-respect and the self-esteem that he thought he had consolidated by the virtue of his French, academic and secular “baptism.”

A great reader of Jacques Lacan (one understands why: nothing of what concerns foreclosure is foreign to him), Paul Audi attempts a coup de force, like a deserting janissary, left alone to attack the fortress of the sultan.

The national, religious, historical or social identities according to him can crystallize only under the auspices of the two first poles of the Lacanian topic: the big A and the small a object, the Symbolic and the Imaginary, the Other of the Ideal of the Ego built by the unconscious from the Name of the Father, or the symbolic assemblies which result from it and the other image, linked to the promise of enjoyment, which draws in the mirror of the soul the narcissistic and fatal projection of the ideal Ego.

To Be or to Become

As Ulysses in the Mediterranean goes from Charybdis to Scylla, the zealot of identity is condemned to be tossed between these two competing hells that are the labyrinth of the symbolic narratives (national, feudal or genealogical) and the phantasmatic point-reflection, mentally manufactured by a childish subject cut off from reality, drunk with a delirious and potentially devastating self-love, which prepares as many future catastrophes by determining in an irrevocable way at the same time what he is and what he is not. When the two referents of otherness, the symbolic and the imaginary, collide, then the worst becomes possible, and the criminogenic and self-destructive struggle to the death begins.

This is what Audi believes the parallel histories of the Lebanese nation and the European nations of the last two centuries verify. The man of identity is a potential murderer, compulsive or amnesiac, who can only pay his debt to life by destroying it and amputating himself.

This is where the argument goes up a notch and unfolds the occult, almost metaphysical knot that lies in the dialectical arsenal of all the opponents of identity—according to them, as for Paul Audi, the Franco-Lebanese Melchite and apostate, men only have a choice between two options: to be or to become.

To be is to want to remain the same as our masters or our ancestors were; to become is necessarily to become another than what we are or what others (and especially our own) expect us to be.

As science distinguishes between what is continuous and what is discrete (the singularity of deviant forms that will modify the course of a natural substratum), the philosopher of otherness and becoming posits that any form of creative singularity must be conquered, sometimes at the risk of the loss of reason or life, against any substantial particularity and the desire to perpetuate what was.

Only way not to die to oneself—to welcome in oneself another than what one is.

Death at the End of the Flight?

It is by wanting to no longer resemble oneself, and thus to no longer resemble the father, that one will succeed in eliminating the threatening shadows of big A and small a, of self-hatred or of the Sartrean hell of hostile or persecuting others, in order to be able to finally penetrate to the heart of a real that will otherwise always refuse to be grasped.

At the political level, it is by becoming a migrant that the sedentary will escape the curse of his forefathers; and it is by becoming sedentary that the migrant will free himself from his wanderings while saving the indigenous people who welcome him from their own identity demons.

The best illustration of this alchemy, for Paul Audi, is the character played by Alain Delon in Joseph Losey’s cinematic masterpiece Monsieur Klein (co-written with Costa-Gavras, another French-speaking exile and fighter of identity and national passions).

Everyone knows the story of this confusing and moving collector of Jewish goods during the Occupation who, confused with a mysterious Jewish namesake whom he never managed to find, preferred to be deported to Auschwitz rather than let this obsessive Other escape forever, capable, at the end of an indifferent or futile life, of freeing him from himself.

It is only regrettable, one might object, that instead of being reborn to life, Monsieur Klein (the one played by Delon, not his faceless double) finds death at the end of his quest. This is a high price to pay, even for the escape from a guilty identity.

Moses is Not the Pharaoh

In reality, the main merit of Paul Audi’s book is also its limit, or the most radical objection to his theses—as he himself admits, in the trying struggle he has waged all his life against the grueling waltz of his two contradictory identities, he has almost ruined on several occasions the very conditions of self-acceptance and thus of the pursuit of a subjective and family life. To want to become other than what one is, is to run the risk of going mad, or of making the whole world a stranger to what one has become (which is a bit of the same thing).

To welcome the stranger into oneself is to bet that the radical oblivion of the past (Audi has gone so far as to forget the Arabic language itself, and the slightest vivid memory of his Lebanese childhood) will constitute a sufficient foundation for building a perennial future. It is to dislocate the very core of one’s native life in exchange for a promise of happiness or ethical dignity that remains an even riskier gamble than those of Pascal or Nietzsche.

At the end of the book, Audi disappoints a little by attempting to take a sideroad, inspired by the writings of Emmanuel Levinas, in the direction of Jewish identity, the only identity in his eyes that fails to become one because it is inscribed against the background of a Law transcending the vicissitudes of History, in the direction of a messianic ideal deemed to commit the future of all men, whoever they are and wherever they come from.

This red herring, supposed to tell the concrete reality of the human condition, does not really convince us. And, in any case, even admitting that Jewish identity is of a different essence from that of all other national or religious identities (which remains to be proved), not everyone, by definition, can become a Jew, even in a roundabout or allegorical way.

Moses did not welcome Pharaoh per se before leaving for the Promised Land; he fled from him by letting him and his army be swallowed up in the Red Sea. If I expect from the stranger the extra soul that historical and carnal roots do not provide or threaten, then the very oblivion of my name and face will condemn me to expect from the winds of the desert a salvation that in the end I may never be able to obtain.

Fabrice Moracchini is a literary assistant for the cultural program Le Jean-Edern’s Club on Paris Première. He holds a bachelor’s and master’s in literature and philosophy. This article appears courtesy of Revue éléments.

War and Chaos: The Metaphysics of War

Part 1. A Brief History of Chaos: from Ancient Greece to the Postmodern

The Chaos Factor in the U.S.S.R.

The most thoughtful observers of the Ukrainian front note the peculiar nature of this war: the chaos factor has increased enormously. This applies to all sides of the Special Military Operation, both to the actions and strategies of the enemy and our command, as well as to the dramatically increased role of technology (all kinds of drones and UAVs), and the intensive online information support, where it is almost impossible to distinguish the fictitious from the real. This is a war of chaos. It is time to revisit this fundamental concept.

Chaos for the Greeks

Since the word—χάος—is Greek, then its meaning must also be originally Greek, related to semantics and myth, and hence to philosophy.

The very root meaning of the word “chaos” is “to gape,” “to yawn,” that is, an empty place that is localized between two poles—most often between Heaven and Earth. Sometimes (in Hesiod) between the Earth and Tartarus, that is, the area under hell (Hades, aedes).

Between Heaven and Earth is air, so in some later systems of natural philosophy chaos is identified with air.

In this sense, chaos represents an as yet unstructured territory of relations between ontological and further cosmogonic polarities. It is in the place of chaos that order appears (the original meaning of the word κόσμος is beauty, harmony, orderliness). Order is a structured relationship between polarities.

Erotic-Psychic Cosmos

In myth, Eros and/or Psyche appear (become, arise) in the territory previously occupied by chaos. Eros is the son of fullness (Poros, Heaven) and poverty (Penia, Earth) in Plato’s Pyrrho. Eros connects opposites and separates them. Likewise, Psyche, the soul, is between the mind, the spirit, on the one hand, and the body, matter, on the other. They come to the place where chaos reigned before, and it disappears, recedes, pales, pierced by the rays of a new structure. It is the structure of an erotic—psychic—order.

Thus, chaos is the antithesis of love and soul. Chaos reigns where there is no love. But at the same time, it is in place of chaos—in the same zone of existence—that the cosmos is born. Therefore, there is both a semantic contradiction and topological affinity between chaos and its antipodes—order, Eros, and the soul. They occupy the same place—the place between. Daria has called this area the “metaphysical frontier” and has thematized it in different horizons in her recent writings and speeches. Between one and the other there is a “gray area” in which to look for the roots of any structure. This is what Nietzsche meant, that “only he who carries chaos in his soul is capable of giving birth to a dancing star.” The star in Plato, and later in many others, is the most contrasting symbol of the human soul.

Chaos in Ovid

The second meaning, which can already be guessed from the Greeks, but which is not too strictly described by them, is found in Ovid. In the Metamorphoses he defines chaos through the following terms—a rough and undivided mass (rudis indigestaque moles), consisting of poorly combined, warring seeds of things (non bene iunctarum discordia semina rerum), having no other property than inert gravity (nec quicquam nisi pondus iners). This definition is much closer to Plato’s χόρα, “the receptacle of becoming,” than to the original chaos, and resonates with the notion of matter. It is the mixing of the elements that is emphasized in such chaotic matter. This too is the antithesis of order and harmony; hence Ovid’s Discordia-enmity, which refers back to Empedocles and his cycles of love (φιλότης)/war, enmity (νεῖκος). Chaos as enmity is again opposed to love, φιλία. But here the emphasis is not on emptiness, but on the contrary, on the ultimate, but meaningless, unorganized fullness—hence Ovid’s “inert gravity.”

The Greek and Greco-Roman meanings equally oppose chaos to order, but they do so differently. Initially (with the early Greeks), it is rather a void as light as air, whose sinister character is revealed in the gaping mouth of an attacking lion or in the contemplation of a bottomless abyss. In Roman Hellenism, the property of gravity and mingling comes to the fore. Rather than air, it is water, or even black and red boiling volcanic lava.

Chaos at the Origin of Cosmogony

From this instance, chaos, begins the cosmogony and sometimes theogony of Greco-Roman religion. God creates order out of chaos. Chaos is primordial. But God is more primal. And he arranges the universe between himself and not himself at all. After all, if God is an eternal affirmation, you can have an eternal negation. There can be two kinds of relationship between the two—either chaos or order. The sequence can be either—if it’s chaos now, there will be order in the future. If there is order now, it will probably deteriorate in the future and the world will descend into chaos. And then again God will establish order. And thus, a period of time. Hence the theory of cosmic cycles, clearly stated in the Statesman by Plato, but most fully developed in Hinduism and Buddhism. Hence, Empedocles’ continually alternating eras of war/love.

Hesiod’s cosmogony begins with chaos. In [the theogony of] Pherecydes of Syros, it begins with order (Zas, Zeus). Time can be counted down from morning like the Iranians, or from evening like the Semites. Chaos is not opposed to God. It is opposed to God’s world.

As long as there is no order, the earth does not know that it is earth. For no distance has been established. And so, she merges with chaos. Earth becomes Earth when Heaven proposes to her and gives her a wedding veil. It is the cosmos, the ornament behind which chaos hides. So, it is with Pherecydes, in his charmingly patriarchal philosophical myth.

Chaos of the Golden Age

Plato’s late dialogue the Statesman gives a description of the phases of the history of the cosmos, where we can recognize two types of chaos, the initial and the final.

The first phase is described by Plato as the reign of Kronos. Its peculiarity is that the Godhead is inside the world, immanent to it. In this period all processes unfold in the opposite direction to the usual. The sun rises in the west and sets in the east. People are born out of the earth as adults and only grow younger with time, until they become a drop of seed and disappear into the earth. The sexes do not exist—all are androgynous.

This state can be partly correlated with chaos, but only with the primordial, in which order is implicit in the form of the immanent presence of the Divine. This is the “chaos” of the golden age. Some details of Plato’s account of Kronos’ reign can be correlated with Empedocles‘ fanciful description of the cosmic age of discord, but in Plato the reign of Kronos is presented, in contrast, as a time of peace and contemplation—androgyny is engaged in philosophy.

The Transcendental Order

The second phase is the reign of Zeus. Here the relationship between God (the Nurturer) and the cosmos changes. Zeus is removed to an “observation point” (περιωπή), a “watchtower” on the other side of the cosmos. God is now transcendent to the world, not immanent to it as under Cronus.

Plato describes it this way: “In the fulness of time, when the change was to take place, and the earth-born race had all perished, and every soul had completed its proper cycle of births and been sown in the earth her appointed number of times, the pilot of the universe let the helm go, and retired to his place of view; and then Fate and innate desire reversed the motion of the world” (Statesman, 485).

Order henceforth ceases to be implicit, dissolved in the cosmic environment itself, and becomes explicit. Zeus is the judge. He, by virtue of his distance from the cosmos, distinguishes when the cosmos and humanity behave harmoniously and according to the law and when they deviate from it.

Zeus’ reign is in turn divided into two periods. In the first, the cosmos is oriented toward Zeus, imitates him, follows his instructions and precepts. This forms the order—the one we know. The sun rises in the east and sets in the west. People are henceforth divided into two sexes, male and female. Here we can recall Aristophanes’ story from another dialogue, Symposium, which deals with the dissection of androgynes who rose in rebellion against the gods. Conception, fetal maturation, birth, and adulthood take place in the usual order. Exhausted old men die and are buried in the ground.

Final Chaos: Late Antiquity

Gradually, however, the cosmos, left to itself, loses its resemblance to the Divine, forgets its instructions, and begins to move on its own volition in an uncertain direction.

Plato describes it this way: “Now as long as the world was nurturing the animals within itself under the guidance of the Pilot, it produced little evil and great good; but in becoming separated from him it always got on most excellently during the time immediately after it was let go, but as time went on and it grew forgetful, the ancient condition of disorder prevailed more and more and towards the end of the time reached its height, and the universe, mingling but little good with much of the opposite sort, was in danger of destruction for itself and those within it” (Statesman, 273).

It is important that Plato here uses the expression “ancient condition of disorder” (παλαιά ἀναρμοστία), although in this myth itself there was no disorder at the beginning of cosmic unfoldment (Kronos’ kingdom). “Antiquity” here is placed not on the time scale but in a logical topology and indicates the primordiality of the emptiness “preceding” the origin of the world. The fall into the “pathos of ancient disharmony” (τὸ τῆς παλαιᾶς ἀναρμοστίας πάθος) is due to oblivion (λήθη). But oblivion, is opposed to memory, which is the reference to something meaningful in the past. Memory is the memory of Zeus and even of the much older periods of Kronos’ reign, where the original philosophy—the prisca theologia of the Florentine Neoplatonists—originated. Chaos is ancient, not because it represents something very early. On the contrary, it arises precisely when memory is shortened, if not erased altogether. In some sense, such chaos is something new and even the newest. It appears precisely at the end of the world. It is the ultimate chaos. It triumphs precisely when the content of the history of existence fades.

After the cosmos, left to itself, finally collapses (which means that order exists only when it is oriented toward something higher than itself, toward Deity, while by itself, taken purely immanently, it is sooner or later doomed to an imminent fall), the Provider, in mercy, reproduces it again. And everything repeats again—the sun rises again in the west, men are born from the earth asexual, etc. (These images remarkably resemble some of the details in the description of the resurrection of the dead and the Last Judgment in Christianity and monotheistic traditions, as well as in Zoroastrianism).

It is important for us that the “ancient chaos” in this picture comes at the end of Zeus’ reign; that is, after order has collapsed. Such chaos, therefore, is final. It arises precisely because of the loss of memory of the eternal; that is, of the even more ancient than chaos itself. In the final chaos, antiquity is erased. Therefore, it becomes pure becoming; the ephemerality of the present, ready to collapse into an already completely meaningless future. Such a future never arrives, constantly slipping away, leaving only the recursive absurdity that repeatedly reproduces itself.

The truly initial chaos is opposed to this ultimate chaos. Initial chaos is closer to the very first version of its Greek interpretation: a void not yet filled with order, hierarchy, a vertical structure. It lacks materiality, density, mixing and resistance. It is as transparent and permeable as pure air.

The ultimate chaos, on the other hand, is reminiscent of Ovid’s chaos. The remains of order are mixed in it; such chaos is residual. It follows order when order no longer exists. The final chaos is murky, filled with the senseless jostling of bodies (which Plotinus hated so much). It resists any creative impulse.

At the moment of cosmic midnight, there is a transubstantiation of chaos—the final chaos turns into the initial chaos.

The Disappearance of Chaos in Christianity—But tohu wa-bohu

In Christianity, chaos disappears. Christianity knows only one God and His creation; that is, order, peace. Once upon a time “the earth was sightless and empty, and darkness over the abyss” (תֹ֙הוּ֙ וָבֹ֔הוּ וְחֹ֖שֶׁךְ עַל-פְּנֵ֣י תְהֹ֑ום ). The Hebrew term tohu means precisely emptiness, absence, and fits well with the Greek concept of chaos. Already in this phrase, with which the first section of the Old Testament begins, tohu is mentioned twice, which is completely lost in the translation—the first time it is rendered “without sight,” and the second time in the plural (עַל-פְּנֵ֣י תְהֹ֑ום) in the combination “over the void,” literally “over the face of tohu“). The word bohu (בֹ֔הוּ) in the combination tohu wa-bohu (תֹ֙הוּ֙ וָבֹ֔הוּ) is no longer used in the Bible (except Isaiah 34:11), which simply quotes the expression from the beginning of Genesis. Thus literally “the earth was chaos and ?, and darkness (hsd) over the face of chaos (or in the face of chaos).” In the Greek sense, we could say that “the earth was hidden by chaos,” which made it impossible to see (by Heaven, created in the first line of Genesis) that the earth was the earth.

Here God creates clearly not out of chaos, but out of nothingness. And he creates at once the light spirit (Heaven) and the dark flesh (Earth). Chaos is what is between them; what hides their true relationship.

Man is in the Place of the Cosmos. Don’t Slip into the Abyss

The rest of the creation process already transforms chaos into cosmos. God’s spirit, hovering over the waters, builds order in place of disorder. This is how stars, plants, animals, people, and fish appear. But this cosmogonic act was not of much interest to the Jews (unlike the Greeks). Their religion dealt with an already created world (the cosmos) that needed to build a right relationship with God the Creator through man. Man stood in the place of chaos. He could slip into the abyss of Abaddon, or he could ascend to the heavens, like Elijah. In the Book of Job (28:22) Abaddon as Earth, Chthoniê in Pherecydes, is mentioned in the context of the veil. The veil is the cosmos. Man is the world, but it is based on chaos. This is true, but Jewish and later Christian theology almost never refers to chaos. Here everything is personified—and even the enemy of man, the devil, is not a molded element, but the quite distinct personality of a fallen angel. In the Christian era, chaos recedes to the periphery, following in many ways Judaism, especially the later one.

Gas: The Dutch Alchemists’ Chaos

We see a certain interest in chaos during the Renaissance, and especially among the alchemists. Thus, the word “gas” comes from the Dutch alchemist J.B. van Helmont, who understood it as a “gaseous state of matter,” and in Dutch it means “chaos.” In this more prosaic capacity, chaos-gas finds its way into modern chemistry and physics. But it has little in common with the grandiose cosmogonic and even ontological concept of ancient metaphysics.

Chaos: The Unrecognized Essence of Materialism

A new wave of fascination with chaos came in the twentieth century. With increasing attention to pre-Christian—primarily Greco-Roman—culture, many ancient theories and concepts were rediscovered. Among them was the complex notion of chaos, which offered a very different movement of cosmogonic thought from the creationist narrative of Christianity, on whose overthrow modern materialist science is based. We have seen how close the early interpretation of chaos was to matter. And it is even strange that materialists for so long were unwilling to see this, despite the fact that the parallels between the ideas about matter and those about chaos are surprisingly consonant and analogous. But even despite the fascination with chaos, no full-fledged conclusions have been drawn about this interpretation of materialism, and the study of chaos has unfolded on the periphery of philosophy.


In physics, chaos theory began to emerge in the second half of the twentieth century among those scientists who were primarily concerned with nonequilibrium states, nonlinear processes, nonintegrable equations, and divergent series. During this period, physical and mathematical science highlighted a whole vast field that represented something that defied classical calculus models. Generally speaking, this could be called “unpredictability. One example of such unpredictability is a bifurcation—a state of some process (e.g., particle motion), which with absolutely equal degree of probability at some particular moment can flow both in one direction and in a completely different direction.

If classical science explained such situation by insufficiency of understanding of a process or knowledge about aggregate parameters of system functioning, then the concept of bifurcation suggested to consider such a situation as a scientific given and to move to new formalizations and calculation methods, which would initially allow such situations and in general would be based exactly on them. This was solved both through the appeal to Probabilistic Situation Calculus, modal logic, construction of the World-Sheet Action for the Three-Dimensional Ising Model (in superstring theory), including a vector of irreversible time inside a physical process (rather than as the absolute Newton-time or even understanding time in the four-dimensional Einstein system). All this can be called “chaos” in modern physics. In this case, “chaos” does not mean those systems that are generally impossible to calculate and in which there is no regularity. Chaos is amenable to calculations, influences and can be explained and modeled—like all other physical processes, but only with the help of more complex mathematical constructions, special operations and methods.

Subduing Chaos without Constructing Order

It is possible to define this whole field of research into chaotic processes (as understood by modern physicists) as an effort to master chaos. It is important that we are not talking about building a cosmos out of chaos. It is rather the opposite—the construction of chaos from the remains, the ruins of space. Chaos was suggested, not to eradicate it, but to comprehend and, in part, deepen it. To control and moderate it, not overcome it. And since not everywhere was the level of chaos advanced enough, chaos had to be artificially induced by pushing the decaying rationalistic order toward it. Thus, studies of chaos acquired a kind of moral dimension: the transition to chaotic systems and the art of managing them were perceived as a sign of progress—scientific, technical, and then social, cultural and political.

The New Democracy as Social Chaos

Chaos theories were now gradually shifting from fundamental physics and the philosophy of myth to the sociopolitical level. If classical democracy assumed the construction of a hierarchical system, only pushing back the decisions of the majority, the new democracy sought to delegate as much power as possible to individual persons. This inevitably leads to a chaotic society and changes the criteria of political progress. Instead of ordering it, progressives seek new forms of control—and these new forms move further and further away from classical hierarchies and taxonomies and gradually converge with the paradigms of the new physics with its priority given to the study of the realm of chaos.

Postmodernity: Chaos Strikes

In culture, the representatives of Postmodernism and Critical Realism took this up, and enthusiastically began to apply physical theories to society. At the same time there was a transition from the quantum model, which was not projected onto society, to synergetics and chaos theory. Society henceforth did not have to create any normative hierarchical systems at all, shifting to a network protocol—to the concept of rhizome (Deleuze and Guattari). The model became the case of the mentally ill seizing power over doctors in the clinic and building their own liberated systems. In this, the progressives saw the ideal of an “open society”—generally free of strict rules and laws, and changing their attitudes via purely random arbitrary impulses. Bifurcation became a typical situation, and the general unpredictability of schizoid people would be placed in complex nonlinear theories. Such people could be controlled, not directly, but indirectly—by moderating their seemingly spontaneous, but in fact strictly predetermined thoughts, desires, impulses and aspirations. Democracy was now synonymous with chaos. The masses were not just choosing order, they were overthrowing it, leading the way to total disorder.

Pacifism and the Internalization of Chaos

Thus, we come to the connection between chaos and war. Progressives traditionally reject war, insisting on the rather historically dubious thesis that “democracies do not fight each other.” If democracy inherently contains the idea of undermining normativity and order, the hierarchy and cosmic organization of society, then sooner or later history leads democracy to the point where democracy does turn into pure chaos (this is exactly what Plato and Aristotle believed, convincingly demonstrating that this is logically inevitable). The abolition of states, following the pacifist notion that war is an inherent part of the state, should lead to universal peace (la paix universelle), since de facto and de jure the legitimate means of war would disappear. But states perform the function of harmonizing chaos; and sometimes for this very purpose they throw destructive energies outward, toward the enemy. So, the war on the outside helps to keep the peace inside. But all this is in classical democracy—and especially in the theories of realists.

The new democracy rejects the practice of exteriorizing the dark side of man in the context of national mobilization. Instead, the most responsible philosophers (such as Ulrich Beck) propose the interiorization of the enemy, to put the Other inside oneself. This is in fact a call for social schizophrenia (quite in the spirit of Deleuze and Guattari), for a split in consciousness. If democracy becomes chaos, then the normative citizen of such a democracy becomes a chaotic individual. He is not going into a new cosmos; on the contrary, he drives out the remnants of cosmos, taxonomies, and order—including gender, family, rationality, species, etc.—out of himself definitively. He becomes a bearer of chaos. But—unlike Nietzsche’s formula—progressives taboo the act of giving birth to a “dancing star”—unless we are talking about a strip bar, Hollywood or Broadway. The schizo-citizen is not able to build a new cosmos under any pretext—after all, that’s why the old one was so hard-won.

Chaos democracy is post-order, post-cosmos. Destroying the old is proposed not to build something new, but to sink into the pleasure of decay, to succumb to the allure of ruins, rubble, fragments and decay. Here, on the lower levels of degeneration and degradation, new horizons of metamorphosis and transformation open up. Since there is no longer any hierarchy between baseness and heroism, pleasure and pain, intelligence and idiocy, what matters is the flow itself, being in it; the state of being connected to the network, to the rhizome. Here everything is side-by-side and infinitely far away at the same time.


In doing so, the war does not disappear, but is placed inside the individual. The chaotic individual wages war with himself; he aggravates the schism. Etymologically, schizophrenia means “dissection,” “cutting,” “dismemberment” of consciousness. The schizophrenic—though outwardly calm and peaceful—lives in a state of violent rupture. He lets the war in. This is how Thomas Hobbes’ hypothesis of the “natural state” of humanity, described by this author as chaos and war of all against all, is justified in a new way. However, this is not an early “natural” state, but a later one; not preceding the construction of hierarchical types of societies and states, but following their collapse. We have seen that chaos is the opposite of cosmos, just as enmity is the opposite of love in Empedocles. We have also seen that Eros and chaos are alternative states of the topos of the great in-between. So, chaos is war. But not all war, because the creation of order is also war, violence, taming the elements, ordering them. Chaos is a special war, a total war, penetrating deep inside. This is a schizoid war, capturing in its rhizomatic net the whole person.

Total War as a War of Chaos

Such total schizo-war has no strictly assigned territory. A knight’s tournament was possible only after marking out the space. Classical wars had theaters of operations and battlefields. Beyond these boundaries was space. Chaos was given strictly designated zones of peace. Modern war of chaotic democracy knows no boundaries. It is waged everywhere, through information networks, drones, UAVs, through the mental states of bloggers who let the underlying chasm shine through.

Modern warfare is a war of chaos by definition. It is now that the concept of discordia, “enmity,” which we find in Ovid and which is inherent in some—rather ancient—interpretations of chaos, opens up. Chaos is based precisely on enmity—and not on the enmity of some against others, but of all against all. And the purpose of the war of chaos is not peace or a new order, but the deepening of hostility to the very last layers of human personality. Such a war wants to remove the human connection to the cosmos, and at the same time to deprive the creative power to create a new cosmos, the birth of a new star.

Such is the democratic nature of war. It is conducted not so much by states as by hysterically divided individuals. Everything is distorted here—strategy, tactics, the ratio of technical to human, speed, gesture, action, order, discipline, etc. All this is already systematized in the theory of network-centric warfare. Since the early 1990s, the U.S. military leadership has sought to implement the theory of chaos in the art of war. In 30 years, this process has already passed through many stages.

The war in Ukraine has brought with it exactly this experience—the direct experience of confrontation with chaos.

Part 2. New World Chaos

The Conflict of Two World Orders

It seems that in the Special Military Operation, we are talking about a conflict of two world orders—unipolar, which is represented by the collective West and Ukraine, and multipolar, which is defended by Russia and those who are willy-nilly on its side (primarily China, Iran, North Korea, some Islamic states, partly India, Turkey, but also Latin American and African countries). This is exactly what it is. But let’s look at the problem from the point of view that interests us and find out what role chaos plays here.

Let us emphasize at once the point that the term “world order” clearly appeals to an explicit structure; that is, it is the antithesis of chaos. So, we are dealing with two models of the cosmos—unipolar and multipolar. If so, it is a clash between worlds, between orders, structures; and chaos has nothing to do with it.

The West offers its own version—the center and the periphery, where it is itself the center and the center’s system of values. Russia and (more often passively) its supporting countries advocate an alternative cosmos: there are as many civilizations as there are worlds. One hierarchy against several, organized according to autonomous principles. Most often on a historico-religious basis. This is how Huntington envisioned the future.

The clash of civilizations is a competition of worlds, orders. There is a Western-centric and there is a pluralistic one.

In this context, the Special Military Operration seems to be something perfectly logical and rational. The unipolar world, nearly established after the collapse of the bipolar model in 1991, does not want to give up its leading status. New centers of power are fighting to free themselves from the power of a decaying hegemon. Even Russia might be in a hurry to challenge it directly. But you never know how weak (or strong) it really is until you try. In any case, everything here is quite clear: there are two models of the cosmos battling each other—one with a pronounced center and other with several.

Either way, there is no chaos here. And if we encounter something similar to it, it is only as a phase-transition situation. This would partly explain the situation in Ukraine, where chaos makes itself felt in full force. But there are other dimensions to the problem.

Hobbes’ Chaos: The Natural State and the Leviathan

Let’s take a closer look at what constitutes a unipolar Western-centric world order. It is not just the military and political domination of the U.S. and vassal states (primarily NATO countries). It is also the implementation of an ideological project. This ideological project corresponds to a progressive democracy. The meaning of “progressive democracy” is that there should be more and more democracy, and that the vertical model of society should be replaced by a horizontal one—in the extreme case, a network, rhizomatic.

Thomas Hobbes, the founder of Western political science, imagined the history of society as follows: In the first phase, people live in a natural state. Here, “man is a wolf to man” (homo homini lupus est). It is an aggressive initial social chaos, based on selfishness, cruelty and force. Hence the principle of war of all against all. This, according to Hobbes, is the nature of man, for man is originally evil. Evil, but also clever.

The intelligence in man told him that if you continue to be in a natural state, people sooner or later will kill each other. And then it was decided to create a terrible man-made idol, the Leviathan, who would impose the rules and laws and make sure that everyone followed them. Thus, mankind solved the problem of coexistence of wolves. The Leviathan is a super-wolf, knowingly stronger and crueler than any of the humans. The Leviathan is the state.

The tradition of political realism—first of all in international relations—stops there. There is only the natural state and the Leviathan. If you don’t want the one, you get the other.

Chaos in International Relations in the Realist Tradition

This model is quite materialistic. The natural state corresponds to aggressive chaos, enmity (νεῖκος)—the one that represents Empedocles’ alternative to love/friendship. The introduction of the Leviathan balances enmity by imposing on all “wolves” rules and norms, which they dare not violate for fear of punishment and, in the end, death. Hence the formula put forward much later by Max Weber—”the state is the only subject of legitimate violence.” The Leviathan is knowingly stronger and more terrible than any predator, and therefore is able to stop a series of irreversible aggressions. But the Leviathan is not love, not Eros, not psyche. It is only a new expression of enmity, total enmity, raised a degree higher.

Hence the right of any sovereign state (and the Leviathan is sovereign and this is its main feature) to start a war with another state. While pacifying enmity inside, the Leviathan is free to unleash war outside.

It is this right to war that becomes the basis of chaos in international relations, according to the school of realism. International relations is chaos precisely because there can be no supreme authority between several Leviathans. At the macro level, they repeat the natural state: the state is selfish and evil because the person who founded it is selfish and evil. Chaos is frozen within, to reveal itself in war between states.

Political realism is not entirely extinct in democracies to this day, but neither is it considered a legitimate point of view in international relations.

Locke’s Order

But that is not all. Hobbes was followed by another important thinker, John Locke, who formulated a different school of political thought, liberalism. Locke believed that man himself was not bad, but rather ethically neutral. He is tabula rasa, a blank slate. If the Leviathan is evil, so will his citizens be evil. But if the Leviathan changes his temperament and his orientations, he is able to transform the nature of people. People themselves are nothing—you can make wolves out of them or you can make sheep out of them. It’s all about the ruling elite.

If Hobbes thinks of the state that existed before the state and predetermined its monstrous character (hence Hobbes’ chaos) and compares it with the state, Locke considers the already existing state and what might follow, if the state itself ceases to be an evil monster and becomes a source of morality and education, and then disappears altogether, handing the initiative to reeducated—enlightened—citizens. Hobbes thinks in terms of past/present. Locke thinks in terms of the present/future. In the present, the state is evil, selfish and cruel (hence wars and chaos in international relations). In the future, however, it is destined to become good, which means that its citizens will cease to be wolves and wars will cease because mutual understanding will prevail in international relations. In other words, Hobbes proposes a dialectic of chaos and its relative removal in the Leviathan (with a new invasion of inter-state relations); while Locke proposes fixing the violent nature of the state by remaking (re-educating, enlightening) its citizens and abolishing war between nations. But the enmity inherent in Hobbes, Locke proposes to replace not with love and order, but with commerce, trade, speculation. The merchant (not the prophet, priest or poet) replaces the warrior. Thus, trade is called doux-commerce, “gentle commerce.” It is gentle compared to the brutal seizure of booty by the warrior after the capture of the city. But how brutal it is, is evidenced in Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice.

Importantly, Locke thinks of the post-state purely commercial order as something that follows the age of states. This means that the collective mind hypostasized in the Leviathan is by no means abolished, but only brought down to a lower level. A re-educated, enlightened citizen (former wolf) is now a Leviathan himself. But only a new one. By re-educating his subjects, the enlightened monarch (synonymous with an enlightened state) re-educates himself.

World Government as an Enlightenment Project

This is where the theory of political democracy begins. The state enlightens its citizens, uproots aggression and egoism, and becomes altruistic and pacifist itself. Hence, the main law of international relations: democracies do not fight each other.

And further, If states are no longer selfish (sovereign), they are capable of democratically establishing a supra-state instance of World Government, which will see to it that all societies are good and only trade among themselves, and never go to war. Gradually, states are abolished and One World, a global civil society, comes into being.

Economics: Locke’s Chaos

It would seem that in Locke, and in the later tradition of liberalism that continues his ideas, chaos has been removed. But not so. There is no military chaos, but there is an economic chaos. Thus, there is no aggression, but the chaos remains. And aggression and hostility remain, but acquire a different character; namely the one imposed on society by the commercial (capitalist) state. And specifically, the Western European state of the New Age.

That the market should be free and the economy deregulated is the main thesis of liberalism, that is, modern democracy. Thus, chaos is reintroduced, but only under another guise—with aggression trimmed back and egoism outright. The Leviathan is identified with reason (it was established on its basis), and reason is thought of as something universal. Hence Kant and his transcendental reasoning and calls for universal peace. This reasoning is not abolished (along with the overcoming of the Leviathan), but is transformed, softened, collectivized (the Leviathan is collective), and then atomized into a multitude of units, written on the blank slates of atomic individuals. Post-state man differs from pre-state man in that the mind is henceforth his individual domain. This is how Hegel understood civil society. In it, the common rationality of the old monarchy is transmitted to the multitude of citizens—the bourgeois, the townspeople.

Therefore, in liberal theory, since the Leviathan is rationality, the distribution of rationality to all individuals eliminates the need for it. Society will be peaceful in this way (as predicted by the Leviathan above), and will realize its wolfish tendencies a step removed—through commercial competition. The liberal racist social Darwinist theorist Spencer says the same thing in a harsh form.

Gentle commerce, doux commerce, is gentle chaos; chaos in the context of liberal democracy.

The New Democracy and Governance: The Gentle Chaos of Dissipation

In the West there is a balance of Hobbes and Locke, a pessimistic and retrospective understanding of the state (and of human nature itself) and an optimistic progressivist one. The former is called “realism,” the latter “liberalism.” Both modern, Western-centered, modernist theories coincide in general, but differ in particulars. Primarily in the interpretation of chaos. For realists, chaos is inherently evil and aggressive. And it was to combat it that the state was created—the Leviathan. But the chaos did not disappear; it went from the internal to the external. Hence the interpretation of the nature of war in realism.

Liberalism shares the interpretation of the genesis of the state, but believes that evil in man can be overcome, with the help of the state, which transforms (enlightens) and then enlightens its citizens as well—up to the point of penetrating their code, their nature. Here, the state, and above all the enlightened state, acts as a programmer, installing a new operating system in society.

With the success of liberalism, the theory of a new democracy or globalism began to take shape. Its essence is that nation-states are abolished, and with them disappear wars, and the very aggressive and selfish nature of man is changed by social engineering, which transforms man—turns the wolf into a sheep. The Leviathan no longer exists, and the old—military-aggressive, wolfish—chaos is abolished. The chaos of global trade, the mixing of cultures and peoples, the flows of uncontrolled migration, multiculturalism, the mixing of everyone and everything in the One World begins.

But this generates a new chaos. Not aggressive, but soft, “gentle. At the same time, control is not abolished, but descends to a lower level. Whereas government, even in the old democracy, was an elected, but hierarchical, vertical structure, now it is a question of governance, or “governing,” in which power enters the interior of the governed subject, fusing with it until it is indistinguishable. Not censorship, but self-censorship. Not control from above, but self-control. This is how the vertical Leviathan plasmatizes in the horizon of scattered atomic individuals, entering into each of them. It is a hybrid of chaos (the natural state) and the Leviathan (universal rationality). In fact, this is how Kant thought of civil society. The universal spills over into atoms, and now it is no longer an external instance, but the enlightened citizen’s own individual reasoning that curbs his own aggressiveness and moderates his own egoism. This is how violence is placed inside the individual. Chaos splits not power and the masses, not states among themselves, but man himself. This is Ulrich Beck’s Risk Society (Risikogesellschaft)—the danger now emanates from the self, and its own schizophrenic splitting becomes the norm.

Thus, we arrive at the schizo-individual, the bearer of the particular chaos of the new progressive liberal democracy. Instead of harming others, the liberal “chaoticist” harms himself, beats himself, splits and divides. Sex reassignment surgery and the promotion of sexual minorities in general are a godsend. The optionality of gender, the freedom to choose between two autonomous identities in one and the same individual. Gender politics allows “chaoticism” to take full effect.

But it is a special chaos, devoid of formalization in the form of aggression and war.

“Chaotic” as the Human Norm of the New Democracy

This is the order of the new democracy that the West seeks to impose on humanity. Globalism insists on commercial chaos (the free market) combined with LGBT+ ideology, which normalizes the split within the individual, postulates “chaoticism” as an anthropological model. This assumes that rationality and the prohibition against aggression are already included in “chaoticism”—through the mass demonization of nationalism and communism (primarily in the Soviet, Stalinist version).

It turns out that the unipolar world, and the corresponding global order, is an order of progressive chaos. It is not pure chaos, but not order in the full sense of the word. It is a “governance” that tends to be rolled out horizontally. This is why the thesis of World Government is too hierarchical, too Leviathanian. It is more correct to speak of a World Governance, a World Governance that is invisible, implicit. Gilles Deleuze was right to point out that during the epoch of classical capitalism, the image of the mole is optimal: capital works invisibly to undermine traditional, pre-modern structures and build its own hierarchy. The image of the snake suits the new democracy better. Its flexibility and its wriggles point to the hidden power that has entered the atomized mass of the world’s liberals. Each of them individually is the bearer of spontaneity and chaotic unpredictability (bifurcation). But at the same time, a rigid program is built into them, predetermining the whole structure of desire, behavior, and goal-setting—like a factory with working desire-machines. The freer the atom is in relation to the constellation, the more predictable its trajectory becomes. This is exactly what Putin meant when he quoted Dostoyevsky’s The Demons in his passage about Shigalev: “I begin with absolute freedom and end with absolute slavery.” The Leviathan as a global idol, a man-made omnipotent demon is no longer needed, since liberal individuals become small “Leviathans”—exemplary “chaoticists,” freed from religion, estates, nation, gender. And the hegemony of such a progressive-democratic West represents not just order in the old sense or even democratic order, but precisely the hegemony of “peaceful” chaos.

Pacifists Go to the Front

To what extent is this Lockeian chaos peaceful? To the point where it faces no alternative; that is, no order. Moreover, we can talk about the order of the West itself, even about the old Hobbesian democracy (it can be collectively called Trumpism or old liberalism); and even more about other types of order, generally undemocratic, which the West collectively calls “authoritarianism,” meaning the regimes of Russia, China, many Arab countries, etc. Everywhere we see other articulations of order that openly and explicitly oppose chaos.

And here is an interesting point: when confronted with the opposition, the pacifist liberal New Democratic West goes mad and becomes extremely militant. Yes, democracies do not fight each other, but with non-democratic regimes, on the contrary, the war must be merciless. Only a “chaotic,” with no gender or other collective identity, is a person; at least a person in the progressive sense. All the rest are the backward, unenlightened masses on which the vertical order, either the cynical Leviathan or even more autonomous and autarkic versions of the order, rests. And they must be destroyed.


Thus, the unipolar world enters a decisive battle with a multipolar world, precisely because unipolarity is the culmination of a will to end order in general, replacing it with a post-order—a New World Chaos. The interiorization of aggression and schizo-civilization of “chaoticists” is possible only when there are no borders in the world—nations, states, “Leviathans;” that is, order as such. And until there is, pacifism remains utterly militant. Transgenders and perverts get their uniforms and set out for an eschatological battle against the opponents of chaos.

Chaos Gerasene Pigs

All this throws a new conceptual light on the Special Military Operation; Russia’s civilizational war with the West, against unipolarity and for multipolarity. The aggression here is multi-dimensional and has different levels. On the one hand, Russia proves its sovereignty, and thus accepts the rule of chaos in international relations. No matter how you look at it, this is a real war, even if not recognized by Moscow. Moscow hesitates for a reason—this is not a classic military conflict between two nation-states. This is something else—it is the battle of a multipolar order against unipolar chaos, and the territory of Ukraine is here precisely a conceptual frontier. Ukraine is not order, not chaos, not a state, not a territory, not a nation, not a people. It is a conceptual fog, a philosophical broth in which the fundamental processes of phase transition are going on. Out of this fog can be born anything. But so far it is a superposition of different kinds of chaos, which makes this conflict unique.

If we view Russia and Putin as realists, the Special Military Operation is a continuation of the battle to consolidate sovereignty. But this implies a realist thesis of the chaos of international relations and hence the legitimization of war. No one can forbid a truly sovereign state to do or not to do something, as this would contradict the very notion of sovereignty.

But Russia is clearly fighting not only for a national order against the globalist-controlled chaos, but also for multipolarity; that is, the right of different civilizations to build their own orders; that is, to overcome the chaos with their own methods. Thus, Russia is at war with the New World Chaos just for the principle of order—not only for its own, Russian order, but order as such. In other words, Russia seeks to defend the very world order that is opposed to Western hegemony, which is the hegemony of interiorized chaos; that is, globalism.

And another important point. Ukraine itself is a purely chaotic formation. And not only now. In its history, Ukraine is a territory of anarchy; a zone where the “natural state” prevailed. A Ukrainian is a wolf to a Ukrainian. And he is even more a wolf to a Muscovite or a Yabloko. Ukraine is a natural area of anarchic free-will, an entire playground, where atomized chubby autonomists seek profit or adventure, unconstrained by any framework. Ukraine, too, is chaos, hideous, inhumane, and senseless. It is ungovernable and cumbersome. Chaos of rampaging pigs and their friends.

These are the Gerasene pigs, into which the demons cast out by Christ entered and they rushed into the abyss. The fate of Ukraine—as an idea and a project—comes down to that very symbol.

Special Military Operation—The War of Polysemantic Chaos

It is not surprising that different types of chaos collided with each other in Ukraine. On the one hand, the global controlled chaos of Western new democracy has supported and oriented the Ukrainian “chaoticists” in their confrontation with the Russian order. Yes, this order is still only a promise, only a hope. But Russia, from time to time, behaves exactly as this hope’s bearer. We are talking about empire, multipolarity, and confrontation with the West head-on. Most often, however, this vector is clothed in the form of sovereignty (realism), which made the Special Military Operation possible. We should not lose sight of the deep penetration of the West inside Russian society—the chaos in Russia itself has its own serious backing, which undermines the vector of Russia’s identity and the defense of its order. The fifth and sixth columns in Russia are supporters of Western chaos. They are the ones who are sharpening and corroding the will of the state and the people to win in the Special Military Operation.

Therefore, Russia in the Special Military Operation, being a priority on the side of order, acts at times according to the rules of chaos, imposed by the West (New World Chaos), as well as by the nature of the enemy itself.

Russian Chaos

Russian Chaos. It must win, by creating a Russian Order.

And the last thing. Russian society has a chaotic beginning in itself. But it is another chaos—the Russian chaos. And this chaos has its own characteristics—its own structures. It is opposite of the New World Chaos of liberals, because it is not individualistic and material. It is also different from the heavy, meaty, bodily-sadistic chaos of Ukrainians, which naturally breeds violence, terrorism, trampling all norms of humanity. Russian chaos is special; it has its own code. And this code does not coincide with the state; it is structured completely independent of it. This Russian chaos is closest to the original Greek, which is a void between Heaven and Earth, which is not yet filled. It is not so much a mixture of the seeds of things warring against each other (as in Ovid) as it is a foretaste of something great—the birth of Love, the appearance of the Soul. Russians are a people preconditioned for something that has not yet made itself fully known. And it is precisely this kind of special chaos, pregnant with new thought and new deed, that Russian people carry within them.

For such a Russian chaos, the frameworks of the modern Russian statehood are cramped and even ridiculous. This chaos carries the seeds of some inconceivable, great, impossible reality. Russian dancing star.

And the fact that the Special Military Operation includes not just the state, but the Russian people themselves, makes everything even more complex and complicated. The West is chaos. Ukraine is chaos. The Russian people are chaos. The West has order in the past. We have order in the future. And these elements of order—fragments of the order of the past, elements of the future, outlines of alternatives, conflicting edges of projects—are mixed in with the battle of chaos.

No wonder the Special Military Operation looks so chaotic. This is the war of chaos, with chaos, for chaos and against chaos.

Russian Chaos. It is this that must win, creating a Russian Order.

Part 3. Chaos and the Principle of Egalitarianism

Orbital Systems of Society

The most important feature of chaos is mixing. When applied to society, it results in the abolition of hierarchy. In Интернальные онтологии (Internal Ontologies) we discussed how unsolvable social problems and conflicts arise when the orbital structure of society is replaced by a horizontal projection. Orbitality is taken as a metaphor for the movement of planets along their trajectories, which in the case of the volumetric model does not generate any contradictions, even when the planets are on the same radius, drawn from the center of rotation. It is orbitality that allows them to continue moving freely. If we project the volume on the plane and forget about this procedure, the planets will collide with each other. And, accordingly, the effects of such a collision will be produced.

When applied to society, this gives a situation thoroughly explored by the sociologist Louis Dumont in his programmatic work Homo Hierarchicus and in his Essays on Individualism. In Indian society, where the principle of orbitality as represented by the caste system is preserved, the conflict and contradiction between the ideal of individual freedom and the strict regulation of social life for different strata and types of society is not even remotely visible. Neither was it found in the institution of Christian monasticism, along with the preservation of the medieval system of estates. Simply freedom and a rigid system of social obligations and boundaries were placed on different levels, without creating any contradictions or collisions. Staying in society, that is, moving along the social orbit, one was obliged to strictly follow caste principles down to the smallest detail. But if one chose freedom, a special territory was set aside for this—personal ascesis (monasticism in Christianity, hermitage of sanyasis in Hinduism, sangha in Buddhism, etc.), which was considered quite a legitimate and socially accepted norm. But personal spiritual realization was situated in a different orbit, in no way detracting from class organization.

Dumont shows that the problems begin precisely when democratic egalitarianism begins to prevail in Western European society and bourgeois notions displace the medieval hierarchical order. The question of freedom and hierarchy is now projected onto the plane, making the problem fundamentally unsolvable. Individualistic society seeks to ascribe freedom no longer to a select few ascetics, but to all its members—by abolishing estates. But this expansion of individual freedom, not outside society (in the forest, in the wilderness, in the monastery), but within it, generates even greater restrictions. All individuals, placed on the same plane and deprived of their orbital—caste—radii, encounter each other randomly, further restricting the freedom of the other—and in a chaotic and disorderly manner.

Such dogmatic individualism still produces a hierarchy, but only this time based on the basest criterion—either money (as in liberalism) or a place in the party hierarchy as in totalitarian socialist societies. And the fact that such a de facto hierarchy develops in an egalitarian culture makes it even more acute, because it represents a logical contradiction and outrageous injustice.

Bourgeois Order is Bourgeois Chaos

Here again we are dealing with a pair—order/chaos. Egalitarianism destroys qualitative hierarchical order, social orbitality. Thus, it produces just chaos: random encounters between individuals. At the same time, the interaction between them is reduced to the lowest, bodily, levels, since it is these that people of different cultures, types, and spiritual orientations share. Carriers of finer organization, who occupy the place of the elite in hierarchical societies, are thrown down to the corporeal bottom, where they are forced to find themselves among beings of much coarser nature. This is the mixing or projection of orbital types on the plane.

And the higher types, of course, are drawn to such a position and create socio-psychological vortexes around them. Having no legitimate place, they begin to stir up chaotic processes. Added to this is the disordered search for total freedom, which everyone is invited to engage in, not in a special—ascetic—zone, but in the thick of society. This exacerbates the chaos in egalitarian societies.

Classical democracy believes that a solution to this problem should be sought in the construction of a new—this time democratic—hierarchy. But such a secondary hierarchy is no longer orbital, volumetric and qualitative, but is constructed on the basis of the material-bodily attribute. It is a horizontal “hierarchy” that does not overcome chaos; but on the contrary, makes it increasingly fierce. The main criterion in such a bourgeois-egalitarian society (which declares equality of opportunities) is money; that is, the generalized equivalent of material wealth. Any other hierarchy is rigidly rejected. But the stratification of society into the ruling rich and the subordinate poor, up to the point of reducing the proletarians practically to slave-like living conditions, does not remove the contradictions. And in this, socialist theories and Marxism are quite right—in capitalism, class antagonism only grows as the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.

Egalitarian chaos is not relieved by the transition from classical hierarchy to the hierarchy of money; but, on the contrary, it erupts into violent class wars. Where there is chaos, there is war, as we have repeatedly noted. Therefore, as capitalism develops according to its autonomous logic, it cannot but produce a series of systemic crises, moving toward a final collapse. Chaos takes over.

The Socialist Chaos of Totalitarian Bureaucracy

An alternative, but also egalitarian model of socialism proposes to solve the problem by abolishing even the material, monetary hierarchy, insisting on full property equality. Here all hierarchy is denied, and class antagonism is proposed to be removed, through the abolition of the entire capitalist class. Communism is thought of as a peaceful utopian chaos in which there will be no contradictions and full equality will triumph.

This, however, contradicts the nature of chaos, which manifests itself precisely in disordered collision. And the flatter—as in communist theories—the social model is, the more explosive the manifestation of chaos.

We see this in the level of violence in communist societies, which manifested itself in systemic repression, and in the creation of party bureaucratic hierarchies, driven primarily by the need to punish—first, class enemies, and then, just the unconscious part of society.

Both capitalism and communism, in their classical versions, in their variously egalitarian systemic versions, attempt to abolish hierarchy (orbitality), but at the same time to tame chaos, to make it predictable, controllable and “soft.” However, this contradicts the nature of chaos, which is oriented against any order—even horizontal order.

The Radical Egalitarianism of the Postmodern: Feminism, Ecology, Transhumanism, LTBG+

The new democracy already discussed proceeds from the fact that previous egalitarian projects, both bourgeois and socialist, failed in their mission; and instead of completely abolishing the hierarchy, they re-framed it in new forms. Capitalist societies created a new ruling class out of the rich, while socialist regimes created new hierarchies of the party nomenklatura. In this way, the goal was not achieved. This is where the Postmodern begins.

In the Postmodern, or new democracy, the problem of equality is posed with a new acuteness, taking into account the preceding stages and social experiments. Thus, the theory of the necessity of a radicalization of equality; that is, the transition to an even more horizontal social model, from which all verticality—even two-dimensional and materialistic—is removed. This leads to four major trends of new democracy:

• equality of the sexes,
• equality of species,
• equality of people and machines,
• equality of objects.

Gender equality is realized through feminism, the legalization of gay marriage, transgenderism, and the promotion of the LGBT+ agenda. Gender ceases to be an orbital distinction, where men move in their orbit, women in theirs, but both mix randomly in a chaotic mass of gender uncertainty and a fickle chain of temporary playful identities.

Deep ecology seeks to equate humans with other animal species and, more broadly, with other environmental phenomena, reducing humanity to a purely natural phenomenon; or, at times, even a harmful anomaly.

Transhumanism seeks to equate man with a machine, and to insist on his equality with a technical apparatus, albeit a fairly advanced one. But advances in technology and genetic engineering, as well as advances in the digital domain, allow for more advanced thinking systems, making man a kind of historical atavism.

Finally, object-oriented ontology denies the subject as such, regarding man as a random uncorrelated unit in a purely chaotic and irrational multitude of all kinds of objects.

Gender Chaos

Gender policy is designed to abolish hierarchy in the field of gender. This can be achieved in three ways, which determine the main trends in this area:

• To fully equalize men and women in all respects (radical feminism);
• Make gender a matter of individual choice (transgenderism);
• Abolish gender altogether in favor of a new type of genderless creature (cyberfeminism).

In the first case, society establishes the most brutal gender egalitarianism. In this case, female and male individuals cease to be socially distinct, which inevitably leads to gender chaos. In such a situation, some may continue to insist on their gender and its specificities (for example, women seeking to increase their rights as women), some are simply indifferent to gender identity, while others demand its complete abolition. This generates high turbulence and continuous clashes of chaotic individuals among themselves, under conditions of gender uncertainty. Obviously, the conflicts of confused atoms in such a situation do not diminish, but grow like a snowball.

The policy of turning gender identity into a matter of personal choice—with the expansion of the practice of anatomical sex-change operations into ever newer categories, up to and including children—leads to the fact that gender identity becomes a kind of easily replaceable paraphernalia, analogous to a fashionable costume. Gender changes as easily as clothes in a new season; which means that a person begins to be understood as an essentially sexless being, and this sexlessness constitutes his nature, reducible to pure individuality.

In this case, it is transgender people who emerge as the social norm. The tensions inherent in gender as such and the psychology associated with it are here distributed between individuals who encounter each other without any ordering algorithms. People’s attraction and repulsion cease to be subject to any norms, and the whole society becomes a pansexual field of vibrations of essentially sexless units. Something similar as an ideal is described by Deleuze and Guattari.

Finally, philosophically responsible feminists such as Donna Haraway, united under the term “cyberfeminism,” propose to abolish gender altogether, since all forms of it—including homosexuality, transgenderism, etc.—are based on a dual, asymmetrical and hierarchically organized code. Postmodern thought concludes that any distinction is already in itself an inequality, which means that someone will always be superior and someone inferior. In order to abolish this, it is necessary to absolutize and normalize a crystalline, sexless being. But humans and animals cannot become such. Consequently, cyberfeminists conclude, it is necessary to abolish man and put in his place a cyborg, a humanoid machine. Here, radical feminism is directly connected to transhumanism.

All of these trends are not alternative, but are developing in parallel. And it is easy to see that all of this adds up to the chaotic systems of the new democracy.


Modern ecology applies egalitarianism to a different field. This time it is not gender identity (male/female inequality) but species identity (human/environment) that is at stake. Ecology demands that this inequality be mitigated, if not abolished. The most extreme versions of fundamental ecology put forward the idea that humans represent a fault line in the evolution of nature and should be abolished as an anomaly.

Human activity is polluting the environment, destroying ecological landscapes and many animal species. Humans litter the world’s oceans, cut down forests, disturb the earth’s interior, and contribute to mutations in the atmosphere, particularly in the ozone layer. Environmentalists suggest that we reconsider the thesis that man is the apex of creation and the peak of evolution and take it as axiomatic that man is one of the phenomena of nature and, therefore, has a number of primordial obligations to nature.

Previously, man and nature were thought of as two different realms—two orbits. The sphere of the mind and the sphere of the earthly material environment did not overlap. The philosopher Dilthey proposed to strictly divide the sciences into the sciences of spirit (Geistwissenschaften) and the sciences of nature (Naturwissenschaften)—each domain needs its own algorithms, principles, semantic structures.

Ecologists demand that this hierarchical distance be abolished and, at a minimum, spirit and matter, thinking and non-meaningful life, be equalized in rights. In addition, they insist on a radical revision of the relationship with the environment: it is not a zone of externality, but an existential landscape of human existence. Man is inscribed in nature and nature in man. And this reciprocal relationship must be equal and reversible.

Thus, ecological thought seeks to abolish yet another asymmetry—to reduce man to an animal species, to an element of nature. Man ceases to be the center and turns into the periphery—along with all other natural phenomena. Thus, man himself becomes a medium, a natural habitus.

Extreme versions of ecology go even further, and consider man an anti-nature phenomenon, a threat to the environment. Therefore, for the planet to live, the human species must be exterminated or at least significantly reduced. Otherwise, overpopulation, planetary catastrophe and the disappearance of life itself cannot be avoided.

This ecological approach—in a moderate version—seems quite reasonable and attractive. However, the rejection of hierarchy in this case, too, turns the natural-human ensemble into chaos. Nature itself does not have a pronounced center—everything in it is on the periphery, and therefore the approximation to its implicit logic (for example, in the postmodernist philosophy of Deleuze, where the priority of the tuberous rhizomatic principle is concerned) leads to further chaotization of man and human society.

Moving from the pastoral idyll to more responsible forms of ecological thought, we begin to notice that nature is inherently aggressive, violent, and powerfully amoral in the unfettered elements. Nature can smile, but it can also be angry; all of which is done independently of human behavior and in no way correlates these states with man or his mind (ecology categorically rejects any hint of anthropocentrism). That is why some ecological theories—above all those related to deep ecology—explicitly proclaim the laws of dark and blind aggression that prevail in nature as a model for the organization and human life. In Postmodern philosophy, this turn from the humanistic pastoral to sadistic and destructive pictures is generically called “Dark Deleuze,” since in some passages of this brilliant philosopher one can find Nietzschean motifs taken to an extreme, to celebrate life as a stream of blind, all-destroying aggression.

Chaos of Intelligent Machines

The degree of chaos is also heightened as the philosophy of transhumanism takes shape, beginning with an equation between man and machine. Here another hierarchical orbitality is overcome.

The notions of the closeness of man and machine had developed among New Age thinkers long before modern transhumanism. Materialism and atheism pushed exactly this interpretation of man as a perfect machine.

The French philosopher Julien Offray de La Mettrie explicitly stated this when he titled his seminal work, L’Homme machine [Man-Machine]. This thesis generalized such a trend in medicine as “iatromechanics” or “iatrophysics” (Giovanni Borelli, William Harvey, etc.), where various organs of the human body were presented as analogues of working tools: arms and legs as levers and joints, lungs as bellows, heart as a pump, etc. Descartes had even earlier insisted that animals were mechanisms which could easily be quantified in the future and their direct—and even more perfect—analogues could be created. But Descartes took the human mind—its subjectivity—out of this picture. La Mettrie went further than both Descartes and the “iatromechanics” and proposed that man entirely be regarded—not just his body—as a machine. Yes, this machine had as yet an unrecognized engine, the intellect that drove the whole mechanism, but in time it too would be computed, and hence a replica of it would be created.

As psychiatrists later studied the functioning of the brain, the idea of the mechanical structure of the mind was further developed, and the discovery of synapses in the cerebral cortex was seen as confirmation that science had come close to unraveling the functioning of consciousness.

From the figure of Man the Machine, materialist science developed the machine component, both in the body, the psyche, and neurology. In psychiatry, the “Helmholtz machine” theory, which developed La Mettrie’s thesis with a much greater degree of detail of the mechanical structure in man, was in circulation.

By the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries, neurobiology, cognitive science, digital technology and genetic engineering had come close to creating the model of the machine of which La Mettrie spoke. But still some uncertainty about Artificial Intelligence as a mock-up of consciousness persisted. Thus, in the field of Artificial Intelligence two areas were distinguished:

• the area of data accumulation, storage and systematization,
• neural networks capable of creating semantic structures (e.g., artificial languages) independently, without the operator’s participation.

The first area is sometimes called “Weak Artificial Intelligence.” It is far superior to the human brain in its speed and ability to store and manipulate data, but it lacks the will, which, together with reasonableness, is a necessary component of the subject. And so, the “Weak AI” is technically many times stronger than the human brain. And yet it is only a Machine, although superior to Man-Machine.

But a truly strong AI comes about when “weak AI”, i.e., the structure of data manipulation and technically controlled processes, is controlled not by a human operator, but by a powerful neural network. This is Strong Artificial Intelligence. This is where the will factor comes in. The machine is now fully Human. Now it is a Machine-Man.

Full transition from the Man-Machine hypothesis to the Machine-Man construction is the Singularity that modern transhumanists talk about. Once this moment arrives, the difference between man and machine, between organism and mechanism, will be abolished. Just as once apes (according to Darwin’s theory) gave birth to man, who picked up a tool and thus opened a new page of history, in the Singularity man will pass on the baton to Artificial Intelligence.

But such a transition represents the ultimate risk. Man and machine find themselves on the same plane for a while, colliding with each other. A human will not immediately weaken to the point of trusting the machine completely, which may well decide that further existence of the species is inexpedient. For example, if the neural network becomes acquainted with the teachings of the deep ecologists. And the Strong Artificial Intelligence itself will not immediately gain full energy autonomy and independence from hardware, and even from operators. The chaos that is sure to ensue in such a situation has been described many times in science fiction literature and vividly anticipated in cinema—in The Matrix, Mad Max, etc.

Once again, the egalitarianism of the new democracy inevitably leads to chaos, aggression, war, and brutality.

The Chaos of Objects

The most honest among postmodernists and futurists are the representatives of critical realism (or object-oriented ontology). They take New Age materialism to its logical end and demand the complete abolition of the subject. Quentin Meillassoux notes that all philosophy and science, even the most egalitarian and progressive, cannot go beyond correlation. Every object is bound to have a correlate, a pair, either in the realm of the mind (classical positivism), or among other objects. Meillassoux and other critical realists (Graham Harman, Ray Brassier, Timothy Morton, Nick Land, etc.) suggest abandoning the search for correlations altogether and immersing oneself in the object itself. This requires breaking definitively with the central position of reason and treating consciousness as an object among others.

In practice, this is possible only through the complete elimination of man as a subject, a bearer of reason. That is, man is now thought of as a mysterious, unknowable, arbitrary, and uncorrelated object like all things in the outside world. Meillassoux even criticizes Deleuze for overemphasizing life. Life is already a violation of the deep silence of the thing, an attempt to say something, and thus to introduce inequality, to create the preconditions of hierarchy and orbitality. Hence the proposal of object-oriented ontologists not just to abolish man, but to abandon the centrality of life.

Now even the chaos of biological species devoid of a human center is not enough. The next—and logically the last–stage of egalitarianism requires the rejection of life, including natural life. This theme is most vividly developed by Nick Land, who reduces the genesis of life and consciousness to a geological trauma to be overcome through the eruption of the Earth’s lava and the bursting of the Earth’s core through the shell of the cooled crust. According to Land, the history of life on earth, including human history, is only a small fragment in the geological history of the cooling of the planet and its quest to return to a plasma state.

In this model there is a transition from the apology of biological chaos to the triumph of material chaos. The abolition of all kinds of hierarchies and correlations reaches its apogee, and egalitarianism, brought to its logical limit, results in the direct triumph of dead chaos, destroying not only the subject but also life.

Egalitarianism is the Road to Chaos

The gendered, ecological and transhumanist agendas are already indispensable features of the new democracy today. The movement toward the final abolition of the subject and of life in general is a distinctive vector of the future. Egalitarianism is a movement toward chaos in all its forms. And always—contrary to the initial and purely polemical idyll—chaos appears as a synonym of enmity (νεῖκος) of Empedocles; that is the equivalent of war, aggression, destruction and annihilation.

Already the abolition of class hierarchies, placing people of a spiritual and military nature on the same plane as peasants, artisans, and laborers, generates an unnatural social environment in which there is a disorderly jumble of bodily impulses—as people of different natures have in common—and even then only in appearance—the body. Bourgeois society includes heterogeneous elements that cannot help but blur its systemic functioning. Moreover, the absence of higher orbits prevents the lower orbits from maintaining their trajectories. A slave without a Master (in Hegel’s formula), ceases to be a Slave, but does not become a Master, either. He falls into panic, begins to rush about; then to imitate the Master; then to return to the habitual consciousness of the Slave. This is already a state of chaos.

As egalitarian tendencies intensify, chaos only grows. And new democracy—in its postmodernist expression—is more and more openly admitting that it is leading the cause towards chaos and an increase in its degree. Not the other way around. While classical liberals relied on the invisible hand of the market to order the chaotic activity of desperately competing market agents, the new liberals openly seek to make the system more and more turbulent. This becomes the ideology and strategy of globalism.

Part 4. Chaos Theory in Military Strategy

The Article by Stephen P. Mann

Another dimension of chaos that should be examined in the context of the Special Military Operation is the application of chaos theory to the art of war. This is not a random reconstruction or a mere observation of the course of military operations on the Ukrainian front. It is more than that.

Back in 1992, the fall 1992 issue of Parameters, published by the U.S. War College, published a feature article by staff officer Steven R. Mann, deputy chief of the U.S. military mission in Sri Lanka, with the evocative title “Chaos Theory and Strategic Art.” The article offers a version of the application of the nonlinear logic explored in scientific theories of chaos to military strategy. Later, it was this approach that became dominant in the theory of network-centric warfare. In a sense, network-centric warfare is a practical implementation of the basic principles of chaos theory to the military sphere. Network-centric warfare is a war of chaos. Here, of course, chaos is understood in the spirit of modern physics—as the study of nonequilibrium, nonlinear systems, bifurcations, probabilism and weak processes. To the ancient chaos of philosophy, or to the chaos of political theory and international relations, this field has a rather indirect relation. Nevertheless, we are dealing precisely with chaos, which means that, after making all the necessary distinctions, we go back to the philosophical foundations. But this should be done cautiously and with careful consideration of all epistemological perspectives.

The Main Points of Chaos Theory

Steven R. Mann lists the main points of the physical theory of chaos thus:

• Chaos theory refers to dynamic systems—with a large number of variables.

• In these systems there are non-periodic regularities, seemingly random data nodes can add up to non-competitive, but nevertheless ordered patterns.

• Chaotic systems exhibit a sensitive dependence on initial conditions; any even slight change in the initial state leads to disproportionately divergent consequences.

• The presence of a certain order, suggests that patterns can be predicted—at least in systems with a weak level of chaoticity.

Mann emphasizes that there is no contradiction between chaos theories and classical physical and mathematical science. Chaos only nuances into physical laws and rules in some special classes—borderline or nonlinear—systems. Mann writes:

• Classical systems describe linear behavior and individual objects; chaos theory describes statistical trends with many intensely interacting objects.

• What is calculated here is not a set of linear trajectories, but the probabilistic behavior of systems—not predictable at the level of linear predictions, but embedded in a probabilistic trend.

Increasing the Concept of Theater to Nacro Proportions: Total War

Applying this principle to the field of military confrontation, Steven Mann draws an important conclusion: a direct combat encounter between two regular armies has a limited number of factors (number of combatants, quality and quantity of weapons, terrain and nature of defenses, military and logistic support, features of command style, etc.) All this applies to classical strategy and remains within linear processes. There is no room for chaos here, as the results of the processes are relatively easy to calculate from the outset. Traditional strategy deals precisely with such situations, which form systems, ordered series, and clearly defined patterns.

Military strategy as a discipline is quite conservative, and the histories of warfare by the generals of ancient Greece or Rome, as well as the treatises of the Chinese strategist Sun Tzu, and the generalizing systems in the spirit of Clausewitz remain valid and unsurpassed to this day. But all of this applies to that war which Carl Schmitt called “the war of forms.” It is classical warfare, and it is generally linear. And so, the theory of chaos is not fully applicable to it.

Things change when we expand our area of attention and put a particular Theater of Warfare (TVD) into a broader context. Now we must take into account especially the constantly changing balance of power in international relations, the factor of prompt access to information and the possibility of its retransmission, the psychological state of society, the characteristics of the ideologies involved in war, the religious and ethnic context. If we do not isolate the zone of direct warfare, but include it in a more complex field of interaction of numerous and diverse actors, the picture becomes so complicated that linearity disappears, and we get a completely new picture—Schmitt called it “total war,” astutely emphasizing that this phenomenon is associated with liberalism, atomization and new pacifism. War becomes total precisely when one side completely denies the other belonging to the human species. Thus, pacifists and liberals recognize their realist and liberalist opponents as “non-human,” which deprives them of their status as formal adversaries. The opponent becomes total, which means that the war with him goes beyond the boundaries of the direct TVD and extends to the entire society. It is then that war becomes non-linear, and its laws tend to chaos.

Liberalism denies the enemy its right to possess form, blurs its forms, and thus transfers its aggression into non-military areas—primarily in the information sphere. This is precisely how it becomes chaotic. It is indicative that the application of the theory of chaos to military strategy by American experts was conceived in the early 1990s—the article by Steven Mann in Parameters was published in 1992, during the first phase of the “unipolar moment” (Charles Krauthammer). This is how the theory of network-centric warfare began to take shape, as a full-fledged strategy of chaos.

The Implementation of the Theory of Chaos in Local Conflicts

The Americans have applied it in practice already in Afghanistan, and then during the invasion by the Americans and their allies in Iraq in 2022, and then during the color revolutions in the Arab world—in Libya and Syria. The Russian-Ukrainian confrontation in Novorossiya in 2022 was in full measure a network war. Network war is a war of chaos. This means that it obeys the nonlinear laws and is extremely sensitive to initial conditions.

Disruption of the Russian Spring: The West’s Victory in the Battle for Initial Conditions

That is why in 2014, after the reunification of Russia with Crimea, it was so important for the West to stop the process of the collapse of Ukraine, to stop the recognition of the independence of the republics of Donbass and prevent the introduction of Russian troops (the legitimate President of Ukraine Yanukovych could easily invite Russia to protect against a coup). In this situation, the West used all its power to influence Vladimir Putin and, under the aegis of a “cunning plan,” to prevent Russia from invading and liberating Novorossiya. This was about just the initial conditions. In 2014, they were entirely in Russia’s favor. By postponing the Russian invasion (strategically inevitable in general) for eight years, the West managed to change these conditions. This is how the West outplayed Moscow in the war of chaos, using the sixth column—the pro-Western liberal segment of the Russian elite, which deliberately misinformed Putin about the real situation and induced him to accept Western initiatives—up to and including the false promise of recognizing Crimea as Russian and lifting sanctions. The supporters and propagandists of the “cunning plan” turned out to be common traitors, directly contributing to the fact that eight years later Russia started military operations in much worse starting conditions. Recently Angela Merkel directly admitted that the Minsk agreements were needed by the West only for one thing—to militarily prepare Ukraine for a full-fledged war against Russia. We can see clearly now how they prepared themselves. Those in Russia, who were in lavish support of the “cunning plan” today look like traitors. No matter who they are.

The use of agents of influence to change the system as such is the most important principle of network warfare. For the classical intelligence services, which acted according to a linear logic, all of these chaotic processes went unnoticed. Influence on the leadership of Russia was exercised in more subtle ways, sometimes based on subtle, weakly identifiable actions and disturbances. The application of the principles of chaos in the conduct of military operations against Russia from 2014 to 2022 passed almost completely unnoticed by the Russian leadership, which was adhering to the principles of classical linear strategy.

In the Special Military Operation, We Were Faced with a War of Chaos

As a classic military operation, the Special Military Operation was also planned, and up to a point it was successful. Until the West realigned itself and began a full-fledged war of chaos against Russia, using the entire spectrum of network-centric operations—a large-scale information campaign, economic sanctions, pinpoint terror, political pressure, and psychological campaigns designed to disorient and confuse the enemy.

Chaos made itself felt in the theater of war for Novorossiya. Western specialists in network-centric warfare linked surveillance, electronic and satellite reconnaissance, control of MLRS and other systems, UAVs and drones into a single bundle, where streams of information were instantly analyzed and decisions were immediately made on this basis. At the same time, all military activities were transmitted in real time to the information warfare centers, where they were refracted depending on the effect—something was reported, something was silenced, something was distorted, something was just invented. Thus, an information tsunami was created, overwhelming Ukraine itself, Western countries and their subordinate global media, reaching the territory of Russia itself. A microscopic or even fictitious event on the front was sometimes inflated to gigantic proportions and global decisions were made on the basis of information that was not even verifiable, but rapidly changing. Reality in such a process almost completely disappeared behind the impenetrable wall of information, which was essentially purely military in nature.

At the same time, Russian society, integrated in general into Western technology and systems, was completely defenseless against such continuous attacks, which took place not only from the outside, but also from the inside.

The Effectiveness of Anarcho-Terror

The chaotic nature of warfare by the Ukrainian side was also manifested in the use of small groups. This is another principle of the wars of chaos. The most important role in them is played by small military groups— Diversion and Reconnaissance Groups, which act relatively autonomously. The theory of network-centric warfare suggests replacing the very category of direct and clear orders with the “commander’s intent.” This means that a Diversion and Reconnaissance Group or small cell of terrorists is not given a detailed plan for conducting operations, but only general parameters and desired objectives. In practice, however, the opportunity is given to act according to the circumstances. If the main target cannot be hit, but an unexpected—spontaneous, unpredictable—opportunity opens up to hit another one, this is what should be done.

Conducting such autonomous military-terrorist operations is historically close to the anarchically organized Ukrainian society, so the war of chaos was perceived quite organically by the Kiev troops. Aggression, sadism and stabbing in the back, terrorist attacks against civilians, rapid penetration deep into the enemy and attack from the rear—all this is psychologically close to Ukrainians, residents of the frontier, and has repeatedly, historically made itself felt. This time it was fully in line with NATO’s new military theory, whose first principles we find in Steven R. Mann.

Russian Adaptation to Chaos War

What conclusion can be drawn from the observation of the fact that, against its will, Russia is taking part in a war of chaos? In part, some practical conclusions have already been drawn.

We noted the sharp increase in the importance of information security and the need to conduct a full-fledged information war, to counteract the psychological operations of the enemy, to create its own networks and its own systems of protection of information.

Further, on the air defense fronts, everyone saw with his own eyes what a huge—sometimes decisive—role different kinds of drones (UAVs, etc.) play in combat operations. The role of “smart weapons” has been clearly demonstrated in clashes with NATO weapons, and Russian military formations have been forced directly in the field to create a system to combat drones with their own similar types of information gathering and weaponry. We have not yet realized the need to equip all combat units (soldiers and vehicles) with independent video cameras, and integrate information flows into a single control center. But we are getting there.

Enemy Diversion and Reconnaissance Groups have given the Russian troops a lot of trouble because they are autonomous, spontaneous and depend on the “intent of the commander” only (and not on strict orders). Terrorist cells and sabotage groups that operate behind—sometimes deep behind—our troops have also proven quite effective. We have not yet developed a response strategy.

Russia has not fully understood the speed of decision-making, which was fatal in the case of NATO’s MLRSs and especially the HIMARS systems, whose controls are locked into satellite reconnaissance data, instant targeting response and change of location. In our case, the entire cycle takes incomparably longer, and the decision-making instances are separated from the scouts and from the actors—including targeting and redeployment—by numerous formal steps. Chaos warfare involves rapidity of decision and action, which is designed to subvert traditional systems of warfare. Another invasion of nonlinearity.

Agents of Influence in Russia

Nor have we yet fully grasped the subversive role of the vast network of agents of Western influence operating within Russia, subtly sabotaging decisions and impeding the necessary adjustment of society—including the informational and cultural environment—to the goals of the Special Military Operation. Russia is also not fully engaged in purging the residency network (and any liberal or Westerner is its potential representative). A full-fledged center for psychological operations against the enemy has not yet been created, either against Ukraine or, all the more so, against the West.

The Secret of the Effectiveness of the DRP/LPR Volunteers, the Wagner Group, the Chechens

In many ways, Russia is fighting the war by the classical standards, reacting to the chaos and network-centric challenges in a reactive and defensive way.

It should be noted that the most effective in this war are the structures that intuitively or spontaneously follow the logic of chaos. These are first of all the militias of the DRP and LRP, habituated to fighting the Kiev regime and using the same tactics against the chaotic Ukrainians. Next is the Wagner Group, also organized by the network principle, and integrated with the media holding company and quietly going to the extremes of risk in their actions. This can serve as a prototype of a full-fledged network warfare. Ethnic militias, especially Chechen militias, have proven to be excellent. Their strategy includes the consideration of religious and ethnic factors, which makes them not just military units, but a full-fledged network.

In short, there are examples of successful chaos warfare in the Special Military Operation as well. But this applies to individual segments of the Russian forces and does not affect the armed forces as a whole, which are focused on waging war according to the old, linear rules.

In the structure of the Russian Armed Forces, it was long ago necessary to establish a directorate for military research of chaos, if only because the enemy for at least 30 years has been fully developing these strategies and studies the new network principles and uses them to build its army. By losing sight of this, we condemn ourselves to defeat.

Part 5. Katechonic Order

Russia in Battle with the Civilization of Chaos

If we consider the problem of chaos in a philosophical and historical perspective, it becomes very clear that in the Special Military Operation we are talking about Russia’s fight against the civilization of chaos, which is, in fact, the new democracy, represented by the collective West and its rabid proxy-structure (the Ukraine). Parameters of this civilization, its historical and cultural profile, its ideology as a whole is quite easy to identify. We can recognize the movement toward chaos from the very first rebellion against orbitality, hierarchy, ontological pyramidal volume, which embodied the order of traditional civilization. Further, the desire for horizontality and egalitarianism in all spheres only increased. Finally, the new democracy and globalism represent the triumph of chaotic systems that the West still strives to control, but which are increasingly taking over and imposing their own chaotic algorithms on humanity. The history of the West in modern times and up to the present is a history of the growth of chaos—its power, its intensity, its radicality.

Russia—perhaps not on the basis of a clear and conscious choice—found itself in opposition to the civilization of chaos. And this became an irreversible and undeniable fact, immediately after the beginning of the Special Military Operation. The metaphysical profile of the opponent is generally clear. But the question of what is Russia itself in this conflict, and how it can defeat chaos, given its fundamental ontological foundations, is far from simple.

Something Much More Serious than Realism

We have seen that formally, from the point of view of the theory of international relations, we are talking about an opposition of two types of order: unipolar (the West) and multi-polar (Russia and its cautious and often hesitant allies). But a closer analysis shows that unipolarity is a triumph of new democracy and, consequently, chaos; while multi-polarity based on the principle of sovereign civilizations, being an order, does not reveal anything about the essence of this proposed order. Moreover, the classical notion of sovereignty, as understood by the realist school of international relations, itself implies chaos among states, which undermines the philosophical foundation if we consider the confrontation with unipolarity and globalism as a struggle precisely for order and against chaos.

Obviously, in the first approximation, Russia does not count on anything more than the recognition of its sovereignty as a nation state and the protection of its national interests, and the fact that it had to face the moderated chaos of globalism for this purpose was in a sense a surprise for Moscow, which started the Special Military Operation with much more concrete and pragmatic goals. The Russian leadership’s intention was only to contrast realism in international relations with liberalism, and the Russian leadership did not count on any serious confrontation with the institution of chaos—especially in its aggravated form—and did not even suspect such a prospect. And yet we find ourselves in this situation. Russia is at war with chaos in all senses of this multifaceted phenomenon, which means that this entire struggle acquires a metaphysical nature. If we want to win, then we have to defeat chaos. And this also means that we initially position ourselves as the antithesis of chaos; that is, as the place that is opposed to it.

Here it is time once again to return to the fundamental definitions of chaos.

The Edges of Chaos

First, in the original Greek interpretation, chaos is a void, a territory on which order has yet to take root. Of course, the modern chaos of Western civilization is not like this—it is not a void; on the contrary, it is a pervasive explosion of materiality—but in the face of a true ontological order, it is indeed insignificant, its meaningfulness and spiritual content tending toward zero.

Second, chaos is mixing, and such mixing is based on disharmony, disordered conflicts and aggressive clashes. In chaotic systems, unpredictability prevails, as all elements are out of place. Decentricity, eccentricity, becomes the engine of all processes. The things of the world rebel against order, striving to overturn any logical construction or structure.

Third, the history of Western European civilization is a constant inflation of a degree of chaoticism; that is, a progressive accumulation of chaos—as a void, a mixing and splitting aggression of ever smaller and smaller particles. And this is accepted as a moral vector for the development of civilization and culture.

Globalism is the final stage of this process, where all these tendencies reach a maximum degree of saturation and intensity.

The Great Void Demands a Great Order

Russia with the Special Military Operation challenges this whole process—metaphysical and historical. Consequently, in every sense it speaks on behalf of an alternative to chaos.

This means that Russia should offer a model that can fill the growing void. And the volume of the void is correlated with the strength and inner power of the order, seeking to replace it. A great void requires a great order. In fact, it corresponds to the act of the birth of Eros or Psyche between Heaven and Earth. Or the phenomenon of man as a mediator between the main ontological poles. We are dealing with a new creation, an affirmation of order where it is no longer there, where it has been overthrown.

To establish order in such a situation, it is necessary to subdue the liberated elements of materiality. That is to cope with the flows of fragmented and fractured power, defeating the results of egalitarianism brought to its logical limit. Consequently, Russia must be inspired by the highest heavenly principle, which is the only one capable of subduing the rebellion of chthonic principles.

And this fundamental metaphysical mission must be carried out in direct confrontation with Western civilization, which is the historical sum of the escalating chaos.

To defeat the titanic powers of Earth, it is necessary to be representatives of Heaven, to have a critical amount of its support on our side.

It is quite clear that contemporary Russia as a state and society cannot claim to be already the embodiment of such an organizing comic beginning. It is itself permeated by Western influences and tries to defend only sovereignty without questioning the theory of progress, the materialistic foundations of the natural sciences of the New Age, technical inventions, capitalism, or the Western model of liberal democracy. But as the modern globalist West denies Russia even relative sovereignty, it forces her to raise the stakes endlessly. And thus Russia finds itself in the position of a society in revolt against the modern world, against the egalitarian chaos, against the rapidly growing emptiness and accelerating dissipation.

Not yet truly an order, Russia faces chaos in a deadly battle.

Katechon—The Third Rome

In this situation, Russia simply has no choice but to become what it is not, but what position it is forced to take, by the very coincidence of circumstances. The platform for such a confrontation certainly exists, in the roots of Russian history and Russian culture. It is primarily Orthodoxy, sacred values and the high ideal of the Empire, endowed with the Katechonic function, which should be seen as a bulwark against chaos. To a residual degree, the attitudes of harmony, justice, the preservation of traditional institutions—family, community, morality—have survived several centuries of modernization and Westernization, and especially the last atheistic and materialistic age. However, this alone is far from enough.

To confront the power of chaos in a truly effective way, there must be a full-scale spiritual awakening, a profound transformation and a revival of the spiritual foundations, principles and priorities of the sacred order.
Russia must promptly establish in itself the beginnings of the sacred Katechonic order, which was laid in the 15th century in the continuity of the Byzantine heritage, and in the proclamation of Moscow as the Third Rome.

Only an eternal Rome can stand in the way of the all-destroying stream of emancipated time. But for this, it itself must represent an earthly projection of the heavenly vertical.


In ecclesiastical art there is a subject called “The Throne Prepared”—the Greek, hetoimasia, ἑτοιμασία. It shows an empty throne flanked by angels, saints, or rulers. It symbolizes the throne of Jesus Christ, on which He will sit to judge the nations when the Second Coming takes place. For now—until the Second Coming—the throne is empty. But not quite. The Cross is placed on it.

This image refers to the Byzantine and older Roman practice of placing a spear or sword on the throne at a time when the Emperor was away from the capital—for example, for war. The weapon shows that the throne is not empty. The Emperor is not there, but his presence is. And no one can encroach on the supreme power with impunity.

In the Christian tradition, this has been reinterpreted in the context of the Kingdom of Heaven and consequently the throne of God himself. After the Ascension, Christ withdrew into heaven; but this does not mean that He does not exist. He is, and He is the only One who truly is. And His kingdom “has no end.” It is in eternity—not in time. That is why the Old Believers insisted so strongly on the ancient version of the Russian version of the Creed—”His kingdom is without end,” not “there shall be no end.” Christ dwells on his throne forever. But for us mortal, earthly ones, at some point in history—between the First and Second Coming—this becomes unnoticeable. And as a reminder of the main absent (for us, humanity) figure, the Cross is placed on the throne. As we contemplate the Cross, we see the Crucified One. Thinking of the Crucified, we know of the Risen One. As we turn our hearts to the Risen One, we see Him rising, coming again. “The Throne Prepared” is His kingdom, His power. Both when He is present on it and when He is withdrawn. He will return. For all these are movements within eternity: In the final analysis, His reign has never been interrupted.

Russia, which today enters the final battle with chaos, finds itself in the position of one who is fighting the very Antichrist. But how far we are from that high ideal, which the radicality of the final battle demands. And yet … Russia is the “Throne Prepared.” It may seem from the outside that it is empty. But it is not. The Russian people and Russian state bear the Catechumens. It is to us today that the words of the liturgy, “I am the Tsar who lifts up all,” apply. With an extraordinary effort of will and spirit we lay on ourselves the burden of the One who holds back. And this action of ours will never be in vain.

Against chaos, we do not just need our order, we need His order, His authority, His kingdom. We Russians carry the Throne of the Prepared. And there is no mission in human history more sacred, higher, more sacrificial than to lift up Christ, the King of Kings, on our shoulders.

But as long as there is a Cross on the throne—it is the Russian Cross. Russia is crucified on it. It bleeds its sons and daughters. And all this for a reason. We are on the straight path to the resurrection of the dead. And we will play a vital role in this world-wide mystery. For we are the keepers of the Throne. The people of the Katechon.

Alexander Dugin is a widely-known and influential Russian philosopher. His most famous work is The Fourth Political Theory (a book banned by major book retailers), in which he proposes a new polity, one that transcends liberal democracy, Marxism and fascism. He has also introduced and developed the idea of Eurasianism, rooted in traditionalism. This article appears through the kind courtesy of Geopolitica.

Featured: Throne of Preparation (detail), Basilica of Santa Maria Assunta, Torcello, mosaic, ca. 11th century.

“God is Dead”

Aphorism 125 of Nietzsche’s The Gay Science is the epiphanic place of nihilism, connected with de-divinization, with the Gottes Tod, with the “death of God.” Unlike the scientific and anti-metaphysical discourse that developed in the space of the modern, Nietzsche did not affirm the non-existence of God, arguing it perhaps more geometrically. On the contrary, he alluded to the death of God and, therefore, to his decline; or, more correctly, to the evaporation of an order of values and ontology that found its ultimate foundation in the figure of God. In the words of The Gay Science:

“Who has given us the sponge to erase the horizon completely? What have we done to unhook this earth from the chain of its sun? Whither is it moving now? Whither are we moving? Away from all suns? Is not ours an eternal fall? And backward, sideways, forward, to all sides? Is there still an above and a below? Are we not wandering as if through an infinite nothingness? Do we not feel the breath of emptiness upon us? Is it not colder? Does not night keep coming, ever more night?”

The Nietzschean phenomenology of the death of God alludes to the cancellation of the entire horizon of meaning around which Western civilization was oriented, now at the mercy of an “eternal fall” and an “infinite nothingness” that leads it to ruin without references, without values and in an “empty space”: “Is there still an above and a below?” Or, more generally, a solid point of reference for orientation in the Babel spaces of the de-divinized world devoid of foundations? For the sake of philological rigor, it is worth remembering that the death of God, before Nietzsche, figures in the work of Hegel—in Faith and Knowledge (1802), Hegel writes, in fact, that the sentiment on which the religion of the moderns rests is crystallized in the formula: “God himself is dead” (Gott selbst ist tot). In the opinion of the Heidegger of Holzwege, it is also the first recorded appearance of this formula in the history of Western thought.

Following in Nietzsche’s footsteps, the decisive question is not whether God exists or not, but whether he is alive or dead; that is, whether or not a world of meaning and project, of meanings and symbols, is organized around the idea of God. The nihilism of the death of God does not coincide, therefore, with the subjective gesture of one who, like the fool in Psalm 52, denies the existence of God (dixit insipiens in corde suo “non est Deus”). Instead, he alludes to the historical process of devaluation of all values, to the decline of the horizon of meaning around which Western civilization was organized: a process at the end of which nothing remains of God and being. With Heidegger’s grammar, “the nihil of nihilism means that there is nothing of being,” and that, we may add in the Nietzschean way, there is nothing of God either. Thus writes Nietzsche in the posthumously published fragments:

“What I describe is the history of the next two centuries. I describe what is coming…: the rise of nihilism…. What does nihilism mean? It means that the supreme values are devalued. They lack purpose. The answer to “why?” is missing…. So, we cannot postulate any “beyond” or any “in-itself” of things. Value is missing, meaning is missing…. Result [of this devaluation]: moral judgments of value are… negations: morality is to turn one’s back on the will to exist.”

Die Heraufkunft des Nihilismus, “the rise of nihilism” is what Nietzsche describes in statu nascendi his own epoch, prophesying the dominant character it will acquire in the history to come (“the history of the next two centuries”). In addition to outlining its development, Nietzsche highlights some defining features of the phenomenon of nihilism. First, he emphasizes its processual character—nihilism is not a “fact,” but a process that has begun and is in the process of development, the logic of which consists in the fact that die obersten Werte sich entwerten, “the supreme values are devalued.” By virtue of this Umwertung, “the end” (das Ziel), the answer to “why” (wozu), value, meaning, the beyond and the in-itself of things, morality are missing. Everything rushes into the abyss of meaninglessness, as nothingness devours every thing and every project, every meaning and every value. And, in this way, Western man finds himself condemned to live in the nihil of a civilization in which God is dead and there is no longer any answer to the fundamental questions, which are no longer even asked.

As in the film, The Neverending Story (1984), based on the book of the same name, nothingness has devoured all reality and all ideals. This is the horizon of meaning; or rather, of the meaninglessness of the postmodern era, perpetually suspended between “passive nihilism” and “active nihilism,” theorized by Nietzsche, who understood the latter as an overcoming of the former. In the postmodern era, as has been stressed, active nihilism and passive nihilism coexist as a depressive disenchantment of those who no longer believe in anything and a consumerist superhumanism of those who make their own being and their own power coincide with purchasing power in the market. With the death of God, the sun goes out, understood in its double sense: a) as the center of gravity around which life revolves, now at the mercy of disorientation and estrangement (Entfremdung); and b) as a source of energy capable of illuminating and heating the life of mortals. The sun, which Plato assumed in The Republic as the image of the “good in itself” (αὐτὸ ἀγαθόν) and as “beyond essence surpassing it in dignity and power” (ἐπέκεινα τῆς οὐσίας πρεσβείᾳ καὶάι0), is extinguished. And there remains only the icy darkness of the de-divinized reality, mere background available without limits for the processes of usability and transformation of the techno-nihilistic will to power.

The desolate scenario of the dark desert of the “night of the world” (Weltnacht) arises—darkness falls upon the world and humans do not perceive the absence of God as a lack, even mocking those who, like the Nietzschean madman, distant heir of Plato’s liberated caveman, dare to pose the problem of the Gottes Tod. In fact, the madman, when he announces in the market the death of God, provokes “great laughter”:

“Where has God gone?” He exclaimed. “I’ll tell you! We have killed him, you and I! We are all his murderers! But how did we do it? How could we empty the sea, drinking it to the last drop?”

The murder of God coincides with the process of devaluation of values and consumption of being: a process by which, in the end, there is nothing left of values and being, since everything—at the material and immaterial level—becomes a fund made available by the technocapitalist will to power, which trades and exchanges, produces, markets and consumes everything.

In the time of Vollendung, of the “fulfillment” of metaphysics in planetary technic, what survives is only a grandiose apparatus which, arranging everything in view of its own unlimited power, Heidegger himself interprets as the Weltbild, the fundamental “world image,” within which the figure of the modern Weltmarkt, of the “global market,” the culmination of technique and nihilism, can be constituted. Thus writes Heidegger in “What are poets good for in times of misery?”:

“The humanness of humans and the thingness of things is lost within the self-asserting manufacturing (des sich durchsetzenden Herstellens), in the calculated market value of a market (in den gerechneten Marktwert eines Marktes), which not only spans the earth as a world market, but which markets as the will to will in the essence of being (im Wesen des Seins marktet) and thus brings everything that exists into the action of a calculation, which rules most tenaciously where it does not need numbers.”

Being and values are consumed, and in their place survives the post-metaphysical disorientation, the “absence of homeland” (Heimatlosigkeit), evoked by Heidegger, and the fall into an endless abyss. The ontology of capital is nihilistic, insofar as it presupposes that being is not, and that there are only entities available for the processes of techno-scientific manipulation, oriented to excessive growth. Likewise, its morality is nihilistic and relativistic, since it is based on the universal negotiability of values, which all precipitate into nothingness and become relative to the only surviving value—the exchange value of a market that has as its objective nothing but the unlimited self-empowerment of the device of the Wille zur Macht, of the “will to power.”

The Nietzschean thesis of the death of God has had, moreover, an important repercussion in the theological field; and this according to a spectrum of positions, ranging from Karl Barth’s theology of crisis to Bultmann’s theology of demythologization, from Bonhoeffer’s theology of κένωσις (or “emptying”) to the so-called “theologians of the death of God.” The thesis generally shared by these authors, although quite different from each other, is that secularization is complete, man is mature and, therefore, no longer needs God. In Bonhoeffer’s words: “The world lives and suffices itself, in science, in social life and politics, in art, in morals, in religion. Man has learned to fend for himself, without recourse to the working hypothesis: God…. We have seen that it goes on—exactly as before—even without God.” There is no doubt. The time of the death of God coincides with that of absolutized nihilistic relativism; that is, with the “dictatorship of relativism,” as Joseph Ratzinger has defined it.

Diego Fusaro is professor of History of Philosophy at the IASSP in Milan (Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies) where he is also scientific director. He is a scholar of the Philosophy of History, specializing in the thought of Fichte, Hegel, and Marx. His interest is oriented towards German idealism, its precursors (Spinoza) and its followers (Marx), with a particular emphasis on Italian thought (Gramsci or Gentile, among others). he is the author of many books, including Fichte and the Vocation of the IntellectualThe Place of Possibility: Toward a New Philosophy of Praxis, and Marx, again!: The Spectre Returns[This article appears courtesy of Posmodernia].

Featured: “Lamentation of the Virgin,” by the Rohan Master, from the Hours of the Cross, folio 135, plate 57; painted in 1435.

Defending What We Are: In Praise of Identity

The anthropological presupposition of the new spirit of capitalism is easily identifiable: man behaves rationally only when he is free of prejudices and superstitions and is, therefore, in the optimal conditions to be able to pursue his own private interest as homo oeconomicus. From this follows syllogistically the demand—always reaffirmed by the order of discourse—to abolish everything in the sphere of customs, laws, traditions and other spheres of the spirit (religion, art, philosophy) that hinders such rationality, elevated to the only possible source of meaning. It is, therefore, of vital importance, for the prevailing cosmo-mercantilism, to make tabula rasa of any figure of boundaries, whether traditional or rational, moral or religious, juridical or ethical. In all spheres, the competitive individualization of society must prevail, unrestricted, and be redirected to the “unsociably sociable” sphere of the cash nexus: the liberal philosophy ignores mutual fidelity as a motivation, resolving everything in the mercantile relationship.

As Michéa has stressed: “liberal logic leads to the destruction of any human community,” other than the one built on the basis of mercantile exchange. The private contract becomes the ultimate truth of any human relationship, lowered to the rank of the nexus between buyer and seller. In the whole horizon, the anthropological profile of Robinsonian man—the selfish and calculating individual, cynical and agent, exclusively focused on procuring his own private profit (business is business)—must prevail unquestionably. Such an individual must metabolize the ultra-mercantilist imperative of flexibility, conceiving his own life as a nomadic series of changes and ruptures of all stability in relationships, projects and commitments. Therefore, he must be stripped (and be convinced that this is progress) of all material and immaterial ties, and become a globetrotter atom available for total mobilization connected to the processes of value valorization.

From its auroral point of view, capitalism must favor the meeting of men in the market and, at the same time, discourage any other form of communitarian relation; and this, according to a trajectory that runs from Adam Smith’s brewer to the “therapeutic” capitalism of Covid-19, whose foundational principle—”social distancing”—marks the apotheosis of the neutralization of any communitarian instance different from the “unsociably sociable” and intrinsically ephemeral, of mercantile exchange.

It is evident that such an anthropology is incompatible not only with the preceding figure of the urban factory proletariat, antagonistic and bound to the alienating monotony of Fordist stability. It is equally incompatible with the old bourgeois world “à la Hegel,” with the State and the sphere of stable community ethics, or “à la Balzac,” with its characters filled with nationalist prejudices and religious values, patriarchal traditions and existential stability. As I have tried to clarify elsewhere, reflecting itself in the commodified world without residues, capital becomes speculative; being becomes, without exception, the speculum in which turbo-capital contemplates itself, no longer seeing, on its own reflecting surface, any other disturbing element, such as religions and ethics; not even the two classes, bourgeois and proletarian.

Speculative capital (or turbo-capitalism) can now ubiquitously contemplate itself alone in pure form, as a freely circulating commodity, in the triumph of the omni-merchandization [conversion of everything into a market and goods] of being, of things and animals, of nature and of the human. This also explains the fusion of the two preceding antagonistic classes into a single multitude of consumerist plebs, devoid of identity and consciousness, which I have proposed to qualify as the “precariat” (in my Historia y conciencia del precariado [History and Consciousness of the Precariat]). It is also, and not secondarily, for this reason that capital, in the time of “glebalization”(Sic) and “unhappy identity,” in order to fully realize its concept, must annihilate not only the old proletarian world, but also the preceding bourgeois order. It must, in fact, reconfigure itself in a post-bourgeois and post-proletarian form, polarizing the whole of humanity into two qualitatively related and post-identitarian groups (integrally marketized stateless consumers), quantitatively differentiated by the exchange value they possess and by the objective position occupied on the immanent plane of production (financial aristocracy on the one hand and precarious plebs on the other). The struggle against identity cannot but occupy a central place in the program of reorganization of the world of life (Lebenswelt).

To become “absolute,” that is, perfectly “complete” (absolutus), the nihilism of the commodity form must be “freed from” (solutus ab) all material and immaterial limits. On the material plane, the dialectical dynamics of capital’s self-realization coincides with its saturation of the planet (globalization), with its neutralization of national sovereign states (de-sovereignization) and with the redefinition of every link in the form of a private contract between sellers and buyers (commodification of the world of life).

In the sphere of the immaterial, the self-realization of capital—its passage from the dialectical to the speculative—occurs through the residue-free colonization of consciousness and the imaginary. Like the Kantian Ich denke, the commodity form must accompany all representations of globally alienated men. Identities, linked to culture or to nature, to the individual or to peoples, thus become the equivalent of sovereign nation-states on the level of consciousness; that is to say, in the disordered post-1989 order they stand as the last bastions, as the extreme critical spaces, with well-defined borders, capable of resisting the alienating rhythm of omni-merchandization.

The material abatement of frontiers and the ideal dissolution of identities thus appear as two different aspects of the same logic of the absolute self-development of capital, which, in order to become unlimited, must necessarily annihilate every limit, saturate every material and immaterial space and dissolve any reality that contradicts it. The de-sovereignization of consciousness proceeds at the same time as its disidentification, with the emptying of all content that is functional to the integral reoccupation of consciousness and minds by the nihil of the commodity form. The globalization of markets imposes itself insofar as it destroys the national sovereignty of States and the cultural sovereignty of national-popular and class identities, making it difficult for all their determinations to survive what has been defined as cultural identity in the age of globalization.

On the one hand, by redefining politics as a neo-cannibalistic art of protecting the markets and the strongest, the new world order refunctionalizes the States themselves in a liberal key, de-sovereignized and called upon to “govern for the market” (and for their reference class), without any residual possibility of “governing the market” in a democratic and socialist sense. On the other hand, it dissolves the identities of peoples and individuals; it produces amorphous masses of post-identity and interchangeable subjects, emptied of all content and ready to assume cadaverously whatever the order of production wants to impose on them. The coexistence of these two dimensions in the process of globalization of the material and the immaterial emerges with a clear profile, if we consider hyperglobalist and post-national entities, such as—among many others—the European Union and the UN. Even if in a different way, they yet provoke a technocratic governance, devoid of references to cultural and spiritual identities, which, at the same time, is able to place itself beyond the decisions of parliaments and national δῆμοι.

From this point of view, the European Union (EU) has favored—rather than prevented—the irruption of market globalization in the spaces of the Old Continent, still replete with social rights and political, national and constitutional limitations to the free market. The old European capitalism, strongly controlled by the State and limited by the historical conquests of the working classes, had to be redefined according to the new figure of the turbo-capital absolutus, on the model of absolute American competitiveness. And this was the essence of the EU as the axis of the post-1989 liberal revolution in the Old Continent. Consequently, as shown in my study Il nichilismo dell’Unione Europea, the EU, with its techno-bureaucratic autocracy, has positioned itself no longer as a response to the globalized society of Atlanticist matrix, but as a step that has accelerated the transition towards the latter. It has favored the shift of decision-making centers from national parliaments to very private post-national bodies, such as the European Central Bank.

That the EU, that is, the new German empire nominally governed from Brussels, is a very concrete exemplum of cosmopolitan liberalism and market globalization is accredited both by the “revolt of the liberal elites,” which thanks to the technocratic governance of the EU have been able to unleash their counter-attack against the working classes (through dis-emancipatory “reforms”), and by the identitarian post-homologation of plural cultures. The latter, which represent the essence of the Europe of the peoples, are more and more clearly annihilated by means of the European capitalist integration, managed by the gray technocrats of Brussels. They eliminate the Europe of the Greek temples and the Christian cathedrals, in order to install the new neutral and asymbolic space of the banks and the hubs of liquid-financial capital [which I examined thoroughly]. The cultural and spiritual roots of Europe are cancelled in favor of the uprooting and homologation proper to the global-capitalist paradigm.

Diego Fusaro is professor of History of Philosophy at the IASSP in Milan (Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies) where he is also scientific director. He is a scholar of the Philosophy of History, specializing in the thought of Fichte, Hegel, and Marx. His interest is oriented towards German idealism, its precursors (Spinoza) and its followers (Marx), with a particular emphasis on Italian thought (Gramsci or Gentile, among others). he is the author of many books, including Fichte and the Vocation of the IntellectualThe Place of Possibility: Toward a New Philosophy of Praxis, and Marx, again!: The Spectre Returns[This article appears courtesy of Posmodernia].

Featured: Factory workers going to work at the Mather & Platt, Manchester, in the snow, by L S Lowry; painted in 1943.