The thesis that philosophy is essentially the “love of wisdom” (philosophia) is a myth. The source of philosophy is not the “love of wisdom”, but the ancient slave, racist, sexist and pedophilistic order. In Ancient Greece, philosophers had the role of the clergy in Medieval times. As with religion, philosophy has always been a political tool of the ruling class for preserving the ruling order.
Ljubodrag Simonovic: Mind and Philosophy
Translated from Serbian by Vesna Petrović (Todorović)
English translation supervisor Mick Collins
According to Heidegger, in the traditional philosophy commencing with Socrates, Plato and Aristotle, human existence became the subject of mind and thus lost its immediate existential dimension and acquired an objective and thereby metaphysical character. Man no longer relates to the world from the experience of his tragic existence, based on a fear of death that can be overcome by relying on gods, but by way of thinking and activity derived from thinking, which draws him into the sphere of inauthentic existence – into the oblivion of Being and, consequently, to nihilism.
Heidegger discards philosophy because it turns the world and man into objects, and his criterion for determining the truthfullness of Being in the contemporary world is an idealized image of the Hellenic world as the product and object of a divine (self)will. Heidegger strives to abolish philosophy, which turned man’s existence into an object and thus reduced man, as a concrete social being, to a metaphysical being. Heidegger claims that, with his fundamental ontology, he is trying to overcome metaphysics; however, everything touched by his thought was turned into the metaphysical.
According to Heidegger, what is essential should be sought in man’s relation to Being. The experience of one’s own existence through co-existence with Being is the point where meta-spheres, as the starting points for self-reflection of philosophical thought, are abolished. In that regard, overcoming metaphysics is achieved in the sphere of man’s immediate relation to his existence and not in the sphere of social processes that determine people’s lives. At the same time, man’s experience of the limits of metaphysics can help him overcome the metaphysical way of thinking.
Heidegger does not realise that metaphisics is only one of the ideological manifestations of a world in which man is abolished as a historical, i.e., an authentic and life-creating being. Metaphysics is the self-consciousness of capitalist reproduction processes, which are in conflict with man’s life-creating nature and history. A petrified man and a petrified world – this is the essence of metaphysics.
Overcoming the way of thinking that objectifies man and the world involves the abolition of the world in which man has become the object of in-human and destructive processes. The abolition of the capitalist world through changing practice based on a life-creating mind is the main presupposition for the abolition of metaphysics. The abolition of the process of objectification of man and the world and thus the metaphysical way of thinking can be achieved by reviving the life-creating potentials of nature, man, history, and mind. It is about the overcoming of the world producing metaphysics as its ideology, and not about the abolition of the critical-changing mind by way of the poetical – which produces a religious approach to Being as the embodiment of the ruling processes abolishing man as an authentic historical being. Metaphysics cannot be abolished in thinking or by the abolition of mind, but through a political struggle that will abolish destructive capitalist barbarism and enable man to become the creator of his own history.
Heidegger creates the impression that man can relate to the concrete world as a being outside of the world, that his relation to the world is not conditioned by the nature of the world and the nature of his existence as a concrete social being. His philosophy lacks the self-reflection of man as a concrete social being, which means the self-reflection of his concrete existence. Indeed, man does not relate to the world as an extra-terrestrial being, but as somebody who belongs to that world. The experience and reflection of the world are conditioned by the nature of the world in which man lives and the nature of his existence as a concrete social being. Marx is right: “It is not the consciousness of men that determines their being, but, on the contrary, their social being that determines their consciousness”.
Fundamental ontology does not consider the real world; it rather creates an ideological image of the world based on the political projection of the future advocated by Heidegger. The ideological world becomes the image of the world that mediates between man and the real world and, as such, is the means for abolishing man’s reasonable relation to the world. In this respect, Heidegger comes close to Christianity as a method of ruling. According to Christianity, man should believe that his slave‘s life leads to heaven. Indeed, with his slave‘s life, man enables the ruling class to strengthen a governing regime based on the exploitation of people and the destruction of life.
Heidegger confronts the mind’s emancipatory and life-creating potential and, in that context, the idea of a reasonable world. Heidegger’s confrontation with the mind is actually a confrontation with a reasonable man. Considering the fact that the world is ruled by destructive capitalist mindlessness and that the creation of a reasonable alternative to capitalism has become a matter of humankind’s survival, Heidegger’s philosophy not only has an anti-emancipatory, but also an anti-existential character. Without a critical-changing relation to capitalism, which involves man’s becoming an emancipated reasonable being, the world is doomed.
If philosophical thinking is possible only as the thinking of Being, and the thinking of Being as its objectification, then the poetical, as the experience of Being, becomes the abolition of philosophy and thus of man’s reasonable relation to his existence. The poetical represents a “detour” of the mind and acquires a liturgical dimension.
Heidegger creates a myth both of his philosophy as a supra-historical thought and of himself as a supra-historical being. Heidegger’s philosophy is not aware of its own limits, which are a necessary product of the times in which it appeared. In Heidegger, there is no self-reflection of philosophy departing from its being a concrete historical thought, conditioned by the nature of capitalism and bearing its seal.
Heidegger’s philosophy is modelled after Ancient Greece, where there were no separate spheres of tehnology, art, philosophy, religion… At the same time, his thought derives from philosophy as a separate sphere of the capitalist supra-structure, which obtains authenticity relative to other spheres and does not derive from the totality of the world, which in ancient times was in unity with being. Although Heidegger criticises the world of tehnology, his philosophy represents the other side of that world, or more precisely, his criticism of the world of technology is conditioned by that very world. The nature of that which is criticised inevitably conditions the nature of its criticism.
Heidegger explains contemporary concepts with an analysis using traditional philosophical terms. Indeed, modern man thinks in an essentially different way from Ancient man. In Ancient Greece, man’s approach to the world and human beings was holistic and had a religious character, which was based on the authoritarian political principle of the ruling slave and racist order. “Traditional philosophy” can connect traditional and modern thinkers in the same way that mythological imagination, with its ideological character, connects ancient and modern worlds.
The thesis that philosophy is essentially the “love of wisdom” (philosophia) is a myth. The source of philosophy is not the “love of wisdom”, but the ancient slave, racist, sexist and pedophilistic order. In Ancient Greece, philosophers had the role of the clergy in Medieval times. As with religion, philosophy has always been a political tool of the ruling class for preserving the ruling order. Rather than being grounded in reason, philosophy is one of the institutions of the class order. It is based on the interests of the ruling groups, which privatized the mind making it the exclusive means for defending the ruling order.
The “love of wisdom” is a euphemism concealing the truth that philosophy is a specific skill of ruling that establishes power in people’s minds, namely, the ideological club of the ruling class and as such the instrument for preserving the ruling order. Philosophy has never been guided by original human interests and, in that sense, by mind. This is the main reason why modern philosophy “has not noticed” that capitalism is destroying life on the Earth and man as a human and natural being.
The definition of philosophy as the “love of wisdom” implies that “wisdom”, and man’s need for wisdom, precede philosophy. “Wisdom” acquires an abstract dimension and becomes independent of society and human beings. It becomes a distinct entity, whose concrete nature is not questioned. It is not a historical product and has no historical dimension. Should we not, however, first answer the question of what “wisdom” is and where the “love of wisdom” comes from, and try to explain its nature? Is it an inherent part of human nature or the need for it was created in the course of human society’s historical development?
Historically, wisdom precedes philosophy and derives from the existential sphere based on the working classes’ struggle for freedom, on labour, on the development of man’s cultural being and on a respect for nature, and not on the class order based on the exploitation of working classes, stupification of the human race and destruction of nature.
If philosophy is indeed the “love of wisdom”, then wisdom is the criterion upon which the truthfullness of philosophy is determined. Who is wise: a man who claims the existence of a non-existent and bows to a non-existent as if it were existent, or the man who is aware that it derives from religious imagination, imposed on people as “truth” by the governing philosophy (religion)? Ancient philosophers used reason to create the illusion of the Olympic gods so as to deify the existing world and prevent a demise of the ruling order. Plato’s philosophy provides the best example. His belief that people are “the toys of gods” is one of the most detrimental philosophical “truths”, exploited by the masters of the world for over two thousand years in their endeavours to destroy the working people’s libertarian dignity and justify their own dominant position.
If philosophy is indeed the “love of wisdom” and philosophers are the “lovers of wisdom”, why have philosophers never expressed interest in the “folk wisdom” born from the life struggle of people living upon their labour and opposing a ruling order based on oppressive and destructive mindlessness? During their life and liberatarian struggle, people all over the world have created a plethora of gems of wisdom that never came into the focus of “serious” philosophy. “Wisdom”, in the form of established philosophy and religion, has always been a privilege of the ruling class. “Folk” have never been entitled to wisdom. Slaves and serfs, and later on peasants and workers, have always been reduced to a mindless “mass” that must obey and submit to their masters. Working people were not supposed to be the source of wisdom and have the self-consciousness of wise people. Ever since the onset of class society, that is what the survival of the ruling order has been based upon.
While in the works of Shakespeare, Goethe, Njegosh… we can still discern the traces of folk wisdom, later philosophy, based upon the capitalist division of labour and specialization, developed a specific language of philosophy and a specific way of philosophizing that entirely disassociated itself from folk wisdom. This was further supported by the development of the theoretical sphere of science and art, with which, along with the existent religious domain, philosophy is confronted and intertwined. At the same time, philosophy saw the development of branches within itself, each striving to become a predominant thought. Philosophy becomes an elitist thinking that, due to its specific jargon, is completely separated from “ordinary” people. As with classic versions of Biblical texts, increasingly complex and obscure philosophical terms become holy formulas, which do not serve to prompt people to think about the essential, but to kill their willingness to think.
To deprive the working people of reason has always been the primary task of both philosophers and the clergy. This is the basis of the contemporary strategy of ruling, with working “masses” reduced by capitalists to a working-consuming herd. Philosophy becomes a professional activity and acquires a paramount political significance. Contemporary philosophers acquire a status similar to that of the Ancient Greek philosophers and the Medieval clergy.
Historically, there are two parallel contemplating worlds: one is generated from the life struggle of working people and the other from the oppressive and parasitic life of the ruling class. There is a libertarian-life-creating wisdom based on people’s struggle for freedom and survival, on the one hand, and the wisdom of the masters, institutionalized in the form of philosophy and religion and based on the exploitation and oppression of the working people and the conquering of the world.
Folk wisdom is based on people’s life-creating struggle and finds its truth by offering them a possibility to solve their existential problems. It comes from the life experience of working people and contains instructions for everyday life, being, in that respect, a constitutive part of life. Its truthfullness is not verified through hollow academic disputes, but in the course of everyday struggle for survival and freedom. Folk wisdom can be a universal truth only in formal terms. In concrete terms, it can be a guiding principle only to those who live the kind of life that gives rise to this thought and to which it relates.
A typical example is the maxim: “All in good time!” as one of the most relevant and wisest folk wisdoms. It is based on a thousand year old experience and its true meaning can be understood only in terms of man’s struggle for survival and freedom. It indicates the importance of a reasonable relation to the future and, in that respect, the responsibility for making life decisions viewed from the perspective of their causes and consequences. To do the right thing at the right time and take into consideration the possible consequences – this is the elementary principle of a reasonable life, which should enable the preservation of life in the contemporary world and the creation of a more humane world.
Philosophy develops by focusing on the development of the very process of thinking, which has a master and, in that sense, an instrumental character. It is not part of people’s life-creating and libertarian practice, not a part of life itself, but is rather a mediator between the world and people and obtains the legitimacy of being reasonable in the context of the philosophical sphere, which is alienated from people and constitutes part of the dominant ideological sphere. As a separate sphere of thinking, it is foreign to people who live in line with the wisdom which has a life-creating character. It is no accident that leading philosophers are usually close to the ruling order, often acting as consultants for “strategic issues”.
Kant’s “categorical imperative” (“Act only according to that maxim whereby you can, at the same time, will that it should become a universal law”), which is one of the corner stones of modern philosophy, is a typical example of the political instrumentalization of philosophy. It has nothing to do with man’s life-creating and libertarian practice or, in that sense, with wisdom, but is rather an ideological scam intended to produce a false “moral” consciousness within an abstract “citizen” and thus ensure survival of a capitalist order based on conflicting personal interests of the atomized petty bourgeoisie.
The conflict between libertarian mind and established philosophy can be traced back to the teachings in natural science and law offered by Sophists. The same applies to the criticism of the Olympic games and the Olympic champions, which grew louder with the demise of the Hellenic world.
As far as Christianity is concerned, a typical example of the political instrumentalization of Christianity in the defence of the ruling order can be seen in the maxims: “All things come to him who waits!” and “All authority is from God!”. As opposed to what the great Serbian educator Vasa Pelagic, guided by a libertarian wisdom, came to concludes that “churches are shops where priests sell lies about God”.
The human mind, which is based on the understanding and experience of the ecocidal nature of capitalism, has long been opposed to a philosophy based on existential apriorism and the myth of “infinite progress”, which thus becomes a philosophical manifestation of destructive capitalist mindlessness. A warning of the direction in which the world is moving, like the one given by Charles Fourier in the beginning of the 19th century or, half a century later, by Chief Seattle, was given long before the onset of “consumer society”, that representation of the last stage in the development of capitalism as a totalitarian destructive order.
Here are some of the wise thoughts of the Native American chief, which matter more to the development of humankind’s life-creating consciousness than all previous philosophy: “How can you buy or sell the sky, the warmth of the land? The idea is strange to us. If we do not own the freshness of the air and the sparkle of the water, how can you buy them? Every part of this earth is sacred to my people. Every shining pine needle, every sandy shore, every mist in the dark woods, is holy in the memory and experience of my people. The sap, which courses through the trees carries the memories of the red man. The white man’s dead forget the country of their birth when they go to walk among the stars. Our dead never forget this beautiful earth, for it is the mother of the red man. (…) We are part of the earth and it is part of us. The perfumed grasses are our sisters; the deer, the horse, the great eagle, these are our brothers. The rocky crests, the juices in the meadows, the body heat of the pony, and man --- all belong to the same family (…) We know that the white man does not understand our ways. One portion of land is the same to him as the next, for he is a stranger who comes in the night and takes from the land whatever he needs. The earth is not his brother, but his enemy, and when he has conquered it, he moves on. He leaves his father’s grave behind, and he does not care. He kidnaps the earth from his children, and he does not care. His father’s grave, and his children’s birthright are forgotten. He treats his mother, the earth, and his brother, the sky, as things to be bought, plundered, sold like sheep or bright beads. His appetite will devour the earth and leave behind only a desert. (…) The air is precious to the red man for all things share the same breath, the beast, the tree, the man, they all share the same breath. The white man does not seem to notice the air he breathes. Like a man dying for many days he is numb to the stench.(…) You must teach your children what we have taught our children that the earth is our mother. Whatever befalls the earth befalls the sons of earth. If men spit upon the ground, they spit upon themselves. For whatever happens to the beasts, soon happens to man. (…). The earth does not belong to man; man belongs to the earth. This we know. All things are connected like the blood, which unites one family. All things are connected. Man did not weave the web of life; he is merely a strand in it. Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself. Even the White Man, whose God walked and talked with him as friend to friend, cannot be exempt from the common destiny. (…) The end of living and the beginning of survival…”
None of the “great philosophers”, whose work represents the pillar of Western civilization’s contemplative life, has ever concerned himself with the Chief’s life wisdom – available to the general public ever since 1854. Also, none of the “great philosophers” has ever expressed any interest in the terrible plight of Native Americans, who have almost been eradicated by American capitalism. Up to 98% of their population was exterminated in the biggest genocide in our world’s history. Tens of millions of adults and millions of children have been systematically massacred by the American regime during the course of over 200 years. This monstrous crime forms the foundation of the “American democracy” and the “new (American) world order”.
How has modern philosophy overlooked the fact that capitalism pushes humankind right to the abyss? The fact that modern philosophy is alienated from man and his concrete existence and as such serves as a mediator between man and world is the reason why the question of humankind’s survival, as the most immediate existential question, has never become a crucial philosophical question. Modern philosophy, as it turns out, is based on existential apriorism and has an anti-existential character. For hundreds of years, it has prevented human beings from realizing the extent of capitalism’s destructiveness.
Modern philosophy is a form of philosophy that cherishes progressivistic myths created by a capitalistically established and instrumentalized science. One of the most dangerous myths is that the genuine indicator of progress is the extent to which man has conquered nature. To increase the certainty of humankind’s survival has never been considered as a condition of progress and never became a crucial philosophical question. Christianity, with its idea of apocalypse, has greatly contributed to this. The progress based on capitalism is realized in a demise of the world, which ends in the Christian apocalypse.
Thinking has a concrete historical nature. It is one thing when man thinks in the blossoming field and quite another when he thinks on the brink of the abyss. A specific feature of contemporary philosophy is the fact that philosophers continue to philosophize as if humankind were not on the brink of the abyss. It is not only an anti-libertarian, but also an anti-existential mystification of the world.
Traditional philosophy is based on the illusion that freedom of the mind is possible without freedom of man. It is about a dualism of the spiritual and the material world, whereby man is reduced to res cogitans (Descartes). In the works of bourgeois philosophers, there is no self-reflection of the mind from the aspect of the concrete non-freedom of a thinking man. The freedom of a thinking man is not stipulated as a condition for determining the truthfullness of philosophy. We are dealing here with an ideological scam: philosophy is a sphere of freedom in its own right – as opposed to the world of non-freedom. How can we talk of a “freedom of thinking” with man hovering over the abyss?
As a separate social discipline and mode of thinking, philosophy has become a phenomenon sui generis. By means of his magical philosophical veil, the philosopher hovers over the world of non-freedom and destruction and relates to it as if he had not occured in that world and were not living in it; as if he were not participating in the creation of that which should be analyzed “objectively”; as if he were not interested in the future of that world and what might happen to it; as if his thought of the world were not conditioned by the nature of that world and the nature of his position in the world… A “free philosopher” becomes the ideological mask of an unfree man, whereas philosophy becomes a concrete lie of an abstract man disquised as a “philosopher”.
Philosophy is a specific sphere of politics, covered by the veil of the “universal truth”. The same applies to religion, whose “universal truth” has an absolute character and is not subject to rational verification. The thesis that philosophy is the “pursuit of truth” is but one way of turning philosophy into a myth. If the essence of wisdom is the truth, the question is what kind of truth? Historically, each ruling class has had its own truth. The truth of the ruling class in ancient Hellada was based on the slave, racist, militarist, sexist and pedophilic nature of that world, based on a cosmic order ruled by the Olympian gods.
Philosophy turns life issues into abstract theoretical questions and thus sterilizes the libertarian and life-creating potential of the mind. It separates the mind from life and ghettoizes it. The world, history, man – all that is obtained from the given ideological sphere appearing as “philosophy”. In contemporary capitalism, philosophy is deprived of a humanist and life-creating essence and reduced to a technical discipline. It is based on the capitalistically instrumentalized mind, which amounts to a technical ratio. This is, actually, the most important way in which the ruling order appropriates and ruins the mind.
Philosophers relate to philosophy in the same way theologists relate to religion: they see it as the exclusive means of the ruling “elite” to spiritually enslave the working “masses”. Philosophical elitism derives from class elitism. A striving for dominance, by imposing the “truth” through mind appropriation, is only one manifestation of the dominant spirit of class society, where intellectual activity is a privilege of the governing class. Rather than striving to make the world intelligible, philosophers strive to confront the very thinking that questions their elitist status. They do not strive to bring people closer to one another; they strive to establish power over them. What is common to all philosophers is their considering themselves to be the “owners” of truth whereas the “ordinary” people are un-reasonable creatures and, as such, lower beings.
Philosophy is an institutionalized form of the alienation of reason from man. The purpose of philosophy is to philosophize, which means to separate the mind from life and thus prevent people from becoming reasonable beings; its purpose is not to preserve the world and achieve man’s freedom. Philosophical rhetoric is a mind trap. It creates labyrinths of thought, where man, in his pursuit of truth, loses historical self-consciousness and becomes the victim of illusions. Instead of being the “pursuit of truth”, philosophy is rather the giving of “truth”. Through philosophy, truth is deprived of a concrete historical nature, acquiring an ideological dimension. “Truth” becomes an instrument in the conflict with man as a visionary and changing being and the means for preserving the current state of affairs. Heidegger’s fundamental ontology is a typical example thereof.
In addition to concealing and mystifying the truth, philosophy also serves to deprive people of their right to reasonableness, and to reason itself. Just as the clergy have the exclusive ownership of “God”, philosophers have the exclusive ownership of reason. The claim that philosophy is self-consciousness of the mind, which means that thinking, via philosophy, acquires the legitimacy of the reasonable, is an ideological scam. The abolishment of philosophy as a mediator between man and the world represents the mind’s liberation from its philosophical cage.
The “history of philosophy” yields philosophy no historical grounds and relegates it to a supra-historical realm. Philosophers are deprived of their concrete social being and turned into a “philosophical mind” hovering over the world. They try to conceal the source of or motives for engaging in philosophy in order to create a false image of their lack of “bias”. Like priests, philosophers also have their special robes. Behind a philosophical “objectivity” there hides a class, group and personal bias. “Philosophers” are vain people. Their philosophizing is not based on a need for truth; it is driven by basic human passions and personal interests. What is common to all “philosophers” is not a libertarian inspiration, but an elitist pride.
Bourgeois philosophy produces a false image of the world in an attempt to prevent its changing. Capitalism’s diagnosis is based on a political strategy that strives to preserve capitalism at any cost. Philosophers have not “explained the world” as Marx claims, they have rather mystified it. If philosophers had indeed “explained the world”, they would have inevitably come to the conslusion that the capitalist world is based on destruction and the creation of a new world, based on existential certainty, would have long been the basic philosophical concern.
Instead of advocating a social order based on reason, philosophy follows the spirit of a destructive mindlessness and destroys critical rationalism and visionary consciousness. A typical example is the philosophy of play, along with the philosophy of sport and Olympism. Every reasonable human being clearly sees that to insist on play as the “oasis of happiness” (Fink) only contributes to preserving the world of misery. Also, every reasonable human being clearly sees that to insist on the principle citius, altius, fortius, inevitably leads to the destruction of man as a humane and natural being. In spite of that, bourgeois philosophers glorify sport because it is a spectacular billboard for capitalism and therefore the chief political means of integrating the oppressed into the capitalist order.
Just how much the bourgeois philosophy is un-reasonable and to what extent it amounts to the means for the devaluation of man and the justification of capitalist terror, can be seen from the following example. Bourgeois anthropology is based on the assertion that man is, by nature, a greedy beast with an inherent need to kill. The wolf is proclaimed man’s immediate predecessor. Every peasant child knows that a wolf does not have a need to kill, but to satisfy its hunger. Once it is satisfied, the wolf has no need to attack either other animals or man. Also, every peasant child knows that man has tamed the wolf by feeding it. Thanks to that, the wolf has turned from a ferocious beast to the dog – “man’s best friend”. The dog, which is a tamed wolf, has become a noble creature and as such is “man’s best friend”, whereas man, who does not have any connection with the wolf whatsoever and who originates from the benevolent chimpanzee, has a “wolf nature”, which means that he is a “ferocious beast”! How ingenious is that?
Bearing in mind the nature of capitalists, politicians, journalists, philosophers, priests, traders, lawyers and members of other “elitist” professions, we could conclude that not all people originate from the wolf; namely, some of them originate from the rat and some from the snake, hyena, skunk… This could be the right topic, indeed, for bourgeois anthropology!
Philosophy is conditioned by the nature of the concrete historical totality in which it occurs. Capitalism, as a totalitarian destructive order, conditions the anti-existential character of bourgoise philosophy. Philosophy does not reveal what is concealed, but rather conceals the destructive nature of capitalism and the emancipatory potential created in bourgeois society, which offer the possibility for the creation of a new world. Not only does philosophy create the illusion that capitalism’s irrational nature is actually rational, it is also a manifestation of capitalism’s destructive irrationalism.
With different philosophical disciplines, the mind becomes mutilated, while the conflict originating within philosophy results in futile disputes which, considering the dramatic destruction of the world, have an anti-existential character. Philosophical dispute amounts to the distraction of the mind from essential life issues and the accumulation of philosophical empty-talk that blocks the mind. Instead of striving for life-creating thought, philosophy is reduced to a sterile philosophical knowledge. The history of philosophy amounts to a philosophical dogmatics that prevents the mind from freely relating to the world that is falling ever more deeply into the abyss of existential hopelessness.
In contemporary capitalism, philosophers have become capitalist theologians, who create virtual worlds not by means of a religious mysticism, but rather by means of a technocratic way of thinking that destroys humanist visionary imagination and produces virtual worlds in the form of consumer goods. The conflict between capitalism and life proceeds in the form of a conflict with visionary consciousness. Philosophers create a world without a future and thus become the gravediggers of humankind.
In “consumer society”, philosophy has become a discipline subject to the rules of show-business: it has become a form of entertainment. Even when they pose relevant questions, philosophers pose them in such a way that they lack seriousness and acquire a caricatural dimension. Philosophy is reduced to an entertaining rhetoric, which seeks to appear in a spectacular form, i.e. pre-packaged for marketing. The “quality of a philosopher” is measured by the size of the fee brought by his performance. Philosophers have become the jesters of capitalism.
Capitalism destroys the reasonable man and man’s reasonable relation to the world and life and reduces him to a consumer idiot. The velocity of the turnover of capital is the “mystic” force that determines human life and the development of the world. Philosophy is caught between a rock and a hard place: namely, between the dynamics of life dictated by the acceleration of capitalist reproduction, on the one hand, and the total commercialization of the world that destroys people’s need for serious thinking, on the other. The production of philosophical works is conditioned by the acceleration of the capitalist wheel and people’s ever narrower mental capacities, with the mind mutilated by the capitalist way of life and the ruling propaganda machinery.
Through the media, held by capitalists, the public is exposed only to the way of thinking that is in conflict with the emancipatory heritage of bourgeois society and visionary consciousness. The public space is left to corrupted politicians, ill-educated TV presenters and the “commentators” at hand, whereas the real political space, beyond the public domain, is left to the most powerful capitalist clans who, blinded by self-interests, make decision that threaten the survival of humankind.
The main source of “reasonableness” in “consumer society” are commercials. They do not show a reflective man, but mental degenerates, who treat commercial goods with a religious zeal. In light of this inreasingly dramatic process of turning people into idiots and destroying their lives, we can clearly see the fatal consequences of mind’s ghettoization. We are talking here about two sides of the same process, both grounded in destructive capitalist irrationalism.
The “end of philosophy”, as a concrete historical process, occurs as the destruction of man’s ability to make independent conclusions and act upon them. It is about the abolishment of the mind and freedom, i.e., of the possibility of creating a mindful freedom. The aim of bourgeoise philosophy is to prevent radical social changes by eliminating the possibility that change might be based on the mind. The “eclipse of reason” (Horkheimer) is capitalism’s response to the growing existential crisis and to the existence of objective possibilities for the abolishment of the capitalist world. Bourgeois philosophy destroys the seed of novum created in capitalism by destroying its historical genesis. Hence its insistence on an anti-visionary way of thinking and on philosophical disciplines that pin the human mind down to the existing world based on destructive capitalist mindlessness. This is the basic reason why sport, as a spectacular form of pinning man down to the existing world, has become the dominant (quasi) religion in capitalism.
Philosophy belongs to the “pre-history” (Marx) of human society – along with capitalism and its intellectual supra-structure. Even when it criticizes the current state of affairs, philosophy contributes to its preservation because it reproduces a world divided into spheres alienated from man. In that sense, philosophy is an alienated form of disalienation. No critical discussion of philosophy remains within its scope unless it is related to a critical-changing practice. Here we should remember Marx’s thesis that “the correct theory is the consciousness of a practice that aims at changing the world”. The changing relation to the world conditions the nature of thinking. This context opens the space for a libertarian philosophy, with a critical self-consciousness directing the changing practice towards the final abolishment of capitalism and thus the abolishment of philosophy as a way of thinking alienated from man.
Man cannot leave the world and relate to it as an extra-terrestrial or supra-terrestrial being, but he can “step out briefly” from that world. The nature of this “stepping out” is also conditioned by the nature of the world and its concrete existence, but it enables him to establish a relationship with the existing world and to throw a glance at the future.
In addition to a positivist relation to the existing world, whereby the world is reduced to a self-reproductive givenness, there is also a mythological, transcendental, virtual and visionary relation to the world. Man acquires the image of his concrete existence relative to an idealized image of the past; relative to an illusory heavenly world produced by religious imagination; relative to virtual cosmic worlds produced by scientistic cosmological fantasy; or relative to an imagined and possible future of this earthly world.
What offers him the possibility to “step out” from the world is the historical mind, which means his visionary imagination. By way of the historical mind, with its dialectic character, man can perceive the concrete existential and essential boundaries of his existence, as well as the concrete existential and essential potential for the creation of a future world, which can be realized through libertarian and creative practice. The historicity of human existence is the starting point for determining its self-reflection. The idea of progress and a visionary consciousness appear in this context. The quality of the current human existence is determined relative to the increasingly dramatic destruction of life and relative to the created life-creating potential – involving the life-creating potential of man as a libertarian and social being, which are not, but could be, realized through the creation of a new world and thereby a new existence.
Since philosophy is a manifestation of destructive capitalist irrationalism, a demand for the “realization of philosophy” means adding fuel to the fire devouring the world. Instead of “being realized”, philosophy should be abolished in the abolishment of the capitalist world and by man‘s becoming an emancipated reasonable being. The abolishment of philosophy does not mean the discarding, but on the contrary, the revival of the libertarian and life-creating potential of philosophical thought. In that context, dialectical thought acquires a special place, as it overcomes the mind that is pinned down to everyday living and incapable of grasping the process of society’s historical development – without which man cannot acquire self-consciousness as a historical being.
Marx’s thought opens a possibility for a demystifaction of philosophy and the development of an emancipatory mind. It confronts philosophy as the mind alienated from man, which mediates between man and the world and serves the ruling order to do away with the critical-visionary mind and libertarian practice of the oppressed. Marx sought to realize and thus abolish philosophy by way of a revolution, which would be carried out by the oppressed and conscious working people.
Today, the mind should be associated with humankind’s struggle for survival. It should become the “property” of man as an emancipated reasonable being and as such the basic integrative force of society. The mind should be freed from the cage of philosophy, science, religion, politics… and brought back to life as the foundation of human relationships, man’s understanding of the world and his relation to the future. We should develop a life-creating mind that will be the most important manifestation of human beingness. Every word uttered by man should be reasonable – it should come from the mind and be directed to it. This “rationalization of the world” involves people becoming emancipated reasonable beings.
Instead of being directed to the rationalization of the world and the struggle for its survival, the minds of tens of thousands of people engaged in philosophy and the social sciences, representing the most educated part of humanity, are directed at futile academic disputes and the interpretation of the thoughts of individuals whose philosophy amounts to the creation of a thinking labyrinth without exit. A typical example is the relation of the academic intelligentsia to Heidegger.
A true mind is not possible as the privilege of a small group of people, but as man’s right and a concrete possibility. The ideal of a mind emancipated from philosophy is a rational man and society as the community of emancipated rational people. Man’s concern for solving concrete life problems related to his survival and freedom will direct him towards rational thinking. Only in the context of his struggle for survival will man become an emancipated rational being.
The true “will to power” (Nietzsche) can be achieved only relative to a destructive capitalist mindlessness that makes man lead a mindless (self-destructive) life. The basic reasonable principle we should follow is the preservation of life on Earth. This is the most important reasonable path. To be human today means, above all, to fight against ecocidal capitalist terrorism and for the survival of life.
In a world that has become a capitalist crematorium, “free thinking” is an ideological scam. There is no free thinking without a free mind, and there is no free mind without a free man. Only in an authentic history, one in the future classless (communist) society, is man’s true freedom possible and can thought become a free activity of a free man, the purpose of thinking being not thinking itself but thinking as the essential part of a life-creating existence.
Philosophy can be abolished only through a revolution, through realization of life-creating potential within the concrete existence of man as a creative and emancipated social being. The power that enables society to prevent the destruction of life and to create a humane world are not the mystic powers that acquire mythological dimension, but the life-creating potential of national cultures and bourgeois society, along with the life-creating potential of man as a creative and social being. Revolution is the only form of existence involving the abolishment of the processes that reduce man and the world to objects. They pull down the walls between man and the world. It is the true form of man’s realization as a creative and visionary being. With capitalism becoming a totalitarian destructive order, revolution has become the highest existential challenge and the most authentic way of life. It has become the supreme principle of a life-creating humanism and as such the supreme principle on which life-creative practice should be based. Philosophy, which has appropriated the mind, should be abolished by a rational world, by people becoming life-creative rational beings. To return the mind to man is not only the primary essential challenge, but also the paramount existential imperative.
More from Ljubodrag Simonovic:
- Life-creating mind against destructive mindlessness
- The nature of Marx’s critique of capitalism
- Marx’s conception of nature
- Capitalist exploitation of soil
- Marx and capitalist globalism
- The cosmic dimension of man
- “Alienation” and destruction
- Destruction of the body
- Capitalist nihilism
- Productive forces
- Dialectics and history
- The integration of people into capitalism
- Technique as myth: Zeitgeist fascism (Part 15a) •|• Technique as myth: Zeitgeist fascism (Part 15b)
- Contemporary bourgeois thought
- Politics as a fraud
- Contemporary critique of capitalism
- Bourgeoisie and proletariat
- October revolution
- Contemporary socialist revolution
- Revolutionary violence
- Vision of a future