The Iraq War as Global Watershed Event

After the First World War, in which he served as a German soldier in the trenches of the Western Front, the social philosopher Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy began work on his great history of Western Revolutions entitled Out of Revolution: Autobiography of Western ManIn it he applied his “grammatical method” to interpreting the patterns of history.

For Rosenstock-Huessy, the First World War was the form of a World Revolution. He recognised, even while in the trenches, that the war had taken on the form of a world revolution that had established a new global space — a new “within” that encompassed the entire planet. Henceforth, he mused, all wars must be civil wars within one body politic of planetary scope.

In a later publication entitled The Christian Future, or the modern mind outrun, he remarked as follows,

‘The two world wars were the form of world revolution in which this new future reached into everybody’s life: the nationalist and communist ideologies with their dreams of revolution were checkmated and are mere foam around the real transformation. The real transformation was made by the wars and it made the Great Society final. She is the heiress of State and Church.” (p. 5)

Prior to the World Wars, in other words, Nations were outsiders to each other. But the world wars created a new global space in relation to which nations are now subordinate particulars and component parts. This global space, organised by the Corporation on economic principles, is what Rosenstock is referring to as “the Great Society”. It is the Corporate form, in the form of the “transnational corporation”,  that is actually the heiress of State and Church.

It is within this singular space that all wars now become global civil wars. No one is unaffected by them; everything and everyone is universally affected by them. And the Iraq War was, indeed, a decisive and watershed event in the history of the new globalisation in those terms — a war to assimilate an outlier state into the new global corporate order, and not just, as it has been described, as the first resource war of the 21s Century.

So, it was with a good deal of interest that I read Peter Beaumont’s article in The Guardian entitled “Global protest grows as citizens lose faith in politics and the state” and this very insightful observation about how the growing global public unrest has its roots in the Iraq War, citing an Israeli urban geographer by name of Tali Hatuka,

“Tali Hatuka, an Israeli urban geographer, whose book on the new forms of protest will be published next year, identifies the mass mobilisations against the Iraq war in 2003 as a turning point in how people protest. Hatuka argues that, while previous large public protests had tended to be focused and narrow in their organisation, the Iraq war protests saw demonstrations in 800 cities globally which encompassed and tolerated a wide variety of outlooks.”

The Iraq War was thus a global watershed event that altered irrevocably how publics now perceive and judge their own governments and the trustworthiness of the State. An estimated 26 million people world-wide, in 800 cities, protested and marched against the “Coalition of the Willing” and the Iraq War only to have their deep suspicions about government and corporate untruthfulness, deceit, dissembling, propaganda, and prevarication subsequently confirmed. It is not coincidence, for example, that the Occupy Movement includes large numbers of Iraq War veterans, or the cynicism with which even military personnel renamed their Iraq bases with the names “Camp Shell” or “Camp Exxon”.

Beaumont (and Hatuka) are suggesting the the Iraq War was what we call a “game-changer” in the relation of global publics to their governments, even if those governments did not participate in the Coalition of the Willing. In that conclusion we see something of Rosenstock’s insight that all wars after the First World War will necessarily assume the form of global civil wars. From the Middle East, to Turkey, to New York, to London, to Russia, to Montreal, to Brazil, I believe we are seeing the first stages of what will develop into a world revolution, as even Rosenstock-Huessy predicted, as early as 1938, as being something that must necessarily follow from his study of the pattern of revolutions in history, and that its central organising principle or theme would be “health”.

And another word for “health” is the “whole” or the “integral” (or integrity). These protests are, in a sense, taking the form of “globalism by other means” even if they are, at present, not fully articulate. But articulacy is only developed in the process of revolution itself (as Rosenstock also attested). It begins with shouting and yelling, and only in the process of revolution does this yelling and shouting precipitate and crystallise into eloquence and articulacy.

A new language is born in the cauldron of revolution. It does not emerge all at once like Athena fully mature and armoured from the head of Zeus.

And I’m persuaded that the surveillance programmes so recently revealed (not just in the U.S. by Mr. Snowden, but also operating in Britain and Canada or “the Five Eyes”) have far less to do with intercepting and forestalling terrorist threats than in monitoring the growing restlessness and distrust of global publics about the legitimacy of their own institutions, power elites, and ruling classes.


10 responses to “The Iraq War as Global Watershed Event”

  1. LittleBigMan says :

    A clear evidence that the governments around the world are not really representatives of the people they govern. Governments are the epicenters of the power elite within each given society. it’s interesting that we have pictures of former presidents on our bills here in the United States — as if shamelessly admitting the close connection and oneness between the government and those who have more of the dough.

  2. Scott Preston says :

    I fixed the link to Peter Beaumont’s article in the Guardian.

    • LittleBigMan says :

      Good thing. I had to type the article’s title in a search engine to get to it 🙂

  3. Scott Preston says :

    Today’s editorial commentary in The Guardian/Observer is calling the situation “a crisis of legitimacy” — accurately, I think

    • Scott Preston says :

      By the way, “crisis of legitimacy” is pretty much the gist of those words from Seth’s Unknown Reality

      “When, at this point now, of mankind’s development, his emerging unconscious knowledge is denied by his institutions, then it will rise up despite those institutions, and annihilate them. Cult after cult will emerge, each unrestrained by the use of reason, because reason will have denied the existence of rampant unconscious knowledge, disorganized and feeling only its own ancient force.”

      That’s not to say that these global uprisings are “cults”. Cults are only one aspect of the crisis of legitimacy, particularly in relation to the legitimacy of religious institutions.

  4. Scott Preston says :

    “Erdogan says same forces behind Brazil and Turkey protests” ( )

    I think he’s right, just not for the reasons he gives, which seem to be a bit paranoid.

  5. Scott Preston says :

    “This is a message that should resonate around the world”, so AP reporter Paul Newberry writing about the Brazilian protests (and probably by inference, the Turkish as well) on the ABC News site,

    The public mood being expressed in Turkey, Brazil, etc is contagious, I think, judging from Newberry’s piece. “The peasants are revolting”.

    It’s all a question of values, rather than distributive economics. That is even the underlying theme in Newberry’s piece. And if you recall Seth’s remark in this context, that evolutionary process (and revolutionary process equally) is actually “value realisation” or fulfillment, this isn’t perhaps insignificant. And come to think of it, that notion that evolution is actually value realisation or value fulfillment isn’t too far off from the Christian idea of “the fulfillment of the times”, and that’s not far off from Nietzsche’s consummation of the times in the form of the “overman”, either.

  6. Scott Preston says :

    “[The revolutionary process] begins with shouting and yelling, and only in the process of revolution does this yelling and shouting precipitate and crystallise into eloquence and articulacy.”

    So I wrote above. Students of Jean Gebser might recognise in this image of precipitation and crystallisation what he called, rather, “concretion” or “presentiation” — the realisation or actualisation within the spacetime system of all that is latent or invisible (ie, unconscious), for which human consciousness serves as agency or conduit. This “epiphanisation” of the formerly latent, dormant, or invisible is, in broader terms, the meaning of William Blake’s cleansing of “the doors of perception” (and which might be the same as a shift in what Castaneda refers to as “the assemblage point” of perception. “Paradigm shift”, in that case, might actually be more literally and physically true than we typically understand by the phrase).

    Gebser’s “concretion” or “presentiation” (making fully present and presence) is therefore identical with Seth’s view of evolution as “value fulfillment” as the realisation or manifestation of latent possibilities already inherent within the psycho-physical system as probabilities, but not yet actuated or “effectuated” (Gebser’s term). The actuation or effectuation (making effectual) of these possibilities is what Gebser refers to by the term “irruption” (as distinct from “e-ruption”). “Irruption” is an up-welling from the source he calls “the ever-present origin”. E-ruption is instead, a throwing, projecting, or thrusting outwards. Irruption, rather, is intensification, more than a projection or ex-tensification.

    This is, I believe, the “Achilles heel” (about which I posted a couple of posts back) of the power elites, as was summarily expressed by Erdogan in the Financial Times, report I linked to in a previous comment. Erdogan believes (like all States presently) that the failure to contain and control the internet has allowed these present public uprisings to spread and extend. Hence the rationale for programmes like “Master The Internet” (MTI) or similar present schemes to regulate, control, monitor the internet (under cover of fighting terrorism, of course).

    But if Gebser is correct, and that this is an “irruption” of latent and neglected elements in the psychic terrain — an intensification of such factors hitherto dormant — then inhibiting their “extension” on the premiss of containing the “eruption” would be futile in the long run; Fehl am Platz as the Germans say (somewhat translatable as “misplaced”). To blame the restlessness on the internet, or to see all this as being “caused” by the internet or by social media, is not very intelligent or insightful.

    The “natives are restless”, but this “natives” is that inherent factor that Seth refers to as the “ancient force” — the sleeping dragon; Merlin awakes — and this “ancient force” has its same roots in what Gebser has called “the ever-present origin”.

    • LittleBigMan says :

      “Seth’s view of evolution as “value fulfillment””

      That is illuminating. Because it’s only the ego-consciousness that has a value system, and yet not all these possible values are realized at once in a temporal sense, evolution is the materialization of these different values through the ages.

  7. amothman33 says :

    It is pity we talk about consciousness, the source, the ancient force, the ever present origin etc. But when we want to assign a role to these in running the universe, the faithless human gets annoyed saying he is the captain of the ship. This is the present situation. Ignorant of his limits, ignorant of the one who gave him tongue to talk with, hands to work with. who gave them the trees they eat from, the rivers to drink from. He who drops the rain and stops the rain. THE tragedy of forgetting the simple things. Pomposity in everything. Of course an Iraqi participating in this process of change is an upshot of the Iraqi massacre. The cycle is recycling itself. Nothing evades the attention of God.

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