Human Rights and “Inverted Totalitarianism”
Let me conclude the previous post on the breakdown of the dialectic with some additional paradoxes and consequences particularly as they pertain to “inverted totalitarianism”.
Orwell’s “Newspeak”, in 1984, is very clearly a case where thesis and antithesis come to mean one and the same thing: “Freedom is Slavery”, “War is Peace”, “Ignorance is Strength”, and so on. Ironically, there is a latent kernel of a paradoxical truth in this that is, nonetheless, opaque to the perspectivist consciousness, and again even here it needs to be born in mind that “only a hair separates the false from the true”. Newspeak would be totally ineffective if it was transparently all lie. It’s deceptive power and its duplicity lies precisely in its “truthiness” quality.
It’s precisely “beyond good and evil” where the coincidence of opposites finds it place, as represented in Newspeak. “Nirvana and samsara are the same; Nirvana and samsara are not the same” bears the same apparently self-contradictory structure as Orwell’s slogans. As it is said, “Satan is but the ape of God”, and for that reason also, in the Book of Revelation, the Anti-Christ is mistaken for the Christ. Only the integral consciousness can penetrate this apparent conundrum and paradox with insight and undo the Gordian Knot it represents for logic.
But we aren’t there yet, and for the time being it matters that we distinguish and discern between the good and the evil, and not as dualisms nor as Manichaean equivalences or symmetries, but as polarities. Only the archaic consciousness is both “before good and evil” and “beyond good and evil”, and we are not there yet.
Now, with that caveat I want to address how it is possible for inverted totalitarianism to reconcile itself with “human rights” without apparently standing in direct contradiction with the regime of human rights. It’s a simple matter of redefining the meaning of “human” (rebranding) or leaving “human” so intentionally vague as to have no discernible meaning. It is very possible, for example, to insist on “human rights” while all the while excluding from that civil and political rights and freedoms. And, to a large measure, this is precisely what “inverted totalitarianism” does.
It does it be redefining the meaning of “human” as exclusively an economic agent, in terms of producer and consumer, and subtracts from that the meaning “citizen” as a human being with civil and political rights. Human and citizen are, in those terms, “same but different”, as it were. And free market fundamentalism is “fundamentalist” because it reduces the meaning of “human” to exclusively economic agencies or technical means that require management — taken under tutelage and instilled with “branded behaviours”.
Under those conditions of tutelage (the corporatocracy) “humanism” (and “liberal humanism”) can assume far different and even contrary meanings than it had in the times of Erasmus, yet with very few people even realising that those meanings have become deteriorated and inverted over time, and so today “humanitarianism” has even come to rationalise and justify the most brutal atrocities in the name of making the world safe for free market fundamentalism.
In truth, “human” remains something indeterminate, undefined, mysterious, and unknown to itself, and should resist any and all attempts at definition and a fixed exactitude. The closing of the modern mind is largely owing to the fact that everyone is damned sure they know exactly what “human” means. But to be human is a paradox, and we will always escape definition because a large part of us belongs to the infinite and is immeasurable and irreducible. We are the “Eternity in the hour”, as Blake puts it. A paradox.