Politics of Peace, Politics of War
If there be any lingering skepticism about our fundamental thesis — that the modern mind, intellect, or “mental-rational consciousness structure” (Jean Gebser) is presently in the throes of its own disintegration, fracturing, and decoherence — and if the abundance of compelling evidence for this examined in this blog, and evident in current events, still fails to convince that the personality and character structure of “modern man” is disintegrating or losing integrity, consider what is happening to the meaning of “politics”.
It is not alone the decay of the university into the “multiversity” of overspecialisation that reflects the decay of the unity of knowledge (and thus of the consciousness structure of Late Modern Man), or “the post-modern condition” we now refer to as “the New Normal” of “post-rational, post-truth society”. The commonplace assumption, today, that politics is “war by other means” — a gladitorial contest, a bloodsport such as assumed by Mr. Bannon and his circle — belongs also to the decay and degeneracy of the consciousness structure we refer to as “modernity”. Politics as war is just another aberrant symptom of the disease of post-truth society. It’s here, in this equation of politics with warfare, where the proverb “live by the sword, perish by the sword” finds its proper interpretation and meaning.
Politics as war is true only of decadent ages, and of civilisations and societies in crisis. There is an effective form of politics and a defective form of politics, just as there is, in Gebser’s terms, an effective mode and structure of consciousness and a “deficient” mode and structure of consciousness. Where “politics is war” is the common or prevailing belief and assumption, it becomes self-fulfilling prophecy. And even the notion of “compromise” or of “tolerance” is deficient politics.
An effective politics, which would be a politics of peace, aims, rather, for unanimity, and unanimity is something beyond compromise and tolerance. It’s the consciousness of shared and encompassing truth that transcends our petty everyday partisan self-interests. Politics as war reflects an excessive individualism and a hyper-trophy of the ego-consciousness in a reified “point-of-view” orientation of consciousness. What differentiates us, what “distinguishes” us, in such terms is considered of more consequence than what unites us, or what we share in common, which, in broad terms, we might call “the commonwealth” or “commonweal”. In a sense, every self-interest, every partisan “point-of-view” becomes the overspecialisation and the over-speciation that we call myopia or tunnel-vision.
The politics of peace involves just as much a struggle. But the struggle here is to discover the means, the language, for the proper representation of a compelling and universal truth. All effective art, literature, and science is this struggle, and it was the original meaning, in fact, of the word “technology” — reasoning about the techne (the means or the art) by which to represent universal truth within language and an idiom of symbolisation that so often seemed to resist adequate representation or revelation. This was the purpose of the original “Trivium” of grammar, logic, and rhetoric, which were the original “logos of the techne“. Technology, and technocratic logic today, is less concerned with this universal representation of truth (and therefore with the politics of peace) than with propaganda, deception, and perception management, and correspondingly with the politics of warfare, as described by Carol Cadwalladr.
There’s little doubt in my mind that this “meme” — this assumption — of politics as war, rather than the perpetual quest for unanimity through shared universal truth, is preparing the way for, and is an overture to, Gebser’s anticipation of a “global catastrophe”, and will be our danger until such time as people are prepared to repudiate this aberrant and false understanding of politics as warfare. Unfortunately, it has become a vicious mental tautology and, in those terms, a constantly self-reinforcing self-fulfilling prophecy — the reality of William Blake’s “dark Satanic Mill”.
An effective politics of peace for the global era, an authentic globalism, would be the revelation of a shared truth — an unanimous truth — about the human experience of the Earth, and it’s for that reason that more enlightened thinkers — like Jean Gebser, like Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy, like William Blake or Sri Aurobindo — were working towards a “universal history”, one in which all the nations and peoples of the Earth could recognise themselves. That such a truth is possible as a basis for “universal history” was also shown in Jill Bolte-Taylor’s TED talk on her “stroke of insight“. Today, however, there are demonic, diabolical, maniacal, fanatical and inhuman forces — forces of the “New Normal” of “post-truth”, of anti-universality, of duplicity, falsehood, and deception, of inequality, of war and terror — that are working against such universal truth and against the unanimity, not just of human life, but of the solidarity of all Life. And these forces, as is quite evident, are in the ascendancy.
And all largely because of an aberrant and perverse misconception and assumption that “politics is war”. which belongs to the evils of greed, malice, and ignorance.