Essay

Historicity and Hysteria [Flash Fiction]

Is it true that philosophy is not a tradition of theories, but a tradition of the literary, and do we call them fictions, otherly formed fictions? Is that what I imply by calling this a fictional essay? If it is a fictional essay, then the essay form is being employed in the service of fiction, so then how do we read it, what relationship does the author and the expositor have to the readers, to the text, to the ideas presented? How then are the statements to be taken, received–mistakes are even different, are they not? if this were not a fictional essay, then this preface would not be necessary–I am not even sure it is necessary now, although it makes sense to say what is being said herein here. If this essay, a literary one at that–personal more than philosophical–yes, if it were a non-fiction essay, we might not be as willing to hear what the expositor says–and there is an expositor that must not be confused for the author anymore than a narrator should be, even if the essay is non-fiction. It is not only fiction that privileges the author; non-fiction does as well. Anyone who has ever written a journal knows that the author has privileges and that there is a journalistic narrator or expositor or explicator in the text quite distinct from the human flesh and blood author, no? 

There is no horror from the past we cannot aggrandize in our cultural blindness. I’m not here to insist that Americans are the only blind people in the world. However, knowing that blindness is a pan human condition regardless of the sightedness or lack thereof in any person of any people does not lessen the effects of said blindness. Is there anything knew anywhere; has there ever been at any time in any past, whatever history we examine–really historiography. I’m of the mind that history happens irrespective of who writes the historiography. One is not the other.

I’m not with Hegel entirely. I don’t avoid Hegel because of his subsequent use by Marx and Marxists. I, in fact, avoid entertaining Marx too seriously because of Hegel’s historicism, particularly his making any Constitution an extension of the State rather than that of the people, the latter the one institution that can oppose or counterpose the State, the one institution with enough weight? density? to counterbalance that weight/force the State imposes on the people. States can do this in a number of ways, but the most effective way is for the State to transform the people into a public, many times this by choice of the people, often times through means of systematic under-education, pedagogies of failure in the matters of literacy (what it is, how it is and what it can accomplish) and rhetoric (devaluing the heights of rhetorical acumen and strategizing, most surely propagandized as something elitist and contrary to democracy) . . . . The State manages choices, making abdication of one’s people-ness, each and every one’s personhood, for the slightly more secure or lucrative membership as one of the public a virtual necessity.

I am not one to believe that the Social Sciences are or can be made like the hard sciences; sociology, political science or the discipline of history is not chemistry or Astrophysics, no matter how deluded practitioners become about how their methodologies are scientific and not artistic. Positivism, for instance is an assertion by philosophers that Philosophy should become more like these social sciences that had convinced themselves they should become more like the hard sciences. This, as I have asserted, is absurd to begin with, but to have been continued and asserted as if true is even more grandiose than the 19th century intellectual declaring the death of religion or that Western Civilization is no longer Christian. Denying the metaphysical hegemony of Christianity, I think, was premature, as premature or immature as declaring the possibility of turning the arts and humanities into sciences.

This belief in the possibility of making philosophy more like science, or to make it a science, is part of the 20th century’s intellectual orgy in anti-humanism–a feeding frenzy by the sharks of cultural iconoclasm? And we do have to see the great currents of anti-humanism along with anti-Christian philosophies on the rise in the twentieth century continuing into the current one –and to better understand where I am getting this notion, let me say that in Italy, for instance, when a man chooses to become/be an Atheist, he becomes one in only the way a former Catholic could be, and to look at Italian communism and how it stood in opposition to Soviet Russian communism, Soviet Communism much more savage in its nihilism and anti-Christian atheism, is to understand how the traditional metaphysics of Catholicism permeates Italian mentality  into the minds of political radicals, even in the minds of her criminals. Yes, even the evil in Italy is Catholic. Could this be why I assert that Catholicism is a civilization? of course, this is so. With all a civilization’s multiplicity and complexity, both of them exerting influence on behavior, Catholicism is a civilization . . . .

We have to understand how disingenuous the Logical Positivists were, or so I have assumed . . . and Wittgenstein applauding Kierkegaard is ironic, because the Great Dane would have abhorred him, or so I imagine–and why I do I am not going to dicuss. Philosophy and political science are as close to science as fucking a groundhog is to forecast the weather. The loss of faith in Humanism and the arts has left us with a dearth of incomprehensible social science even in literature departments; it has also left our human lives at the mercy of one mechanization of living, not in the sense that there are technologies at our disposal or that machines are made to help us, but in helping to shape the mentality of people in their attitudes and behavior toward people. Anti-humanism is hand in hand with totalitarian slaughter, totalitarian order, control, brutality, management, ideology . . . what else have we to express just where the over sociologizing of society’s management and administration has left us with here in this once democratic America.

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