Dugin in Shanghai: International Relations and Geopolitics – Lecture 1

“International Relations: Theories, Paradigms, Concepts, Schools, Debates”

Author: Alexander Dugin

Transcript prepared by Jafe Arnold

Lecture read at Fudan University, Shanghai, China, December 2018 [VIDEO]

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This lecture will include all knowledge of International Relations. It is dedicated to the discipline, the science, that is called International Relations. The general course will have four lectures. The first lecture is dedicated to International Relations as a discipline. The second, to geopolitics. The third, to the theory of the multipolar world. The fourth will be dedicated to China in all these fields of theoretical and academic thought.

But we cannot follow the logic of this course without knowing the basis of International Relations, geopolitics, and multipolarity. We need to understand that International Relations is a Western discipline. What does “Western discipline” or “Western science” mean? Now, in the present situation, we should be very careful, because knowing what post-modern is, modern critiques, and modern anthropology, we should carefully distinguish what is “Western.” The Western science and Western approach often tries to impose itself as the universal one. This is the imperialist aspect of the Western mind. It is racism that is implicitly present in any kind of Western thought. Western thought is ethnocentric and, more than ethnocentric, it does not recognize itself as ethnocentric. This kind of implicit racism is worse than explicit racism. Western liberals say “we are defining universal values”, but when you ask them what they mean by “universal values”, they begin to explain Western values as universal – individualism, libertarianism, progress, materialism. There is no place for metaphysics, the spirit, no belief in the soul or afterlife. This is a product of Western civilization, an historical product, that pretends to be universal.

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When we forget that International Relations, and many other, indeed, almost all sciences which we study at university, are Western, then we are losing a very important aspect. We fall into the trap of regarding this discipline, theory, and science as something universal. We need to always remember that we are dealing with the Western vision – in International Relations more than elsewhere. Because that is the Western vision of how things are.

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Above all, in China or in Russia today, if we consider ourselves to be subjects of history, not simple objects of history made by others, then we need to always remember this distinction. This does not mean that we should refuse Western science, resist against Western science, or ignore Western science. It means that we must always remember that it is a Western ethnocentric vision. We need a kind of theoretical Chinese wall in the epistemological field.

When you stop some internet connections at the border of your country, you are trying to make a distinction between what is wrong and what is possible for Chinese culture. We need to establish the same wall in the epistemological field.

International Relations deals with the State as such. This is very important. In the very name of this science, this discipline, there is the concept of “nation.” In the Western understanding, the nation is a political value. The West thinks of politics in terms of the “national State” that is normative since the Westphalian peace, and is the normative attitude. The Nation is the national State (Etat-Nation), it is not the people or an ethnic group. International Relations are relations between these States. What kind of State? Modern, Western States. This is the first, very important principle. When we are dealing with the concept of the State, we are dealing with historically Western concepts about how political reality should be organized and studied.

This is a modern paradigm. “Modern paradigm” means Western, but not in all the history of the “West”, but only in modernity. Modernity has transformed the Western mentality and has taken only part of the traditional Western mentality of the middle ages or antiquity and transformed it into a new kind, a new version. International Relations was born as a discipline in the beginning of the 20th century. It is Western and modern. Western modernity is different from Western pre-modernity. This is very important from an historical point of view.

The next point is that there is always an implicit hierarchy in International Relations. We can say that this is a “hidden” hierarchy. The Western concept of International Relations is based on the idea that there are examples of a “normal” State and “normal” relations, and that is precisely the Western world. All the rest are thought to be un- or underdeveloped and under-Western, but striving and tending to become Western. This is a kind of hierarchy.

These are the four principles which we should always remember in studying International Relations, and, I would suggest, other sciences as well. International Relations is a Western and modern discipline. The science is not universal, but is historically, geographically, and ethnically defined. It reflects Western ethnocentrism or “Eurocentrism.”

International Relations is not universal, but reflects the standpoint of the Western part of humanity. This remark opens up the possibility or question of how non-Western International Relations theory should look. Are they possible? Are they desirable?

International Relations is essentially a modern discipline which deals with the modern State and international system created under the Westphalian treaty, when there was a very important shift from pre-modernity in the international political system to modernity, when national, sovereign States were accepted as normative actors in global politics. This was not the case before, when religion and dynasties played an essential part. There was no concept of purely rational calculation of national interests or the sovereign body as the State. Instead, the State had a mission, a religious mission, a religious dimension – such as with Catholic politics in Europe. With the end of the Thirty Years War, a new political system was established that was accepted as universal, normative, progressive, and necessary for everybody else.

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IR was born in the beginning of the 20th century in England and Switzerland as “tentation” to conceptualize international political science, and now it is established as an acknowledged academic science and discipline in the West, and in imitation of the West elsewhere. When I was teaching International Relations in Russia, it was exactly as it was represented in the rest of the world.

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So, International Relations studies the relations and interactions of States. The fundamental subject is State-to-State relations, not people-to-people or culture-to-culture. The State is considered as the modern Western State – sovereign and secular. Secular means that there is no religious aspect or mission recognized in the State, so it is purely rational. Sovereign means that there is no higher government above the State. The State is the highest point. There is no god above the State, and the State is the prophet of itself. This is a kind of absolutization of the liberty of the State to do anything and everything. There is no other authority. That is the basic concept of sovereignty. Sovereign is he who has no other ruler or legitimate instance above himself. That is Jean Bodin’s definition of sovereignty. It was applied first in the Protestant concept of politics, and directed against the authority of the Catholic Church, which pretended to be a supranational authority above the State, and after that it was recognized as normative. Sovereignty is modern in its essence, and it is anti-empire.

For example, in Chinese history, according to Professor Zhao Tingyang [1] (赵汀), badao (霸道) and wangdao (王道). Badao (霸道) is power based on the force of hegemony, which does not recognize any other authority. Wangdao (王道)is a kind of moral and spiritual or mystical power of the emperor. This is not only the biggest, but is completely different, a qualitative change. This is not sovereignty. It is a mission. Wangdao (王道) is a mission. Sovereignty is modern and is badao (霸道).

The State is conceived as separate from religion, ethnic traditions, culture, and civilization. The State is national. But what does national mean in the modern political sense? The State is based on individual citizenship. The concept of the normative State considers the individual to be the subject of the State, and all individuals, united in the nation-State, are citizens. He who is not a citizen is outside of the State. All citizens are politically equal. The concept of nation-State is bourgeois and modern. It is not traditional. It does not recognize classes or other forms of professions or different layers of society – they have no political meaning in the modern national State. Nationality is based on individual citizenship.

The modern State, as the subject of International Relations, without a mission, is rational, egoist, and has clearly calculable national interests. It is a rational body. The nation is a rational creation [which exists] in order to organize individuals and to propose to them some kind of order and structure. If individuals are not happy with that, they can change it. Hence the concept of “social-public treaty” (contract). Because the State has nothing transcendental, nothing above it, no mission, it can be reshaped, recreated, destroyed, and created anew, if individuals or citizens decide to do so. It is based on a public treaty or agreement, that is the contractual nature of the modern State. It is almost like a contract agreement between, for example, economic groups. They can decide to put together their capital, and they can decide to stop and to create a new firm. So the State is conceived or is thought to be a kind of commercial firm. This is bourgeois in its roots.

This modern State is believed to be sovereign, so there is no higher authority above it. And the modern State is opposite to empire. It is opposite to the religious State, to the archaic community. It is based on the concept of progress. It is regarded as something that comes historically “after” empire, religious States, and archaic communities, all of which are considered to be pre-modern,  while the modern State is “new” and the “more progressive” form of political organization. So the modern State, as a bourgeois concept, obtains or acquires a sense of meaning only in the context of “progress.” If we challenge the concept of progress, everything will fall apart. No modern State has any sense outside of progress. Progress, modernity, and the modern State always go together. The concept of progress is embedded implicitly in the concept of the modern State.

The implicit hierarchy in International Relations conceives all States as being “Western” or “similar to the West”, “modern”, and “equal”, and deals with them as such. Reality is different, because States, as they are, not as they are thought to be, are not equal. There are big States, huge States, and small States – all of them are “sovereign”, and all of them have a place in the United Nations organization, but Monaco and small Luxembourg – sovereign States – and China, for example, are incomparable, like the huge sun and a small grain of sand. They are not equal.

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But, interestingly enough, the hierarchy of International Relations contradicts the basic concept that every sovereign State is equal to one another. [2] Nevertheless, it exists, and there are debates in International Relations on how to explain and represent this hierarchy. The old Western racism comes into play here. [3] Racism was formed during colonial times and, little by little, step by step, acquired three layers. Normative racism consists of the first class of humanity – “white” humanity, a second, “yellow” class of humanity, and the third class, the lowest of all, is “black” humanity. This was reflected in the so-called “anthropology” of the 19th century, in Morgan, for example, with some explanations for these terms. “White” means “civilization”; “yellow” means “barbarity” or “quasi-civilization”, something like “civilization”, but not “civilized”, and “black” means “savagery”, or “savages” with no image of civilization, living in wild forests as gatherers, small farmers, and hunters.

Now we can see the exact same in International Relations – although formally without racism, because it was discredited by Nazi Germany – where we have an implicit, unofficial hierarchy that divides all countries into three groups: the First World, or the center in Wallerstein’s system [4], which is the Rich North. This is precisely the Western, white, European, American civilization. This is an old racist concept, in which the “whites” are the First World because they are “more progressive”, richer, more “developed”, have more “human rights”, are more liberal, freer, and happier. This is the old, normative ethnocentric history of the imperialist, hegemonic, colonial system. Although now it is not linked to “racism”, the First World is a purely racist concept. It is a transposition of the old racism onto the new, liberal political plane. The Second World in Wallerstein’s system is called the “semi-periphery”, represented by China, Russia, Latin America, India, and some eastern States, presented as “barbarity.” The West says that they are “corrupt”, “authoritarian”, “totalitarian”, and do not have proper “human rights.” They have dictatorships and corrupt Caesarist regimes, but they are like “us” – that is the First World – “in delay”, and we will “help them” to develop human rights, liberal values, transparency so that they will, one day, maybe, catch up with us and will be “white.”

Then there is the Third World. This is the “periphery” and, as Thomas Berger and Huntington said, this is the “rest” of the “West and the rest.” It is undeveloped and under the influence of the hegemonies of the second and first.

This is a more or less implicit hierarchy. We cannot understand anything in International Relations if we ignore this implicit hierarchy. The most sincere authors, such as Krasner [5], Hobson [6], and others, recognize this. But this is a little bit of an awkward moment, because to recognize the implicit hierarchy of International Relations is the same as to recognize the “racist” nature of the liberal way of thinking. This is a problem for “political correctness”, so they try to avoid this aspect. But it is implicitly, always, in any case present.

Now we will see the content of the science of International Relations.

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International Relations as a discipline has different schools. They are different in many senses. The first, fully established, “classical” school is the positivist school. What does “positivist” mean? Positivism means that this school recognizes that there is an “external” or “material” reality that is the subject of International Relations. There are States, interactions between States, nations, and economies, and these exist somehow independently of how we describe them. There is the “positivist” fact that can be regarded, studied, and explored without our subjective relation to it. This is a pre-quantum-mechanical vision. It is “good old materialism” that regards that everything goes by itself, and the human presence is here to describe or deal with the positive reality that is always there outside of and independent of our interpretation. Our interpretation depends on reality, which is not dependent on our interpretation, but is as such.

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There is also the post-positivist school, which has been gaining more and more ground in the science of International Relations. It is based on post-modernism, such as Michel Foucault’s epistemology, which challenged the existence of the positive fact and described the positive fact as an epistemological struggle. The will to knowledge is the will to power, according to Michel Foucault. This is the basis of post-modernist, hyper-critical ontology, that does not believe in the existence of anything outside of our explanation. This is a quantum-mechanical attitude. In quantum mechanics, the position of the observer is linked to the process itself. Processes with and without observers are different. This is a concept introduced into post-modern philosophy based on the deconstruction of discourse. According to post-positivists, there are no International Relations. There is only discourse on International Relations. There are no States without explanations, documents, and texts. Everything is written, everything is in speech and discourses, and by changing discourse, we change reality. This is very important. I suggest Chinese students to study post-modernism very carefully. It is a growing field of research, and without understanding the basic principles of post-modernism, we cannot understand anything in the present West. Because the present West affects us, we would not be able to understand ourselves without understanding post-modernity. The semi-periphery does not pay sufficient attention to post-modernity. We need to study it because, otherwise, we will be easily tricked in many aspects.

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The post-positivist school does not believe in the existence of independent material reality. They think that material reality is created in the process of speaking, thinking, and discussing this “material reality.” This is the late concept of Wittgenstein that there is no positive fact, because the positive fact is always embedded in the interpretation. This is the so-called “language game” that creates meaning. Without meaning, there is no thing. The thing is born in the process of the language game. This is the basic principle of post-modernity.

The post-positivist school challenged the status quo in modern science generally, and in International Relations. Post-positivists attack the positivist school as “idiots” affirming things that belong to the past. Post-modernists are progressivists as well, but critical progressivists. The majority of them are from the left, such as from Cultural Marxism, from Trotskyism, from nihilism, and different forms of the leftist, socialist, and pro-communist schools. That is why post-positivist challenges exist in the world order. This is a little revolutionary, because it tries to transform the epistemology of International Relations and, thus by this means, transforms the reality, which is the same as the discourse about reality. This is the test in Derrida’s version. There is nothing but the text. If we change the text, we change reality. This is the revolutionary aspect of post-modernism and the post-positivist school.

The positivist school is fully established with a hundred years of debates, schools, different conferences, and hundreds and thousands of books and manuals written in favor of one or another theory. And there is controversy.

But post-positivism in International Relations is new, is gaining more and more ground, and needs to be taken into consideration. At any conference dedicated to International Relations, there will normally be a representative of this school. They create scandals and may look marginal, but now they are part of an established attitude. In modern manuals dedicated to International Relations, a part is always reserved for expositing post-positivist doctrines. It is not an innovation anymore. Now it is already a part of the discipline, developing and growing,  remaining controversial and scandalous, but as a part of the discipline.

There is a third kind of school of International Relations that does not exist in the form of an accepted academic theory in the proper sense yet. But it is has been born and is beginning to expand. Only the first steps are being made. I call it the multipolar school that is in the process of creation. It does not exist as an established school, but this approach is making its first steps. It is precisely to this concept that I will dedicate the third lecture, explaining it in more detail, but in order to have a general vision of International Relations, we must introduce it.

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The multipolar school challenges Eurocentrism, modernity, universalism, and the global hegemony of the West. It forms a kind of parallel to some post-positivist structures. It is based on the presumption that there is a multitude of civilizations, which is not the case for post-modernists. Post-modernists are universalists, progressivists, and believe in liberation, democracy, and enlightenment, but they try to “enlighten enlightenment”, to “develop development”, and to “make modernity more modern.” They think that modernity is not modern enough. They try to liberate and bring to its end the process of liberation. Post-modernity is a kind of futuristic modernism.

The multipolar school does not accept linear progress nor the normative status of the West. The multipolar system deals with different civilizations, with no hierarchy at all. It is based on the complete incomparability of different civilizations, which we need to study without regard for any normative status for the West. That is the new aspect of multipolarity. It is based on anthropological pluralism and a positive evaluation of diversity. Here the concept of the Other is decided completely differently than in the traditional Western approach. We can say that the multipolar approach is not Western, and is an anti-Western school of International Relations. That explains why it is not so much developed and why it is not present in manuals, and why it is not mentioned during discussions and debates. It stands outside of globally “understood” Western-centrism. It is not Eurocentrism. So it is not by chance that this theory has been developed in the semi-periphery. Based on the new anthropology of Eduardo Viveiros de Castro and of Eduardo Kohn, which affirms that archaic traditions have their own ontology and gnoseology and that we need to accept them as human and not as sub-human, as in progressivist, racist, Western-centrist epistemology.

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But as for the main, positivist school of International Relations, there are two main schools: Realism, represented and founded by Morgenthau and Carr, and Liberalism, represented by Angell, US President Woodrow Wilson, and Zimmerman. At any normal university, you can pass exams if you understand realism and liberalism, because these are the main approaches which they teach about International Relations in conventional, normative, Western (and non-Western) institutions.

What is realism in International Relations? Realism is the idea that there should not and cannot be supranational organizations. Realists believe in sovereignty in the sense as I have explained it. Because realists believe in sovereignty, they think that there is chaos in International Relations. Chaos in International Relations is something other than “chaos” in normal language. It is not disorder, but is the absence of a higher level of authority which could legally oblige the State to do anything. States are absolutely free, and if you cannot oblige them to do one thing or prevent them from doing another or punish them legally, then you can only punish and oblige illegally. So International Relations as a field is always based on this chaos, because sovereignty is sovereign, and by recognizing sovereignty as an absolute principle, there can be only relations of power. If you are more powerful, you can oblige another, but not by law, legally, but by force. That this is possible and normal – that is realism. You measure forces. For example, how can survive countries and States survive? Either there is something that is “bigger” or “biggest” that is against the other “bigger.” For example, there is small Ukraine and big Russia. Russia attacks Ukraine, and Ukraine calls Washington and says “please, come here, we are attacked by Russians”, and the Russians don’t come. There is always an open situation. But when Ukrainians repress Russians living in Ukraine, they call Russia: “Moscow, please, come here, we want to go back to the motherland.” Everything here is not “legal” or “equal” – these are relations of power. If you can do it, just do it. Take Crimea, take Taiwan, take Hong Kong, if you can do it. You cannot wait when you will be strong enough. That is the realist attitude. You can accept that you will be disappointed with some position, and you can be a loser, or you could gain; you could deplore or you could start a war, and you can conclude a peace. War is not destiny in that situation, but it is possible, and it is real during all of history.

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That is realism – the idea that everything will be like this forever, as in history, as now, and as forever. The greater part of American experts are realists. When we speak about the West, and above all the United States or Great Britain, at least half, maybe more of them, are openly realists. That is not nationalism, not fascism, but is called realism in International Relations, which represents a school of thought which is implicitly Eurocentric, and was created in Europe based on the normative concept of the State and sovereignty.

The other “half” are liberals. What is liberalism in International Relations? It is different from liberalism in arts, politics, and the economy. Liberalism has a very special and precise meaning in International Relations. It is not a liberal, funny hipster guy who is open and friendly, while realists are hawkish, evil, and aggressive. In International Relations, the term liberalism has a concrete and precise meaning. What does it mean? It means that there is progress in International Relations, which proceeds from State systems, or from a realist system, towards a new world system with a world government. The idea of liberalism in International Relations recognizes the necessity of creating a supranational level of decision-making that should be legally applied to every State. This is the creation of another type of State – a State above a State. In this sense, when the global government is established, everyone should follow the order of the global government just as citizens should follow the orders of nation-State governments. It is the same system, but established on a global, planetary level. This is explained with the concept of progress. Both realists and liberals accept progress, but realists accept it in some relative sense, while globalists believe in progress more than anything else. There is pacifism as well in liberalism, because they might consider war to be the worst and try to avoid war by means of manipulation and destruction of those who think otherwise than they themselves. War for them is to kill those who don’t accept global government.

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This idea, as well as human rights theory, is based on liberalism in International Relations. It tries to make citizens and humans equal, which is possible only on a supranational level if we recognize the same rights of a citizen, as part of the nation-State, and man as a human being with no concrete connection to political status, in a cosmopolitan version. If you recognize both as legally equal, then you need a global government in order to empower and force this. You need a kind of level of authority that should oblige different nation-States to treat human beings as the global government of liberals thinks they should – legally. Liberalism tries to weaken nation-States, to reduce their sovereignty, and to install an international order instead of chaos. That is precisely the other half of Western scholarship of International Relations.

Liberalism in International Relations is globalization, cosmopolitanism, individualism, human rights ideology, progress, and the idea of destroying nation-States and destroying any form of citizenship in order to create “citizens of the world.” In order to do so, you should dissolve nation-States, because they pretend to be sovereign.

The debate between these two schools represents the history of the twentieth century. The creation of the League of Nations after the First World War, the creation of the United Nations, the Hague Tribunal, the European Union, and the European Court of Human Rights – all of these moments were forms of implementing the theory of liberalism in International Relations. This is not by chance, by agreement between States, but is an idea of liberalism in International Relations. It is a theory based on progress and the affirmation that the Nation-State is not the best thing, as realists affirm, but a stage in human social, political, and cultural development.

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Globalism and globalization are first of all a theory, a thought, not a fact. They are a discourse represented by liberals. Liberalism in International Relations openly advocates the creation of a world government and the deconstruction of Nation-States. This is not a conspiracy theory. It is part of manuals, which you can see if you carefully read any existing manual on International Relations in any country. Perhaps with astonishment, you will discover that the concept of global governance is not a conspiracy theory or the idea of some small elite trying to impose it, but is an openly recognized theory – one of the two main theories of International Relations.

There are two other schools, which are also positivist. One is the English school, which is a kind of “middle way.” Representatives of the English school say that there should be the sovereignty of States, and no world government, but more progressive States should create a “club” that will not punish, but exclude or put pressure on others – such as when the G8 was transformed into the G7. Russia was punished by the “club” in the English school. It was illegal. There is no such institution – it is a club. They can accept some and exclude others. This is a constant of the English school – there can be order, but based on agreements and the rules of the club – not law, not global government, but a global club. Hedley Bull, John Burton, and Barry Buzan, who is one of the brilliant scholars of the English school – I like him very much – and who explains the transformation of the international system through history, in an historical sociology of International Relations.

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There is the Marxist school in International Relations. But it is not so familiar to you or to us because it is not Stalinist, Maoist, or Soviet. It is rather Trotskyist. Our Chinese and Russia politics and traditions in China and Russia were based on realism, with some special “details” about progress, socialism, and social systems, but they were more or less openly Russia-centric or China-centric. But the Marxist school in International Relations is something different. It affirms that there has been a global world from the beginning: capitalism. Capitalism is global, and the divisions between nation-States are a kind of formality that does not represent reality. Capitalism was born in the West, and it should expand to all the earth. And only when everybody will be capitalist and will be liberal, there will be no more nations, peoples, or races, but only classes – two of them: capitalists on top, international in nature, and proletarians below, also international. Marxists in International Relations are against the Russian and Chinese examples because they are a kind of “national version” of communism. They insist that International Relations – everything – should be absolutely international – no nationality, no tradition, no languages, only class relations between the international bourgeois and the international proletarian. And when they say international, they mean that capitalism should win. And after that will come revolution. But first of all, it should be global. So they are very close to the liberals: they say “let them win, and after that we will come.” This is Negri and Hardt’s concept of the multitudes and Empire. [7]

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These are more or less the two main schools, representing the majority of discourse in International Relations. In the United States, for example, everybody is either liberal or realist. That is the normal position, even if they debate. Trump is a realist, and Hillary Clinton is a liberal. So there can be good realists, bad realists, crazy liberals – this does not mean anything. We are speaking of ideas.

Slide18But the post-positivist schools are much more interesting in my opinion. There is the normativist theory that affirms that if we create a norm, then it does not reflect reality, but creates the reality, and everybody will follow the norm. If you try to punish people who violate some rule on the street, little by little this norm, which does not reflect anything, creates people who very carefully behave “correctly” because of these norms. By changing norms, we change reality – that is the modest version of post-positivism.

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Critical theory, such as that of Cox [8], Gill [9], and Linklater [10], tries to criticize the ideas of the liberals and realists which are inconsistent from the post-modern point of view, showing that they defend the status quo and are biased – politically, intellectually, structurally. Critical theory shows how discourse in International Relations is biased. That is their main purpose. Post-modern theory, such as that of Ashley [11] and Der Derian [12], says that International Relations consists of texts and only texts. This is an application of Derrida to International Relations. If you deconstruct texts, you will see that there is nothing behind them. Everything is based on corrupted information currents. If you change the information currents and rearrange the “facts”, you immediately receive a completely different image and reality. This is the “tail wearing the dog.” Soft power is an applied part of this idea. Post-modern theory is based on the deconstruction of the discourses of International Relations.

Next is the feminist theory of Enloe [13], Tickner [14], and Donna Haraway [15]. Feminists in International Relations affirm that all International Relations have been made, conceived, described, proposed, and promoted by males in what is a kind of hierarchy…If we put a female instead of male, she presumably will create peace, prosperity, friendship, and good relations between countries. There will be no State, no patriarchy, no hierarchy, no verticality in International Relations. There will be a completely different description of reality. If a woman will not pretend to be a man in dealing with International Relations, and if the woman tries to wrest “the woman” and describe reality from a woman’s point of view, then there will be a completely different construction of International Relations. This is a relativization of male dominance in International Relations. This is a growing theory, and I suggest that feminism should be taken seriously. It is not a joke; it is part of modern civilization.

In the historical sociology of International Relations, Hobden and Hobson [16] try to put the discourse of International Relations in historical contexts. They criticize the Western-centric, Eurocentric point of view.

And there is the constructivist theory of Onuff [17], Katzenstein [18], and Wendt [19]. They affirm more or less the same as the others. They say that we need to construct, and not only deconstruct, International Relations. Onuff’s main thesis is the “world of our making.” We live in a world which we make. There is no world. The only world that exists is the world we are making. This is the main idea. We are dealing with a fixed, frozen hallucination or imagination. There is no positive reality, so let us construct the world we dream of, the world we want. This is possible because we are living in an imaginational order.

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The multipolar school, which I will only evoke some aspects of, includes Eurasianism and the Theory of the Multipolar World and Fourth Political Theory, which is precisely what I am working on. There are many texts which are more or less accepted as the position of the Russian strategy in International Relations and the Russian tradition of realism. This is gaining popularity in Russia. You can see how Putin has introduced the Eurasian Union. Multipolarity is very important and has been approached by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Lavrov. That is something I am working on.

There is the Chinese school, including Zhao Tingyang (赵汀阳) [20], Qin Yaqing (秦亚青) [21], Yan Xuetong (阎学通) [22], and Zhang Weiwei (张维为) [23]. The concept or approach of these authors is not only realism, but Yan Xuetong is mostly a realist. Nevertheless, all of them try to establish the particularity of Chinese civilization, and I like above all the concept of Tianxia Tixi (天下体系), which regards the historical relations of China and other people not as a pure hegemony, not as an order of force or imposition. For example, Vietnam is a very interesting case. It accepted all of Chinese culture up to the details, but never recognized the direct right of physical, brutal rule, fighting against Chinese attempts to submit, at the same time being part of the Chinese universe, as opposed to the case of the Japanese who subjugated Korea. The empire of Tianxia (天下) is not only China as such as a State, but China as a pole of civilization with multiple layers. The idea of defending it in the present situation is a revolutionary idea, because it challenges all other discourses, just as Eurasianism challenged Western-centrism. There are many similarities between them.

There is also the European New Right of Alain de Benoist, the French GRECE and French New Right. They are not liberal, but are right anti-liberal, not nationalists, but Europeanists, not Catholic or Christian, but pagans, with the very interesting idea to recreate European civilization by returning to pre-modernity. Because they are living inside of globalization and modern Western civilization their remarks and theories are very important for the countries and cultures outside of the West.

La Teoría de la Insubordinación Fundante [24] is a very interesting theory of Marcelo Gullo Omodeo from Argentina which represents the idea that, basically, Latin America should not submit to North America and global world order. This is an idea that is very famous and developed in Latin America. It is growing in importance. Marcelo Gullo Omodeo is part of this multipolar discourse which is completely new in International Relations.

And there is the Brazilian author, Andre Martin, with his O Meridinalismo, which is the important idea that the South should be a united alternative to the North, not following or trying to catch up with the North, but creating different links between Latin America and, for example, Africa, and South Asian countries. This is a very interesting concept based on multipolarity.

What is important in all of these is that they challenge Eurocentrism. They consider International Relations to be provincial in its present State, a provincial Western concept with hegemonic, universalist, colonialist, imperialist pretenses. They try to reduce Western theory of International Relations in a much broader context, defending the rights of peoples and civilizations instead of modern States or global government. They are liberals and realists and post-modernists.

We can also consider the debates in International Relation, such as that of Realism against Liberalism in International Relations. That is a major part of the science. The discipline of International Relations is dedicated to this question: how liberals think that universal peace is possible if we reduce the sovereignty of the State, and how realists respond that such is not the case, because everyone will try to use this international institutions in their favor. The realists say that the United Nations fails, while the liberals say that it is better than the absence of international institutions. There are thousands of books on this. Precisely what is going on in International Relations on the practical level in the West is only about that. The Americans speak honestly about this and call things by their names. They have no shyness and speak about hegemony, realism, chaos, internationalism, confronting arguments, and attacking each other. But they are honest in that, and only they are. When they come to Europe, there is pure political correctness. There is no realism in Europe. In Europe it is impossible. In Europe realists in International Relations are “fascists”, with whom there can be no good relations. There is an overwhelming liberalism in International Relations in Europe. In manuals, certainly, you will read the debates of realism and Morgenthau, Carr, and chaos in International Relations, but in official debates in European diplomacy, there prevails exclusively liberalism in International Relations. And the realization of it is the European Union, which is a supranational structure that shows how to turn liberalism in International Relations in reality. They are not joking. They are liberals. Before there were different points, such Gaullism of Charles de Gaulle, for example. There was realism in the history of Europe, and all of its modern history were struggles, wars, and fights between Nations, but now liberalism is absolutely and overwhelmingly prevailing. Realists don’t recognize that. That is hypocrisy. They are promoting human rights always and everywhere, including when they simply destroy some countries in order to rob them, as with Libya, for example, but that was all about “human rights.” You can kill in favor of human rights, invade, destroy, and support radical Islam if it corresponds to “human rights.” Americans can say “it’s our business, business like business, nothing personal” and close our eyes to Saudi Arabia in some situations because they are our allies, and open our eyes when something is happening in Russia, and when nothing is going in Russia, we will just imagine and create a story.

In that sense, I suggest America as an example of a normal and honest field of debate between realists, who are recognized as an absolutely normal part of this society – half of American politicians are realists – and the other half are liberals, who try to demonize the realists now, and this is the European case, as in Trump’s election. He is a realist, he is honest, they are allies, America First, and the liberals go “no no, that is nationalism.” And they, the liberals, have lost. That is a sign that realism is half of the population of the political spectrum of the political elite of the United States, and they recognize that – “nothing personal.” There is a pure and honest International Relations school in the United States of America. In Europe, there is now no such clear possibility. Liberals try to demonize the realists, call them “fascists”, “extremists”, “Putin’s agents”, “Russian hackers”, and so on. But now, for example, in Italy, Hungary, and so on there are realist governments. There are left and right realists. Realism exists in Europe in spite of the European rules of political correctness and globalism.

The other debate – more interesting and charged with irony and humor – is that between positivism versus post-positivism, which is philosophical, but which in International Relations acquires a special dimension. I suggest philosophers, and Chinese philosophers, to pay attention to post-modernism in International Relations as broader than post-modernity. It is not only abstract philosophy and playing with concepts as in Deleuze’s plateau or Lacan, but in the everyday life of International Relations you will see how post-modernity works.

The next terms of debate are universalism and Eurocentrism versus the plurality of civilizations. This is precisely the multipolar theory that is only in its first stage of development. The main principles of realism are:

absolute sovereignty

  • chaos in International Relations,
  • national interests which discount everything based on rational calculation,
  • mercantilism in foreign trade, which means that the State should control foreign trade by taxes,
  • no supranational legitimacy,
  • anthropological pessimism

It is interesting how realists explain that the State should be because men are “evil”, and in order to put them order, we should have a State – otherwise they will behave in an unpredictable way and destroy everything. So they are pessimists and try to put humans in their place based on mutual agreement. They do not believe that human nature can be changed in progress. Humans are more or less the same.

The main principles of liberalism are:

relative sovereignty

  • from chaos to order in International Relations creating a supranational legal system, international interests should prevail – which is something incomprehensible to realists, for whom there are no international interests as there can be no international interests
  • liberalism in foreign trade, direct seller-buyer links with no State monopoly on foreign trade, no taxes, and no regulation in foreign economic policy
  • and universal peace is an imperative. War is worst of all, if it is not a ‘holy war’ against the enemies of the open society
  • world government, political globalization, and internationalism (and sometimes “pacifism”)
  • anthropological optimism, or the idea of progress, that humans can be better, more peaceful, more friendly, more hipster, more equal
  • education and progress should be political means destroy Nation-States using epistemology in order to promote their vision
  • human rights and the individual are the universal norm. There is no concept of the citizen as in realism, but the individual is a global concept.

If we put these together, we can see quite a symmetric opposition – term against term, affirmations against negations. What realists affirm and accept, liberals in International Relations challenge and deny. We see a symmetry in this debate and, to say the truth, we can find some intellectual bases in both. It is not a case of “stupid” against “wise.” This is one form of mentality against another form of mentality. You can choose your position.

For the English school or “middle way”:

States are sovereign

  • there is no legitimate supranational organization, but chaos in International Relations should be organized somehow nevertheless. This can be done through the concept of the club of the most powerful. The club of the less powerful has no influence.
  • States form the International system, and this system can be reflected, corrected, and indirectly controlled by the club.
  • Potestas indirecta (in Latin), a concept developed by Carl Schmitt

For Marxism in International Relations:

  • the capitalist system is global
  • Nation-States are fictions,
  • the differences between realists and liberals are useless and misleading, and the division between the capitalist States are lesser than vertical antagonism between the bourgeois and proletarian.
  • Capitalism, globalization, cosmopolitanism, and the reduction of society to the individual status are necessary. This creates real internationalism.
  • Contradictions in the capitalist system will grow – this is the difference with liberals, for whom contradictions will decline.
  • The growth of the middle class is a lie according to Marxists, and pauperization will become total.
  • All peoples and cultures of the world are obliged to repeat the economic development of the West. In that sense, they are racists.
  • In the globalist future, the proletarians will also become global, will rise from the global revolution and will overcome the bourgeoisie. This is the difference in the far future.

The main principles of post-positivism are:

  • the theoretical fields of International Relations are an artificial construction.
  • There is no independent reality, and the subjects of International Relations are not States, peoples, and civilizations, but are created in the process of discourse. By speaking of International Relations, we are creating the subject of International Relations.
  • All discourses are necessarily biased – you cannot have neutral or scientific, objective discourse, because you serve one or another power. International Relations reflect not the State but the will of their creators.
  • International Relations is the fight for domination and hegemony, and nothing else. This is pure political propaganda. All International Relations, according to the post-positivists, is nothing but direct political propaganda in order to submit all of humanity and install their operational system instead of others.
  • There is a need to create a new critical theory against discourses of power in International Relations. There is hard criticism of of all positivist theories as varieties of dominant, authoritative discourse – this is a post-modern concept.
  • There are a variety of proposals that should be based on post-positivist version of IR. It is very diverse, not united.

 

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Turan: The Key to Understanding the Russian Logos

Author: Alexander Dugin

Translator: Jafe Arnold

From Ekspertiza Dugina #17. (The following is a partial transcript of Alexander Dugin’s video talk on his recent new Noomachy: Wars of the Mind volume: The Logos of Turan: The Indo-European Vertical Ideology (Moscow, 2017). 

The task of describing Turanian civilization in the recent volume of Noomakhia was inseparable from the fact that Turan is gone. The book was therefore a reconstruction of a past society, an archaeological volume, in which Turanian civilization had to be restored bit by bit on the basis of archaeological research, linguistic analysis, what we know about ethnology and ethnography, and essentially artificial methods.

A few Turanian peoples can be named. For example, the Ossetians are the last heirs of the Sarmatians, there are the various Pashtun tribes, and the direct descendants of the Indo-European nomads in the Great Steppe. There are also descendants in Nuristan, the Kalash in Pakistan and Afghanistan, enclaves of direct Turanian cultures and Indo-Europeans nomadic tribes. But, of course, this is largely a conditional reconstruction.

What is the importance of Turan? The very concept of Turan is sometimes misinterpreted. We know it from Suhrawardi and Shahnameh, which speaks of a confrontation between Iran and Turan. By Iran Shahnameh meant settled Iranian civilization, whereas by Turan was understood nomadic civilization.

Ferdowsi wrote this in a period when the Turkic peoples had already for several centuries largely taken over the role of nomads. Hence the impression that Turan is related to the Turks, ( [the names of] which are of the same or similar root), and as follows, the confrontation between Turan and Iran was between the Turkic and the Indo-European, particularly the Iranian world. But this is not true etymologically or historically, because Ferdowsi took the term Turan from the Avesta, from the oldest layers of pre-Islamic culture where this term existed since time immemorial, when there were still no Turks on the expanses of Eurasia and the Eurasian steppes.

When we begin to consider the term, this Indo-European term, it meant none other than “people.” It is very similar to the Lithuanian concept of Tauta (“nation” or “people”) and Deutschen and Teutonen. In fact, this [Turan] was the name of the very same ancestors of the Indo-Europeans, the very same Iranians, only the nomadic ones, who lived on the territory of the Great Eurasian Steppes. Some of them moved to Persia, closer to Elam, to Media, where they settled and came to be called Iran. Those who continued to live under the same conditions came to be called Turanians. In Iranian civilization, Turan is understood as the realm of the nomadic Iranians, whereas Iran is the area of the settled Iranians.

Thus immediately arises a completely different vision of Turan which has nothing to do with the Turks. If we look closely at where they came from and who the Iranian nomadic tribes in Eurasia were, then it turns out that they were always there – precisely in the Eurasian steppes. Regardless of whichever archaeological hypothesis we accept – that is, regardless of whether the Indo-Europeans originated closer to the Black Sea, the Azov Sea, the Caspian Sea, or in the Southern Urals – in any case we are dealing with the space of Turan, the space of the Great Eurasian Steppe.

The Turanian world was in all actuality represented by none other than the warlike nomadic tribes who domesticated the horse, built chariots, and began to use the wheel, who boasted colossal militancy, and began to spread across the whole Eurasian mainland, going all the way to the West, where their descendants became the Celts, Germans, Italic peoples, the Illyrians, Thracians, and to Greece (as the ancestors of the Hellenes), to Anatolia (one of the first Indo-European tribes, where they laid the basis for Serbian civilization). The Slavs and Balts are bearers of the Turanic element, because these are the same Indo-European peoples who moved together with the Kurgan culture, according to Gimbutas, to the West, at some point settling on different territories. There are the Iranians and Indians as well.

This Turanian world is the key, ancestral homeland and proto-matrix of all of Indo-European civilization.

By what means were they able to extend their influence to practically the whole of Eurasia? The wheel. We can see how this process of the Indo-Europeans’ expansion continued into the colonial period. Even today’s cars are part of the Turanian worldview, the new chariots. This is the line of the expansion of chariots, the expansion of martial style, the Indo-European languages, and the Indo-European political system – which is patriarchal, masculine, and androcratic.

Androcracy is the rule of men. The power of androcratic societies created the historical-political landscape of nearly all of Eurasia, with the exception of the Chinese, Southeast Asia, and perhaps some of the Semitic regions of the Middle East. Palestine was once inhabited by the Hittites, the chariots of the Hurrians, perhaps the Indo-Aryans, and the Mittani went to Egypt – hence the appearance of the chariot in Egypt.

In other words, Turan itself is a kind of paradigm. It is Indo-European nomadism, which most likely spread from the Southern Urals. I think that this is the most accurate hypothesis.

Later this initiative of the Indo-European, patriarchal, androcratic societies was taken on by other peoples, such as the Huns, Turks, and Mongols. And it was then that the space of Turan was brought a very similar nomadic culture by other – non-Indo-European and post-Indo-European – ethnoi.

If we put this all together, then we see a colossal picture of all Indo-European societies, their source model, and their differences, which are relative to degree of remoteness from the Indo-European homeland, which was the Turanian homeland. When the Indo-European peoples moved away from this homeland and mixed with more matriarchal, agricultural societies, they created a mixed type of culture. In the final analysis, Turan thus acquires an entirely different significance, another dimension. If we are not indifferent to our roots, then this Indo-European Turan, as the homeland of Indo-European cultures, is in my opinion an extremely important element for understanding ourselves, because our country is the territory of Turan.

After many centuries and millennia, after Turan had originally been the territory of the Indo-Europeans, after the Indo-European peoples had passed their initiatives to other non-Indo-European peoples, such as the Altaic and partially the Uralic, the heritage of Turan once again returned to Russia. We, the Russian Indo-European people, are the keepers of this gigantic territory of Turan. The mission of the Indo-Europeans has made a full circle, starting with Indo-Europeans and ending with Indo-Europeans, in coming to us.

Thus, Eurasianism acquires an entirely different dimension, and the notion of Turan is transformed radically. And, of course, if we are sensitive towards our own identity, and if we are not indifferent toward our roots, our past, and our future, then I think that this book would find very wide resonance in another state of society…

But we live in a world of some kind of pause. I look to the future with optimism, as the present time of dark mental illness in society will pass, and we will return to the search for ourselves, return to our Russian rebirth, to our roots. And then the idea of Turan, which allows us to look at all of our history in a completely different way, including the Mongol conquests, our relations with the Turks, the Turkic peoples, and projects such as the creation of the Eurasian Union, which has now been declared in policy or is being implemented (albeit in the form of a simulacrum) – all of this will truly acquire meaning. 

The Strength of the Weak

Author: Petr Petrovich Suvchinsky

Translators: Yulian Orlov and Jafe Arnold 

Source: Exodus to the East: Forebodings and Events: an Affirmation of the Eurasians (Sofia 1921), accessible in Russian here

What happens if one has not yet begun to be disturbed,
while another has already come up against a bolted door
and violently beaten his head against it?
The same fate awaits all men in their turn unless they walk in the saving road of humble communion with the people.

– Dostoevsky (Pushkin Speech) [1]

At the current time, an event of global importance is unfolding, the true essence and consequences of which are impenetrable even to the most perceptive. This event is the Russian Revolution, not in its socio-political meaning and importance, but rather in its national-metaphysical essence. As a manifestation of a socio-political order, it is most likely submissively flowing forth through the watercourse of revolutionary legitimacy. Its secret lies in its national and global sum.

The West, in trying to surround Russia with barriers, is not only afraid of the communist contagion. Europe has understood (albeit it unclearly and without confidence) or rather felt, the future result of the Russian Revolution and has already shuddered before it and, finally, taken defensive measures. She has understood that this result is defined not by the revolutionary energy of Russian communism, but by the historical predestination of the entire Russian people. She has understood that before the eyes of the world a former European province is rising up and growing in strength; a province that will unavoidably have to engage in combat, a province that will strike first, without even waiting for a lofty challenge, and engage itself in a war of reproof, reproach, and rage against its recent and apparently eternal parent state.

Russia has been a great power and has never been a state [2]. The state habits of every people is determined resultant state consciousness of all individuals that compose it. This great-power essence is the predestined potential of the authority, scope, and overflow of the entire essence of a people. It is the subconscious feeling of power, the fateful weight of the entire mass of the people, a mass that dislodges and moves the environment that surrounds it. It is involuntary self-confirmation, the droit sacré of one’s own being. The great-power essence sometimes arrogantly sprouts up, and sometimes weakens, disintegrates, thereby transforming the apparently strong flesh of the state into a crumbling, weak, collapsing human substance. Sometimes, the gift of the great-power essence coincides with developed aptitudes for the building of a state; sometimes, however, they are mutually exclusive… 

The glory of Russia is not consciously dependent on the governmental capabilities of her people. The glory is that Russia has been blindly endowed with its great-power essence. It is by this essence that the entire history of the Russian popular collective has been determined, the Russian person is fully subordinate to it, the traits of the Russian soul and will are contingent on it, and, to be more precise, even the character of the mass flows forth from the character of the person. Similar to the ebb and flow of the great-power essence of the Russian state collective, the Russian person is on the path to spiritual ascension, on the path of a vital test, all the while wavering, reeling between rise and fall, ascending and stalling. Ascension astounds with its rising force, as if an unseen hand extends from heaven and swoops it up. Stalling is always horrific through the void of the fall, through the loss of the Image of God.

And then humility and obedience border on servility, cowardliness, the dirty feeling of personal lostness: at times, bravery turns into insanity, yielding pride. In this wavering lies the law of the history of the Russian people, as does the law of the life of every individual person of the Russian people. In this interchange of exaltation and humiliation the popular [3], elemental Russia lived, at times limitlessly like a great power, at times powerless and enslaved when the mysterious forces of popular effort and elasticity suddenly dried up, ran out, were pushed together like the gigantic wings of a frightened bird.

The Russian intelligentsia has long since become accustomed to interpreting European culture not on an equal footing, but by seeing it as superior, obligatory, exclusive, and right. This servility and submission are undoubtedly rooted in the very essence of the Russian nature: if one acknowledges oneself as unequal, allows someone’s superiority to take hold over one, then it is necessary to submit, acquiesce, cowardly rejecting one’s own. This is a kind of servility, even a form of self-betrayal. In relation to other peoples, elemental Russia was either like a great power i.e. dominant, or spasmodically compressed herself, collapsing, involuntarily submitting, surrendering, while simultaneously hiding her covenants in the depths of the popular soul…  

Pan-human ideas are reflected by different peoples in the forms of diverse cultures. By developing within herself the genius of pan-human ideal capacity, the Russian intelligentsia actually combined, absorbed within its conscious all varieties of alien European cultures up to the level of total congeniality, thereby harming the self-discovery and affirmation of Russia’s own culture. As a result of this, the Russian intelligentsia was internationally enlightened, but de-personalised.

A specific “intelligentsia” does not, of course, deplete Russia as a great whole. In the manifestations of dominant great-power essence and in creative work, she guards examples of a unique, exclusive, and true national will as a valuable property.

In our days, in an era of the greatest tragedy of the decline, the paralysis of the sovereign forces and will of the Russian people, in an era where the whole concentration of Russian statehood [4] has weakened and become blurred, and thereby its internal interrelationships must be born anew and structured, the popular element has unconsciously yet powerfully begun a persecution of revenge and reproof against its conscious/responsible part, when it could not provide the people during a time of tribulation with a familiar, comprehensible, popular, national culture. We cannot say that the entire intelligentsia has been banished; however, we can confidently state that, with small exceptions, only the intelligentsia has been banished.

Through the medium of this banishment an awesome judgement has been passed on that form of the reception of Western culture that was seen as the Russian consciousness from the times of Peter [5] as immutable and true. As much as the creative, prophetic genius of Russia is free and unique, in equal measure is it accommodating and assimilative, and this genius revealed itself in all its shyness and submissive conditionality. The intelligentsia finds itself atomised all over the world. Simultaneously, the popular element is once again acquiring its mysterious, great-power forces through torturous battles and passions, forces that will sooner or later spread it out, pour it out into its former glory and strength. The Russian intelligentsia, which has for the first time been confronted face to face, person to person with the civilised peoples of the world must thereby, finally, deservedly self-assess its capabilities, most importantly its national, popular roots and begin to experience the redemptive process of belated self-discovery and self-confirmation. Only in this forceful, virtual contraposition, not from the “beautiful far-away” or the process of blind adoption has the Russian intelligentsia really felt the line that has been drawn between it and its spiritual idol of yesterday. It has understood and remorsefully shuddered as its own has turned out to be too invaluable and precious,  and the foreign too obsolete and poor. Powerless and banished, the intelligentsia has begun its rebirth and, if it does not interrupt this process, then in the near future it will regain its true strengths and rights. The people gather their strength in collective struggle, while the intelligentsia(s) in the experience of personality. At this moment they are enemies, as in its thirst for self-identification and liberation from alien forms of thought and life, the people placed the intelligentsia on the side of its European enemies; however, it would be a great mistake to think that the Russian people is fighting Europe and the intelligentsia with the sword of communism. On the contrary: communism is the final likeness that the intelligentsia has taken in its fanatical defence of the principle of equalisation and universality.

Having banished its false ideological leaders in a burst of hatred, in its search for conscious truth, the Russian people has followed its usual submissiveness put its fate in the hands of another, subjected itself to slavery once again, to the dictatorship of that very same intelligentsia that had ruled to that very moment until the revolution had actually manifested and did not reside anymore in the realm of fanatical will. The unaccountable, rebellious forces of the intelligentsia, selected in a blind drive towards global socialist ideas, have focused a terrifying, painful energy into the unhealthy, overheated atmosphere of the emigre community and the underground. This will is  fiery, merciless, vengeful, without any restraint; it has now grabbed the popular masses, which have lost their star, in its grasp. However, its guiding truth is alien and hateful towards the true Russia as much as its predecessor; after all, the Bolshevik international is but a volitional consequence of the cosmopolitan errors and temptations of the godless, sinful spirit of the Russian intelligentsia – sinful, because the dream of the global and true cannot be righteous outside of the Church. All will understand this sooner or later, after which the volitional (final?) dictatorship of the intelligentsia will be wiped out with the very same elemental fury. Then the great covenant of Russia will be fulfilled, her prophetic mystery will come into being: the wisened and calmed people and the enlightened intelligentsia will, reconciled, unite under the single great and all-solving cupola of the Orthodox Church.

Translator’s notes:

[1]: The full speech is accessible in English here.

[2]: That is to say, Russia has never been a state in the European, Westphalian sense of the word.

[3]: The Russian term народ has no direct equivalent in English. It corresponds best to the German term Volk, which has a limited analogue in English folk or “the people”.

[4]: As has been noted above, this does not mean that Russia is a European state; rather, this is a reference to the loss of Russia’s territorial integrity and great-power essence.

[5]: Peter the Great.  

Iran and Multipolarity

Author: Leonid Savin

Translator: Jafe Arnold 

The following is an excerpt from a forthcoming book…

At the turn of the millennium, Iran’s President from 1997-2005, Mohammad Khatami, proposed the concept of a dialogue of civilizations. Initially being a counter-thesis to Samuel Huntington’s work, The Clash of Civilizations, Khatami insisted on and argued for the need for discussion between different religions and cultures, especially during his address to the 53rd session of the UN General Assembly (1998-1999) when he officially declared 2001 to be the Year of Dialogue Among Civilizations. The peculiarity of Mohammad Khatami’s theory of “dialogue of civilizations” rests in that it offers a systematic, scholarly, and practically feasible and purposeful use of exchange between civilizations to overcome barriers of alienation between different players on the global political scene to prevent crisis situations in the world taking into account the modern level of technological and communication development and with an eye towards global problems which threaten the very existence of mankind.[1]  Khatami said:

We should not forget that cultures and civilizations always have interaction and mutual influence. New abilities were formed due to their interaction. Non-dialogue paradigm leads to a deadlock, to overcome which we inevitably appeal to the dialogue approaches. Constructive indicators of dialogue certainly must not be limited only to the spheres of politics and culture. Not all constructive indicators of culture are only cultural ones; since economic, social, cultural and educational aspects participate in this formation. Therefore, promotion of dialogue of civilizations should be recognized as a multi-sided necessity.[2]

In 2001, however, a terrorist attack struck New York and the American neoconservatives subsequently triumphed in their insisting on the necessity of military intervention in Iraq and Afghanistan under the pretext of fighting terrorism and finding (non-existent) weapons of mass destruction. The harsh dualism put forth as an ultimatum by the George W. Bush Administration to the tune of “those who aren’t with us, are with the terrorists” buried any efforts at establishing such a dialogue of civilizations.

During the presidency of Khatami’s successor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iran became yet another pretext for the West’s contrived “concerns.” Meanwhile, on the other hand, Iran became an object of interest for all those forces resisting Washington-led unipolar globalization. High prices and demand for oil contributed to Iran’s economic development, although sanctions imposed by Western countries and later the UN hampered the Iranian economy. Despite this, Iran demonstrated political resilience to outside influence, remained loyal to its ideological principles, and affirmed its right to be an influential player in the region. In addition, Iran under Ahmadinejad began actively cooperating with those Latin American countries which adopted an anti-imperialist foreign policy course.

The fact that these countries’ leaderships, and first and foremost Venezuela, Ecuador, Nicaragua, and Bolivia adhered to socialist views did not hinder the establishment of an alliance which set for itself the goal of political multipolarity based on respect for the sovereignty of states and their peoples’ cultural traditions. Cooperation with Russia, China, and African countries was also amplified.

Moreover, similar views came to be shared by other senior politicians of the Islamic Republic of Iran. In May 2006, the Commander-in-Chief of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, General Yahya Rahim Safavi, stressed that “Today, taking into account countries such as Russia, China, India, an Iran, the world is moving in the direction of multipolarity contrary to the desire of the USA.”[3] Ahmadinejad continued Iran’s course towards multipolarity during his second presidential term as well. At the 65th session of the UN General Assembly in October 2010, Ahmadinejad said:

The inefficiency of capitalism and existing global governance and its structures has manifested itself for many years, and the majority of countries and peoples are in search of fundamental changes for the sake of justice in international relations…The world is in need of the logic of compassion, justice, and universal cooperation, not the logic of force, domination, unipolarity, war, and intimidation…The Iranian people and the majority of peoples and governments of the world are against the current, discriminatory global governance. The inhumane nature of this governance has brought it to a standstill and requires radical revision. Universal cooperation, pure thoughts, and divine and humane governance are needed to remedy the situation in the world and to transition to peace and prosperity.[4]

The Supreme Leader of Iran, Ayatollah Khamenei, also stressed the pursuit of multipolarity. During his speech at the 16th summit of the Non-Aligned Movement in Tehran in August 2012, Khamenei pointed out the need to reform the UN, drew attention to the West’s unilateral imposition of its programs undermining the principles of democracy, the destructive work of monopolized mass media, and problems of weapons of mass destruction. Khamenei proposed the doctrine of a “Middle East without nuclear weapons” by which, of course, he meant Israel as an outcast in this issue, and highlighted the need to improve “political productivity in global governance.”[5]  Without a doubt, such a venue as the Non-Aligned Movement’s summit is not only for political reports advising the need for high morality and justice, but is a platform for criticizing neo-imperialism. It is a powerful pooling of leaders and senior officials of states from all continents to meet and take advantage of a decent opportunity to reach agreements, discuss the prospects of joint projects, and reduce possible friction in diplomatic relations.[6] Iran’s role in this regard is very indicative.

If Iran de facto is and has been before a geopolitical center, then the changing international situation has opened the possibility for it to transform its status and rise to the level of a geopolitical pole. If Iran is approached not only as a sovereign nation-state, but as a center of Shiite Islam, then we undoubtedly see that Iran’s influence in a number of countries with Shiite populations makes it a geopolitical subject of a different level and significance. Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Yemen, and Palestine are states which depend on support from Iran through various mechanisms.

The Iranian international relations expert Behzad Khoshandam posits that 2016 was a turning point for Iran in regards to choosing its international course, which was finally confirmed to be that of multipolarity. This is due to several interconnected factors: (1) the signing of the nuclear deal with six countries (a manifestation of the logic of Iran’s strategic patience in political, trade, economic, and other interests); (2) rapprochement with Russia; (3) Trump’s victory in the US presidential elections; (4) understanding the hostile intentions of the numerous countries conducting proxy wars against Iran (Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Israel); (5) and the overall serious turn towards Eurasia.[7] To this we can add the strategic agreement with China announced in January 2016 which includes Beijing actively supporting Iran in acquiring full membership in the SCO.[8]

Indeed, in the opinion of Iranian scholars, the country’s national interests are best protected in none other than the multipolar paradigm of global politics. Mohammad Mehdi Mazaheri from Tehran University believes that only in a multipolar international system can regional cooperation and balanced relations with all powerful states help countries achieve their national interests.[9]

The Iranian political scientist Massoud Mousavi Shafaei from Tarbiat Modares University has proposed that Iran take advantage of the fluidity of the international system and the emergence of new conditions for active operations in different regional environments. Insofar as Iran is located between the Middle East and Central Asia, it indeed does have a choice. The Middle East is submerged in chaos, ethnic conflicts, wars, and terror, and this crisis will likely continue for an indefinite period of time. In these circumstances, the restoration of order in the region under the leadership of a single hegemonic power or even under the pressure of large powers is seen as practically impossible.[10] Given that the US instrumentalizes most Arab countries to contain Iran’s geopolitical ambitions, this thesis is justified. Washington simply will not allow Iran to be more actively engaged in the region even if Iranian intentions are altogether benevolent and noble. Therefore, in Massoud Mousavi Shafaei’s opinion, Iran must reorient itself and its geo-economic logic towards Central Asia and Southeast Asia. However, this does not mean an end to Iranian presence in the Middle East necessary to defend its vital national security interests.

The opinion has also been expressed that Russia, Iran, and China “all feel that [a] multipolar world is the only condition for future development of our planet and its inhabitants. They have experienced again and again that unilateral dictates emanating from US, instead of solving problems, generates more and more of them. So it is obviously in their interests, to get united on the issue of multi-polarity, and insist – through various institutions like US, or press, or even new military alliances – that the business as usual – is not going to be accepted.[11]          

Iran understands that joining the multipolar club inevitably means pressure from the West. Thus, Tehran can expect new challenges, as can the other architects of the multipolar world order. In this vein Tehran University Professor Jahangir Karami has noted that although Russia can effectively restrict the US’ unilateral approach through the UN, NATO expansion challenges Russia’s efforts, as was the case with the crises provoked in Ukraine and Syria aimed directly against Moscow.[12]

Nevertheless, Iran has a long history of withstanding Western hegemony and other forces from the first contacts with the Portuguese in the early 16th century to the seizure of the US Embassy during the Islamic Revolution of 1979. Indeed, opposing US sanctions and working to develop their own economic approaches and conduct in international affairs are characteristic of Iran’s course towards multipolarity.

Footnotes: 

[1] Мелихов И.А. М. Хатами: межцивилизационный диалог и мусульманское сообщество/ «Дипломатический вестник», серия «Дипломатия, наука и общественность». № 9. 2001.

[2] Seyyed Mohammad Khatami. Dialogue among Civilizations. High-Level Conference. Eurasia in the XXIst Century: Dialogue of Cultures, or Conflict of Civilizations? Issyk-Kul, Kyrgyzstan, 10 and 11 June 2004. Paris, 2005. http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0014/001465/146593E.pdf

 [3] Иран и Российская Федерация: Россия, Китай, Индия и Иран – линия мощной силы, 10 мая 2006. http://www.iran.ru/news/politics/39484/Iran_i_Rossiyskaya_Federaciya_Rossiya_Kitay_Indiya_i_Iran_liniya_moshchnoy_sily

[4] Выступление президента Ирана на 65-й сессии Генеральной Ассамблеи ООН, 04 октября 2010 http://www.iran.ru/news/interview/68545/Vystuplenie_prezidenta_Irana_na_65_y_sessii_Generalnoy_Assamblei_OON

[5] Выступление аятоллы Хаменеи на саммите Движения неприсоединения.// Геополитика. 31.08.12 http://www.geopolitica.ru/Articles/1483/

[6] Савин Л.В. Иран, Движение неприсоединения и многополярность. Геополитика.ру, 17.09.2012 https://www.geopolitica.ru/article/dvizhenie-neprisoedineniya-iran-i-mnogopolyarnost

[7] Behzad Khoshandam, Iran’s Foreign Policy in 2016, Iran Review, DECEMBER 28, 2016      http://www.iranreview.org/content/Documents/Iran-s-Foreign-Policy-in-2016.htm

[8] Iran, China Announce Roadmap for Strategic Partnership, Farsnews, Jan 23, 2016.       http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13941103001266

[9] Mohammad Mehdi Mazaheri, Russia Bracing for Multipolar International System, Iran Review, September 21, 2015  http://www.iranreview.org/content/Documents/Russia-Bracing-for-Multipolar-International-System.htm

[10]   Massoud Mousavi Shafaei, Iran’s Foreign Policy Needs Paradigm Change: Transition from Middle Eastern Terror to Geo-economics of Asian Hope, Iran Review, JANUARY 31, 2017 http://www.iranreview.org/content/Documents/Iran-s-Foreign-Policy-Needs-Paradigm-Change-Transition-from-Middle-Eastern-Terror-to-Geo-economics-of-Asian-Hope.htm

[11] Prof. Golstein: ‘Russia, Iran, China Feel Multi-Polar World is Only Condition for Future Development’, Jul 17, 2016    http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13950421000941

[12]          Jahangir Karami, Russia, Crises in Syria and Ukraine, and the Future of the International System, Iran Review, APRIL 15, 2014    http://www.iranreview.org/content/Documents/Russia-Crises-in-Syria-and-Ukraine-and-the-Future-of-the-International-System.htm

Thinking Chaos and the “Other Beginning” of Philosophy

Author: Alexander Dugin

Translator: Yulian Orlov

From Platonizm.ru 

Chaos was not part of the context of Greek philosophy. Greek philosophy was built exclusively as a philosophy of the Logos, and to us such a state of affairs is so normal, that we (probably correctly from a historical point of view) identify philosophy with the Logos. We do not know any other philosophy, and, in principle, if we are to believe Friedrich Nietzsche and Martin Heidegger along with contemporary postmodernist philosophy, we will have to acknowledge that the very philosophy which was discovered by the Greeks and built up around the Logos has today fully exhausted its contents. It incarnated itself in techne, in the subject-object topography that turned out to be evidentiary for only two or three centuries until the final, sunset note of West-European philosophy. As a matter of fact, today we are standing on the line or endpoint of this philosophy of the Logos.

Today, we can glimpse the entire process of the evolution of logocentric philosophy that began with Heraclitus and the Pre-Socratics, reached its apogee in Platonism and Socrates, was developed fairly violently in Greco-Latin patristics and later in Scholasticism and the Neoplatonic Renaissance and, in the New Era, turned together with Descartes through the subject-object topography onto its last- self-reflective stage that, in turn, ended with Nietzsche.  According to Heidegger, it was precisely Nietzsche who ended West-European philosophy. Thus, we have before us a finished story with a beginning, climax, and end, all about logocentric culture. The Logos, from cradle to grave. But then we have to ask ourselves: who was Heidegger?

On the one hand, Heidegger definitely ends this process of Western philosophy and puts down the final seal, but on the other hand he (potentially) lays the foundations of something new. The end of philosophy is absolutely clear, but the question about the “other Beginning” (der andere Anfang) remains open.

It is totally clear that West-European philosophy, being logocentric, has exhausted its potential. However, we have to ask ourselves the question: what role did chaos play in this logocentric philosophy? It was rejected from the very beginning, left out of account, crossed out, because the Logos is based on the exclusion of chaos, on the affirmation of there being a hard alternative to it. What is the fundamental difference between logos and chaos? The Logos is exclusivity, the Logos is separation, the Logos is a clear idea about the one and the other; it is not by random chance that the Logos received its formalised form in the logic of Aristotle, in its fundamental laws: the law of identity, the law of negation and the law of the excluded third. It is necessary to emphasise that modern and post-modern studies entirely correctly show, that the logocentric understanding of the world is masculinoid, i.e. exclusively male, exclusivist [1]. It is this way, in an explosive manner, that men think of the world and order. The Logos is a male, hierarchised beginning that was simplified in West-European philosophy, reached its high point, and… collapsed, was cast down, dissipated. Today, the “great man”, the “cosmic man” has been shattered into fragments. He collapsed, and together with him his philosophy crumbled, as the Logos and the male beginning are, as a matter of fact, the very same thing. This is where the rightness of the postmodernist, critical term “phallo-logocentrism” comes from. The entire West-European philosophy was built on the male principle from beginning to end. This end is here. We are living through it. This means that the Logos is exhausted. Therefore, we must either meekly slip into the night, or search for new paths.

If we review this process of the appearance, establishment, and downfall of Western European philosophy and the appearance of the Logos in a pure form, consequently, as demasculinisation continues (according to Plato, only the philosopher is a true man; in other words, a man is he who philosophises; therefore, today we can speak of a sweeping degeneration and spiritual castration of men, as they are no longer capable of engaging in philosophy) and the Logos falls, we see before us an image of mixing: dissipated fragments of male logical thought are turbulently mixing amongst each other, thereby forming a post-masculinist amalgamate. It is precisely to this mixing, this phenomenon of the turbulence of parts that are no longer part of something whole that is indicated by those who use the concept of “chaos” in modern science.

Here, we must immediately say that the chaos with which modern science, modern physics, and chaos theory operate is actually a set of structures of order that is more complex. This is nothing else than complex systems that are not at all alternatives to order as such, but are just an extravagant, baroque (here, too, the ideas of postmodernist G. Deleuze from his essay “The Fold: Leibnitz and the Baroque” are valuable) version of a complexified, twisted and significantly perverted order. That was is today called “chaos” by representatives of the scientific and, in part, the cultural establishment is the condition of the post-logical world, a world that is still located, however, within the Logos, inside its orbit, albeit at the most distant periphery, at its last border. A very precise name for such a state of affairs has been given by René Guénon, who called this situation “la confusion” (Fr. “mixing”, “tangle”, “everything getting caught in everything else”.

The concept of “chaos” that is dominant in modern science does not correspond at all to the Greek chaos as something primordial, organic, and spontaneous, but as the product of the collapse of logocentric philosophy and the logocentric culture that was based on it. The fact that we are today dealing with an alleged “chaos” actually refers to the product of the Logos’s collapse and separation into different fragments. It is precisely for this reason that scholars of “chaos” find within it residual or extravagant, eccentric structures of the Logos. These can be studied and quantified only in more complex procedures and with the help of a special device that has been adapted for the quantifying and description of bifurcational processes, non-integrated equations (I. Prigozhin), and fractals (B. Mandelbrot). The theory of “chaos” studies process that are exceptionally dependent on initial conditions. The definition of “chaos” in modern science is today taken to be the following: a dynamic system with the following traits: sensitivity to initial conditions, topological mixing, and the density of periodical orbits. Mathematicians further specify, that a “chaotic system should have non-linear characteristics and be globally stable, but also have at least one unstable point of equilibrium of oscillating type; in addition, the dimensions of the system should be no less than 1,5 (i.e. the order of a differential equation should be no less than 3)” [3].

Actually, it is not the Greek chaos at all that is hinted at in this concept of “chaos”, but a product of the dispersion and disintegration of the Logos. This is so because we have not yet left the bounds of the Logos: the chaos that modern science deals with is integrated into the Logos, it splashes around within its inner space (albeit at the most extreme orbit), as far away as possible from the logocentric axis, in the furthest borderland of the conceptual Platonic cosmos, in the world of the Titans [4]. Therefore, we must, strictly speaking, call this reality a “very remote copy” that has nearly lost its link to the original; we must not in any case, however, call it “chaos”. Here, either the term “mixing” (Guénon’s “la confusion”) is most appropriate or the postmodern concept of the “simulacrum”, which J. Baudrillard interprets as a “copy without an original”. This is an intralogical zone (albeit at a maximum distance from the centre) that has nothing in common with the initial image of Greek chaos, which, according to myth, precedes the Logos, precedes order, i.e. the cosmos. True chaos is pre-cosmic, pre-ontological. The “mixing” or “chaos” of modern science is post-cosmic, and although almost nothing of being remains within it, it still is, which means that it is in some sense ontological. Here, Zeno’s aporia on the quick Achilles and the turtle is entirely relevant. No matter how much the “mixing” might try to run from ontology, it is analytically incapable of doing so; as René Guénon shows, a line x moving towards 0 will never be equal to 0, but will only continually approach 0 while always remaining at an ever diminishing but still infinitely great (although it is infinitely small) distance from it. 

While researching “chaos” (the philosophical Gilles Deleuze describes this as a way of coexistence for incompatible monads [6]; Deleuze himself calls such “monads” “nomads”), modern science is researching the intra-logos, post-logos, dissipative order, instead of an alternative to order, as the nihilistically minded postmodernists had hoped. 

Here, it is important to pay attention to the concept of “nothing”. The Logos draws everything into itself and accords to everything the quality of self-identification with itself, i.e. with the Logos. The Logos is everything and draws everything into itself, with the exception of that which it is not; but that which it is not is nothing, the Logos excludes everything that it does not include, and, as it includes everything, only nothing remains outside of it. However, it interacts harshly with this nothing: according to Parmenides, there is no non-being. Nothing surrounds order and serves as a boundary. As we are looking at nothing through the eyes of the Logos, however, it becomes clear that we cannot reach that boundary. However hard we might strive to words nothing, whatever nihilism we might cultivate, we keep remaining in the limits of something and not nothing, inside of order, under the hegemony of the Logos. And even though this hegemony weakens at its extreme limit, it never entirely disappears. Therefore, on the road towards liberation from the power and domination, the modernists (and the postmodernists after them) find the figure of the “despot” in God and traditional society, in society as such, later in reason, even later in man himself, structures, language, context (poststructuralism) etc. The condition that there is no non-being makes being unbearable for those who consider its weight to be a hindrance. All evocations of “chaos” or calls to “nomadic”, incompatible monads that are incapable of providing the desired result, i.e. the final and irreversible uprooting of the “will to power”, which is the main aim of the liberating program of the Enlightenment cannot and will not succeed by its very definition.

Those who understand the situation of the deep crisis of Modernity (in particular Martin Heidegger) turn to the roots of the West, to the Greek matrix that birthed philosophy. Heidegger meticulously studies the birth of the Logos and tracks its faith, all the way up to the rule of technics, Machenschaft. In order to describe it, he introduces the concept of “Gestell”, in which the referential theory of truth itself is summed up, from Plato (and even from Heraclitus) up to the mechanical mercantile-materialistic civilisation of modern, utmost planetary (but continuously Western-centric) decadence. Having examined the history of philosophy (which also is history as such) from beginning to end, Heidegger finds that it ended so wrongly precisely because it begun so incorrectly. As an alternative, he proposes the project of the “other Beginning” [7].

Having described the first Beginning of philosophy, which led to the logos and, finally, to that dissipative postlogos (and post-masculine) ontological regime that we find ourselves in, Heidegger identifies it as the consequence of a fundamental error that was made in the first, even preparatory stages of the development of West-European philosophy. According to his views, the history of Western European philosophy, culture, and religion is the result of a small, primordial fault in our metaphysical contemplation. According to Heidegger, two-and-a-half thousand years of human history were in vain, seeing as at the very beginning, somewhere in the area of the first formulations of the Logos’ status, a certain error was accidentally allowed to sneak in, an error that, as Heidegger puts it, must first be acknowledged and then be overcome. Thus develops his idea of the two Beginnings of philosophy: the first Beginning, which began, formed, developed, flourished, and eventually degraded and has now become nothing (let us at least remember the modern nihilism that was discovered by F. Nietzsche and magnificently examined by Heidegger), and the other Beginning, which could be found as far back as the roots of philosophy (but this did not happen, and we can see the result: the Logos and its defeat), but, in any case, it should be delineated and initiated now, while everything is clear. But this beginning will begin only when everything truly becomes clear. Everything became clear to Heidegger. The rest is experiencing a “delay”, everything is “still not clear”, noch nicht[8], the eternal “still not”. The other Beginning — der andere Anfang.

If we examine in detail what Heidegger means by the “other Beginning” (the alternative, potential Beginning that has not yet formed or come to pass), and if we trace the line of the grandiose deconstruction of the Logos that he has undertaken, we will be able to view the entirety of West-European philosophy, culture, and history, including religious history; after all, religion is nothing other than the development of constructions of the Logos (which is why Heidegger speaks of “theologica”: the Christian faith, as well as the Muslim kalam and theological Judaism are founded upon the Logos, and, in principle, we know of no other monotheistic religions but for those religions of the Logos). The logocentrism of religions is a very important thing to understand: it shows, that it is futile to turn to religion when searching for an alternative or protection from the downfall of the Logos. The crisis of modern religions is the crisis of the Logos; when the Logos collapses, its entire vertical structure and all its variations (including theological ones) fall with it. This is interrelated: monotheism loses its fascinativeness as the attraction of the Logos weakens, and vice versa. Religions without the Logos cease to be themselves. But even in the case where the Logos is present within them, it will be as a phantom pain, a “confusion”, as the vanity of desemantisised structures (which is what we are seeing today in the form of the dubious phenomenon of a “religious renaissance”, which unambiguously smacks of a simulacrum and a parody).

For this reason, Heidegger proposed to look for an exit in a completely different way: in the sources of Greek philosophy, in the very Beginning (even in the vestibule of this Beginning) on the one hand, and beyond the boundaries of our world on the other, thereby uniting the problem of the moment of philosophy’s birth, its existence in an embryonic, intrauterine state with the problem of the moment of final agony and death. Before Heraclitus, philosophy was located in the uterus, the Logos “swam” in amniotic fluid, in a matrix: today, the Logos is buried in its grave. The grave and the womb have, on the one hand, the meaning of an antithesis: the first signifies death, the second birth; however, at the same time we know, that in the collective unconscious they are synonyms, mutual systems. One can figuratively say, that in both cases it is a night, darkness, existence without distinction, erasure of borders, nocturne [9], all the more so because many intiatic rituals are linked to a descent into the grave as well as the beginning of resurrection, i.e. another, second birth. This is also the rite of Orthodox baptism: water symbolises the earth, the grave, death. The total, three-time immersion of the baptised into the baptistery is a symbol of the three days Christ spent in the grave. It is a descent into the earth, into the grave: the “burial of Christ” is a prerequisite for a new birth.

Thus, if the Logos was born in the first Beginning of Greek philosophy through the rejection of Chaos as an exclusive, central principle of division, hierarchy, exception, and order; that is to say, the male beginning was essentially raised to the level of the absolute; and if all of this began the way it did, and if everything ended with what we have in the modern world, then, accordingly, we must follow Heidegger in finding what was lost, what the mistake of that first impetus, which started the development of a logocentric civilisation, was. Heidegger develops his vision in recapitulative and exceptionally complex book “Beitrage zur Philosophie” [10], which I recommend all readers to familiarise themselves with (the work has not been translated, and I would say that this is excellent; it cannot be translated, and there are things that are not just difficult to translate, but which are criminal to translate, things that require the original language to be learned to be understood). The book directly deals with the “other Beginning”; contrariwise, we find a short and relatively “light” treatment of these ideas in the “Geschichte des Seyns” [11].

Heidegger proposes us to think in a radically different way from the one that is usual in philosophical or philosophical-religious thought. But how is it possible to philosophise differently, how can there be a “different Beginning” of philosophy? If we take a close, detailed look at the moment of the birth of Greek philosophy, we will find a single, essential element: philosophy is born alongside exclusion; what is more, it is Chaos that is the first victim of exclusion. Chaos is not a philosophical concept and never was one, but it enters philosophy exclusively through its intermediary, through its substitute in the person of the choir (cora), Platonic “space” in the “Timaeus”, or later in the person of Aristotle’s “matter” (ulh). However, the view of the choir in the “Timaeus” and the view of Aristotle’s matter is the view of the Logos [12], and all the Logos says it that it has already excluded Chaos during the process of its ascension in a similar fashion to “political propaganda” or a “press release”. What the Logos tells us about matter is an exclusively constructivist Wille zur Macht, the “will to power”, a development of an impassioned and aggressive strategy of male domination, the establishment of hierarchic hegemony, the projection of wishful thinking and self-fulfilling prophecy. From the very beginning of philosophy, the “dog was wagged”. Philosophy tries to force unto us that, which is favourable to itself. This is the hiding place of male cunning, the male drive to the absolutisation of the self, and, accordingly, the exclusion of the female beginning, the “other” beginning. And, if we examine this, we can recognise the total incomprehension of the woman. This is the source of woman being accorded qualities that, in reality, she does not have at all. Thus, the male forms between itself that which is excluded by the male from the intellective process. The Logos rejects the choir because of its (un)intelligibility. However, it does not understand it purely because it does not want to understand and prefers to deal with a representation instead of the female itself. The man thinks, that the only way of knowing the woman is to hide her in inner rooms, separate her from the public, social dimension. Later, he thinks a suitable solution is to chase the female away entirely, etching way her traces through the suffering of lonely male asceticism. Therefore, the opinion of the Logos about chaos is a notorious lie, violence, hegemony, the exclusion of chaos as the other. As the Logos is everything, chaos becomes nothing [13].

If we want to comprehend the very possibility of an “other Beginning” of philosophy, on the one hand, we must come to the moment of the birth of the Logos and fix this transition of the boundary, discern the details and semantics of this rite du passage. How could it have come to pass that the Logos managed to break loose, unbind itself, and who allowed it to issue its own, exclusive decrees concerning chaos? Now we come to the most interesting: if we feel discontent with the dissipative logical and postlogical structures, we must acknowledge, that we must turn to the Logos again, seeing as it was the Logos that created all the prerequisites of its dissipation through its exclusivity. We cannot simply up and return to Platonism: there is no way back. The Logos moves only in one direction: it divides and divides (and divides and divides… and so on into the distance [14]). Gilbert Durand [15] call this logic the regime of the “diurn”: until everything is reduced to a chit and stops. This schizomorphosis [16] directly leads to G. Deleuze and F. Guattari’s concept of “schizomass” [17]. This has been beautifully illustrated in the films of Takeshi Miike, for example, in “Killer Ichi” or “Izo”. In the latter film, an insane samurai, having begun his battle with the world, does not stop until he has cut everyone he encounters into pieces. Izo is the Logos.

The Logos will not help us. If we do not like how the modern, postlogical world is organised, we are forced (if we like it or not) to turn to chaos. We have no other alternative: we must fundamentally step backward towards the first Beginning of Greek culture, in order to make even the smallest step forward, truly forward, and not following the endless arc of the eternally ending world, that is still not capable of finally ending (“still not”). If we do not do this, we will reach the eternal deadlock of the infinite return of dissipative structures and confusions. This is the choice we must make: either we choose the modern, postlogical chaos of confusions, or we break through its boundaries; but the way to break through its boundaries can be found only in chaos, which itself precedes the Logos and is located radically beyond its borders, behind the line of its peripheral agony. 

Chaos can and should be seen as an inclusive order, as an order founded upon a principle that is opposite to the Logos; that is to say, the principle of inclusivity, inclusiveness. Therefore, it is very important to understand what inclusiveness means. Once we have comprehended this term, we will know if it is at all possible to build a philosophy of chaos, that is, a philosophy of the “other Beginning”.

If we see chaos the way it is seen by logocentric models, we will get nowhere. There is nothing logical (exclusive, masculine, no Wille zur Macht) in chaos, and this means, that it becomes ouk on (Greek: “pure non-being”), French “rien”, Spanish “nada” to the Logos and Onto-Logos. – ouk on and not mhon, as the Greeks called the non-being that is capable of producing something from itself, “pregnant non-being”). As the Logos will not see anything except itself, according to the principle of Aristotelian logic, we cannot juxtapose anything to it: either A is equal to A (and, in this case, we find ourselves within logical boundaries) or A is not equal to A; now we are outside of those borders, in nothing. According to Aristotle, the latter situation means that A simply does not exist; the A that was not equal to A does not exist. This is in contrast to, for example, the view of the Japanese philosopher Kitaro Nishida, who has, in contrast to Aristotle, developed a separate logic of spaces, “basho”, founded upon Zen Buddhist models of thought.

However, outside of the Logos and its hypnotic suggestion, it is entirely possible to conceptualise chaos as a principle of absolute inclusion or an inclusive philosophy. Why is this possible? Because, if we extract ourselves from the political propaganda of the Logos (under the conditions of which we have been living for two and a half thousand years), we will be able to see chaos as it presents itself, and not the way the Logos presents it. Chaos reveals itself as the inclusive, it carries within itself all possibilities, including the possibility of exclusion, right up to the exclusion of the self. Naturally, chaos contains the Logos as it thinks itself, like a seed in a woman’s uterus: it is and it is being born, it will most definitely be born, tear away, mature, and leave: however, something more important is left out of the picture: that which allows it to live, that which produces, nurtures, and feeds it.

The Logos can be seen as a fish swimming in the waters of chaos. Without this water, thrown onto the surface, the fish chokes, and this is, actually, how the structures of the Logos “croaked”. We are dealing with nothing but its dissipative remains. These are the bones of the fish that has hurled itself onto the shore. It is not by chance, that many speak of the symbolism of Aquarius as the new water, without which the old fish could not live.

The philosophy of chaos is possible because chaos, being all-inclusive, all-encompassing, and the antecedent of any exclusion, contains this very exclusion within itself, but carries a different relation to it and itself, as well as differing from the way exclusion itself (i.e. the Logos) relates to chaos and itself. We know only one view of chaos: the philosophical view from the position of the Logos, and if we want to look at the Logos from the point of view of chaos, we are told that this is impossible, seeing as we are used to examining chaos only from the point of view of the Logos. It is thought, that only the Logos is capable of seeing, and that chaos is blind. No, this is not true, chaos has a thousand eyes, it is “panoptic”. Chaos sees itself as that which contains the Logos, which means that the Logos is located within chaos and can always be within it. However, while containing the Logos within itself, chaos contains it in a totally different way the Logos contains itself, which it does by rejecting the fact that it is contained by anything (whatever that container may be) except itself, and, accordingly, placing chaos out of its view, equating it to nothing, rejecting it. Thus, the fish, recognising itself as something different from the water surrounding it, can come to the conclusion that it no longer needs the water and jumps onto the shore. However one might try to throw the stupid fish back, it will try to jump time and time again. They called this insane fish “Aristotle”.

But water is the beginning of everything. It contains the root of other elements and other creatures. It contains that which it is and that which it is not. It includes that which acknowledges the abovementioned fact, but also that which does not.

We can draw the following conclusion: first, a philosophy of Chaos is possible, and second, salvation through the Logos is impossible: the salvation of the Logos is only possible through a correct turn towards chaos.

Chaos is not just “old”, it is always “new”, because eternity is always new: the eternity (l’éternité) that Rimbaud found again (a retrouvé) – c’est la mer allée avec le soleil. Pay attention: la mer. Chaos is the newest, the freshest, the most fashionable, the latest from the current season’s collection (Il faut être absolument moderne. Point de cantiques : tenir le pas gagné) (1). Precisely for the reason that it is absolutely eternal: time ages extremely quickly, yesterday appears archaic (there is nothing more ancient than the “news” of a month old newspaper), only eternity is always absolutely new. Therefore, the discovery of chaos does not equate to an excavation of history or of the structures that are presented to us as conquered by historical time; no, it is an encounter with the eternally young. Chaos was not sometime earlier or before. Chaos is here and now. Chaos is not that what was, as the Logos propagandises. Chaos is that what is, and that what will be.

In conclusion, we return once more to Heidegger. To reach the truth of being (Wahrheit des Seyns) is possible only in two moments of history: in the Beginning, when philosophy is about to be born, and in the End, when the disappearance, the liquidation of philosophy takes place. Of course, individual personalities could reach the truth in different stages as well; however, they could do this, but they could also be satisfied with something else: they lived in the magic of the Logos, warming themselves in the rays of the solar seed.

Today, this is the only thing we have left, all the rest has been bled dry, and to satisfy ourselves with dissolution in an endlessly ending but incapable of truly ending world, in the “not yet” is the fate of nonentities. Apart from this, doing this in our time is easier than it ever was before. You and I, dear reader, are living in extraordinary times, in which we are presented with an entirely unexpected opportunity to directly encounter chaos. This is not an experience for the weak minded. After all, our task is the construction of a philosophy of chaos.

Footnotes: 

[1] See the problem of the “diurn” in the topography of G. Durand’s imaginative structures. Dugin A. G. Sociology of the Imagination. Moscow:Akademichesky Proekt, 2010.

[2] Deleuze, G. The Fold: Leibniz and the Baroque. Moscow: Izdatelstvo Logos, 1997.

[3] Gutzwiller Martin. Chaos in Classical and Quantum Mechanics. New York: Springer-Verlag, 1990.

[4] See Proclus. Commentaire sur le Timee. Par A.J.Festugiere. t. I. P.:Vrin, 1966.

[5] Guenon René. Les principes du calcul infinitésimal. Paris, Gallimard, 1946.

[6] Deleuze, G. The Fold: Leibniz and the Baroque.

[7] Dugin A. Martin Heidegger. The Philosophy of Another Beginning. Moscow: Akademichesky Proekt, 2010.

[8] Heidegger M. Sein und Zeit. Erstes Kapitel §§ 46–53. Tübingen: Niemeyer, 1952.

[9] Dugin A. G. Sociology of the Imagination.

[10] Heidegger M. Beiträge zur Philosophie. Frankfurt am Main: Vittorio Klostermann, 2003.

[11] Heidegger M. Geschichte des Seyns. Frankfurt am Main: Vittorio Klostermann, 1998

[12] Dugin A. Martin Heidegger. The Possibility of Russian Philosophy. Moscow: Akademichesky Proekt, 2011.

[13] Ibidem.

[14] On “diarhysis” and the structure of the “diurn”, which are distinct features of the Logos’ work, see Dugin A. Sociology of the Imagination..

[15] Durand G. Les Structures anthropologiques de l’imaginaire, Paris: P.U.F., 1960.

[16]  Ibidem.

[17] Deleuze, G., Guattari F. Anti-Oedipus. Capitalism and Schizophrenia. Yekaterinburg: U-Faktoriya, 2007.

Translator’s note:

(1): One must be absolutely modern. Never mind hymns of thanksgiving: hold on to a step once taken.

Multipolarity and India

Author: Leonid Savin

Translator: Jafe Arnold 

The following is an excerpt from a forthcoming book…

Indian theories of multipolarity also deserve attentive study. The Indian political scientist Suryanarayana believes that multipolarity is conceivable as a stable principle of international relations only between states that have developed organically as “power houses.” Implicit in this notion is a criticism of colonialism, neocolonialism as well as the chimerical political culture vividly exemplified in the US which, with its strategic notion of the “Frontier” and historical statehood, cannot represent such an organic power house.

By engaging in economic reform,” it is assumed, “India will have the opportunity to develop and exploit its large population and economic opportunity to become a global power in an increasingly multi-polar system, thereby allowing for an ambitious foreign policy permitting India to protect its interests in South Asia and act as the preeminent power in the region.” It has also been noted that India has earned “high political credibility in most parts of the world on top of its growing economic stature, it seems reluctant to capitalize on this. Unwilling to break with the creeds that have guided its foreign policy since independence but, rather, trying to conserve them by adapting them to the emerging new multipolar order.” Upon attaining a new economic level, moreover, India will inevitably strengthen its military and political presence in the Indian Ocean.

University of Colorado Professor Peter Harris believes that multipolarity will be directly linked to a shift in the balance of forces in the Indian Ocean. Harris writes:

Today, centuries of relative unipolarity are giving way to noticeable multipolarity. India’s announcement of a base in the Seychelles is another important step in this direction—a sign that New Delhi is doubling down on its blue water navy and attendant power-projection capabilities.  From the Seychellois island of Assumption, which is already equipped with an airstrip, the Indian military—even if it is limited by geography to maintaining only a tiny military presence—will boast a central position in the Western Indian Ocean, close to the East African coastline and astride the important maritime trade route that runs from the Mozambique Channel to the Arabian Sea.

It is not just India that is beefing up its presence in the region, of course. Late last year, China announced the creation of its first permanent overseas base in Djibouti at the mouth of the Red Sea, and Beijing continues to expand its naval capabilities (most recently by announcing the construction of its first Chinese-made aircraft carrier). With the United States also present in Djibouti—as well as Bahrain, Diego Garcia and elsewhere—this means that at least three of the great powers are demonstrably seeking to expand their military reach in the Indian Ocean.  And middle powers such as Britain and France also boast considerable military assets in the wider region…

International Relations theory helps to delineate three scenarios that might play out. First, the great powers could cooperate to combat piracy, maintain geopolitical stability, and keep sea lanes open. This is the hope of liberal academicians, who see few conflicts of interest between the various powers in terms of their vision for the ocean’s future; on the contrary, a common stake in policing the commons should provide great impetus to maintaining regional stability. Second, however, the Indian Ocean could become the focus of great power competition and even outright conflict, as distrust and divergent interests push states to shun collaboration. This is the pessimistic prediction of most realist scholars.

But third, the Indian Ocean could become the scene of a new sort of world order—or, to put it more accurately, world orders—as rival great powers go about organizing their own spheres of influence that exist discretely and distinctly with one another’s. Such a world was outlined by Charles Kupchan in his book, No One’s World, in which the author argued that the coming international system will be characterized by decentralization, pluralism, and co-existence…

Whatever the form of international governance that emerges in the Indian Ocean, then, it will have to accommodate the reality that several great powers have vital interests in the region. Come conflict or cooperation, political order in the Indian Ocean will have to be multipolar in character — if, indeed, it is not already. The prospects for peace and harmonious cooperation under such circumstances are not altogether bleak, but they are not endlessly auspicious either.  In many ways, twenty-first century geopolitics begins here.

In their joint article, “The multipolar Asian century: Contestation or competition?”, Samir Saran, a senior research fellow and vice president of the Observer Research Foundation (India) and Ashok Malik, a senior research fellow at the Australian Lowy Institute for International Policy, also assign India an important place in the future world order and focus on the Asia-Pacific region as a possible source for the formation of a multipolar world. Saran and Malik suggest three possible scenarios:

Should the US choose to bequeath the liberal, international order to Asian forces, India will be the heir-apparent. India would not, under this circumstance, play the role of a great power — because Asia is too fractious and politically vibrant to be managed by one entity — but simply that of a ‘bridge power’. India is in a unique and catalytic position, with its ability to singularly span the geographic and ideological length of the continent. But two variables will need to be determined. Can the US find it within itself to incubate an order that may not afford it the pride of place like the trans-Atlantic system? And, can India get its act together and be alive to the opportunity it has to become the inheritor of a liberal Asia?

The second possibility for an Asian order is that it resembles the 19th century Concert of Europe, an unstable but necessary political coalition of major powers on the continent. The ‘big eight’ in Asia (China, India Japan, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Australia, Russia and America) would all be locked in a marriage of convenience, bringing their disparate interests to heel for the greater cause of shared governance. Difficult as it would be to predict the contours of this system, it would likely be focused on preventing shocks to ‘core’ governance functions in Asia, such as the preservation of the financial system, territorial and political sovereignties and inter-dependent security arrangements. Given that each major player in this system would see this as an ad hoc mechanism, its chances of devolving into a debilitating bilateral or multi-front conflict for superiority would be high — very much like the Concert that gave way to the First World War.

A third possibility could see the emergence of an Asian political architecture that does not involve the US. This system — or more precisely, a universe of subsystems — would see the regional economic and security alliances take a prominent role in managing their areas of interest. As a consequence, institutions like ASEAN, the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, the AIIB, the Gulf Cooperation Council and the South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation will become the ‘hubs’ of governance. The US would remain distantly engaged with these sub-systems, but would be neither invested in their continuity, or affiliated to its membership.

There also exists the point of view that India will represent the third pole of a multipolar world (besides the US and China) by 2050. Given that the author of this model is Hindu, such a theory is of a clearly prejudiced character. On the other hand, a tripolar system a priori cannot be multipolar. What’s more, India’s leadership considers Russia to be one pole of the multipolar world, as was stated by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his visit to Moscow in December 2015, who said that he sees in Russia a “significant partner in the economic transformation of India and the creation of a balanced, stable, inclusive, multipolar world.”

However, the Indian view of multipolarity implicitly harbors negative perceptions of China due to territorial disputes and, in a broader context, due to the civilizational competition between these two countries. Russia is also an often subject of criticism. For example, the retired Indian diplomat M. Bhadrakumar has remarked: “Russia and China give lip-service to their shared interests with developing countries and they profess ardor for a polycentric world order, ultimately they remain self-centered, comfortable in the knowledge of their assured veto power in the UN and their sequestered place within the discriminatory nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) regime. Unsurprisingly, they are paramountly focused on perpetuating their privileged position as arbiters of regional problems.”

Nevertheless, the understanding that the window of opportunities could expand considerably under none other than multipolarity continues to push India in this direction. As Amee Patel has pointed out in the context of India-China dialogue: “While improved relations could alleviate each nation’s challenges, a further motivation is given by India’s shared resentment toward the international system.”

 

Multipolarity and Polycentricity

Author: Leonid Savin

Translator: Jafe Arnold 

The following is an excerpt from a forthcoming book…

The very term “multipolarity” is of American (Anglo-Saxon) origin, and in the third chapter we examined similar concepts that have been developed in other countries. As various scholars have indicated, varying interpretations of multipolarity have provoked certain conceptual dilemmas. For instance, a report on long-term global trends prepared by the Zurich Center for Security Studies in 2012 noted that:

The advantage of ‘multipolarity’ is that it accounts for the ongoing diffusion of power that extends beyond uni-, bi-, or- tripolarity. But the problem with the term is that it suggests a degree of autonomy and separateness of each ‘pole’ that fails to do justice to the interconnections and complexities of a globalised world. The term also conceals that rising powers are still willing to work within the Westernshaped world economic system, at least to some extent. This is why the current state of play may be better described as ‘polycentric’. Unlike ‘multipolarity’, the notion of ‘polycentricism’ says nothing about how the different centres of power relate to each other. Just as importantly, it does not elicit connotations with the famous but ill-fated multipolar system in Europe prior to 1914 that initially provided for regular great power consultation, but eventually ended in all-out war. The prospects for stable order and effective global governance are not good today. Yet, military confrontation between the great powers is not a likely scenario either, as the emerging polycentric system is tied together in ways that render a degree of international cooperation all but indispensable.

The Swiss scholars involved in this summation approached the issue from the standpoint of reviewing security issues in a globalized world and tried to find an adequate expression for contemporary trends. However, there also exist purely technical approaches and ideological theories which employ the term “polycentric”.

The concept of “polycentricity” had been used before to describe the functioning of complex economic subjects. Accordingly, if management theories are springboards for geopolitical practice, then this model’s basic elaborations already exist. In a literal sense, the term “polycentric” suggests some kind of spatial unit with several centers. However, the term does not specify what kind of centers are in question, hence the obvious need to review various concepts and starting points before discussing polycentrism.

Four levels of this concept can be discussed in the context of political-administrative approaches. The analytical-descriptive level is needed for describing, measuring, and characterizing the current state of a spatial object by means of precisely determining how long a country or capital can be “polycentric.” Secondly, this concept can be understood in a normative sense which might help, for example, in reorganizing the spatial configuration of an object, i.e., either to promote/create polycentrism or support/utilize an existing polycentric structure. Thirdly, when it comes to spatial entities, it is necessary to specify their spatial scale, i.e., at the city level, city-region, mega-regional level, or even on the national or transnational levels. Upon closer examination, the concept of polycentrism thus challenges our understanding of centers in urban areas, since such can concern either their roles and functional ties (relations) or their concrete morphological forms (the structure of urban fabric). This differentiation between the functional and morphological understandings of polycentrism constitutes the fourth dimension.

In the contemporary situation which features the presence of city-states and megalopoli that can easily compete with some states in the classical understanding in the most varied criteria (number of residents and their ethnic identity, length of external borders, domestic GDP, taxes, industry, transport hubs, etc.), such an approach seems wholly appropriate for more articulated geopolitical analysis. Moreover, in the framework of federal models of state governance, polycentrism serves as a marker of complex relations between all administrative centers. Regional cooperation also fits into this model since it allows subjects to “escape” mandatory compliance with a single regulator, such as in the face of a political capital, and cooperate with other subjects (including foreign ones) within a certain space.

To some extent, the idea of polycentrism is reflected in offshore zones as well. While offshores can act as “black holes” for the economies of sovereign states, on the other hand, they  can also be free economic zones removing various trade barriers clearly within the framework of the operator’s economic sovereignty.

It should also be noted that the theory of polycentrism is also well known in the form of the ideological contribution of the Italian community Palmiro Togliatti as an understanding of the relative characteristics of the working conditions facing communist parties in different countries following the de-Stalinization process in the Soviet Union in 1956. What if one were to apply such an analysis to other parties and movements? For example, in comparing Eurosceptics in the EU and the conglomerate of movements in African and Asian countries associated with Islam? Another fruitful endeavor from this perspective could be evaluating illiberal democracies and populist regimes in various parties of the world as well as monarchical regimes, a great variety of which still exist ranging from the United Kingdom’s constitutional monarchy to the hereditary autocracy of Saudi Arabia which appeared relatively recently compared to other dynastic forms of rule. Let us also note that since Togliatti the term “polycentrism” has become popular in political science, urban planning, logistics, sociology, and as an expression for unity in diversity.

In 1969, international relations and globalization expert Howard V. Perlmutter proposed the conceptual model of EPG, or Ethnocentrism-Polycentrism-Geocentrism, which he subsequently expanded with his colleague David A Heenan to include Regionalism. This model, famously known by the acronym EPRG, remains essential in international management and human resources. This theory posits that polycentrism, unlike ethnocentrism, regionalism, and geocentrism, is based on political orientation, albeit through the prism of controlling commodity-monetary flows, human resources, and labor. In this case, polycentrism can be defined as a host country’s orientation reflecting goals and objectives in relation to various management strategies and planning procedures in international operations. In this approach, polycentrism is in one way or another connected to issues of management and control.

However, insofar as forms of political control can differ, this inevitably leads to the understanding of a multiplicity of political systems and automatically rejects the monopoly of liberal parliamentarism imposed by the West as the only acceptable political system. Extending this approach, we can see that the notion of polycentrism, in addition to connoting management, is contiguous to theories of law, state governance, and administration. Canada for instance has included polycentricity in its administrative law and specifically refers to a “polycentric issue” as “one which involves a large number of interlocking and interacting interests and considerations.” For example, one of Canada’s official documents reads: “While judicial procedure is premised on a bipolar opposition of parties, interests, and factual discovery, some problems require the consideration of numerous interests simultaneously, and the promulgation of solutions which concurrently balance benefits and costs for many different parties.  Where an administrative structure more closely resembles this model, courts will exercise restraint.”

Polycentric law became world-famous thanks to Professor Tom Bell who, as a student at the University of Chicago’s law faculty, wrote a book entitled Polycentric Law in which he noted that other authors use phrases such as “de-monopolized law” to describe polycentric alternatives.

Bell outlined traditional customary law (also known as consolamentum law) before the establishment of states and in accordance with the works of Friedrich A. Hayek, Bruce L. Benson, and David D. Friedman. Bell mentioned the customary law of the Anglo-Saxons, ecclesiastical law, guild law, and trade law as examples of polycentric law. On this note, he suggests that customary and statutory law have co-existed throughout history, an example being Roman law being applied to Romans throughout the Roman Empire at the same time as indigenous peoples’ legal systems remained permitted for non-Romans.

Polycentric theory has also attracted the interest of market researchers, especially public economists. Rather paradoxically, it is from none other than ideas of a polycentric market that a number of Western scholars came to the conclusion that “Polycentricity can be utilized as a conceptual framework for drawing inspiration not only from the market but also from democracy or any other complex system incorporating the simultaneous functioning of multiple centers of governance and decision making with different interests, perspectives, and values.” In our opinion, it is very important that namely these three categories – interests, perspectives, and values – were distinguished. “Interests” as a concept is related to the realist school and paradigm in international relations, while “perspectives” suggests some kind of teleology, i.e., a goal-setting actor, and “values” are associated with the core of strategic culture or what has commonly been called the “national idea,” “cultural-historical traditions”, or irrational motives in the collective behavior of a people. For a complex society inhabited by several ethnic groups and where citizens identify with several religious confessions, or where social class differences have been preserved (to some extent they continue to exist in all types of societies, including in both the US and North Korea, but are often portrayed as between professional specialization or peculiarities of local stratification), a polycentric system appears to be a natural necessity for genuinely democratic procedures. In this context, the ability of groups to resolve their own problems on the basis of options institutionally included in the mode of self-government is fundamental to the notion of polycentrism.

Only relatively recently has polycentrism come to be used as an anti-liberal or anti-capitalist platform. In 2006, following the summit of the World Social Forum in Caracas, Michael Blanding from The Nation illustrated a confrontation between “unicentrism” characterized by imperial, neo-liberal, and neo-conservative economic and political theories and institutions, and people searching for an alternative, or adherents of “polycentrism.” As a point of interest, the World Social Forum itself was held in a genuinely polycentric format as it was held not only in Venezuela, but in parallel also in Mali and Pakistan. Although the forum mainly involved left socialists, including a large Trotskyist lobby (which is characteristic of the anti-globalist movement as a whole), the overall critique of neoliberalism and transnational corporations voiced at the forum also relied on rhetoric on the rights of peoples, social responsibility, and the search for a political alternative. At the time, this was manifested in Latin America in the Bolivarian Revolution with its emphasis on indigenism, solidarity, and anti-Americanism.

It should be noted that Russia’s political establishment also not uncommonly uses the word “polycentricity” – sometimes as a synonym for multipolarity, but also as a special, more “peace-loving” trend in global politics insofar as “polarity presumes the confrontation of poles and their binary opposition.” Meanwhile, Russian scholars recognize that comparing the emerging polycentric world order to historical examples of polycentricity is difficult. Besides the aspect of deep interdependence, the polycentricity of the early 21st century possesses a number of different, important peculiarities. These differences include global asymmetry insofar as the US still boasts overwhelming superiority in a number of fields, and a multi-level character in which there exist: (1) a military-diplomatic dimension of global politics with the evolution of quickly developing giant states; (2) an economic dimension with the growing role of transnational actors; (3) global demographic shifts; (4) a specific space representing a domain of symbols, ideals, and cultural codes and their deconstructions; and (5) a geopolitical and geo-economic level.

Here it is necessary to note that the very term “polycentricity” in itself harbors some interesting connotations. Despite being translated to mean “many”, the first part (“poly-“) etymologically refers to both “pole” and “polis” (all three words are of Ancient Greek origin), and the second part presupposes the existence of centers in the context of international politics, i.e., states or a group of states which can influence the dynamic of international relations.

In his Parmenides, Martin Heidegger contributed an interesting remark in regards to the Greek term “polis”, which once again confirms the importance and necessity of serious etymological analysis. By virtue of its profundity, we shall reproduce this quote in full:

Πόλις is the πόλоς, the pole, the place around which everything appearing to the Greeks as a being turns in a peculiar way. The pole is the place around which all beings turn and precisely in such a way that in the domain of this place beings show their turning and their conditions. The pole, as this place, lets beings appear in their Being and show the totality of their condition. The pole does not produce and does not create beings in their Being, but as pole it is the abode of the unconsciousness of beings as a whole. The πόλις is the essence of the place [Ort], or, as we say, it is the settlement (Ort-schaft) of the historical dwelling of Greek humanity. Because the πόλις lets the totality of beings come in this or that way into the unconcealedness of its condition, the πόλις is therefore essentially related to the Being of beings. Between πόλις and “Being” there is a primordial relation.

Heidegger thus concludes that “polis” is not a city, state, nor a combination of the two, but the place of the history of the Greeks, the focus of their essence, and that there is a direct link between πόλις and ἀλήθεια (this Greek word is usually translated into Russian as “truth”) Thus, in order to capture polycentricity, one needs to search for the foci and distribution areas of the essence of the numerous peoples of our planet. Here we can once again mention strategic cultures and their cores.

Hegel and the Platonic Leap Down

Author: Alexander Dugin

Translator: Jafe Arnold 

Geopolitica.ru 

 

On November 14th, 1831 the greatest romantic philosopher in the world history of thought, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (1770-1831), died. Heidegger, along with Nietzsche, believed Hegel to be the one who completed the history of the philosophy of the Western Logos and the pinnacle of the history of philosophy and philosophy in general. If Plato was the philosopher of the beginning, then Hegel and Nietzsche were the philosophers of the end. In this sense, Hegel was the summative philosopher.

Everything is the otherness of the Other

Hegel’s political philosophy is very complex. It is based on his overall philosophical picture. As we have seen, every philosophy always has the possibility of eliciting a political dimension. Like Plato, Hegel in his philosophy of right makes this gesture, takes his whole philosophy and applies it to politics, i.e., he explicitly locates the place of political philosophy in the context of his philosophy as a whole. Through philosophy, he explains political philosophy, simultaneously clarifying politics through its metaphysical dimension.

In this respect, Hegel is a classical philosopher who implicitly includes political philosophy. In this sense, Heidegger was absolutely right when he said that if we understood The Phenomenology of the Spirit, then we could deduce everything else from it. As for reading, two fundamental works of Hegel’s are habitually suggested: The Phenomenology of the Spirit and Philosophy of Right.

Hegel’s basic idea is that there exists the primordial Subjective Spirit, the “spirit for itself” (German: der subjektive Geist). This point coincides with the theological thesis on God’s existence – the Subjective Spirit is God for Himself. In order to employ itself for the Other, this Subjective Spirit projects itself in the Objective Spirit (German: der objektive Geist) in which it becomes nature and matter, i.e., the subject projects itself in the object.

Note the fundamental difference here with the Cartesian topology which predetermined the structure of modernity. For Descartes, there is a dualism between subject and object, whereas Hegel tries to remove this dualism and overcome Kant’s epistemological pessimism through distinguishing matter or the object from the Spirit. In fact, this is nothing more than a development of the Kantian model of the absolute “I am,” but taken in a dynamic, dialectical model. If Fichte was a reaction to Kant, then Hegel is a reaction to Fichte, but in constant dialogue with Kant and Cartesianism.

Thus, Hegel argues that there exists the Subjective Spirit which reveals itself through the Objective Spirit via dialectical alienation. The Thesis is the Subjective Spirit and the Antithesis is the Objective Spirit, or nature. Therefore, nature is not nature since, according to Hegel, nothing is identical to itself, but everything is an otherness of the Other, hence the term “dialectic.”

The cycle of departure and return: the Absolute Spirit

In other words, there is the Subjective Spirit as such which projects itself as the Antithesis. And thus begins history. For Hegel, the philosophy of history is of fundamental significance because history is nothing other than the process of unfolding of the Objective Spirit which acquires at the new stage its spiritual component lying at its essence. But the first act of the Objective Spirit is to hide its spiritual character, to impersonate matter or nature, and then throughout history this otherness of the Subjective Spirit returns, by man and human history, to its essence.

But then this is a new essence; this is no longer the Subjective Spirit (the “spirit for itself”) nor a “spirit for another”, but a “spirit in itself.” In other words, the spirit returns to itself through its own alienation. Thus arises the cycle of departure and return, the latter of which was more important for Hegel than the departure. The latter creates the preconditions for the return, and the return, passing the entire cycle, returns to the Subjective Spirit itself, becoming the third spirit – the Absolute Spirit (German: der absolute Geist). That is, first there is the Subjective Spirit, then the Objective Spirit, and then the Absolute Spirit.

The Absolute Spirit, according to Hegel, unfolds over the course of human history and draws towards the end of history. The meaning of history is the Spirit’s realization of itself through matter. First the Spirit has itself, but is not self-aware, then it begins to realize itself, but does not have itself. Nature in and of itself harbors the preconditions of history because it is an element of history. Hence the history of religion, the history of societies, and as a result of the Spirit’s unfolding through history, it reaches its climax in the end of history, when the Spirit is fully conscious of and has itself. Thesis, Antithesis, Synthesis. Thus, history is finished.

This is a general picture of Hegel’s philosophy, which has many nuances and complexities. Thus, according to Hegel, history moves positively, but this is a different positivism than that in the philosophy of the Great Mother. The titanic beginning implies that in the beginning there was lesser and then greater. In his reading of Hegel, Marx removed the Subjective Spirit and said that there is self-perfecting nature. Thus, he restored the philosophy of the Great Mother according to which everything grows out of matter and nature.

But Hegel is not Marx. In Hegel, this growth, this process, this movement from the bottom upwards is based on the fact that in the beginning there was a leap downwards.  First the Spirit leaps and falls into nature, and therefore nature begins to grow, and nature is not so much other as it is the otherness of the Spirit. The Antithesis to the Spirit is not simply its opposite – for it itself is also such in removed form. The concept of “removal” in Hegel is very important, as the Antithesis does not destroy the Thesis, but removes it, absorbs it, and then demonstrates through the Synthesis.

Therefore, the Thesis is not absolute, and the Antithesis is not absolute. All of them are dialectically dependent. Only their Synthesis is absolute through which occurs the removal of the Thesis and the Antithesis. In this sense, the Hegelian understanding of history as the unfolding of the Spirit happens through phases: there is the (prehistoric) Subjective Spirit, the Objective Spirit, which manifests itself through history, and finally the Absolute Spirit, which manifests itself through the higher tension of history, through the creation of some kind of cultural and socio-political peak, the pyramid of the Spirit, which finally became the Absolute.

Hegel and the idea of the German state

Where does political philosophy figure here? Clearly, in some sense history becomes political. Hence why in Hegel there is the concept of the evolution of political systems, models, and regimes as moments of becoming of the Absolute Spirit. Politics is the crystallization of the Synthesis. Political history is the movement of the Spirit to becoming Absolute. Politics is the history of the absolutization of the Spirit.

Hegel establishes a hierarchy between different political forms. On the one hand, this is an evolutionary hierarchy since each regime is better than the previous. But, unlike Marx’s ideas, this evolution is at the same time not only a reflection of the Antithesis, and it is not the development of matter or nature. This is the distinguishing of the Spirit which was originally inherent in matter and nature. As follows, there is no materialism here. We are dealing with a complex scheme which combines the Platonic option (in the beginning there was Spirit, not matter) and the evolutionary model (in which we begin to consider history from the Antithesis, which is reminiscent of the idea of the Great Mother). Marx amputated the Platonic part, hence his reinterpretation of Hegel in an exclusively materialist sense.  But Hegel is more complex.

Another important point in Hegel is how he defines the political end of history, the peak of the becoming of political history and the expression of the Absolute Spirit. Here Hegel says something interesting about Prussia and the German state. The Germans did not have a state, so historically there was no such expression. Thus, the Germans absorb the logic of world movement, and the Prussian-German state is the expression of the Absolute Spirit. All of history is thus a prelude to the formation of Germany in the 19th century. Hegel said that great peoples are those who have either a great state or great philosophy. He said that the Russians have a great state, while in the 19th century the Germans had no state whatsoever. As follows, the Germans must have great philosophy – and then a great state.

The most striking is that Hegel formulated the philosophy of a great German state before Germany appeared. He forged this theory while he himself lived in a fragmented Germany of principalities that was anything but a powerful and strong state. Hegel assembled Germany, endowed it with an intellectual mission, and created, along with Fichte and Schelling, the idealist, romantic concept of German statehood as an expression of the Spirit becoming Absolute. The peak and the end of history, according to Hegel, is therefore the German state.

Moreover, Hegel thought that the most optimal political system is an enlightened monarchy  dominated by political Hegelian philosophers, the bearers of the Synthesis of the whole world Spirit who recognize the logic of world history. Hegel considered himself to be a prophet of philosophy, humanity, and Germany, and in some sense he was a mystic. Methodologically, Hegel’s philosophy was absolutely rational, but it was irrational in its premises. He substantiated the idea that civil society, the French Revolution, and the Enlightenment epoch were another, dialectical moment in the formation of enlightened monarchy. Civil society is that out of which monarchy grows, and which monarchy abolishes. Thus, Hegel was a mystical monarchist who considered the logic of history to be the path of different political forms towards Russian monarchy.

It is no surprise that this idea was taken by the Italian fascists, especially in the theory of the Italian state of Giovanni Gentile, who was a Hegelian. Paradoxically, neither fascism not Nazism can be seen as representative of classical nationalism. In these two worldviews, there were certain elements that do not lend themselves to being considered as classical or even radical forms of European bourgeois nationalism, because in this case the addition of the Hegelian instance in the form of the Subjective Spirit, and all of the metaphysics of history which Gentile laid in the foundations of the theory of Italian fascism were simply Hegelianism applied to Italy.

Despite the fact that he is considered a classic of political philosophy, Hegel is a rather complex, compound case. His political philosophy does not mirror the ideology of the Third Way, and Marxist theory was built on metaphysically truncated Hegelianism. In other words, “left” Hegelianism became the basis of the Second Political Theory, and “right” Hegelianism influenced some of the peculiarities of the Third Political Theory. Moreover, the Hegelian idea of the end of history was taken up and applied to the liberal model by his student, Alexandre Kojève [1], his follower Francis Fukuyama, and other philosophers. Marx applied the “end of history” to communism, Gentile to the state, and some Hegelian philosophers to the triumph of liberal world order. Therefore, the latter said, civil society is not a prolegomena to monarchy (as Hegel himself believed), but the peak of the development of human civilization.

This ideas was taken as a premise by Francis Fukuyama, who employed the term “end of history.” This term was of fundamental importance to Hegel insofar as it marked the final moment of the Spirit’s achievement of its absolute phase through history, the dialectical moment of the Spirit’s return to itself, in itself, and for itself – the Synthesis.

Thus, we can find in Hegelianism all three of the classical ideologies of modernity, but this does not mean that Hegelianism can be qualified from the point of view of any one of them. Hegel is broader than all the political theories of modernity, and therefore does not lapse into them. As follows, in Hegelianism there is that which was pilfered in fragments by the three political ideologies of modernity, as well as that which was not taken, such as the idea of the primordial Subjective Spirit which precedes any downward movement. This element of the primordial Platonic leap, Neoplatonism, which then transitions into more or less progressive-evolutionary topologies, allows us to refrain from classifying Hegel as one of the philosophers or political philosophers of modernity, because, as we have seen, the paradigm of modernity does not presume any prior matter component.

A non-liberal, non-Marxist, and non-fascist reading of Hegel allows us to reveal his components for an alternative to modernity and integrate him into the Fourth Political Theory. Through this operation, we move Hegel from the epoch of modernity in which he lived and thought into another context. This is another Hegel, another political philosophy of Hegel in which the focus is on the Platonic leap downwards. This part of his philosophy did not, and indeed could not receive political embodiment in the framework of the paradigm of modernity. Nevertheless, it can find expression in the context of the Fourth Political Theory.

 

Footnotes:

[1] The Russian philosopher Aleksandr Kozhevnikov changed his name to Alexandre Kojève after emigrating. 

 

© Jafe Arnold – All Rights Reserved. No reproduction without expressed permission. 

We and the Millennium

Author: Alexander Dugin

Translator: Jafe Arnold

The introduction to Russkaiia Veshch [“Russian Thing”] Vol. I (Moscow: Arktogeia, 2001). 

 

Along the roads of lies

We have been very cruelly deceived for a very long time. We are deceived in everything. We have been cheated big time. And this did not just start yesterday…

The world, the reality, the country, and the humanity which scholarly, cultural, and political authorities describe did not and does not exist. All things in our apocalyptic world have been tampered with, as if we look at everything though a hypnotic haze arranged by malicious conspirators and skillfully hypnotic rascals in service of the Prince of this World.

We have just crossed the threshold of the millennium, but we think about toothpaste and phone bills. It is rather sad that we, through the fog of indifference, feel that the Homeland, Russia, is somewhere near, that the thick broth of our national surrounding is poured around us…but what Homeland? Where is the Homeland? Where is she from and where is she going? In what time does she live? We don’t even think about this. Indeed, we cannot even think properly. After all, all the systems of coordinates have been shot down, the structures of contemplating the world have been twisted, and croaking pinko priests spoil the endeavor with the scraps of narcissistic maxims and completely spoiled morals.

Russia is not only losing its place in history. She is also losing consciousness of history. Russia is not only lost in space. It is losing awareness of space.

In the face of the millennium, we are naked with gaping mouths, glazed-over eyes, and a stupid purse in our hands. The soul of Russians is in a cast…

The Black and Golden Millennium

The unidirectional time which irreversibly flows from the past to the future that we were taught for so many years by the preachers of “progress” cannot be found in nature. Time has a special quality associated in complex ways with eternity and it can flow in both directions. This is a basic religious fact: the prophets see what there is, what was, and what will be. All three modalities of sacred history coexist and are present in being. For ordinary people, they open sequentially and unfold in a certain order. But exceptional personalities can have quite different relations with the mysterious elements of time. These exceptional people perceive eternity as a fact, as a reality of experience. The rest must believe in eternity, believe in the eternal essence of being that which was, is, and will be. Those who claim that what exists is only an ephemeral instance, only a fleeting moment “here and now”, and that the rest is just the imagination – these people are puppets of the Antichrist. Their place is in the brutal fires of hell.

In what chapter of sacred time does Russia breathe today? In what historical period are we living?

The answer is disappointing. (Or is everything more subtle?). We live totally close to the end.

We are approaching the end following the natural roads of degradation. Progress doesn’t exist. Only regress exists. We have moved further away from the primordial, deified world. Technological prostheses struggle to make up for the lost spiritual essence, but they cannot. Rather, they only exacerbate the fall and bring nearer the final catastrophe. Technological development is evil and the external expression of active spiritual decline.

The resources of the Golden Age were exhausted long ago. The silver age is far behind us. The bronze age of heroes ended. And even the iron age of dark industry is closed. The millennium is painted black. Finis Mundi. Black Millennium.

This is a general diagnosis of humanity, but it concerns us first and foremost. Why?

Because we were the last chosen ones, and our gold, salvational world mission ended only yesterday…Or maybe it hasn’t even ended…

The sacred civilizations of the ancient world gradually went down the path of global degradation from the Golden Age to Babylonian dust and the sands of oblivion measured by threads of thousands of years. At the edge of the abyss, peering into the abyss of hell, ancient humanity was supported by the gracious sacrifice of the Son. Before the final chord, when the spiral of regression approached the final line, the Son of God revealed the true path to the last children of the last century.

Orthodoxy appeared as a New History in an incredible, salvational perspective which reflected all the preceding epochs. In two thousands Christian years, we relived at an accelerated pace the endless centuries of past epochs stretching back many thousands of years, plus blissful eons when no one considered years or centuries…and once again from the golden age to the iron age. The golden age of Constantine and the Ecumenical Councils. The Silver age of Byzantium. The bronze age of Moscow the Third Rome. And the iron age of modern, total apostasy. The last point was the Russian schism. Then the darkness enveloped everything. Babylon is here.

Russia lived through the silver age of Orthodoxy on the periphery, although sunnily and with dignity, promising with Metropolitan Hilarion a great future. In the bronze age of Orthodoxy, Moscow became the central subject. Muscovite Rus, the country, and its people, that is, we (or “not only us?” or “only not us”?) had been destined to this end for centuries. Outside of Rus, there was no salvation, the spiritual energy of ages was drawn to us, and the rays of eternity shined upon the Homeland. And eternity, just as with the ancients, the prophets, the patriarchs, and the saints, sowed us into the god-bearing people. Russians entered the holiest of times, the heart of which, where there is simply no time.

But Muscovite Rus fell and the iron Antichrist came for real and to stay, now already everywhere.

We slowly slipped (in the Romanov way with Frenchmen at the head) into historical nothing. The place of the amputated dimension ached. The Old Believers, Russian sects, and charming strangers of all kinds howled out of insane, bronze pain. The soul of Russians ached as voluntary bodies crackle in fire, and the citizens of Secret Russia, full of and frantic with the highest hope and with the passports of the celestial chancellery, fell into a maelstrom. The iron age was agony – this was the last Russian testament from Habakkuk to Stalin. 

In October, great suffering came from under the bushel and drowned our vast lands in blood. The Reds. It was much worse and much better at the same time. The deep spirit was unleashed. How it rushed about and swung its poisonous tail – morally judging this is not up to us. Those who know the essence of the point of such prefer not to open their mouths. There are things which are so deep that they are beyond moral evaluation. If you dip your finger into it, you will never be the same.

The Reds attempted to construct an optimistic fortress out of emptiness and longing and transform the pain and misery of the iron age into the triumph of sunny creation. In their own way, they interpreted the mystery of the cross of Nika.

Perhaps we will never truly understand the Soviet stage in the sacred history of mankind. On the one hand, its scribes spread nonsense about progress, reductionism, banality, atheism, the myth of apes, amoebae, bacteria, and plans, nonsense about the equality of people, contempt for the past, historicist ephemerality, etc. But through the grimaces of Soviet idiocy amazing features of another thought stood out and expressed themselves, let themselves be known, haunted from underneath the layers of frozen silence and constantly shaking, sliding, and flowing into a stupor.

This was the difficult, daunting thought of the End. But also of the Beginning. The thought of pain and sorrow, the impossible joy and inevitable anguish.

The Reds wanted to shoot and hug at the same time. They strove to be external just as much as they were internal. They were just as childish as they wanted to appear wise and old.

The Soviet eon was the last chord of the iron age.

Here is the subtlety: we were the last subjects of the bronze stage in the sacred history of Christianity. In a certain and often paradoxical sense, we remained true to this mission in the next, iron age. Our iron age was exemplary. We opposed the vulgarities of liberal degeneracy with the bloody drama of Bolshevism. The Twelve poem. We opposed the rest of humanity’s quiet slip out of reality with the paradoxes of merciful genocide and the machine-gun rattle of the solar Chevengur.

But now this is in the past. Although it all still exists here and now. These are our bodies born from the loins of the natural born killers of October, the bright paladins of pain. These are our streets, our missiles, our hair, the trajectory of our thoughts and carnal inclinations. The holiness of bronze Muscovite Rus and the rebellion of the red dragon out from underneath the lower boundaries of banality soaked the seed from which we, the Russian people of the millennium, hatched. There is no escape!

But now? Let them tell us what is now! Is it really just the end? Oblivion? Are we to be led into the leaded, empty labyrinths of the world market and planetary management?

Not. Not only. We have just misunderstood the End.

The end, the Eschaton, is total restoration. For us Orthodox, there is even something more, much, much more than total restoration. It is Marriage – Marriage beyond. Promised, continually delayed, exhausted, wounded, worn out and bruised by others, we are tired of waiting. Our Marriage. A wedding without measure. The groom is Fire. “Fire, reload.”

Now it will be resolved – which virgins are to sleep, and which are to stay vigil. Some will light a candle, others will snore in slumber.

The five maidens of Rus. Five, regenerated, inner feelings. Five organs of our national perception sharpened by extreme pain, suffering, and compassion, burn marks, shopping fairs, and the NKVD.

On the verge of the Great Midnight. On the edge of the millennium. Rus. Half asleep, half awake. (Where will you find yourself?)

So that it will finally happen! So that it will finally burst! So that the guts of the heavens will be ripped out! So that the winepress of wrath will be clamped on the bastard generation X of the apocalypse! So that we and they will be devoured! Everyone! Some will emerge from the other side. Some will drown. It doesn’t matter! Burning! Burning! Like Elijah – some will have a chariot, some a brake…Burn, sure, clearly burn [Gori, yasno, yasno gori]…

The terrible angels are so close, so close. Their group has already arrived, now they’re getting out of black, chrome cars…

Forward – the End, but what can be sweeter and more bitter than this meeting…

“Wann endet die Zeit? Gott weiss es. Gott alein weiss es” (“When will time end? God knows. God alone knows”).

The North-East

Now about space. Where does the Homeland lie? Where is Russia’s place?

Each point in space is different from another. Their order, their content, their meaning were predefined ages ago. In being, nothing is equal to itself or something else. Reality is open to the rays of the spirit which is present everywhere and fills everything. And this light dimension gives each point a sacred quality. Tout se tient. There is nothing coincidental. 

Space lives by its pulse. Each point of space has its own laws and regulations, constants and processes. Modern physics is a dead science. It just doesn’t know this. Physics is from the iron age, physics is of the spiritual Antichrist. It (like the rest of purely modern science) deals with the dead, quantitative world which doesn’t exist. It aids the murder of living, sacred being, asserting sinister, primitive fables about its nature. Not man, but space descended from the apes. People are from Light. Oh, what kind of ape can that be?!

The Russian space comes from the bear, the boar, and the apple. This is how the lands of the North-East of Eurasia were called in sacred geography. The land of the boar, and later of the bear. Varahi. Or the “apple country” – Jambudvipa. Paradise exists in the East among some people, in the North for others. The Nordic, Eurasian paradise. Hence the magic apples of Hesperides, the Tree of Knowledge or the rejuvenating apples of the Scandinavian myths. Hence the special, piercing metaphysical taste of the Russian Antonovka. In lost Russian fables, the apple in magical regions of the North aids good lads and beautiful maiden.

World history, in its spacial-symbolic sense, proceeded from North to South and from East to West. It departed from its origins. It went “from”, but not “to”. It squandered eternity, extending along the plane of time. The life-giving, heavenly quality was squandered as dark mechanisms of quantity were appealed to, until quality finally disappeared among the rippling mass of capital. Is it a coincidence that the current hegemonic rulers and financial and material bosses are huddled together in the West? Did they entrench themselves there?

No. This is the law of space. Capital wins where the sun dies. These reptiles even have the Sochi climate at our attitude, while in our country, beaches are covered in snow. Our space is not valuable in a touristic sense and is not attractive for capital simply because this is the space of paradise, and someone drove them so out long ago, that even their memory has been erased. They built the city on the hill, exterminated the the red-skinned savages, opened saloons and taverns, began to trade, imported black living goods, multiplied, and leased out and respected human rights.

Rus, albeit iron and falling, albeit Babylon, is a thousand times closer to heaven than non-Rus – even today with its scorched face, ink-smeared cheeks, tattered strands, insolent, unkept look and breasts seized by criminals.

We know “the place of the skull, where Adam was ” [byst mesto lobnoe]…We are being brought to sacrificial slaughter as a burnt offering to the “new world order,” but this is redemptive suffering.

Fighting the West, we are battling against our own death.

We are the heavenly hail of Eurasia, the witness to the apocalypse, the one denouncing the fortress of apostasy infatuated with its impunity of the humanitarian Antichrist.

On the threshold of the millennium, Russia stretches out over the coordinates of the lost paradise. It is closed to us, but there are cracks through which the Russian heart’s fire scorches and flashes.

The heavenly Jerusalem – this is our Russia. It merges with the bear-shaped contours of our expanses as the fabric of history is being thinned down to cigarette paper. And the towers of twelve edges coincide with the distant outposts of our border guards abandoned at the last frontiers, staring into the night of unintelligible and aggressive peoples scattering around and harboring a sheep’s hatred.

The government of the New Jerusalem. The parliament of the righteous shining forth like a sun. The Ministry of Internal Affairs of punishing angelic hordes. The Archangel Michael on a stallion in apples.

By staying in place, we end up ahead of all…

Being true to the earth, being true to our land. There is none other like it.

On the threshold of the Millennium, on the brink of death and resurrection, death and rebirth. On the verge of the eternal question of eternity, being, and oblivion.

Senseless and merciless.

 

© Jafe Arnold – All Rights Reserved. No reproduction without expressed permission. 

Christian Metaphysics: The Essence of the Problem

Author: Alexander Dugin

Translator: Jafe Arnold

Introduction/chapter 1 of Metafizika Blagoi Vesti [The Metaphysics of the Gospel] (1994) in Absoliutnaia Rodina [Absolute Homeland] (Moscow: Arktogeia, 1999). 

Christianity is that tradition whose metaphysical dimension has been studied least of all. This is quite a paradox since one would think that such a deep study of Christianity, the religion of the West, would attract all those interested in metaphysics and who, following Guénon, are trying to make sense of the most profound aspects of Tradition. Nevertheless, the disputes surrounding Christianity in Traditionalist circles are, as a rule, limited to fairly secondary, practical issues regarding the virtual initiation of the sacraments, the absence of an idea of cyclical time, etc. In all of this, one can see a tacit consensus among Traditionalists that Christianity is nothing more than a reduced, incomplete tradition whose esotericism has been practically lost, and whose metaphysical content cannot be detached from the dense veil of exoteric scholastic theology and the hazy subjective intuitions of mystics. All attempts to identify any consistency between the basic principles of Christianity and the conceptual categories of other, more metaphysically developed traditions (primarily Hinduism) have yielded rather poor results and have been based on strained interpretations and biased urges to arrive at any cost at conclusions which match Guénon’s own ideas (this is clearest of all in the book by Abbot Henri Stéphane, Introduction à l’ésotérisme chrétien [1]). 

These circumstances, however, can be explained quite simply. The problem is that the Guénonian approach has spread only in narrow circles of the intellectual elite of the West, where by Christianity is usually understood, in the best case, Catholicism. But the specificity of Catholicism is such that, from the moment that the Western Church fell away from the Eastern Church, Catholicism built its dogmatic and intellectual foundation on a conscious rejection of the metaphysical content of Christianity. All the scholastic constructs were essentially an ambition to develop a slender theological doctrine while completely ignoring the ontological and metaphysical elements which were in fact present in the Christian tradition before the schism and preserved even afterwards. Of course, they survived exclusively in the Eastern Church, i.e., in the bosom of Orthodoxy. But Catholics, and even the most profound among them, seem to be unaware of this.

Orthodoxy, for its part, despite having preserved ontological and metaphysical wholeness, from a certain time onward could no longer assert its metaphysical content (i.e., actual Christian metaphysics) in clear categories. Shortly after the “Palamite disputes” when Orthodox esotericism experienced its last dazzling rise in history, this line was somewhat marginalized and “frozen”, as priority was given to the exoteric sides of the Church. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, many Russian theologians and even secular philosophers, intuitively surmising the special metaphysical nature of Orthodoxy, attempted to formulate certain principles for reviving the forgotten dimension of this tradition. However, most of these attempts did not yield serious results since none of them were familiar with the works of Guénon. Hence why only now, in our opinion, is it possible to acquire adequate knowledge of the most important proportions of the structure of fully-fledged metaphysics.

It can be said that although Western Traditionalists had the intellectual apparatus developed by Guénon, they did not have an adequate object for applying such, since Catholicism fundamentally prohibits one from going from the exoteric to the esoteric and metaphysical levels and, moreover, places insurmountable obstacles along the way. The Orthodox had and have a fully-fledged object, the Orthodox Christian Church Tradition and a full, irreducible dogma, but they have hitherto lacked an adequate metaphysical apparatus. Thus, for two opposite reasons, both in West and East the most widespread, well known, familiar, and close tradition – Christianity – has remained the most unknown, mysterious, and closed, all the while as Traditionalists rather well mastered Islamic metaphysics, Buddhism, Hinduism, Taoism, and even some archaic cults. The distant and exotic paradoxically became dearer to modern scholars nominally belonging to Christian civilization than “their own,” the familiar and close.

Be that as it may, Russians’ first acquaintance with the ideas of Guénon [2] now allows us to chart our way out of this impasse and to try to compare the overall metaphysical picture with the dogma of Orthodox Christianity. One should not be mistaken as to the simplicity of such a study. The near complete absence of references to Orthodoxy among Traditionalist authorities makes this task extremely difficult and risky. Nevertheless, without claiming final truth on this matter and all the while leaving the way open for alternative pursuits, we will try in this work to understand the metaphysical nature of Orthodoxy and, as follows, arrive at a formulation and recognition of the essence of Christian metaphysics.

 

Footnotes: 

[1] abbe Henri Stéphane, Introduction à l’ésotérisme chrétien, Paris, 1979.

[2] At the present moment, the following books of R. Guénon have been published in Russian: The Crisis of the Modern World (Moscow, 1992), The King of the World in the journal Voprosy filosofii from 1993; The Reign of Quantity and the Signs of the Times (Moscow, 1994), Fundamental Symbols of the Sacred Science (Moscow, 1996), and articles in the journal Milyi Angel No. 1, in the journals Voprosy filosofii, Literaturnoe obozrenie,  and Volshebnaia Gora (chapters from the books An Introduction to the Study of the Hindu Doctrines, Spiritual Authority and Temporal Power, and The Symbolism of the Cross, etc.)

 

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