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mardi, 24 février 2015

Why Read Hegel?


Why Read Hegel?
Notes on the “End of History”

By Greg Johnson

Ex: http://www.counter-currents.com

Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (1770–1831) has had a tremendous influence on the modern world, not only in the history of ideas, but in the political realm as well. How big an influence? Without Hegel, there would have been no Marx; without Marx, no Lenin, no Mao, no Castro, no Pol Pot. Now, reflect just a moment on the difference the Communism has made in the modern world, even in non-Communist countries, whose policies were deeply motivated by the desire to defeat Communism. 

Communism is without a doubt the most important and influential, not to mention deadly, political innovation in the 20th century; and, before Marx, some of its intellectual foundations were laid by Hegel. I should add, however, that Hegel would have rejected Marxism and thus cannot be held responsible for the lesser minds influenced by him; furthermore, not all aspects of his cultural and political legacy are so negative; and, rightly understood, Hegel has the potential to exercise an immensely positive influence on modern politics and culture.

Outwardly, Hegel did not live a particularly interesting life. He was born in 1770 in Stuttgart, to an educated, middle-class family of lawyers, civil servants, and Lutheran pastors. He was educated at the University of Tübingen, first as a seminarian. He shared rooms with Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling and Friedrich Hölderlin, who also made huge contributions to German philosophy and letters. Having completed the equivalent of a Ph.D. in philosophy, he held a series of tutoring positions, collaborated on a couple of journals, inherited and spent his patrimony, and found himself broke and approaching his middle thirties.

Salvation came in the form of a book contract with a healthy advance but a draconian penalty for lateness. Hegel started writing . . . and writing . . . and writing. His outlined work got out of hand; each chapter became bigger than the last, and Hegel found himself dangerously close to his deadline, writing feverishly to finish his work, when outside the city where he resided, Napoleon fought and defeated the Prussian army at the Battle of Jena. In the midst of chaos, as French troops were occupying the city, Hegel bundled up the only copy of his manuscript and put it in the mail. It reached the publisher, and the next year, in 1807, Hegel’s most celebrated work, Phenomenology of Spirit, was published.

Phenomenology of Spirit is one of the classic works of German idealism: more than 500 prolix, rambling, tortured, and mind-bogglingly obscure pages. My copy is covered with dents from the times I hurled it against the wall or floor in frustration. Hegel is, without a doubt, the worst stylist in the history of philosophy. Unlike Kant, who could write well when he wanted to but often chose not to, Hegel could not write a clear sentence to save his life. Heinrich Heine reports that on his deathbed, Hegel is said to have sighed, “Only one man has understood me.” But then, a few minutes later, he added fretfully, “And even he did not understand me.” Never has so much been misunderstood by so many.

Phenomenology of Spirit laid the foundations for Hegel’s philosophical system and for his academic career and reputation, but it was only after 10 years that he received an academic position. For the rest of his life he lectured, he wrote, and he published. And then, in 1831, he died. Now, at this point, with any other author’s story, I would conclude by saying, “and the rest is history.” But in Hegel’s case, it is not so simple.

Phenomenology of Spirit

hegel-271-01075-4md.jpgGiven its formidable difficulties, why would anyone trouble read a book like Phenomenology of Spirit? Because, if Hegel is right, then world history comes to an end with the writing of his book. Specifically, Hegel held that the battle of Jena brought world history to an end in the concrete realm because it was the turning point in the battle between the principles of the French revolution—liberty, equality, fraternity, secularism, and progress—and the principles of traditional absolutism, the so-called throne-altar alliance.

Napoleon was, for Hegel, the World Spirit made incarnate, on a horse. Napoleon did not, however, understand his significance. But Hegel did. And when Hegel understood the world historical significance of the principles of the French Revolution and their military avatar, Napoleon, and wrote it down in Phenomenology of Spirit, he believed that the underlying purpose of history had been fulfilled. Just as Christ was the incarnation of the divine logos, so is the historical world—and the book—brought about by the French Revolution the incarnation of the logos of human history, and Hegel and Napoleon played the role of the Holy Spirit, mediating the two, making the ideal (the concept) concrete.

Now, at first glance—and maybe at second glance—all of this must seem quite mad. There is more madness to come. But I think that if your experience is like mine, you will find that these claims, which initially seem so mad, have a certain method to them, and even a logic. Hegel and his most able and charismatic expositor Alexandre Kojève exercise a strange fascination, which I hope you will come to share. If they were mad, then I hope to convince you that they had cases of divine madness.

What is “History”?

The main reason for reading Hegel is that he provides deep insights into the philosophy of history and culture. But what does Hegel mean by “history”? If history is something that can come to an end through a battle and a book, then Hegel must have a very specific—and very peculiar—conception of history in mind. This is true.

History, for Hegel, is the history of fundamental ideas, basic interpretations of human existence, interpretations of mankind and our place in the cosmos; basic “horizons” or “worldviews.” History for Hegel is equivalent to what Heidegger calls the “History of Being”—“Being” being understood here as fundamental and hegemonic worldviews. For uniformity’s sake, I shall say that Hegelian history is the history of “fundamental interpretations of human existence.” When these interpretations are explicitly articulated in abstract terms, they are what we call philosophies.

But it would be a mistake to think of these fundamental interpretations of human existence merely as abstract philosophical positions. They can also be found in less-abstract articulations, such as myth, religion, poetry, and literature. And they can be concretely embodied: in the form of art and architecture and all other cultural productions, as well as in social and political institutions and practices.

Indeed, Hegel holds that these fundamental interpretations of existence exist for the most part in concrete, rather than abstract form. They exist as “tacit” presuppositions embedded in language, myth, religion, custom, etc. Although these can be articulated at least in part, they need not be and seldom fully are. These fundamental interpretations of existence are what Nietzsche calls “horizons”: unspoken, unarticulated, unreflective attitudes and values that constitute the bounding parameters and vital force of a culture.

History for Hegel does include more concrete and mundane historical facts and events, but only insofar as these embody fundamental interpretations of human existence—and there are few things in the world that do not embody such interpretations. Even the stars, which would seem to fall into the realms of natural science and natural history, fall into human history and the human world, insofar as they are construed from the point of view of the earth, and through the lenses of different myths and cultures, as constellations, portents, or even gods. Indeed, since all of the sciences are themselves human activities, and the sciences interpret all of nature, all of nature falls within the human world.

The “Human World”: Idea, Spirit

I have been using the expression “the human world.” What does this expression mean? The human world means the world of nature as interpreted by human reason and as transformed by human work. The human world comes into being when men appropriate nature, when we make it our own by endowing it with meaning and/or transforming it through work, thereby integrating it into the web of human concerns, human purposes, and human projects.

This process can be quite simple. A rock in your driveway is simply a chunk of nature. But it can be brought into the human world by endowing it with a purpose. One can use it as a paperweight; or one can use it as an example in a lecture. By doing this, I have appropriated the rock, lifting it out of the natural world, where it has no purpose and no meaning, and bringing it into the human world, where it has purpose and meaning.

Hegel’s primary concern as a philosopher is with the human world. Now, Hegel is known as an “idealist.” Idealism is generally held to be a thesis that the world is made of “idea stuff.” And “idea stuff” is supposed to be something ghostly, numinous, immaterial, mental. Does this mean that Hegel held that the human world was somehow numinous and abstract?

No, Hegel is not that kind of idealist. Hegel has a very peculiar way of using the world “idea” (Idee). When Hegel talks about ghostly, immaterial abstract mental “ideas” he uses the German word “Begriff,” which is well-translated “concept.” And concepts are distinct from, though related to Ideas. Hegel’s understanding of the distinctness and the relatedness of concepts and Ideas can be expressed by the following equation:

Concept + Concrete = Idea

Ideas for Hegel are not abstract and numinous, because the Hegelian Idea consists of chunks of solid, concrete reality interpreted, worked over, and otherwise transformed in the light of concepts. Or, conversely formulated, the Hegelian Idea consists of concepts that have been concretely realized in reality, whether by deploying concepts merely to interpret reality or as blueprints for transforming it. The Hegelian Idea is identical to the human world, and the human world is the world of concrete natural objects interpreted and transformed by human beings.

Another term that Hegel uses as equivalent to Idea is “Spirit.” Again, this word has an abstract and numinous connotation, but not for Hegel. For Hegel, Spirit and Ideas can be as solid and concrete as a rock, so long as the rock has been transformed in light of human concepts. So the aforementioned rock/paperweight is a chunk of Spirit, a chunk of Idea. History proper is not, however, the history of mundane concepts, mundane Ideas, and humble chunks of Spirit like a paperweight. History is the history of fundamental concepts, fundamental Ideas: fundamental interpretations of human existence, both as abstractly articulated and as concretely embodied.

To sum up:

The Human World = Spirit = Idea = Concepts + Concretes

History as Dialectic

Hegel claims that all fundamental interpretations of human existence that fall within history are partial and inadequate interpretations, which are relative to time, place, and culture. This is the position known as “historicism”; it is the source of the commonplace assertion that a person or a cultural production is a creature or product of a particular time and culture.

Since there is a plurality of distinct and different times, places, and cultures, there is also a plurality of distinct and different fundamental interpretations of human existence. The existence of a plurality of different interpretations of human existence on the finite surface of a globe means that eventually these different interpretations and the cultures that concretize them will come into contact—and, inevitably, into conflict—with one another.

History is the record of these confrontations and conflicts between different worldviews. It follows, then, that the logical structure of history is identical with the logical structure of the conflict of different worldviews. The logical structure of the conflict of different worldviews is called “dialectic.” History, therefore, has a dialectical structure.

Dialectic is the logic of conversation. It is the process whereby partial and inadequate perspectives work for mutual communication and intelligibility, thereby creating a broader, more-encompassing and adequate perspective.

Dialectic is the process whereby different individual or cultural perspectives, with all of their idiosyncrasies, work their way toward a more encompassing common perspective.

Dialectic is the process wherein largely tacit cultural horizons—myth, religion, language, institutions, traditions, customs, prejudices—are progressively articulated and criticized, casting aside the irrational, idiosyncratic, parochial, and adventitious in favor of the universal, rational, and fully self-conscious.

What drives the process forward is the search for an interpretation of human existence that is adequate to our nature. It is the search for a true understanding of human existence. And this presupposes that human beings have a fundamental need for a correct understanding of themselves and their world, a need which drives the dialectic forward.

Now, since fundamental interpretations of human existence take the form not merely of abstract theories, but concrete institutions, practices, cultures, and ways of life, the dialectic between these worldviews is not carried on merely in seminars, symposia, and coffee houses. It is carried on in the concrete realm as well in the form of the struggles between different political parties, interest groups, institutions, social classes, generations, cultures, forms of government, and ways of life, insofar as these embody different conceptions of human existence. The struggle is carried on in the form of peaceful rivalries and social evolution—and in the form of bloody wars and revolutions—and in the form of the conquest and annihilation or assimilation of one culture by another.

Absolute Idea, Absolute Spirit, and the End of History

If all fundamental interpretations of human existence in history are partial, inadequate, and relative to particular times and cultures, this implies that if and when we arrive at an interpretation of human existence that is comprehensive and true, then we have somehow stepped outside of history. If history is the history of fundamental ideological struggle, then history ends when all fundamental issues have been decided.

In the abstract realm, the realm of concepts, the end of history comes about when a final, true, and all-encompassing interpretation of human existence is articulated. This interpretation, unlike all the others that came before it, is not partial or relative but Absolute Truth, the Absolute Concept. It is important to note that the Absolute Truth, unlike all previous partial and relative truths, does achieve a wholly articulated form; it is not a merely tacit and unarticulated cultural horizon; it is fully articulated, all-encompassing system of ideas.

However, just because the absolute truth is wholly articulated in abstract terms, that does not imply that it exists in the abstract realm only. The Absolute Concept is also realized in the concrete realm as well. In the concrete realm, Absolute Truth is realized at the end of history in the form of a universal, and in all important respects, homogeneous, world civilization.

This does not necessarily mean a world government. Distinct nations may remain, but only insofar as their existence is fundamentally unimportant. For in all important things—that is, in all issues relating to the correct interpretation of human nature and our place in the world—uniformity reigns. Hegel calls the post-historical world in which the Absolute Truth is concretely realized “Absolute Idea” and “Absolute Spirit.”

Hegel does not hold that Absolute Truth and Absolute Spirit are mere possibilities, the speculations of an agile and perhaps fevered mind. He holds that they are already actual. The Absolute Truth is to be found—where else?—in Hegel’s writings. Specifically, it is to be found in his Encyclopedia of the Philosophical Sciences. The Phenomenology of Spirit is only a ladder leading up to Absolute Truth, proving that it is and what it must be like, but giving no specifics. And, as we have seen, Hegel holds that ideological history comes to an end with the ideals of the French Revolution: the universal rights of man; liberty, equality, and fraternity; secularism and scientific and technological progress.

The fundamentally scientific and technological character of Absolute Spirit/Idea cannot be stressed enough. A particular chunk of Idea/Spirit equals a chunk of nature, of given reality, transformed by human discourse and/or human work. Absolute Idea/Spirit therefore equals the totality of nature transformed by human discourse and work, i.e., by science and technology.

Now, this is not to say that Absolute Spirit comes into being only after the entire universe has been scientifically understood and technologically appropriated and transformed, for this is an infinite task. Rather, Absolute Spirit comes into being by setting up the infinite task of understanding and transforming nature; Absolute Spirit consists of a way of framing nature as, in principle, infinitely knowable by science and, in principle, infinitely malleable by technology. All limitations encountered in the unfolding of this infinite task are encountered as merely temporary impediments what can always, in principle, be overcome by better science and better technology. Hegel, like all the other great philosophers of modernity, is a good Baconian.

The end of history does not mean the end of history in the more mundane sense. The newspaper will still come in the morning, but it will look more like the Atlanta Journal than the New York Times: a global village tattler, chronicling untold billions of treed cats, weddings, funerals, garage sales, and church outings, bulging with untold billions of pizza coupons. Remember: the end of history means the end of ideological history. It means that no ideological and political innovations are possible, that there are no causes worth killing or dying for anymore, that we fully understand ourselves.

The end of history is a technocrat’s dream: now that the basic intellectual and political parameters of human existence have been fixed once and for all, we can get on with the business of living: the infinite task of the mastery and possession of nature; the infinite play made possible by an endless stream of new toys.

The Question of Historicism

It is often said that Hegel holds that human nature itself is relative to particular times, places, and cultures, and that as history changes, so does human nature. This strikes me as false. It is man’s nature to be historical, but this fact is not itself a historical fact. It is a natural fact that makes history possible. It is natural in the sense that it is a fixed and permanent necessity of our natures, which founds and bounds the realm of human action, history, and culture. Different interpretations of human nature are relative to different times, places, and cultures; different worldviews change and succeed one another in time.

Absolute Truth = a true self-interpretation of man = a final account of human nature. If such an account is not possible, because a fixed human nature does not exist, then Hegel could never hold that history comes to an end. There will be merely an endless progression of merely relative human self-interpretations, none of which can claim any greater adequacy than any other, because of course there is nothing for them to be adequate to. For Hegel, man gains knowledge of his nature through history. But he does not gain his nature itself through history.


Hegel claims that the end of history would be wholly satisfying to man. But is it? This brings us to Alexandre Vladimirovich Kojevnikoff (1902–1968), known simply as “Kojève.” Kojève was the 20th century’s greatest, and most influential, interpreter and advocate of Hegel’s philosophy of history. Kojève’s Introduction to the Reading of Hegel: Lectures on the Phenomenology of Spirit [4] has its errors; it has its obscurities, eccentricities, and ticks. But it is still the most profound, accessible, and exciting introduction to Hegel in existence.


Kojève in 1922

Ironically, though, by stating Hegel clearly and radically, Kojève has pushed Hegel to the breaking point, forcing us to confront the question: Is Hegel’s end of history really the end of history? And if it is, can it really claim to be fully satisfying to man?

Kojève was born in Moscow in 1902 to a wealthy bourgeois family, which, when the communists took over in 1917, was subjected to the indignities one would expect. Kojève was reduced to selling black market soap. He was arrested and narrowly escaped being shot. In a paradox that has called his sanity into question in the minds of many, he left prison a convinced communist. In 1919, he left Russia with the family jewels, which he cashed in for a small fortune in Berlin. (He might be called a limousine communist.)

He studied philosophy in Heidelberg with Karl Jaspers and wrote a doctoral dissertation on Vladimir Solovieff, a Russian philosopher and mystic. In the late 1920s, he moved to Paris. His fortune was wiped out by the Great Depression, and he was reduced to severely straightened circumstances. Fortunately, during the 1920s, Kojève had met and befriended Alexandre Koyré, a historian of philosophy and a fellow Russian émigré, who arranged for Kojève to take over his seminar on Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit at the École pratique des hautes études.

koj81AoObfC9FL.jpgKojève taught this seminar from 1933 to 1939. Although the seminar was very small, it had a tremendous influence on French intellectual life, for its students included such eminent philosophers and scholars as Jacques Lacan, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Georges Bataille, Raymond Queneau, Raymond Aron, Gaston Fessard, and Henri Corbin. Through his students, Kojève influenced Sartre, as well as subsequent generation of leading French thinkers, who are known as “postmodernists,” including Foucault, Deleuze, Lyotard, and Derrida—all of whom felt it necessary to define their positions in accordance with or in opposition to Hegel as portrayed by Kojève.

I am convinced that it is impossible to understand the peculiar vehemence with which many French postmodernists abuse such concepts as modernity and metaphysics until one sees that these refer ultimately to Kojève’s reading of Hegel. And this brings us to another reason for reading Hegel and Kojève: It is an ideal tool for understanding French postmodernism, a tremendously influential school of thought. Indeed, it seem that on some academic presses now, every third book contains “postmodern” or one of its cognates in its title.

Kojève’s seminar came to an end in 1939, when World War II broke out. During the German occupation, Kojève joined the French resistance. Or so he said. After the war it was hard to find someone who didn’t claim to have joined the resistance.

After the war, Kojève did not return to academia. Instead, one of his students from the 1930s, Robert Marjolin, got him a job in the French Ministry of Economic affairs, where he worked until his death in 1968. Through his position at the ministry, Kojève exercised almost as great an influence as De Gaulle on the creation of the post-war European economic order. He was the architect of GATT and was instrumental in setting up the European Economic Community. He was also quite prescient in predicting a number of political, economic, and cultural trends. For instance, in the 1950s he was already confident that the West would win the Cold War. He also offers profound diagnoses of the logic of contemporary culture’s obsession with senseless violence and cruelty. Finally, in the late 1950s he glimpsed the logic of Japan’s rising power. Up until his death in 1968, Kojève was a trusted advisor to a number of French politicians, mostly on the right, all the while puzzling his friends by maintaining that he was still an ardent Stalinist. He even bought a house on the Boulevard Stalingrad.

Kojève was fully convinced that history had come to an end in 1806 with the battle of Jena. Accordingly, he held that nothing of any fundamental historical importance had happened since then: not the First World War, not the Second World War, not the Russian and Chinese revolutions. All of these were, in Kojève’s eyes, simply petty squabbles about the implementation of the principles of the French revolution. Even the Nazis were regarded by Kojève as simply history’s way of bringing democracy to Imperial Germany.

Kojève was not, however, convinced that the end of history would mean the complete satisfaction of man. Indeed, he thought that it would spell the abolition of mankind. This does not mean that Kojève thought that human beings would become extinct. He simply thought that what makes us humans, as opposed to contented animals, would be abolished at the end of history.

Kojève held that it was the capacity to engage in struggle over fundamental interpretations of human existence—the struggle for self-understanding—that set us apart from the beasts. Once these struggles are ended, that which sets us apart from the beasts disappears. The end of history would satisfy our animal natures, our desires, but it would offer nothing to satisfy our particularly human desires.

Kojève does not, however, argue that everyone is reduced to a beast at the end of history. Traditionally, human beings have regarded themselves as occupying the space between beasts and gods on the totem pole. When one loses one’s humanity, one can do so either by becoming a beast or by becoming a god.

kojT753JHA5L.jpgKojève held that most human beings at the end of history would be reduced to beasts. But some would become gods. How? By becoming wise. At the end of history, the correct and final interpretation of human existence, the Absolute Truth, has been articulated as a system of science by Hegel himself. This system is the wisdom that philosophy has pursued for more than 2,000 years.

Philosophy is the pursuit of wisdom, not the possession of wisdom. Hegel, by possessing wisdom, is no longer a philosopher; Hegel is a wise man. In putting the period on history, Hegel brings philosophy to an end as well.

A post-historical god takes up a critical distance from the end of history. He does not live post-historical life. He tries to understand it: how we got here, what is happening, and where we are going — all things we can learn from Hegel and Kojève. If dehumanization is our destiny, at least we can try to become gods, which is reason enough to read Hegel.


Article printed from Counter-Currents Publishing: http://www.counter-currents.com

URL to article: http://www.counter-currents.com/2015/02/why-read-hegel/

URLs in this post:

[1] Image: http://www.counter-currents.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/HegelAbsolut.jpg

[2] Image: http://www.counter-currents.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/hegel2.jpg

[3] Image: http://www.counter-currents.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/Kojeve1922.jpg

[4] Introduction to the Reading of Hegel: Lectures on the Phenomenology of Spirit: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0801492033/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=0801492033&linkCode=as2&tag=countecurrenp-20&linkId=QQQVCRZ25CGM4EYM

jeudi, 30 octobre 2014

Marx e Gentile: idealismo è rivoluzione

Marx e Gentile: idealismo è rivoluzione
Articolo pubblicato in «Il Primato Nazionale»
Ex: http://augustomovimento.blogspot.com
Il mondo non dobbiamo necessariamente accettarlo così com’è. L’uomo ha sempre la possibilità, grazie alla sua volontà creatrice, di trasformalo. È questo, in sostanza, il messaggio che ci viene dalla tradizione filosofica dell’idealismo. Ed è sempre questo il fil rouge lungo cui si dipana l’interessante volume di Diego Fusaro Idealismo e prassi: Fichte, Marx e Gentile (Il melangolo, pp. 414, € 35), uscito da qualche mese nelle librerie italiane.
L’autore, giovane filosofo torinese e ricercatore presso l’Università San Raffaele di Milano, è tra le altre cose il fondatore di filosofico.net, il sito internet in cui, volenti o nolenti, sono incappati quasi tutti gli studenti di filosofia. Fusaro inoltre, a dispetto dell’età, ha già dato alle stampe diverse e interessanti opere, come Bentornato Marx! Rinascita di un pensiero rivoluzionario (2009) e Minima mercatalia: filosofia e capitalismo (2012). Più in particolare, Fusaro appartiene a quella sinistra, purtroppo minoritaria, che ha come esponenti di punta il compianto Costanzo Preve e Gianfranco La Grassa. Quella sinistra cioè che, nell’epoca del dilagante trasformismo della sinistra «istituzionale», non ha rinunciato ai padri nobili della sua tradizione culturale e a una critica serrata dell’odierno capitalismo, ossia il capitalismo finanziario (o «finanzcapitalismo», secondo la definizione di Luciano Gallino).
Insomma il postcomunista Pd, rinnegando la sua storia, ha ceduto in tutto alle logiche del capitale, costituendone anzi una delle «sovrastrutture» ideologiche (per usare il linguaggio marxiano) con la sua bieca retorica del politicamente corretto e la paradossale difesa della legalità e delle regole (capitalistiche). Come direbbe Fusaro, si è passati da Carlo Marx a Roberto Saviano, da Antonio Gramsci a Serena Dandini.
Di qui la rivolta del giovane filosofo che, rileggendo Marx, offre una chiara interpretazione del pensatore di Treviri come nemico di ogni supina accettazione dell’esistente, ponendo in rilievo gli aspetti idealistici del suo pensiero. Di qui, anche, il rifiuto di ogni pensiero debole postmoderno e l’assunzione da parte della filosofia di una funzione interventista e attivistica. La filosofia, dunque, non più vista come mera erudizione estetizzante o come cane da guardia del «migliore dei mondi possibili», ma come strumento per trasformare la realtà. Una filosofia, insomma, che riacquista finalmente la sua dimensione epica ed eroica, come la intendeva Giovanni Gentile.
Diego Fusaro con il suo libro su Marx
Ed è proprio al filosofo di Castelvetrano e al suo rapporto con Marx che Fusaro dedica pagine importanti del suo nuovo libro, proponendo un’interpretazione certamente unilaterale del pensiero marxista, ma tutt’altro che illegittima. È in particolare il Marx delle Tesi su Feuerbach che emerge prepotentemente dall’opera di Fusaro: quel Marx che criticava il materialismo «volgare» dello stesso Feuerbach e che si concentrava maggiormente sul concetto di prassi – quella prassi che, contro ogni determinismo, era sempre in grado di rifiutare una realtà sentita come estranea per fondare un nuovo mondo. La prassi, quindi, come fonte inesauribile di rivoluzione.
Non è un caso, del resto, che sarà proprio Gentile a valorizzare il Marx filosofo della prassi, in quel famoso volume (La filosofia di Marx, 1899) che Augusto Del Noce indicò, non senza qualche evidente esagerazione, come l’atto di nascita del fascismo. Nonostante una ottusa damnatio memoriae che ancora grava su Gentile, ma che è già stata messa in crisi da molti autorevoli filosofi (Marramao, Natoli, Severino, ecc.), Fusaro riafferma la indiscutibile grandezza filosofica del padre dell’attualismo. Lo definisce giustamente, anzi, come il più grande filosofo italiano del Novecento. Non per una mera questione di gusto o di tifo, naturalmente, ma per un fatto molto semplice: tutti i filosofi italiani del XX secolo, nello sviluppo più vario del loro pensiero, si sono necessariamente dovuti confrontare con Gentile. «Gentile – scrive l’autore – sta al Novecento italiano come Hegel – secondo la nota tesi di Karl Löwith – sta all’Ottocento tedesco».
Fusaro, dunque, ricostruisce tutto quel percorso intellettuale che da Fichte, passando per Hegel e Marx, giunge sino a Gentile che, non a caso definito Fichte redivivus da H. S. Harris, chiude il cerchio. Di qui l’interpretazione dell’atto puro di Gentile alla luce della prassi marxiana, così come, per converso, la lettura di Gramsci come «gentiliano» che ha conosciuto Marx filtrato dal filosofo siciliano. Tesi, quest’ultima, tutt’altro che nuova (pensiamo anche solo ai recenti lavori di Bedeschi e Rapone), ma che ancora non ha fatto breccia negli ambienti semi-colti del «ceto medio riflessivo» che legge Repubblica, ripudia Gramsci e ha per guru Eugenio Scalfari.
Il Palazzo della civiltà italiana o della civiltà del lavoro,
comunemente noto come «colosseo quadrato» (Eur, Roma)
Ad ogni modo, non mancherebbero le obiezioni ad alcune tesi di Fusaro sul rapporto di Gentile con Marx, dal momento che l’autore non tiene nel minimo conto gli elementi mazziniani e nietzscheani del pensiero del filosofo attualista, così come manca qualsiasi riferimento alle correnti culturali del fascismo che provenivano dal socialismo non marxista e che non mancarono di influenzare Gentile. Mi riferisco, in particolare, al sindacalismo rivoluzionario (A. O. Olivetti, S. Panunzio) e al socialismo idealistico dello stesso Mussolini: quel socialismo, cioè, che aveva scoperto che rivoluzionaria non era la classe, ma la nazione. Mi riferisco, inoltre, alle giovani leve degli anni Trenta che volevano edificare la «civiltà del lavoro», glorificata dal fascismo con il cosiddetto «colosseo quadrato» che campeggia tra le imponenti costruzioni dell’Eur.
Senza Mazzini e gli altri «profeti» del Risorgimento, del resto, non si potrebbero comprendere gli elementi nazionali del pensiero gentiliano, così come il significato che Gentile dava al termine «umanità». Far discendere l’«umanesimo del lavoro» di Genesi e struttura della società (1946, postumo) da un «ritorno» di Gentile a un confronto con Marx, come fa Fusaro, è dunque possibile solo se si prescinde deliberatamente da tutto il dibattito che la cultura fascista sviluppò negli anni Trenta, con Ugo Spirito, Berto Ricci e Niccolò Giani. E in questo senso allora sarebbe anche possibile interpretare l’umanesimo gentiliano in senso egualitarista. Ma lo stesso Gentile, in alcuni importanti interventi, ha chiarito come intendeva l’universalità (e non l’universalismo), che doveva basarsi sul concetto romano di imperium e su una missione civilizzatrice dell’Italia (e qui ritorna Mazzini), come messo ben in evidenza da Gentile nel fondamentale articolo Roma eterna (1940). Un’universalità verticale, quindi, intesa come ascesa, e non un universalismo orizzontale e azzeratore delle differenze in nome di un’astratta concezione di uomo, avulsa da qualsiasi contesto storico e culturale concreto. In questo senso, dunque, l’umanesimo gentiliano è fondamentalmente sovrumanismo, come lo ha magistralmente descritto Giorgio Locchi.
Giovanni Gentile
Anche sul concetto di «apertura della storia», su cui giustamente insiste il Fusaro, bisognerebbe intendersi. D’altronde, già Karl Löwith sottolineò, nell’immediato dopoguerra, il messianismo intrinseco alla filosofia della storia marxiana. Secondo la teoria scientifica, infatti, il proletariato, ottenuta la coscienza di classe grazie allo sfruttamento capitalistico, avrebbe dovuto, per il tramite dell’azione del partito comunista, abolire le classi e lo Stato, ristabilendo le condizioni dell’Urkommunismus, sebbene in una forma «arricchita», con tutti i vantaggi, cioè, della moderna tecnologia. In questo senso, il marxismo lavorava anch’esso per l’uscita dalla storia che, invece di coincidere con la planetaria democrazia liberale di Francis Fukuyama, avrebbe istituito l’agognata società comunista e la fine di ogni volontà storificante dell’uomo.
Ad ogni modo, queste brevi e sintetiche obiezioni non vogliono in alcun modo sminuire l’eccellente opera di Fusaro, che è invece quanto di meglio si possa leggere oggi in un desolante contesto politico e culturale totalmente appecoronato alle logiche demoliberali, mondialiste e finanzcapitalistiche. La rilettura di Marx in senso idealistico, anzi, ha un innegabile merito: riportare al centro dell’azione politica la volontà creatrice dell’uomo, che scaturisce dalla sua libertà storica. È, in altri termini, il ritorno della filosofia a un approccio rivoluzionario alla realtà. Filosofia non più intesa come glorificazione dell’esistente, ma come motore di storia. Il che, si converrà, se non è tutto, è certamente molto.

lundi, 24 février 2014

Marx y Gentile: idealismo es revolución

por Valerio Benedetti

Ex: http://paginatransversal.wordpress.com

El mundo no tenemos que aceptarlo necesariamente tal y como es. El hombre siempre tiene la posibilidad, gracias a su voluntad creadora, de transformarlo. Es este, en sustancia, el mensaje que nos viene de la tradición filosófica del idealismo. Y es siempre este el hilo conductor a lo largo del cual se desenvuelve el interesante volumen de Diego Fusaro, Idealismo e prasssi: Fichte, Marx e Gentile (Il melangolo, pp. 414, € 35), aparecido hace algunos meses en las librerías italianas.

El autor, joven filósofo turinés e investigador en la Universidad San Raffaele de Milán, es, entre otras cosas, el fundador de filosófico.net, el sitio de Internet en el que, se quiera o no, han recalado casi todos los estudiantes de filosofía. Además, Fusaro, a pesar de su edad, ya ha publicado diversas e interesantes obras, como Bentornato Marx!, Rinascita di un pensiero rivoluzionario (2009) y Minima mercatalia: filosofia e capitalismo (2012). Más en particular, Fusaro pertenece a esa izquierda, lamentablemente minoritaria, que tiene como exponentes de punta al llorado Costanzo Preve y a Gianfranco La Grassa. Es decir, esa izquierda que, en la época del creciente transformismo de la izquierda «institucional», no ha renunciado a los padres nobles de su tradición cultural y a una crítica afilada del actual capitalismo, es decir, del capitalismo financiero (o «finanzcapitalismo», según la definición de Luciano Gallino).

En definitiva, el postcomunista Pd (Partido democrático), renegando de su historia, ha cedido en todo a las lógicas del capital, constituyendo más bien una de sus «superestructuras» ideológicas (para usar el lenguaje marxiano) con su espantosa retórica de la corrección política y la paradójica defensa de la legalidad y de las reglas (capitalistas). Como diría Fusaro, se ha pasado de Karl Marx a Roberto Saviano, de Antonio Gramsci a Serena Dandini. De aquí la revuelta del joven filósofo que, releyendo a Marx, ofrece una clara interpretación del pensador de Tréveris como enemigo de toda supina aceptación de lo existente, poniendo de relieve los aspectos idealistas de su pensamiento. De ahí también el rechazo de todo pensamiento débil postmoderno y la asunción por parte de la filosofía de una función intervencionista y activista. La filosofía, por tanto, no vista ya como mera erudición estetizante o como perro de guardia del «mejor de los mundos posibles» sino como instrumento para transformar la realidad. Una filosofía, en suma, que readquiera por fin su dimensión épica y heroica, como la entendía Giovanni Gentile.

Y precisamente al filósofo de Castelvetrano y a su relación con Marx dedica Fusaro páginas importantes de su nuevo libro, proponiendo una interpretación ciertamente unilateral del pensamiento marxista, pero en absoluto ilegítima. Es en particular el Marx de las Tesis sobre Feuerbach el que emerge con fuerza de la obra de Fusaro: aquel Marx que criticaba el materialismo «vulgar» del propio Feuerbach y que se concentraba mayormente en el concepto de praxis –la praxis que, contra todo determinismo, estaba siempre en condiciones de refutar una realidad sentida como extraña para fundar un nuevo mundo. La praxis, por tanto, como fuente inagotable de revolución.

Por lo demás, no es casualidad que sea precisamente Gentile quien valore al Marx filósofo de la praxis en aquel famoso volumen (La filosofia di Marx, 1899) que Augusto del Noce indicó, no sin alguna evidente exageración, como el acto de nacimiento del fascismo. Pese a una obtusa damnatio memoriae que todavía hoy pesa sobre Gentile, pero que ya ha sido puesta en crisis por muchos filósofos autorizados (Marramao, Natoli, Severino, etc.), Fusaro reafirma la indiscutible grandeza filosófica del padre del actualismo. Más bien, lo define justamente como el más grande filósofo italiano del Novecientos. No por una mera cuestión de gusto o de partidismo, naturalmente, sino por un hecho muy simple: todos los filósofos italianos del siglo XX, en el desarrollo más variado de su pensamiento, se han tenido que confrontar necesariamente con Gentile. «Gentile –escribe el autor –es para el Novecientos italiano lo que Hegel –según la conocida tesis de Karl Löwith –es para el Ochocientos alemán».

Fusaro, por tanto, reconstruye todo aquel recorrido intelectual que de Fichte, pasando por Hegel y Marx, llega hasta Gentile que, no por casualidad definido Fichte redivivus por H.S. Harris, cierra el círculo. De aquí la interpretación del acto puro de Gentile a la luz de la praxis marxiana, así como, inversamente, la lectura de Gramsci como «gentiliano» que conoció a Marx filtrado por el filósofo siciliano. Tesis, esta última, que no es en absoluto nueva (pensemos aunque sólo sea en los recientes trabajos de Bedeschi y Rapone) pero que todavía no se ha abierto camino en los ambientes semi-cultos de la «clase media reflexiva» que lee Repubblica, repudia a Gramsci y tiene por gurú a Eugenio Scalfari.

De todos modos, no faltarían las objeciones a algunas tesis de Fusaro sobre la relación de Gentile con Marx, desde el momento en que el autor no tiene mínimamente en cuenta los elementos mazzinianos y nietzscheanos del pensamiento del filósofo actualista, así como falta cualquier referencia a las corrientes culturales del fascismo que procedían del socialismo no marxista y que no dejaron de influir a Gentile. Me refiero en particular al sindicalismo revolucionario (A.O. Olivetti, S. Panunzio) y al socialismo idealista del propio Mussolini: el socialismo que había descubierto que revolucionaria no era la clase sino la nación. Me refiero, además, a las jóvenes levas de los años treinta que querían edificar la «civilización del trabajo», glorificada por el fascismo con el llamado «coliseo cuadrado» que campea entre las imponentes construcciones del Eur.

Sin Mazzini y los otros «profetas» del Resurgimiento, por lo demás, no se podrían comprender los elementos nacionales del pensamiento gentiliano, así como el significado que Gentile daba al término «humanidad». Hacer que el «humanismo del trabajo» de Genesi e struttura della società (1946, póstumo) descienda de un «retorno» de Gentile a una confrontación con Marx, como hace Fusaro, es posible sólo si se prescinde deliberadamente de todo el debate que la cultura fascista desarrolló en los años treinta, con Ugo Spirito, Berto Ricci y Niccolò Giani. Y en este sentido, entonces sería también posible interpretar el humanismo gentiliano en clave igualitarista. Pero el propio Gentile, en algunas intervenciones importantes, aclaró cómo entendía la universalidad (y no el universalismo), que debía basarse en el concepto romano de imperium y en una misión civilizadora de Italia (y aquí vuelve Mazzini), como bien lo evidenció Gentile en el fundamental artículo Roma eterna (1940). Una universalidad vertical, por tanto, entendida como ascenso, y no un universalismo horizontal y anulador de las diferencias en nombre de una abstracta concepción del hombre, alejada de cualquier contexto histórico y cultural concreto. En este sentido, por tanto, el humanismo gentiliano es fundamentalmente sobrehumanismo, como lo describió magistralmente Giorgio Locchi.

También sobre el concepto de «apertura de la historia», sobre el que justamente insiste Fusaro, habría que entenderse. Por otra parte, ya Karl Löwith subrayó en la inmediata postguerra el mesianismo inherente a la filosofía de la historia marxista. Según la teoría científica, de hecho, el proletariado, obtenida la conciencia de clase gracias a la explotación capitalista, habría debido, a través de la acción del partido comunista, abolir las clases y el Estado, restableciendo las condiciones del Urkommunismus, aunque de una forma «enriquecida», es decir, con todas las ventajas de la tecnología moderna. En este sentido, también el marxismo trabajaba a favor de la salida de la historia que, en vez de coincidir con la planetaria democracia liberal de Francis Fukuyama, habría instituido la anhelada sociedad comunista y el fin de toda voluntad «historificante» del hombre.

De todos modos, estas breves y sintéticas objeciones no quieren de ninguna forma disminuir la excelente obra de Fusaro, que, por el contrario, es de lo mejor que se puede leer en un desolador contexto político y cultural totalmente bovinizado según las lógicas demoliberales, mundialistas y finanzcapitalistas. Al contrario, la relectura de Marx en sentido idealista tiene un innegable mérito: volver a situar en el centro de la acción política la voluntad creadora del hombre, que brota de su libertad histórica. En otros términos, es el retorno de la filosofía a una aproximación revolucionaria a la realidad. Filosofía ya no entendida como glorificación de lo existente, sino como motor de la historia, lo cual, se convendrá, si no es todo, ciertamente es mucho.


(Traducción de Javier Estrada)

mercredi, 10 juin 2009

Idealisme en pragmatisme

Idealisme en pragmatisme

"Pragmatisme zonder ideaal is een dwaasheid. Ze wordt een ideologie: die van de negatie van het idealisme, verschoven naar het irreële, dat van de illusoire controle van alle parameters dat toestaat een globale visie achterwege te laten. Het doet niets dan zichzelf herbevestigen maar laat zich tegelijk blind, in plaats van in een richting te sturen naar een doel. Het pragmatisme is conservatief: het functioneert enkel binnen een raamwerk waar het zichzelf niet in vraag moet stellen. Idealisme zonder pragmatisme is ook een dwaasheid, het is autistisch, het weigert zich aan te passen een de realiteit. Pragmatisme en idealisme slaan allebei door wanneer ze hun grenzen vergeten. Maar vandaag de dag lijken de idealen de politiek verlaten te hebben. Men trekt zich er niets van aan, men schrijft ze toe aan de extremen. Soms zijn ze echter opgeslorpt door pragmatisme: om verkozen te worden. Het pragmatisme dat zich van het idealisme dient is een cynisme. Heeft het pragmatisme het idealisme verslagen? Wat men moet doen is de dingen hun plaats toekennen: het idealisme moet zich dienen van het pragmatisme en niet omgekeerd. […] Desalniettemin is het sterk dat we vandaag moeten vaststellen hoe het idealisme zoals we dat kennen gecatalogiseerd is als een soort extremisme. De uitleg neigt altijd naar het opgraven van de geschiedenis van idealen die over een weg van totalitarisme en moordende ideologieën zijn gegaan. Maar paradoxaal genoeg wordt het pragmatisme op zijn beurt ook een ideologie. […]

De visie van de economie gebaseerd op concurrentie, en op zich al de idee van aan economie de centrale plaats in de politiek te geven, maakt deel uit van het consensus dat we kunnen omschrijven als “de pragmatische ideologie”. De economie is zelf een middel en geen einde. Het als geprivilegieerd voor de rest laten komen, is dus geen idealen hebben. Zou het thans niet mogelijk zijn dit principe van concurrentie voorbij te gaan? Zijn wij op dit moment onbekwaam om in te beelden dat andere modellen, gebaseerd op collaboratie, mogelijk zouden zijn? Om deze proberen toe te passen? Is het enkel mogelijk de buitensporige aanwezigheid van bepaalde principes binnen het principe van economische optimalisatie zelf te bevestigen? Is het “gestoord” op dit moment? Daarom is het vandaag hoognodig geworden een herbronning – met pragmatisme – van een echt rationeel idealisme na te streven."

Quentin, Agoravox, 25 juin 2008

Synergies Européennes

jeudi, 04 juin 2009

Idéalisme et pragmatisme




Idéalisme et pragmatisme

Lundi, 25 Mai 2009 - http://unitepopulaire.org 


« Le pragmatisme sans idéal est une folie. Lui aussi devient une idéologie : celle de la négation de l’idéalisme, relégué à l’irréalisme, celle de l’illusoire contrôle de tous les paramètres permettant de se passer de vision globale. Il ne fait que renforcer la force pour ce qu’elle est mais la laisse aveugle, au lieu de la diriger vers un but. Le pragmatisme est conservateur : il ne fonctionne que dans un cadre qu’il ne saurait remettre en question de lui même. L’idéalisme sans pragmatisme aussi est une folie, s’il est autiste, qu’il refuse de s’adapter au réel. Pragmatisme et idéalismes tous deux deviennent fous quand ils finissent par ignorer leurs limites. Mais aujourd’hui les idéaux semblent avoir déserté la politique. On s’en méfie, on les relègue aux extrêmes. Parfois cependant ils sont profanés par pragmatisme : pour se faire élire. Le pragmatisme se servant de l’idéalisme est un cynisme. Le pragmatisme a-t-il vaincu l’idéalisme ? Ce qu’il faut, c’est remettre les choses à leurs places : l’idéalisme doit se servir de pragmatisme, et non l’inverse. […] Cependant force est de constater qu’aujourd’hui l’idéalisme quel qu’il soit est catalogué comme étant forcément un extrémisme. L’explication tient sans doute dans ce que l’histoire des idéaux est pavée de totalitarismes et d’idéologies meurtrières. Mais paradoxalement le pragmatisme devient lui aussi, à son tour, une idéologie. […]


La vision de l’économie fondée sur la concurrence, et le fait même de donner à l’économie une place centrale en politique, fait partie du consensus de ce qu’on pourrait appeler "l’idéologie pragmatique". L’économie elle même est un moyen et non une fin. La privilégier devant le reste, c’est donc ne pas avoir d’idéaux. Pourtant ne serait-il pas possible de dépasser ce principe de concurrence ? Sommes nous à ce point incapables d’envisager que d’autres modèles, basées sur la collaboration, soient possibles ? D’essayer de les mettre en œuvre ? Est-il seulement possible d’affirmer la prépondérance de certains principes sur le principe d’optimisation économique lui même ? Est-ce "fou" à ce point ? C’est pourquoi aujourd’hui il devient urgent de réhabiliter – avec pragmatisme – un véritable idéalisme rationnel. »


Quentin, Agoravox, 25 juin 2008