Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Philosophy Of Ideology And Perpetual War

Image result for war

(Continued from The Unconscious)

- Why do countries make war whenever they can? I know, in defense of their ideology, you already said that. But why ideology? What makes people ideological?
- Do you think philosophy can answer that question?
- Why not, if it takes the trouble first to define ideology? "Unconscious belief with social function".
- I think philosophy can give an answer. Not directly, but by being an example itself of ideology.
- And with the example will we know what makes people become ideologues?
- Let's see.
- Ok. This will be fun. The Marxist Zizek says Marxism is a kind of capitalism, caught up in the very ideology it criticizes. Is Zizek caught up in ideology too, also a kind of capitalist?
- He is.
- How?
- By being restless. Marxism is a theory of constant production, of history without rest.
- We'll rest at the end of history in the communist utopia.
- Yes. Until then, work. Zizek uses both Hegel and Lacan. In Hegel's philosophy of history each new idea achieved has encompassed in its field of application a world part of which contradicts it. We must have ideas, but according to Zizek's Lacanian psychoanalysis, any idea involves ideology, some part of which is social and group motivated and which we as individuals instinctively disobey, withdraw our consent from, and with violence of spirit move warily towards the formation of a new idea, helplessly taking on a new ideology. We never rest in ideas because in every case they are against us and contradictory, we never rest in being ourselves, are never individuals in our breaking out of ideas because our escape is violent and blind and our flight follows a pure logic drawing us on to formation of a new idea inevitably under the influence of our society and family.
-  We might as well go all-out and say these philosophies are Fascist: celebrating violence in action and in politics, seeing the stability of society always at risk from a "contradiction", the alien, infecting influence, a race, a religion, immigrants... Philosophies of ideas and of ideology describe worlds without rest, Fascist worlds. Where do we go from here?
- Ideology leads to war, restlessness leads to ideology.
- You don't think they arise together?
- In fact, I do. But both together arise from loss of a prior behavior.
- Which is what?
- Individual action and individual thought.
- And where is that individual action and thought if we all live in society?
- It's there, each individual safely enclosed in his own separate body. Hegel and Marx's theories of history, Freud and Lacan's pychoanalysis, describe a development in history of societies and families, not how an individual learns, acquires ideas.
- Which I take it involves rest?
- Yes. We learn by moving our bodies through the world, we develop habits of perception and of production. When our habits, as one modern philosopher of the body put it, set our bodies in "poise" with the world, we rest, sinking down into the physical relief of beauty that accompanies the arrival of a new idea about the world. An individual who learns from his actual particular place in the world attends carefully to that place, is not violent against the place that is his teacher, and an individual who reaches a new accommodation with the world is not troubled by any contradiction.
- Is anti-ideological and anti-Fascist. People become ideological when they stop being individuals, and they stop being individuals when their societies pressure them to conform. I'm not sure we've gotten anywhere.
- But we have. If ideology is restless and ideology leads to permanent war, we have to fight against restlessness. We have to prevent it.
- By being individuals, who are subject to the demands of their families and societies to become ideologues.
- By being individuals who fight to keep hold of beauty in their lives.
- Art is going to save us from war.
- Do you have a better idea?