On Reactionary Modern Philosophy and
Wim Rietdijk, D.Sci.
The reactionary tendency
Postmodernism, incoherent Modern Art and Subjectivism have in
common; the emperors without clothes
Andy Warhol said: "All is pretty."
Samuel Beckett wrote : "There is nothing to express, nothing
with which to express, no power to express, together with no obligation
John Cage informed us: "I have nothing to say and I am saying
Eugène Ionesco confesses: "There are no solutions.
History solved nothing. Nothing. ... For I do not give solutions,
either, no answers, I only ask questions, in a tattling way. I
talk much, much, very much, in order to disrupt language. I pitch
into the ideas by the uproar of the word."
Michel Foucault - as commented upon by sociologist Daniel Bell
- feels that madness is not only a form of knowledge, but that
reason itself has no superiority over unreason.
Postmodernist Jacques Derrida wants us to believe: "The Einsteinian
constant is not a constant, is not a center. It is the very concept
of variability - it is, finally, the concept of the game. In other
words, it is not the concept of something - of a center
starting from which an observer could master the field - but the
very concept of the game."
Jean-François Lyotard, another postmodernist, discovered:
"If Lacan says: To love means that one gives what one does
not have, then it means for him: forget that one has been emasculated.
However, it should mean: one never has something, there is no
subject, and therefore there is nothing but love; one not only
can never give something because one does not have anything, but
because there is nobody who could give or take."
In line with the above quotations, subjectivistic and relativistic
philosophy posit that truth and values are purely based upon arbitrary
human choice, in fact depriving them from any substance: torture
and Auschwitz are OK provided that you as a subject, or your traditions,
feel them to be so, as the Nazi's did.
Robert Rauschenberg, Joseph
Beuys, Karel Appel etc. etc. sell or sold rather incoherent structures
without beauty or power to move our souls as "modern art".
They are among the world's best-paid artists.
How could this happen?
And the strangest of all:
How could it happen that publicly criticising or ridiculing
"modern art" is simply not done or even taboo
among intellectuals? What - evidently powerful - interests are
behind such art and at the background of the massive wave of irrationalism
- existentialism, structuralism, postmodernism,... -, interests
that unconsciously shield them as sacred cows inherent to the
Part of the explanation:
Censorship served the status quo and the powers that be for ages
by prohibiting rational argument, also about good and evil. Of
course, it can no longer be imposed in the modern West. However,
those many having something to hide against reason and the enlightened
ethic of integrity and neighbourly love, instinctively found new
ways of undermining and devaluing reason and rational argument
on good and evil. Ways that are tuned in to our non-authoritarian
era. Viz.: push the idea that the world is chaos, man is irrational,
and good and evil or even truth are relative, depending on subjective
and non-rational "premises" or conventions. Then you
fight good arguments as effectively as by censoring them: you
imply them to be irrelevant, dependent on mere arbitrary "premises"
and convention. The consequence is that power and vested interests
are more safe for reason now. Moreover, the very idea of status-quo-moving
progress loses its meaning in a chaotic, irrational world in which
everything is relative.
John Dewey wrote: "If we once start thinking no one can guarantee
what will be the outcome, except that many objects, ends and institutions
will be surely doomed..."
Well, the Ionesco's and Becketts,
the Heideggers and Lyotards, the Rauschenbergs, Appels and John
Cages all help to stop thinking and the idea of a coherent world
at all, as the relativists help stopping conscience and rational
arguments about good and evil. That is, in the twentieth century
they do things similar to what in the eighteenth and nineteenth
was done by censorship, traditionalism and the Church: keeping
reason and rational values and morals subdued. In both cases
it was done to the benefit of those having to fear from the
mechanism John Dewey described.
Generally, we can explain the popularity of postmodernism, existentialism,
and subjectivistic and relativistic theories about truth, good
and evil by the circumstance that they foster the opposite
of rational argument, rational and objective ethic and awakened
emotions leading to coherent rational action. Incoherent,
emotionless "art" without beauty or eloquently transmitted
meaning does precisely the same thing. Both also make progress,
moral failure and inferior (human) quality senseless concepts,
which is fine for egalitarians, too, who now dominate ideology.
In all, they exude the idea that progress is meaningless or
impossible, certainly via rational thinking and coherent action.
This is the cornerstone of reactionary philosophy and heavenly
music for everyone who is both powerful and immoral, wanting such
status quo to be continued.
Criticising the relevant philosophical
and artistic fashions is "not done" for similar reasons
why criticising convention and the Church was taboo earlier.
They are ideological forces shielding modern vested interests
and the status quo against the forces of reason, just as more
brutal means - such as bajonets and censorship - did so in earlier
The absurdistic nihilism illustrated
by the foregoing quotations is very prominent among our intelligentsia.
So much so that, e.g., Stephen Jay Gould could recently assert
(in his Full House) that even biological evolution did
not mean progress at all, without his being laughed out of the
room. Small wonder that human quality, IQ, crime, underclasses,
education and related problems will be addressed to in the utmost
If studied humbug and nihilism
- from James Joyce's Finnegan's Wake and music without
melody or rhythm to postmodernism and relativism implying that
nothing was objectively wrong with Auschwitz - become cults and
passwords for being accepted by the cultural establishment, something
serious is going on. Especially if everybody keeps mum at the
In case you are interested in the integration of the above and
many other ideas into a coherent theory of society and culture,
also explaining crucial repressions and taboos which prevented
many vital insights from being hit upon (thus largely restricting
the results of socio-cultural thinking to a mess of details),
see: The Scientifization of Culture.
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