Dear the concerned Russian intellectuals,
In regard to the people's attitude towards the war, I would like to offer you the following three cases as a material for discussion, especially concerning with the definition of "the enemy" in contradistinction to the notion of globalization: Are you committed in the protest against this new war of the "shock and awe"(1)? Are you instead a committed supporter for the new war (2)?
You may be a silent person uncommitted in either this or that just waiting for a quick end of this ugly event, whatever the consequence (3).
Whatever case may be, I am sure you have a supporting argument for your position insofar as you are informed of this world event as the fact of an organized movement which collectively engages in a direct killing of people, whether intended or not. The point is no one can remain forever indifferent to the world movement that is to occupy the new Centre of the world as the force of domination, in reference to which, each case of three standpoints will be drawn and measured in its representation on the level of reality. The reason for our being drawn to the forms of our participation to the world event is precisely the new element of modern consciousness, which constitutes the technological method of communication. The new element is the magic of false communication technology which transmits the power of communicated knowledge or information as knowledge itself. The magic is mimesis as the bond to others as the direct communicability of modern mind. Is it just I who is drawn to the guiding light of History and feel homesickness of mankind in the now empty Red Square or is there someone also? The fact is there is no easy exit for us but to question the validity of the Death in the light of the new element, and this is the reason why "the new war," whose perception critically depends on the condition of industrial technology in each society.
So let us see each standpoint more closely, if we are to make the judgment of our argument against the new war valid.
For the position (1): I am against the new war for the following apprehension; First, the issue of democracy: the world power (the Anglo-Saxon force of the West) as its movement on the world stage no longer honors the democratic principle. In fact, the world witnessed a flagrant violation of democracy, i.e. the precedence of action over the consensual statement of the world community. In other words, the immediacy of action makes common understanding irrelevant. This cuts off the fundamental link between action and statement, and puts civilization back to Nature for without that laboriously worked link all civilized society collapses. We know from experience that democracy is not the abstract equality of the individuals achieved by the threat of the number of the same as in the industrial society. Rather, its essential achievement consists in the protection of the difference in the sense that every living "I" or nation as the proposition of the "we" is equally close to the Centre of the world as the omphalos. In the same sense by democratic principle, I mean the collective ideal (e.g. the UN charter) that the West itself has modeled according to the spirit of the Greek citizens of Athens. But the world movement set in motion by power not given by reason, negates that model and, by virtue of superior technology it has already made the model of reasoning irrelevant to its power. Obviously, this negation is the negation of humanity insofar as democracy (as in the original sense of the word) is the vessel of humanity. The message of the flagrant violation is decisive. It tells the world in an unequivocal term that the very rationality, which puts democracy in the subjugation of reasoning to sheer power is in fact grounded in the supremacy of subjective power and domination. As Plato observed, in the permanent warfare, the stronger are right. Perhaps the intellectual term for it the identity of domination and reason. Once people are abandoned to a sheer power, the course of their life must accord with domination, which would mean a slackening of necessity, and the meaning of freedom will elude them.
The new fascism of global technology, the definition of a new enemy needed for the autonomy of ideas: I believe this war is a new war between sign and image, and I cannot let it happen. It jeopardizes the very existence of human civilization; this war is not just the precipitate of the capitalist system in contradiction called the "imperialist war," but the entire humanity is drawn to objective madness; it is fought without clear image of an enemy, thus antagonism circumstantial and contingent. It spreads and must expand its category depending solely on the psychology of subjective arbitrariness. This suggests that the possession of nuclear weaponry as power as was the politics of the Cold War cannot suffice to define its object without eventual self-liquidation, just as modern drama of existence comes to see its object in politics and declares its bankruptcy. The consequence is far-reaching and frightening. This destruction of the model is far greater than the physical destruction. There is a reason why the destruction goes beyond any conventional war, and why some people hesitate to call it war. The whole world knows that between a nation equipped with the most fearful modern weapons and a country of old civilization like Iraq already enfeebled and devastated by the economic sanction over twelve years any comparison is impossible, let alone a war. Whether on a technical or moral ground, the very attempt to gather consent from the floor of the U. N. Security Council would turn reason into pure unreason in its dominant mode of reason. (A recent poll shows that more than two third of the public disagrees to the Blair government and likewise the Japanese public to Koizumi’s participation in the American 'war' on Iraq.) Therefore, this war cannot be a war in the 'normal' sense of the word, just as the colonial war between the rocket technology and Palestinian stone throwing. When a hunter shoots at two rabbits regaling themselves on the grass and drops a bomb on them, the rabbits make off in haste realizing they are still alive, no one would call it a war. It merely demonstrates the horror of objective madness, with which the absurdity of human sense must be tested as if to make sure of the capacity for fear and for happiness restored in its repetition as same, in the eternal returning of the same.
For the position (2) I am a committed supporter for this special war on Iraq. If you think I am for the war because the victory is guaranteed, and it is to bring home more gain than loss, you are wrong. What I see in this war is a consistent pursuit of the modern concept of security. Our principle is clear. It is the double-edged sword. One side is "like is known only through like." And the other edge is the widely quoted doctrine, "He who is not with us is against us." In the evolution of a good civilization, we cannot overlook any smallest germ of unlikelihood, if the likelihood of the status quo is to be so and not otherwise. What does the September 11th disaster teach us? It is a sort of complacency that tells us about the oversight of the unlikelihood. This means we no longer expect on any mutation that may control the course of evolution in civilization. For us, knowledge is power, and it is the knowledge of dominion which is represented by technology because we have verified that our knowledge commands Nature by labor. Our relation to Nature is total in the sense that Nature has the explanation of everything as all or nothing. Be it mythological or technological, but we the West as a totality of knowledge have gotten the means and ways at our disposal to resolve the mystery hitherto unknown for the control of Nature. We are convinced, based on scientific evidence, that the issues of man are closed to Nature and that Nature is the being of boundless boundary, self-sufficient and devoid of the outside, even in thought. It fixes the transcendence of the unknown in relation to the known. Therefore, to go against terror is a sacred war, and this sacred war is indeed the expression of anger, anger against insufficient self-righteousness, it is the full-fledged action of our Enlightenment. And so the victory is guaranteed and we always win over terror. This is the truth of positivism, which is the issue of intelligent ordering and explanation of everything that is present and already posited at any give time.
When you pull all these elements together, you see yourself drawn to this epoch-making war in positive light. The goal of the sacred war is in fact nothing else but the liberation of humankind from the self-imposed fear, especially the terror imposed upon the other side of Nature as the other side of the moon. As I said, the origin of the war lies in essence in the conception of anger against insufficient self-righteousness, insofar as it aims at the irrelevant terror. In this respect too, the war is right because it is to put man in the cherished position, i.e. the custodian of the earth in the spirit of Nature as a whole. However, we must bring the ratio of things to its utmost at any cost. This does not allow us to keep our earth in a mere idolization as a hoard of precious stones or oil causing such ecstasy, when conceived as immune to the means of rampant exchange. We see the ecstasy turning into the forms of terror via sacredness, and we must stop this false transfiguration. Therefore, our task is one with liberated technology. This is a spiritual part of this war, a sufficient reason for me to support it. If you ask me to be specific, I am afraid to point out to you, with respect, that the entire doctrine of Islam culminates in the choose between man's subjection to the terror of hell and the sacredness of Allah in the spirit of Nature. In essence, it is a distorted form of the logic of either-or terrorizing its own faith. This is what we call the false transfiguration of man's sovereignty into the psychology of negation, something common with the history of Christianity, even in the realm of cognition. It is well known that the former has produced the fear and terror in the tellurian scale against the advance of industrial technology, while the latter the passivity of man's self-alienation and obeys the law of reification in isolation. Here alone, you may be convinced as I am in clarity with the meaning of "the war on terror" and we must deal with the wrong conception of terror resolutely, if we cannot stop it. So this war is the progressive assertion of humanity as a whole. It matters little in whose hands the natural resources fall and who acquires them as long as the acquired resources of Nature and man are put into good use for a betterment of human condition. For the purpose, man can violate the men-made rules of their own propositions.
Finally, for the position (3) It is true I am a silent person uncommitted in either this or that just waiting for a quick end of this ugly event, whatever the consequence. Nonetheless, the silence is a choice, far from any kind of conspiracy. If you like, it is a sort of resistance to the vainness of action. It is so blind to the maintenance of its identity in order just to be different from others that men can no longer perceive the distinction between the ratio of self-preservation and self-destruction, which in my view culminate in the domination of the mass division of labor. For a moment, let me think about a plant, a tree or a rose bush, of which we all know so well, despite the fact that plants are non-propositional, and accordingly they live a cause, not according to reason like the living 'I' of all animal rationale. What I have in mind is a natural metaphor. Nature is said neutral and indifferent to substantial goals. It is there for no one in particular. In fact, it is there with no purpose on its own. It offers us a good model for being with someone free of purpose. We regard it with "awe and shock" as too abstract or too beautiful to hold the principle of the self on the line of self-centered reason, which was meant to be a distancing from the bond to Nature for the space for observation not for its domination. However, an ironic aspect of this war is it brings us closer to that space and shows us precisely "awe and shock" as what history has woven in it, making the viewer a castrated man, the fulfillment of hitherto unacknowledged truth of all culture lies hid: the remembrance of that distancing as the perpetuating injustice to be measured. It is a eunuch's view of resistance against the domination of a new empire.
If you are curious about this stupefying silence and ask me how the heart can remain steady against the official intention of mass murder in unprecedented brutality rendered on the people, right now the cluster bombs are falling on the crowded market places, lives murdered, killed and are disappearing? I admit my position is not free of contradiction, especially such an assertion that claims that every male adult, when he is uncommitted to the rise of a new empire must be castrated, a eunuch however metaphorical. Men have been paying for the increase of the modern power with self-alienation from that over which they exercise the power. When pushed to the extremes, they come to realize, they no longer feel of themselves but the freedom of a thrown stone, had it the consciousness. On the other hand, the plunge of the self into the promiscuous sea of self-preserving individuals as the subject of pure action culminates in the ritual of self-destruction. I have witnessed many humans in utter despair and extremity, way before the atrocities of this war, children and women dying of starvation in miserable conditions. To me, the organized brutality of this war seems congruous with all that, not so very different from them. In the state of war, let alone in peace, we are like trees in a forest, if you are not a tree, maybe other plants, certainly not a aloof stone. Your opinion doesn't count or rather it's not your opinion. Even if it differs from others, it simply remains ineffective and nominal. Everyone belongs to a single entity under the collective uniform. Therefore, everyone commits the same crime and no one is free of guilt, regardless of the position you take. Whether you are against the war or for the war, it matters little. Whatever statement you make about a tree the words would not affect the flow of the sap. Furthermore, no one would put his study of the word or analysis of the structure of a proposition in place of the structure of the object itself. If this is the Nature's principle of self-preservation, likewise we behave according to the relation of self-alienation effected by the social division of labor to the law of self-preservation. Therefore, my position as indifferent to either side of the war is the most faithful to what I am. If you still do not get the idea of my position, it may appear to you not so very different from the indifference, which is shown by the innocent ignorance of the people being murdered, simply because they are caught in the impossible choice between the primitive tyrant and the modern fascism of technology.
Lastly, let me say to you a few more words about the position. It is not an easy choice. This peculiar distance is both real and unreal, but not a safety zone free of guilt. To be sure, cluster bombs are not falling on the bustling people in our market places, but I am equally nervous, perhaps because of my own making. However, it will continue to be my own making of no exit, as long as the meaning of this peace is stolen from me because the significance of our peace, even if lived as a protest against it, has lost all its credibility. It is as insignificant as the little bodies of the people under the bullet-filled sky of this war are devoured and their lives disappear into the monstrous mouth of modern war-technology.
A last comment: this is the limit of my experience in three positions as what I can offer you. All is left to your judgment, whether you extend the limit to your experience in reference to a right choice. Whatever the choice, its significance is a grave sacrifice because that determination is historical. Thank you.
David D. Yun Berkeley, CA USA
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