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Opposing views

You may not know it, but you are probably a Marxist. Marxism is the basis of all the so-called Left and Right political and philosophical creeds of our time - anarchism, communism, socialism, liberalism, libertarianism and conservatism. Marxism grew out of Spinozism. The modern world to this extent is a Spinozist world - a world obsessed by oneness, wholeness, togetherness.

Spinoza understood man to be a mode of existence of the one and infinite originating Substance.

In my reading I have been immersed in two views opposed to the Spinozist-Marxist.

The first I will describe as the Renaissance and Romantic standpoint, with a philosophy of man and his apartness from nature, in the sense of being a repetition of the divine in terms of having the capacity for creative imagination and impact upon the cosmos. Dante has Beatrice explain the position in Paradise I. "Just as form is sometimes inadequate to the artist’s intention, because the material fails to answer, so the creature, that has power, so impelled, to swerve towards some other place, sometimes deserts the track." In other words, within the description of the order of the cosmos, Beatrice emphasises that human beings are the odd ones out, with the power to deviate from the cosmic order.

The second opposing view is that of Heidegger who emphasised that death is the defining factor in what it means to be human. As the end point, death delimits the bounded place within which being appears. "Only man dies. The animal perishes. It has neither death ahead of itself or behind it." (Heidegger, The Thing.) Between his birth and death, man is the clearing in the wood across which being fleetingly passes.

The first is an active standpoint, the second is passive. Can they be reconciled as a common opposition to Spinozism?

© John Dunn.
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Lurianic Derrida Lurianic Derrida
Derrida’s formulation of there being ‘nothing outside the text’, combined with the destruction of ultimate meaning in the text, left a border-free grammatical landscape on the page. This was analogous to globalism in its implications. Like Luria and Spinoza before, the exiled Derrida found a home in the One by deconstructing the sovereignties of the many.
John Dunn

Just a thought: Heidegger believed that this epoch of machination marked the end of philosophy, giving mankind the opportunity to experience a new authentic way of being that is not determined by an inherited logocentric way of thinking. He was wrong in this idealistic and naive belief. The truth is that deconstruction has evolved into a new logocentrism. I think that he eventually saw the truth of this, and that he thought that ‘only a god’ could save us from it, the ‘god’ being an alternative onto-theology. John Dunn

Shunning idolatry Shunning idolatry
Nietzsche declared God to be dead, i.e. that God the idol is dead.

Perhaps the corollary of this is that God, the metaphorical concept associated in some way with the active creation of the cosmos, is very much alive as aesthetic life.
John Dunn


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