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Destiny of a world society: crash, then a new story?

"We cannot have a society in which dictators, somewhere, may impose censorship." Barack Obama (statement of 19 December 2014.)








What is striking in this statement, beyond its circumstances, is the kind of evidence that emerges in about the nature of "the-one-society policy ”. Because in this kind of conceptual slip, a dictator can only exist “inside”, and not “outside”, as a single element of a whole, as a poor delinquent.

Now, therefore, if one refer to this speech -which no longer even appeals to the authority of a superpower - society, humanity, planet, democracy and world economy have become synonymous.

The consequence of such a state of the language (if one remembers that only two centuries ago the word "society" meant a circle of scholars, or, in extreme cases, a fraction of a class -as in the phrase : "good society ") is the consecration or rather the trivialization of a complete change in the representation of the world, so far a meeting place between socities. A huge progress has been made, beyond all the universalist philosophers have been able to anticipate.

That the President of the United States of America thus situates himself spontaneously in the context of an unsurpassable reality (in the sense of the end of an history of national divisions) is certainly not surprising for our contemporaries, a quarter century after the termination of the Cold War and when he decides reconciliation with Cuba, but the scope of this concrete universalism should be better considered: what does imply the all accomplished fact of belonging to one and the same society?

The most visible element, -but that is rarely analyzed in deep consequences- is that war has not only come to a police operation (as already glimpsed Jean Baudrillard 20 years ago). American bombings on one side or the other of the Syrian-Iraqi border are only terms of repression of a bloody "gang" appointed Daesh, whose claim to represent the “Caliphate” is simply considered derisory.

Conversely, the said "gangs" now have the "power of conventional armies" (Le Monde, December 23, 2014), often precisely because they recover military means from failed states. But this does not provide them a status of "enemy." Because a criminal cannot meet the laws of war, but only those of civil society, even though some countries retain the strange category of "Public Enemy", which has also been mostly used to refer to solitary individuals, although unable to tackle the power of the state.

Even the odd formula of "internal enemy" does not convince us that a real war has taken the place of a battle between gangsters and police, although it confesses the "interiority" of the problem without ever declaring it as " civil war "(a concept that has curiously disappeared in a time, however, it never made so many victims in the world).

There is here a true lack of externality. The persistence of a set of powers is not really contradictory with it : when diplomatic authority is not sufficient to get sorted with a few whims, some subtle inflections of the market are to cater rapidly for it : a refractory Russia sees its currency sinking in a month just with a few passes on the price of oil. But Putin has not perhaps reason to accuse a "western empire", because in fact, the world-system includes almost all countries , including China, India and… Russia .. . Precisely because it is no longer an empire but a world, and is no longer primarily Western.

The fact that there is henceforth a single society (at least at the top of the others) causes a appearently benign effect :, we can not compare anymore ourselves to others by taking our differences very seriously. Some would say it's very positive, for our aggressivity can not feed on identity pretenses of generalized value (racial, cultural, or others). This is true. But another effect, discreet at first, will soon insist. An increasingly haunting set of questions inexorably seeps into our minds: since we can no longer define ourselves in relation to others, who are we as members of the largest possible group? What are human beings when we all are? And since we are necessarily human, in a similar and equal way, how can world society justify its increasingly heavy and tight grip on each of its members, while there is no more competition with another paradigm?

The answer seems actually contained in this very question: the world society existing only from our belonging to it without essential differences, it levels and surrounds us so that no starting flaw or discrepancy might threaten its continuation. It can only be as full or zero, unitary in order to be unique, and vice versa. We will then reside in an inevitable totalism, and without hope of getting out ever. Worse, the more we’ll seek to escape from uniformity, and the more the said “society", embodied primarily by those who live by its institution, will reply to it by the most desperate repression. The slightest - remaining sexual difference, for example- will be pursued until almost complete disappearance, regardless of how long it takes. In vain, however, because the more distinctnesses will be erased -in background of functional divisions- and the more the heavy cope of conventions will become unbearable for everyone, and counterproductive in the formation and maintenance of the belonging subjects. Syndromes and symptoms will multiply to make the unique civilization.. perfectly uncontrollable.

But suppose this worst serie would not take place. Would we have found so far the way to a peaceful and sustainable future? Nothing is less certain, and here's why: Even if we were dealing with a benevolent and debonair world society, as an infinitely forgiving mother would be lax without limit with her "children", we could not bear not to know who we are "in it." We would be disturbed by the childish metaphor which literally constitutes us when a common authority appears to be the only field of our lives.

Then an inevitable paradox would develop: either, as a member equal to others in a huge and unique population of individuals, I “am nothing" or nearly so, or if I stand up against the same population, I am still nothing and even less : absolutely helpless. There is theoretically no alternative, since the uniqueness of each individual is only allowed in the Totality, identified as the only legitimate societality.


The heart of the paradox lies therefore in this: whether I am “in favour” or “against”, pinned as opponent or member, I cannot contribute to the group as a real subject (thus reduced to an infinitesimal existence), because a human being can exist only with reference to one’s own consistency and not to an identification number, sign of his equality and not his “property” (what he is admitted to possess just pointing at what he is). But as the human group is a solidarity of subjects, each of them disappears as soon as one’s proper quality becomes nonexistent. In other words, the larger the group approaches uniqueness by absorbing any other intermediate or concurrent solidarity, the sooner we approach the point when this group becomes impossible.

Of course, we can always argue that we stand far from this point and that competition and mediations are reborn at each scale. This is not false. However, let us not forget also that the more increases the strength of the largest group geometrically with its universal ascendancy, the more it can rely on dwindling competition to intensify the energy devoted to the control of mediations. It will not fail to do, and this in an emergency all the more eager than any divergence able to spread as a common mode at its own scale could threaten it in its essence. Therefore, as we have suggested above, the universal group will tend to be obsidional about all details. The greater it will be globally powerful, the more vigilant it will be locally, so lead with ever increasing speed toward its own self-destruction by crushing.

Assuming that this theory of ultimate paradox is accurate, we could also argue that there a repetitive cycle will develop as the annihilation of the global scale would give way to resistance at the immediately lower scales, so that a protective plurality should reappear automatically, much like a perfect monopoly regularly degrades into oligopolies, because of opposition it meets from the incompetence programmed in its own omnipotence itself.

This "anticyclonic" development can certainly happen and organize a kind of "trampling history" for a given time. But another aspect of that theory comes into play, making it unlikely the repetition of this threshold effect: the effective and widespread experience of a world totalism cannot avoid to be deeply traumatic for most of its subjects .

How far ? shall we ask. Why infantilization of adult mass would not be bearable, even enjoyable, as defined in the adaptative model proposed by Aldous Huxley in "Brave New World"? Again, just consider the paradox involved: if I am reduced to a mere consumer packaged by devices stimulating and inhibiting my impulses, I have no need to build a "position" from which to organize a coherent trajectory as a subject. That is to say that I "speak no more." I am again an "infant" which means precisely "not speaking". But if the adult himself has become a non-speaking person, only a being pushed into suites of reactive sequences, why the real child would learn now to speak, to "behave" according to one’s own position ? We can assume instead that subjectivation goes into crisis in adults and children simultaneously, making even more problematic the process of transmitting culture between generations.

Having reached this point, we must be careful: it is not question here of a danger of "desubjectivation" as envisaged by some psychoanalyst moralists. Instead, what happens then is an exacerbation of subjectivity and the suffering related to it.



Indeed, in "normal" situations (and as well in primates as in Homo sapiens), there is a way out from the post-uterine fold, be it a familiar environment itself open to the world. Now this is impossible in a world society. Not only it is not a real brotherly uterine community, since it isolates people in a "matrix" made of abstractions and mechanisms resulting from abstraction, but it is not a real world located beyond the familiar cocoon. In other words : I cannot either really "breed" me in a maternal gentleness where I would be recognized and not just stuffed, nor extract myself from it, carrying a heroic duty. The call to subjectivity literally becomes tragic, leaving possibly the way to the outcome of a psychotic outburst or an angry neurosis. Multiplied by the number of subjects involved, this intimate tragedy necessarily directs those who feel weak to run off without return, since they would have fully identified the cause of their psychic misery.



Therefore, at this turn of reasoning, why believing that they are foolish enough to not be able to escape ? The only remaining question here is to know how long the system is able to delay the discovery by many people of the whole picture constituting its truth. Because once gained, this great distressing experience certainly forms the firmest support for reaching a point of no return.

To be convinced, it suffices to show some of its inevitable aspects. We can go for it to the Image of the prison from where one cannot go out and where at the same time privacy is forced by overcrowding. But do not forget that prisoners can always dream to evade, while cellular life can sometimes allow true friendships.



So we have to find a better metaphor to keep in line with a reality which we cannot escape or find it a warm feel. The highway and its motels and gas stations, its openings on large commercial areas, is more appropriate. Of course, there is a world well beyond its endless barrier (just under barbed wire as that between the Israeli road of the Palestinian territories), but the beautiful landscape has become an unusable outside, sometimes more hostile than outer space, and especially since it was surveyed by huge agricultural machinery. Where would you go there to pick, hunt, sleep, drink, in short, to survive? As for the long codified pipe where you are confined along with your motorized congeners : you cannot build relationships with them, despite engaging décors with warm colors, or be erotically inspired by the little minimum fellows on WC doors,supposed to distinguish men, women and children. You're just a cartload shipped to be charged for services.



All this is amplified to the extreme in the huge mall, ad was described ad nauseam by many horrified and fascinated writers. But the solitary terror they seem to feel as confronted to the passive billowing of their contemporaries is deceiving : they are as much distressed as the writers are, in front of the said billowing and even more, not having the outlet of a supposed creativity. Actually, everyone is suffering, consciously or not, of this industrialized situation that extends the supermarket model to pedestrian streets in the tourist district, to every festive occasions, to residential urbanism, to airports, beaches, museums, stations, post offices and eventually to all public spaces (canteens, cafeterias), and even private ones (like queues of guests to the buffet at will.)

This suffering is, we should note, all the more significant that the world is now an adequate support for basic needs and seems to take us collectively (but such as a granted largesse) out of the reign of the immediate need. Because it causes precisely not a frustration, a lack or a "symbolic castration", but a radical humiliation; it operates a final denial of our being, or rather of our irresistible aspiration to be ... subjects, that is to say the authors of decisions-not about our daily ingestions and faeces- but about the modes of living together. For this world suddenly appears to us for what it is: a total and helplessly well organized dependence on a universal mode combining exploitation, isolation and force-feeding. (Philippe Muray has described it well, but he has not explained the issue beyond certain political posturing within a specific time, that is to say, without entering the inevitable anthropological dynamics of very long duration, from the small group to the largest and even the “total one”).

However, the most evocative example of the toxicity of the societal paradox at the age of this “total one” is not about the most collective life, but what we usually call a family life. This is where all hell breaks loose, with all the more inevitable suffering that all of us must delude ourselves about our intimacy, as it has never been so deeply invested -in its every detail- by the omnipresence of "globality". It is the latter which (at least in the more "advanced" and thus most damaged societies) is now fully determining tastes and practices of each member of the "couple" and the household, of kindred and generations, while supporting -to great reinforcement of glossy screens and smartphones- the fiction of an active and voluntary participation in family and friendship.



In reality, each role is carved in advance, and that in order to perform functions continuously controlled by the army of psychologists, teachers, coaches magazine journalists or other television daffodils, and, of course, by merchants of trinkets and "activities". There remains under the responsibility of the protagonists the increasingly overwhelming task to "manage" their own behavior as if it were free, the clash of subjectivities (soon accused of narcissistic perversion) becoming therefore inevitable in a closed session where stereotypes are clashing much more than the actual people. They see themselves -in a sort of mute horror - as relentlessly forced to play the score that will lead automatically to marital conflict and divorce, that is to say, to the simple realization of the law of pure individuation in a globalistic regime.



The planned obsolescence of the couple is indeed there a special case of the law of each direct affiliation to World Society, and of the mandatory subordination of any local or intimate solidarity with this law. In this perspective, intimacy is on the verge to become… an infringement.


Mercredi 18 Février 2015 - 17:50
Mardi 28 Juillet 2015 - 00:32
Denis Duclos
Lu 278 fois

Introduction aux sujets principaux/ Introduction to key topics | éléments pour une géo-anthropologie (geo-anthropology) | Théorie de la pluralité/Pluralist Theory | Séminaire " PLURALITE OU DYSTOPIE " (Présent et avenirs alternatifs de la société-monde) | Séminaire "Société-monde" de Comberouger | Eléments du séminaire anthropologie analytique/géoanthropologie (2000-2008) | L'actualité en anthropologie de la société-monde / updates on the anthropology of world-society | Géopolitique et géostratégie | Origines et dynamiques des cultures / origins and dynamics of cultures | Les conversations entre cultures / conversations between cultures | Psychisme et culture | Fonder l'anti-sociologie | Fonder les places du singulier et du familier en sciences humaines / setting up the bases of singularity and familiarity | L'actualité dans les sciences de l'homme et de la société / updates on human and social sciences | Analyses de la "grande crise contemporaine" | tueurs en série, tueurs-suicidants de masse : symptômes du Sociétal | Les "grandes peurs" :symptômes muets de désirs et de besoins humains | Histoire d'un chercheur / a researcher's story | Publications | direction de thèses | textes de D.Duclos traduits du français/ Denis Duclos' Texts translated from French (English, German, Italian, Spanish, | bibliographies des thèmes travaillés par Denis Duclos / bibliographies of subject matters studied by Denis Duclos | le programme de recherche de Denis Duclos au CNRS / Denis Duclos' research program at the CNRS | Projets de manifestations, séminaires, rencontres et colloques | Imaginary dialogues (which could have been real if anyone had responded) | questions et choix philosophiques | Prises de positions, alertes / stands, warnings,whistle blowing | Papers, réflexions, interventions, réactions, propositions... / papers, reflections, reactions, interventions, proposals | Thèmes spécifiques (ecologie, risque) / Specific subjects (ecology, risk) | Essais et Romans de Denis Duclos / Essays and Novels by D.Duclos | Rabelaisiâneries / Rabelaisian jest


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