Rome, The Middle Ages, The catholic church. Renaissance, The French revolution, Napoleon. Kant, Nietzsche, Heidegger. Though this might seem like a crude generalization, we could perhaps consider these to be dialectic triplets. Though they might be thought of naturally as contradictions, we might also observe them as deterministic processes, derivatives of one another. We can also think of it in abstract terms: the sign, the overflow of the sign, the anti-sign. The structure, the de-structure, the anti-structure. Modernism, as such, is the human attempt for a structure, for a sign, for a shared human existence. Other words come to mind – secularism, individuality, liberalism, bourgeois society, logic, freedom of (x), science, Encyclopedia, industry, computers, and so forth. But also: colonialism, capitalism, corruption, boredom, impotence, forced labor, class struggle. these words are loaded with structure, with symbolism, with hope and despair, with glory and decay. In Nietzsche's terms, these could be "Apollonian", or "Platonic" sort of words, sort of language, sort of thought. They could be loaded with the "positive" notions of the former or the "negative" of the latter, but they remain in the sphere of modernism, of the French revolution, of the renaissance. It's heroes, or anti-heroes, can include Cicero, Diderot, Da-Vinci, Einstein, Kant, Erasmus, Plato, Kathrine, Friedrich.
The overflow of the sign – is its peak and decadence. Its ultimate success and it's downfall. Its meaninglessness exposed. It is the sign bare naked, stripped of its uniqueness, exposed of its hypocrisy. It’s the "everyone" of the sign, the Web 2.0, Constantine accepting Christianity, political correctness, post-modernism/deconstruction, sex, LGBT, vegan movements, Facebook, Martin Luther. Here we can find – Foucault's "power", Derrida's "violence", pluralism, Mysticism, Cleopatra, Yoga, New-Age.
And, the anti-sign, the erotic and violent destruction of it, the masses, the promise. Versus the overflow of signs, it's regulations and complicated structures, bureaucracy, internationalism, foreigners, liberals, professors, poets. Versus the cold, intellectual, patronizing elite. The Barbarians at Rome, Genghis Khan, Napoleon, Stalin, Hitler, Mussolini, Chavez, Trump, ISIS. While easy to label with the loaded 20th century "Fascism" or "Communism" tags, we would like to think of it outside of its modern context – as this includes some older historical meanings and elements. Here, as well, we can think of some relations – "Eros" comes to mind here – tradition, nature, origin, nostalgia, family, patronage, respect, country, kingdom, patriotism. And – war, autocracy, totalitarianism, antisemitism, racism, flags, death.
To simplify things, let's think of some trivial analogies. From the – "don't do that”, to the – "let him do that", to the "Fuck you both, I'll do what I want". From the "kingdom of ends" to the "birth of tragedy" to the "anxiety in the face of death". From the 19th century of Frederik the great – to the Weimar republic – To the third Reich. From Kathrine to 1905 to Stalin. From the republic of Rome – to Constantine – to the barbarian invasions.
Whitest these analogies do mean making some "adjustments" to history, the idea is to think of the sentiment that they provide from the mass-psychological point of view. This of course also contains the assumption that we can consider the masses to adhere to these psychological sentiments, an assumption loosely based on Le Bon's crowd psychology, which I allow myself to make here.
Within this perspective, the failure of modernity, echoed by the tragedy of WWI and colonialism, is, in its essence, the failure to satisfy the eros. "Liberté, égalité, fraternité" – had promised the French revolution, but had an entirely different derivative for the liberal-bourgeois and the masses. For the former – it meant new political mechanisms based on merit, a new form of rule, and in its sub-text, meant creating a new sort of elite. For the latter, in contrast, it meant what the titles of "Le Père Duchesne" had read, it meant the thrill of the Guillotine, the execution of the King and eventually also of Robespierre. It meant the destruction of the sign, of any sort of structure, in favor of the thrill, in favor of "watching them burn". "Fake News" – in contrast to the real, the ecstatic, the authentic, cry for leader, the all-powerful destructor of chains. This was echoed once again on the 19th and 20th century. If we think of the 19th century as "the birth of nations", the age of reason, the industrial revolution and so forth, we can think of the beginning of the 20th century again as the erupting decayed Eros – WWI as it's best exemplar. And then again – the "cultural" and "rational" world of post WWI, covering for the volcano of Fascism, Communism and Maoism, of the A-bomb. And again – Post WWII brief prosperity Vs the cold war and the Vietnam war. The collapse of Soviet Union and the fall of the Berlin wall, globalization, the computer revolution and the European union, Vs Brexit, ISIS, Trump, immigration laws etc.
Whitest having different aspects of cultural, technological and economical differences, all the "anti-sign" examples had possessed the same basic elements: primordial hatred of the intellectual elites, mass-media control, the "party" or the "leader", and the public cry out for Eros and blood. In contrast – the "sign" advocates were always comprised of these elites, whether they were Patricians in Rome, Greek Philosophers, Aristocrats, bourgeois or liberals.
In many ways – this is the same world that we encounter today. The new liberal "Gilded Age" of the 1980's and 1990's (Globalization, human rights, social reforms, "Yes we can") had modified to the old racial tensions, anti-intellectualism, "Crimea is ours", "I'm building a wall", "Burn the witches" sort of world. The "Sign" advocates imagine a world comprised of rational individuals. As this world, in their view, is comprised of "their sort of people". The mass hatred towards the sign, in contrast, is based exactly upon the negation of this ideal – as that sign, the subject, the individual – are exactly what they are not.
This is where the "populism" of the sign steps in. The sign, the structure – is reconstructed to gain popularity. Luther or Foucault are, though without any ideological resemblance, examples of sign populists. Usually from within the elite, they have emptied the basic construct, the basic structure of the sign. In contrast to what one might think, the overflow of the sign is the also the decay of it, or of its cultural meaning. they are the unconscious apostles of the masses’ destruction fantasy.
Let us speak of PC and the cultural meaning of it as an example. Say we consider the matter of what a "Subject" is. On the pre-post-modern era, a subject could have meant a lot of things, but it was a construct of some sort – an individual, phenomena, a "cogito ergo sum", a "receptor of senses" or a "kingdom of ends". Then we have the post-modern social reconstruction of the subject – the subject as a white dominant male, the subject as the "western colonialist" or "American WASP". Liberalism-humanism consists of the notion that we can re-populate this construct with new meanings, depriving it of its "white male" origins. So, the black-woman or the Transgender could also be the subject. But the basic assumption which lies within the post-modern thought is that this very notion is false, that the language itself, the "subject" itself, the sign itself, is a structure of decay. Thus, it claims to perform a neutral assessment of it – exposing its decaying structures. But there's no real neutrality towards the sign – for the wheels of history are already in movement. De-Facto, this is the preparation for the sensual dictatorship. there is no "in-between", no "horizons" – when the structure is gone, the id is celebrating its victory. the clash becomes inevitable: the cold, calculated, ancient-regime, impotent elite, cannot stand up to the thrill of what Pandora’s box had held locked – the out in the open racism, war, destruction of the existing structures. The long-awaited revenge against those who look down to us, these New-York-know-it-all's, these Jews and blacks, women and liberals. The attempt of the forced language re-structuring had over-repressed the Eros, and the enraged caged monster is now out on the loose.
Hitler wrote in "Mein-Kampf": "The fact that nine-tenths of all the smutty literature, artistic tripe and theatrical banalities, had to be charged to the account of people who formed scarcely one per cent. of the nation–that fact could not be gainsaid. It was there, and had to be admitted. Then I began to examine my favorite 'World Press', with that fact before my mind"
with regards to the "Jewish control" over the "internationalized, democratic media" in Vienna. The hatred for the French revolution, for liberalism, arts, the theater, universality and the press, was identified with the hatred for the Jewish minorities. It is based upon the same resentments of the modern day ethnic groups within the US, Europe and the Middle East. However, and this is the more striking stance – it has some similarities and origins within the political correctness and post-modern movements. For while liberalism had aimed at creating the universal individual through its basic language constructs, the post-modern criticism had re-claimed the cultural and traditional ethnic differences. Via its "universal neutrality", it's over-population of the sign, it had contained the ethnic, primordial sub-conscious monster. For no longer can we speak of a moderated modification of the sign, the sign itself had to be destroyed. Obama could not have been "black-president", because by being president he already accepted the white-dominant language, signs. The individual, the law, the culture – are decaying structures, and exposing these structures, the so-called goal of the sign-overflowers, means also depriving their very existence.
At that point, the structure, the language, or whatever was the latest era of modernism, is left at awe. Rational arguments, the scientific method, and liberal "progression" are set aside, for they cannot satisfy the hunger or the thrill, they cannot answer to what had already been released. whether we are on the brink of war now or in a further future remains to be seen.