DUGIN: "ONLY A DIRECT ENCOUNTER WITH DEATH CAN AWAKEN US"
We start series of English translations of Russian ideologists, whose works inspire Putin and Russian elite. This essay belongs to Aleksandr Gelyevich Dugin, a Russian political philosopher, analyst, and strategist, known for his fascist views.
Modern man longs for immortality at any cost - freezing, uploading to a cloud server, merging with artificial intelligence and global neural networks. He is ready to stop being a man, just not to die. But it is precisely in this striving that he inevitably turns into a nonentity. Anti-existence - Nothing, is beautiful because it finite. But the understanding of this has practically been lost in the West and is increasingly capturing our minds, says Alexander Dugin in the new issue of Directive.
Today's directive will be devoted to the most important philosophical problem - the problem of Nothing. At first glance, nothing is easier than Nothing, but in fact, nothing is more difficult.
When a person begins to think about being, including his own being, about his life, sooner or later he will inevitably come across the topic of the border. There is being. But to really appreciate it, you need to relate it to something. This is where the turn of Nothing comes.
Outside being, there is only Nothing. And outside of life there is its reverse side - our own Nothing, death.
Any responsible thought, no matter what it is directed to, one way or another - frontally or tangentially - is addressed to Nothing. That colossal tension that is required for being is dumped into Nothing. When being can no longer be, it collapses. But since being is the most general of affirmations, it can only fall into the most general of negations.
Nothing becomes the focus of the greatest German philosopher Martin Heidegger . The human presence in the world takes on a real meaning and a real acerbity, and this is exactly what is put into the concept of "existence" when it is faced with death. We become acutely aware of presence only in the face of absence.
While death is somewhere far away from us, hidden by many covers, our life is a calm and sound sleep. Only a direct encounter with death (in ourselves or in the case of loved ones) can awaken us. It is only when the doctor gives us a fatal diagnosis that the fact that we are - still are, still are for some time - finally comes to our consciousness. Nothing, which now stands close to us, brings us back to the fact of life.
In our encounter with death, we realize that we are finite. But finiteness is a form, a boundary, a distinction. The Greeks clearly understood that the finite is spirit, while the infinite is only matter. This means that only a form isolated from the surroundings - the Russian word "obraz" means circumcised, isolated, torn out - is truly valuable. And this value is in its separateness, isolation - in the fact that it is placed on the border with Nothing.
Awareness of our finiteness - as well as the finiteness of any thing and even the whole world - is for the first time a truly full-fledged experience, an experience that makes us human. Only in contrast with the abyss of Nothing doomed and ready to fall into the abyss at any moment do things begin to tell us about their essence. The finite is beautiful precisely because of its finiteness.
Therefore, Nothing also has an aesthetic side: it helps us understand the desperate and doomed nostalgia of true beauty. Beauty in the face of imminent death.
Friedrich Nietzsche believed that the modern world, and above all the Western world of modern times, is a civilization of nihilism. Nihilism is from the Latin nihil, which means "nothing". But he meant by this something else - not actually Nothing, but the insignificance of modern Western values. They are too small and miserable. They are nothing at all. They are rather banality, triviality, routine, pettiness.
Modern man is incapable of the pure experience of Nothing. If he had been able, he would have lived a full, dangerous and colorful life. But the nihilist prefers to shrink, to plunge into the smallest problems of caring for his frail self, just not to face the abyss. Therefore, modern man hysterically longs for physical immortality at any cost - freezing, uploading to a cloud server, merging with artificial intelligence and global neural networks. He is ready to stop being a man, just not to die.
It is not being that is opposed to the true Nothing, but precisely nothingness.
The thought of Nothing leaves culture and civilization along with the thought of being. They are inextricably linked with each other. The last people are no longer capable of either one or the other. They can't decide to be or not to be. That is why they do not live and do not die, trying to erase the boundaries, arrange for themselves such an existence, where there will be no gaps, hierarchies, falls and rises. Dead life or living death. No sharp corners or sharp breaks.
When looking at the surrounding world, at the modern people inhabiting it - or is it already electronic shadows? – there can hardly still be a glimmer of hope that a new beginning of philosophy has a chance. Philosophy is the work of exceptional, higher beings, in which grandiose forces have accumulated and exploded from within, spilled over the masses, epochs, peoples, cultures and generations. Only then, relying on great thought and crystal horror, a philosopher is born. And of course, the first thing he puts before himself and before everyone else is the great question of Nothing.
Leibniz said: "Why is there something rather than nothing?'"
Jean Baudrillard put the question differently: "Why is there nothing rather than something?"
Yes indeed, why?
It was "Dugin's Directive" about nothing.
Published at Tsargrad as of Oct. 05 2021.