The end of sense and the end of history. Ontological aspect of freedom [Google translation]

Sviatoslav Vyshynsky
The National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine H.S. Skovoroda Institute of Philosophy

Zero mark of freedom

We live in an age of fundamental collapse of illusions - equally traumatic and enlightening. The time of changes and fragments of established political and economic systems, values ??and worldviews is a time when the essence of, at first glance, familiar processes and phenomena is revealed in a broad historical perspective - and gets rid of extraneous layers, conjectures and vain expectations. This is the time when practice tests theory and brings it to the court of history. In fact, only at the end of the era can we adequately summarize it and predict - and project - the future. Today we have reached a point where it is possible to summarize the phase of development of Western civilization, which is identified with the phenomenon of the Enlightenment - and the further formation of a liberal-democratic society.

At the beginning. XXI century it is associated with more frustrations than real achievements. The movement, which was once aimed at general education of the general population, the spread of not only literacy but also all fundamental knowledge, the harmonious development of personality, the promotion of personal initiative, the establishment of basic human rights and freedoms, the formation of a modern society based on social justice. all those liberal theses developed over the last two centuries that are now being questioned. If not as theoretical imperatives, then at least as real achievements.

At the turn of modernism, we must admit that freedom is no more. Not only in the plane of direct control of human activity in real and virtual space, narrowing of real rights and freedoms in favor of the fight against windmills, limiting the choice of predetermined framework on which modern society was built - but simply because liberalism itself was the enemy of freedom. in it the principles. Carl Schmitt has long been diagnosed with the theoretical conflict between liberalism and democracy only in the second sex. XX century was brought to a logical conclusion: the spirit and letter of liberal ideas based on the interests of emancipated individuals contradict the spirit and letter of the ideas of democracy, based on the interests of a solidary collective united by a certain historical narrative. An analysis of the modern media space clearly shows that the extravagant ideas of Max Stirner, in which even in Ser. XIX century the beginnings of chaos and anarchy were seen - already today they constitute a presentable civil discourse of the struggle for selfishly interpreted "rights" and "freedoms" of the individual.

But not a citizen, because the very idea of ??citizenship and obligatory conscious participation in the life of the state and communities can now be perceived as an apology for "totalitarianism." Finally, the time is near when the term "democracy" as "the power of the people" (and, consequently, the majority) will be officially recognized as synonymous with it. The resulting atomization and subsequent disintegration of society is nothing more than an attack on the most rational expediency - at least that which can be formulated from below, in the interests of the people, and not imposed from above by its exploiters. Leveling the modern dimensions of subjectivity and humanism threatens both the values ??of freedom and the basic preconditions of human existence as a creative and thinking being - because the traditional social dimension of its existence is effectively replaced by the dimension of virtuality, and the life of a single unit is filled with pseudo-values. and lives inauthentic.

The spread of libertarian, transhumanist ideas and the progress of electronic technologies is the first step in the implementation of the postmodern version of the Superman project, which in the current situation should be understood as nothing more than the Inhuman project. In turn, it provides for the final closure of the project of Man - humanism, logocentric Enlightenment, rationalism and modernity. Paradoxically, the growth of knowledge and their implementation in scientific and technological progress has led to increased control over the individual: the approach to the ancient human dream - the creation of a thinking being (from homunculus to artificial computer intelligence) - is approaching the time when man in the spirit of all anti-utopias from "THX 1138" to "The Matrix", will be completely controlled by their own machines. Recent publications by Edward Snowden [18] and WikiLeaks [17] have only confirmed that the development of electronic technology that supports the comfort of human life is already a tool not only for espionage, but also for controlling and manipulating the minds of the masses. The more freedom, the less freedom. And with that, real privacy, which in words and forms is still considered a value - as a forgotten god, it is customary to make sacrifices, but even pious mortals do not believe in it for a long time.

In practice, apologists for liberalism offer only the appearance of freedom, because in fact their understanding of freedom is contradictory: to expand it, you need to compare not only with the majority, but with the whole sum of positions - so each step in this direction is only a restriction of freedom. . If before the majority vertically dictated their positive norms ("how to live"), and this was called "democracy" - today the whole set of individuals horizontally limits everyone, defining and constantly supplementing the negative rules ("how not to live"), which over time leaving less and less room for freedom, interfering not only in the public sphere but also in the private space. In this case, each subsequent requirement of the unit becomes a legitimate basis for another restriction of the majority - so the liberal approach is interpreted as requiring not real power of the people, and ephemeral power of the individual ("chained together").

The story of the Ukrainian writer Valery Shevchuk "Birds from the invisible island" [14, p. 189-262] metaphorically describes a society of decentralized totalitarianism, in which everyone is both Master and Slave over himself and everyone else. Not only in freedom of action, but also in freedom of speech - and even thinking. The current political realities of both the post-Soviet space and the "developed" West make it clear that the "whales" on which modern civilization is built, and which again and again become the pretext for "humanitarian" operations with millions of civilian casualties, are not more than an elite bluff. The values ??of the "enlightened" West are also its myths that hide the nakedness of the king.

Freedom of speech and thought cannot exist where there is no freedom of knowledge, and paradoxically, in the so-called "information" age, knowledge is becoming less and less. Until it becomes necessary to make a distinction between the concepts of "knowledge" as a deep understanding of the meaning of things - and "awareness" as a superficial awareness of the mechanisms of their functioning. "Wiki-knowledge" can be considered synonymous with the term "quasi-knowledge" [19], and in this the very principle of its accumulation and representation is reminiscent of the social realities of liberalism - everyone rules and supplements them at its discretion until such a degree of equilibrium is reached in the dry balance there is only the sum of mutually contradictory positions, each of which does not oblige to anything, except conscientious and as much as possible pluralistic ("balanced") citation. In the virtual world of facts, real meanings become crimes.

So we live in a time when the most subtle of all the attacks on freedom that history has ever known is the attack on the inner dimension of life, which even the apologists of "inner transcendence" Ernst Junger and Julius Evola did not seem to be able to foresee. Today we are witnessing the first steps aimed at depriving the thinking individual of the last stronghold of his sovereignty - privacy, which is first revealed in all its external manifestations (secrecy of correspondence, travel, financial transfers, personal life), and then will be predicted - and projected - in manifestations internal, at the level of formation of mentality, ethos and specific thoughts. Therefore, the ultimate goal of liberalism is to deprive man of the transcendent meaning of his existence and to replace true spiritual landmarks with false, living God idols. And where God dies, the next victim is Man [8, p. 728-729].

Gnosis on the scale of being

The end of the Enlightenment is not only the end of the epoch of humanism, but also the end of the experience of knowledge in its European meaning - as "gnosis", directed knowledge of the true state of things from the height of divine Revelation or from the bottom of Adamic abandonment. ect binary of "true" and "false", "real" and "unreal". It is this knowledge, from the perspective of which opens the very possibility of meaning - such meaning and purpose, which lie beyond the given, and therefore provide a detached view of the subject of knowledge, the inevitable duality as a criterion not only of distinction and verification - but also, essentially: unreal, illusory, phantoms of materiality. Dualism is thus a prerequisite for modernity and the Enlightenment itself - the focus on knowledge-as-deepening into the essence of things - and, directed in time, it is - a prerequisite for historicity itself, where the historical experience of eternity should be understood as meaningful, or in other words: plot, being-to-the-final [5] as a way of collective being-to-death as to the ultimate necessity - and, therefore: authenticity [11, p. 264].

Post-modern fatigue from history is nothing but fatigue from existence, the approach of the era of Nietzsche's "last people" who "invented happiness" [10, p. 17]. The search for truth loses its meaning, and knowledge no longer gives meaning to the existence of mortals who no longer want to hear about death - and thus get rid of the severity of the experience. Indifference to knowledge is first manifested in its automatic dissemination - and the same superficial assimilation, which turns into a kind of entertainment, proving one's own still-existence through minimal reflection, which does not threaten any serious mental challenges or deep existential experience. Paradoxically, the so-called The "information" age is sometimes a complete and probably final leveling of knowledge: the excess of signs is the best evidence of their devaluation: "The more perfect the technique of information transfer, the more mediocre, vulgar, gray its content" [7, p. 59].

It is no coincidence that the postmodern situation coincides with the peak of electronic and technical development, the dominance of "smart technologies", whose achievements inversely reflect the degradation of biological man. The latter is more for a strong-willed worker [16, p. 235], which mobilizes the elements and challenges reality, but rather the first of the kind of "lulled" Eloi [1, p. 17]. The transformation of both objective reality through the prism of her eyes and the inner sensory existence of man into a stream of signs encoded by electronic devices, which finally, like social institutions, fully replace the experience of direct contact with being - is the "first bell" of the end of freedom , man, history and existence itself. "Who's calling?" The murderers of the divine must mourn themselves, for renunciation of truth - as renunciation of death - is renunciation of life itself.

Dissatisfaction with reality is that in Arthur Clarke's fantasy script it becomes the first step towards man, through the killing of the Other, change and conquest of the world ("Divide et impera!") - that is, through the ontological and temporal separation of consciousness in space and time , from the already unattainable "then" - now, it seems, is exhausted. And this process characterizes not the depressed peripheral zones of civilization, but its epicenter - the newest Tower of Babel, the construction of which was the result of so many sacrifices over the course of human history. Which ends at its top. The biblical legend of the Babylonian catastrophe, which resulted in Schmitt's distinction between "their" and "foreign", and thus - a new dialectical round of history as a permanent progress and struggle for the meaning of the future, as competition projects, and therefore freedom - choice and orientation in "Life world" - is a warning to us. We are closer than ever to the last, highest ledge before heaven, which may in fact turn into the first ledge of Hell - or, at best, the beginning of degradation and rolling back to the starting points of history. From which next time we may choose the best path.

The same Arthur Clarke a few decades ago envisioned technology as a threat: with its help man became man, went beyond nature, and now dreams of going beyond material existence itself - into the vortex of digital virtuality. Could the science fiction have guessed that the end of humanity could not be atomic or ecological self-destruction due to hypertrophied "desire for power" [9], but an escape into a comfortable "if-world", sterile Matrix, which, like the HAL 9000 supercomputer, remnants of human consciousness and will be the sole heir, and thus the administrator of human ambitions? [7, p. 192] The fact that man is already losing his freedom, becoming a hostage and an appendage to technology and economic laws of civilization - only a banal prelude to the moment when his reflexive consciousness is completely extinguished - and hence meaningful subjectivity, lives the Faustian principle of the Traveler , Creator and Seeker.

This state of affairs looks like retribution for the use of titanic heat, the forces of the elements, conquered by man - and finally those who conquered a man who could not withstand the test of fire - and fell from a taut line over the abyss [10, p. 13], opening the way to either the Clown or the Inhuman (sic). The evocation of Hades' elements sooner or later transforms human life into a ghostly existence in the kingdom of Persephone, which in its bright form extends to the world of the living, to the surface of reality, which increasingly resembles appearance - the dream of consciousness wrapped in technological octopus. Heidegger's principle τεχνη, due to which a person is exposed to risk [12, p. 322], penetrated into the mystery of Genesis and transformed it in its own way, according to their own understanding of truth [13, p. 16] - eventually leads her to death, because it forces her to overcome even the material preconditions of existence. At first man devastates cosmic reality, exposing the darkness of Chaos, and then is forced to make a fundamental leap into virtuality, where his fragile biological shell will lose critical dependence on natural elements - but will become permanently dependent on artificial intelligence, the main administrator of the world of illusion. no room is left for the voluntary destructive principle of freedom.

The desire for absolute liberation from the burdens of existence, from death and, ultimately, from oneself - leads a person only to absolute non-freedom. Having summoned Hades to the surface of the earth, she will pay for it with her soul and mind - like Gogol's hero of the Evening against Ivan Kupala, Peter Bezrodny, who conspired with the devil and directed hellish talents only to his own landing, and thus to self-denial, Heidegger's forgetfulness of truth [4, p. 43]. Avoiding mortality-as-fate, the will of eternal happiness, comfort and immortality-as-sleep is the first and last step on the path to enslavement by the Gnostic Demiurge, the closure of human design and its replacement by quasi-human surrogates.

The eternal plot is reflected in the history of Johann Faust and Mephistopheles [6] - the semi-legendary German scribe who in Spengler's "Twilight of Europe" gave the name to the Western European spirit, which is noticed by all modern civilization [15, p. 226-227]. His destiny is the destiny of the West, the destiny of a free and critical mind, the destiny of a will aimed at self-overcoming. Will he, like the Commonwealth, Mr. Twardowski, break out of the clutches of evil in time and find protection in heaven by the power of prayer? It seems that if the Western mind turns to prayer, it will mean the return of modernism to the new Middle Ages, a religious pathos whose signs are now seen only in Islam - and thus have to state the loss of all liberal achievements of the European Enlightenment, just as as at one time with the onset of Judeo-Christianity came the twilight of Antiquity, covering with darkness the values ??and monuments of Greco-Roman civilization.

At the same time, such a scenario at least leaves hope for the future, for an open end, uncertainty, and thus for freedom - because it preserves the natural conditions of mental life. While the monization of objective reality and its full coverage of the experience of consciousness - ultimately lead to the full coverage of the reality of subjective experience of consciousness, that is, to remove the effect of reflection, duality, and thus to the true death of the subject, which no longer follows resurrection. After all, we are not talking about speculative philosophical categories, but about the direct existential experience of human existence - the very condition of human existence. Hegel's finale of history, which is realized in complete self-knowledge of the spirit [2, p. 422-434] is not only the end of the world as the "end of illusion" [3, p. 302], but also the natural end of man, which, having crossed the tradition of Cartesianism and humanism, will have to be recognized as the greatest of illusions. In this case, the possibility of direct knowledge of Absolute Intelligence, self-being, pure identity "I", which will no longer know unbalanced extra-matrix oscillations, inherently human subjective openness, meaning-making and meaning-seeking, ethical Sartre Nothing - this is almost the reality of factual network artificial intelligence, which absorbs the noosphere, and outside which such a scenario - at least in the material dimension of reality - can not be achieved. Do we have another choice? The answer to this question is impossible in the form of rational argumentation - but only as an irrational, voluntary impulse, as the will-to-be, the will-to-freedom, the will to - Man.


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The article considers the problem of truth on freedoms in the context of the development of the global network society. It is noted that the leveling of the modern dimensions of subjectivity and humanism threatens both the values ??of freedom and the basic preconditions for the existence of man as a creative and thinking being. The spread of ultraliberal, transhumanist ideas and the progress of electronic technologies is understood as the first step in the implementation of the postmodern project "Inhuman".

Key words:

modern, postmodern, humanism, liberalism, noosphere, Enlightenment, Internet.


Vyshinsky S. The end of meaning and the end of history. The ontological aspect of freedom. The article considers the problem of truth and freedom in the context of the development of the global network society. It is noted that the leveling of the modern dimensions of subjectivity and humanism threatens both the values ??of freedom and the basic preconditions for the existence of man as a creative and thinking being. The spread of ultraliberal, transhumanist ideas and the progress of electronic technologies is understood as the first step in the implementation of the postmodern project "Inhuman".

Key words:

modern, postmodern, humanism, liberalism, noosphere, Enlightenment, Internet.


Vyshynskyi S. The end of sense and the end of history. Ontological aspect of freedom. The article deals with the problems of truth and freedom in the context of the development of the global network society. The author notes that grading of modern dimensions of subjectivity and European humanism threatens the values ??of freedom and the very basic preconditions for the existence of a human as a thinking and creative being. Thus spreading ultraliberal, transhumanist ideas and the progress of electronic technologies mean the first step in the realization of the postmodern edition of the project of the Superman - meaning exactly the project of the Nonman. This situation leads to the end of the Enlightenment project with its humanism, logocentrism, rationalism and modernism. As a result, contemporary society lacks true freedom - and even lacks privacy that is still claimed to be some kind of value. It seems that the most prominent literary, cinematographic and philosophical dystopias are coming true in the 21st century, proclaiming the end of modernity - that is the end of history itself. The eccentric ideas of Max Stirner, advancing towards social chaos and ethical anarchy in the middle of the 19th century - nowadays form presentable social discourse of never-ending struggle for egoistic individual «rights» and «liberty». The man of today is no longer the titanic Worker, who mobilizes elementary natural forces and defies outer reality - but rather the first one of the Eloi breed. While total encoding of social and inner sensual experience into an all-sufficient electronic stream of signs in the end deprives mankind from direct and ingenuous touch with being - the bell of history tolls for the future of humanity. Thus we are facing time, when freedom is suppressed in the most delicate, yet extremely effective way - as the intrinsically human dimensions of existence are being revealed and manipulated, and then artificially constructed by technological network, reducing space for «inner transcendence» almost to null. The only possible alternative for this scenario is the new voluntarism as a key to the upcoming turn of a certain alter-modernity.

Key words:

modernity, postmodernity, humanism, liberalism, noosphere, Enlightenment, Internet.


Vyshinsky S. The end of meaning as the end of history. Ontological aspect of freedom / Sviatoslav Vyshinsky // Scientific notes of the National University "Ostroh Academy". Philosophy series. - 2015. - Vip. 17. ó S. 3ó7.

© 2015

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