Destructive genius of 'post modernism' - the 'Heideggerian left'

Going through the different tendencies, left and right, that oppose liberalism, Dugin evokes with particular relish what he calls 'the New Left' which he describes as a brilliantly conceived exercise in subversion, not just the subversion of bourgeois society but of the very idea of what it is to be human, leading logically to the 'post-human', the virtual human, the 'cyborg' or the 'rhizome' (a term associated with the French philosopher Gilles Deleuze and referring to a discourse that is formless, ceaselessly changing without evolving towards any particular end) - 'creatures that will lack an existential dimension with zero subjectivity' (p.167). Referring to the influential book Empire by Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri he evokes:

'a universal, planetary revolution of the masses, who, using the common character of globalism and its possibilities for communication and the wide, open spread of knowledge, create a network of world sabotage, for the shift from humanity (standing out as the subject and object of oppression, hierarchical relations, exploitation and disciplinarian strategies) to post-humanity (mutants, cyborgs, clones, and virtuality), and the free selection of gender, appearance and individual rationality according to one’s arbitrary rule and for any space of time. Negri and Hardt think that this will lead to the freeing up of the creative potential of the masses and at the same time to the destruction of the global power of “Empire”. This theme is endlessly repeated in the cinematography in such films as The Matrix, The Boys’ Club, and so on ... Moreover, postmodernism as an artistic style, having become the mainstream of contemporary Western art, expresses this very New Left political philosophy, entering our way of life through pictures, design or the films of Tarantino and Rodriguez, without preliminary political-philosophical analysis, outrunning our conscious selection, hooking itself into our minds without our knowledge or will. This is attended by both a general broadening of virtual communication technologies, which in their own system carry an implicit invitation to postmodernity, and the dispersion into post-human, hedonistic fragments. SMS and MMS messages, Internet blogs and video blogs, flash mobs and other habitual engagements of contemporary youth, in essence represent the realisation of separate sides of the New Left project, while, it is true, being controlled by the bourgeois system, willingly profiting from a fashion that this time is not its own, but that of its hidden enemy.' (p.135)

Dugin has something of a double attitude towards all of this. On the one hand he sees it as a rapid acceleration in the process of the destruction of humanity. On the other hand it is a brilliant political project brought to a successful conclusion. And of course the destruction of Western liberal humanity is in Dugin's eyes, a consummation devoutly to be desired.

The process began when 'Through Sartre, one of the classic theorists of the New Leftists, the deep influence of Martin Heidegger and the existential problem penetrated into the Leftist movement ... The Marxist analysis of ideology as ‘false consciousness’ became, for the New Leftists, the key to the interpretation of society, philosophy, man and the economy. But that same train of thought they discovered from Nietzsche, who had raised the whole spectrum of philosophical ideas to the primordial ‘will to power’ (this was its very basis, according to Nietzsche), and from Freud, for whom the base was the subconscious and unconscious impulses, rooted in the mineral foundations of man’s sexuality and the habitual structures that form in early childhood.' (pp. 131-2)

Heidegger is very important to Dugin too. He argues that each of the four political theories under discussion has its own 'subject' - an actor whose interests it claims to serve. In the case of liberalism it is the 'individual', whose ambition is to free herself from all the constraints of a collective identity (church, state, nation); for the second political theory it is class, specifically the working class, which aims to secure for itself the fair reward of its labour; for the third political theory it is, in the case of Italian Fascism, the state, and in the case of German National Socialism, the race - but Dugin quite correctly argues that 'The very ideology of progress is racist in its structure'). The subject of the Fourth Political Theory is dasein.

I do not pretend to have a clear understanding of what is meant by the word dasein. John Minahane argues that Heidegger does not want us to have a clear understanding. It is, so to speak, a work in progress (and Dugin insists that the Fourth Political Theory is also a work in progress, not a final, fixed body of ideas). One of the first people to translate Heidegger into French was the philosopher and interpreter of Iranian philosophy, Henry Corbin. In an interview about the relationship between his interest in Heidegger and his interest in Iranian philosophy he had this to say:

'I do not want to return here to a discussion of the reasons that, back in the day, led us, in agreement with our friends, to translate Dasein by réalité-humaine [human-reality].  I am aware of the particular weaknesses of this translation, especially when by an all too frequent negligence, we omit the hyphen, whose necessity we have explained elsewhere.  Da-sein: being-there, this is understood.  But being-there, is essentially to be enacting a presence, enactment of that presence by which and for which meaning is revealed in the present.  The modality of this human presence is thus to be revelatory, but in such a way that, in revealing the meaning, it reveals itself, and is that which is revealed.  And here again we are witness to the concomitance of passion-action.' (4)

However inadequate 'human-reality' may be as a translation I think it's perhaps useful to keep it in the mind as a phantom presence - the 'human' is both what we are trying to understand and what we are trying to achieve since what is under discussion isn't an observation of an external reality but an act. Da as we know means 'there' and sein means 'being' so dasein means being there, in a particular place, it is 'a' being as opposed to Being in general. At first sight this evocation of a particular being may suggest something like the 'individual' of the First Political Theory. But there seems to be something aspirational in the idea of dasein - not so much what we imagine ourselves to be, nor even what we might want to be, but what we are, which is something we perhaps, indeed that we certainly, don't know. Perhaps we might say what we would be if ... the Greeks back in the sixth century BCE hadn't made a fundamental error in identifying 'nature' (physis) as something we are not, an object which can be observed and studied as something external to ourselves. For Heidegger, if I have understood him aright, we are not individuals in a place that is essentially alien to us, but the place where we are is as much part of our 'being' as what we imagine to be 'ourselves'.

The political consequences of this for what Dugin calls 'postmodernism' but which might also be called 'the Heideggerian left' - Dugin's 'New Left' - is the disaggregation of the person who becomes little more than a space in which the different forces of the 'da', the environment, act. But for what we might call 'the Heideggerian right' or political conservatism (real conservatism, not the liberalism red in tooth and claw that masquerades as Conservatism in Britain) it is only 'there' (in a specific place, culture, religion) that a person 'is'. It is not a matter of the individual sacrificing herself to a collective subject - class, state, nation, race. The class, state, nation, race and, as John Minahane has pointed out, the land - indeed the factory, the work we do - make us and we make the class, state, nation etc.  So it would indeed be undesirable to define dasein too closely because it is a process of making through the interaction between what is us and what is also us but which we imagine to be not us. Which may turn out good or bad. Hence the importance of culture.