Revolt Without a Subject: The Objectivity of Aristocracy and the Creation of Hope

-I consider Baudrillard’s polemic against the Cartesian subject to be a successful depiction of modernity. There is no longer a self. The individual has been replaced with signs and only exists through these relations. One can no longer believe oneself to have a free will, so one can no longer radically oppose existing structures, since this radical opposition would be akin to an atmospheric break from the black-hole of momentum that we know to be modern capitalism. The essence of capitalist production, the mass production of objects as value itself, has become ingrained in the minds of humanity and has become irreversible and inescapable. One can flee, but this flight is futile.
-I think the life-story of Ram Dass is symbolically representative of this futility. Ram Dass wanted to give up the Western world, to flee it. He found love and escape in his Indian guru, Maharaji. What did the Guru have him do? Not what his normal, Indian disciples do; live by the guru’s side in love and learning. Instead, Ram Dass was first tasked with providing the guru with an automobile, something purely objective and symbolic. The guru needn’t ever leave his home, but from the Western man, a car he needed. RD was allowed to study with the guru, but then tasked with returning to the West to give lectures, write books, and sell the object-equivalent of the subjective experience of religiosity that Ram Dass had fallen in love with. To be asked by a lover to capture their essence in text, in objective form, and to sell it to an audience embodies the degree to which the guru understood the nature of the Western man, and what we are made to do. We are not made to be the guru, or even to be a legitimate disciple to the guru. We are made to produce objective representations and copies of the truth of the guru, like a lover reduced to a mere photographer, only allowed to observe, never allowed to embody.
-But if the western individual can never truly revolt against the institutions that formed them, and in turn embody them, then surely life is no longer worth living. Not only is the Cartesian subject dead, but so too is the Socratic examined life, since the examined life itself promises at the very least the ability to suspend in thought one’s reality. But if all thought, if considered a suspension of reality, is a lie, then philosophy is as dead as Marxism. Without a true subject there can be no contemplating soul, no free agent, no revolutionary figure. Only vessels formed and molded by unseen forces. What hope is there?
-Philosophy is hope, and in being hope, its task is to conceive a way of living that applies and addresses the individual in such a way that, at the very least, creates the serious illusion that they can resist the elements of life that oppress them, and fight to make things better, either subjectively or objectively. Doing philosophy is thus akin to opening Pandora’s Box. It releases hope, along with all evil and sins. It is the golden lie of Plato’s Republic, the phantom ghost called subject, the thing-in-itself, noumena, and spirit. It is a speculative thought suspended in air and postulated without reason that creates philosophy itself. The thought must be ridiculous, but ridiculous in a way that the critical, habitual and objective intellect cannot immediately reject or dismiss it. The thought must speak to the subject in a way generative of the feeling of aspiration for the states we have most ardently striven for, but states that are not grounded in mere reproduction or survival: wisdom, virtue, blessedness, celebrity, aristocracy, etc.
-Paradoxically, such notions, when created, burst onto history like stars guiding lost, Aristocratic sailors gifted with persuasion, influence, and a certain gravitas of character. Gravity is a helpful and accurate way to describe the experience of simultaneously experiencing significant, subjective change while consciously knowing that one is not bringing it about. One feels at the same time helpless and in the midst of a myriad of successes. One knows the potentiality to be real but knows not how to bring it about. Systems sometimes create objects that so drastically alter the system itself, one feels as if a revolt had occurred, a miracle, if you will. In in the place of this miracle, one desires more, and tries to step into the conditions required to bring it about. The individual resigns their subjectivity completely, becoming an object; a mere character, incarnation, or vessel—no longer human. Humans adore and fear such puppet-men, such hollow husks, and celebrate them, mimic them, and place their hope in them. And the subject-turned-object creates the illusion of subjective change, of autonomy, of the will, and brings hope to all.
-Where one succeeds in creating hope, one also creates diversity and variance, for the hope giver is a relative singularity. Whether hero or tyrant, we repeatedly experience such sociological symbols of change. I would even hesitate to attribute causality to what is likely a singular process itself, and with this, toss away responsibility as well. The symbol and society exist in a mutual relationship, feeding off of each other so long as each gives the other hope. Unfortunately, hope’s impact on practical life, on stability, morality, peace, etc. is entirely contingent. It is often those with the grandest dreams who create the greatest ills and evils, and regardless of the power of the message, it is often the sheer force of the message that is remembered, not the content or details. One will trade everything for hope. Oneself. One’s values. Anything.
-Regardless, hope comes from the stars, and the relations stars give us. A star is a singularity that both defies and defines its existence. Physically speaking, a star is light in a dark galaxy. Sociologically speaking, they are the non-human humans, competing to bring hope, and in bringing hope shape the future. One can only hope that the West soon creates something powerful enough to fundamentally alter it from the inside.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s