Heidegger's prophecy, or: Europe is quite badly fucked

December 8, 2022 by Lucian Mogosanu

In other Romanian lulz1, I find via ol' man Cristoiu (archived) that Romania will surely be admitted in Schengen, except that meanwhile a day or two have passed and most likely the opposite is true. I simply can't dislike the man for the way he spins his stories to and fro, as I view him as too old and experienced to base his thoughts upon the brittle eschafaudage of "ill feelings" or otherwise upon any intention to deceive. In other words, he doesn't know, but he surely tries!

I find the comments way more interesting that the article, though, as they mostly seem to indicate that this whole Schengen deal is in fact a very small symptom of a significantly larger problem. And sure, we're also told that Russia's to blame for this and that, except everyone forgets that the US is as much a player as Russia in the recent geostrategic games2 over in ol' Yurp.

And lo! as I prepare to brush aside this minor subject, I then stumble upon Bogdan Tiberiu Iacob3's gloss (archived) over Politico's (archived) coverage of EU problems -- sure, the former piece comes wrapped in a story about some issue or the other in Germany, a Germany which, whether we like it or not, lies at the core of this so-called European project.

So if Germany is in a bad (political) place, then the so-called EU bloc in its entirety, a Western reminiscence of ye olde Soviet Empire, is pulled along with it in a deep rabbit hole, if only through the simplistic explanation that much of the Euro rests on the former Deutsche Mark. We here at The Tar Pit are not trying to undermine Macron's useless efforts to talk sense into his partners over the ocean, but regardless of what we're trying to do, his efforts remain useless, given that we here at The Tar Pit don't know how else to judge his efforts other than by their results. Besides, Macron already said some months ago that France is in a bad place, or that the common folk should prepare for rough times, or in any case, something along these lines.

In any case, Europe seems to be stuck between a rock and a hard place. That is, between the US on one hand, and Russia on the other -- which one is the rock and which one the hard place remains to be seen. In any case, we here at The Tar Pit do not discuss this based on any intellectually dishonest positions such as "Biden boy badass" or "Putin guy bad". The only position I (for one) find interesting is that of the metaphysicist Martin Heidegger, which discusses that, I quote4:

[...] We said: on the earth, all over it, a darkening of the world is happening. The essential happenings in this darkening are: the flight of the gods5, the destruction of the earth6, the reduction of human beings to a mass, the preeminence of the mediocre.

What does "world" mean, when we speak of the darkening of the world? World is always spiritual world. The animal has no world (Welt), nor any environment, (Umwelt). The darkening of the world contains within itself a disempowering of the spirit, its dissolution, diminution, suppression, and misinterpretation. We will try to elucidate this disempowering of the spirit in one respect, namely, the misinterpretation of the spirit. We said: Europe lies in the pincers between Russia and America, which are metaphysically the same, namely in regard to their world-character and their relation to the spirit7. The situation of Europe is all the more dire because the disempowering of the spirit comes from Europe itself and -- though prepared by earlier factors -- is determined at last by its own spiritual situation in the first half of the nineteenth century8. Among us at that time something happened that is all too readily and swiftly characterizied as the "collapse of German idealism." This formula is like a shield behind which the already dawning spiritlessness, the dissolution of spiritual powers, the deflection of all originary questioning about grounds and the bonding to such grounds, are hidden and obscured. For it was not German idealism that collapsed, but it was the age that was no longer strong enough to stand up to the greatness, breadth, and originality of that spiritual world -- that is, truly to realize it, which always means something other than merely applying propositions and insights9. [...]

Sure, maybe my remark in footnote #7 remains sort of empty in the lack of a more ellaborate discussion of what means "metaphysically the same, namely in regard to their world-character and their relation to the spirit". I stated that Heidegger was referring to the US and the USSR as opposing (yet otherwise very similar) political factors, but perhaps he in fact discusses some deeper aspect in the ways of being American and Russian. I cannot but wonder what Heidegger thought of the differences between the Orthodox Christian Russian spirit and the Protestant spirit in America, and whether these two are more alike than they are different, or otherwise whether "the age was no longer strong enough" to sustain the Orthodox Christian spirit, which was thereby replaced by that abject communist-Marxist ideology.

Regardless, I am quite convinced Heidegger's position is the most coherent (first and foremost from a historical standpoint) that I've read so far: the aftermath of the Second World War saw Europe split between two by then fully mature global powers, the US and Russia/USSR, and this split, despite the fabled "end of the Cold War" and Fukuyama's fabled "end of history", continues to tear Europe apart.

And I'm very much afraid that this process will continue its slow, grinding march throughout this decade, if not throughout the next few, heck, maybe up until the end of the century. And I'm even more afraid that by then Europe as a political and cultural entity will have ceased to exist entirely.

  1. Among many other petty pieces of shit, such as covid perpetrators getting extra protection from the Romanian deep state. Seriously now, folks, your blissful ignorance of such contemptible crap coupled with your endless focus on the worthless piles of nonsense you're fed with each and every day makes me really angry at you.

    Your platforms have rendered you utterly blind to the stuff that really matters. Get a clue already. 

  2. Recent from a historical point of view, which means: less than a century old, but at least a decade. Given these parameters, pick your own interpretation, I'm not here to regurgitate gargle from Pravda. 

  3. Possibly one of the better Romanian journalist at this moment? I don't know, I'm really not an expert in this business. 

  4. From Fried and Polt's translation thereof. Pick your own, or rather feel free to attack this point based on the German original. I'll readily admit that I'm not (yet) equipped to handle that, for all it's worth. 

  5. Inasmuch as the mentioned flight is a reference to Nietzsche's remark about God, I don't necessarily agree. I'd say that this flight is rather a peculiar sort of degradation of the notion of God. 

  6. A happening which some malicious political actors are misinterpreting as slogans devoid of substance such as "global warming", "climate change" and so on and so forth. The maliciousness lies in the misinterpration, among others. We here at The Tar Pit like to anticipate the author's next thought. 

  7. Mind you, much of this image was thought out by Heidegger in the 1930s, when Russia was already the USSR, as well as in the 1950s, when the so-called Cold War was already in full effect. 

  8. For those interested enough in the subject, some humble context on the beginning of the nineteenth century is provided by my 'umble translation of Ghica's posts on the times of Caragea

  9. At this point in his text, Heidegger veers off the historical tangent and back into the main subject of metaphysics, which however interesting, is beyond the scope of this article. I do however heartily recommend the reader to go through the text in its entirety, I for one found it captivating, to say the least.

    For example my comment in footnote #5 is explained in the following paragraphs in a much more formally and poetically coherent framework than I could muster here. 

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2 Responses to “Heidegger's prophecy, or: Europe is quite badly fucked”

  1. #1:
    Cel Mihanie says:

    "Europe as a political and cultural entity" never existed in the first place. Europe is only a geographical area, nothing more. Individual cultures - Ancient Greek, Roman, English, German, French, have all had their moments of glory and continental-level influence and control, but inevitably, empires collapse and we regress to the baseline where there is nothing unifying the continent on a deep cultural level. Oh, the 'pantsuits' in Brussels are sure trying hard to meme this idea of a "European culture" into existence, but the "common culture" they actually have in mind is the dismal lowest common denominator of soyified cosmopolitan slaves owning nothing and being happy to get excited about the latest product. A fraud and an abomination that will fall apart within hours of the lights going out.

    It's individual cultures within this geographical area that we need to be worried about, and yes, they are fucked. Because they are small, and the USSA, Russia and China are bigger, and size and momentum still matter a lot, and power still exponentially clusters around those who already have it. The rich get richer and all that. There are only a few ways one of these cultures could ever break out of this trap and join the top dogs, and you'll excuse the sharp-edged ideas but we're all adults here:

    - The culture comes up with a technological or cultural revolution that overrides the size/power differential. I don't see this happening, because frankly, pretty much all cultures outside Asia are tired, soyified and degenerate. The Chinese are pumping technology like crazy, Russkies are flexing their missiles, the Americans can at least look back on their past glories, while European youth are... chasing fame on Youtube and wondering how they are gonna pay for the old folks' pensions (spoiler: they can't). No points for guessing which civilization has a future.

    - The USSA is utterly destroyed (not necessarily physically; just terminally shattered as a power and influence) AND this culture moves in to fill the void before China/Russia do. Very unlikely, also due to the loss of vital essence mentioned above. On the other hand, a natural disaster would do the trick.

    - The culture permanently assimilates (i.e. exterminates) enough of the other cultures in Europe to achieve critical mass, whether through demographic or kinetic means. This is the most likely scenario, and what the Eurocrats are ultimately trying to do.

    So yeah, pretty bleak. But it's just nature taking its course. I think all this talk about spirituality is just a red herring for intellectuals. The real world runs on simple stuff: power, resources, weapons, and who got there first. Turchin showed that civilizations, just like people, are at their greatest in their youth, when they have room to expand, room to conquer, when they are not encumbered by rules and the need for efficiency. When expansion inevitably stops, we inevitably switch to the "management" stage, which cannot possibly produce greatness, only inevitable entropization and death.

    In short, life is expansion and conquest, i.e. aggression. The Americans, Russkies, Chinese did it and still do it well. So did cultures in Europe, once. And they must do it again if they want things to change. There is no other way.

  2. #2:
    spyked says:

    While I agree with your points and analysis for the most part, I find the premise ("Europe as a political and cultural entity never existed in the first place") irritating to say the least, which is what I suppose leads to the idealistic conclusion ("they must do it again if they want things to change"). My point was precisely that Europeans can't do anything for the simple lack of power, and it's not like this is news either. We're back somewhere in 500-800 AD and that's that.

    That aside, the way I see it European culture is the child of the Romans/Greeks, built upon a scaffolding of Christianity -- I know there's a whole bunch of haters who will readily deny the role of Christianity in European history, but that's simply the easiest device that followers of atheism (yes, yet another religion, it's not like "science" will simply wave away belief with a magic hand, will it?) will find to explain the French Revolution and the latter Russian one. Otherwise, explain how for a millenia everyone in Europe who was granted a kingdom got it under divine right and how the papacy (an outgrowth of the Roman Empire, right?) was quite a big deal for a long while and so on and so forth. Anyways, yes, some cells in your body will kill off other cells during its normal functioning, and similarly, European culture evolved under self-regulating mechanisms in which sometimes the Germans surfaced as the dominant element, while other times the French emerged -- but these elements are completely intertwined, or I don't know how else to explain say, Stephen Mușat's relationship with the Poles, or the cohesion between Bach and Scarlatti, between Newton and Leibniz, between Schopenhauer and Eminescu, and I could go on for a long while. Yes, culture is necessarily downstream of violence, and that is how European culture was born, through a long string of wars and power grabs.

    Now for the nitpicking:

    > The Chinese are pumping technology like crazy

    China is an economic powerhouse, but I have my doubts it can become a global cultural power. I also doubt that the US was ever much of a culture, unless we count that culture of forgetfulness they dub "pop culture" as actual culture. IMHO the jury's still out on both counts.

    > This is the most likely scenario, and what the Eurocrats are ultimately trying to do.

    Let's not kid ourselves, the EU isn't even trying anymore since the early 2010s, if not earlier. Yes, once upon a time the optimistic promise of multiculturalism pervaded throughout the EU space, but as far as I can tell some of the Arab countries are yet more multicultural than the EU could ever hope to be. Maybe, like you said, some cultural force will emerge out of Europe *after* the death of EU, but necessarily after. The Eurocrats are just making fools of themselves.

    > I think all this talk about spirituality is just a red herring for intellectuals

    Well, you did use the term "vital essence" a few paragraphs before this one. :D

    Anyway, if you're looking to understand history from a metaphysical perspective, then that simple stuff you mentioned runs on what Heidegger calls spirituality. There's nothing wrong with ignoring the metaphysical point of view, but that's precisely it: that that which goes beyond physics (meta-phusis) attempts to find grounding (or: the so-called prime cause) for some phenomenon, and leaving aside the biological interpretation which is *necessarily* reductionist (as *all* science is, through its very nature), then power, resources, weapons and so on also have an essence. Conversely, the lack of spirituality is the essence of what those quantitative analyses represent as entropization and death.

    I get it, you prefer mathematical modelling to poetry and far be it from me to deny that. Unfortunately I completely lack the common priors to explain why I prefer using the latter instead of the former -- for example, because the former is merely a *tool* -- and I'm not really a scholar of Western philosophy, but my recommendations above stand.

    > The USSA is utterly destroyed

    The biggest sign pointing towards that direction is to my eye the fact that they keep sending weapons to Ukraine and they've been gathering troops in Poland and Romania, but thus far they themselves haven't moved a finger, nor do I think they will. This signals more or less the same type of impotence that's seen in the EU, except maybe in different quantities. Perhaps I should have said that the West is fucked, but I didn't do that because Western culture *is* European culture.

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