transcendental empiricism at work

History without philosophy is only a screen on which to project
the shibboleths of our time

the Quantum Heterogeneity of Dasein:

Five Genetic Ontologies
(Planes of Immanence)

from Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra, I. 4

Man is a rope, tied between beast and overman--a rope over an abyss.  A dangerous across, a dangerous on the way, a dangerous looking back, a dangerous shuddering and stopping.

What is great in man is that he is a bridge and not an end: what can be loved in man is that he is an overture and a going under.

from Ian Hacking (Collège de France), review of The post-revolutionary self: politics and psyche in France, 1750-1850, ,

Today's discussions of 'consciousness' and 'the self' too often suppose that items such as these . . . are timeless elements of the human condition. Goldstein's work shows how strongly they have been formed by forgotten events in our past.
Hegel and Nietzsche: Man is a Rope

the people, the public, the audience, the herd

from Werner Stark,  Sociology of Religion: A Study of Christendom (Fordham University Press, 1966-72) vol. 1, p. 188

As democratic convictions became settled . . . 'the people' emerged increasingly as the true sovereign, and the conception gained ground that 'the people' is sane and sound, and its voice, at least to some extent, is sacred.

from Friedrich Nietzsche, The Will to Power, § 863

The values of the weak prevail because the strong have taken them over as devices of leadership.

from Yrjö Engeström and Reijo Miettinen, "Activity theory and individual and social transformation," in Reijo Miettinen, and Raija-Leena Punamaki, Perspectives on Activity Theory (Cambridge, 1999), pp. 25-6:

Differences in cognition across cultures, social groups, and domains of practice are thus commonly explained without seriously analyzing the historical development that has led to those differences.  The underlying relativistic notion is that we should not make value judgements concerning whose cognition is better or more advanced--that all kinds of thinking and practice are equally valuable.  Although this liberal stance may be a comfortable basis for academic discourse, it ignores the reality that in all domains of societal practice value judgements and decisions have to be made everyday.

from  Ammon Hennesy: (personal recollection of a week on an anti-war march NewYork to New London, Connecticut, 1960.  See UNITED STATES of America v. Victor RICHMAN et al.  For context see Radical Pacifism in Modern America: Egalitarianism and Protest)

"The masses are asses."  
                    Analyzing Power Relations: Five Frameworks
Deleuze & Guattari:  


Michael Mann:          

P. Friedlander:            
Three regimes (primitive, despotic, capitalist)

Left vs. Right:
(topologies of the two-party system)

Cognitive modalities (topologies of the two-party system)

Four networks of power

Five genetic ontologies  (topologies of the two-party system)

The two schematic representations above and right are intended to help organize empirical domains into planes of immanence.  In the case of the problematic of ressentiment (Nietzsche), the first such plane of immanence that I developed,  the results can be seen in The GOP as the Stupid Party?  An Inadequate Conceptualization, and Ressentiment and the Mechanisms of Defense.  This is where a praxis of transcendental empiricism first took off, enabled by the extended mind made possible by the Internet.  This page (QHD) is only a summary of work tht has gone before, beginning in the 1970s and continuing as long as I am able (I was born six months before Pearl Harbor; check here for life expectancy).

Immanence is probably the key process for both Nietzsche and Deleuze, but few seem to have dome anything with it as a guide to intellectual practice.  Immanence can in practice mean many things.  In my exploration of ressentiment within the ambit of transcendental empiricism/immanence, I began in the midst of the semiotic flux of the performativities of resentiment, available on the internet, the stock in trade of right wing rhetoricians and political actors visible in the media, and among my students in what might be described as a populist college contained within a major urban university.

In my work that finally led to a synthesis of Hegel's concept of Bildung, Nietzsche's concept of Will to Power, and Alcorn's concept of Progressive Narcissism,

Deleuze and Guattari were the first to attempt a synthesis of Marx, Nietzsche, and Freud, the first--since Nietzsche--to broach the problematic of genetic ontology in the context of  the catastrophes of the twentieth centuries.  The excerpt below is a good summary of their insight.  

from Eugen W. Holland, Deleuze and Guattari's Anti-Oedipus: Introduction to Schizoanalysis (Routledge, 1999)

The account which Deleuze and Guattari provide of three modes of social-production--savagery, despotism, capitalism--is best understood not as a history of modes of social-production but as a geneology . . .   Geneology, in the sense of the term Foucault derives from Nietzsche, is based on the premise that historical institutions and other features of social organization evolve not smoothly and continuusly, gradually developing their potential through time, but discontinuously, and must be understood in terms of difference rather than continuity, as one social formation appropriates and abruptly reconfigures an older institution or revives various features of extant social organization by selectively recombining to suit its own purposes.  As Deleuze and Guattari put it, "the events that restore a thing to life [in a given form of social organization] are not the same as those that gave rise to it in the first place."

Where this site differs from D & G's efforts is in its integration of the Internet into the work of thinking through and presenting the problematic of genetic ontology.  The first such ontology to be constructed within the field of possibilities opened up by the Internet is fascism--Deleuze and Guattari's despotic regime.  This work appears spread over several pages of this site:

The GOP as the Stupid Party?  An Inadequate Conceptualization
Ressentiment and the Mechanisms of Defense

The sources for Primate and Paleolithic are homogeneous: they deal simultaneously with the dialectical relationship between the primate and the paleolithic, even though (Flannery & Marcus, Chase) demonstate the fundamental break, the dialectical leap, from primate to paleolithic (Chase: emergence).  But evolution is just such a process of leaps and discontinuities that nevertheless do not simply leave the past behind.  Aufheben!

These sources require revision of Deleuze and Guattari's category of the primitive, but they in no way undermine the underlying intentionality of their project, precisely because it is not "their" project but the project, that multivocal effort whose birth is refered to as the Second Copernican Revolution, that has many names, and yet suffers from the disease of our times, nihilism, of which it is both the victim/symptom and the antidote.

Deleuze and Guatarri's category of the despotic, on the other hand, is confirmed daily.  No need to say more, only to refer to the several pages on this site that address the problematic of Ressentiment and the Mechanisms of Defense, the psychological foundation of right wing politics: the genetic ontology of fascism, which only lost a battle (1939-1941) but not the war.

Bildung and Will to Power are well-known concepts of Hegel and Nietzsche respectively.  It is my contention that they are closely related, in fact virtually identical in their application even if seemingly divergent in affect.  The Wellman interview re. recruiting native white workers to the CP in Flint reveals its secret when viewed in the context of both Nietzsche and Hegel.  Alcorn

Miguel de Beistegui, Truth and genesis: philosophy as differential ontology (Indiana University Press, 2004)

Five Genetic Ontologies: the Quantum Heterogeneity of Dasein

genetic ontology
representative texts


Allan Mazur, Biosociology of Dominance and Deference (Rowman & Littlefield, 2005); Christopher Boesch, Wild Cultures: A Comparison Between Chimpanzee and Human Cultures (Cambridge University Press, 2012); The Evolution of Primate Societies, John C. Mitani, Josep Call, Peter M. Kappeler, Ryne A. Palombit, and Joan Silk, eds. (University of Chicago Press, 2012); "Collective Violence: Comparison Between Youths and Chimpanzees," by Richard W. Wrangham (Department of Antroropology, Peabody Museum, Harvard University) and Michael L. Wilson (Department of Ecology and Behavior, University of Minnesota, and Gombe Stream Research Centre, the Jane Goodall Institute, Tanzania) in  Ann. N.Y. Acad. Sci. 1036: 233–256 (2004); Franz de Waal


Andrew Whiten and David Erdal, "The human socio-cognitive niche and its evolutionary origins," Phil. Trans. R. Soc. B (2012) 367, 2119–2129; Philip G. Chase, The Emergence of Culture. The Evolution of a Uniquely Human Way of Life (Springer, 2006); Kent Flannery and Joyce Marcus, The Creation of Inequality: How Our Prehistoric Ancestors Set the Stage for Monarchy, Slavery, and Empire (Harvard, 2012)
Ressentiment & the Mechanisms of Defense
(despotic regime)

Nietzsche,  Spinoza, Freud, Klein. Jackson Lears, Rebirth of a Nation: the Making of Modern America, 1877-1920 (2009); Joseph E. Lowndes, From the New Deal to the New Right : race and the southern origins of modern conservatism (2008), Carter, Robert O. Paxton, The Anatomy of Fascism (2004)

FOX News
Progressive Narcissism; Bildung; the Will to Power
Nietzsche, Hegel, Vygotsky. Michael Eldridge, "The German Bildung Tradition"; Marshall W. Alcorn, Jr., Narcissism and the Literary Libido: Rhetoric, Text, and Subjectivity (New York University Press, 1994); Franco Moretti, The Way of the World: The Bildungsroman in European Culture (Verso, 2000); Stephen Rumph, Mozart and Enlightenment Semiotics (University of California Press, 2012); Harold Mah, Enlightenment Phantasies: Cultural Identity in France and Germany, 1750-1914; S.A. Smith, Revolution and the People in Russia and China: A Comparative History (Cambridge Univesity Press, 2008); Steve Fraser, Labor Will Rule; Rodgers, Atlantic Crossings; Zelnick, Dewey, Lenin, Vygotsky, Bronfenbrenner

Novels.  Richard Yates, Revolutionary Road; Jhumpa Lahiri, The Lowland (2013)

UAW Interviews.  Saul Wellman; Joe Adams; Edmund Kord; Norman Bully; Larry Jones; Cliff Williams; Ziggy Mize; Murray Body exec comm. minutes
Regressive Narcissism and the culture of consumption;
the last man
Nietzsche. Steve Hal, Simon Winlow and Craig Ancrum, Criminal Identities and Consumer Culture: crime, exclusion and the new culture of narcissism (Willan Publishing, 2008); Bülent Diken, Nihilism (Routledge, 2009);  Bernard Reginster, The Affirmation of Life: Nietzsche on Overcoming Nihilism (Harvard, 2006); Robin Usher, Ian Bryant and Rennie Johnston, Adult Education and the Postmodern Challenge (Routledge, 1997);

Novels.  Michel Houellebecq: The Map and the Territory (2010), The Possibility of an Island (2005), The Elementary Particles (1998), and Platform (2001); Richard Powers, Generosity: an Enhancement (2009);

CNN & MSNBC; Facebook, Twitter  .  .  . 

A fusion of Hegel and Nietzsche provides insight into the cultural-historical trajectory Enlightenment to Russian Revolution and the New Deal, both of whose inner logic is subsumed under Will-to-Power and Bildung (progressive narcissism).  This provides insight not only into the formation and praxis of bolshevism, but also into the formation and praxis of the Keynesian Elite in the New Deal state.  It also enables a concrete understanding of the praxis of the set of agents who created local mainfestations of the UAW centered on Dodge Main on Detrot's east side.

Conversely, the catastrophe (Thermidor) that befell both the Russian Revolution and the New Deal can be understood through deployment of Nietzsche's concept of ressentiment.  The same catastrophe is visible in the neighborhoods and shopfloors of Detroit, Flint and Pontiac.

Finally, regressive narcissism--the psychological side of neo-liberalism: the culture of consumption--can be understood through deployment of Nietzsche's concept of nihilism.  Here we behold the last man.

This page coordinates the more fundamental pages of this site, which can be entered here.

Topologies of the Two Party System
(semiotic regimes)

      LEFT                        RIGHT  

            TOPOLOGY            depressive*                     paranoid-schizoid*       
            POLITICAL STYLE       progressive                      proto-Dorian
            COG MODE               formal + concrete            pre-operational + gestural
                                                                              + psuedo-concrete

       *Simon Clarke, Social Theory, Psychoanalysis and Racism (Palgrave Macmillan, 2003)             

D & G: concept of regime (primitive, despotic, capitalist)

the last man; passive and active nihilism; bildung; primate and paleolithic

differentiation, quantum heterogeneity,

Detroit's East Side as a Theater of Becoming, 1933-1944, is one of those pages. The key to its intelligibility is Bildung: Was Mozart a Communist? Will to Power and Bildung render intelligible certain "accidental" comments that I noticed upon listening--almost forty years later--to my interviews of UAW activists conducted in the mid-1970s.  

"The very same new conditions that will on average lead to the leveling and mediocritization of man--to a useful, industrious, handy, multi-purpose herd animal--are likely in the highest degree to give birth to exceptional human beings of the most dangerous and attractive quality." 

Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil,  242

Reading Nietzsche through the prism of the "givens" produces a sifting and sorting, a lining up, through consilience, of texts, events, agents, and actions.  Nietzsche's writings on nihilism and the last man entangle with the phenommenological world of mass consumption as seen in the media; his writings on ressentiment (sometimes called active nihilism) entangle with the phenomenological world of the Tea Party and right-wing media, as can be seen in The GOP as the Stupid Party? and Ressentiment and the Mechanisms of Defense; and his writings on the Will to Power entangle with my interviews with UAW creators, Nietzsche's "blond beasts" without whom there would have been no UAW.

I refer to creators rather than agents or activists (and defninitely not to the rank-and-file!) because to do otherwise would be to obliterate the critical elements emergent out of the dialogic field.  Those dialogic elements become intelligible through a fusion of Hegel's concept of Bildung and Nietzsche's concept of the will to power.

Detroit's East Side as a Theater of Becoming, 1933-1944, is one of those pages. The key to its intelligibility is Bildung: Was Mozart a Communist? Will to Power and Bildung render intelligible certain "accidental" comments that I noticed upon listening--almost forty years later--to my interviews of UAW activists conducted in the mid-1970s.  

Primate Boesch, Wild Cultures; Mitani et. al., Evolution of Primate Societies, de Waal, Chimpanzee Politics, Mazur, Biosociology of Dominance and Deference)

Paleolithic (Flannery, The Creation of Inequality, etc)

Ressentiment and the Mechanisms of Defense (Despotic; Fascism) Nietzsche: nihilism: active

Progressive Narcissism (bourgeois; sublimation: Bildung/individuation/state) Hegel,Alcorn; Rumph, Mozart and Enlightenment Semiotics, Moretti, The Way of the World: The Bildungsroman in European Culture; S.A. Smith, Revolution and the People in Russia and China; Haimson; Wellman interview

Regressive Narcissism ([repressive desublimation], individualism/market/consumer driven Hall, Marcuse, Zizek: Nihilism (passive)

disembodied opinion: Venezuela
the eternal present
the invisibility of power
the case of local 410 we were against incentive pay
from: We never talk any more: The problem with text messaging, by Jeffrey Kluger (TIME, September 6, 2012): first comment

Went to a birthday party for my young brother in law who turned Not sure I would call it a party. Just a bunch of people sitting in the couch texting while 2 of them played on the X-Box. I don't know who they were all texting given that they are all in the same room and not talking to each other. Were they texting each other? Were they texting someone else not there? I had seen simillar situations at restautants and even at the amusement park, but at a party? This one took the cake.
Tea Party reps lack contempt for their audiences (unlike Romney) The whole process, including the theater, the audience, and the poet

from Nietzsche, The Gay Science, Book Two, 86:

What now?  One gives the mole wings and proud conceits--before it is time to go to sleep, before he crawls back into his hole?  One sends him off into the theater and places large glasses before his blind and tired eyes?  Men whose lives are not an "action" but a business, sit before the stage . . . .  The whole process, including the theater, the audience, and the poet, will strike him as the really tragic or comical spectacle . . . .  Theater and music as the hashish-smoking and betel-chewing of the European!  Who will ever relate the whole history of narcotica?--It is almost the history of "culture," of our so-called higher culture.
  That Goddamnd Owl The last man

from Nietzsche, The Geneology of Morals, I, 10:

 . . .  "happiness" at the level of the impotent, the oppressed, and those in whom poisonous and inimical feelings are festering, with whom it appears as essentially narcotic, drug, rest, peace, "sabbath," slackening of tension and relaxing of limbs, in short, passively.

from Nietzsche, The Geneology of Morals, I, 11:

Not fear; rather that we no longer have anything left to fear in man; that the maggot "man" is swarming in the foreground; that the "tame man," the hopelessly mediocre and insipid man, has already learned to feel himelf as the goal and the zenith, as the meaning of history . . .

from Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra, Prologue, 5:

The time has come for man to set himself a goal.  The time has come for man to plant the seed of his highest hope.  His soil is still rich enough.  But one day this soil will be poor and domesticated, and no tall tree will be able to grow in it.  Alas, the time is coming when man will no longer shoot the arrow of his longing beyond man, and the strings of his bow will have forgotten how to whir!

Alas, the time is coming when man will no longer give birth to a star.  Alas, the time of the most despicable man is coming, he that is no longer able to despise himself.  Behold, I show you the last man.

The earth has become small, and on it hops the last man, who makes everything small.  His race is as ineradicable as the flea-beetle; the last man lives longest.

We have invented happiness, say the last men, and they blink.
divine spectators (Too long, the earth has been a madhouse!)

Richard Powers, Generosity
from Nietzsche, The Geneology of Morals, II, 16:

Let us add at once that . . . the existence on earth of an animal soul turned against itself, taking sides against itself, was something so new, profound, unheard of, enigmatic, contradictory, and pregnant with a future that the aspect of the earth was essentially altered.  Indeed, divine spectators were needed to justice to the spectacle that thus began and the end of which is not yet in sight . . . .  From now on, man . . . gives rise to an interest, a tension, a hope, almost a certainty, as if with him somethin were anouncing and preparing itself, as if man were not a goal but onl a way, an episode, a bridge, a great promise.

from Nietzsche, The Geneology of Morals, II, 22:

Oh this insane, pathetic beast--man!  What ideas he has, what unnaturalness, what paroxysms of nonsense, what bestiality of thought erupts . . .

All this is interesting, to excess, but also of a gloomy, black, unnerving sadness, so that one must forcibly forbid oneself to gaze too long into these abysses.  Here is sickness, beyond any doubt, the most terrible sickness that has ever raged in man . . . .  There is so much man that is hideous!--Too long, the earth has been a madhouse!