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 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 Hennesy comment during a week on an anti-war march New York 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."
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.
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)
Immanence is probably the key process for Hegel, Nietzsche (Will to Power) and Deleuze, but few seem to have done anything with it as a guide to empirical practice. Immanence can in practice mean many things.  On this site immanence and genetic ontology are two sides of the same coin.  In my exploration of ressentiment and the mechanisms of defense I began in the midst of the semiotic flux of the performativities of ressentiment available on the Internet.  (See The GOP as the Stupid Party?  An Inadequate Conceptualization, and Ressentiment and the Mechanisms of Defense). In these pages I transform Deleuze's concept of trascendental empiricism into the practice of transcendental empiricism, giving form to the genetic ontology* ressentiment and the mechanisms of defense.

Deleuze and Guattari's synthesis of Marx, Nietzsche, and Freud was an important attempt to broach the problematic of genetic ontology* circa 1972/1980.  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), p. 58

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 continuosly, 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 them 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."

Six tremendous developments have occured since then.  

First, the Internet has revolutionized the potential development of thought itself, and has given new meaning to a concept of empirical field.  That is, the Internet makes possible the transformation of Deleuze's concept of trascendental empiricism into the practice of transcendental empiricism.

Second, not only the peristence but the efflorescence of "fascism": see the transcendental-empirical moment Paxton's text ↔ Youtube video here;the 2009 GOP performance

Third the triumph of nihilism, the last man, regressive narcissism: entropy.  Here Hall's work is indespensible.  The last man is everywhere.

Fourth.  Re. Holland's formulation "as one social formation appropriates and abruptly reconfigures an older institution or revives various features of extant social organization by selectively recombining them to suit its own purposes"  This is perhaps the creepiest, perhaps also the most tremendous, development of our times, the signal marker of the twenty first century: the axiomatic of capital seizes hold of biology (Food article), psychology, education/cognition, while intensifying primate, ressentiment, and regressive-narcissistic tendencies and potentials at the expense of paleolithic and bildung.  The axiomatic of capital is entangled with resurgent patrimonialism.

Fifth.  The death of the Enlightenment project as radical praxis (the 3rd force), 18th century to Lenin/FDR.  Context: M. Mann's The Sources of Social Power (Vol. 2):

  America has not so much been exceptional as it has gradually come to represent one extreme on a continuum of class relations.  America has never differed qualitatively from other national cases.  Differences have been of degree, not kind. . . .  Explanations asserting an original and enduring American exceptionalism . . . have only a very limited truth.  638

*On representation, Russia was at the opposite extreme from the United States. . . .  But even the eastern edge of the western ideological community experienced the more liberal legacy of the Enlightenment. . . .  Among Russian professionals, gentry and aristocrats, and state administrators, a self-conscious, partly autonomous intelligentsia emerged, advancing alternative versions of progress.  660

Sixth.  The resurgence of “patrimonial capitalism” (Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty (Harvard, 2014).  See Paul Krugman review  

: developmental trajectory Enlightenment to New Deal.  Habitus is ontologically prior to the "individual"; Bildung and class are orthogonal concepts; or: the Left is dead.

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

                          Five Genetic Ontologies

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, Chimpanzee Politics

Julia Adams and Mounira M. Charrad, Patrimonial Power in the Modern World (Sage, 2011); Getty, Practicing Stalinism (Yale, 2013)


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); Aristotle Kallis, Genocide and Fascism: the Eliminationist Drive in Fascist Europe (Routledge, 2009);

Julia Adams and Mounira M. Charrad, Patrimonial Power in the Modern World (Sage, 2011)

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; Journey toward justice : Juliette Hampton Morgan and the Montgomery bus boycott;

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;
repressive desublimation;
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); Republic of Outsiders: the power of amateurs, dreamers, and rebels;  The Extraordinary Science of Addictive Junk Food NYT

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);
Choire Sicha, Very Recent History: An Entirely Factual Account of a Year (c. AD 2009) in a Large City (2013); Vernon God Little

CNN & MSNBC; Facebook, Twitter  .  .  . 

The table above right (Five Genetic Ontologies) is an assemblage of sources, and is meant to indicate the nature of the source selection process.  Only works that have acheived the status of state-of-the-art elite publications are included--must be integrated into the project that is this site.

Dasein is constituted by psychological and cognitive

Questions of power and violence are pervasive, but are minimal in the habitus of the paleolithic and Bildung.

Reently, patrimonialism  has emerged as a major question (Krugman, Lachman, Adams

Cognitive Modalities: a summary of sources


     •    Flynn, Nisbett, Ceci

EVOLUTIONARY (phylogenesis):
Donald, A Mind so Rare: cognitive evolution Table 7.1 p. 260

    •    episodic (primate)
    •    mimetic (homo erectus, h. sapiens)
    •    mythic (h. sapiens sapiens)
    •    theoretic (required by advanced capitalism)
    •    post-theoretic (Foucault, Sellars, Deleuze) (Commons?)

DEVELOPMENTAL (ontogenesis):

Piaget et. al.  (Cognitive develpment)
    •    pre-operational
    •    concrete operational
    •    formal operational
    •   post-formal thought (Commons)


Freud-Klein: Mechanisms of defense LINK

     •    projection
    •    displacement             
    •    reaction formation
    •    denial

HISTORICAL-DEVELOPMENTAL-Vygotsky, Bronfenbrenner,
                      Calvin, Flynn, Donald, Oesterdiekhoff

cognitive-linguistic cardinality

a framework for evaluating American Exceptionalism in the context of: Merlin Donald, A Mind So Rare, Table 7.1, p. 260

(Appologies to Georg Cantor)
i =  4      Internet and the
                 Extended Mind
i =  3      Foucault (Kant  Hegel

i =  2      Formal operational
i =  1      Concrete operational
i =  0      Oral Mythic/  
i = -1      Mimetic/gestural (homo
i= - 2      Primate semiosis

from Stephen J. Ceci, On Intelligence: A Bioecological Treatise on Intellectual Development, expanded edition (Harvard University Press, 1996)

"The term intelligence is often used synonymously with "IQ", "g", or "general intelligence", especially in some of the psychometric literature. . .  however, the ability to engage in cognitively complex behaviors will be shown to be independent of IQ,  g, or general intelligence . . . cognitive complexity will be seen to be the more general of the two notions and the one most theoretically important to keep in mind when referring to intelligent behavior." p. 22

from Merlin Donald, "The mind considered from a historical perspective: human cognitive phylogenesis and the possibility of continuing cognitive evolution." In D. Johnson & C. Ermeling (Eds.) The Future of the Cognitive Revolution (Oxford University Press, 1997), pp. 360-61

"mimetic representations are evident in human children before they acquire language competence. . . .  They continue to be important in adults, taking the form of highly variable social customs, athletic skills, and group expressive patterns (such as mass demonstrations of aggression or rejection)."
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)             

"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)