ž, parallax view

10/17/2015

Spinoza is, in effect, the “philosopher as such,” with his subjective stance of double outcast (excommunicated even from the community of the outcasts of Western civilization); this is why we should use him as a paradigm that enables us that enables us to discover the traces of a similar displacement, a communal “out-of-joint,” with regard to all other great philosophers, up to Nietzsche, who was ashamed of the Germans and proudly emphasized his alleged Polish roots. For a philosopher, ethnic roots, national identity, and so on, are simply not a category of truth — or, to put it in precise Kantian terms, when we reflect upon our ethnic roots, we engage in a private use of reason, constrained by contingent dogmatic presuppositions; that is to say, we act as “immature” individuals, not as free human beings who dwell in the dimension of the universality of reason. This, of course, does not in any way entail that we should be ashamed of our ethnic roots; we can love them, be proud of them; returning home may warm our hearts — but the fact remains that all this is ultimately irrelevant. We should act like Saint Paul who, while he was proud of his particular identity (a Jew and a Roman citizen), was nonetheless aware that, in the proper space of the Christian absolute Truth, “there is neither Jew nor Greek.” …The struggle which truly engages him is not simply “more universal” than that of one ethnic group against another; it is a struggle which obeys an entirely different logic: no longer the logic of one self-identical substantial group fighting another group, but of an antagonism that cuts diagonally across all particular groups.

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