Alexander Dugin on Contemporality

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Alexander Dugin:

"The contemporal moment: destruction/deconstruction

It is obvious that the history of philosophy must be studied by determining a starting point beforehand. It seems a matter of course that we would automatically take such to be the contemporal moment. The contemporal moment means the “here and now”, hic et nunc. This moment acts as our starting position, as our “observatory point” from which we can survey philosophy as the history of philosophy. The history of philosophy thus unfolds in our direction, towards us. This concerns both time and place: philosophy is historically situated between its “sources” (for example, the pre-Socratics) and the situation in the 21st century (in its philosophical self-reflection). As a rule, this temporal vector is more or less reflexive, hence why the main (axial) discipline in all sectors of philosophy is the history of philosophy. By virtue of fixating on this historico-philosophical vector, we acquire the possibility to be involved in this process, to consolidate our own position as that of a “philosopher” in a historico-philosophical structure. This is the nunc, the “now”, the temporal sector in which our thinking is placed, if it wants to be “philosophical.”

Hence follows the rather important conclusion that was fully drawn between Heidegger and his call for “phenomenological destruction” in Sein und Zeit [1], and Jacques Derrida who developed this thesis into the methodology of “deconstruction” [2]. The history of philosophy, according to Heidegger, is tethered in his case to ontology, to the question of being, and, thereby being an onto-history, Seynsgeshichtliche, is a continuity of stages at each of which the question of being is treated uniquely. As follows, the history of philosophy is a logical structure or a series of logical structures which can be more or less described in ontological terms which in turn determine the place and significance of a philosophy or philosophical school in the overall historico-philosophical process. Determining a philosopher or school’s place in this continuity, which has strict temporal and cultural frameworks (from the pre-Socratics to Nietzsche to Heidegger himself), is equivalent to correctly understanding their philosophy and, accordingly, allows for the meaning of such to be revealed. This is ontological destruction – the placement of a philosopher or philosophical tendency through the revelation of the fundamental paradigm of their ontological positions (often hidden, veiled, or implicit) in a strictly notional sequence:

The First Beginning (pre-Socratics) -> The End of the First Beginning (Plato and Aristotle) -> the middle – the Middle Ages (Thomas Aquinas, Duns Scotus, etc.) -> The Beginning of the End – New Time (modernity – Descartes, Leibniz, and up to Kant) -> The End of the End (Hegel and Nietzsche).

Destruction is the placement of a philosopher into this sequence in order to reveal his place in the history of philosophy, and thus the meaning of his philosophizing.

For Jacques Derrida, the history of philosophy is a text, the structure of which is determined by the intersections of semantic lines. This is a view which more or less repeats, albeit in nuanced and detailed form, Heidegger’s axial construction. Thus, for both Heidegger and Derrida, it is important to place a philosopher in the context in which the semantics of his constructs are found to represent quotations, polemics, or the overturning or reproduction of the discourses that are at disposal before and around him in the “grammatological fabric.” In this case, deconstruction is the attentive inspection of this fabric’s patterns, in which any “authorship” is conceived as no more than a locus of quotations compiled in an ordered manner. Philosophy, thus, is one field of connotation, and its history comprises changes in the predominant connotative matrices and interpretive algorithms. Between Heidegger and Derrida, we can place Michel Foucault and his epistemology.

Of course, such hermeneutical models of the history of philosophy distinctly crystallized around the end of the 20th century. In the 19th century, and earlier, the “contemporal moment” was described in other terms. For Kant, it was paired with the revelation of the structures of “transcendental reason”, for Hegel such was the “end of history” and the “objective spirit.” For Nietzsche, there was the maximization of the will to power in the figure of the Übermensch. In Marx, there was the horizon of the world proletarian revolution. In all cases, philosophy has been conceived exclusively as a teleological process – whether by those who have tried to give this teleology fixed forms, or those who, on the contrary, have understood history as the accumulation of a “quantity” of individual freedom (Stirner, Bergson or von Hayek/Popper).

For all of these teleologies – both the naive ones of the 19th century and those 20th century theories based on critical reflection, structuralism, and phenomenological corrections (as well as the philosophy of language and psychoanalysis) – the “contemporal moment” serves as an “observatory point”, and he who stands at this observatory point and has considered the content of the moment itself and its structures (no matter who this “someone” might be – the subject, Dasein, a rhizome, a deciphering system, a “body without organs”, a hermeneutic) is the key to the history of philosophy capable of interpreting it in relation to themselves. This is very important, since in such a perspective any preceding “contemporal moment” is conceived as a “preliminary”, “unfinished”, “incomplete” one compared to the current contemporal moment and, as follows, the nunc cannot be adequately described prius, as it does not convert into the past the “contemporality” of the present. In a certain sense, this is history as such, and the history of philosophy is the philosophical conceptualization of its structure."