= concept developed by Rajani Kanth, in his critique of Euromodernism
Contextual (and provocative) quote
"In sum it is not ‘liberty’ anthropic beings instinctively seek - you couldn’t subsist on that for long - but, au contraire, bondage. ... Euromodernism gives us the banal political economy of interests: whereas what we crave a social economy of affections."
"Asocial Individualism (AI).
What is AI?
It is the specifically unique European mode of individualism , where society is viewed as no more than a mere means to achieve personal, private, ends.
In effect , it places the needs of the ‘sovereign’ individual above communal, societal , demands.
I argue that such a notion is so very abhorrent to our inherent anthropic being - which exists, and is real -that it could only be achieved via the harsh purgatory of revolution.
This revolution was, actually, achieved, and remains , yet, a major marker in human affairs.
No, this was not the capitalist revolution, per se, as is often imagined, though it is related to it.
It was, in fact , the Protestant Revolution , courtesy of Martin Luther.
Prior to that historic watershed, the Catholic Church , Canon Law, the Laws against Usury, notions of justum pretium and Laesio enormis - and the idea of a Social Compact , they all presuppose - ruled the roost
Whilst some of these date back to the Roman Codex Justinianus – 6th century B.C.E. - many of these were to be sacralised, by T. Aquinas – 13th century C.E. - in his Summa Theologiae).
These posed potent Ideological /Policy limits to capitalist economic advancement – to interest rates, profit taking , et. al. – even more so than the punitive powers of a feudal state or the landed aristocracy.
They implied, in essence , basic , protective, mutualist norms of communal , co-respective decency - that needed to be observed (albeit, at least, de jure), be it in politics or economy.
These notions were in conformity, not accidentally, with the Christian/Catholic theology of Service (to others), as part of the (good) ‘Works’ necessary to justify the hope of Salvation.
By making such salvation, basically, a matter of personal faith, the nouvelle, ‘unhinged’ (in a double sense), individual was now , axially centred, and vested with high autonomy and initiative (a veritable first in human history): to negotiate his/her berth in the Afterlife.
From the ancient idea of a binding Societal Compact , EM took us into the disposable/negotiable universe of a [[Social Contract]].'
This (AI) not only invented a primal , now archetypal, form of alienation in human history, it also – regardless of what Luther himself may have intended in his own manifest – created , again as novel departure:
- a new breed of social persons cleanly excised from a social conscience (whilst still retaining a personal morality , subject to whim, or caprice, i.e., to ‘personal choice’).
Few innovations in our species-history could have been more momentous, if cataclysmic.
It despoiled , in one stroke, the very grounds on which real, Anthropic Society is built."
The Social Contract
"From the ancient idea of a binding Societal Compact , EM took us into the disposable/negotiable universe of a Social Contract.
Of a sudden, the now aggrandized , even heroic, ‘ individual ‘ was placed in direct communion with ‘god’ : without any mediation of society( and obligations owed to the latter, leastways as a means to salvation).
This sharp turn, evolved into the now All-familiar ‘western’ denizen , Lutheran or not, that strides the world in seven- league boots.
Self-directed, estranged from supposedly gratuitous societal ties and obligations so as to pursue his/her personal goals, unrelated to the general welfare, unrestrictedly - chafing actively at any curbs to his/her ‘freedom’.
The irrationality to which this pathology can be pushed is evident in the US: where giant corporations won the ‘right’ of being classified, legally. as a ‘natural person’ (i.e. as a sovereign individual) –freed from social accountability (Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad Company, 1886), to the lasting detriment of the public interest and social welfare."
"What is this real, anthropic society I speak of?
It is not the social world invented for us by the EM social engineers.
In fact it is the very antipode of that false construct.
We are, in our collective aspect as anthropic beings, hominids, (closely related to the Great Apes chimps and bonobos).
We are not, inherently, selfish, adversarial, acquisitive, and competitive.
Au contraire, we are communal, co-respective, co-operative, and affective beings thriving, at our best, in convivial and kindred/kinship based relationships within a tribal matrix. Our Ape cousins move in packs and herds, we in families and tribes.
Our greatest anthropic need, as mammals, would appear to be , not to produce and consume, which is the EM Litany but simply: to huddle.
See how far you get by employing these real criteria to your standard Micro-Economics Curricula, and you get an idea of the monstrous perversion of human values at issue here. How we went from that relatively set of placid social traits to the ‘climb every mountain, ford every stream’ frenzy – read that as pillage every society, plunder any/all resources- brand of gratuitous excitement is the story of what I term Human Devolution. EM did not commence that historical process, of decline: the rot had begun far earlier, but it made that declension irreversible and placed us all in the Iron Cage – Max Weber - that we live in.
As was once said about the city of Manhattan, EM is now a similar unbreachable, epistemic prison: i.e., the only prison in the world built , daily, and animatedly, lovingly, by the inmate/victims themselves having duly absorbed the canons of EM misanthropy."
The Critique of Euromodernism
"Capitalism is bad enough all by itself , given its grasping, huckstering, ways: but, once coupled with AI, becomes the deadly scourge it is today : to basic morality, to the public interest, to social justice, social and economic stability, ecological balance, and the very existence of the planet, and its varied species.
That is the Source of all that ails the word today. This toxic brand of the ‘sovereign individual’ has had a long, 250 year tenure in the west has no parallel in Non-European but still E-Modernist formations.
In other words, they may be capitalist, but they have not yet sunk into the abyss of AI.
In fact, the essential tension, and the associated lack of a truly mutual understanding, between the West and the Other, to this day, despite centuries of extended contact, rests entirely on this singular, ontic/epistemic foundation.
Remarkably, the antic communal bond, almost invisibly, still holds these societies back to some last vestige, still remaining, of responsibilities owed : beyond self , and selfishness.
Indeed, this phenomenon defines not only the schism between the West and the Other, but also within European formations themselves.
The Anglo-Norman formations achieved this radical state of being, far ahead of other European societies even within Europe.
The significant difference , par exemple, between Anglo-Norman Capitalism, and Icelandic, or Danish, capitalism rests precisely upon such a fulcrum.
Pro-social behavior is as expected , in the one: much as self- oriented asocial behavior is expected in the other.
To take a trivial example:
- park benches, incorporating so-called ‘hostile’ design, and notions of that general, misanthropic nature, are standard fare in the one, but would be almost inconceivable in the other.
Non-trivially this is why Iceland jailed its rogue bankers : whilst the US bailed them.
Indeed, even were such instances of asocial behavior be found amongst the latter societies, they would go wholly against the grain of these societies, in an important sense.
Put another way: Iceland and Denmark still retain traits of their tribal past – in fact , in many senses, they are still tribes - whereas the EM juggernaut flattened that communal sensibility in Anglo-Norman formations , quite effectively, a long while ago."
Not all Capitalisms are created Equal
They ae all embedded, deeply, in varying cultural milieus. EM ‘economic’ theorists elide this fact, partly for being genuinely ignorant of culture and society: perceived as external entities within the obscure realm of et cetera, held, arbitrarily, to the rule of ceteris paribus.
In real, anthropic society, however, culture takes primacy: and culture is, simply, ‘difference’ , representing the (variegated) creative genius of humankind.
The pseudo-science of ‘economics’ , dons the mantle of a spurious universality, despite being the transparent Policy Tool it is:
- tasked, as it is, to achieve that very banal standardization and homogenization of societies requisite to manage and control ceaseless capital accumulation, across time and space.
It is an instruction manual, to achieve requisite behavioral and institutional change – as per EM criteria : not the (natural) ‘science’ it pretends to be, the working ‘bible’ of EM-directed social engineering.
Even in its origins, it was simply an extended , ingenious, ‘theoretical’ apology - constructed , speciously , of truism and tautology- for the deliberate institution of ‘laissez-faire’ , as a ‘general’ , inviolate, principle of economic theology.
Little wonder that , for serving such an important cause, it merits the (dubious) distinction of a ‘Nobel Memorial’ prize, alone amongst the social science ( which are, by any stretch, far more deserving of such an accolade, dubious though the award itself may be), despite lacking the rigor of , say, linguistics or the depth of anthropology.
It is the crown jewel of the hegemonic ideology of EM.
Its ideas are, in my judgment, a libel upon the human race.
It has, more than any other form of organised thinking, helped pave the epistemic way to the destruction of our world, social and natural.
To sum up.
Simple tribal societies are the natural prototype of our species: practicing the core human values that we only prattle about.
We can still learn from them .
They don’t condone anti-social behavior.
They wouldn’t even begin to fathom asocial behavior.
They take strength from communal bonds, they aim not at augmenting GDP but cementing conviviality (akin to the GNH of Bhutan).
They also suggest to us that we are equipped to function best in gemeinschaft societies.
What EM has constructed, au contraire, are giant, arid, barren, solitary, domains (wastelands) of self-confinement, i.e., gessellschaft formations (nation-states) wherein the anthropic spirit stifles, chokes, and , finally - atrophies.
In fact, the US, the lead formation within the EM world today, has come so far along that path that I have termed it the world’s first Amoral Society, an ironic, nay tragic, contradiction in terms.
For, to be asocial, is to be amoral: since morality is no more than broad fealty to the set of ties that bind close-knit, kindred-based formations .
The fons et origo of all social morality vests in the vital mother-infant relation – the very first moral reationship - which the tribe is, instinctively, pledged to preserve as a First Obligation: all societal morality begin with that.
- Lecture: The Fundamental Divide. A Critical Note on the Foundation(s) of EuroModernism. By Rajani Kanth ICAPE, San Diego, January 05, 2020
1) Kanth, R Farewell to Modernism, NY: Peter Lang, 2017
2) Against Eurocentrism, NY: Macmillan, 2005