Mehdi Belhaj Kacem, Nika Dubrovsky, Alexandre Gilbert
Mehdi Belhaj Kacem: "Metaphysics is Immunodeficient"
An Interview With Nika Dubrovsky
Mehdi Belhaj Kacem, who published Système du Pléonectique, Immortelle Finitude - Sexualité et Philosophie, in 2020 and David Graeber, L'Anarchie pour Ainsi Dire, in 2021, dialogues here with Nika Dubrovsky, widow of the American anthropologist and anarchist activist, David Graeber, emblematic figure of the Occupy Wall Street movement Interview by Alexandre Gilbert.
Nika Dubrovsky: Who invented the word "anarchy" and what does it mean to you?
Mehdi Belhaj Kacem: I don't know who created the word anarchy, which has existed for a very long time. I don't know either when the term "anarchism" was used for the first time, probably in the nineteenth century. We know that it was Proudhon who first used it in a positive way. Until him, the word had only pejorative connotations: disorder, chaos, cataclysm...
I give, for my part, three main definitions to the word anarchy.
The first one: it is the one, at the right time, of the historical anarchists, all tendencies included. The best synthesis of what anarchism is was formulated by Goodman:
"Anarchism is based on a fairly clear proposition: that worthwhile behavior can only arise from the direct relationship of voluntary individuals or groups to the circumstances presented to them by their historical environment. It asserts that in most human affairs, whether political, economic, military, religious, moral, educational or cultural, more harm than good is done by the use of coercion, hierarchical command, central authority, bureaucracy, prisons, conscription, states, pre-established standardization, excessive planning, etc. Anarchists want to increase intrinsic functioning and decrease extrinsic power."
Before I delve into this point, what an anarchist politics might mean in our time, I'll focus on the other two definitions I give to the word anarchy. The second meaning comes from reading a very important book by Reiner Schürmann, The Principle of Anarchy. An-archy means: absence of archè, of command, of guiding principle. It is an oxymoron: the principle of the absence of principle. Until now, Western societies had always succeeded in living, acting and thinking according to a great guiding principle: the One for the Greeks, Nature for the Romans, God for the Middle Ages, self-consciousness for the moderns since Descartes and especially Kant... Now, all these principles have collapsed, Schürmann tells us, and no new principle will be able to take their place. Schürmann's other great book is called: Les Hégémonies Brisées, which refers to the same problem.
We are probably only at the beginning of this "anarchic era", ours. But let's take, for example, the claim of many academic philosophers (quasi-pleonasm...) of our time: "materialism". It is, once again, a Principle, supposed to give foundation and consistency to the discourse, to know how to orientate oneself in the thought and the action. This "new" referent, taken from the philosophers of the enlightenment and the Marxists, does not risk to last long either. To choose "anarchy" in the sense that I have just said, is to renounce any beginning that serves as a supposedly unshakeable support to thought. To be an "anarchist philosopher" is to advance into the unknown.
I must, here, point out a philosopher whose analyses are extremely close to mine, Catherine Malabou. She is about to publish a book, which I am impatiently waiting for, which will ask why most of modern philosophy, like Derrida, Deleuze, Foucault, Schürmann... are anarchists "ontologically" but have never openly claimed to be anarchists politically. In a preface to a book by Schürmann on anarchy (and in particular on the question "How to constitute oneself as an anarchic subject?" in Foucault's work), I ask the same question as Malabou: why does Schürmann, probably without having read them, insist on dissociating himself from Proudhon, Bakunin, Kropotkin, etc.? For it will be a question here of elucidating the semantic community that may well exist between ontological anarchy and political anarchism. Another contemporary philosopher who can be placed in the ontological-political category of anarchy is Giorgio Agamben. You'll see that all this is not trivial.
The historical anarchists (essentially in the nineteenth century, workers) will thus have been precursors: by refusing as much as possible any local guiding principle, any circumscribed coercion, like the police or the clergy, they announced what modern philosophy, from Heidegger and Wittgenstein to Schürmann and Derrida, via Deleuze and Foucault, has taught us: modern thought was confronting for the first time the question of the "abyss", of the nonsense, of the absence of a foundation for thinking, living and acting.
The third major meaning I give to the word anarchy is a personal creation, but consistent with what precedes. Since Kant, modern philosophy has had as its program what has been called the "deconstruction of metaphysics". This deconstruction was itself quite "anarchic": Kant did not deconstruct metaphysics as Kierkegaard and Schopenhauer did, Marx proposed a different way out of metaphysics than all of them, Nietzsche proposed a way out of metaphysics rigorously opposed to Marx's, Heidegger did not practice the same deconstruction as Derrida, and I do not deconstruct metaphysics in the same way as my master in the matter, Reiner Schürmann. Or that Malabou or Agamben, or Nancy or Meillassoux.
Now, as Heidegger discovered, metaphysics is accomplished today in one form and one form only: planetary technology. Schürmann spoke of "technological totalitarianism"... I don't think he meant it so well. For the past year and a half, we have been able to see that the ever-increasing technological grip is indeed becoming a new kind of totalitarianism, of which those of the twentieth century were only the precursors. A great philosophy always takes a few centuries to be accomplished (I will give some examples). If my definition of philosophical modernity is correct, namely that it is the deconstruction of metaphysics, then it will be accomplished, politically, by the deconstruction of the planetary technological Leviathan that has taken power as never before, under the pretext of the so-called "health crisis". I will come back to this.
Finally, anarchy in the sense of the deconstruction of the great hegemonies that have dominated us up to now, the last of which (the "sanitary dictatorship") we will have to talk about again, because it throws a very raw light on what we should understand today by the term "anarchy".
Nika Dubrovsky: How did you learn about anarchism?
Mehdi Belhaj Kacem: Essentially by the ultra-left, that is to say by the situationists, whom I read when I was sixteen and who have always remained my main reference in political matters. I also participated in the Tiqqun group, which was to become the world-famous "invisible committee" later on. Finally, I am currently involved in the only real political opposition movement that exists in France, the Yellow Vests. The rest is a "media-parliamentary" charade, as I have been saying for twenty years.
For the past year and a half, we have seen that the Western regimes of liberal democracy are no longer just in agony, as I announced twenty years ago in a book entitled The Fall of Media-Parliamentary Democracy, which earned me many enemies, but clinically dead. Bourgeois democracy as it has existed in the West for a little over two centuries is definitely over. The question of why this death notice was signed worldwide on the occasion of a "health crisis" is worth considering.
At least the situation is now clear: either we invent new forms of democracy, and here the anarchist "tradition" and it alone can be salutary, or we will suffer, for decades, a world totalitarianism of which the Chinese regime is the prototype: a society of absolute technological control, where any form of dissent is eliminated.
We are not in a "health crisis", but in a barely concealed world civil war, unleashed by the oligarchies of all countries to impose what has long been announced: the "new world order". Like any hegemony, this "new world order" is destined to collapse: that is the meaning of what Schürmann said. We can already see that this "new order" produces only terror, misery, death: the very opposite of order, that is, chaos. Anarchy" in the vulgar sense.
But I would say even more willingly that my "anarchism", before being political, was essentially aesthetic. I read Lovecraft and then Lautréamont when I was twelve, and they changed my life. For me, they are anarchists. Rimbaud and Verlaine are anarchists poetically as they were politically (participation in the Commune, made to 80% by anarchist workers). Goya and Sade were anarchists before their time. The impressionists were anarchists, as will be Dada and the surrealists. Francis Bacon or Antoine d'Agata are anarchists. Schönberg is the anarchist of the music, but also the punks or the rappers. Burroughs or K.Dick are visionaries of the world we live in, and they were clearly anarchists too.
And I could extend the list endlessly... all modern art since the French Revolution is spontaneously anarchist, that is to say that it shows us the chaos of the anthropological world, instead of showing the Order, which was the function of the Propaganda of all the times, and particularly ours (the "new world order", which gives birth under our eyes to the biggest planetary chaos of all times). The greatest of these propagandas is precisely metaphysics itself, as a discourse intended both to spell out the order of the world as it already exists, and to prescribe the one that must come. I will also come back to this essential disjunction, which is the disjunction, fundamentally, between science and politics.
All this to say that I am not, alas, a great militant like David, but above all an "aesthetic" anarchist (I started by writing literature, I recently wrote a musical poem about the current situation...) then I "discovered" myself, by practicing philosophy, an anarchist ontologically. One of my books is called "Esthétique du Chaos", which summarizes things well. On condition to add: what I mean by "ontological anarchism" is not at all that being itself is chaotic. On the contrary, I think that being as such is governed by innumerable laws, those that science spells out for us. So there is no chaos at the level of the being itself.
My question, undoubtedly central in philosophy, is: why is it that, as we appropriate the laws of being through science, we are all the more incapable of finding rules of civic coexistence (that is what we call politics) that are more or less viable? It is the disjunction between these two regimes of thought and action, science on one side and politics on the other, that I call "chaos".
Nika Dubrovsky: What is the relationship between anarchism and anthropology? David called himself an anthropologist but got upset when he was called an anarchist. He did not belong to any party.
Mehdi Belhaj Kacem: That is an excellent question! First of all, I would like to say that there is as much to learn from the great modern anthropologists, in my opinion, as from the great modern philosophers: in particular, as far as I am concerned, Lévi-Strauss, Jared Diamond or Graeber, who have taught me as much as the greatest philosophers of all times.
What did they teach us about the "principle of anarchy"? That no so-called "primitive" society (David preferred to say: "free") functioned like any other. That each one had its extremely singular rules of coexistence, but which functioned. "Anarchy is order without power", said Proudhon. The "primitive" societies show us this, and it is David's genius to have spotted an essential junction between anthropology and anarchism.
This is what David understood, and perhaps the reason why he both assumed the label of "anarchist" and was embarrassed by it. The very difficult truth to grasp, for those of us who consider ourselves anarchists, is that in reality we are all anarchists without knowing it. I will come back to this, of course, but I insist on this point: anthropologists prove to us that, when a community exists on a limited scale (a few hundred or thousands of people), like all the tribes of hunter-gatherers without exception, things work rather well, though each time singularly, since no "primitive" society functions according to the same rules of multiple coexistence, according to the same representation of the world, etc., as the others. It is when things start to "grow up" that the trouble begins.
It is with the chieftaincies that "kleptocracy" begins, says Jared Diamond: kleptocracy that has recently reached its absolute paroxysm, with the so-called "health crisis". The more we move towards collectivization, universalization, imperialization, statization, etc., the more serious trouble we can expect. And this is exactly the moment we are living in, under the pretext of the "health crisis", which has turned the whole world into an oppressive, repressive, neo-totalitarian house arrest. Under the guise of a global "health crisis" arbitrarily decreed by the World Health Organization (WHO), the poor, the young, the schools, the university, the arts, the culture, the SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises), the middle classes, and many other things have been destroyed.
The only ones who have come out of this fabricated "crisis" are the oligarchs of the world, obscenely enriched by it, and the Chinese Republic. There is a deep logic behind all this, which has been masked for a year and a half by the untenable media-government propaganda of the whole world under the title of "health crisis".
The kleptocracy that Diamond shows to have been born with the chieftaincies has not ceased to grow since the Neolithic, or even the Upper Paleolithic, to truly monstrous proportions. Man is the thieving animal: everything begins with the invention, in the Upper Paleolithic, of storage, which all other animal species ignore. Marx's Capital is only a historical annotation of the evolution that humanity has followed since its origin. This is why I created this concept: the "pleonectic", which means: having-always-more.
The 3000 oligarchs who own the world (governments are only their puppets) are not satisfied with everything they already own, the "storage" that has become an unlimited financial delirium: they now want to own our bodies. The so-called "world pandemic" decreed by the WHO serves as a pretext for them to take over our bodies, our health, our lifestyle. I will come back to this, of course, because this is what is at stake with the so-called "health crisis".
Nika Dubrovsky: Tell us about David Graeber.
Mehdi Belhaj Kacem: The greatest anthropologist of his generation with Jared Diamond, but also the greatest anarchist thinker of his generation. I just think that when you tell me that he was a little embarrassed to be labeled an anarchist (while claiming it! We are all a little schizophrenic! ), it's because he was aware of what I tried to tell him, with my very bad English, in our talks: that in reality anarchy, in the triple sense in which I defined it, was in reality everywhere since the origin of humanity, whether we date it in the broad sense (2.000.000 years) or in the strict sense (30 or 40.000 years). Man is the one who disturbs, and more and more, the laws of Nature, by appropriating them. Hunting is an appropriation of the laws of predation. Agriculture is an appropriation of the laws of natural efflorescence.
Much later, mathematics will be the appropriation of the laws of the being itself. Mathematized physics, the appropriation of the laws of the whole cosmic world beyond the tiny planet earth. Biology, the appropriation of the extremely diverse natural laws that inhabit this same small planet earth. Quantum physics, the appropriation of the rules that govern the elementary particles. And so on.
However, none of the other species among the millions that have inhabited and continue to inhabit the tiny planet earth has shown itself likely to appropriate the laws of Nature and of being. Man is the appropriating animal. The man is the pleonectic animal: to have always more. And this is not, unfortunately, reduced to the bank account of those who control today's official information and world politics. It touches all the dimensions of our lives.
It starts with science itself: hunting and agriculture (by the way, when we say "hunter-gatherer", we don't ask why the proto-pleonectic increase in predation that is hunting is an "Evil", while the anti-pleonectic ban on agriculture that is gathering is a "Good". These are questions that will very quickly arise for humanity, because everything is now moving very fast). Everything starts with what I call the pleonectic. Capitalism is only an epiphenomenon of the pleonectic. Everything in us is the will to have more. Many (and these are the most criminal) want to have more money and power (pleonasm). Others (the less criminal) want to have more knowledge or aesthetic emotions.
But we are all criminals. Humanity, supposedly since the birth of metaphysics the animality endowed with "reason", is the cause of the sixth mass extinction in the history of the planet, and, virtually, of the pure and simple suppression of all life on earth, this extraordinary scientific miracle, which no scientist is yet able to explain (it is called "fine adjustment"). We have already eliminated 90% of the biosphere. The Americans exterminated the "Indians", that is to say the pluralistic hunter-gatherer societies that inhabited the continent they colonized. The Nazis exterminated almost all the Jews in Europe. The Cro-magnons began by exterminating the ures and mammoths.
Today, we are told: "a virus will exterminate humanity". The last time we were told that was the Nazis (the "Jewish virus"), who almost exterminated the whole world. And what are we seeing? It is the "health policy" decided by a small number of people on the whole planet that is already destroying the lives of hundreds of millions of people on earth, that is, billions tomorrow. 3,500,000 people have died from "COVID" so far (figures most probably magnified by the public authorities, for the needs of their terrorist propaganda); 150,000,000 people are already in a stage of "extreme poverty" since the "sanitary policies", i.e. the global containment. To put it plainly: these people are starving to death. Where are the images in the media? Where are the articles in the mainstream press?
There are only articles about resuscitation beds in hospitals, and pseudo-debates between "experts", most of them corrupt. Never before, not even under Nazism or Stalinism, have we witnessed such massive propaganda, such planetary brainwashing. All this for a slightly virulent flu, which kills 0.15% of the population, the average of which is 82 years old, most of the time people with comorbidities. You die at 96 of terminal cancer, but with COVID? You died of COVID. You die at 45 from a moped accident, but with COVID? You died of COVID.
So the numbers have been deliberately inflated. I would never have believed that propaganda could generate so much somnambulistic behavior in the population. I would never have believed that I would witness, in my lifetime, a totalitarianism that will make Nazism and Stalinism look like child's play in the memory of men (if there are any left...).
So billions of human beings are seeing their lives destroyed by the "sanitary" policies decided by the WHO and by Davos. Look at the videos of Vera Sharav on the Internet, a survivor of the Shoah, who explains that she would never have believed that, in her lifetime, she would see the same thing that she saw in her childhood happening again, but on a global scale. She is extremely brilliant and lucid (she was a doctor, and has been a lifelong activist against the shenanigans of the pharmaceutical industry).
I admit that it took me a while to wake up to the situation. During the first confinement in France, I took refuge in a kind of autistic bubble, I was very little informed, I did not understand anything about what was happening. Then at the end of this confinement, my mother was found hanged in her small Parisian studio. She was in perfect health, with no history of depression, but here's the thing: she had been living on the razor's edge of the poverty line for years. She could barely pay her rent as a museum guard. She didn't want to be a burden to anyone (my brother was helping her as best he could financially) and took herself out.
My mother is only a statistical figure of the billions of victims that the "virus" is not making in our eyes, but the world "sanitary policy" impelled by the WHO and Davos, and applied against all reason in almost all the world. A Canadian doctor, who denounces the serious side effects produced on his patients by the "vaccine", had a tasty word: the "virus" makes you lose three senses: smell, taste, and common sense. A crazy world government has managed to make the majority of the earth's population completely crazy as well. The connection between the issue of insanity and the issue of anarchy needs to be examined closely.
My mother's death was a very rude shock, and it took me six months to, not get over it, but to simply get my brain working again. It's only in the last six months that I've been asking myself questions, trying to analyze the situation, asking myself a thousand questions. And what I see is truly terrifying. We are living the most serious crisis, the most total war, in the history of humanity. And this crisis has absolutely nothing to do with a slightly virulent flu virus. You have to be simply blind not to see it. But 80% of humanity has become completely blind.
Nika Dubrovsky: So there are different kinds of anarchism? What is "anarchism from above?
Mehdi Belhaj Kacem: It is in abyme: of course, in its very definition, the notion of anarchism covers the notion of "plurality", as all our great anthropologists, starting with David, prove.
Of course there is an "anarchism from above", and this is where things become worrying. When you no longer have a guiding principle to dictate how human beings think and act, then you have to resort to pure force. The propagandistic lie of the "health crisis" is being dispelled in the minds of hundreds of millions of people. What is happening behind it is the most serious economic crisis of all time. I have no illusions about this anymore: we are already in the third world war, perhaps even the first world civil war in human history. There will be billions of deaths. This and nothing else is happening before our eyes, in the form of the absolutely bludgeoning propaganda of the mass media.
This is "anarchism from above". In Pasolini's Salo, the executioners say: "we are the real anarchists". I have been thinking about this sentence ever since I understood what this so-called "health crisis" is about. It has been used as a pretext, in all Western countries and beyond, to suppress constitutional laws, the rule of law, and what was left of representative democracy, which I have not believed in anyway for twenty years. But now, it's moving forward in full view of the world: for a year and a half we have been witnessing the global takeover of an entirely new type of oligarchic fascism, where the mainstream media broadcast the same mind-numbing propaganda full of contradictions, and where the governments are nothing but puppets of this globalist oligarchy, the only one to openly profit, financially and politically, from the so-called "health crisis".
I say this in a song that can be found on the Net, "Welcome":
"Welcome to a world where the new dictatorship consists of changing the rules of the game every day, in order to drive us all crazy. Bernard Stiegler, shortly before his death, had already posed the question: how, in the global capitalist "disruption" and the ever-increasing grip of technology, can we not go crazy? The good old dictatorships imposed martial law on everyone once and for all: you submit or you die. The new dictatorships go much further: they improvise new laws every day, to drive you crazy before you are simply murdered. This is the terrible meaning today of the word "anarchy". The arbitrariness of the civic rule, when the power is held by a tiny minority of humanity.
In France, as elsewhere, this is what we have been witnessing for at least a year: the constitution is trampled underfoot and is no longer worth anything. There is hardly any rule of law anymore. Every day, an entirely corrupt parliament passes new laws, each time even more absurd than those that were valid the day before: laws dictated by the one and only government, which itself only ratifies the whims of a president of the republic advised by a perfectly opaque "scientific council", whose members are permeated with conflicts of interest with the pharmaceutical industry. "Scandal" is a very weak word to denounce what is happening.
Who can still seriously believe that a disease that kills, worldwide, 0.14% of the population, for an average of 82 years old people permeated with comorbidities, who can still seriously believe that this so-called "pandemic" decided by the WHO, massively financed by Bill Gates and China (Bille Gates asked the WHO in March 2020 to "extend" the definition of what was a "pandemic"...), justifies the killing of all civil rights acquired by centuries of struggle, the killing of small and medium-sized businesses, the hotel and restaurant industry, the damaging of the environment and the destruction of the environment? ), justifies killing all the civil rights acquired by centuries of struggles, murdering small and medium-sized businesses, the hotel and restaurant industry, seriously damaging universities, schools and hospitals (in France, the government promised to build thousands of new intensive care beds, and it finally suppressed thousands of them...), sacrificing not only the poor and the youth, but also the middle classes and the children, etc. ? Well, the amazing thing is that a majority of people believe this. It is almost a new religion, the religion of the "virus", which means that, conveniently, we no longer have to talk about social conflicts, economics, politics and geopolitics, arts and culture, etc. There is only one thing to talk about: the "virus". It is only about the "virus". But it is enough to open one's eyes to see the obvious: what is destroying people's lives en masse is certainly not this slightly virulent flu that probably came out of a laboratory, but the "health policy" that has been adopted everywhere to supposedly counteract it. Orwell is frequently evoked to describe what is happening, and one can only agree: words, governmental and media slogans, systematically designate the opposite of what they mean. The most unhealthy measures are presented as "sanitary".
We are told: "let's fight together against the virus" in order to put us under house arrest and turn us, successfully, against each other, in a kind of democratized paranoia. Evil is presented as Good, and Good as Evil. Mike Yeadon, biologist and former vice-director of the pharmaceutical company Pfizer, of English nationality, has been saying it for a year: his government has lied to the population about everything. On absolutely everything. The same thing is happening in France, and our "media intellectuals" are not budging; the others are keeping quiet. Nothing that the French government has told us for a year was true, absolutely nothing. It has constantly denied itself, constantly circulated false information and prescribed insane laws, and people have constantly obeyed in exactly the same way. I repeat: I never thought I would witness such a spectacle in my lifetime, which surpasses the worst scenarios contained in horror and science fiction books or movies.
People are being taken for children because, politically speaking, they are children. The total irresponsibility shown by world leaders reflects the irresponsibility of populations debilitated by decades of stultification by "technological totalitarianism". Who can believe that the 3,500,000 deaths from the "CORONAVIRUS" to date in the world justify throwing 150,000,000 human beings to date into famine, that is, tomorrow, billions of human beings? People are dying from the anti-CORONA measures, not from CORONA. As the great lawyer Reiner Fuellmich (who had the Deutshbank and Volswagen convicted) says: this is already the greatest crime against humanity ever perpetrated. Vera Sharav makes exactly the same observation, and in fact tens of millions of people around the world. A majority of people are made sleepwalking by the state propaganda, but, fortunately, more and more people are waking up and becoming aware of the incredible social carnage that has been perpetrated in the name of the "health crisis".
But the power thought to have found the parade: all these people are "conspiracy theorists".
It is a word that today designates exactly what the French bourgeoisie recognized as "anarchists" in the nineteenth century, what the word "resistant" designated in the vychist France of the forties of the last century, or what the word "dissident" designated in the European dictatorships of the East in the same century. Why did tens of thousands of doctors in Europe, at the risk of losing their reputation and sometimes their right to practice, stand up against this diktat? Why, on the other hand, in the major media and to surround our governments, do we only have doctors who are ultra-corrupted by conflicts of interest with the pharmaceutical industry?
Why have thousands of lawyers around the world, again at the risk of their reputation and even of being disbarred, launched the "Nuremberg 2" campaign to denounce and bring down the gigantic manipulation that has been going on around the world for a year and a half now? But here's the thing: when you state the obvious, and the two most influential organizations in this affair are the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Davos Forum, you are called a "conspiracy theorist". When you say that Bill Gates, with his eugenic, hygienic and "bioethical" ideology (and of course "transhumanist"), has been dreaming for decades of a "world pandemic", and that he has practically bought the WHO for this purpose, you are called a "conspiracy theorist".
When you point out that the same person has been dreaming for decades of vaccinating the whole world (but not his three children...) under any pretext, you are called a "conspiracy theorist". When you point out that the same person publicly professed last year that "the vaccine is the final solution to the virus", you are called a "conspiracy theorist". When you say that not taking seriously today The Great Reset, by Klaus Schwab, the spokesman for what Reiner Fuellmish calls "the Davos clique," is like ignoring or not taking seriously Mein Kampf in the twenties or thirties or forties of the previous century, you are called a "conspiracy theorist. When you show that these people have gigantic networks of influence that decide everything (governments, big media, GAFAM, WHO...), you are called a "conspiracist". No matter how many tens of thousands of sourced documents and countless empirical proofs you cite, you will always be stamped as a "conspiracy theorist" anyway.
In short: "conspiracy theorist", from what I understand and what I see, is someone who generally has the courage of the truth. A "conspiracist" is generally someone with integrity. A "conspiracist" is someone who is not afraid to risk his symbolic and biological life to save what he thinks is the common good. A "conspiracist" is someone who says that the king is naked.
Years ago, I wrote a somewhat premonitory book about one of my heroes, Antonin Artaud, called Artaud et la théorie du complot. As for me, I prefer to speak of "the greatest mass manipulation of all times"; but there is another of my heroes who was not afraid of the word "conspiracy". I am talking about Guy Debord, whose Commentaries on the Society of the Spectacle have always been for me a "survival manual" at each critical phase of my biography. Each time in my life that I understood that it was precisely my biological life that was at stake, I reread this book, as I did recently. I quote these essential passages, written already thirty-five years ago:
"In the past, one only ever conspired against an established order. Today, conspiring in its favor is a new profession in great development. Under the spectacular domination, one conspires to maintain it, and to ensure that it alone will be able to call for its proper functioning. This conspiracy is part of its very functioning (...)
Thus, a thousand conspiracies in favor of the established order are intertwined and fought everywhere, with the ever increasing interweaving of networks and secret issues or actions; and their rapid integration process in every branch of the economy, politics, culture. The content of the mixture of observers, disinformers, special affairs, is continually increasing in all spheres of social life. As the general conspiracy has become so dense that it spreads almost in broad daylight, each of its branches may begin to disturb or worry the other, because all these professional conspirators come to observe each other without knowing exactly why, or meet by chance, without being able to recognize each other with confidence. Who wants to observe whom? On whose behalf, apparently? But in reality (...)
Thucydides (...) says, about the operations of another oligarchic conspiracy, something which has much in common with the situation in which we find ourselves: "what is more, those who spoke were already part of the conspiracy, and the speeches they made had been submitted beforehand to the examination of their friends. There was no opposition among the rest of the citizens, who were frightened by the number of conspirators. When someone tried to contradict them, they found a convenient way to kill him. Murderers were not sought after, and no proceedings were taken against those suspected of being involved. The people did not react, and they were so terrified that they considered themselves lucky, even if they remained silent, to escape the violence. Believing the conspirators to be much more numerous than they were, they felt completely powerless.
The city was too big and they did not know each other, so that it was possible for them to discover what it was really about. In these conditions, however indignant one was, one could not confide one's grievances to anyone. One had therefore to give up the idea of taking action against the guilty parties, because one would have had to turn to a stranger or to an acquaintance in whom one did not trust. In the democratic party, personal relations were everywhere marked by distrust, and one always wondered whether the person one was dealing with was not in collusion with the conspirators. There were indeed among the latter men of whom one would never have believed that they would rally to the oligarchy."
These comments... are self-explanatory, as they accurately describe what we see happening before our eyes today. "The conspiracy has become so dense that it is spreading out almost in broad daylight": we can now remove the adverb: it is spreading out in broad daylight. In essence, "conspiracy", a term coined by the state to designate its opponents, refers to the structure of Edgar Poe's stolen letter: the best way to conceal damning legal evidence is to bring it out into the open. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation does not hide the fact that it finances the WHO and many of the world's mass media, nor its "transhumanist" connections with GAFAM, nor the extremely friendly links that bind the friend Bill to the world's main rulers, starting with our miserable French president, or to the Chinese president (China is the second largest donor to the WHO after the BMG foundation...), nor the huge conflicts of interest that bind him to pharmaceutical laboratories: he confessed in an interview that nothing has made him as much money as this industry, and for good reason, it is the most profitable industry in the world, above even the real estate industry.
This foundation does not hide having simulated a world pandemic "CORONAVIRUS", with the participation of the Davos forum, on October 18, 2019, to advise on the "means of remedy" (the world containment, while waiting for the "final solution" of the "vaccine"). The Davos forum, with the publication of the Great reset, does not hide in any way, and has been doing so for years, that representative democracy was becoming embarrassing to it, and that it was necessary to move on to the "fourth industrial revolution", after the other three that have done so much good to humanity: to put people under house arrest and to accept only the "democracy" of the Computer and the Internet. The "COVID", Klaus Schwab tells us (that is to say, all those he represents: the world oligarchy and our rulers) in all its letters, is a godsend: digital school, digital university, "digital companies" therefore subordinated to multinationals, digital art ("the latest Netflix series!"), digital love (dating sites and porn), digital health. In France, Laurent Alexandre nods obediently, well aware of the docility that the population has already reached. Yes, Schwab is right: we were already in the "Great Reaset", but the "COVID crisis", decided by Bill Gates, has reinforced the process. We have been caught in the trap, and it will relentlessly close in on us if we do not react, here and now.
This is, to summarize in a very concrete way, the difference between "anarchism from above" - the multi-billionaire oligarchs, the big media, the governments, the GAFAMs - and "anarchism from below". I have always thought - and I won't go into detail here because it is too complex - that authentic anarchism was "overcoming from below". Communism", for example, was such an "overcoming from above": as in all "great hegemonies" in the sense of Schürmann, "communism" will have said: "forget your individual and egoistic experiences! Think big, for the major common interest!" The anarchist, both in Schürmann's political and ontological sense, will always retort: "To know what the common good is, examine first of all where your individual "egoistic" interest lies, examine the features that constitute your everyday life, break with the injunctions that push you to surpass yourself "from above".
Badiou, Zizek, Rancière, have made a point of not understanding anything about the "COVID crisis". Badiou, who denies the ecological crisis and didn't want to understand anything about the insurrection of the yellow vests either, even openly endorsed the "sanitary measures", to the point of blaming the demonstrators against the French pension reform law as dangers for the rest of the population, even though the famous "pandemic" had not yet been declared! And people still wonder why I broke up with him... Badiou has spent his life positing "resistance" in the sense of the Vichy period in France, arguing that his father had been a Resistance fighter and that therefore, somehow, it was genetically transmitted.
Alas! At the historical moment when it would have been necessary to enter into radical resistance, in the sense of Vichy, Badiou will have trumpeted a totally erroneous, even collaborationist diagnosis. History will judge him extremely severely. My break with Badiou cost me enormously on the social and symbolic level, as he represented, largely thanks to me, the "radical left" in France. I have never regretted my break. And, since that disastrous and stupid text, I regret it less than ever.
Agamben, on the other hand, immediately understood what it was all about, because for years he had been preparing his weapons against such a catastrophe, which he could not imagine as such (there is no such thing as a philosopher-prophet, but I will come back to this). In this sense, we are in a new "unveiling of truth", as Heidegger would have said: there are many philosophers and intellectuals whose theses appear visibly false, because, however "rebellious" and "critical" they may be of the system, they have endorsed its propaganda and its truly criminal policy, and rare philosophers and intellectuals who emerge from this crisis better off, because they have announced long ago what was likely to happen, and then immediately alerted opinion to what was happening.
I say: look at your "individualistic and selfish" situation first, and then judge. Do governments mean well? Do the big media and the GAFAM want you well? Do the oligarchs mean well? Do the pharmaceutical industries mean you well (all those who manufactured "vaccines" were sentenced, in the days of the rule of law, to very heavy penalties, starting with Pfizer)? If you answer "yes", you have stopped thinking. If you answer "no", you can still think. I would never have believed, in my lifetime, that power could reach such a level of deconstruction of the population. I would never have believed, in my lifetime, to witness the birth of a totalitarianism of such a scale. I repeat myself, but important things are never repeated enough.
Today we call a "conspiracy theorist" someone who is content to report facts, duly sourced and verified, and to put them in relation to each other. Debord had diagnosed it: what the "society of the spectacle" destroys in the first place is the capacity for simple logic. The "anti-complotists" are those who blindly listen to the absurd orders of our governments and the totally incoherent information of our big media. Soon, anyone who dares to put two neurons in contact will be accused of being a "conspiracist". But the electronic chips implanted in our brains are coming...
I would quote Wittgenstein here: "What is hidden does not interest us". I am a "conspiracist" in the Debord tendency: where the "perpetual present" of the media-behavioral propaganda has destroyed all logical capacity in the brains of those who receive what I call "continuous disinformation", it is simply a question of linking the facts to each other, of questioning the figures, and of clearing, through the delirious discourse that has been held in high places for a year and a half, to clear, at the right moment, the logic of all that.
Nika Dubrovski: What does this mean? Anarchists want to increase intrinsic functioning and decrease extrinsic power. Do you have a story?
Mehdi Belhaj Kacem: This is hardly a question for me. I have answered it in various ways with the above. Representative democracy, when it is no longer supported by a stable legislature and a functioning rule of law, is meaningless. Either we take back power at a local level - as with libertarian municipalism - or we will be planetary slaves for decades and decades. There have been four attempts at an anarchist takeover "in a big way": the Paris Commune, the Spanish Revolution, May '68, the yellow vests. All of them have failed and I recognize that we are now facing an aporia. I am, for a long time, a melancholic anarchist: I think that anarchism is an excellent solution on a local scale, but that it has nothing to say on a global scale, contrary to the "communism" of Badiou and many others.
The answer of anarchism to "globalisms" of all kinds is simply deconstruction in the sense that I specified above, even destruction. But this deconstruction-destruction of the great globalizing instances (States, "world governance", supranational institutions, global corporations, etc.) will take centuries to accomplish: I have no illusions on this point, and political anarchism can at best only act locally in the world we live in. It can only resist globalization, not shoot it down out of hand.
But the "health crisis", with its unprecedented degree of sham and criminality, has opened my eyes to what is at stake. Until now, we were all guilt-tripped by a kind of historical superego, which basically told us: "You're rebels, all right. The democratic-capitalist system leaves something to be desired, okay. But still, it's better than Nazism or Stalinism..." What the "health crisis" has revealed is that this time is over: what is happening is worse than Nazism or Stalinism, because on a global scale.
Capitalism no longer needs democracy. More than that: it has a vital need to suppress democracy, and that's what it has been doing for the last year and a half. Vital, because if it had not done so, it would not have survived: the world economic crisis would have become so visibly serious that people would have come to call its main leaders to account. And they have endorsed the "global health crisis" ....
I am a melancholic anarchist. I am convinced that anarchism, literally and in every sense, is the only viable policy for humanity: in fact, Proudhon is a prophet that we are just beginning to discover. But I am well aware that anarchism cannot answer the problems on a global scale, except in the way we are witnessing at the moment: globalized oligarchic fascism, which destroys populations in the name of their "health". It is really "anarchism from above" - perpetuated global state of exception - or "anarchism from below" - inventing rules of civic coexistence always circumstantial.
Here I must salute the philosopher who was the precursor of what is happening to us today: Giorgio Agamben. For thirty years he has been announcing that the difference between democracy and dictatorship was in danger of becoming irreparably blurred. For thirty years he has been warning about the risks of "biopower", that is to say the moment, first experienced by the Nazis, when "medicine" becomes a state policy (Vera Sharav says exactly the same thing). The lucid and loyal Naomi Wolf calls the current installation "biofascism", but what Agamben has long shown us is that from the moment a policy became biopolitical, you could be sure that fascism was not far away. "Biofascism" is therefore a pleonasm.
For thirty years Agamben has been telling us that the state of exception could well become the rule: everything has come true far beyond his predictions (the question for me being: is humanity as such not, from its origins, a state of exception?) Agamben was very scandalized, when his book Homo sacer was published, to have held that "the paradigm of modern biopolitics was the concentration camp". Davos and the WHO decide that we must "confine"? Three quarters of the planet complies! The truth is that we are living in the dream of Gates and Davos, as others have lived in the dream of Hitler and Stalin. And this dream is, for almost everyone, a waking nightmare. And this may be only the beginning, if there is not somewhere a large-scale uprising and even, dare we say it, a revolution.
A worldwide state of exception. Global anarchy. We are there. The "new world order" is a permanent state of exception: perfectly arbitrary and daily changing rules of civic coexistence. Anarchy is now at the top of the State, of the States. People must reclaim anarchy and set their own rules of civic coexistence. This is what I mean by the word "pleonectic": a monstrous regime of appropriation that results in a monstrous regime of expropriation never seen on earth. This has only been reinforced in the last year and a half in the name of the "health crisis": the number of Chinese billionaires has exploded during the so-called "pandemic" redefined by Bill Gates, all the oligarchs of the world have become rich without exception, while billions of human beings have become poorer.
How long will we go on like this? Just as Schürmann did not think he was saying it so well with "technological totalitarianism", I did not think I was saying it so well, in the ten years since I coined the concept, with "pleonectic". The disease of the human being, of the human animal and only him, is to have always more. Those who already have almost everything want to go further: to possess our thoughts, to possess our bodies (the "vaccine"!).
Nika Dubrovsky: How to live without a state and without armies? Who will protect us from our enemies?
Mehdi Belhaj Kacem: This is a very complex question, but there are more than a few elements of an answer in what has been said. You touch here, for sure, on my "melancholic anarchism": as the State becomes globalized, in a para-Hegelian mode, we see ourselves more and more expropriated from our political decision-making power.
The simple answer is the anarchist answer: ask yourself why there are no armies, no police, no prisons, no psychiatric hospitals in the hunter-gatherer tribes. I have a lot of affinity with the "anarcho-primitivists" on this point. But, I repeat, I am a melancholic anarchist: I don't really believe in an immediate solution to the problems we are facing, because we have gone too far in the totalization, the universalization, the "globalization" which in reality has been going on since the strict origins of humanity, 30,000 or 40,000 years ago.
But we can see one thing: the more we go towards totalization, the more it is the state of exception, as Agamben says, that becomes the rule: because nobody knows, especially not Bill Gates or "the Davos clique", how to "manage" seven billion human beings (before them, Hitler or Stalin had the same dream and failed just as catastrophically). Therein lies the little hope we have left. I have always been a catastrophist and a negativist, a "collapsologist" before the letter, but when we know what has happened on a planetary scale for the last year and a half, there is reason to be more desperate than ever. The "only" hope we have left is that the world's ruling classes "want" total civil war, without even necessarily realizing it (by wanting absolute control over our lives). Well, if they really want it, they will get it. My diagnosis is simple: they already have it. It's us against them. If we are not aware of this, there is no point in talking about "politics" anymore.
And I am overwhelmed by the fact that, among so many intellectuals who have constantly intimidated us with the song of "never again" - never again Nazism, never again Stalinism - at the very moment when something worse is being set up and exterminated in a sneaky way before their eyes, well, you have no one left. The silence of intellectuals is deafening during this "health crisis". They will be judged very harshly by history, and that is well done. They had already not understood much about the "yellow vest crisis"...
Who will protect us from our enemies? you ask. Here I would make a perfectly circumstantial answer: for at least a year and a half, in a more and more visible way, the question is not: will the police protect us from the enemy from outside, but from within. In France, the Yellow Vests have known for more than three years: the police do not want our good, they have obeyed the Government and the President. They have traumatized and maimed the population so that everyone will look twice before rising up a second time. What about the army today all over the world? What about what remains, in Europe for example, of the nation-state?
What you are pointing out, without knowing it, is something that has been going on for years in political debates, and of which the "yellow vests crisis" is the revelation: it is no longer the left/right cleavage that is the most structuring of political debates, all scales combined, but the sovereignism/globalism cleavage. I cannot go into the infinite subtleties of this new cleavage. I am content to say here: it has everything to do with the question of an anarchist position today in politics. And, if we go through the infinite subtleties, the anarchist position cannot be other, today, than sovereignist.
We are in a state of generalized civil war. Which army are we talking about, which country? For example, in your country, in the United States, what will you think when the army comes to your home and forces you to be "vaccinated"? That they are defending you against your "enemies"? What will you do if they come to force you to "vaccinate" your baby? Remember Nazism: first, the handicapped and mentally ill; then, the Jews; finally, the rest of humanity for the advent of the "Aryan" race. Today, it is: first, the "COVID carriers"; later, all of humanity, for the advent of the "transhumanist" "race", those who are already in power and who deliriously aspire to "immortality".
This was one of the promises of metaphysics: immortality. Such is one of the quite concrete meanings of the deconstruction of metaphysics since Kant: to accept finitude. To endure it. To "suffer" it, as Schürmann would say. There was an interesting debate on this subject between Jean-Luc Nancy, with whom I co-edit the "Anarchies" collection, and Agamben. Jean-Luc opposed Agamben that, thanks to the "health crisis", we were not so much witnessing the advent of a state of exception, but a new modality of collective exposure to finitude. I will refrain from commenting further on this fascinating polemic between two great philosophers.
I will simply ask Jean-Luc a question: are you really sure that this question of exposure to finitude is only a "virus"? Or is it, under the guise of a "virus", about something else entirely, a completely different kind of exposure to finitude and therefore to death, which is called civil war? While waiting for this one, what has done more harm: the "virus", or the fear of the "virus"? A slightly virulent flu, or the crazy global policies that have been put in place to "fix" it? The answer, for anyone still able to think, is obvious.
The civil war between "anarchy from above" and "anarchy from below" is here. We must at least credit the monotheistic religions with having been democratic on this point: immortality is for everyone, as long as you accept the Law prescribed by the Holy Book. Even Nazism was more democratic than "transhumanism", since it wanted to save the German people from all the rest of the world, which before Hitler took power was actually doing them a lot of harm. The solution? Identify the enemy "from within". The "Jew", who was not only the agent of "bad ideology", but really an infectious agent carrying many physical diseases. Exactly the kind of discourse we have at the moment, sic Vera Sharav. And Hitler "succeeded" in saving the "German nation"... by restructuring the economy, by refusing the financial dictates of his time, by restoring full employment. The result is well known.
The "Third Millennium Reich" lasted fifteen years. Schürmann should be read at this depth, because he knew very well that Heidegger had been a Nazi, but he tried to understand why he had been a Nazi, and why he quickly understood that he had made "the biggest mistake of his life". He later answered with cards on the table: "I believed that Nazism was an adequate response to the omnipotence of technology. And, at the end of his life, Heidegger did not deny it: "I do not believe that democracy is the best way to administer technology. These were all questions, and in philosophy there are only questions.
That's what differentiates it from politics, which only has solutions. Generally "final"... Plato's Republic, the theological sum of Saint Thomas Aquinas, Kant's autonomous genius individual, Hegel's universal state, Marx's dictatorship of the proletariat, taken up by Lenin, to supposedly abolish the state on a universal level, Nietzsche's "superman"... Heidegger understood something very important when he described Nietzsche as "the last metaphysician".
I am here expressing my solidarity with Malabou and Agamben, because they are the only contemporary philosophers who have understood what was at stake in this affair. For eight years, I believed in a "perpetuation of metaphysics" in the person of Alain Badiou. One day, I understood that it was all going nowhere, except towards mass murder, which would never make the Maoist Alain Badiou bat an eyelid. He doesn't give a damn about what's going on right now, as his public statements prove. What he wants is divine "communism", already in place and in constant progress for 30,000 or 40,000 years: the planetary collectivization of humanity by means of technology. I suspect him (Badiou) of being extremely complacent towards the "transhumanists", of whom he never touches a word in his books. I am sure that he is for technologically assisted "immortality". The "superman" of Silicon Valley.
The fact that the world is becoming "Chineseized", he would be rather for it, since he has defended it publicly. It doesn't matter, he has always said, whether there are concentration camps (the Chinese logoai) or extermination camps. What is important is the advance of humanity towards the truths über alles. I have expressed my profound disagreement with this view in System of the Pleonectic, I cannot return to it with all the depth necessary here. I am looking forward to Badiou's next public intervention, after his inept text on the "health crisis" and a year of silence. He will say: "Vaccinate yourself! "Vaccinate"... against whom, against what? The "great" Badiou has spent his whole life in heroism and resistance inherited from his father under Vichy: and, like Zizek, at the very moment when it is necessary to resist, collectively, an enemy much more powerful than Nazism was, there is no one left.
Zizek, almost the same. Rancière wears a mask when he appears on television. So much for what I've been calling "academic leftism" for the past ten years. They don't see what is at stake with the global state of exception that has been in place for a year. And what is happening is that there is such a despair about the positive universal that the holders of the world have only one thing to say: "vaccinate! This is the new universal, which tomorrow will be replaced by another. "Anarchy from above".
I put the verb "to vaccinate" in quotation marks because these "vaccines" did not follow any of the usual health and pharmacoviligance protocols to be used. Again, a state of delirious exception. The contracts signed with the pharmaceutical industries - Pfizer, Moderna, Astrazeneca, etc. - The contracts signed with the pharmaceutical industries - Pfizer, Moderna, Astrazeneca, etc. - are half opaque to the general public and, as far as we can read, they absolve themselves of any responsibility in the event of more or less serious side effects. It is the States that will have to answer for it, hence the lack of eagerness of the latter to report, so to speak, the more or less serious side effects linked to these so-called "vaccines", which are in reality experimental gene therapies. Here again, it's a letter on the table: those who are "vaccinated" are in the experimental phase known as "phase 3", which means that they are all guinea pigs. How can we accept to be "treated" when we have so few guarantees, that is to say none? But media hypnosis has reached heights of sophistication that make the totalitarianisms of the twentieth century look like amateurs.
That is to say: forerunners. As I said in a text for the yellow vests: "totalitarianisms were not an accident". Goebbels was the great precursor of everything that is happening now. "The bigger it is, the better it works. There is a story about Goebbels that I want to tell, about the great filmmaker Fritz Lang (who described Goebbels as "very clever"). Goebbels invited Fritz Lang to tell him that the Führer, who adored cinema in general, considered Lang to be the greatest living filmmaker, and that he wanted him to be the official filmmaker of the Nazi regime. Lang replied, "There's a little problem here: I'm Jewish." Goebbels retorts, "We decide who is a Jew and who is not." And the question I'm asking everyone right now is: who decides what is a pandemic and what is not?
Always "anarchy" in the triple sense that I meant above: there are no longer any fixed rules, and especially not "sanitary" ones (the "sanitary" rules that have been prescribed for more than a year and a half on a world scale are the most unhealthy in the whole history of humanity). How can we trust them? It's like buying a car and signing a contract that says the steering wheel is not safe, the brake pedal is not safe, the engine is not safe. Would you buy that car? But that's what hundreds of millions of people do, totally dumbed down by incessant state propaganda. "I want to be free, so I get a vaccine". "I want to be free, so I accept the vaccine passport that will trace me everywhere and make the power know everything about me! Agamben was right: from the moment that "medicine" invites itself into political debates and claims to take the reins for the common good, you can be sure that fascism is not far away.
We are walking on our heads. So much for "anarchy from above": you don't only have it at the level of Gates and Davos, not only at the level of governments, but at the level of the pharmaceutical industries, and this has been the case for a long time. Except that, now, all these people are openly walking hand in hand. "Crowned anarchy", said Artaud about Heliogabalus. Most of the time, I am totally despaired by what I am witnessing. We will need a serious awakening of our people, otherwise we will enter the darkest period in our history. And I am already convinced that the atrocities that filled the history of the twentieth century were child's play compared to what awaits us in this one, both in terms of wars and torture, both in terms of health and social inequalities, both in terms of the development of control techniques and the nameless civic chaos they will produce.
It is this oligarchic fascism that has imposed this planetary state of exception, where one does not know who is the friend or the enemy. It is worse than the fascist state of exception theorized by the Nazi Carl Shmitt, where the friend and the enemy are clearly defined (the Jew, the foreigner, the communist, the bourgeois...). It is the larval civil war, between "vaccinated" and anti-"vaccines", between sanitary pass and non-sanitary pass... they try to create a world apartheid. The Nation-States are all breaking up from within. And when a state breaks up from within - in other words, civil war - the only question an army must ask itself is: are we on the side of the people? Or the irresponsible people who govern them?
So I answer, finally, to your question, in a perfectly circumstantial way at the precise moment we are speaking: in France, persistent rumors speak of a will of coup d'état by the army against the atrocious Marcon. Well, you want me to tell you? I think it would be a good thing. I'd rather live in an "old-fashioned" military dictatorship, with a minimum of stable civic rules, than in the psychopathic oligarchic fascism of Silicon Valley or Davos, which turn the people against themselves and try to drive them crazy by dictating new rules of the game to governments every day. In Australia, you go to jail without trial if you don't wear the mask outside, or if you don't wear it properly. In the Philippines, it's a bullet in the head without warning for the same offence. While it is proven that the mask outside is strictly useless. In France, we've known about it for six months, but the State does absolutely nothing. Well, half of the people, including me, don't care about the mask outside, and don't wear it... it's a timid beginning...
What's happening is terrible. Terrible. The world has gone totally crazy. All I can do, as a thinker, is to give the tools to understand what is happening to us. And I have to admit that, on many points, my System of the Pleonectic was premonitory... For example, I speak, at one point, of the "fourth transhumanist Reich". I was only half joking, I couldn't believe it. And, now, it's happening before our eyes... I can't stand it any longer when even people who are supposed to be cultured, intelligent, and have a minimal knowledge of history, don't realize that we are witnessing the imposition of the greatest tyranny in our history, which is obviously not an understatement. There is only one living philosopher, to my knowledge, who agrees with me on this precise point: his name is Pierre-Henri Castel and he foresees, as I do, new forms of Evil that will relegate those that have existed until now to the rank of childishness.
Nika Dubrovsky: if we abolish prisons, will we be attacked by criminals?
Mehdi Belhaj Kacem: But haven't we already been in prison for over a year? Under "parole", an expression that could easily be shown to be a pleonasm: I refer to what I said about it in our book with David and, to go deeper into the nature of the problem, to my System of the Pleonectic, at the eponymous entry. As David says: "everything begins with the whip". One could add: freedom begins with the ability to enslave and imprison. This is the definition of freedom since Kant: the ability to set rules that are not in nature. Freedom thus has a negative definition, from which only one can speak of "positive freedom", of freedom in the sense in which it is commonly understood.
I develop this at length in my work. It all starts with prisons of all kinds, such as clothing (no animal species feels the need to dress, it is not a law written in nature), work, taxes and bills... positive freedom is the narrow margin left between the meshes of this legislative net in which we humans have caught ourselves in order to coexist civilly without too much damage. But often, as today, the sentence appears lost, and it is the civil war that wins again. Freedom is first of all the whip, it is first of all the prison, it is first of all these unnatural rules that we impose on ourselves.
But I'm not going to play the smartest and I'll take the word "prison" in the strict sense of the term. I have, in a way, answered above: there are no prisons in the otherwise diverse societies of hunter-gatherers. Now ask yourself what would happen if drugs were legalized. Well, you would depopulate the prisons by 80%!
It is the fundamental question, in my work, of the game of transgression and legislation. It is too complex for me to enter here into the subject as I should. I call it the "legislative-transgressive transcendental". Namely, that we human animals, and we alone, are constantly caught in ever-changing games of transgression and legislation. If I were to apply this transcendental method to the "health crisis" alone, on the basis of everything I know, I would write a book of at least ten thousand pages. I am trying, through the questions you ask, to get to the point. Look at what our governments are doing. Breaking the rules of the constitution. Breaking all the rules of democracy. Thousands of falsified patents.
Pharmacological contracts violating all the laws of medical ethics and parmacovigilance that have been accepted until now, starting with the Nuremberg Code. "Anarchy from above". "We are the real anarchists." Wearing the mask outside. "Social distancing. No meetings with more than six people. In France, the Academy of Medicine, which now wants to make the "vaccine" compulsory, has advised, during meals, to put back its mask after each bite, which amounts to making people totally crazy. The same "Academy" of charlatans has advised people not to talk in the subway, behind their masks (they would risk, sacrilege! to inform themselves a little against the media-politico-academic current....). In Canada, a country with a ridiculous "COVID" mortality rate, the equivalents of this "Academy" have prescribed people to have sex with masks. We can see people putting the mask on by themselves in their cars (make a rule). One swims in full dementia.
Well, the prison. I simply repeat what I said above: why is man, from being the animal susceptible to science, more and more incapable of establishing, on a global scale, perennial rules of civic coexistence? Why are the improvised "vaccines" of Pfizer, Moderna, Astrazeneca, etc., declared "legal" by a parliamentary putch - and even soon mandatory - while marijuana is not? Where are the worst criminals? In prison, or at the top of the State? This is a problem as old as humanity. As Deleuze said, philosophy is the art of asking questions well, not of giving peremptory answers. On the army, the police, the prison, etc., I don't have any "solutionist" answers to your questions. But I do have a novel way, called philosophy, of rephrasing the question: to ask it well.
And the question here is both immemorial and relatively new. Why is it that the animal susceptible to technological virtuosity and science is also the animal obliged to set up laws of civic coexistence that are not dictated by nature, like the other animals? This is the definition of freedom since Kant: I set myself a rule that does not exist in nature. But Kant did not see that this rule never comes entirely "from myself". It always comes from an Other who imposes it on me: getting dressed, for example. It becomes, as we say so well, a "second nature", where I impose myself daily to get dressed before going out (otherwise I would end up... in jail!). Here I wish David was still here, because I would ask him, who knows so much more about it than I do: but, even in any tribe of hunter-gatherers, aren't there rules of coexistence that we impose on each other in common that everyone accepts without being threatened with going to a prison that does not exist? Is this consensus created by the fact that these societies live closer to Nature than we do, and must therefore first advise the rules of their survival? What can we, today, take away for ourselves from these countless experiences of positive civic coexistence?
The concrete question today is: how could we so passively accept such absurd rules as those imposed on us for more than a year? How can you, New Yorkers, accept "containment", which all serious studies have shown to be strictly useless on an epidemiological level, when New York has been for so long one of the greatest cities of positive freedoms?
All of this, paradoxically, could prove to be an unprecedented opportunity for the worldwide revival of political anarchism. For the lesson of the "Covid crisis" is quite clear: governments don't want us well. States do not wish us well. Globalization does not wish us well. The big media don't want us well. Representative democracies do not wish us well. International organizations, like the WHO, do not wish us well. Anything that can deconstruct or destroy these large entities will be a good thing. In any case, we no longer have a choice. All these macro-organizations have demonstrated, through the treasures of coercion, manipulation and propaganda that they have deployed over the last year and a half, that they are there to do us as much harm as possible. In countries like Peru, Colombia, Chile or the Philippines, the situation is already politically atrocious, and it will be the same everywhere if the people do not react.
On this subject, Agamben has been talking for some time about "capitalo-communism", Chinese style. The diagnosis seems to me to be quite accurate. We will have the worst of capitalism (the maximum of power and wealth concentrated in the minimum of hands) and the worst of communism (the total alienation of our individual and collective positive liberties). So, in a way, this planetary cataclysm is "good" news for political anarchism, in that it reasonably appears as the only possible alternative to the terrifying system that is being set up. In France, the yellow vests, mostly (but not always) without realizing it, are the direct heirs of anarchism. Hope, in our country, will come from there. It is not by chance that the overwhelming majority of the yellow vests have very quickly understood what was at stake under the guise of a "health crisis", even though the overwhelming majority of the classical extreme left, to say nothing of the parliamentary left (I call it "the so-called rebellious France"), has completely embraced the Great Terror propagated by the media-government propaganda.
Nika Dubrovsky: We were told in school that political parties and elections are the foundation of our democracy, and that democracy is the foundation of prosperity and freedom. What is this story about when anarchists reject the state? With the polite excuse that he is from New York, David has never voted. New Yorkers always elect Democrats anyway.
Mehdi Belhaj Kacem: Well, I've already answered most of your questions. The myth of liberal and representative democracy is definitively dead with the "health crisis", which is the biggest political manipulation operation of all times. Many of us suspected that something was wrong with this model - that of liberal representative democracy -. At least things are now clear: there are no more "democracies" anywhere, there is only a globalist oligarchy that pulls all the strings of the governments and the media. This is what I call the "terminal stage of the pleonectic": when a handful of human beings, in addition to owning bank accounts worth hundreds of billions of Eurodollars, still want to appropriate not only the minds, but the bodies of the rest of humanity. We will witness the imposition of a new slavery if we do not react.
I am like David, I never voted. "Elections are a trap for assholes", we used to say in France in May 68. As for the American "democrats", I prefer to abstain from saying what I think of them.
Nika Dubrovsky: What might political life look like for a collection of singular individuals?
Mehdi Belhaj Kacem: To anarchism as it has always existed! I think every day of throwing away my computer and my smartphone, and of going to live in a ZAD: to flee the oligarcho-technological totalitarianism that is growing every day. Think of the kibbutzs... I suffer a lot from my loneliness, but the advantage of this so-called "health crisis" is that people are starting to talk to each other again on a local scale to resist the unprecedented totalitarianism that has been set up. I live in a village and, for the first time, I am talking to many of my neighbors. We are thinking of invading the town hall. Libertarian municipalism... There are many ways to act. The yellow vests are very active right now, and very often effective, but the mainstream media, of course, never talks about them... because their actions are very often directed against the mainstream media! And their lies are as big as houses.
The question of singularity, which is at the heart of my philosophical work, is too complex for me to address here as I should. I will content myself with a few broad lines: as Schopenhauer (the greatest name, in my opinion, of real "exit from metaphysics") said, only the human being individuates, the animal only characterizes itself. What does this mean? In my vocabulary, "singular" means exactly what Schopenhauer means by "individuation" (and, later, Simondon, who will see very well that "individuation" exists only for the animal captured by the technological device, namely us).
What to do at the time of the advent of the world techno-oligarchism gone mad? Resist, as much as possible, the ever-changing rules it imposes on us. Impose our own rules of civic coexistence that escape the dominant "model", which no longer even has a model but strategies of ever more advanced modeling of social engineering. Create tribes, villages, celebrate, make community. Not being afraid to die for freedom. "Freedom or death", "revolution or death": all these old anarchist slogans have become fully relevant again. I prefer to die free than to live as a slave, watched in my every move, prevented from moving and meeting people, "vaccinated" against my will, and soon to be directly dehumanized by a subcutaneous electronic chip. I would rather die in truth than live in a lie.
And, if one can no longer do any of that (go out, move around, meet others: simply live): write, as I am doing at the moment. Foucault already described very precisely how writing could be constituted as "self-creation" in the narrow margin of maneuver that his time already left to the subject constituted by the devices of knowledge/power. He had not seen our time...
For the time being, I am already part of those whose global oligarchic fascism has decided that they will be on the wrong side of the planetary apartheid that they want to set up. Of those that the transhumanists call the "useless". If the "vaccine" becomes compulsory, I won't be allowed to leave my house. I'm going to see, in Paris, next week, some very radical yellow vests to think about ways to act. So I can't tell you more for now about "collective action", beyond the vague indications I've given... In a video I made about the situation, I compared the current state of France to a "biopolitical Vichy". Well, we will undoubtedly have to come up with means of resistance comparable to those used during the period of Nazi occupation in France. I won't say more.
One thing is certain: we are in total war. The margin of maneuver left to us by the global oligarchic neo-fascism is very narrow. The enemy is not too difficult to define. What is difficult is to cross the delirious division that the system has introduced within the peoples themselves "COVID"-believers and "COVID"-skeptics, "vaccinated" and non-"vaccinated", pro-masks and anti-masks, pro-social distancing and anti... Here again, there are concrete strategies to be put in place. Here again, I won't say much more. Not everything can be spread out in the public square. I'm not afraid to go underground if I have to.
But, in short: whatever you can do to destroy the installation of this world totalitarianism, do it. Lies, manipulation, blackmail, corruption have reached a critical point of no return with the so-called "health crisis". Everyone, from where they are, must do everything possible with what they have. We are faced with powers that act outside any pre-existing legal framework. It is up to everyone to draw the necessary conclusions.
Nika Dubrovsky: Talk about God and the relationship between anarchism and metaphysics.
Mehdi Belhaj Kacem: Ah, I sensed in our talks with David and Assia that this question was "titillating" to you! Well, a few years ago I published a book called "God", which argued that the real meaning of the word "God", as long as it has been used (especially in its monotheistic guise), was technology. Almost nobody has talked about this book, and yet all the transhumanist theorists have taken up this idea since! Do I already have a chip in my brain? Are the Masters of the World aware of everything I've been thinking for years? Were we already in a planetary fascism whose "health crisis" only serves to reinforce the hold of several notches?
Since the invention of its concept, "God" has been an omniscient, omnipotent, immortal entity. However, contemporary technology satisfies all the requirements by which we define the word "God". On this point, the transhumanist oligarchs are in an ambivalence: yes, God is technology. But we control technology. Therefore, "we" are God. But we cannot all be "God". So: we are "gods" (paganism rather than monotheism: cyborg). Technology will allow us to be immortal tomorrow. So we have to sort out, and drastically: between those who have a "right" to immortality, who are, as if by chance, those who already have wealth, power and mass information (the pleonectic in a word), and those who only have a "right" to mortality: all of us ("we are the 99%" was a prophetic slogan, but in the sense this time of Vera Sharav...).
I am on the side of those who have a "right" to mortality. This is what I would have to say to Jean-Luc, Nancy by name, about the crisis we are going through (which is only called "sanitary" in the name of propaganda). I will develop all this in a more detailed book in the future, here I am answering you in a hurry, I am emptying my bag too full of information, a bit in bulk. Blanchot spoke of "literature and the right to death". And we must now make of this right a duty. The great philosopher David Bowie told me years ago: "Do something with your death. Don't leave it lying around. I will record my death. And he recorded it, it's his last record... David was already a convinced anti-transhumanist. "David", the name of the king of Israel, is a lucky name!
God is information. The human being is an informational and cognitive big-bang without equivalent in the rest of the living kingdom. No animal has a "knowledge" that exceeds that of the symbiosis of its senses with its environment. Kant and Schopenhauer said: they have understanding (the "knowledge" of the causal links that surround them), but no reason. Reason is that which goes beyond the immediate symbiotic environment. No animal species knows that it lives on a planet called earth. A Bengal tiger is unaware of the existence of a tiger in Africa. An ant farm is unaware of the ant farm that exists one kilometer away from it. Only the human animal, through science, knows that it inhabits a miraculous planet situated in a cosmic infinity of non-life; that it is part of a common animal species that extends to the whole planet (that is why I am a neo-humanist and anti-anti-speciesist); that it has seven billion fellow creatures...
God is this extraordinary explosion of information that circulates through our consciousnesses, but that only technology can store in its entirety in permanent expansion. No individual consciousness is as little as it is to the measure of all the knowledge that there would be to engross. And this is what the transhumanists believe they have "understood": if we could "increase" consciousness through technology, then we could give birth to real "incarnated" gods. I will show elsewhere how this is a fallacy.
The question that has been raised at the moment, for a year and a half, is quasi-theological, in the sense of the gnostics. Information, as everyone knows, is at war. The real "virus" is not the virulent flu that serves to terrorize all populations, but the adulterated information that the mass media and governments circulate about it. Yes, the question is quasi-theological. In the sense of an evil demiurge that would conceal from us the "real" God full of goodness and truth. For a year and a half, it is lies, shameless manipulation and evil that have taken over the overwhelming majority of information. This is the real "virus": that of falsification and mass terror.
This is a very complex question, which I ask in my work: what if the lie was more original than the truth? Let me explain: in order to manipulate other animals and nature, since the invention of hunting and agriculture, we have had to learn to be lying animals, to catch bears or mammoths in our diabolical traps. This is the question: what if madness was more original than the Reason glorified by the metaphysical tradition? I will soon write a book about it. If we saw a chimpanzee rubbing two flints, we would be terrified and would be tempted to shoot it. We would consider it "crazy".
In this sense, yes, madness is more original than the Reason glorified by metaphysics. And madness is not the Other of Reason, but, in a very precise sense, it is at the heart of reason itself: in the insane act by which the human animal has, as we say, surpassed its condition by the invention of Science. We know in our hearts what the Old Testament says: that technology and science are poisoned gifts. If we saw another species than ours capable of what I call "techno-mimetic virtuosity", we would rightly consider this species as extremely dangerous. At the end of the day, we are not fooled by ourselves.
The same goes for the sharing of lies and truth. In a sense, the human animal invented science thanks to its capacity to lure animals a thousand times more powerful than itself, thus thanks to lies. One could easily prove that the same is true of sexuality: man is the only mammal capable of manipulating his sexuality from beginning to end. Everything begins with manipulation: with the ability to appropriate the laws of nature in order to make a diverted, perverted use of them: what I call the pleonectic.
Heidegger reinvented the very notion of truth by revisiting the Greek notion of aletheia: that is to say that truth is always an inextricable mixture of veiling and unveiling, that is to say, of truth and lie. Schürmann will speak of "the conflictuality without agreement that is truth". Lacan will say that "nothing is incompatible with the truth: one spits in it, one pisses in it". Badiou will speak of truth as an incorporeal, indiscernible and infinite entity: the "sum" of all the statements that can be held as true and false about a given situation. Which means: we must rigorously distinguish the question of truth from that of knowledge. Badiou credits Heidegger with being the first to distinguish the two. But, in reality, you find this distinction stated very clearly in Plato's Theaetetus. Socrates, in this dialogue, says to his interlocutor: every Athenian citizen has knowledge. The mathematician has knowledge, the doctor has knowledge, the shoemaker has knowledge. He adds: I am not so much interested in knowledge (even if I get information), but in truth. Truth is what results from knowledge.
What does this mean? What Heidegger (who, indeed, has rediscovered the problem from top to bottom), Lacan, Schürmann or Badiou say. We, human animals, are beings of knowledge. We know how ontological forms work, by mathematics, we know how elementary particles work, by mathematized physics, we know how plants and animals work, by biology (and it started with agriculture and hunting...), we know how the precessions of the equinoxes work... we know, we know, we know. The question I ask is always the same: why don't we manage, as we appropriate all this knowledge, to know the most essential thing: how do we function ourselves? And it's going from bad to worse, as the "health crisis" has abundantly proven.
The more we advance in the conquest of knowledge, the less we understand how we function ourselves. This is the heart of the crisis of metaphysics initiated by Kant: "critique of pure reason" means: the autonomous Reason, it does not exist. Yes, we are, and only we, as metaphysics said at its beginning, beings endowed with reason. Hunting and agriculture: we instrumentalize the laws of Nature for a purely selfish benefit, what I call pleonectic. The more we instrumentalize, the more opaque we become to ourselves (what Freud called "the unconscious", and no other animal has an "unconscious"). But the "health crisis" marks an absolute point of no return on this issue. When it is corrupt governments, corrupt media, corrupt drug industries, that tell us what to say and what to do, then I think we are really touching, if you will pardon the expression, what we call "the end of metaphysics". And what we have to understand, both by "anarchy", in every sense of the word, and by "anarchism" in the political sense.
So you see that all this is linked: knowledge is not truth (Socrates, more honest than Plato, will die saying: "I know that I know nothing", and that is philosophy). When Heidegger tells you that truth is always a mixture of lies and knowledge (hunting, agriculture...), he says what all the great anthropologists of our time have said after him. When Lacan says to you, in answer to the question, "In what way are knowledge and truth compatible?", and he answers, as a very great dialectician: "To answer you as it comes to me, nothing is incompatible with truth: one spits in it, one pisses in it." Lying is compatible with truth: we see this perfectly well today. When Badiou makes a scheme - brilliant, and still too little studied today, except by me - of the "indiscernible truth" as being an infinite whole that "receives" without slackening the statements that are both true and false that can be received around the same situation, he only radicalizes Lacan's conception, which only radicalizes Heidegger's conception. And Schürmann, without understanding anything about Lacan or Badiou, will say: "the contradiction without agreement that is truth".
I radicalized all these conceptions by demonstrating that, in a precise sense, lies and falsification were the condition of truth. Truth is not the truthful or the exact (e.g. "the wall in front of me is green", "I live in a village called Turenne", "I write on a PC computer and not a Mac Intosh"). Truth is the war between the truthful and the exact, on the one hand, and the false and the lie, on the other. For example, for the last year and a half, we have been witnessing a pure and simple war between honest scientists and doctors, and corrupt scientists and doctors. The truth is the result of this war on a global scale. The truth is simply this war itself. And it is very naive to believe that it is not already a real war, and the most terrible one that has shaken humanity since its origins, which is obviously not an understatement. It is naïve not to see that this war, from now on, will be measured in billions of deaths.
The "three hundred and fifty million dead of the COVID" are only a deceptive front, which hides the greatest mass crime of all humanity. And behind this figure itself, there is undoubtedly a huge amount of lies. I have already told you about the "clever" confusion between deaths with "COVID" and deaths from "COVID". But the deception actually goes even further. Because even to be diagnosed with "COVID", you have to be tested. With what? With the famous "PCR tests". But these are pure fraud, instigated by a big-time charlatan, Professor Drosen, Merkel's chief "health" advisor. The "PCR tests" have already been condemned as outright fraud by courts in Portugal, Austria and Germany. As Reiner Fuellmich says, this is the strategic point of the whole case. If you show that the "PCR tests" are a scam, the whole chain of cards of the so-called "pandemic" collapses. It is estimated that up to 97% of false positives are due to these tests! I'll let you deduce the rest, and how this "COVID crisis" is the biggest mass manipulation to have been practiced in the history of humanity. For the record: Elon Musk took the "PCR test" four times in one day. The first time, it was positive. The second time, it was negative. The third time, it was positive.
The fourth time it was negative. All this would be burlesque, if the consequences had not been so tragic for billions of human beings. But this is why this fabricated "crisis" is a perfect illustration of the modern crisis of philosophy on the question of truth, as I explained to you above. In a sense, if we manage to react with all the necessary popular force, this "crisis of COVID" will have been a godsend: the lie wanted and concerted by the highest authorities of the power will have allowed us to enter the truth of these authorities. One can interpret my "lie is the condition of truth" in a thousand ways, including in this sense. The public mythomania of the "health crisis" will have revealed the profoundly mortifying truth of the political system we live in. In a way, we should be grateful for it.
Let us return, in the meantime, to my perhaps central question in philosophy: why is it that, as techno-science increases its powers (i.e. science and technology at the service of the most voracious pleonectic "animals" that make up our species, but that no longer consider themselves as human beings), politics becomes all the more... anarchic, there is no other word for it? Why does the "new world order", which is claimed everywhere in the propaganda of "science", give birth to the greatest planetary chaos we have ever witnessed?
Why is there decidedly no "transition", as metaphysics (Plato and Aristotle) once believed, between science and politics (especially, of course, when official "science" becomes unworthy of this appellation)? Why, as we become more capable of spelling out, through science, the order of inanimate and animate beings, are we all the more incapable of putting order in our civic coexistence? The question that my concept of pleonectic poses is: why, as we appropriate more and more the laws of being and of nature, do we create, in an exactly proportionate way, a monstrous regime of expropriation such as one has never seen on earth? And the "sanitary crisis" is the height of the height of this process. In a year and a half, we have witnessed the greatest transfer of wealth ever seen on earth, which is no mean feat.
The 3000 richest people in the world have become richer, the rest of humanity has become poorer, to the point of starvation, affecting 150,000,000 human beings to date, but the figure will increase dramatically tomorrow. Famine will be at our "Western" doorstep very soon. The transhumanists advance letter on table: humanity itself is to be deconstructed. It is, basically, an evolutionary cancer, which it is time, if not to eliminate, at least to prune drastically. To the benefit, of course, of them. How to deconstruct this pseudo-deconstruction? (There are many pseudo-understandings of the word "deconstruction" today, but I cannot stop there).
In the meantime, again, from all these considerations, you can better understand the deep affinity that exists between my three main definitions of the word "anarchy": the deconstruction of metaphysics is the dismantling of technology. The more technology claims to "govern" the world, the more it sinks into chaos.
I wonder more and more if Heidegger's judgement, which I have long disputed under the influence of Badiou (who is terribly "scientistic", like the transhumanists basically), was not right: "science does not think". Science calculates and observes. The domain of authentic science is knowledge: it is the truthful. Truth is something else. It is what escapes science. Scientists with integrity say the truthful, whatever their field. Let's leave the conflict between honest scientists and corrupt "scientists", between Didier Raoult and Jérôme Salomon, between Ioannidis and Dr. Fauci, between Master Reiner Fuellmish and Mr. Drosten (a decisive fight, which will decide the very future of humanity). The first tell the truth, the second lie. Philosophy is more important than science, because it examines the result of this intra-scientific conflict, which has been going on since the very origins of humanity. We must not worry any more about the "health crisis", this global sham "decided", blindly, by Bill Gates and Davos. We have to see the result of the "final solutions" proposed against the "virus" for a year and a half now.
And the result is overwhelming, announced by Agamben and especially recalled by Vera Sharav: from the moment you put the "doctor" in charge (in France, the greatest infectious disease specialist in the world, Didier Raoult, immediately resigned from the "scientific council" that was set up around our lamentable president of the republic), political atrocity is guaranteed. Here we are. "The vaccine is the final solution for the virus", said publicly the "world doctor" according to CNN, by name Bill Gates. Absolute evil is in the driver's seat, and I never in my life thought I would say that. The lie is King, but perhaps because of what I said: scientific truth itself, at bottom, probably owes more, originally, to lies than to truth. Nietzsche probably went crazy for having been the first to sense that the classical division of truth and lies was breaking down.
Nika Dubrovsky: You and David have talked a lot about the nature of evil. Why do people care about violence that doesn't directly affect them?
Mehdi Belhaj Kacem: Again, this is an eminently complex question! But I can give a simple answer: Evil is collectivization. Evil is forced universalization (colonialism, for example). Evil is the "simple" transition from science to politics. Or, for the last year and a half, from pseudo-science to politics... Evil is to say "since we can universalize the laws that govern animals, planets and elementary particles, we can universalize the rules of civic coexistence of the whole of humanity".
And it is exactly the opposite that takes place... That is what singularization is in my work: it is each of us individually, as we escape the rules of civic coexistence imposed by hierarchies of all kinds. Sometimes, we singularize ourselves collectively: the tribes of hunter-gatherers, the anarchists. They are almost always eliminated, exterminated. Adorno: "the history of humanity is not the history of the Good, but of horror". Humanity is the suicidal species (there were more suicides in the world in 2020 than "deaths of the COVID").
Humanity is the exterminating species. It is an insult to other species to say: "the global oligarchs are predators". A lion does not exterminate anyone, it kills a single deer to feed, it does not exterminate the species "deer". We have been exterminating in spades for 30,000 or 40,000 years. From now on, we exterminate ourselves. The sponsors: the transhumanists who own the world, the "champions" of the pleonectic. They openly think that they are gods, that they are the technological God who dominates everything. The rest: a sub-species that should at best be enslaved, at worst suppressed.
On this good basis, I answer the second part of your question, which is the question, in my work, of katharsis in art since Aristotle. Aristotle asked: "we take pleasure in contemplating the most exact images of things whose sight is painful to us in reality, like the forms of the most despised animals and corpses". This diagnosis, for me the most profound ever made in the history of art, has not been denied since: on the contrary, it has been constantly reinforced. Why do we take such pleasure, for example, in reading Sade, when, if it happened before our eyes, we would be justly horrified? A deeper question at the moment: why do we take so much pleasure in watching movies that describe a world close to the one we have been living in for the last year and a half, like the movie Infection or the well-named series Black Mirror, but that we obviously don't take any pleasure in suddenly living in the actual situation described by such a movie or series?
I have already answered, in a sense, the question. The lie is more original than the truth. The truth only comes through the lie. We lie to the ures and the mammoths to trap them. We have appropriated the laws of their functioning, to expropriate them from their lives. This is what the oligarchs, the governments, the GAFAMs, and the big media have been doing with us for the last year and a half, and probably much longer. "Charity begins at home," says a French proverb. Humanity being the exterminating species, there is no ultimate rational reason why it should not do the same with itself. New definitional fold you can give to the expression "anarchy from above"....
We are fascinated by images of evil because we believe that these images protect us from real evil. We are right. As long as these images are created by Sophocles or David Lynch, evil is kept at bay. But what happens when the images of evil are disseminated by governments, the mainstream media, etc.? Then there is no more distance. Evil is there. But precisely things are reversed, in a striking way: where the work of art puts Evil at a distance by showing us what is the real Evil, from Sophocles to Sade, dictatorships of all kinds hide the real Evil from us by constantly showing us a fictitious Evil (the "virus", the "Jew", the resuscitation beds, the truncated images of Brazil or India...). Basically, most people are "philosophers" in the wrong sense of the word: they believe more easily in abstractions (the media propaganda explaining that the only thing that exists is the "virus"), than in what they see around them: the destruction of their whole previous way of life: the great reset. The final solution of Davos. This is my fidelity to phenomenology on this point, as I revisited it above: to judge a situation, start from what you personally suffer, and not from what the powers that be present to you as the "public good. You will see much more clearly in the general situation itself than if you start from what the consensus of the moment says.
My definition of Evil is liminal: it is the creation of innumerable, immeasurable and gratuitous sufferings, not necessary for strictly animal needs. Only the human animal is susceptible to such creation. Philosophers such as Adorno, Anders, Schürmann or Lacoue-Labarthe have been able to sound the alarm, "why do we inflict such suffering on such a scale?", but nothing has been done: what we are experiencing now is even worse than what happened under Nazism, Stalinism or pol-potism.
Everyone will be aware of this very soon: unfortunately, and as usual, probably when it will be too late, when the atrocity will be visibly on our doorstep. This is why the few people who are already awake must fight with all their strength, to the death if necessary, so that the worst does not come to pass with impunity. As the mathematician Vincent Pavent, who refuted the absurd models of another notorious swindler, Niels Ferguson, on which our French President of the Republic, and many others in the world, based himself to decree the absurd "containment", says: it is a fight to the death between the truth and the lie (between the truthful and the untruthful, in my terms). Those who lied from the beginning are now in a desperate flight forward, a criminal, not to say genocidal, overkill. Those who defend the truthful at all costs, and therefore the truth in the new sense in which I define it, know that they will be defamed, persecuted, perhaps eliminated. So much the worse.
I am very proud of the definition I give, in Système du pléonectique, of sadness: "Truths always win. Almost never those who defend them." The new hegemony, in Schürmann's sense, which is organized around the "pandemic"-oligarchy-government-mass media-transhumanism complex, will collapse sooner or later, like all the others. The question that people like Schürmann or me are asking is: when will we finally learn the lessons of the large-scale massacre that almost single-handedly defines humanity since its birth (much more than "rationality"...).
Nika Dubrovsky: What does "technological totalitarianism" mean and how can it be stopped? Is it possible?
Mehdi Belhaj Kacem: I've already answered this question a little bit, but we can go deeper, following up on what I've just said. They will be like variations on an already familiar musical theme.
Malabou is right to say that no one, not even Kant, has "decided" the deconstruction of metaphysics. It is a process immanent to its history. Metaphysics is immunodeficient. If my hypothesis is right, and that the phenomenological name, the name of the "effectiveness" of the deconstruction of metaphysics, is the dismantling of technology, and that in its turn the effective name of this dismantling is political life, then the observation is obvious: we are already in anarchy. The current moment of "technological totalitarianism", the "health crisis" commanded by megalomaniac and psychopathic oligarchs, relayed by governments, hyper-controlled mass media and corrupt "science", is giving birth to the opposite of what it expected: not a "new world order", but a new world disorder, a war on a planetary scale such as has never been seen before.
But it has always been like that. All the prophecies of metaphysics have come true, and failed. Plato's Republic took more than two millennia to come true; I don't think Plato would have been satisfied with the result. Descartes announced the reign of "man as master and possessor of nature": I don't think he would have been too happy with the result. Hegel announced the democratic and universal rule of law, the reality of which was the progressivism of liberal-bourgeois democracy for the last two centuries: I don't think he would have jumped up and down when he saw the result, especially today. Marx is even more obvious. Nietzsche would not have been very happy about what the Nazis did with it, and I think he would be even less happy to see that the core of his theses on the "superman" are taken up by today's rightful people: the apartheid of technological "transhumans" and planetary "subhumans", exterminated by more underhanded, but more rapidly efficient, means than those of Nazism.
Nietzsche is my favorite opponent in philosophy, for this and other reasons. But let us credit him with this: he was the first great anti-universalist philosopher in the history of philosophy. Metaphysics, universalism, technology: these concepts intersect with one and the same phenomenon, that of the advent, effectively "totalitarian", of the Cro-Magnon animal species 30,000 or 40,000 years ago.
First, there were the great anti-universalist philosophers of the "right", even fascist: Nietzsche, Heidegger in particular, but also Wittgenstein (with some fascist tendencies). In France, there has been a "left" anti-universalism: Derrida, Deleuze, Foucault. There is a revival, as I have shown, of positive universalism recently with Badiou, Zizek or Meillassoux (the "materialists"). As I have shown, it can no longer work.
But this is where the circle is vicious. It is that even the "deconstruction of metaphysics", it is doomed to work by failing. It is in abyss. The "self-deconstruction of metaphysics" of which Malabou lucidly speaks, is perhaps simply the self-suppression of the human species as such: a simple evolutionary impasse, except that it risks bringing with it the disappearance of almost all the living on earth.
By transgressing all the rules of simple animal survival, the human species has simply spent its time (and the "history of metaphysics" would be nothing else) weaving the rope to hang itself. It is the suicidal species. Only the human animal commits suicide (even if there is a doubt about whales and orcas). And it does not commit suicide only individually. It commits suicide collectively (and here, there is no more doubt with whales and orcas: they do not commit suicide collectively, as we are doing).
I found another track than the great modern flow of the anti-universalist philosophy. My work has been nourished above all by philosophers who are a bit "cursed", little known, who were negative philosophers. Adorno, Schürmann and Lacoue-Labarthe, haunted by the atrocities that were perpetrated in the twentieth century: in particular Auschwitz.
I deduced this: one cannot simply be "anti-universalist". Universalism is our innate element. I wouldn't be talking to you right now if it weren't for this element of universality that unifies us globally as a species, with all the prices we know. An anthropologist could not go and study an Amazonian tribe without this minimum of universality that links him to it. The universal is the "innate" element of the technological animal (techno-mimetic, as I like to say).
Negative universalism, therefore: this is my way. What I demonstrate in my work is that there would be no singularization of each of us if we did not belong to the positive universal revealed by science: "the square of the hypotenuse is equal to the sum of the squares of the other two sides", "oviparity is a reproductive strategy of a species where the egg maturing within the female is then reproduced as an egg", while mammals "are a class of vertebrate animals whose main characteristic is that the female representatives suckle their young from a specialized cutaneous-glandular secretion called "milk"", "the precession of the equinoxes is the progressive shift of the direction in which the stars are seen, from one century to the next, at the rate of a complete rotation, every 26. 000 years, effect produced by a slow change of direction of the axis of the direction of the Earth, in the same duration"): millions and millions of laws of the nature and of the being have thus been appropriated by the science during our short history. The "human phenomenon", as the good Father Teilhard de Chardin used to say? A cognitive big-bang without equivalent in the history of evolution. We are supposed to know "everything".
None of us, especially not those who manipulate us (the oligarchs), dominate us (the governments) and "inform" us (the mass media), none of us, I say, knows everything. It has become materially impossible, because it always has been (Debord, with his own means, noticed strictly the same thing: the mass of information available in the hands of power is constantly growing, but there is nobody who can singularly go around it). This is what Lacan meant when he said: I always tell the truth, but not everything. To say it all is materially impossible.
Science tells us everything about how everything works, from the planets to the elementary particles to the animals other than ourselves and to logic. "We" are supposed to "know" everything. And none of us, in order to run our concrete daily lives, knows anything. Each of us, in his own way, escapes the categorizations that these universal laws impose on the being, what in philosophy we call: subsumption. To subject a particular case to the universal law of the scientific concept.
As this does not work, we have long since also invented laws that were not found in nature and in being: political and civic laws that are also counted in millions. As any anthropologist knows, these are already laws of singularization.
This is what Schopenhauer means when he speaks of the difference between characterization and individuation. There have been millions and millions of animal species on earth, of an extraordinary variety between them. But none of them is capable of differentiating within itself as the human species presents differences within itself.
This is what my work brings to the "philosophies of difference" of the twentieth century, so willingly "anarchistic": I demonstrate, in a quasi-mathematical way, that the capacity that human animality has to appropriate the differences of the other beings leads to a capacity to differentiate itself that no other being knows. I could call it the ontological "queer". Proof moreover that the human species, by its almost unlimited capacity to singularize itself, is in some way intrinsically "anarchist".
Nika Dubrovsky: Tell us about technology and the destruction of metaphysics. Maybe a short sentence or two about Descartes and Leibniz?
Mehdi Belhaj Kacem: I have already answered about Descartes. As for Leibniz, he is a kind of prophet of "transhumanism": God is a Great Computer. Here again, it is not certain that, if he were to be resurrected, he would be overly happy about the "realization" of God that GAFAM and Big Data are in the process of bringing about, not to mention the hygienic delirium of Bill Gates and the great reset programmed by what Reiner Fuellmich called the "Davos clique.
Here again, the result is anything but the expected impeccable order, but a nameless chaos: a real information war, for example at the moment on the "health crisis", with an unprecedented censorship ("never was censorship so perfect", Debord already said of the "society of the spectacle" thirty-five years ago, when there was no Internet): a merciless war between the truthful and the untruthful, which gives this "conflictuality without agreement that is truth". If one has a little historical memory, it is appropriate to ask oneself a simple question in order to choose one's side in the current war: generally speaking, are the persecutors the ones who tell the truth? Or is it the persecuted? Think about it.
Right now, are the hundreds of thousands of doctors with integrity, who risk their careers, telling the truth, or are they the doctors you see on TV? Answer this question, and then make deductions to match. Because that's how it is. The truth is what results from the conflict between the truthful and the untruthful. You have doctors, quite late in the discussion, apart from a few patent collabos (in France: Jérôme Salomon, Karine Bertrand, people who deserve the gallows), who say: "the vaccine is the only solution! Yes, there is a world pandemic!
Others say: "there are early treatments, and the "pandemic" is a myth, containment is useless". The former have been lying shamelessly since the beginning, the latter have been telling the truth since the beginning. The philosopher's business, on these good bases, is the truth, that is to say what results from all this. And the result, after a year and a half of media-government propaganda insulting human intelligence, is not pretty.
On the destruction of metaphysics and technology, I have already answered abundantly. But ask yourself this time this question: if the human being is the suicidal animal, isn't technology the global name of this suicide? Is it not this atrocious spectacle (to return to the question of "art", that is to say of representation) that we are witnessing? In an interview book with Jean-Luc Nancy, he said to me, at one point: but is it so serious that the human species is disappearing? I said to him (I leave it to the curious to pick up the thread of our arguments in this book of interviews on sexuality, which is called Immortal finitude): but then, do you mean that technology is the suicide of life? He answered in the affirmative.
So I come back to the debate I mentioned above between him and Agamben: if the "health crisis" is an opportunity to experience anew our community of exposure to death and finitude (but orchestrated by whom...?), must we accept the conditions that powers of all kinds (oligarchs, governments, mass media, corrupt doctors, etc.) impose on this community?
But, "against" Agamben, I restate a question that I have already raised: certainly, his "prophecy" has definitely been fulfilled: the state of exception has become the rule. But what reveals itself to us is the fact that humanity has always been a state of exception, through science and technology, to the pleonectic "weak" rules of the rest of the animal kingdom without... exception? Namely: animals have limited capacities of appropriation (predation and grazing, in particular). We are the species of unlimited appropriation. That is the pleonectic.
So, question to Jean-Luc, Nancy by name: what should we do if it turns out that globalized "containment" causes infinitely more deaths than the "virus"? What if the "vaccines" turned out to be a "remedy" even worse than the evil they were supposed to fight? And what if this "virus" story took us back to the darkest pages of our history, as Vera Sharav has shown, and as Jean-Luc himself has masterfully demonstrated, with Philippe Lacoue-Labarthe, in a book called Le mythe nazi, which I recommend to everyone. I proposed to Jean-Luc to write together, as he had done with Lacoue-Labarthe, a book that would be called Le mythe transhumaniste. But it would take a lot of courage today to do that. That is to say, a literally warlike exposure to death. And I hasten to clarify the essential: it is not to Nancy, Jean-Luc, of the first name, that I throw the stone, but first to myself. For the last two and a half years, I have hardly written, and for the last year, I have been silent about the "health crisis". It was you, Nika, who pushed me to express myself on this for the first time. And, as you can see, I've got a lot on my plate.
I will conclude on a different variation of the question. I admire Spinoza immensely, like everyone else, but deep down I have always disagreed with him. I cannot, of course, summarize this disagreement in a few lines, but I can point to a subject that interests us, which is precisely the question of the... subject. Spinoza says: "it's an empire within an empire", it doesn't exist. Why is that? Because Spinoza is a philosopher of Nature. He believes, basically, only in power relations (that's why Schopenhauer rightly considered his philosophy "immoral"). I think that Spinoza - perhaps the greatest metaphysician in the entire history of philosophy - would, more than in his turn, if he were to come back among us, retract his statement: the subject, not in the individual sense but in the global sense of the human species, is indeed an "empire within an empire". Ecological suicide, which is to the "virus" what a forest fire is to a spark, proves this by the absurd. For example, while discussing with Bernard Stiegler, I asked him: okay, the "subject" (individual, from Descartes to Husserl) has been "deconstructed". But isn't there anything left of it?
And I put to him the question of the inflation of autism in our so-called "advanced" civilizations (in what way? No one knows). He answered me, quite pertinently, that he was witnessing the inflation of child autism due to technology, especially smartphones: he was working directly on these issues. The leaders of GAFAM want everyone to use their tools, but they send their children to private schools where there are no GAFAMs. They too are singling themselves out, "from above". The problem is that they are singling us out "from below", by laying down universal rules of perfect "sanitary", economic, political, psychological and other absurdities. Evil passes for Good, lies for truth, transgression for legislation.
I learn something from this, which is in its infancy, but valuable: I become almost "Manichean". And I attribute this to the fact that I have done the opposite of what most professional philosophers do: I have essentially worked on the question of Evil, not of Good. I have always considered, in reading the whole tradition that goes from Plato to Badiou through Saint Thomas and Descartes, that the question of the Good was very confused, which permeates even the smallest of our daily acts. The question "What is good? What is evil?" is obscured by the simplification of the question by metaphysics: "What is good, and only good?" The answer is always "prescriptive," as Badiou says: one must do this, one must do that.
All my work is a pure and simple demolition of this immemorial way of proceeding in philosophy. What the so-called "health crisis" has made me understand is that, indeed, my work was necessary and salutary: we must first identify where the Evil is before speaking of "Good". Good only emerges in the light of Evil, namely the billions of unnecessary sufferings that we inflict on ourselves on a planetary scale. Dismantle the mechanism of Evil, and you will have a small idea of what Good is. You must not proceed in the opposite direction: define, in a unilateral way, what is Good, and then say that Evil is that which does not obey the prescriptions that you deliver without counting the cost so that the Universal Good happens.
It is precisely this procedure that gives Evil on a large scale (pleonasm...). Each time, you have to start from the singular cases. What is it that makes me evil? Is it the "COVID", or is it the "anti-COVID measures"? We must start from the singular to go towards the universal, and not the opposite. When the universal has become the criminal organization WHO and the mentally retarded Bill Gates, you at least know where you stand: the worst. As Rabbi Weismann says: no tyranny comes to you and says: "we want you gone". It always comes to you saying it wants you to be well.
Today, the "virus" makes us all autistic. Personally, I've been "autistic" for twenty years: I've been trying to protect myself from society, from the media, from social networks, and from who knows what else. Schizophrenia, paranoia, autism, Alzheimer's, dyslexia, aphasia, anorexia... all these singular phenomena only happen to the human species. Why does this happen? My work provides broad answers to this question, but I will explore them further in the book on madness that I plan to write soon.
But my own tiny case proves that there is no way out: I wanted to resist positive universalism, "globalization", mass media propaganda, just about everything. I failed. But, in this failure, I singled myself out. It is not "against", but thanks to these frightening powers of "technology as self-destruction of metaphysics", that I have singled myself out. Schürmann's whole point, which thwarts all "dialectic", is there. It is a philosophy that is still extremely little understood today. It's a pity, given what's happening to us. Hence my break with Badiou, which "completes" the "health crisis" we are in: there is no longer any "positive universal" ("the vaccine for all!"): all hegemonies are broken and will continue to be broken.
It was either Badiou or Schürmann. I understood that the truth of our time was on Schürmann's side (he says somewhere roughly: "the critical philosopher is incapable of assuming the pose of the philosopher-King"), not Badiou's grand prescriptions ("communism!"). As both Nancy and Graeber (and now Agamben) say: communism is already here, technologically organized by "social networks" (tomorrow it will be something else). I strongly suspect Badiou and Zizek to envy Gates and Schwab, as they envied Mao and Stalin... the great Helmsman who dictates everything... Problem, and here Heidegger had refuted them in advance with what he understood from his misunderstanding of Nazism: today, only the one who controls technology "controls everything". Certainly not a professional philosopher, who is even incapable of organizing armed resistance when it is necessary, at the time when it is necessary: Vichy or ours.
But, as Badiou himself taught us, the Whole does not exist, and especially not in the anthropological enclosure. Any totalization is a "phantasm", as Schürmann says. Any hegemony has for destiny to be broken. The question of political anarchism must be only this: under what conditions are we going to perpetuate the inescapable hold of science and technology on our lives? Can we think of a "non-totalitarian" use of science and technology? This is the aporetic question that "anarchy" in the broad sense poses to us.
I think I have now made it clear why I am an "anarchist", literally and in every sense. When the message of Jesus, "I am the resurrection and the life" is taken up by a commodity, the "vaccine", it means that the situation is very serious, and that we are indeed in anarchy, in the broad sense that we have covered so far.
Nika Dubrovsky: Let's talk about the difference between "game" and "play"? Do you have a story about making up the rules for a new game? How do you make up the rules if we don't have One Big Rule anymore? Is it freedom? Or does it mean that we are abundant and never safe and happy?
Mehdi Belhaj Kacem: Ouch, I have a headache! There are too many questions at the same time! Let's try to proceed in order.
The distinction between "game" and "play" fascinated me in our discussions with David, because it does not exist in French. The "game" is a game whose rules are fixed once and for all. The "play" is a game whose rules do not pre-exist the game itself, and are therefore constantly changing. The answer is "simple" in relation to the present situation: to thwart the constantly changing rules of the game that the current regimes of exception impose on us. It is clearly the "play" against the "game". Every day the system imposes on us new coercive rules of the social game. Every day we will have to thwart them.
It is far from being won. For months now, knowing what I know, I have refused in advance to be "vaccinated" by experimental gene therapies. And I'm not telling you anything about the "vaccine passport": six months ago, when we said there would be a "vaccine passport", everyone called you a "conspiracy theorist". And now the "vaccine passport" has arrived, under a more attractive name, the "health pass". There is a joke on the Internet that I like: "What is the difference between a conspiracy theory and the truth? Between six and twelve months...". Another joke I like: "What is the difference between a conspiracy theorist and a genius? A genius is one step ahead. A conspiracist is two steps ahead. Everything the "conspiracists" of "COVID" have announced for the past year has come true, systematically, relentlessly.
Here we touch on one of the key points of what Debord described in his Commentaries on the Society of the Spectacle: one of its greatest victories over the average citizen is the total destruction of logic in his brain. People may have common sense, but the simple fact of being in constant contact with the mass media means that they are no longer able to establish continuity between what they are told one day and what they are told the next. The government tells them this one day? They do it. The next day, that? They do it too. They are like sheep, like battery chickens. "The French are calves," said General de Gaulle. Always the illusion to train humanity as we trained, then exterminated, the mammoths or the ures. It does not work and will never work. The revolt is now a duty, a "categorical imperative" in the sense of Kant, because, if we let them, they will exterminate billions of human beings. And this is what they are already doing, in the name of a slightly virulent flu, of which the official figures tell us that 99.85% of us will escape. Or would have escaped if it hadn't been for the "vaccine"... Astrazeneca? Thousands of deaths in England alone.
Hundreds of thousands of serious neurological effects. Hundreds of visual problems just as serious, and already fifty blind people counted. 63 children between 0 and 3 years old died after the injection. All this to save from a slightly virulent seasonal flu... As the Israeli resistance fighter Rabbi Weissman says, in all simplicity: the Israeli government lied about the seasonal flu, that is to say that there were no cases of seasonal flu in 2019-2020. In France, we were told almost the same thing: 7 deaths from seasonal flu 2019-20. It's been decades since seasonal flu has caused 20,000 to 30,000 deaths a year in France. Where did they go this year? The answer is obvious: classified as "COVID". And, as Rabbi Weismann says again, if they are lying about that, they are lying about absolutely everything. And this is what the governments of almost the entire world have done. We have been lied to about absolutely everything for the last year and a half. What can philosophy deduce from this negative "event"? This is a very large question. We must admit that, if the situation is dramatic, as perhaps never before in our history, it is intellectually exciting.
For the last year and a half, we have all been playing an extremely perverse game, imposed by the neo-totalitarianism present "day by day": they play with us, with our souls and with our bodies. I cannot, in these conditions, propose a "new game", because by definition a game is played by several people, and therefore collectively sets its own rules, for example a new anarchist community. I will see in a few days with the radical yellow vest groups what we can do. It seems that we are condemned to be only reactive to the present neo-totalitarianism, but maybe we will find a way to be collectively proactive and invent a "new game".
I would like to take this opportunity to say that, since we did the interview with David, I fully subscribe to his assertion that true thinking is dialogical. The proof: this is the first time in two and a half years that I have written anything substantial since my System of the Pleonectic. I have been suffering a lot from my solitude for more than two years but I don't want to be satisfied with the fake communities of social networks. I need to connect, think and act with real communities. The laws of exception that have been imposed on us for a year now have the ultimate goal of making any real community impossible. The new tyrants want us to have relationships only under their digital control. The community has become, as such, revolutionary.
As you can see, I've gone off in all directions. I have repeated myself a little, because I write as if in the midst of a catastrophe, of a bombardment. But if I have, in relation to what is happening to us, an absolute conviction, it is indeed this one. Community against transhumanism, such is my "political philosophy".