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Traditional social theory begins with ―the individual‖ taken from an ontogenetic standpoint – almost as if that ―individual‖ could exist independently of the species and indeed of the environment with which the species interacts. It is understandable, then, why the passage from individual to society is so fraught with antinomies and antitheses and contradictions – and why theories aimed at filling this hiatus must necessarily be ―transcendentalist‖ because they must posit a ―social contract‖ that is the pro-duct of an idealistic interest – a ―reason‖ or a ―spirit‖ or a ―freedom‖ – that is shared by all ―in-dividuals‖ and that allows them to co-exist. Social contract theories and rationalist theories of ―society‖ start from the building bloc of in -dividuum. Yet this notion of in-dividuum is itself a concept that depends on a division of social labour so extensive, so ―specialized‖, that it is possible to think and conceive of the ―individual‖ as independent of ―society‖! It is the very ―a -tomisation‖ of social life operated by Christian-bourgeois society that permits the ab-straction of human beings from their ―being human‖! All previous social theory begins with the ―in-dividuum‖ and conveniently forgets that it is a pure fiction created by a particular type of society – and specifically by Christian-bourgeois society with its religious notion of ―soul‖ and its related socio -economic one of ―property rights‖ that then extend to ―political and human rights‖. What we are seeking to do here is to develop an ―immanentist‖ approach to social theory that takes a phylogenetic approach to society and its ―members‖ – an approach that treats ―human beings‖ as ―aspects of being human‖. We are trying to reset the building blocs of social analysis starting not from the in-dividuum but rather from the ―fact‖ of ―species -being‖ – just as great theoreticians did, albeit inconsistently, like Marx with the concept of Gattungswesen, Nietzsche with the ―ontogeny of thought,‖ and Hegel with the dialectic of self-consciousness‖.
This lengthy quotation from Werner Jaeger’s Paideia (Vol.3) contains many of the themes that we have discussed over the role of the Logos between poiesis and techne’ in connection with Nietzsche.
RHETORIC AND CULTURE 61
More than any other sphere of life, the art of oratory resists the effort of systematic reason to reduce all individual facts to a number of established schemata, basic forms. In the realm of logic Plato calls these basic forms the Ideas. As we have seen, he took this three-dimensional mode of describing them from contemporary medical science, and applied it to the analysis of Being. In rhetoric we can see the same process in operation at the same time, though we cannot definitely say that it was directly influenced by Plato's use of the term idea. Medicine and rhetoric were by their very nature the spheres in which this conception of basic forms or Ideas could be developed—for medicine reduces a number of apparently different physiological
and rhetoric likewise simplifies what seem to be separate and distinct political or legal situations. it must not stop short at that. The essence of both skills is to analyse the individual case into its general aspects.60 Isocrates of course does not by any means reject the doctrine of a rhetorical system of Ideas. so as to make it easier to treat in practice. But oratory which knew no more than these forms would be as sounding brass and a tinkling cymbal. and the same analogy. Though it dare not dispense with technical skill. The comparison of these general patterns to the letters of the alphabet here.62 62 ISOCRATES In a word. oratory is imaginative literary creation. his writings show that he largely adopted that doctrine. The letters of the alphabet.63 Just as the sophists had believed themselves to be the true successors of the poets. a kairos. In fact. 59 In science too. and its highest law is that it should be wholly appropriate. the 'elements' which make up physical nature were first called by that name in the same period. whose full and rich complexity can be brought under no rigid rule. and thus the meaning of each of the apparently manifold shapes is recognized.events to a few fundamental types. and that he took as the foundation of his own teaching the mastery of the basic forms of oratory. are the most complete contrast to the fluid and manifold situations of human life. drawn from language and the letters of the alphabet.61 Perfect eloquence must be the individual expression of a single critical moment. immovable and unchangeable. lies behind it. and later in Plato—was obvious enough. whose special art they had transferred . Only by observing these two rules can it succeed in being new and original. The act of reading is just the same as that of political or forensic or medical diagnosis: a large number of variously assembled shapes are reduced to a limited number of basic 'elements'.
ea ipsa. Throughout his speeches the influence of this point of view can be traced. he is deliberately emulating what the Greeks conceived to be the educational function of the poets of old. only the technical aspects of communication can be the subject of political analysis and action.which is all that does and can matter for our being human -. This is the ―technical‖ side of the Logos. creator) side of the social synthesis. Giorgio Colli.into prose. These aspects correspond to the ―executive‖ or administrative and bureaucratic side of social life. and the latter serves the artistic needs. La Nascita della Filosofia). they allow human beings to co-ordinate their actions and to fulfil their human potential as members of the species. is by definition in-communicable. The very fact that the Sophists reduced the dialectical method that long pre-dates the Platonic dialogues (themselves a written version of spoken Socratic dialectics) from a dia-logue (thesis and anti-thesis) over a specific theoretical topic aimed at ―the truth‖ to a ―public address‖ aimed at swaying ―public opinion‖ is testimony to the changing political role of techne’ and poiesis in the life of the Greek city-states. The other aspect is the ―poetic‖ one that elevates communication from the realm of technique to that of creation or innovation or decision-making authority. ―creative‖ or ―authoritative‖ (from the Latin auctor. the more he needs the prestige of poetry to set off his spiritual aims. so Isocrates too feels that he is continuing the poets' work. More than that: the position and prestige of the orator are determined by this parallel with the poet. while the hortative speech follows the model of the protreptic elegy and the didactic epic. initiator. ineffable. Poiesis itself can exist only for the in-dividual – because poiesis as such. And. and then even by means of prepared written public addresses and manifestoes (appropriately called ―propaganda‖) rather than by verbal extemporizing (see on all this. The new vocation must support itself on an old and firmly-established one. The panegyric on a great man is adapted from the hymn. where political orators were now called on to persuade assembled crowds rather than individual debaters. . author. The former role tends to the ―need -necessities‖ of social life. From the viewpoint of the social synthesis. His comparison between rhetoric and poetry is far more than a passing epigram. Isocrates copies even the order of his ideas from the well-established traditional order which was a rule in each of the corresponding poetic genera. and even in the educational spirit by which his rhetoric is inspired. The less Isocrates hopes or wishes to succeed as a practical statesman. One aspect of logic and science as ―languages‖ or systems of symbols is that they make possible ―the social synthesis‖ – that is to say. and take its standards therefrom. in these types. whilst the poetic role is invariably invoked to describe and rationalise the decisional and initiating. therefore . and taking over the function which until a short time before him they had fulfilled in the life of his nation.
the more open to democratic control it grows precisely because. with the ―idealization‖ of existence and its being a ―copy‖ of the world of Ideas – in short. (a) the ―decision‖ is never and can never be a ―technical‖ matter. In other words.and therefore in effect. For Isocrates. open to democratic scrutiny because the ―decisive‖ aspect recedes.) Because both Nietzsche and Weber start with language as mere symbolic ―exchange between in-dividuals‖. (Lowith. however much they may end u p denouncing this ―rationalization and disenchantment of the world‖. By failing to identify the exact political forces that have led to and constitute this ―rationalization‖. By contrast. Nietzsche seeks to overcome the very cleavage between poiesis and techne’ that had been introduced by the Logos. and runs parallel to the Demokratisierung: the more that the division of social labour reduces the provision of human needs to techne’ or routine – to ―bureaucracy‖ -. it is the very committal of ideas to the written form that ―democratizes‖ them – which is why he must then insist on ―imaginative‖ literature to preserve the poetic ―aura‖ of the rhetorician. by treating the two as opposites.38 He is the man who has the sure judgment to pick the right quantity for everyone. for the kairos of seizing the moment to sway the audience. but rather with the phylogenetic unity of human being. with the reduction of individual experience to ―technique‖ by means of the ―crystallization and coagulation‖ of human communication to achieve this social synthesis. This is befuddling because it is quite obvious that the more ―technical‖ and ―specialized‖ a process becomes. yet he does so by simply denigrating techne’. by reducing the social synthesis as such (tout court) to reification as against the ―authenticity‖ of poiesis . and ―socialization‖ as the rational settlement of conflict again ―between in-dividuals‖. and (b) decisions based on more complex ―technicalities‖ become more. Thus for Weber. a bureaucrat. just as Weber’s Rationalisierung and Kalkulation will do years later. the greater becomes the accessibility of information required for the reproduction of society (the Kalkulation).Nietzsche’s quarrel with the ―scientific‖ and dialectical Socrates (and Platonism.into a matter of ―feeling‖ or aesthesis. but rather into its opposite . for whom bureaucracy was paramount in understanding all developed societies (not just capitalist ones). as Weber himself (and even Isocrates!) would most certainly agree. the former. is wrong to claim that for Marx also there is a ―self alienation of man‖ through the ―reification‖ of commodities – because if ―alienation‖ is simply the ―self-alienation of [abstract] Man‖. both Nietzsche and Weber commit the mistake of asserting that ―things‖ have power over human beings. the conflict of individual needs. Yet just as for Isocrates. surprisingly. Yet both Isocrates and Weber attempt to turn even decision-making that is assisted by acute technical skill and information. as Jaeger insightfully explains in connection with the Greek medical ―profession‖: The real doctor is recognized by his power to estimate what is appropriate for each individual case. then clearly it is only ―things‖ or commodities and not some men and women that can ―govern‖ this supposed self-alienation and impose it over other human beings. not less. he clearly ends up ―reifying‖ or hypostatizing all human communication and the social synthesis. for the apparent and the tragic. Politik als Beruf).) Similarly. his elevation of the Sophists is based on their preference for the ―earthly‖ and the ―real‖. for him this only leads to the dependence of the decision-making hierarchy on a few charismatic leaders that can sway ―the masses‖ with their extraordinary ―poetic‖ or ―charismatic‖ powers. and Christianity as ―Platonism for the masses‖) starts with this ―formulation‖ of life. not into a truly participatory democratic process. and why for him as for Plato the rhetorician and the philosopher take ―poetical‖ precedence to the ―practical man‖ or ―technician‖ or ―specialist‖ or ―statesman‖ – in all cases. it is the very ―specialization‖ that requires the centralization of decision -making power. There . (Cicero’s De Oratore offers a similar elevation of the mystique of oratory in Romano-Hellenic society. neither of them manages to realise that both communication and the division of social labour begin not with ―in-dividuals‖ (the sociological equivalent of a-toms in chemistry). too. in Weber. as in the American mass parties (cf. the Sozialisierung is a product of ―the iron cage‖.
and he who makes only a small one now and then is indeed a master of his calling. The name demiourgos vividly brings together the two sides of the doctor's profession—its social and its technical . erecting a barrier between the Ubermensch and ―the herd‖. of science and art. and thence a person not initiated into professional secrets. the politics of ―responsibility‖. and the Individualitat of the charismatic leader or ―hero‖ with his leitender Geist. originating in the mediaeval church. Nietzsche’s own ―intuitive man‖ or ―aesthetic man‖ – the individual who possesses this ―aesthesis‖ or ―feeling‖. of false necessity and freedom. Most doctors are like bad pilots. a 'public worker'—as indeed every artisan was called who made shoes or utensils for the public. but actually and actively causes one! There is an element of ―initiation‖ or mysticism leading to authoritarianism in all this that Jaeger also identifies with truly astounding acumen when he describes the process whereby the Greek medical ―profession‖ and its demiourgoi sought to turn itself into a select dictatorship of quasi-religious or charismatic leaders distinct from the demotai or idiotes: Our word 'layman'. Equally. but in a bad storm everyone sees that they are useless. first meant a person not in holy orders. the political equivalent of this medical ―storm‖. by being called 'the people' (demotai). Nietzsche’s political orientation is exquisitely ―aristocratic‖. or even the Ubermensch – is clearly the precursor of Weber’s ―charismatic leader‖. but in bad weather he needs to rise up to poiesis or virtue (arete’). in Weber the dualism is between the ―soullessness‖ of the bureaucratic and administered individual who belongs to ―the masses‖. the doctor is a demiourgos.18) The pilot of a ship sailing in good weather requires only techne’. emerge prepotently. It is in a ―crisis‖. It means a man who pays no attention to the state and the community. That must be done wholly by feeling (aisthesis) which is the only thing that can compensate for the lack of such a rational standard. that the Weberian leitender Geist and its ―charisma‖. Similarly. it is Schumpeter’s Unternehmer-geist (entrepreneurial spirit) that not only inter-venes in a capitalist ―crisis‖ by means of ―Innovation‖. Sartre). Once again. This aspect of demotic elitism is a central feature of middle-European social theory from Weber to Schumpeter (although it was first theorized by Pareto and Mosca). but the Greek word idiotes carries a social and political connotation. Often laymen are distinguished from the doctor. This categorization rhymes with Nietzsche’s dualism of ―the rational man‖ and ―the intuitive man‖. In contrast with him.39 That is where practising physicians make most of their mistakes. of reification and expression or authenticity (Heidegger. viewed in this light. (p.is no standard of weight or measure by which one could fix quantities on a general basis. As long as the weather is all right their inexpertness is not noticeable. but simply attends to his private affairs.
as ―mass‖) that plays only a passive role in that it needs to be ―led‖ and ―persuaded‖ by a dictatorship of ―initiates‖. That is the beautiful close22 of the Hippocratic Law: 'Secret things are revealed only to initiates. The equivalent ―structural change of the public sphere‖ in the capitalist era was the focus of Jurgen Habermas’s homonymous masterful early study. as it were. there is something in Greek medicine which resembles our use of the word 'layman'.' Here we have mankind divided. And then on the other hand there is the need for this bureaucratic machinery to be ―guided‖ by the ―leading Spirit‖ of the ―charismatic hero‖. (Benjamin Constant will describe this as the rise of the ―private rights‖ as against the ―public freedom‖ of Antiquity – and so will Hannah Arendt. as if by a religious rite. but not as a ―sophist‖ or wise sage like Socrates or Heraclitus or Anaxagoras) so they may be ―propagated‖ to a wide ―public‖. both technically and socially…(p. and by the fact that both public addresses and even dia-logues are committed to writing (even by Plato. on one hand. so as to give the impression that the social synthesis operates independently of political control through ―economic laws‖: this is the Sozialisierung. because elsewhere he seems to justify Lukacs’s ―artisanal totality‖): democratization and consequent socialization require higher concentration of power so as to preserve the power of those already in control (the capitalist managers) – which serves only to intensify the antagonism of the existing social relations. see G. However.one is that public or political decisions to be made on the basis of the available information are ―conflictual‖ because (for Weber at any rate) decisions always involve conflictual and contro-versial matters.) There is an obvious apory in Weber’s reasoning between the Demokratisierung (occasioned by the spread and rise of the working class in capitalist industrial nations in his time) that requires both the extension of ―markets‖ and the spread of the bureaucratic apparatus to regulate this process at a distance. of course. Colli’s brilliant short study on La Nascita della Filosofia. This line of thought raises the doctor's importance above that of a mere artisan. (Again. and the other is that the taking of decisions involves a demos (the public intended as ―spectators‖.21 There is no word to distinguish the Greek doctor with his higher skill from what we should consider as an ordinary artisan. one of which is severely debarred from an arcane knowledge. a ―lover‖ of wisdom. and the same holds for the sculptor and the painter. This apory is why Marx instead reasons in the exact opposite direction to Weber (in the Grundrisse at any rate. It is forbidden to reveal them to profane persons before they are initiated into the mysteries of knowledge. including the interpretation of ―available information‖ on which the decisions are to be made. This second point is strengthened by the spread of public addresses or rallies as against ―dia -logues‖ between two dialecticians (in the Socratic sense).aspects—while the difficult Ionic word cheironas (which is used as a synonym for it) signifies only the latter aspect.11) It is entirely obvious here that both Isocrates and Weber elevate the poiesis of the leader well above the techne’ of the artisan (or demotai or idiotes) on two specific premises: .) . with its implication 'uninitiated'. who still qualified himself as a philo-sopher. into two classes.
2). – und von der Behauptung selbst ist einwandsfrei zu konstatieren. wenn man genau und pedantisch. analysiert. Indeed.org/Soziologie/M/Weber. rather than the application of traditional methods for local subsistence production (the wind mill is subject to the vagaries of the weather)! There is an obvious dif-ference between the two ―machines‖ – and curiously this is a process that Weber himself identified also (apart from Marx) in ―Science as a Vocation‖ and generally in his writings on capitalism as ―the regulation of free labour under the discipline of the factory‖ – a ―regulation‖ meant to secure the pro-duction of excess labour force or excess population (the unemployed) so as to maintain the ―discipline‖ of those who are employed. again. it is ―access to information‖ that becomes vital to determining this political power. bei dem sehr Vieles steht. As we have established in our study of Alfred Sohn-Rethel’s Intellectual and Manual Labour (and in our critique of Cacciari’s distinction of poiesis as against techne’ in ‘El Hacer del Canto’). then. a mechanical relation between the wind mill and feudalism and the steam-mill and capitalism (cf. ch. was man unter dem Begriff »Technik« verstehen will. but simply to distinguish the direct relations of production from their ―legal‖ aspects.Here is the polar opposition of ―forces‖ and ―relations‖ of production – which certainly does not mean. nicht nur widerspruchsvoll scheint. The old distinction between ―intellectual‖ and ―manual‖ labour is fading away because most labour processes now are technical or intellectual in kind. Das nun ist eine nicht ökonomische. as Weber wrongly took it to mean.+Max/Schriften+zur+Soziologie+und+Sozialpolitik/Gesch%C3% A4ftsbericht+und+Diskussionsreden+auf+dem+ersten+Deutschen+Soziologentage+in+Frankfurt+1910/Di skussionsrede+zu+W.zeno. daß sie einfach falsch ist. the social claim to ―distribution‖ of what he called ―surplus value‖. no distinction is possible between intellectual and manual labour for the simple reason that all human activity involves mental and physical aspects that are impossible to separate let alone distinguish! And with the fading of this notion and reality of ―labour as toil‖. society with the industrial capitalist". Marx gibt eine Definition des Begriffs Technik meines Wissens nicht. relative to previous crises).) Of course.+Sombarts+Vortrag+%C3%BCber+Technik+und+Kultur) (This is Weber’s discussion of W. in Weber’s attempt to reduce the Marxian metonymy to the crude distinction of ―base and superstructure‖ and then suggest instead the Sombartian analysis based on the mixture of ―Technik und Kultur‖: Es ist selbstverständlich an sich etwas Willkürliches und sehr Zweifelhaftes. that is. Rather.Sombart’s lecture on „Technik und Kultur“. Here yet again we see how sterile and ―pedantic‖ Weber’s neo -Kantian formalism becomes the minute one seeks to dissect human reality into separate ―scientific‖ categories. The Poverty of Philosophy. was. . what Marx meant is that the steam-mill represents the application of scientific practice to the production of commodities for a ―market‖ (steam allows the constant capital inve sted on its machinery to be used round-the-clock and decreases its time of circulation). The problem for capitalism and its ―regulated discipline‖ of wage labour is that it is getting increasingly harder for this ―excess‖ labour force to be kept in too large numbers (rates of unemployment are shrinking relative to previous historical ―crises‖) and too disenfranchised in terms of their dependence on actual employment for their social reproduction (the living standards of even the unemployed are generally rising. (in http://www.and therefore their ―power‖. unter anderem eine oft zitierte Stelle des Inhalts: Handmühle bedingt Feudalismus. both the wind mill and the steam-mill are ―technological‖ and not ―economic‖ entities. sondern technologische Geschichtskonstruktion. wie wir es tun müssen. the notion of ―force‖ of production could never be intended by Marx in a ―mechanical‖ sense (though often in his more scientistic moments he does give that impression). abstracted from its specific socio-historical context. the related parallel notion that ―knowledge is power‖ no longer applies because with growing specialization and ease of communication it is not the actual ―knowledge‖ that individuals possess that determines their position in capitalist industry and society . Es steht aber bei Marx. Dampfmühle bedingt Kapitalismus. Doubtless. sondern wirklich widerspruchsvoll ist. Marx: "The windmill gives you society with the feudal lord: the steam-mill. There is no great merit.
determines the rule of capital over our living labour any longer – but rather the sheer naked and violent ―fact‖ of the imposition of capitalist command over the allocation and distribution of social resources. Socialism & Democracy which can be considered as the apotheosis and the coda of this particular stage of capitalism that came to an end with the collapse of the Bretton Woods Gold-Dollar Exchange Standard in 1971. But since the time of the rise of the Fourth Estate [the working class]. kings. But these ―skills‖ are de fined by complex social ―rules‖. Generäle. It is on this next phase of capitalist development that we shall concentrate next. by the ―regimentation‖ of a society in a given manner. the ―distance‖ between skilled and unskilled labour is reduced greatly by the facility of ―bridging‖ this distance through easier and faster means of communication. The fact is that it is becoming much harder for capital to reintroduce ―pain‖ (or ―brawn‖) and ―brain‖ into the rationale of the wage relation and indeed of its control over the allocation of ―resources‖ or capital. aber von der Zeit an. However much its distribution may be affected by ―effort‖ or ―skill‖. da der vierte Stand eingesetzt wird. . Now. Not ―effort‖. the growing identification of capital with ―resources‖ evinces its growing ―socialization‖ as a productive force as against the ―private‖ nature of its allocation. Päpste. This is what the incessant Demokratisierung has achieved since at least the age of Gutenberg – something that Nietzsche and Weber understood perfectly well.« Das Eine. was already obvious to the latter scholar by the time he wrote Capitalism. daß nur Märtyrer die Welt regieren können. generals. it has become evident that only Martyrs can rule the world. Jesuiten. not ―skill‖.) The repercussions of this realization are far-reaching and indeed revolutionary. The vacuity of Weber’s concept of charisma and of Schumpeter’s ―entrepreneurial spirit‖ (these are the great bourgeois exponents of ―democratic elitism‖ with Pareto and Mosca). in that the process of ―allocation‖ involves virtually no ―effort‖ on the part of the decision-maker except for the ―naked reality‖ of his ―proprietary right‖ to make such decisions (made increasingly political rather than technical by the very spread of knowledge-as-information!). diplomats have hitherto been able to govern the world without batting an eyelid. It is indeed extremely hard to justify both ownership of capital and the income derived from it on the ground of ―managerial ability‖ or ―innovational genius‖ or even of something as vague as ―leadership‖. was not tut (Emperors. Diplomaten haben bisher in einem entscheidenden Augenblick die Welt regieren können. wird es sich zeigen.The only distinction possible is one based on specific ―skills‖ required for certain tasks. popes. Jesuits. The information revolution brings prepotently to the fore the sheer brutality and naked violence – the real terrorism! – of the capitalist command over living labour. Könige. it is precisely this ―regimentation‖ that is giving way because the skewed distribution of knowledge is incompatible with its immediate accessibility as ―information‖ – except for legal-proprietary ―barriers‖ erected by capital! In other words. As did Kierkegaard: »Kaiser.
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