The Tao of Capitalism


The Left-Right dyad has been historically useful as a means of self-description concerning one's position. However, we've reached a point in time at which the usefulness of these self-identifications betrays the need to properly interpret planet-scale phenomena in the age of globalism and mass-communication.
   Having a clear 'position' today is not a matter of possessing a functional methodology, but rather, an ideology which best signifies one's status.
   To whatever degree the Left-Right dyad was fascile as a distinction which indicated anything more than where people sat during the French Revolution, we find ourselves now clinging to these positions incoherently and grafting them onto modern life, even redressing the universe to fit the antagonism of their macro-narratives.
   What must first be established is that each wing acts primarily as a tribe which promotes a different mode of sovereignty. Democracy's greatest trick is that it simply hid these tribes under one banner, feeding them the illusion that violence could be suspended in contractual gestures.
   Reactionaries and conservatives will attribute the crises our society is facing to the fact that the highest agency of power is no longer formalized. A set of values must reign over all other constituent pieces of culture, rather than getting the material pieces right in order to let fall the correct values - which is rather in keeping with the Leftist sequence. But these values, once embodied in the sovereign person of the king or emperor, historically, already possessed the germ of what was to come. Hereditary royalty was the birth of politics as such, and not necessarily the beheading of the king. For all of one stage of the Left's obsession with 'commodity fetishism,' they failed to carry out their critique of capital to the end, which, if they were consistent, would not lead them to the mere economizing faculties of ancient human tribes, but just what existed within those shamanic moments of transfer and initiation overseen by chiefs and wise elders. These dignitaries of gnosis, these handlers of a phenomenal experience, the means of which could be passed down and handed directly to members of the tribe, were replaced under feudalism by dignitaries which represented this value of divine transfer. By this time, identity was already lost, as it was no longer inherent in the potentiality of transfiguration toward the noumenous. We had instead, just as we have now, a form of representation fundamentally hostile to experience; to a great sharing of the divine. It became, not a matter of personal evidence to possess the sovereignty of cosmic gnosis, but rather, a contractual matter in which the divine was embodied by political interest.
   The Left has fetishized an ideal 'nature' of its own from which capital has aliented us, where in fact, there is no reason to suppose that the transfer to nature, embodied symbolically in the initiatory rites of ancient tribes, is not itself a sort of alien configuration - or, at least, the essentializing destruction of an alien reality imposed by the everyday. In all cases, it would seem that the problem of capital, along with its solution, are framed as inhuman inheritances. Because of the ideological natures of the Left and Right, they are blocked from the start and prejudiced against that within their 'opposite' strains of thought which would most resemble a modern appropriation of their positions. The Left has desired to subordinate modern life to the state's reconfiguration of an agrarian model. In the Rightist model, the function which the state served would be subordinated to human agency, which would, on the surface, have the appearance of a lassaiz faire approach to monopolies on force. And yet, this subordination can only truly be carried out if a certain mode of value is done away with; which is to say, the view of man as a moral agent. To consider man 'part of nature' is not enough. One must accept that unnatural presences, even alien ones like capital, are in fact, 'natural.'
   To consider the crisis of capital from a position beyond good and evil will ultimately define one possible means of transcending the Left-Right dyad, as the Left has internalized the monopoly on the theory of capital and defined it as a moral transgression.
   The Right, including its libertarian forms, approach capital in an equally moral sense, rather looking at the small contractual gestures which inform the maintenance and ubiquity of capital, rather than concerning themselves with its actual effects.
   The challenge for the coming era will be to form a view of capital which does not position itself within a victimary-retributive perspective or from a formalized contractual perspective, but from the position of one who observes naked phenomena - one who sees these currents in the world as neither allies nor as enemies.
   So far, the Left's critique of capital has largely been a critique of particular effects and means of managing these effects. Like religious fundamentalists battling the body as a house of sin, the Left have simply tried to de-libidinize those features of capitalism which most feed it.
   It is not too much of a strain on the imagination to suppose that capitalism is merely a late stage effect - that there is no 'late stage capitalism,' only the latest possible manifestation of a process of which capitalism is only one entropic swing in a cosmic sequence of the journey toward surplus.
   The collapse of the state apperatus as an entity which has a monopoly on the market would certainly cause that part of capitalism which reveals itself as a desire-creating/desire-legitimizing, human-engineering force to recede from the epistemic territory to which it had been tentacularly latched. One who is able to accept the nature of the general market's proliferation of desires - not the ones necessarily caused by capitalism, but the ones which are most vulnerable to it - will possess Tao.
   With no state apperatus, those who measure the flow of phenomena, fill its privations, study its ebbs and flows by no authority but cunning and totally unprejudiced analysis, will own the future - those who are able to persuade. Persuasion becomes the point reclaimed by social relations, which had been delegated for some two centuries to the mercantile class, as we marched ever toward a brand of materialism whose nihilism was only capable of destroying the formalized thought forms representing sovereignty before handing sovereignty over to ideologies which were still shaped in the theological molds in which they had formed. Sovereignty embedded itself into an art of seduction, into the inter-subjectivity of personal, atomized value. Democracy itself, the illusion that one may choose one's own sovereign, mirrors market forces as they manifest subjective value. To 'de-regulate the market' is not to have a 'market' per se, just as Rimbaud's quest to 'de-regulate the senses' is not to have a will. The lost being of royalty's monopoly on divine transfer doesn't immediately precede the all-out abrogation of sovereignty, but merely allows room for sovereignty to announce itself in new forms, new symbolic registers, thus securing its relationship with modernity in the future, where in the past, the relationship had been antagonistic.
   Just as the market proliferates forms of desire, so sovereignty both in style and in its function, proliferates value systems according to which are most persuasive. Money is only a late stage phenomenon in this process of sovereignty's being, and its function will only be absorbed by the forces responsible for capital. One sees this manifest in Leftist revolutions, which always collude with the capitalist state apperatus in order to compete in the world power market.
   Persuasion and seduction will ultimately be the agents which usher in the new era of value-proliferation, the likes of which anything which goes under the banner of 'postmodernism' would look quite pale by comparison. Just as people now choose their gods based on personal taste, temperament and inclination, so persuaded peoples of a post-capitalist world - which is to say, a world in which capitalism has only 'disappeared' in the sense that it is unrecognizable in its utter ubiquity - will choose their sovereignties as means to and end, the end ultimately being power, in whatever form is more persuasive in its function. One will see the return of the polis as the center of sovereignty resting potentially in everything, to various degrees all at once, thus creating society out of a heirarchy of human desire, rather than human need.
   This is no utopia. This is precisely why persuasion will play such a large role, as this ultimately means that the world will only become more honest in its relationship with its economizing of conflict. Sovereignty then does most efficiently where it seduces, but also where it selects for what it specifically wishes to seduce one toward.
   This methodology of conflict-resolution determining how people recognize sovereignty is ultimately what will help sovereignty hide its true nature. On the periphery of the social body is the contract, which is only the face of a process of reciprocity which is more complicated than what could be expressed in mere relation to the market. This hiddenness of its nature is an answer in itself. It is impossible just what can be said about sovereignty as such, as it always wears new ideological clothing. The future will belong to those who are conscious of this, even where the essence of sovereignty itself escapes our grasp.