Australia Day 2016 – a servile, shame-based culture

Cringe on the beach

Whoever made this image has a feeling for dialectics.

A castle on the beach (white Australia’s holy of holies), topped by the white Australian flag, itself topped by the flag of its parent nation and first master.

A vertical red strip from the cross of England’s patron saint balances on a white Antipodean star. The emphatic rays of the former drown those twinkling from the latter.

A block of monochrome certainty, a fortress sans entrance floats on a pale yellow expanse, equally uncertain.

The ideal sands of laid-back, nature-loving egalitarianism? Or indistinguishable hovering hordes eyeing paradise at the arse-end of the earth?

The castle, clearly a symbol in its simplified starkness appears to utterly contrast with its ground, yet it is built from it. Moisture maintains its fragile form.

What appears most certain is threatened, even in its building, with uncertainty and destruction.

Will it be kicked down and disappear, or will the next tide (of whom? from where?) wash it away?

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Image: The Sydney Morning Herald 26.01.16

Camps: Germany in the 1930s and Australia now

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‘Immigration spends more than Defence on medals for its staff’, Adam Gartrell, The Sydney Morning Herald 16.01.16

‘Internal departmental awards are awarded across eight categories: Bravery, Conspicuous Conduct, Leadership, Excellence, Innovation, Work Health and Safety, Diversity, and Operations.’

Detention centre cartoon

The Sun-Herald 24.01.16

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Just as the first camps in Germany in the 1930s symbolised the broader reality in that country and reflected the direction in which Germany was going, so the camps do now in happy, egalitarian, laid-back Australia – or out of it, where Australia, having trawled its region as a racist bully (while taking pride in pandering to the interests of U.S. capital) and in contempt of its humanitarian and UN obligations has managed to impose camps and its responsibilities on economically dependent and impoverished neighbours in Asia and the Pacific.red-star

Photos: top/bottom

Hegel: ideology and supremacism in Western philosophy

Michelangelo, The Creation of Adam, fresco ('restored'), Sistine Chapel, 1508-1512

Michelangelo, The Creation of Adam, fresco (‘restored’), Sistine Chapel, 1508-1512

‘Christians…are initiated into the mysteries of God, and this also supplies us with the key to world history.’

G.W.F.Hegel, Lectures on the Philosophy of World History, Introduction: Reason in History,  Trans., H.B. Nisbet, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1984, 41

‘It was through Christianity that this Idea came into the world. According to Christianity, the individual as such has an infinite value as the object and aim of divine love, destined as mind to live in absolute relationship with God himself…’

G.W.F.Hegel, Hegel’s Philosophy of Mind, Part Three of the Encyclopaedia of the Philosophical Sciences (1830), Trans., William Wallace, Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1971, 239-240

‘…human beings are freed through Christ and everyone has access to freedom.’

G.W.F.Hegel, Lectures on the History of Philosophy 1825-6 Volume I: Introduction and Oriental Philosophy, Together With the Introductions from the Other Series of These Lectures, Trans. Robert F. Brown and J.M. Stewart, Clarendon Press, Oxford, 2009, 195

‘Negroes are to be regarded as a race of children…They are sold, and let themselves be sold, without any reflection on the rights or wrongs of the matter….They cannot be denied a capacity for education; not only have they, here and there, adopted Christianity with the greatest gratitude and spoken movingly of the freedom they have acquired through Christianity after a long spiritual servitude, but in Haiti they have even formed a State on Christian principles. …

The Mongols, on the other hand, rise above this childish naïveté; they reveal as their characteristic feature a restless mobility which comes to no fixed result and impels them to spread like monstrous locust swarms over other countries and then to sink back again into the thoughtless indifference and dull inertia which preceded this outburst.’

G.W.F.Hegel, Hegel’s Philosophy of Mind, Part Three of the Encyclopaedia of the Philosophical Sciences (1830), Trans., William Wallace, Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1971, 42-43

‘(the Chinese) have no compunction in exposing or simply destroying their infants.’

Ibid., 44

’It is in the Caucasian race that mind first attains to absolute unity with itself. …and in doing so creates world-history.’

Ibid.

‘The principle of the European mind is, therefore, self-conscious Reason…In Europe, therefore, there prevails this infinite thirst for knowledge which is alien to other races….the European mind…subdues the outer world to its ends with an energy which has ensured for it the mastery of the world.’

Ibid., 45

‘…the Old World exhibits the perfect diremption into three parts, one of which, Africa, the compact metal, the lunar principle, is rigid through heat, a land where man’s inner life is dull and torpid – the inarticulate spirit which has not awakened into consciousness; the second part is Asia, characterised by Bacchanalian extravagance and cometary eccentricity, the centre of unrestrained spontaneous production, formlessly generative and unable to become master of its centre. But the third part, Europe, forms the consciousness, the rational part, of the earth, the balance of rivers and valleys and mountains – whose centre is Germany. The division of the world into continents is therefore not contingent, not a convenience; on the contrary, the differences are essential.’

G.W.F.Hegel, Hegel’s Philosophy of Nature, Part Two of the Encyclopaedia of the Philosophical Sciences (1830), Trans., A.V. Miller, Clarendon Press, Oxford, 2004, 285

‘No philosophy in the proper sense (can be found in the Oriental world).’

G.W.F.Hegel, Lectures on the History of Philosophy 1825-6 Volume I: Introduction and Oriental Philosophy, Together With the Introductions from the Other Series of These Lectures, Trans. Robert F. Brown and J.M. Stewart, Clarendon Press, Oxford, 2009, 89

‘In the West we are on the proper soil of philosophy…One epoch is Greek philosophy and the other is Germanic philosophy, or philosophy within Christendom as related to the Germanic nations…’

Ibid., 91

‘…we find, on the part of Orientals, only reflections, only arid understanding, a completely external enumeration of elements, something utterly deplorable, empty, pedantic, and devoid of spirit…It is the same with Oriental ceremonies.

This is the general character of Oriental religious representations and philosophy. There is, as in their cultus, on the one hand an immersion in devotion, in substance, and so the pedantic detail of the cultus – a vast array of the most tasteless ceremonies and religious activities – and on the other hand, the sublimity and boundlessness in which everything perishes.

There are two Oriental peoples whom I wish to mention, the Chinese and the Indians.’

Ibid., 106

‘(It has been the Western philosophers who have developed) the treasure of rational knowledge.’

Ibid., 208

‘On the whole we have only two periods in the history of philosophy, namely, Greek philosophy and Germanic philosophy…Insofar as the European peoples belong to the world of thought, we can call them “Germanic peoples”.’

Ibid., 232

‘…Chinese and Indian philosophies…for (Hegel) do not belong to the history of philosophy in the full sense.’

Editorial note by Robert F. Brown in G.W.F. Hegel, Lectures on the History of Philosophy 1825-6 Volume II: Greek Philosophy, Trans. Robert F. Brown and J.M. Stewart, Clarendon Press, Oxford, 2011, 9

‘A culture which does not yet have a history has made no real cultural progress, and this applies to the pretended history of India over three and a half thousand years.’

G.W.F.Hegel, Lectures on the Philosophy of World History, Introduction: Reason in History,  Trans., H.B. Nisbet, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1984, 13

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Philosophy’s learned salespeople

Francisco de Zurbarán, Saint Francis in Meditation, 1635-1639, oil on canvas, National Gallery, London

Francisco de Zurbarán, Saint Francis in Meditation, 1635-1639, oil on canvas, National Gallery, London

Not a single one of these professors, who are capable of making very valuable contributions in the special fields of chemistry, history or physics, can be trusted one iota when it comes to philosophy. Why? For the same reason that not a single professor of political economy, who may be capable of very valuable contributions in the field of factual and specialised investigations, can be trusted one iota when it comes to the general theory of political economy. For in modern society the latter is as much a partisan science as is epistemology. Taken as a whole, the professors of economics are nothing but learned salesmen of the capitalist class, while the professors of philosophy are learned salesmen of the theologians.

The task of Marxists in both cases is to be able to master and refashion the achievements of these “salesmen” (for instance, you will not make the slightest progress in the investigation of new economic phenomena without making use of the works of these salesmen) and to be able to lop off their reactionary tendency, to pursue our own line and to combat the whole line of the forces and classes hostile to us. And this is just what our Machists were unable to do; they slavishly follow the lead of the reactionary professorial philosophy. “Perhaps we have gone astray, but we are seeking,” wrote Lunacharsky in the name of the authors of the Studies. The trouble is that it is not you who are seeking, but you who are being sought! You do not go with your, i.e., Marxist (for you want to be Marxists), standpoint to every change in the bourgeois philosophical fashion; the fashion comes to you, foists upon you its new falsifications adapted to the idealist taste, one day à la Ostwald, the next day à la Mach, and the day after à la Poincaré. These silly “theoretical” devices (“energetics”, “elements”, “introjections”, etc.) in which you so naïvely believe are confined to a narrow and tiny school, while the ideological and social tendency of these devices is immediately spotted by the Wards, the neo-criticists, the immanentists, the Lopatins and the pragmatists, and it serves their purposes. The infatuation for empirio-criticism and “physical” idealism passes as rapidly as the infatuation for Neo-Kantianism and “physiological” idealism; but fideism takes advantage of every such infatuation and modifies its devices in a thousand ways for the benefit of philosophical idealism.’

V.I.Lenin, Materialism and Empirio-criticism: Critical Comments on a Reactionary Philosophy, Progress Publishers, Moscow, 1975, 321-322

***

‘Instead of allowing reason and religion to contradict themselves, we must resolve the discord in the manner appropriate to us – namely, reconciliation in the form of philosophy. How the present day is to solve its problems must be left up to it. In philosophy itself the resolution is only partial. These lectures have attempted to offer guidance to this end.

Religion must take refuge in philosophy. For the theologians of the present day, the world is a passing away into subjective reflection because it has as its form merely the externality of contingent occurrence. But philosophy, as we have said, is also partial: it forms an isolated order of priests – a sanctuary – who are untroubled about how it goes with the world, who need not mix with it, and whose work is to preserve this possession of truth. How things turn out in the world is not our affair.’

G.W.F.Hegel, Lectures on the Philosophy of Religion, Vol. III, Ed., Peter C.Hodgson, Trans., R.F.Brown, P.C.Hodgson, J.M.Stewart, Clarendon Press, Oxford, 2007, 161-162

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Complete text by Lenin at Marxists Internet Archive

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