China cannot be described as communist, but it cannot be described as capitalist either – it is something new, or perhaps a synthesis of something new with something very, very old.
Neo-Confucianism has been rehabilitated as part of China’s industrial ideology. Through China, communism, capitalism and neo-Confucianism have all become aufgehoben.
Negation and synthesis, a la Hegel and Marx….
Heraclitus was right, and Hegel knew it
– “Everything flows.”
Nothing lasts forever.
Present-day China may be another demonstration that both Hegel and Marx were sometimes mistaken in their conclusions, but nonetheless, their respective conceptual frameworks, their respective formulations of historicism, are good places to start when it comes to attempting to understand what is happening in China today.
Neither Hegel’s nor Marx’s predictions have been borne out by history, but their philosophical systems remain supremely analytically useful. So we end up with a Hegelianism and a Marxism which transcend themselves
– the conclusions personally drawn by these two men are falsified, but their conceptual architectures survive the test.
Hegelianism and Marxism themselves also become aufgehoben.
Maybe we will only be able to give a name to this new Chinese model retrospectively. I don’t expect philosophers or intellectual historians to get a handle on what is currently happening in China within my lifetime. Retrospect will make the task of classifying it in relation to all of the other “shapes of consciousness” which have appeared on the historical stage easier. Most likely, we will unable to find a proper name for present-day China’s ideological and phenomenological coordinates without the benefit of hermeneutic distance.
Be that as it may, we are all very gradually becoming just a little bit more cognitively Chinese, incrementally, day-by-day….
On the phenomenological level, we are in the process of morphing, just as we have always been. As cultural groups and civilizations, we are continuously in the process of divesting ourselves of one type of psychological infrastructure while gradually internalizing another.
I think about this primarily from a phenomenological perspective. In the Occident, we have seen an exponential increase in the prevalence of a number of personality-disorders in recent decades
– borderline personality-disorder, narcissistic personality-disorder, passive-aggressive personality-disorder, anti-social personality-disorder, etc, etc….
Evidently, the “western” ego, the Occident’s “cult of interiority” (which only became radicalized during the industrial revolution) is imploding.
This is where Nietzsche’s critiques of Hegel and Nietzsche’s inversion of the Hegelian thematic of “the death of God” nailed it.
Hegel describes the initial phase of that cultural process which we can call “the death of God”
– that is to say, the humanistic or possibly even atheistic subtext within the Christian narrative itself, the implicit disappearance of the transcendental father in the narrative of the incarnation and the Calvary-narrative, the kenosis of the cross
– and how this implication within the Christian narrative comes to fruition with modernity.
Nietzsche describes the tertiary phase – that is, the death of the soul. This is the central basis for his entire critique of humanism.
So what’s next? What does the new model of human psychological infrastructure look like?
Phenomenologically, what’s really happening in China, and by extension, happening to us?
As many radical French philosophers put the question in the late 1960’s, “who comes after the subject?”
To attempt to begin answering those questions, we have to understand the history of Confucianism and neo-Confucianism, and their roles within traditional Chinese approaches to political economy, and also to understand how Hegel’s and Marx’s conceptual frameworks outlast their conclusions, how Hegelianism and Marxism not only discuss Aufhebung, but also themselves become aufgehoben.
We need an interdisciplinary approach, which splices geo-politics and political economy with phenomenology and political theology. No tradition of thought has developed this interdisciplinary approach more fruitfully than the Eurasianist movement. Perhaps because I’m a Hegelian, I still think that understanding present-day developments in political economy and geo-politics requires us to begin with phenomenology and political theology. Walking around the streets of Simferopol almost 5 years ago, with the monumental political changes taking place on the Crimean peninsula, I already suspected that what I was witnessing was a geo-political manifestation of the Occident’s process of both phenomenologically and normatively hollowing itself out
– “the kenosis of the European soul.”