202111180034 📃 existential Social criticism, a sketch
¶1. The immanent task of all social criticism is twofold. First, to reveal the disjunction between the doer and the done. Second, to reveal the structural or material means whereby such a disjunction could arise.
¶2. Thus, in the first, we engage in a hermeneutics of suspicion. In the second, a social ontology (or ethic). We can conceive of the first in this manner, understood as a dyadic relation, whereby the inner essence of the doer contradicts the appearance of the done. We can conceive of the relation of this dyad to the third as a condition for possibility, wherein the material makes possible or allows the end result.
¶3. Thus, a socially critical argument begins with the socially critical judgment, proceeding along the I, P, U lines sketched by Hegel. We begin with the individual, such that:
I. A billionaire (he who has a money-mass) is in existence.
We then proceed to the particular premise, which follows from an intermediate premise concerning the relation of being a billionaire to having money:
P. Money-masses make subjects to itself those who do not have it.
We then proceed to the universal premise, a normative dictum:
U. The billionaire is absurd.
How? Clearly money is absurd, because if Money makes some things subject to itself, then it cannot be had by those subjects as a subject. That is, those subjected to money cannot possess money and thereby desubjectify themselves. They maintain subjectivity to money over and against it. In this, then, they really and truly remain subject to Mr. Moneybags. That is, in being subject to the monetary relation, the are the “done” of the triad in ¶2. The are “done” by the doer (the billionaire) because of money (the material making possible the done).
¶4. But whence comes absurdity? Well, the money is subject to the billionaire, as corollary to I. But a man is subject to money, as corollary to P. Therefore, we have here an inverted relation from I. to P. Clearly, it is, then, that money is nothing but an intermediary for the billionaire to subject others to himself. But this is absurd, because the man-money-man circuit depends on the subjectivity of two kinds of entities. This means that subjectivity can either be had by both human and non-human entities, or else subjectivity is in this way inconsistent. If the former, then there is nothing differentiating the human from the non-human with respect to subjectivity, since both can be subject of the other. If the latter, U. immediately follows.
¶5. Clearly the former cannot be true, or else a human-human relation would be the same as a human-money relation, and we cannot assert this. For, on one hand, we have a reciprocal subjectivity or recognition. On the other, we have a one-sided subjectivity or mere possession. Thus the billionaire is absurd, because he simultaneously enters into relations of recognition and possession, relations which express two different modes of subjectivity.
¶6. The absurdity must follow in this way: the billionaire cannot enter into a human-human relation per se. He does so only incidental to his subject, money. But he can never cease being in human relations. Therefore, the subjectification of the person via the subject (money) is a negation of that which cannot be negated. It is, thus, a perversion of a real, existential, ontological relation between men.
¶7. The truth of the billionaire, then, is that he perverts that which is constitutive of his very being. He is, therefore, an ontological absurdity.
¶8. I. begins with mere existential assertion. P. poses a suspicious hermeneutics. U. poses a social ontology, absurdity. Now, this is merely a point of departure for further criticism. But, as critique in and of itself, it, clearly, furnishes the needed suspicion for any and all reasoners to understand the impossibility of the billionaire. We can transpose the reasoning into particularity whenever we apply it to this or that particular billionaire.
¶9. The social ethic would propose not an existential contradiction but a moral one, whereby the net result of P. is judged as morally inferior to some alternative. U. thereby redounds to I., such that the abstract individual is understood as worthy of moral criticism. Here again, any reasoner can and ought to transpose the reasoning unto any concrete individual who, consequently, is deserving of moral blame.
¶P. (¶9 is, in my opinion, weaker than ¶3, for it warrants a merely social reasoning. ¶3 warrants a social and material reasoning, for it adduces an ontological or monadic relation among individuals. ¶9 remains merely ontical, so far as it maintains the plurality of the subject and his material. ¶3 imputes a moral critique beneath itself, because it understands the structure of being to be constitutive of the grounds for the possibility of any ethical judgment. Indeed, we can not judge of a man unless he exists. The ontological will always precede (and thus go over and above) the moral as a consequence.)
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