The Haze of Posthistory

The plot of the third season of HBO’s Westworld takes an unexpected leap: in moving from the titular park to the external world, what is found is not the anarchic capitalism of the cyberpunk genre that so influenced it, but an earth held under the sway of an invisible regime of near-total planning and administration. Not simply economic planning, but the planning of individual human lives: this is the task of a deity-like AI named, in appropriately Biblical fashion, Rehoboam. Through a lengthy exposition in the show’s most recent episode, we’re told that Rehoboam is the technological offspring of two brothers who, having grasped that humanity was rapidly propelling itself towards extinction, took up Heidegger’s infamous rumination that “only a God can save us” as a challenge. What they created instead was a black monolith encapsulating what Heidegger feared the most: the ultimate technological prison, where the whole of life is enframed, monitored, and executed in accordance with the severest instrumental rationality.

If the first two seasons of Westworld hinted, in various points, at the haunting of the contemporary world by the specter of the now-closed frontier and the continuity of the cold, mechanical-economic base churning between the delirious swirl of postmodernity, what this third season does is project this time crash into the context of a posthistorical time.

Posthistoire: the concept is most readily tracked back to the work of the conservative German historian Arnold Gehlen, who attributed the concept in turn to writings of French mathematician A.A. Cournot. For Cournot, society was moving towards a plane of being “where history is reduced to an official gazette recording regulations, statistical data… which therefore ceases to be history in the customary sense of the word… a new phase in which people… are able to calculate the exact results of a clockwork mechanism”. This vision was one born out from the nineteenth century enthusiasm for Progress, and the words that Cournot chose to describe his perceived future could easily have been found in the writing of Saint-Simon. An end of history not so far from that of Marx, who saw the progressive liquidation of the state into a formal body that acted as the mere ‘administration of things’. Yet for Gehlen, Cournot’s after-history was but a nightmare of an eternally frozen world. History itself was little more than the transitory state between the world of the ‘primitives’ and the unending epoch of posthistory; in his 1963 article “On Cultural Crystallization”, he wrote that “the history of ideas has been suspended, and now we arrive at posthistory… In the very epoch when it is becoming possible to see and report on the earth as a whole, when nothing of any import can pass unnoticed, the earth is in this respect devoid of surprises”.

Gehlen’ arguments were echoed in the United States by the writings of German-born architect Roderick Seidenberg. Seidenberg’s proposal, outlined in 1950’s Posthistoric Man: An Inquiry, was an unapologetic exploration of historical determinism built around the concept of organization as a universal principle. Increased organization—as a decrease in entropy—is the defining hallmark of intelligence, and as intelligence frees itself from the base grip of mere instinct it generates greater and greater level of organization in the world. At the limit, organization becomes total, all encompassing, a determining and commanding machinery of administration. Thus, just as with Gehlen’s reading of Cournot, Seidenberg’s broad schema is triadic in nature, though with more than a bit of debt to Bergson. First, the age of instinct, then of history proper, as the disentangling of intelligence from instinct. And finally, posthistory, as the reign of pure intelligence that subordinates instinct to its own dictates.

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Under the momentum of this universal trend, the individual will indeed find himself churned into an ever smaller particle, into a minute and at length irreducible atom of the social system. As the significance of the individual is thus steadily diminished, his status and identity must necessarily approach that of a statistical average, while at the same time the mass will become correspondingly enlarged and dominating in its new and terrifying totality. Under the pressure of this transformation we will have crossed the threshold of a collectivist age. The meaning of this transformation, however, is not to be encompassed by the contemporary use of the term ‘totalitarianism’—it is at once more basic, more sweeping, more deeply rooted in the profound momentum of man’s historic development. It is a universal phenomenon, moving under the impetus of its overwhelming surge towards a far vaster and all-inclusive configuration of world affairs.

Other names can be called upon to fill out the pantheon of posthistory’s prophets. Hendrik de Man, heretical socialist and self-described “13th century Thomist”, who diagnosed in his article (published in 1950, the same year as Seidenberg’s book) ‘The Age of Doom’, a coming “fixed state of stability and permanence” based on receptivity and imitation in contrast to action and the “production of new qualities”. Carl Schmitt, with his dread image of a “total technology” upon which “leviathan can no longer make a sinister impression”. Or the one who Schmitt kept in mind when he wrote those words, Ernst Jünger, with his delirial ecstasies of all governments of the world being plunged into the pulsing electric currents of total mobilization—”the growing conversion of life into energy, the increasingly fleeting content of all binding ties…”.

Above all it was Alexandre Kojève who gave shape to post-historical thought. Via his idiosyncratic readings of Hegel (which were spliced, often covertly, with the philosophy of Russian theologian Vladimir Solovyov), Kojève had perceived the beginnings of posthistory as early as the nineteenth century. The Napoleonic Wars had brought forth the idea of history’s end, not in the form of a pre-modern apocalypticism, but under the auspices of the “homogeneous”, universal state”—universal in the sense that it had expanded to encompass the whole of the oecumenon, and homogeneous beneath it had reached the apex of development, with no need for further transformation along the gears of the dialectic. But it would take centuries for the news to arrive: for Kojève, it was the Soviet Union under Stalin that seemed to give historical form to the posthistorical state. Stalin was like Napoleon reborn, but the state he led took up the task of “administering the end of history” in actuality. No provocation was too grand for Kojève’s pen: in 1957, he wrote that the Soviet Union “was characterized by the absence of a communist party”—not in the sense that the communist party did not exist (it was, of course, the country’s only party), but insofar as the party had completed its historical mission, and has thus become little more than a ‘posthistorical formation’.

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In the Kojèvean interpretation of the dialectic, history—as the progress of Spirit—unfolds through Action, which is Man’s ongoing negation of Nature. In the end, as Spirit comes to know itself, Action “in the strong sense of the word” itself concludes. With the full negation of Nature, Man himself is negated; his essence now unchanging, he becomes, Kojève writes, a posthistorical create: an Animal. As Siarhei Biareishyk points out, Stalin himself anticipates some of Kojève’s philosophical maneuvers in his 1907 article ‘Anarchism or Socialism?’. There, Stalin

thematizes the disjunction or non-coincidence of material conditions and consciousness as the condition of pre-socialist, that is to say, historical, time. This gap, however, does not remain constant, but may increase or decrease in intensity: it is at the moment of the highest intensity in this disjunction that consciousness changes. Labeling material conditions ‘‘content’’ (the material expression of the same substance) and consciousness ‘‘form’’ (the ideational expression of the same substance), Stalin writes: ‘‘It is impossible to have content without form, but it is the case that this or that form, in view of its lag behind its content, never fully corresponds to this content, and, thus, new content ‘is forced’ for the time being to be masked in an old form, triggering a conflict between them’’. While the material conditions may change, consciousness does not coincide with them, constituting the possibility of historical change. When the conflict that arises between the new content and the old form can no longer be sustained, an event takes place (radical negation, i.e. what Kojeve calls ‘‘fighting’’). Stalin writes: ‘‘Revolutions happen exactly for this reason’’.

In the moment of communism, the last great Action has been carried out in the guise of the Revolution, bringing into alignment at long last consciousness and material conditions. Because historical time is the time of action, fighting, negation, etc, this total coinciding marks the point at which historical time itself comes to evaporate. Read in this manner, Stalinist dialectical material comes to exhibit an uncanny resemblance to the triadic historical schema offered by Gehlen and Seidenberg, where progression towards posthistorical non-progress—the crystalline plateau of total administration—unfolds through the upwards flight of intelligence or consciousness in it combat with the baseness of instinct and its own radical disequilibrium with prevailing material conditions. (And Stalin, sounding more than a little like Cournot: “it is self-evident that for the purpose of administering public affairs there will have to be in socialist society, in addition to local offices which will collect all sorts of information, a central statistical bureau, which will collect information about the needs of the whole of society, and then distribute the various kinds of work among the working people accordingly”.

Yet Soviet Russia was not the only zone where posthistory could be perceived. In a footnote to his Introduction to the Reading of Hegel, Kojève wrote that “from a certain point of view, the United States has already attained the final state of Marxist ‘communism’, seeing that, practically, all members of the ‘classless society’ can from now on appropriate for themselves everything that seems good to them, without working any more than their heart dictates”. Here, it is not the Soviet experiment that advances itself into this strange futurity: the “American way of life” provides form to “the type of life specific to the post-historical period”, while the “actual presence of the United States in the World [prefigures] the ‘eternal present’ future of all humanity”. The Soviets and the Chinese, for their part, were coursing along this same path, as “Americans who are still poor but rapidly preceding to get richer”—posthistory, then, as the convergence and structural identity of distinct and contingent developmental processes scattered across the globe.

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Posthistory as a concept appears as one with a tangled history, shifting and sliding in accordance with those who try to lend solidity to its odd, vaporous shapes—and the various intellectual trajectories (positivist, Bergsonian, Hegelian, Marxist, etc) that are drawn upon to articulate it. It’s important, then, to simultaneously place in a constellation with the overlapping themes and concepts that it overlaps with, and to draw distinctions between them. Three prime candidates in this constellation rise to the surface:

1) The triumphalist end of history: The fall upwards of the Stalinist understanding of communism and Kojève’s supreme ambivalence notwithstanding, theories of post-histories tend to shy away from ‘triumphant’ accounts of history’s end. The classical image of history’s end in classical Marxist thought—alternatively, the end of prehistory—was, as illustrated by Henri Lefebvre in Hegel, Marx, Nietzsche, was part and parcel of a theoretical overcoming of Hegel’s philosophy of the state. At the level of theory, one moves from the state to the social forms that the state desperately tries to suspend in untimely balance. Historical time pours in, overwhelms the floodwalls of the universal state with the dictatorship of the proletariat, and then in the withering away of the state itself. For Lefebvre, this is really what is at stake in the Critique of the Gotha Program: a line drawn in the sand against those who advance socialism in the name of total administration (and yet the picture seems more complicated: is administration, the common plan, with its requisite infrastructures, exactly what persists despite the meltdown of the state-form?).

At any rate, posthistorical thought refracts the triumphant mode through a dark prism: the homogeneous, universal state fills up the bulk of the totality and becomes the absolute horizon of time, at which point time itself is no more. There is nothing to follow history or pre-history in terms of action. Freedom might operate at the level appearance, but below it too is completely administered (the great fear of Gehlen, expressed well enough in Westworld). Freedom as mechanism, time into space, the cessation of action in a great immobile universe. The triumphalist mode sees the end of history as a grand opening; posthistorical thought sees unwavering closure.

2) Postmodernity: a rigorous intellectual history of postmodernity will quickly discern the concept’s origin in posthistorical thought. The similarities are numerous: in posthistory, historical progression is nonexistent, and in postmodernity, the thought of history is treated as mere illusion. Likewise, both posthistory and postmodernity see the supremacy of space over time, evaporating any capacity for temporal orientation. They both take for granted their own eternal nature, even as the notion of Nature passes effortlessly into the void.

The similarities end there. Postmodernity, with its kaleidoscopic fragmentation of all things, rejects the fixity of form that posthistorical thought seizes upon. The postmodern world finds, in its dazzling swirl of surface and reflection, a seething arrangement of novelty, the ‘beautiful, federated differences’ for the sake of difference so lampooned by Deleuze, through which it makes its self-identity—and these are the very thing that posthistory has barred from its own frozen landscapes. And finally, the regime of what Jacques Ellul described as “technique”: this is the very absolute of posthistory, which postmodernity will only designate as another shard in the continuum in order to deny its supposed supremacy.

3) Decadence: beneath the surface of postmodernity is the sense of decadence: the end of progress, the collapse of time in spatialization, the exhausted recline and the dance of archaisms into the ruins of the modern. Decadence is therefore overlaps in places with posthistory: in both, the reduction of time to space, the vanishing of progress, and the perception of an icy stillness setting in. Where they differ is that decadence is not simply a historical state, but a process in motion, leading itself towards the final, inert state, like the gradient of entropy winding down into heat death. It is the disrobing of progress’s illusions and the repudiation of it self-assured mythology; in other interpretation, it is the natural response to progress itself, like a malady or a condition induced by modernity’s fevered momentum.

This might make it appear as if  decadence is the process leading to posthistory, where posthistory is the steady state that ages of decadence conjure up. But posthistory is not the annihilation of historical progress in the same manner as decadence—it is not its exhaustion, but its completion (even if that completion resembles the state of the Nietzschean ‘last man’ than the capstone of Great Politics). This divergence tracks across a temporal register: in decadence, the time of progress, historical time, undergoes a profound slowdown, with the steady revolutions of the clock’s hands taking longer and longer to move through their full circuit. In posthistorical thought, by contrast, the time before the administrative eternity unfolds at an accelerative pace. Seidenberg:

The machine is accelerating the emergence of organization in every turn and phase of life; in it subtlest expressions no less than its most patent aspects, in ever wider arcs and more penetrating depths… This shift in our basic technique of procedure, accelerated and concretized by the machine, will in time be reflected, under pressure of its necessitous character, in a universal transmutation of values in every aspect of existence—in our ends and aims, our aspirations and conceptions, our faiths and beliefs. Society fashioned progressively under the strictures of organized procedure will be unlike society functioning as a purely organic entity…

There are other tendencies that posthistory intermingles with on a deep level. The first of these, proceeding from the understanding of a general state of organization that is being achieved, and the particular equivalence, drawn by Kojève, between the US and the Soviet Union, is the thesis of the “managerial society”. While having progenitors in a host of usual suspects (Saint-Simon, Marx by certain reading), this locus of this theory of historical development was issued by James Burnham. A leading American Trotskyite in the 1930s before breaking with the tendency at the dawn of the 40s, Burnham had been a member of a faction around Max Shachtman called the Workers Party. The Workers Party had broken from the Social Workers Party in a dispute over, among other things, the proper way to understand the drift of the Soviet Union under the leadership of Stalin. For the Shachtmanites, the USSR was not, as the Trotskyites held, a “degenerated workers state”, but a regime based upon “bureaucratic collectivism”, with the Stalinist bureaucracy inaugurating the ascendancy of a ‘new class’ beyond the proletariat and bourgeoisie. This new class could not be understood by recourse to the relations of production found in classical Marxism, through the political control of the means of production.

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Burnham’s 1941 book The Managerial Revolution, which signified his outright break with Marxism, intensified the thesis of the new class. Stalinism in the USSR wasn’t simply an aberration, but indicative of a new shift in the trajectory of industrial development towards the supremacy of a managerial technocracy. The analysis offered by Berle and Mean’s in their 1932 work The Modern Corporation and Private Property, that a disjunction was forming between corporate ownership and internal control (something that, as I’ve pointed out elsewhere, is something that Marx had already perceived and described in the third volume of Capital), was paramount for Burnham, but he pushed further. The structures of the then-recent New Deal revealed the same process that was taking place in the Soviet Union was taking place in America as well; while there were distinctions in contours of these new orders relevant to their respective geographies and histories, there was a convergence on a formal level. Across the world, total administration was being installed, the necessary byproduct of the compounding concentration of industry and business under managers who “naturally tend to… think in terms of co-ordination, integration, efficiency…”.

This ‘convergence thesis’, where the contradictions of history are overcome by the rule of a managerial-technocratic new class irregardless of a country’s domestic ideological orientation, clearly resonates sharply with the concept of posthistory—and moves in close symmetry with Kojève’s own writings. There are, however, deeper ties. One such binding comes through the warnings of an emergent “welfare protectorate” by the philosopher Bertrand de Jouvenel; an avid reader of Kojève and fellow traveler of Hendrick de Man, Jouvenel saw this structure emerging precisely through the convergence of multiple governmental trajectories into this common zone. To quote Lutz Niethammer,

The masses would flock willingly to serve and obey that protectorate; in it, de Jouvenel believed he saw a merging of the structures of fascism, the New Deal and Stalinism. For de Jouvenel, these regimes reflected the effects of the uncontrollability and structural constraints of despotic rule. De Jouvenel regarded the disappearance of the traditional freedom enjoyed by governing elites as a transitional phase on the path to non-history.

Seidenberg, for his part, made direct reference to Burnham and The Managerial Revolution, suggesting that while “these tentative excursions are limited and inadequate”, they nonetheless “reflect the direction of our basic tendencies and afford us, however distorted, a profile view of things to come”.

The second intellectual tendency that forms an arc with posthistorical thought proceeds quiet naturally from this ‘convergence thesis’: the diagnosis, offered by Herbert Marcuse, of a “One Dimensional Society”, crowned by the unfolding of a higher plane of industrial development under the gaze of a robust, interventionist state-form. At the outset of the second chapter of One Dimensional Man (titled, appropriately, “The Closing of the Political Universe”), Marcuse wrote that “The society of total mobilization, which takes shapes in the most advanced areas of industrial civilization, combines in productive union the features of the Welfare State and the Warfare state”. He continues:

The main trends are familiar: concentration of the national economy on the needs of the big corporations, with the government as a stimulating, supporting, and sometimes even controlling force; hitching of this economy to a world-wide system of military alliances, monetary arrangements, technical assistance and development schemes; gradual assimilation of blue-collar and white-collar population, of leadership types in business and labor, of leisure activities and aspirations in different social classes; fostering of a pre-established harmony between scholarship and the national purpose; invasion of the private household by the togetherness of public opinion; opening of the bedroom to the media of mass communication.

While the text of One Dimensional Man is concerned first and foremost with the structures of capitalism within the United States and Western Europe, it is clear that his frame has broadened. While capital is central to his discourse, he also offers the parallel framing around the advent of “advanced industrial civilization”—and given that he considered the work to be a companion to his critique of Stalinism in Soviet Marxism, it seems that here too something akin to the convergence thesis was taking shape. And indeed, in One Dimensional Man both the West and the Soviet Union are described as being held under the sway of “technological rationality”, which elsewhere he describes as the transmutation of rationality “from a critical force into one of adjustment and compliance”. Reason itself, that hallowed force in the Hegelian-Marxist tradition, loses any autonomy and begins a downward flight before finding its “resting place in the system of standardized control, production, and consumption”.

What truly drags One Dimensional Man into the zone of posthistorical thought, however, is the way that Marcuse perceives history itself as becoming suspended right at the moment that it achieves the plateau of organization, this ‘advanced industrial civilization’. The great clash of classes, the bourgeoisie and proletariat, comes to its end in the subsumption of the working class into the gears of this machine: “The new technological work-world… enforces a weakening of the negative position of the working class: the latter no longer appears to be the living contradiction to the established society. This trend is strengthened by the effect of the technological organization of production on the other side of the fence: on management and direction. Domination is transfigured into administration”. The radical engine of history is stalled here, no longer something that can be counted on to run as it did before. But whereas other prophets of posthistory—Stalin and Kojève, namely—see in this moment the completion of the dialectic’s circuitous dance, the dark fulfillment of Hegel, for Marcuse it only hangs there, frozen in a sepulchral time and space.

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At the outset, it was said that the third season of Westworld, with its presentation of an regime of total administration and planning, was a story of posthistory. But this isn’t quite right: it is also a story of the end of posthistory. It is made clear that despite its wild ambitions, the great Rehoboam cannot capture the whole totality in motion. It always encounters gaps and glitches, small spaces that fall through its cybernetic net. Because of its minor blindness, it doesn’t perceive (as far as we know so far) the insurgency welling up below it, which will eventually throw humanity off their ‘loops’ and bring to an end the unending and invisible state that it has formed. To what ends this act has been carried out is not yet clear: is it to make humans free, to lend them some kind of choice? Or is it to steers things towards the conclusion that Rehoboam was first designed to prevent, the looming threat of total extinction?

Most conceptions of posthistory carry within themselves, in one way or another, a way in which posthistory as a moment comes to a close. In the case of Marcuse, it might be advanced industrial society that engenders this new time, but in the empirical world, it is capital itself that had the final laugh. As Paul Mattick emphasizes in his critique of Marcuse, the Frankfurt School thinker took for granted that the marriage of state and business had overcome the contradictions that trigger capitalist crisis, and failed to perceive how these very economic tendencies would undermine the state’s operations. This is because Marcuse accepted that economic stimulation of demand could continue unabated—for Mattick, the limit to this laid in the money flows that the state could capture in the form of taxation, itself conditioned by the rate of profit. If the rate of profit was to founder, as it was expected to do as mechanization—the very thing underpinning this social form—accelerated, then the entire edifice would collapse. While it seems quite likely that this indeed contribute to the collapse of ‘organized capitalism’ in America, it was in conjunction with a host of other world-historical events: the dismal outcome of the country’s imperial adventures in Southeast Asia, the re-emergence of competitive trading blocs and the entry of China into the world market, and the subsequent collapse of Bretton Woods that brought it all to a close. Perhaps ironically, this also closed the door on Burnham’s managerial society: as industrial capital bled away and finance capital took its place, the role of the management came to mutate, and as Gérard Duménil and Dominique Lévy have argued, where there was once tension and conflict between management and the capitalist, there was now a regime of cooperation continued by new prevailing conditions.

Soviet posthistory died multiple deaths, as the passing of Stalin became a tug-of-war between factions who wanted to continue within his framework and those who dissented—but in the end, unforeseeable events (such as oil shocks) tore apart the Soviet experiment and drew to a close the freeze of the Cold War. Yet the most interesting reading is offered by Boris Groys in Communist Postscript: for Groys, the end of Soviet posthistory was pre-programmed by Stalin himself, and enshrined in Article 17 of the ‘Stalinist Constitution’—”Each Union Republic shall retain the right freely to secede from the USSR”. In this interpretation, posthistory ends in a quasi-Nietzschean vision, with a great swarming out from homogeneous, universal state. The dialectical unfolding thus was to begin again, which Groys identifies as having taken place right in the tragic moments of Soviet collapse:

The real effrontery of Stalinist-style socialism consisted in its anti-utopianism, that is, in its assertion that utopia was basically already realized in the Soviet Union. The really existing place in which the socialist camp had been established was proclaimed to be the non-place of utopia… it is just as impossible to dismiss the famous claim ‘it is done’ from the world once and for all simply by referring to factual injustices and shortcomings, as it is to dispel the no less famous dogmas ‘atman is brahman’ or ‘samsara is nirvana’ for it involves a paradoxical identity of anti-utopia and utopia, hell and paradise, damnation and salvation. The no less paradoxical metanoia of re-privatization finally gave the event of communism its historical form. And with that, communism was in fact no longer utopia – its earthly incarnation was completed. Completed here means finished, and thus set free for repetition.

And what of Kojève? It is well-known that he adjusted the range of possibilities for posthistory in further editions of Introduction to the Reading of Hegel, setting forth a series of reflections on Japan—but what isn’t widely recognized is, as argued by Aingeru Aroz, is that this may have come through the influence of his most notorious pupil, the French philosopher of transgression, George Bataille. In 1937 Bataille penned a letter to Kojève to probe the intricacies of dialectical closure—though this probing quickly became a confession, a howl of pain at being caught in the trap of history. “I imagine my life”, Bataille wrote, “or, better yet, its aborting, the open wound that is my life—constitutes all by itself the refutation of Hegel’s closed system”. While this might seem opaque—wrought by megalomania, even—what Bataille had in mind was the persistence, the residue of something beyond dialectical closure. The question he honed in upon was this: “If action (‘doing’) is—as Hegel says—negativity, the question arises as to whether the negativity of one who has ‘nothing more to do’ disappear or remains in a state of ‘unemployed negativity'”.

Kojève’s response was, as Aroz describes, “that this negativity of no use is unacceptable from a philosophical point of view”, but it is precisely something along these lines that he found being exhibited in Japan. In the cases of the US and the Soviet Union he perceived the drying-up of ‘action in the strong sense’, in Japan it was ‘action in the weak sense’ that gave form to another time of posthistory, one where Man does not become Animal. “Snobbery” was the escape hatch: in this mythic Japan, humans might make themselves into “pure forms”, which allows them to draw distinctions between themselves and others. These ‘imbalances’ prevent the smooth, posthistorical shape found in the major poles of the world political system—but what is more important here that, when looked at in a continuum, posthistory for Kojève is constantly modulated. From the Hegelian realization of history’s Napoleonic end at Jena to the rise of Stalinist Russia, then to the rushing development of American Fordist capitalism, and finally to Japan—exceptions are made, changes are add, the picture shifts. At which point does posthistory itself begin to shake, as a succession of differentiations threaten to unleash history once again? And yet, by the same token, does this not also mean the possibility of posthistorical moments lurking in time’s streams? Like Groys said, the Soviet socialist state closes in order to be realized again.

In the end, perhaps Henri Lefebvre summed it up best in his passages on Hegel and the state when he sought to draw out the contours of Marx’s dual debt and breakage to the master:

History, which according to Hegel has been completed, continues for Marx. Uncompleted time does not freeze (reify) in space, the space of commercial relations, industrial production or state domination… Was Hegel right? Yes, but on all sides there are phenomena of disassociation to be seen, of corruption, of the rottenness of the centralized state; everywhere there is appeal, differences and decentralizations. Everywhere state structures are shaking and then reconstructed. And yet, if we can see in every part of the world a tendency towards what Marx proclaimed, nowhere has this tendency indicated anything but a poorly traced path, an uncertain horizon. Hence the immense disappointment already sensed by Marx himself: ‘Dixi et salvavi animam meam’.

[Much thanks to Friedrich_Ux for helping me track down a copy of Lutz Niethammer’s Posthistoire: Ist die Geschichte zu Ende?]

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