Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Shadows of Totalization, Part XLVI

I want to look at this a little more closely,

"Why do I date the Enlightenment, as a historical phenomenon, as beginning in 1648 and ending in 1789? 1648 marked the end of the Thirty Year's War and the Peace of Westphalia. This was the beginning of the secularization of the political; from this point onwards, religious claims were progressively withdrawn from the political and public spheres of society. This made possible the freethinking attitude of Thomas Jefferson, who said, ‘It does me no harm for my neighbor to say that there are many gods or that there are none.’”--Carlos, The Importance of History.

I interpret Carlos to say that the Peace of Westphalia ends psychic, social, political and philosophical gridlock-inertia and allows motion (a motion which Carlos calls “the secularization of the political”), which eventually grinds or winds down by 1789. During the time of its activity, the motion is or is indicated by a new thinking—a thinking unthinkable prior—which is a reconfiguration of social relations, values, the borders and boundaries between the political and religious—and much more which I can’t think of and don’t care to discuss right now.

Whatever was accomplished by the Peace of Westphalia seems very positive, very progressive, very forward—very “motional” (my new word for these things)—but the Thirty Year’s War was the first of Europe’s great wars, not the last, and if the Peace of Westphalia did break apart psychic, social, political and philosophical gridlocks and antagonism, could it also be it engendered yet others, perhaps worse? If so, we might shy away from regarding secularization as detotalization, enlightenment, liberation. Could it be secularization is not a process (i.e., is an apparent but not a real process, an apparent but not a real motion? Is secularization a material process? Is it demystification? What if secularization was imaginary? Is secularization to be equated with philosophical activation, or to what extent?


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