Humanity as it has been historically constituted / The established model of humanity

Note: the content below is all in first draft format. It will change considerably during the time it takes for the study to be completed. I post now ‘for interest’s sake’.

These phrases – ‘humanity as it has been historically constituted’, and ‘the established model of humanity’ – really stood out to me as two of the most powerful phrases in Philosophy in the Present in the context established by the first several chapters of this study. In Chapter 3, for example, it became clear that the established model of humanity has a specific history with identifiable features which collectively, under inspiration from Hadot, I have called ‘Promethean’ in this study. In Chapter 4, examples of ‘mechanisms’ that perpetuate the dominant Promethean ‘shapers of discourse’ were identified and explored. To restate: in one chapter there was a focus on humanity as it has been historically constituted, and in the other chapter there was a focus on what perpetuates the established model of humanity. Now consider Badiou’s comment about philosophy, one I introduced in of this chapter:

Each time that philosophy confines itself to humanity as it has been historically constituted and defined, it diminishes itself, and in the end suppresses itself. It suppresses itself because its only use becomes that of conserving, spreading and consolidating the established model of humanity. [Emphasis added]

I have shown that the established model of humanity is Promethean, and I have shown that it is perpetuated by specific mechanisms; it therefore follows, in light of Badiou’s aforementioned assertion, that each time a person (for example) ‘defends extant Capitalism’ (one of the dominant contemporary manifestations of the Promethean), philosophy “is diminished” and suppressed. In order to count as a philosophical activity – in the context established by Badiou and Žižek, at least – any talk of the particularities of Capitalism (or Christianity, Science, and Technology in their dominant Promethean formats) must occur against a ‘philosophical backdrop’ whereupon an awareness of (for example) incommensurability presents itself. Incommensurability is just one example of a philosophical ‘component’ of the backdrop I have just mentioned; other examples have appeared throughout this first half of this chapter: creating problems, changing the concepts of the debate, the moment of foreignness, etc. The examples of Orphic ideas focused on in Chapter 5, on the other hand, do indeed participate in the philosophical process identified so far in this Chapter: creating problems regarding the established (Promethean) model of humanity, changing the concepts of the debate, focusing on the ‘foreignness’ of certain aspects of humanity that, under Promethean paradigms, are taken as unquestionable (for example, the equating of the current incarnation of Democracy with freedom), etc.

I need to point out that if the Orphic were to become the ‘dominant’ model of humanity, and perpetuate itself via (for example) the focus on only mutually inclusive ‘alternatives’ (see, then one may expect that it too would become a sphere void of philosophical characteristics as explored by Žižek and Badiou. However, as I have already pointed out elsewhere in this chapter (, the Orphic is inherently incapable of domination in the Promethean sense of the word. The Promethean dominates, has dominion, compartmentalises, reduces, competes, etc. (see Chapter 3), all of which exclude the ‘foreignness’ of non-Promethean ideas (see Chapter 4). Manifestations of Orphic principles, on the other hand, inherently cannot do these things lest the said manifestations lose the qualities making them Orphic. It is in light of this information that I must repeat what has been said elsewhere, but now using the appellative phrases of this sub-section: the Orphic can, per definition, never confine itself to humanity as it has been historically constituted – in doing so, it would become something other than Orphic. The Orphic therefore seems inherently aligned with the character of philosophy as it has been presented by Badiou and Žižek, i.e. as something that does not stagnate at any one view of humanity as it has been historically constituted. The Orphic is inherently open to ‘foreignness’, to cooperation, to patiently confronting incommensurability, and (to name one more characteristic of philosophy) open to the ‘transformation of life’, which brings me to the next sub-section.

Accordingly, the focal areas of Chapter 5 do either implicitly or explicitly focus on the established model of humanity in that they either directly or indirectly analyse and/or criticise the established model. Importantly, in all the sub-sections of Chapter 5, alternative ideas, actions, systems, etc. are focused on, thereby surpassing the limitations of the orthodoxy of humanity as it has been historically constituted.