Like many top intellectuals the world over, I’ve been thinking about the shape of history itself. Spurred on by the emergence of unexpected events and personalities onto the world stage, I have been cogitating deeply on the questions of where we’ve been and where we’re heading.
The world-historical confrontation between Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un, which may well proceed from verbal to actual Armageddon, demands a new understanding of history: It has all, undeniably and inexorably, been leading up to this. North Korea demands that we oust the “lunatic” who governs us or face “the abyss of doom,” while our own dear leader characterizes Chairman Kim in historically significant tweets as a “madman” on a suicide mission whom we will “totally destroy.”
As all top intellectuals know, Hegel argued that history, in its essence, is the coming-to-self-consciousness of the Absolute; Marx said that it is the dialectical unfolding of the material conditions of production; Michel Foucault pointed out that it is a succession of “epistemes” (roughly, a body of common shared beliefs), each inscribing its own regime of power; Francis Fukuyama claimed it was over; and Jean Baudrillard said it never actually happened in the first place.… Seguir leyendo »