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Jacques Derrida “The Ends of Man”

Derrida, Jacques 1969. The Ends of Man. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 30(1): 31-57.

 

Not only is existentialism a humanism, but the ground and horizon of what Sartre then called his “phenomenological ontology” […] remains the unity of human-reality. In so far as it describes the structures of human-reality, phenomenological ontology is a philosophical anthropology. (35)

 

Whatever decisive breaks from classical anthropologies may be indicated by this Hegelian-Husserlian-Heideggerian anthropology, there is no interruption in a metaphysical familiarity which so naturally relates the we of the philosopher to “we-men”, to the we of the total horizon of humanity. (35)

 

[…] under the auspices of the founding concepts of meta-physics, which Husserl revives and restores, assigning them if  necessary  an index  or phenomenological quotation marks, criticism of  empirical anthropologism is but the affirmation of a transcendental humanism. And among these metaphysical concepts which form the essential resources of Husserl’s discourse, that of end, or telos, plays a decisive role. It could be shown that, at every stage of phenomenology, and notably every time that recourse to “the Idea in the Kantian sense” is necessary, the infinity of telos, the infinity of end, regulates the power of phenomenology. The end of man (as factual anthropological limit) is announced to thought with the end of  man. Man is that which is relative to his end, in the fundamentally equivocal sense of the word. This has always been so. The transcendental end can appear to itself and unfold before itself only in the condition of mortality, of relation to finitude as the origin of ideality. The name of man has always been inscribed in metaphysics between these two ends. It has meaning only in this eschato-teleological situation. (44)

 

Let me recall that the formal structure of the question, of any question according to Heidegger, should include three necessary elements: the Gefragte, that which is asked, here the sense of Being; the Erfragte, which is the asked inasmuch as it is properly aimed at by a question; the sense of Being as questioned; and finally, the Befragte, the interrogated, the being which will be interrogated, to which the question of the sense of Being will be posed. It is thus a matter of choosing or of recognizing the paradigm being which is interrogated with a view to the sense of Being: “Into what being should the sense of Being be read (abgelesen) from what being will the opening of Being take its departure? Is this point of  departure arbitrary, or has some being privilege (Vorrang) in  the  elaboration of  the  question of Being? What is this exemplary being and in what sense has it a privilege?” (46)

 

The proximity to himself of the questioner authorizes the identity of the questioner and of the interrogator. We, who are near to ourselves, interrogate ourselves concerning the sense of Being. (47)

 

[…] just  as the Dasein -the being which we are ourselves -serves as the exemplary text, as the good “lesson” for the explicitation of the sense of Being, so the name of man remains the link or the leading thread which joins the analytics of Dasein with the totality of  the traditional discourse of  metaphysics. (48)

 

We see, then, that Dasein, if it is not man, is not, however, other than man. It is, as we shall see, a repetition of the essence of man permitting to go back beyond metaphysical concepts of humanitas. (48)

 

Humanist interpretations of man as rational animal, as ‘person,’  as spiritual-being-endowed-with-a-soul-and-a-body, are not held as false by this essential determination of man, nor are they rejected by it. The sole purpose is rather that the highest humanist determinations of the essence of man do not yet experience the dignity characteristic of man (die eigentliche Wurde des Menschen). In this sense, the thought expressed in Sein und Zeit is against humanism. But this oppositioa does not mean that such thought is directed in opposition to man, that  it pleads for the inhuman, defends barbarism and lowers man’s dignity. If we think against humanism it is because humanism does not value highly enough the humanitas of man. . . (52)

 

If, then, “Being is farther removed than every being and yet nearer to man than every being,” if “Being is that which is nearest,” we should consequently be able to say that Being is the near of man and that man is the near of Being. The near is the proper; the proper is the nearest (prop, proprius). Man is that which is proper to Being, which speaks into his ear from very near. Being is that which is proper to man. Such is the truth, such is the proposition which gives the there to the truth of Being and the truth of man. (54)

 

In the thought and the language of Being, the end of man has always been prescribed, and this prescription has never served except to modulate the equivocality of the end, in the interplay of telos and death. In the reading of  this interplay, the following chain of  events can be taken in all of its senses: the end of man is the thought of Being, man is the end of  the thought of  Being, the end of  man is the end of  the thought of Being. Man has always been his proper end; that is, the end of what is proper to him. The being has always been its proper end; that is, the end of what is proper to it. (55)

Martin Heidegger “The Possible Being-a-Whole of Dasein and Being-toward-Death”

Heidegger, Martin 2010. Being and Time. Albany: State University of New York Press.

 

Division Two. Dasein and Temporality

Chapter One. The Possible Being-a-Whole of Dasein and Being-toward-Death

 

46.

A constant unfinished quality thus lies in the essence of the basic constitution of Dasein. This lack of wholeness means that there is still something outstanding in one’s potentiality-for-being. (226)

 

Eliminating what is outstanding in its being is equivalent to annihilating its being. As long as Dasein is a being, it has never attained its “wholeness”. (227-228)

 

47.

The end of the being qua Dasein is the beginning of this being [Seienden] qua something merely present. (229)

 

Death does reveal itself as a loss, but as a loss experienced by those remaining behind. However, in suffering this loss, the loss of being as such, which the dying person “suffers”, does not become accessible. We do not experience the dying of others in a genuine sense; we are at best always just “near by”. (230)

 

We are asking about the ontological meaning of the dying of the person who dies, as a potentiality-of-being of his, and not about the way of being-with and the still-being-there of the deceased with those left behind. (230)

 

No one can take the other’s dying away from him. […] Insofar as it “is”, death is always essentially my own. […] Dying is not an event, but a phenomenon to be understood existentially in an eminent sense still to be delineated more closely. (231)

 

In “ending”, and in the being a whole of Dasein which is thus constituted, there is, according to its essence, no representation. (231)

 

48.

  1. As long as Dasein is, a not-yet belongs to it, which it will be – what is constantly outstanding.
  2. The coming-to-its-end of what is not-yet-at-an-end (in which what is outstanding is, according to its being, removed) has the character of no-longer-Dasein.
  3. Coming-to-an-end implies a mode of being in which each and every actual Dasein simply cannot be represented by someone else. (233)

 

[…] to be outstanding means that what belongs together is not yet together. (233)

 

Dasein always already exists in such a way that its not-yet belongs to it. […] The not-yet that belongs to Dasein, however, not only remains preliminarily and at times inaccessible to one’s own or to others’ experience, it “is” not yet “real” at all. (234)

 

Correspondingly, Dasein, too, is always already its not-yet as long as it is. (235)

 

Ending does not necessarily mean fulfilling oneself. It thus becomes more urgent to ask in what sense, if any, death must be grasped as the ending of Dasein. (235)

 

[…] just as Dasein constantly already is its not-yet as long as it is, it also always already is its end. The ending that we have in view when we speak of death, does not signify a being-at-an-end of Dasein, but rather a being toward the end of this being. Death is a way to be that Dasein takes over as soon as it is. (236)

 

49.

In the broadest sense, death is a phenomenon of life. Life must be understood as a kind of being to which belongs a being-in-the-world. (237)

 

Within the ontology of Dasein, which has priority over an ontology of life, the existential analytic of death is subordinate to a characterization of the fundamental constitution of Dasein. We called the ending of what is alive perishing. […] Dasein, too, can end without authentically dying, though on the other hand, qua Dasein, it does not simply perish. We call this intermediate phenomenon its demise [Ableben]. Let the term dying [Sterben] stand for the way of being in which Dasein is toward death. (238)

 

The existential interpretation of death is prior to any biology and ontology of life. (238)

 

The ontological analysis of being-toward-the-end, on the other hand, does not anticipate any existentiell stance toward death. If death is defined as the “end” of Dasein, that is, of being-in-the-world, no ontic decision has been made as to whether “after death” another being is still possible, either higher or lower, whether Dasein “lives on” or even, “outliving itself”, is “immortal”. […] The this-worldly, ontological interpretation of death comes before any ontic, other-worldly speculation. (238)

 

50.

The end is imminent for Dasein. Death is not something not yet objectively present, nor the last outstanding element reduced to a minimum, but rather and imminence [Bevorstand]. (240)

 

Death is a possibility of being that Dasein always has to take upon itself. With death, Dasein stands before itself in its ownmost potentiality-of-being. In this possibility, Dasein is concerned about its being-in-the-world absolutely. Its death is the possibility of no-longer-being-able-to-be-there. When Dasein is imminent to itself as its possibility, it is completely thrown back upon its ownmost potentiality-of-being. Thus imminent to itself, all relations of to other Dasein are dissolved in it. This nonrelational ownmost possibility is at the same time the most extreme one. As a potentiality of being, Dasein is unable to bypass the possibility of death. Death is the possibility of the absolute impossibility of Dasein. Thus death reveals itself as one’s ownmost, nonrelational, and insuperable possibility. As such, it is an eminent imminence. Its existential possibility is grounded in the fact that Dasein is essentially disclosed to itself, and it is disclosed as being-ahead-of-itself. This structural factor of care has its most primordial concretion in being-toward-death. Being-toward-the-end becomes phenomenally clearer as being toward the eminent possibility of Dasein which we have characterized. (241)

 

Anxiety about death must not be confused with a fear of one’s demise. It is not an arbitrary and chance “weak” mood of an individual, but, as a fundamental attunement of Dasein, it is the disclosedness of the fact that Dasein exists as thrown being-toward-its-end. (241)

 

51.

Temptation, tranquilization, and estrangement, however, characterize the kind of being of falling prey. Entangled, everyday being-toward-death is a constant flight from death. Being toward the end has the mode of evading that end – reinterpreting it, understanding it inauthentically, and veiling it. (244)

 

52.

If “one” understands death as an event encountered in the surrounding world, the certainty related to this does not get at being-toward-the-end. (246)

 

The entangled everydayness of Dasein knows about the certainty of death, and yet avoids being-certain. (247)

 

The full existential and ontological concept of death can now be defined as follows: as the end of Dasein, death is the ownmost, nonrelational, certain, and, as such, indefinite and insuperable possibility of Dasein. As the end of Dasein, death is the being (Sein) of this being (Seienden) toward its end. (248)

 

The phenomenon of the not-yet has been taken from the ahead-of-itself; no more than the structure of care in general can it serve as a higher court that would rule against a possible, existent wholeness; indeed, this ahead-of-itself first makes possible such a being-toward-the-end. (248)

 

53.

First of all, we must characterize being-toward-death as a being toward a possibility, toward an eminent possibility of Dasein itself. […] Being out for something possible and taking care of it has the tendency of annihilating the possibility of the possible by making it available. (250)

 

Obviously, being-toward-death, which is now in question, cannot have the character of being out for something and taking care of it with a view toward its actualization. For one thing, death as something possible is not a possible thing at hand or objectively present, but a possibility-of-being of Dasein. Then, however, taking care of the actualization of what is thus possible would have to mean bringing about one’s own demise. But by doing this Dasein would deprive itself of the very basis for an existing being-toward-death. (250)

 

But being toward this possibility, as being-toward-death, should relate itself to death so that it reveals itself, in this being (Sein) and for it, as possibility. […] The nearest nearness of being-toward-death as possibility is as far removed as possible from anything real. The more clearly this possibility is understood, the more purely does understanding penetrate to it as the possibility of the impossibility of existence in general. As possibility, death gives Dasein nothing to “be actualized” and nothing which it itself could be as something real. It is the possibility of the impossibility of every mode of behaviour toward …, of every way of existing. (251)

 

The ownmost possibility is nonrelational. Anticipation lets Dasein understand that it has to take over solely from itself the potentiality-of-being in which it is concerned absolutely about its ownmost being. Death does not just “belong” in an undifferentiated way to one’s own Dasein, but it lays claim on it as something individual. The nonrelational character of death, understood in anticipation, individualizes Dasein down to itself. This individualizing is a way in which the “there” is disclosed for existence. (252)

 

Because anticipation of the insuperable possibility also disclosed all the possibilities lying before it, this anticipation includes the possibility of taking the whole of Dasein in advance in an existentiell way, that is, the possibility of existing as a whole potentiality-of-being. (253)

 

In anticipating the indefinite certainty of death, Dasein opens itself to a constant threat arising from its own there. Being-toward-the-end must hold itself in this very threat, and can so little phase it out that it rather has to cultivate the indefiniteness of the certainty. […] But the attunement which is able to hold open the constant and absolute threat to itself arising from the ownmost individualized being of Dasein is anxiety. In anxiety, Dasein finds itself faced with the nothingness of the possible impossibility of its existence. […] Being-toward-death is essentially anxiety. (254)

 

What is characteristic about authentic, existentially projected being-toward-death can thus be summarized as follows: anticipation reveals to Dasein its lostness in the they-self, and brings it face to face with the possibility to be itself, primarily unsupported by concern that takes care, but to be itself in the passionate anxious freedom toward death, which is free of the illusions of the they, factical, and certain of itself. (255)

Jacques Derrida “Aporias”

Derrida, Jacques 1993. Aporias. Stanford: Stanford University Press.

 

  1. Finis

What, then, is it to cross the ultimate border? What is it to pass the term of one’s life (terma tou biou)? Is it possible? Who has ever done it and who can testify it? The “I enter”, crossing the threshold, this “I pass” (perao) puts us on the path, if I may say, of the aporos or of the aporia: the difficult or the impracticable, here the impossible, passage, the refused, denied, or prohibited passage, indeed the nonpassage, which can in fact be something else, the event of a coming or of a future advent [événement de venue ou d’avenir], which no longer has the form of the movement that consists in passing, traversing, or transiting. It would be the “coming to pass” of an event that would no longer have the form or the appearance of a pas: in sum, a coming without pas. (8)

 

Babelization does not therefore wait for the multiplicity of languages. The identity of a language can only affirm itself as identity to itself by opening itself to the hospitality of a difference from itself or of a difference with itself. Condition of the self, such a difference from and with itself would then be its very thing, the pragma of its pragmatics: the stranger at home, the invited or the one who is called. (10)

 

Is my death possible? […] “My death” in quotation marks is not necessarily mine; it is an expression that anybody can appropriate; it can circulate from one example to another. […] If death […] names the very irreplaceability of absolute singularity (no one can die in my place or in the place of another), then all the examples in the world can illustrate this singularity. Everyone’s death, the death of all those who can say “my death”, is irreplaceable. So is “my life”. Every other is completely other. Whence comes a first exemplary complication of exemplarity: nothing is more substitutable and yet nothing is less so than the syntagm “my death”. (22)

 

Heidegger: “the possibility of the pure and simple impossibility of Dasein”. (23)

 

Dasein does not need to mature when death occurs. That is why life will always have been so short. Whether one understands it as achievement or as accomplishment, the final maturity of a fruit or of a biological organism is a limit, an end (Ende; one could also say a telos or terma), hence a border. Dasein is the very transgression of this borderline. (26)

 

Heidegger: “Within the ontology of Dasein, which is superordinate to an ontology of life, the existential analysis of death is, in turn, superordinate to a characterization of Dasein’s basic state.” (29)

 

Heidegger says that he has called the end of the living, the ending of the living (das Enden von Lebendem), “perishing”, Verenden (Das Enden von Lebendem nannten wir Verenden, p. 247). This Verenden is the ending, the way of ending or of coming to the end that all living things share. They all eventually kck the butcket [ils crèvent]. In everyday German, verenden also means to die, to succumb, to kick the bucket, but since that is clearly not what Heidegger means by properly dying (eigentlich sterben), by the dying proper to Dasein, verenden must therefore not be translated by “dying” in order to respect what Heidegger intends to convey. (30-31)

 

Now the border that is ultimately most difficult to delineate, because it is always already crossed, lies in the fact that the absolute arrivant makes possible everything to which I have just said it cannot be reduced, starting with the humanity of man, which some would be inclined to recognize in all that erases, in the arrivant, the characteristic of (cultural, social, or national) belonging and even metaphysical determination (ego, person, subject, consciousness, etc.). (35)

 

Dasein or the mortal is not man, the human subject, but it is that in terms of which the humanity of man must be rethought. And man remains the only example of Dasein, as man was for Kant the only example of finite reasonable being or of intuitus derivativus. Heidegger never stopped modulating this affirmation according to which the mortal is whoever experiences death as such, as death. Since he links this possibility of the “as such” (as well as the possibility of death as such) to the possibility of speech, he thereby concludes that the animal, the living thing as such, is not properly a mortal: the animal does not relate to death as such. The animal can only come to an end, that is, perish (verenden), it always ends up kicking the bucket [crever]. But it can never properly die. (35)

 

Once one has distinguished between these two ways of ending, dying and perishing one must take into consideration what Heidegger calls an intermediate phenomenon: the demise, the Ableben, which all the French translators agree to translate as décès. […] What does Ableben (to demise) mean? It is neither dying (Sterben) nor perishing (Verenden). How does one discriminate among these three figures of ending (enden)? Dasein can also demise (in the medico-legal sense), when it is declared dead after its so-called biological or physiological death has been certified according to conventionally accredited criteria. One does not speak of the demise of a hedgehog, of a squirrel, or of an elephant (even if, and especially if, one likes them). Demise (Ableben) is thus proper to Dasein, in any case, to what can properly die, but it is not dying (Sterben). Dasein presupposes dying, but it is not death, properly speaking: “Dasein never perishes, Dasein however, can demise only as long as it is dying.” (p. 247) (38)

 

[…] there is no scandal whatsoever in saying that Dasein remains immortal in its originary being-to-death, if by “immortal” one understands “without end” in the sense of verenden. Even if it dies (stribt) and even if it ends (endet), it never “kicks the bucket” (verendet nie). Dasein, Dasein as such, does not know any end in the sense of verenden. At least from this angle and as Dasein, I am, if not immortal, then at least imperishable: I do not end, I never end, I know that I will not come to an end. And with a certain knowledge I know, Dasein says, that I can never perish. One should not be able to say to the other: “Kick the bucket!” (in the sense of “End!”, “Perish!”). If one says it, then it takes the form of a curse and it assimilates the other into the category of animals, thereby testifying that one does not consider him an animal at the precise moment when one claims to say it to hi, (39-40)

 

  1. Awaiting (at) the Arrival

One must go further: culture itself, culture in general, is essentially, before anything, even a priori, the culture of death. Consequently, then, it is a history of death. (43)

 

“Life will have been so short”: this means that on always dies in an untimely way [à contretemps]. The moment of death no longer belongs to its time, at least by a certain aspect that, nonetheless, does not fail to historicize itself and perhaps provide the occasion of the history with which historians deal. (49)

 

The existential analysis of death is also anterior, neutral, and independent with regard to all the questions and all the answers pertaining to a metaphysics of death: the questions and answers that concern survival, immortality, the beyond, or the other side of this side, that is, what one should do or think down here before death (ethical, juridical, and political norms). Since this figure of the border and of the line between the here and the beyond is of particular interest to us here, we should note that, after having excluded from the existential analysis all considerations about the beyond and the here (the “on this side”, das Diesseits, which must not be translated by the Platonic or Christian “down here”), arguing that they are founded, dependent, and derivative with regard to the existential analysis, Heidegger nevertheless stresses that the existential analysis stands, not in “immanence”, as Martineau, losing the thread, writes in his translation, but purely on this side: it is rein “dieseitig”. It is on this side, on the side of Dasein and of its here, which is our here, that the opposition between here and over there, this side and beyond, can be distinguished. In the same direction, one could say that it is by always starting from the idiomatic hereness of my language, my culture, and my belongings that I relate myself to the difference of the over there. (52)

 

A mortal can only start from here first, from his mortality. His possible belief in immortality, his irresistible interest in the beyond, in gods and spirits, what makes survival structure every instant in a kind of irreducible torsion, the torsion of a retrospective anticipation that introduces the untimely moment and the posthumous in the most alive of the present living thing, the rearview mirror of a waiting-for-death at every moment, and the future anterior that precedes even the present, which it only seems to modify, all this stems first from his mortality, Heidegger would say. (55)

 

The existential analysis maintains itself well this side of all this foolish comparatist predication, even if, at its root, and we will surely return to this, a judgment on the loss of authenticity in the relation to death also reveals, in its way – in Heidegger’s way – a certain incapacity to look death in the face, to assume in a resolute fashion being-toward-death, a certain everyday leveling that is not always foreign to what is being exacerbated by a certain modernity of the modern industrial city. In short, across all these differences, the dominant feeling for everyone is that death, you se, is no longer what it used to be. (58)

 

If being-possible is the being proper to Dasein, then the existential analysis of the death of Dasein will have to make of this possibility its theme. Like an example, the analysis of death is submitted to the ontological law that rules the being of Dasein, whose name is “possibility”. But death is possibility par excellence. Death exemplarily guides the existential analysis. And this is precisely what happens in the pages that immediately follow the delimitation. (63)

 

With death, Dasein is indeed in front of itself, before itself (bevor), both as before a mirror and as before the future: it awaits itself [s’attend], it precedes itself [se precede], it has a rendezvous with itself. Dasein stretches [se tend], bends toward [se tend vers] its most proper being-able, offers to itself [se tend] its most proper being-able; it offers it to itself [se le tend] as much as it bends toward it [tend vers lui], as soon as the latter is nothing other than itself. (66)

 

[…] the impossibility adds an impossible complement, a complement of impossibility to possibility. […] This is indeed the possibility of a being-able-not-to or of a no-longer-being-able-not-to, but by no means the impossibility of a being-able-to. […] Death, the most proper possibility of Dasein, is the possibility of a being-able-not-to-be-there or of a no-longer-being-able-not-to-be-there as Dasein. And of that Dasein is absolutely certain; it can testify to it as to a unique truth that is not comparable to any other. Dasein can escape from this truth inauthentically (improperly) or approach it authentically, properly awaiting it […] (68)

 

Death – to be expected – is the unique occurrence of this possibility of impossibility. For it concerns the impossibility of existence itself, and not merely the impossibility of this or that. Any other determined possibility or impossibility would take on meaning and would be defined within its limits in terms of this particular possibility of impossibility, this particular impossibility. (72)

 

According to Heidegger, there is no nontruth for the animal, just as there is no death and no language. (73)

 

The impossibility that is possible for Dasein is, indeed, that there not be or that there no longer be Dasein: that precisely what is possible become impossible, from then on no longer appearing as such. It is nothing less than the end of the world, with each death, each time that we expect no longer to be able to await ourselves and each other, hence no longer to be able to understand each other. According to Heidegger, it is therefore the impossibility of the “as such” that, as such, would be possible to Dasein and not to any form of entity and living thing. But if the impossibility of the “as such” is indeed the impossibility of the “as such”, it is also what cannot appear as such. Indeed, this relation to the disappearing as such of the “as such” – the “as such that Heidegger makes the distinctive mark and the specific ability of Dasein – is also the characteristic common both to the inauthentic and to the authentic forms of the existence of Dasein, common to all experiences of death (properly dying, perishing, demising), and also, outside of Dasein, common to all living things in general. Common characteristic does not mean homogeneity, but rather the impossibility of an absolutely pure and rigorously uncrossable limit (in terms of existence or of concepts) between an existential analysis of death and a fundamental anthropo-theology, and moreover between anthropological cultures of death and animal cultures of death. (74)

 

If death, the most proper possibility of Dasein, is the possibility of its impossibility, death becomes the most improper possibility and the most ex-propriating, the most inauthenticating one. From the most originary inside of its possibility, the proper of Dasein becomes from then on contaminated, parasited, and divided by the most improper. Heidegger indeed says that inauthenticity is not an exterior accident, a sin or an evil that comes by surprise to existence in its authentic mode. This is where Heidegger at least claims to dissociate Verfallen from the original sin and from any morality as well as from any theology. But he crucially needs the distinction between the authentic and the inauthentic, as well as that among the different forms of ending: dying properly speaking, perishing, and demising. These distinctions are threatened in their very principle, and, in truth, they remain impracticable as soon as one admits that an ultimate possibility is nothing other than the possibility of an impossibility and that the Ereignis always inhabited Eigentlichkeit before even being named there – indeed, this will happen later. (77)

Marc Abélès “Globalization, Power and Survival: An Anthropological Perspective”

Abélès, Marc 2006. Globalization, Power and Survival: An Anthropological Perspective. Anthropological Quarterly 79(3): 483-508.

“Globalization as a concept refers both to the compression of the world and the intensification of our consciousness of the world as a whole” (Robertson 1992:8). For Westerners, this notion ofaselfcontained world expresses itself in a strong feeling of insecurity. It only needs asector of the economy, for example, to show signs of weakness, for the possibility ofrelocations to emerge. (483)

In practice, the compression of time and space can be perceived as a threat, not only because it accentuates the pressure of the invisible hand of the omnipotent market system, but also inasmuch as it makes possible a violent intrusion of alterity into our world. (484)

The whole “modernity” position, though, was based on the idea of there being an irreducible difference between all that represents civilization and fits into the scheme of progress and these Others who, while being part of humanity, were nonetheless doomed to the inertia of beings without history. (484)

Perhaps it is time to realize the obsolete nature of a system of government that proved itself throughout the last century. The nation-state, based on the isomorphism between people, territory and legitimate sovereignty, is profoundly called into question by globalization. The proliferation of deterritorialized groups and the “diasporic diversity” that we see almost everywherehave the effect of creating new, translocal solidarities. We see identity constructions emerging thatgobeyond the national framework. In their own way, state policies play a part in fostering this situation by giving rise to migratorymovements. The anthropologist Arjun Appadurai (1996) has underlined the highlyheterogeneous natureofsuch movements. Refugees, workers, specialists from companies or international organizations and tourists are very different types of migrants. But, in every case, widespread movement is at the root of new, subjective referents that are making forms of identification linked to territoryand the state increasingly anachronistic.Refugees, tourists, students, workers and migrants all form, in their way, a delocalized “transnation.” (487)

The political displacement is determined by a global redefinition of the meaning and aims of political action. This redefinition not only has a cognitive dimension, it shows up in ways of acting and in organizational and institutional constructions—and also in the position of issues that will be a focus for public debate and in the construction of the type of place where this debate will happen. This theory is heavy with consequences: it effectively implies that the emergence of a new, transnational stage is the effect rather than the cause of a profound transformation of our relationship to politics.This means that, in research, the institutional process must give way to an investigation of our perception of politics. It is here that the displacement, whose most visible effects we have spotted, is really happening. (490)

We might well wonder if this harmony between pastoral power and the centralizing state hasn’t disappeared today. It is as if, now, a dislocation were taking place in our perception and experience of the political dimension between what comes under citizen/individual and what relates to biopolitical subject. […] We have to look atthe current disjunction between the biopolitical point of viewand the citizen/individual point ofviewin its own dynamic. In fact, we can actually speak of a real switch-over, with the rise in power ofpolitical representation that puts the preoccupations of life and survival at the heart of political action, while the issue of the city and the relationship ofthe individual to sovereignty is relegated to the background. The displacement of issues can find another expression, in a simple question that we all ask: that of “what will our world consist of tomorrow?” It is this fundamental anxiety that not only alters our relationship to politics but also determines the space that can be allocated to this activity and the new places in which it is best exercised. (492-493)

A sense of powerlessness has become the backdrop for political action. It is as though the citizen’s capacity for initiative were going through a more or less explicit reassertion of this admission of powerlessness, tied to the awareness of a radical reappraisal of our terms of belonging. The other side of this position is a projection towards a vaguer collective interest relating more to survival (survivance) than to the artof“harmonious living together” (convivance). (494)

What was disappearing atthe end of the 20th century was “this capacity to control the future ”that had characterized the triumph of the welfare state during the years of economic growth following WW2, with hope for social progress as a correlate (Castel 2003). In the new configuration, this very system—that guaranteed the possibility of some consistency between “my present life” and “my future”—is becoming fuzzy. (495)

In other words, the subject of harmonious living together (convivance) is not relevant here and political theory is off balance in the face of a questioning focused primarily on subjects’ relationship to the future. This is what the survival (survivance) issue bluntly raises, for there is now an element of uncertainty lodged in people’s minds, coexisting tensely with the hope—created by technical and scientific advances—that it is possible to live better and longer. (496)

I purposely use the idea of “survival” (survivance), in contrast to the analysis of survival (survie)—which was given by Elias Canetti (1962). Survival (survie) implies a fundamental antagonism between I and others. It is associated with power. On the battlefield, the more corpses of my friends and enemies are piled up around me, the stronger I feel. “The survival moment is the moment of power.” (1962:241) The quintessence of survival (survie) is invulnerability. Death is behind us and no longer presents a threat, because we’ve defeated it. The issue of “survival” (survivance) reaches into a different temporal realm: we are not in the future, in the pleasure of the present felt by those who have overcome the gravest peril, expressed, according to Canetti, in a feeling of strength, of sovereignty and “a feeling of election” (1962:242). Here, on the other hand, everything relates back to insecurity, to the uncertainty of a possibly futureless tomorrow. With the damage caused by progress, thanks to insecurity and all its many forms, the future is transformed into a threat. (496)

The economy of survival carries within it the issue of sustainability. We see this clearly in the area of the environment, where catastrophes regularly give us cause to evoke the responsibility of a productivist development model centered on profit. (497)

Between the nation-state and global politics we find the same polarity as that which exists between the system of harmonious living together (convivance) and the system of survival (survivance). Today, global politics is, to a high degree, dependent on the strategies of nation-states. However, as the impact of initiatives dealing with the economy of survival show, it imposes its own system and puts under pressure those powers that control it only imperfectly. (504)