A Thermodynamic Interpretation of History
A Theory of Power

Being Part One of
The Path Toward Scientific Enlightenment



[continued from page 1]

Chapter 3 is a thermodynamic interpretation of the origin of nation-state, the sort of social environment in which we live today. This modern phenomenon called "nation state" is brought to its thermodynamic essence via the thinking of Michel Foucault, William McNeil, Max Weber, and Bertrand de Jouvenel.

While in the previous chapter the various social institutions that mark modern life are explained as instruments devised to enhance the competitive power of the state by increasing the productivity of the population, in Chapter 3 democracy, the representative, "responsible" government of modern time, created often via "Revolutions", is explained as the instrument for guaranteeing greater reciprocity between the state and its population, and therefore the instrument for the state to exert greater degree of control over its people, and to demand greater amount of contribution from them.

Institutions of bio-power, representative government, and capitalism turned consumerism combine to form a supraorganism of a metabolic capacity un-dreamed of in previous centuries, which is called nation-state. Although its apparent origin is inter-state competition, we find the coincidence between the power of the state and the pressure of the second law entirely not incidental.

In the end the nation-state emerges as the fulfillment of the evolution of human society toward a true supraorganism whose essence is usually designated by the term "reason of the state", i.e. the state as an end in itself or for its own sake, which means (1) "bureaucratization" or the mechanization of the state- (and economic) apparatus into an impersonal machinery that engulfs the human beings that have created it merely as its cogs; and (2) that the "purpose" of the state is its existence or survival as a supraorganismic metabolic (open dissipative) unit against whatever contrary wishes there may be among its internal constituents (i.e. independent of the wishes of its citizens) and among other supraorganismic units comparable to itself in the interaction sphere. The state now operates with a will and an existence independent of the human beings that have created and compose it. This is Weberian.

Just as Michel Foucault, in History of Sexuality, does not regard the so-called sexual liberation as any sort of successful rebellion against an oppressive power, but rather as manifestation of an increase and metamorphosis of power, so here, in Chapter 4, women's liberation since the 1960s is discussed not as any successful destruction of an oppressive power called "patriarchy", but as index of a further empowerment of a power now undergoing metamorphosis. Under the continual growth of consumerism as the metabolic mode of nation-state, men are becoming insufficient to support the production, consumption, and contribution cycle of the new supraorganismic metabolism, and women, in effect, are simply being recruited into this cycle when they are "liberated" into the public sphere. That is, the contemporary liberation of women is just another instrument for the increase of the power of the state and for the augmentation of the metabolic capacity of the human supraorganism; it is the logical conclusion of the mechanism of the nation-state, total, mass mobilization for power-production. The ideology of "patriarchal oppression" is generated by power as smoke-screen to cover up the covert operation of power. Real power is not patriarchy but supraorganismic metabolism, and ultimately the second law of thermodynamics. All this is discussed in section 1.

Section 2 is a critique of cultural feminism of the second wave, which, foremost, is not the continuation of cultural feminism of the first wave. It focuses on the cultural feminists' ideology of the hitherto repressed female culture, a particular female epistemology oriented toward the contextual and a particular female ethics based on the relational (first expounded by Carol Gilligan in In A Different Voice), which are more and more taken to be rooted in the particularly female (right- or holistic) brain-functioning, and which, if liberated onto the public world, would save the Earth hitherto plunged into destruction by the particularly male Cartesian-Newtonian type of epistemology and the particularly male ethics of justice within the context of individualized competition. The purpose of the critique is to demonstrate that feminists' construct of male-domination and patriarchy is essentially anachronistic and does not apply beyond the formative period of the nation-state. This means that there is essentially no correlation between the presumed male culture with men and female culture with women, and between male culture and the destruction of the Earth, as shown by the noted convergence between the new sciences (especially physics), together with Eastern philosophical traditions on one side, and the female epistemology on the other. The first two are invariably "male cultures", and the Eastern traditions as male cultures which are opposed to the Newtonian world view are foremost concerned with harmonization with the environment -- yet they are patriarchal. The analysis reveals that the mechanical world-view of the formative period of European nation-state and the cosmological world-view of the Eastern patriarchy are formations on a different map than of gender relations and, more importantly, that feminism is in fact the unique product of the dynamics involved in the formation of nation-states and modern economy in Western cultures and that the supposed female culture, as rooted in this dynamics rather than in "women's nature", serves a different purpose, the reflection and the socialization of the mentality of consumerism on both the production and the consumption axis -- the de-centralization happening all around both in the corporate world and in the consumer market shows that this female-relational model pivotal in contemporary consumerism simply follows as the next growth-stage of capitalism from the centralizing analytical approach pivotal in the formative period of capitalism -- thus reinforcing the destruction of the environment.

The true meaning of the cessation of racism in American society must also be sought in the structure of the nation-state as a supraorganism. (1) On its metabolic side: By World War II the American society was going toward the segregationist type of South Africa, but the transition from classical (formative) capitalism to (mature) consumerism requires the total mobilization of all peoples as "equal" producers and consumers, which means the break-down of discriminatory racial-segregational practices. (2) On the side of the integration of the state: As the nation-state is distinguished from traditional kingdoms or chiefdoms by the replacement of the "substance-based" but non-spatial kinship community proper to the latter with the purely spatial (since it is marked by nothing more than "national boundary") "territoriality" of the former as the "content" of the state-organism - and the evolution of any supraorganism is always from the immature form of kinship community toward the mature and more abstract form of territoriality in which subjects as mechanized cogs become interchangeable with each other so as to increase the total efficiency of the organismic functions and the unity of the supraorganism: the basis of the concept of "citizenship" - racial blindness and equality in fact just signifies the fulfillment of the ideal of "territoriality" over against that of the extended form of kinship community called a "race." The American Republic, with its granting of citizenship in complete independence of any traditional standards for the determination of membership in a community (race, religion, national origin), therefore represents the most complete fulfillment of the concept of "nation-state." Again, the "liberation" of the oppressed races serves some other need (supraorgnaismic metabolism and integration) than the superficial ideal of justice and equality.

Chapter 5 examines the common origin of (Anglo-American) democracy and (continental) totalitarianism (from communism on the left to the various forms of fascism on the right). The thesis here is that these two seemingly opposed systems of contemporary time were really born from the same womb, which is the power struggle between the centralizing tendency of the supraorganism (personified in the monarch) and the local centrifugal forces (represented by the nobilities), and that they strive for the same end, i.e. the integration of the state through totalitarianism: a system to eradicate human individuality and standardize human beings in order for every human person to blend into the whole (society) like a mere cog in the machine to serve the purpose of the whole. This increased centralization that we have in the modern nation state is the universal destiny of supraorganism, and throughout history local interests have always been the impediment to the fulfillment of this destiny. The problem seems to be complicated but actually solved by the later rise of the middle class, who gradually displaced the traditional nobilities and at the same time took over the centralizing tendency of the supraorganism. The way to resolve the power struggle between the centralizing monarch and the centrifugal local lords and yet to achieve centralization, first realized roughly contemporaneously in France and England, is through representative government, where everyone gets to participate (at least indirectly), and this solution is favored precisely by the rise of the middle-class which squeezes out upwardly the monarchs and the nobles and downwardly the poor peasants. The differing initial conditions in France and England however spawn two divergent approaches to establishing the representative government, either the top-down, planned (France) or the bottom-up developmental approach (England), and the first eventually leads to continental totalitarianism and the latter to American liberal democracy. But the evolutionary goal of both -- as of all societies -- is greatest possible integration of society ("totalitarianism") and the question remains of which of the two can achieve this better. Eventually, however, democracy, as of the American society, has proven to be the more effective way to accomplish totalitarianism, the total assimilation of citizens by the society through the destruction of their individuality. A New Man is created by democracy, the mechanized Mass Man in the sense of Ortega y Gasset (The Revolt of the Masses). (Similarly, women's movement and feminism, in liberating women into producers as well as reproducers, have created, not saviors of the Earth, but just Mass Woman as the New Woman.)

In this context, again, Weber's insight is brought in to reveal that the essence of all those elements of the American democratic tradition (Constitution, separation of power) in fact consists simply in "bureaucratization" or mechanization.

Since the concept of patriarchal oppression is no longer revelatory for the origin of women's social condition throughout history, this origin is to be sought in the changing metabolic mode of the human supraorganism (from hunting-gathering through agricultural production to industrialization and after), as the surface manifestation of an underlying economy of the human collective. Women's lot rises and falls always in order to be most favorable to the economic or metabolic growth of the social collective. Chapter 6 continues the thinking of Chapter 4. The main objective of this chapter is to present a general history of the female sex of Homo sapiens sapiens, that is, a history of women (before the nation-state). Starting from Chapter 6 a genealogy of women's oppression is sought, its precondition in the onset of the sexual division of labor that, according to the latest archaeological thinking in this area, really began with our own species, Homo sapiens sapiens, some 100,000 years ago in south and east Africa, and was absent in the previous Homo species, and certainly among the Australopithecus. Among the earlier species each sex provided for themselves, and males did not take part in child-rearing. The sexual division of labor was initiated by the females of late archaic Homo sapiens of the African branch, in consequence of the increasing encephalization (brain growing larger) of their offspring, which placed unbearable burdens on them. In response they solicited male parental efforts. The strategies of solicitation -- menstrual synchrony and sex-strike -- incidentally inaugurated the age of the symbolic (religion and rituals). (This is the decisive beginning of noo-sphere within the bio-sphere.) For this particular detail, we adopt the famous theoretical framework of the British anthropologist Chris Knight as presented in his Blood Relations (and some others, notably Camilla Power, have elaborated upon it): the origin of ritualism and the sexual division of labor in women's "sex-strike". With the female success in obtaining male parental effort, a division of labor was initiated: from then on female specialized in child-rearing and male in hunting and providing food to the dependent "wives" and children. This, however, laid the foundation of male-dominance, insofar as their monopolization of the energy-intake of the whole group endowed men with great authority to influence the operation of the group, and also insofar as meat, which they alone obtained, became the currency for cementing political alliances intra- and inter-group, which they thus monopolized.

The political network of alliances, which became the foundation of male-dominance in tribal societies, is a system of exchange: not simply of meat and gifts, but also of women. The exchange of women resulted in kinship system, a system of marriage laws universal among all the so-called primitive societies, and the most effective means for the integration of the group: (the (first stage of) the formation of supraorganism. This section refers, then, to Lévi-Strauss' Elementary Structures of Kinship. Now the analysis of the first stage of supraorganismic formation -- the tribe -- is completed.

This is Chapter 7. Here this work attempts to elaborate on the derivation of those elementary structures of kinship (especially the all-important cross-cousin marriage system in primitive societies) from Knight's sex-strike model and on that of the "exchange of women" from his postulation as to how the mythical "male overthrow of matriarchy" -- which he has thus revived -- really happened. The surprising conclusion was not only that the matrilineal system really was the beginning state of human social organization -- as Engels and some nineteenth century anthropologists have thought -- but also that the essence of matriliny was prostitution (in the generalized sense: women giving sex for economic benefits, especially meat) and that the core structure of human kinship and social exchange was at first the product of the selling women's kin acting as their "pimps" in order to exploit the "customers". The matrilineal system is one where the maternal moiety (the pimps and their prostitutes) has the commanding power over the paternal moiety (the customers), but in certain regions such as Australia female prostitution through menstrual synchrony had motivated the men to over-exploit the environment to such an extent that, under the climatic change associated with the end of the Ice Age, the productive capacity of the environment was simply destroyed and the human groups adapted to the new condition through a change into the patrilineal system -- and this is in fact where Lévi-Strauss' system of the exchange of women really originated. By now it is the "customers" that have acquired the upper hand, and this is the essence of a "patriarchal" system. But this patriarchal (male-domination) situation still remains within the tribal mold. The origination and change in human gender relation in the tribal world is reduced to part of the problem of supraorganismic formation and maintenance at this first stage under the changing external environment.

In Chapter 8 the transition from tribal organization to state is studied, or the transition from the first stage of supraorganismic formation to its second stage. This transition -- also known as the transition to civilization -- took place in three regions on Earth, at least roughly speaking: the Mesopotamian-Egyptian-Indus valley region, around 6000 years ago; Northern China, around 4000 years ago; and Mesoamerica, around 2000 years ago. In this chapter, only the transition in Northern China is studied ("The Chinese Interaction Sphere"). But the characteristics of "civilization" are not just the state, but also urbanism, art or the noosphere consumption of the elite and classical patriarchy. Hence the study of the origin of the second stage of supraorganismic formation is at once the study of the origin of classical patriarchy or women's oppression par excellence.

The concepts of "Interaction Sphere" (championed by several archaeologists) and "noosphere consumption" (or rather the increase thereof) which constitutes the motor of the formation of the Interaction Sphere, are central in understanding the origin of classical patriarchy, extreme male-domination, or what is known as "civilization." They first of all will explain the origin of Chinese civilization (or any other civilization), that is, the origin of the transition to the second stage of supraorganismic formation (state). The idea is that a number of interacting units (e.g. tribal settlements), in the process of mutual interaction (war and trade) in pursuit of a maximized noosphere consumption of the elite, priestly caste, each became more integrated in their internal structure under pressure from external competition, and finally transited into states with greater internal consolidation and centralization than their formerly loose structure under tribal organization. They also will shed light on the foundation of (classical) patriarchy in the Chinese sphere, or in any civilizational sphere, in that a minority of elite, priestly men, forming, by virtue of their possession of an extra-ordinary amount of (shamanistic) "charisma," from the already greater authority of men in general due to their function as the "exchanger," initiated the interaction process precisely to sustain and reinforce their elite status ("charisma"), by profiting tremendously from the surplus from war and trade - profits which consist exactly in "objects imbued with shamanistic charisma" - and classical patriarchy was really the hierarchical institution that this minority of men by virtue of their ever-increasing charisma were able to institute, by which they, as elite, ruled over everyone else, and of which all characteristics of the traditional patriarchal mode (polygyny, excessive devaluation of the female, etc.) are function.

A hierarchical, "caste" polygynous society is the form of patriarchy that civilizations across Eurasia most usually assume in historical times: classical patriarchy. And such patriarchy is most resistant to break-down (to the "liberation of women") precisely because here gender categories are subsumed within caste categories. The sort of "patriarchy" that feminist theorists talk about all the time as if it were the norm, the male-dominated society of the formative nation-state of the West, is in sharp contrast to such most usual "classical patriarchy"; in fact Western "patriarchy" is not really patriarchy at all but simply a transitional state toward a society of sexual equality, and it breaks down, i.e. prepares for the "liberation of women," precisely because the nation-state has to expose gender categories as the most conspicuous social divisions in order to maintain the strict sexual division of labor that it needs and which it has recovered from early tribal times! The question then remains of why Western Europe has never successfully and fully instituted "classical patriarchy" so that it is able most naturally to produce modern nation-state - as a society or supraorganism of the classical patriarchal mode is most resistant to metamorphosis into the nation-state mode.

The conclusion is that classical patriarchy is a dispositif of a new efficiency in thermodynamic debt-paying through noosphere consumption (which at first depends on the complexification of shamanism): the raison d'être of supraorganism -- and so ordained in the teleological course of the universe in this sense -- just as the "liberation of women" is the dispositif for the next level of this efficiency, the third-stage of supraorganismic formation. The origin of gender relations -- whether subordination or final equality -- lies in the stage-wise expansion of noosphere consumption as the metabolic mode proper to supraorganism (and this is the meaning of the statement that the origin of women's social condition throughout history is to be sought in the changing metabolic mode of the human supraorganism), and so ultimately in thermodynamics, or in the thermodynamic structure of the universe.

Since the third stage of supraorganismic formation has already been discussed from Chapter 2 through 5, under Foucauldian influence to be sure, a conclusion is in order here, which gives an overall summary of the formation, under thermodynamic pressure, of open-disspipative structure from organisms in the bio-sphere to economy-society in the noo-sphere. This is Chapter 9. When the linear thermodynamic dissipation gave way to the non-linear, single cell organisms first emerged as the alternative, open dissipative structures on earth, circa 3.8 billion years ago. This is the stage of the "plastide." After the oxygen crisis 2.5 to 1.5 billion years ago, which raised the oxygen content of Earth's atmosphere eventually to present day's level, organisms began to employ molecular oxygen as electron acceptor, which pulled electron to the lowest energy level possible, thereby releasing the most energy. With the surplus energy at hand, these newly aerobic single-cell organisms were able to band together to form multicellular organism with greater dissipative capacity; and thus we reach the second "epoch" of the history of open dissipative structure: "organism" in the proper sense. This is the epoch of "person". Within the various domains of organism, "supraorganism" composed of multiple multicellular organisms began to form to achieve even greater dissipative capacity, but none excels in this respect the one formed by human beings, which became known as "economy". This is the third epoch, that of "corm". Corm attains final form in totalitarian nation-state, where individual persons blend into the whole so finely that their individuality is completely erased (the Mass Man), just as the plastides in a person have lost all individualities during the multicellular evolution: the story of increased integration and augmented metabolism. The American society as the most totalitarian society with the most massive metabolism is therefore the apex of human history, with the most complete destruction of human spirit and most accelerative of the progression of humanity toward its destiny of extinction. (Hence forces of ideology, i.e. human rights, democracy, and feminism, are the strongest here.) The specific terminology here revives that of Ernst Haeckel in his Generelle Morphologie der Organismus for reason of "corm." Also, the simplified version of his ordering of biological hierarchies (from cell through tissues and organ and organ system to organism) is essentially still in use in today's biology textbook.

Chapter 10 examines the relationship between the second law of thermodynamics and the problem of evil. One should see that this whole project of a "thermodynamic interpretation of history" is aimed at constructing a bridge between the physical and the human sciences (humanities), or at shedding light on the phenomena of the human world by placing them in a large context, the context of the physical universe. Now at this moment the most general phenomenon of the human world -- evil -- will be examined in this way: evil as experienced as power, as in war, and evil acts in general.

The truth of power: This discussion will deepen the Foucauldian understanding of the real nature of power. Foucault has already revealed that power, looked at with a deeper understanding, is not about relations of domination and subordination, but about a situation which compels people to act in a certain way (usually to reinforce power, to strengthen the situation, or to help the situation evolve along its natural life-cycle), to dominate or be dominated or whatever, with or without their knowledge. The situation is the whole institution of society, of which no persons are truly in control but which controls and socializes everyone's behavior for its own (unintended) interests. The misunderstanding of the nature of power is here exemplified by the feminists who continually think of power in terms of domination of one figure by another and so still dream about resistance against or overthrowing of power. In the new framework Foucault's concept of power is generalized into a "system approach" to the understanding of power, within which resistance against power is understood as simply the means for the whole system (e.g. society) to overcome its inertia and reach its next evolutionary stage, and what is erroneously taken by the progressive elements therein (i.e. by the "left" or what are today called the "liberals" in a society) as "power" to be resisted against is simply this inertia state which the system -- power -- detests but always builds up naturally within itself. One sees immediately that the inertia to the evolutionary growth of a system is represented by the "conservatives" or the "right", and it is "natural" in exactly the sense in which the conservatives define themselves: "We believe conservatism to be the most natural political tendency, rooted in man's taste for the familiar, for family, for faith in God. We believe that true conservatism has a predisposition for the institutions and mores that exist" and thus attempts to preserve ("conserve") them against the "liberals'" (the progressives') attempt to transform them: so the American Conservative -- the "true" or real conservatives in America (the "paleoconservatives"), i.e. the Reaganites, not the other conservatives, the Neoconservatives, who want radical changes -- states its mission. Thus people do not hold power and oppress others with it, or resist against those that hold power and oppress them with it, but are all agents power uses to play out the drama of its growth. The thermodynamic interpretation of history then reveals the ultimate origin of this drama of the growth of power to lie in the thermodynamic structure of the Universe.

Here under our "system approach to power" we'll consider the morphology of history of Oswald Spengler in his Decline of the West, and say that it is approximately correct, though for different reasons. It is not true that each "civilization" has a template of its own and is so absolutely tied to it that all its cultural expressions are simply the subjective expressions of its template -- as if the objective reality it perceives and expresses didn't matter to it -- and cannot be understood by and shared with other civilizations. The underlying template is in fact the same for all civilizations. But we do think that the cyclical theory of the rise and decline of civilizations -- just like the life-cycle of an organism -- is true but for reasons of the laws of self-organization, because of which a self-organized supraorganism always begins with a noble, balanced phase full of creative vigor ("culture", community, republican form, realism in art), then reaches into an imperial phase of expansion and moral decline ("civilization", impersonal urbanism, empire, abstraction in art), and finally collapses and dies due to over-extension ("system collapse"). This interestingly prescribes the most prudent form of politics: progressivism during a nation's infancy to help its growth, but conservatism during the end of its republican phase (or the beginning of its imperial phase, if one so loves power) to halt its eventual slide into disintegration and death. But power, as supraorganismic pressure, is always progressive (uses "resistance" to overcome its inertia to grow), so mostly likely conservatism after its republican phase will never succeed (because that will be going against the arrow of Time).

The truth of war: when looked at from a distance, objectively that is, or from the horizon of history, war really is just one side of the coin of human interaction, the other being trade. The goal (or effect) of human interaction is the formation of ever larger human supraorganism: ever larger interaction sphere, ever larger empire, and finally the global community of today (whether fascist synarchy or global socialism under a United Nations). The formation of supraorganism, again, is the continuation of the story of self-organization of dissipative structure from the bio-sphere into the noo-sphere. In this way war loses its conventional tragic garb. War competes with trade as the mechanism for the integration of supraorganismic interaction sphere, and the latter (just as American democracy in competition with continental "totalitarianism") eventually proves more effective. Indeed, ultimately, it is not war which will destroy the humankind, but the happy and excessive consumerism, by altering (or trashing) the planetary environment altogether.

One reason, in our opinion, why doing good is valued above doing evil is that good is much harder to do than evil. After all, anyone can serve as doctors for the mentally-ill under the Nazis who simply killed off these sick and poor. What sort of medical training would one need to do that? This is because evil is fundamentally a phenomenon of dissociating order, fracturing it, destroying it, while good is about preserving order, creating it, restoring it. Good is the state far from equilibrium. Order is going against the second law, or the fundamental tendency of nature to dissociate, to reach equilibrium; it is going in the opposite direction to the arrow of time, which is entropy increase. While this going-against (or "upward movement") is possible in a local region of a closed system when energy is available, work is needed, and hence it is harder, a more respectable, more precious state. And above all, it is the state proportional to human survival or the existence of life in general. The original meaning of good and justice is thus order in the context of thermodynamic flux. This is the thermodynamic origin of good vs. evil, justice vs. injustice. One can in fact discover this original thermodynamic meaning of good and evil, justice and injustice, in such classical works as Hesiod's Work and Days or even Plato's Republic.

A reminder is the history of human enslavement of animals: a history no one has ever written, although the subject matter has been treated, for sure, in slightly different manner under the topic of "the history of the domestication of animals." "Domestication" began at least since the mesolithic time 15,000 years ago, became harsh and more systematic by the neolithic time 9,000 years ago, and deserved the title of "enslavement" definitively by the time of the great civilizations 4,000 years ago. Today under the system of factory farming of the nation-states animal suffering has for sure reached the maximal height in Earth's history. This progressively harsher enslavement of animals, it will be demonstrated here, is directly proportional to the growth of bio-power in human societies.

To sum up Part One of the thermodynamic interpretation of history: As energy is poured into the Earth, self-organization of open dissipative structures commenced: first the bio-sphere, and then the noo-sphere. Human history is the history of the formation of supraorganism, the self-organizing and -organized open dissipative structure appertaining to the noo-sphere. This essay describes this process (in the noo-sphere), but also briefly summarizes the same process in the bio-sphere, and the history of the Universe prior to any self-organization: that is to say, finding the root of human history (or noo-sphere) in the context of bio-sphere, and that of the bio-sphere in the context of the geosphere... leading finally back to the primordial homogeneity of the Universe.


Part Three ("The Feminist Ethic and the Spirit of Consumerism: an Archaeology of the American Feminist Intraworldly Messianism") is concerned with a particular phenomenon: power's inversion of the traditional pursuit of the spiritual meaning of life into that of the material meaning of life; that is, to make salvational traditions ("religions"), whose original purpose is precisely the extrication from the maintenance of life-processes (metabolism), from the addiction to consumption and reproduction, into "secular religions" whose goal is to increase this metabolism and to reinforce the addiction to consumption (and somewhat reproduction). In the West this is most visible: power has so successfully made Christianity into first a moderate secular religion called "humanism" and then into the more aggressive triad of what is called "intraworldly messianism" or "intraworldly redemption": Aryanism, Marxism, and (cultural) feminism which, first of all, substitute the perfection of earthly existence for the Christian eschaton (the negation of the imperfect earthly existence by the Kingdom of God which is perfect heavenly, i.e. non-temporo-spatial, existence and which comes only at the end of temporal history); and, secondly, the material meaning of life (all people happily consuming and reproducing in harmony: non-alienating dissipation) for the spiritual meaning of life (the eternal life in the Kingdom: no longer any consumption or reproduction). The strange thing about all these intraworldly messianisms is that they are all reactions against the classical liberal humanism, yet their utopia seems unable to escape from a life reduced to its material meaning. Of this triad this work focuses on feminism. The negative judgment on this triad of "substitutes for Christianity" usually hinges on their destructiveness in terms of warfare, environmental destruction (communist countries, in their incessant drive toward industrialization, are no more friendly to the environment than are capitalist ones), and the destruction of human mind/individuality (through standardization of human consciousness, the most visible sign of "totalitarianism"). The proponents of all these intraworldly redemptions share the common characteristic of being merely mediocre thinkers somehow convinced that they are the elites capable of leading humanity to perfection, while in reality they are simply destroying the world. But of these feminists are essentially pacifists, and so their destructiveness mostly concerns the other two than sufferings caused by warfare and revolutions. Ironic, for, though some have objected to the feminist standardization of consciousness (their imposition of their political correctness), few have associated feminism with environmental degradation. Yet as women have become such a economic force driving consumerism, their economic independence means higher consumption of the population and faster environmental degradation. This unforeseen consequence of feminism is the pivot of the subsequent criticism of feminism, which is made from the interior (the theoretical structure) of feminism itself, not from outside as in the case of the right-wing idiots who constitute the usual "critics" of feminism. The issue here is how feminism has gone wrong. The preliminary of the diagnosis has been attempted in the critique of the contemporary (second wave) cultural feminism. Here the diagnosis is extended into an inquiry into the origin of the theoretical and experiential structure of cultural feminism: into the origin of its secular religiousness.

This is Voegelinian applied to feminism of course. But the title suggests Weberian (The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism). As said, here is an unification of Foucault, Weber, and Voegelin. The critique of feminism in Division One is from the Foucauldian perspective. But the genealogy of feminism attempted below is mostly from the Voegelinian perspective in seeing cultural feminism as a "secular gnosticism" on a par with Marxism and Aryanism. But what is meant here by the "gnostic structure" of feminism is not exactly the same as that of the Christian gnosticism during the Ecumenic (Roman) Age. The "gnostic structure" which cultural feminism, Marxism, and Aryanism share together in fact is exactly identical with that of the Protestant Puritanism. Consider Max Weber's description of the Protestant sects:

Entscheidend aber fuer unsere Betrachtung war immer wieder... die bei allen Denominationen wiederkehrende Auffassung des religioesen "Gnadenstandes" eben als eines Standes (status), welcher den Menschen von der Verworfenheit des Kreatuerlichen, von der "Welt", abscheidet, dessen Besitz aber -- wie immer er nach der Dogmatik der betreffenden Denomination erlangt wurde -- nicht durch irgendwelche magisch-sakramentalen Mittel order durch Entlastung in der Beichte oder durch einzelne fromme Leistungen garantiert werden konnte, sondern nur durch die Bewaehrung in einem spezifisch gearteten von dem Lebensstil des "natuerlichen" Menschen unzweideutig verschiedenen Wandel. Daraus folgte fuer den einzelnen der Antrieb zur methodischen Kontrolle seines Gnadenstandes in der Lebensfuehrung und damit zu deren asketischer Durchdringung. Dieser asketische Lebensstil aber bedeutete eben... eine an Gottes Willen orientierte rationale Gestaltung des ganzen Daseins. Und diese Askese war nicht mehr ein opus supererogationis, sondern eine Leistung, die jedem zugemutet wurde, der seiner Seligkeit gewiss sein wollte. Jenes religioes geforderte, vom "natuerlichen" Leben verschiedene Sonderleben der Heiligen spielte sich -- das ist das Entscheidene -- nicht mehr ausserhalb der Welt in Moenchsgemeinschaften, sondern innerhalb der Welt und ihrer Ordnungen ab. Diese Rationalisierung der Lebensfuehrung innerhalb der Welt im Hinblick auf das Jenseits war die Wirkung der Berufskonzeption des asketischen Protestantismus. (Gesammelte Aufsatze zur Religionssoziologie, J.C.B. Mohr, Tuebingen, p. 163) But for our consideration the decisive point was always... the conception, common to all the denominations, of the state of religious grace [the salvation-ensured state of one's soul] as a state (status) which marks off its possessors from the damned state of the fleshly-creaturely, from the "world", but the possession of which -- though it was attained with different doctrines in different denominations [in Calvinism by predestination: some portion of humanity were pre-destined, "elected", for eternal salvation while others, for eternal damnation] -- cannot be guaranteed by whatever magical-sacramental means nor by relief in the confession nor by some singular pious works, but only through the proof in a specific kind of activity [behavior] that is unambiguously different from the lifestyle of the "natural" men. From this followed the incentive toward methodical control of one's state-of-grace in daily life conduct and with that toward ascetic permeation thereof. This ascetic lifestyle however means a rational planning, oriented toward God's will, of the whole of one's life and existence. And this asceticism was no longer an opus supererogationis, but an activity/conduct [i.e. external behavior], which was expected of everyone who wanted to be certain of his salvation [i.e. the shift from some internal psychological state of order to the order of external behavior: orderly, disciplined, robotic, dutiful performance of one's assigned job or profession]. Every religiously required special life of the saint, which is moreover distinctive from the "natural" life, no longer played itself out outside the world in the monastery, but inside the world and its institutions. This rationalization of daily-living inside the world but for the sake of the otherworld was the consequence of the concept of "calling" of the ascetic Protestantism [: "intraworldly asceticism"].

This is the basic thesis of The Protestant Ethic, and very Voegelinian. I see this shift by Protestantism as consequence of the two general new trends of European consciousness at the time: (1) Increased aggressivity in response to laxation, disappointment, and alienation: as the Catholic institution and discipline waned and "the end of history" never came, the disappointed carriers of the faith became more aggressive with their faith as a matter of defense mechanism; hence they came up with such hate-filled doctrine as "predestination" which so aggressively distinguished the saved from the damned as to make the separation absolute: God had decided -- and immutably so -- who would be saved and who damned all in advance. That is, the typical response to alienation from the world which failed to deliver (the eschatological) promise and from the (Catholic) institutions whose laxation no longer offered the meaning of life was more aggressive refusal of both of them. (2) The intensified aggressivity of the European culture in general led to an increasing desire to dominate reality and thus to an increasingly stricter empiricism: something that could not be seen, grasped, and hence dominated could not exist, words that did not refer to things visible, tangible, and controllable consequently could not have meaning (the ultimate consequence: logical positivism of the early twentieth century); hence the dismissal of any imagination of the metaphysical otherworld and of any talk thereof: empiricism, positivism, logical positivism. The Protestants, increasingly aggressive with their faith and with themselves (i.e. with controlling their own soul for the sake of salvation: asceticism), had evidently adopted this empiricism from the general culture, so that the order of the soul that served traditionally as the index of the salvational state of the soul ("minor salvation", c.f. its exposition in Phaedo) could no longer be expressed through the traditional internal means invisible to others such as the psychological state of emotional graciousness or contemplative union with God which entailed a non-participatory stance toward society, but must be expressed through external, tangible, measurable means affirmable by all: disciplined, robotic, orderly, productive dutiful "hard-working". In other words, whereas all salvational religious traditions have ascetic means to concentrate the soul ("mind") away from equilibrium with the material environment (body and the material external world) in order to prepare it for the upcoming salvation from this material world -- with Plato it was the study of the "forms"; among the mystics, whether Christian, Hindus or Buddhist, it was meditation; some Hindus used yoga and some late Daoists, Taijichuan ("Taiji boxing") -- the Calvinists used "professional working", a "job", which was thus, so to speak, the "Protestant yoga", because for them the internal orderly mind had to be projected outside into the external orderly behavior and "productive" life-style that were empirically verifiable and measurable. This empiricization of salvational experience into a salvational "mechanics" (more below) was part of the general blossoming of the structural perspective behind the rise of the Enlightenment empiricist-rationalism that saw reality as consisting only of intraworldly objects and stripped these moreover of their readiness-to-hand (Zuhandenheit). The replacement of spirituality (yoga, mediation, study of the structure of reality) by professional work was the result of the new conception of human being as present-at-hand (vorhanden) on the model of intraworldly manufactured things.

We must notice that this "gnostic" structure (a sharp, absolute contrast between good and evil, saved and damned) which grew out of the aggressivity and discontent of the Protestant sects is precisely the structure of cultural feminism, Aryanism, and, more mildly, Marxism. The (cultural) feminist woman (or the racial Aryan and the proletariat, for that matter) is in possession of "the state of grace, the salvational state", ensured by their feminine biological (or Aryan racial and proletariat class-situational) constitution which sharply, unambiguously, and absolutely marks them off from the damned and the degraded world of "patriarchy" (women [and Aryans] are intuitive, holistic, nurturing, and life-affirming [or ecstatic and mystically oriented toward nature] in contrast to men [or Jews and Greeks] who are analytic, domineering, and life-negating, and in contrast to the male-dominated world or patriarchy [or racially amalgamated world] veering toward destruction [or "racial chaos and degeneration"]). Cultural feminism thus in fact espouses -- insofar as it believes women's soteric nature is in-born, as many cultural feminists hold the credo that women are born to be morally superior to men -- a sort of predestination: some portion of humanity (women) are predestined, "elected", for eternal salvation while others (men), for eternal damnation. And the proof of this "electness" of women lies in the objective reality of women's relationship-oriented, life-affirming, mutually nurturing behavior and personality, rooted in their subjective holistic consciousness, all these making up their ability to save the world from its destructive damnation in men's hands once they be allowed to participate in its administration. In other words, the "proof" has to have empirical results of shaping the external world in some way, not just be experienced inside oneself but invisible to others. But not always, because many radical separatist feminists simply withdraw from the world -- now deemed irredeemable -- in order to insulate themselves from its damnation. This alienated, gnostic structure only intensifies from the first to the second wave of cultural feminism. This tells us that (cultural) feminism was also born out of defense against alienation -- but double alienation, since not only were women confined in a restrictive gender role but they also had to respond to the modernizing, industrializing machine world as did the "Aryans", the socialists, and Marx. Are there other causes for the rise of feminism or other consequences of alienation that characterizes modernity?

Chapter 11 is a genealogy of feminism. Here the genealogy of feminism hinted at in Chapter 4 is at last completed. Some claims are made first. First, the goal of history is the extinction of the human race. Second, of the many -isms that accelerate environmental degradation and drive humanity faster toward its extinction through reinforcement of global consumerism, none is more effective than feminism. Third, the origin of feminism -- just as Marxism, humanism, (Aryan) racism, nationalism -- will be shown in a different light than Puritanical gnosticism to lie in the deformation of the metastatic faith that constitutes the structure of Western consciousness, i.e. the secularizing deformation of Christianity, which has become the favorite instrument of power-expansion. Here is thus examined not the predestination- and proof-related "gnostic" structure but the historicity of the substitute Christianity: we start with Voegelin and then move into Weber. This is the other sense in which Marxism, Aryanism, and cultural feminism constitute the triad which has carried to its logical conclusion the immanentization of the Christian eschaton (the perfect Kingdom of God never to come) that began since Medieval time and reached its midpoint with the Reformation. Here we supplement the thermodynamic "description" of supraorganismic formation presented in Division One with an ideational side (if the thermodynamic interpretation seems Marxist-deterministic, here we show the necessary presence of idea in carrying out history): The deformation of Christianity has turned out to be the most integrative of supraorganism and so the most destructive of human individuals and human species. Here is the way in which Foucault's bio-power -- hypostastized into a thermodynamic principle -- is combined with Eric Voegelin's critique of that peculiarly Western phenomenon: the deformation of the testamental religiousness (particularly in the form of gnosis) into soteriological social or political ideologies: into "intraworldly messianism". In the case of feminism the condition of possibility for Euro-American women to come to a "realization" of their oppression and their possible liberation (liberal feminism) was precisely the eschatologico-historical mode of existence of Western Christendom, the absence of which in, e.g. China, was precisely the reason why Chinese women never came to the same realization. But the deformation (secularization) of the eschatological mode determined that liberal feminism must complete itself in cultural feminism: here the Puritanical and the eschatological structures come together: women are soterically special in the world of evil and their self-redemption would be at the same time the redemption of the world from evil which shall happen as a matter of eschatological course: the feminist intraworldly messianism. The criticism is that they in their eschatological fervor would probably mess up the world even faster.

The gnostic structure of a sharp distinction between the fragile good and the aggressive evil also explains that particular contemporary phenomenon of feminist fear-mongering, specifically about the various stereotypes of perpetrators of violence against women: rapists, stalkers, serial killers, battering husbands, etc. Earlier the society's as well as the feminists' obsession with these modern day almost fairy-tale figures was explained as the operation of the sexual dispositives of the consumerist age. Concomitantly with the operation of bio-power, this fear-mongering generated by female gnosticism also serves the general purpose of the discipline of the population to increase their productivity and the particular purpose of the feminists to acquire greater power for women. In other words, what is called the "gender" or "victim" feminist fear-mongering serves not only to regulate the sexuality of the populous but also to discipline their behavior into an unified system of economically productive life-leading just as the Protestant ethic did (more on this, below): the production of a New People: another point where Voegelian, Foucauldian, and Weberian perspectives come together. The point is however the demonstration that feminism is generated on the level of world-history as a reinforcement mechanism of consumerism whereas on the personal level it was generated by the experience of alienation. At the bottom of this gnostic experience of good and evil is however that one of the two perennial human experiences of the thermodynamic structure of the cosmos which are constitutive of human religiosity in general: the fear for order to reach equilibrium with the disordered environment. The analysis is followed by an examination of Mary Daly's Gyn/ecology which presents the most succinct expression of the new "feminist gnosticism" (cultural feminism).

There is no way out of the final fate of human history, which consists in the production of totalitarian societies (the apex being the American democracy) which end up with the total control of a person's life and the complete smearing out of his or her individuality, the progressive destruction of the Earth-environment, and the final extinction of the human race along with most of the other aerobic life forms. The only way to halt the process is to practice on a wide scale Buddhist or Daoist type of salvation which advocates non-action and non-attachment to the material meaning of life: an obvious impossibility within the consumerist world. Already feminism is shown to be an imposter in its advocating the liberation of women (and of Earth) as it is merely an instrument to make women "useful" to society; i.e. it represents a "work ethic" which is to consumerism what the Protestant ethic was to capitalism in its formative period: an exhortation for women to go to work in order to produce more consumer products and services and to have the money to consume these, thus expanding the economy. Women are thus made into multi-purpose: producers, consumers, and reproducers. In this connection, in Chapter 12 ("The Problem of Feminist Liberation"), what would be the real liberation of women becomes clear as the production of women completely useless to society, i.e. a woman that neither works like a man nor resorts to the role of a housewife -- best exemplified by a woman in quest of the spiritual meaning of life -- quite the opposite of the feminist ideal of a woman working like a man in addition to being a biological woman: this real liberation an obvious impossibility for all women and hence reserved only to a few special women. In this connection, also, the mentality of "saving the world" or "perfecting it" which the West has quested after as a result of its spiritual exhaustion due to the non-delivery of God's promise -- and of which feminism is the last remaining embodiment -- is particularly reflected upon as a non-entity, as any soteriological efforts either get transmuted into the reinforcement of power (with its attendant destruction) as with feminism or destroyed by power. Power cannot be stopped for it is rooted in the very (temporal, thermodynamic) structure of the Universe. But before our extinction we may at once come to understand the spiritual meaning -- the truth -- of existence, the means through which, traditionally, salvation is achieved in the great philosophies (and the testamental religions to a limited extent). Existence, as a matter of the second law of thermodynamics, is fundamentally flawed; the recognition of this is what prompted the ancient geniuses to pursue the enlightened state of mind (salvation). This makes a turn to the Scientific Enlightenment proper in which the spiritual meaning of life will be exposed.

In Chapter 13 ("The Feminist Work Ethic and the Spirit of Consumerism") we move into the Weberian perspective. The Protestant ethic (the Protestant minor salvation) was essential to capitalism because -- first of all -- the "leap" from agrarian subsistence economy to (formative) capitalist accumulative economy required people to produce more than was necessary for the maintenance of their current life-style, which was against the natural human tendency (the "traditionalist" attitude toward work, as Weber calls it). The Puritans made the leap because their tendency toward externalization and empiricism had made it that their minor salvation (order of the soul as index of its salvational state which, in the Christian scheme of things, means also the glorification of God) was achieved and maintained no longer through the "inner work" of meditation, contemplation, etc. (inner asceticism) as with the Medieval Christian mystics or generally among the second modes of salvation, but through the external work of, well, "working" (doing well at one's job: outer asceticism). "Labor is foremost the approved method of asceticism, which has always been judged so in the West, in contrast not only to the Orient, but to almost all monastery rules the world over [I'm not sure if it has always been so in the West, but certainly since the beginning of the 'classic age']. It is the specific prevention [next to 'fasting, vegetarian diet, and cold shower'] against all temptations [e.g. sexual, bodily], which Puritanism united under the concept 'unclean life'..." ("Die Arbeit ist zunaechst das alterprobte asketische Mittel, als welches sie in der Kirche des Abendlandes, in scharfem Gegensatz nicht nur gegen den Orient, sondern gegen fast alle Moenchsregeln der ganzen Welt, von jeher geschaetzt war. Sie ist namentlich das spezifische Praeventiv gegen alle jene Anfechtungen, welche der Puritanismus under dem Begriff 'unclean life' zusammenfasst..." P. 169) Temptations, or immersion in bodily pleasures in general, threatened to dissipate the order of the soul (c.f. the thermodynamic origin of minor salvation, in Phaedo, ibid.) and hence the salvational state: thus asceticism; but again, asceticism here was achieved not through contemplation on the "forms" (Plato) nor through meditation ("mindfulness", satipatthana: Buddha) but through disciplined labor. And in the end this was carried to the extreme: "But labor is beyond that and above all the end-in-itself of life prescribed by God. The Pauline phrase 'Whoever works not shall not eat' becomes unconditionally valid and for everyone. Unwillingness to work is a symptom of the lack of the state of grace [i.e. the lack of the salvational state]." ("Aber die Arbeit ist darüber hinaus, und vor allem, von Gott vorgeschriebener Selbstzweck des Lebens überhaupt. Der paulinische Satz: 'Wer nicht arbeitet, soll nicht essen', gilt bedingungslos und für jedermann. Die Arbeitsunlust ist Symptom fehlenden Gnadenstandes." p. 171) Once people came to see the purpose of living is to work (to glorify God here) rather than the purpose of working is to live, the problem of the capitalist need for surplus productivity was solved -- with this Protestant ethic. One could not just stop producing once one had produced enough to live on, as Weber quotes from the tenth chapter of Richard Baxter's Saint's Everlasting Rest: He who should seek to rest in the shelter of possession which God gives, God strikes even in this life. "Almost always is the satiated rest on [or enjoyment of] one's wealth thus earned the precursor of ['spiritual', salvational] breakdown. -- If we had everything we could have in the world, would this also be all that we hoped for? Wantlessness [complete satisfaction] is unachievable on earth, because it should not be according to God's will." ("Fast stets ist satte Ruhe auf dem erworbenen Reichtum Vorbote des Zusammenbruchs. -- Hätten wir alles, was wir in der Welt haben könnten, würde dies auch schon alles sein, was wir zu haben hofften? Wunschlosigkeit ist auf Erden nicht zu erreichen, -- weil sie eben nach Gottes Willen nicht sein soll." Ftnt., p. 166 - 7)1

For the development of capitalism this mindless increase of productivity was not yet the end of the story because it not only required one to be productive unconditionally -- this would only provide good workers for the capitalists to exploit but not the capitalists themselves -- but the productivity had to be accumulative and progressive -- progress, gradual perfection and gradual approximation toward a goal. This was accomplished firstly by the identification of their already mentioned external expression of the order of the soul (orderliness of living activities) with usefulness to the "common good of society" whose sign itself was "profitability". That is: blocking the rise of capitalism was a second, other hurdle of "traditionalism" than the question of productivity, that aggressive acquisition of wealth was "bad", a sign of "greed", and disliked by God, so much so that in Renaissance Italy, the birth place of capitalist activities, rich merchants often tried to give away their acquired wealth at the end of their life "back" to the people whom they "robbed" from or to the Church in order to ensure a good judgment in the impending heavenly realm. The Puritans dismantled this traditional "guilty-feeling" associated with the acquisition of wealth because their worldview made the new identifications: profitability (money-making) = common-good = useful activity = purposeful human organization = God's will: and the service to and glorification of God's will, i.e. being instrumental to the purposeful human organization in which this will was manifest, with one's utmost ability -- with the result of profit-deriving -- was precisely the hard working or intraworldly asceticism that was the sign of "being chosen for salvation". Hence making money was "good" -- it glorified God; being rich was a sign of "being chosen" for eternal salvation: just the opposite of the traditional Christian worldview -- and the acquisitive instinct liberated from traditionalism. Progressivity was furthermore encouraged by the specific nuance, in the Puritan concept of calling, of "specialization", "professionalization" in the whole scheme of the division of labor of the economic society. If the Puritans feared sensual indulgence and idleness because these dissipated the order of the soul and if they favored constant orderly, useful, repetitive, and productive activities because these concentrated the order of the soul against reaching equilibrium with the disordered surroundings, then they loved specialization and division of labor because, as Baxter put it: "outside of a well-marked calling the accomplishments of a man are only casual and irregular, and he spends more time in idleness than at work... and [the specialized worker] will carry out his work in order while another remains in constant confusion, and his business knows neither time nor place... therefore is a certain calling the best for everyone." (Cited by Weber, p. 174) This is finally related to the Calvinist bent (as mentioned, and c.f. below) toward the systematization of one's whole life-leading as demanded by asceticism for "soul-concentration." ("Es fehlt eben dem Leben des 'Beruflosen' der systematisch-methodische Charakter, den, wie wir sahen, die innerweltliche Askese verlangt". Ibid.)

Lastly, the Puritan fear of the dispersion of the order of their living (index of their salvational state) through sensual enjoyment which led to their rejection of sports for fun (certainly sport was permitted to make one's body healthy and ready to work, but not for pleasure which threatened the sharp stabilization of their hard-won "life-order" away from equilibrium), to their condemnation of theatre, of idle-talkish novel and sensuous art - "alles Bezeichnungen eines irrationalen, ziellosen, daher nicht asketischen und überdies nicht zum Ruhme Gottes, sondern des Menschen dienenden Gebarens" ("all the signs of a behavior that is irrational, goal-less, not ascetic, and above all serving not the glory of God but of men"; p. 187), those indulgences in pleasures of the flesh which they considered idolatry ("Kreaturvergötterung") and which allowed the order of the soul (established externally through working) to collapse into equilibrium -- this essence of intraworldly asceticism "worked thus with all its weight against the spontaneous enjoyment of wealth, it curtailed consumption, especially luxury consumption." (p. 190; "Die innerweltliche protestantishe Askese... wirkte also mit voller Wucht gegen den unbefangenen Genuss des Besitzes, sie schnürte die Konsumtion, speziell die Luxuskonsumtion, ein.") "The struggle against sensual lust and dependence on external goods was, as, next to the Puritans, also the great Quaker apologist Barclay explicitly testifies to, no struggle against the rational acquisition of wealth, but only against the irrational expenditure of it." ("Der Kampf gegen Fleischeslust und das Hängen an äusseren Gütern war, wie neben den Puritanern auch der grosse Apologet des Quäkertums, Barclay, ausdrücklich bezeugt, kein Kampf gegen rationalen Erwerb, sondern gegen irrationale Verwendung des Besitzes." Ibid.) "And if we put together that curtailment of consumption with this unleashing of the acquisitive instinct, then the result is obtained: the accumulation of capital through ascetic saving. The restriction which was put up against the consumptive use of earned wealth must come handy for the productive use of it as capital to be invested." ("Und halten wir nun noch jene Einschnürung der Konsumtion mit dieser Entfesselung des Erwerbsstrebens zusammen, so ist das äussere Ergebnis naheliegend: Kapitalbildung durch asketischen Sparzwang. Die Hemmungen, welche dem konsumtiven Verbrauch des Erworbenen entgegenstanden, mussten ja seiner produktiven Verwendung: als Anlagekapital, zugute kommen." p. 192 - 3)

This Protestant ethic however runs into two difficulties as formative capitalism (the phase of building the infrastructure of the capitalist market) transits to consumerism: first, the need for increased consumption contradicts the ascetic refusal to enjoy one's wealth, and secondly, the need for increased production and consumption requires the mobilization as well of hitherto "idle" housewives. Furthermore, the pursuit of salvation has already broken down among the general population. This means that the Protestant based work ethic must decline -- and by the early twentieth century it did crumble (c.f. Roy Baumeister, The Meanings of Life, 1991, "Rise and Fall of the Work Ethic", p. 129 - 133) -- and a "feminist ethic" becomes the best solution to this new problem capitalism faces: how to get people to produce and consume more than is ever necessary to live (the spirit of consumerism)? Now that productivity and the acquisitive instinct ("greed") have been liberated from traditionalism, how to promote productivity and encourage consumption through another religiosity than the heavenly salvational hope? How to liberate more productivity and also consumption at the same time from the Protestant ethic itself? Here feminism is no longer considered in its restrictive, intraworldly messianic form of cultural feminism, but in its general -- even liberal feminist, and even vulgar feminist -- form in which messianism only makes up a small, most radical portion. We are now considering the "feminist spirit" in the general female population outside academia, and here the Weberian perspective comes even sharper into focus. Women's hitherto oppression, confinement in the domestic sphere, is defined as exclusion from public production so that their "liberation" becomes identified with inclusion in public production. Professional work (Beruf) is no longer regarded as a means to maintain (as the "proof" of) one's salvational state and to glorify God but rather as an index of women's extrication from slavery ("liberation") and as the proof of woman's humanness (man-ness) that deserves such extrication. Likewise the ability to enjoy their wealth (consumption) -- as when women buy these gasoline-devouring SUVs -- demonstrates women's (economic) power -- and "power" becomes identified with "liberation" since it entails (economic) independence. The "proof" has transited from that of salvation to that of liberation and this "proof" of liberation is working and consuming. (Note that this "proof" of vulgar feminism also differs from the world-transforming "nurturing behavior" of the academic cultural feminists.) In this way the Protestant ethic is brought to its logical conclusion: work (and consumption) is not just (or no longer) salvation, but liberation (Arbeit macht frei). The feminist ethic, thus, strangely, turns out to be a consumerist propaganda -- or rather, a religion of consumerism. And it is in this context that the most influential of the second wave feminist literature, a work that, unlike most of the academic feminist writings examined previously, actually has had a direct influence on the behavior of the mass of women, i.e. Betty Friedan's The Feminine Mystique (together with her Puritanical attitude: women should not be having sex but should be working), is to be examined: in a strange twist her anti-consumerist stance is the best reinforcement of consumerism just as the Puritans' anti-acquisitive and anti-wealth sentiment was essential to the development of (formative) capitalism. And, as will be seen, just like the Puritans, Friedan does not simply want women to work, but to be engaged in salary-earning professional work (Beruf), i.e. be inserted into the system of the division of labor of the economic cosmos, as the only possible avenue to self-fulfillment (for she doesn't specifically speak of oppression and liberation, but only of their effect as the suppression of self-fulfillment and the liberation toward it; i.e. her concern is framed in existentialist terms, those of a search for the meaning of life): part-time amateurish work with irregular or no monetary rewards will not do. For Friedan the "proof" of liberation is systematic labor as life-leading (Lebensführung), just as for the Puritans only systemic labor of a specialized profession serves to concentrate the order of the soul to ensure, or rather act as the "proof" of, eternal salvation. The feminist ethic essentially consists in a transference of women's traditional attitude toward men, set going since, in accordance with Chris Knight's theory, the beginning of modern humans ("he who works hard is my mate"), onto themselves ("she who works hard is the liberated woman, at her full potential").

Weber's Protestant Ethic is really the joint between Foucault and Voegelin. It is Voegelinian in discovering the spirit of capitalism responsible for the construction of our modern stifling and environmentally destructive economic supraorganism - the spirit called "intraworldly asceticism" -- to be simply the secularization of Christian monastery: the monkish discipline for an internal contemplative life to achieve the order (salvational state) of the soul was replaced by an external discipline of professional working for the same salvational goal, then strode out of the isolated, otherworldly monastery and "into the market place of life... and undertook to penetrate just that daily routine of life with its methodicalness, in order to fashion it into a rational [i.e. emotionless, robotic, mechanical] life in the world, but neither of nor for this world." ("Jetzt trat sie auf dem Markt des Lebens... und unternahm es, gerade das weltliche Alltagsleben mit ihrer Methodik zu durchtränken, es zu einem rationalen Leben in der Welt und doch nicht von dieser Welt oder für diese Welt umzugestalten." P. 163) That is, a life of dissipation (rapidly taking in resources and then disposing them), an overworked station whose only purpose of existence is for money and resources to flow through as rapidly as possible, the condition of being caught in an "iron cage" that is the larger dissipative network. We have read that Foucault attributes the chain of modern institutions (hospitals, clinics, etc.) by which bio-power imposes and ensures the cult of "health" (a healthy, productive and consumptive body for the use of modern mass economy) on and among us to the secularization of the confessional technologies of the Catholic Church designed originally to ensure the salvation of our soul. The Protestant ethic preceded this as its foundation. We have moreover seen in Foucault's Discipline et punir that the power of the modern nation state and the efficacy of its mass economy are built upon the discipline of its people into productive, powerful, yet docile and obedient "bodies", i.e. robots, for the use of the state. The intraworldly asceticism, as Weber sees it, is essentially just an ethic of discipline: by this ethic the Calvinist and Puritan sects had produced out of its adherents productive robots devoid of human emotions that would traditionally have interfered with economic productivity: the objectification of human being into a present-at-hand object. The discipline had a macrocosmic and a microcosmic effect, i.e. on the level of society and on the personal level. The effect on the microcosmic level of the person refers to that systematization of one's whole life-leading resulting from the externalization of minor salvation and predestination thinking:

Aber entscheidend für die praktische Bedeutung dieser Art "Werkheiligkeit" ist erst die Erkenntnis der Qualitäten, welche die ihr entsprechende Lebensführung charakterisierten und sie von dem Alltagsleben eines mittelalterlichen Durchschnittschristen unterschieden. Man kann sie wohl etwa so zu formulieren versuchen: Der normale mittelalterliche katholische Laie lebte in ethischer Hinsicht gewissenmassen "von der Hand in den Mund". Er erfüllte zunächst gewissenhaft die traditionellen Pflichten. Seine darüber hinausgehenden "gute Werke" aber blieben normalerweise eine nicht notwendig zusammenhängende, zum wenigsten eine nicht notwendigerweise zu einem Lebenssystem rationalisierte Reihe einzelner Handlungen, die er ja nach Gelegenheit, etwa zur Ausgleichung konkreter Sünden oder unter dem Einfluss der Seelsorge oder gegen Ende seines Lebens gewissermassen als Versicherungsprämie vollzog... Aber die konkrete "intentio" der einzelnen Handlung entschied über deren Wert. Und die einzelne -- gute oder schlechte -- Handlung wurde den Handelnden angerechnet, beeinflusste sein zeitliches und ewiges Schicksal... Gewiss forderte auch sie von ihm als Ideal prinzipielle Wandlung des Lebens. Aber eben diese Forderung schwächte sie (für den Durchschnitt) durch eines ihrer allerwichtigsten Macht- und Erziehungsmittel wieder ab: durch das Busssakrament, dessen Funktion tief mit der innersten Eigenart der katholischen Religiosität verknüpft war. (p. 113) But what is decisive for the practical significance of this sort of "salvation through work" is first of all the knowledge of the [peculiar] quality which characterized the manner of life-leading corresponding to it and distinguished it from the daily-living of a Middle-Age average Christian. One can very well try to formulate the difference: [1] The normal Middle-Age Catholic lay-person lived ethically, so to speak, "from hand to mouth". He first of all fulfilled his traditional duty conscientiously. His "good works" beyond that remained ordinarily a series of singular acts which were not necessarily connected together, or at least not necessarily rationalized into a single "system of living": acts which he performed, as occasions demanded, as either compensations for some concrete sins, or under the influence of acquiring a better chance at salvation, or, toward the end of his life, as a sort of insurance premium... [2] But the concrete intention of the individual act determined its value. And the singular acts, good or bad, would be credited to the doer, determining his temporal and eternal fate... [3] Of course [the Catholic Church] required of him ideally also a change of life in principle. But it weakened just this requirement (for the average persons) through its most important means of power and education: through the confessional sacrament [the sacrament of absolution], whose function was deeply tied up with the innermost peculiarity of the Catholic religiosity. (p. 70)

All these three essentials of a traditional ethical life which the Catholics shared with other pre-modern cultures -- the calculus of credits accrued from individual acts, the value (credit) of these act as determined by their motivating internal intentional psychological states, and the flexibility resulting from their compensation or annulment by further psychological states such as atonement: the basics of "karmic thinking" -- were the result of how Catholicism looked at a person: "All realistically did the Church reckon that a man was never an unity absolutely unambiguously determined and to be judged one way or the other, but rather that his ethical life was influenced by conflicting motives and often full of contradictions." ("Ganz realistisch rechnete die Kirche damit, dass der Mensch keine absolut eindeutig determinierte und zu bewertende Einheit, sondern dass sein sittliches Leben (normalerweise) ein durch streitende Motive beeinflusstes oft sehr widerspruchvolles Sichverhalten sei." P. 113) In Heidegger's terms, the person was here still considered in his or her original existential (existenziale) being-in (In-sein; S & Z, p. 54). The doctrine of predestination destroyed all the flexibilities afforded by the traditional karmic thinking. Instead, "the God of Calvinism demanded of his people not singular 'good works', but a 'workholiness', [a life of good works] combined into an unified system." ("Der Gott des Calvinismus verlangte von den Seinigen nicht einzelne 'gute Werke', sondern eine zum System gesteigerte Werkheiligkeit." P. 114) In other words, it required a new type of man. "For only in a fundamental change-over of the meaning of the whole of life in every one of its moments and every one of its acts could the effect of the Grace delivering man from the status naturae [the damned state] onto the status gratiae [the salvational state; i.e. predestination] be proven." (p. 71 - 2; "Denn nur in einer fundamentalen Umwandlung des Sinnes des ganzes Lebens in jeder Stunde und jeder Handlung konnte sich das Wirken der Gnade als einer Enthebung des Menschen aus dem status naturae in den status gratiae bewähren." P. 115.) This change-over consists, however, simply in the objectification of man into a (present-at-hand) robot constantly and mechanistically playing its role in the economic cosmos ("being-in" in the present-at-hand sense: "das Vorhandensein eines Körperdinges [Menschenleib] 'in' einem vorhandenen Seiende [economic cosmos]... ein räumliches 'Ineinander' Vorhandener...", S & Z, ibid.). We then see more clearly this time that Calvinism-Puritanism is really just the transformation of a traditional religion into some sort of Enlightenment-empiricism -- and this is the background behind both Weber's "de-magicalization of the world: the elimination of magic as means of salvation" ("Die Entzauberung der Welt: die Ausschaltung der Magie als Heilsmittel", p. 114) and Heidegger's Entweltlichung der Welt (S. Z., p. 65): stripping the world of its equipmental value to reveal its pure object-ness -- both of which dilute the originally ready-to-hand religious experience (the world of magics and equipment laden with the ancestral spirit -- the sacred Weltlichkeit or animism -- which defines human religiousness since tribal times) down to a present-at-hand mechanics (no wonder that the Puritans loved classical mechanics): as is said somewhere about Enlightenment, "Die Entzauberung der Welt ist die Ausrottung des Animismus", thus is the foundation of modern positivistic science. (Protestantism ever since can then no longer be called "religion" as the religious experiences basically get destroyed therein.) In the new "mechanics of salvation" the traditional "dispersed view of a person", a person as a series of actions and behaviors within an open field of psychological motives and judged according to his intentions and personality behind these actions, got transmuted into a "substantive view of the person", where the person is objectified into a singular machine-like present-at-hand entity, a thing, whose properties are fixed once and for all, immutable. A robot designed and produced for certain tasks, in short. (This is the beginning of the problematic of "the body as the site of power, that is, as the locus of domination through which docility is accomplished and subjectivity constituted" so as to make a "productive" citizen, in the words of Foucault.) The experiential ground for the doctrine of predestination is therefore, and again, the empiricist world-view of classical mechanics, the world as a present-at-hand container in which present-at-hand material objects of fixed properties change places as time elapses. Note that the contemporary Protestant fundamentalism (Evangelicalism) is issued from this "Christian mechanics". The same empiricist reductionist view of human beings as mere robots with fixed properties, this "substantive view" which first showed up in Protestantism, was to later on become pre-eminent in the deterministic human sciences of the nineteenth century -- that races had fixed, immutable characters, that the intelligence of a person was fixed since birth and objectively measurable via external signs and by I.Q. tests, that criminals were biologically determined to be so (c.f. Stephen Jay Gould's The Mismeasure of Man). Weber's Protestant discipline serving to reduce human beings to productive biological robots for the use of the new economy thus meshes with, and was the precedence to, Foucault's bio-power in producing and maintaining the same entities for state's use. The themes thus set since this Enlightenment empiricist reductionism persisted even in all the later romanticist rebellions against it -- in Aryanism, Marxism, and feminism: the creation of a fundamentally New Man or New Woman over and against the corrupt man or woman of the status naturae, the determination of this New Man or Woman via external, empirically verifiable signs, the properties of this New Man or Woman as fixed, immutable. Whatever its messianic fervor, the effect of feminism on the vulgar level of the populous has simply been the shaping of women also into robots perpetually and maximally producing and consuming while at the same time making the whole population "sexless" in the sphere of public production so as to minimize interruptions and distractions therein: a discipline, a bio-power technique proper to consumerism.

Thus one should not be distracted by the feminist emphasis on female intuitiveness in seeming rebellion against Enlightenment rationalism-reductionism. Whenever feminist writers appear on the news to "report" on the current status of women (the degree of their "liberatedness" so far) the topic invariably revolves around the increased or decreased proportion of women in the work force, their wage-level relative to men's, their power as consumers, etc. Behind this "productivity and consumption as 'proof' of liberation" -- the kernel of feminism as a religion of consumerism -- is the same Enlightenment empiricist worldview that sees human beings only externally and superficially as biological robots producing and consuming resources for the sake of the greater economy and the state. The increase of intelligence and wisdom among the general female population is a side-issue in women's struggle for liberty, and their inner happiness a non-issue -- because it is invisible, empirically unverifiable. Women's satisfaction with sex in the private sphere, on the other hand, is occasionally an issue, since it is part of the overall scheme of the regulation of the reproduction of the population-resources (sexual dispositives of bio-power).

On the macrocosmic level, society or human organization becomes by the Protestant ethic an impersonal machine wherein people as robots are caught up and function as mere cogs. A huge open dissipative machine beyond the control of human beings that have created it but in fact subsuming, controlling, and determining these human beings and reducing them to robots is successfully built up: the essence of the modern, capitalist-consumerist economic order. This results from the mechanistic concept of the division of labor inherent in the Calvinist-Puritan notion of Beruf, discipline (asceticism), and "love of one's neighbor":

Die Welt ist dazu -- und nur dazu -- bestimmt: der Selbstverherrlichung Gottes zu dienen, der erwählte Christ ist dazu -- und nur dazu -- da, den Ruhm Gottes in der Welt durch Vollstreckung seiner Gebote an seinem Teil zu mehren. Gott aber will die soziale Leistung des Christens, denn er will, dass die soziale Gestaltung des Lebens seinen Geboten gemäss und so eingerichtet werde, dass sie jenem Zweck entspreche. (p. 100) The world is so -- and only so -- determined as to serve the self-glorification of God, and the chosen Christian exists to -- and only to -- increase the glory of God in the world by fulfilling His command to the best of his ability. God wants the social activity of Christians because He wants the social organization of life to be in accordance with His command and be so directed, that it corresponds to His goal. (Parsons' trans. p. 64)

Needless to say, this activity of the Christian wanted by God and which he performs solely in majorem gloriam is his lot, i.e. his specialization (profession, calling, Beruf) within the economic society's scheme of division of labor. Such complementarity of one's specialized labor to another's another specialized labor becomes formulated -- originally by Luther, but perfectedly by the Calvinists -- as the new meaning of "love of one's neighbor" (Nächstenliebe).

Die 'Nächstenliebe' äussert sich -- da sie ja nur Dienst am Ruhme Gottes, nicht: der Kreatur, sein darf -- in erster Linie in Erfüllung der durch die lex naturae gegebenen Berufausgaben, und sie nimmt dabei einen eigentümlich sachlich -- unpersönlichen Charakter an: den eines Dienstes an der rationalen Gestaltung des uns umgebenden gesellschaftlichen Kosmos. Denn die wunderbar zweckvolle Gestaltung und Einrichtung dieses Kosmos, welcher ja nach der Offenbarung der Bibel und ebenso nach der natürlichen Einsicht augenscheinlich darauf zugeschnitten ist, dem 'Nutzen' des Menschengeschlechtes zu dienen, lässt die Arbeit im Dienst dieses unpersönlichen gesellschaftlichen Nutzens als Gottes Ruhm fördernd und also gottgewollt erkennen. (P. 101) The "love of one's neighbor" is expressed -- since it must be to serve the glory of God, and not of the creaturely -- in the first instance in the fulfillment of one's professional tasks given by the lex naturae, and it takes on thereby a peculiar objective-impersonal character: that of a service in the interest of the rational organization of the surrounding social cosmos. For the wonderfully purposeful organization and arrangement of this cosmos, which indeed, according both to the revelation of Bible and to the natural intuition, is cut out to serve the utility of the human race, makes labor in the service of this impersonal social utility appear to promote the glory of God and thus to be desired by Him.

While the Neoconfucians have a similar notion of the rational organization of the human cosmos in its division of labor (here the topic "The Protestant Ethic Analogy in the Study of Chinese History")2, the Calvinist notion here differs in three essential ways from the cosmological mode of the former corresponding to a static agrarian economy: (1) the human economico-social cosmos is here projected entirely as a machine, and thus unlike the Eastern (or traditional) experience of it as organic; (2) in this Protestant mode the cosmos becomes centered around human (economic) purposes rather than the other way round as in the East (or the traditional), where humans try to adjust themselves to the cosmic harmony; (3) as a consequence, since social order is no longer maintained as part of the cosmos' order, but isolated from the latter and maintained for its own sake, the Calvinists would have no scruple in the destruction and reshaping of the natural environment for the sake of a "rational organization desired by God" (i.e. an organization centered on human economy). On the one hand then the Neoconfucian difference in this respect results in the "growth without development" of the Chinese world, to use the words of John King Fairbank. On the other hand the Calvinists let the reformulation by Joachim of Fiora of the eschaton in terms of the technological perfection of the earth come to fruition. The foundation is thus laid for the progressively and rapidly self-perfecting and -enlarging giant open dissipative machine (our capitalist "economic cosmos") in which humans are subsumed as robotic cogs. Weber's Protestant ethic thus again precedes the Voegelinian theme of the desire for the artificial (technological as well as political) perfection of the earth as a result of the secularization of the Christian eschatology. The Protestant ethic is therefore the precursor to the creation of modernity through secularizing Christianity along both the Foucauldian and the Voegelinian lines. It is the transition between "church" and Enlightenment - Enlightenment as Adorno has amply described: e.g. "...the characteristic modern thinking that tries to subordinate all natural life to order and determination... 'Enlightenment is totalitarian', he declares; it is the unrelenting demand for system and unity which enslaves us all." (Julian Roberts, German Philosophy, p. 271) When God was later taken out of the Protestant ethic, the latter became Enlightenment. The world-historical (thermodynamic) function of feminism, then, continuing this trend to the consumerist era, furthers the enlargement of this giant machine (by sucking in women as more "cogs"), improves upon the systematic discipline of life-leading through the elimination of sensuality and sexuality from the public sphere and their restriction and confinement to the private sphere (fear-mongering about sexual violation of women), and, with all this, strengthens the overall artificial perfection of the earth into an economic cosmos.

The process of the secularization of the Christian religion looks like a reverse evolution of religiosity. As we have mentioned elsewhere, the Puritan's way of relating to God -- as for instance in their belief that "man is only a manager of the wealth allotted to him through God's grace, [that] he has to, like the servant of the Bible, give account of every penny entrusted to him, [that] it is at least dangerous to spend any of it for a purpose which serves not God's glory but one's own enjoyment" ("Der Mensch ist ja nur Verwalter der durch Gottes Gnade ihm zugewendeten Güter, er hat, wie der Knecht der Bibel, von jedem anvertrauten Pfennig Rechenschaft abzulegen, und es ist zum mindesten bedenklich, davon etwas zu verausgaben zu einem Zweck, der nicht Gottes Ruhm, sondern dem eigenen Genuss gilt." P. 189) -- that is, their religiousness in general, was a retrogression from a salvational religion as which Christianity had disengaged itself from the Hebrew milieu, back to a form of ancestor cult with which the Hebrew religiousness started. Only in the ancestor cult, for instance, does a tribe take all the spoils from a successful war (thanks to the blessing of the ancestor!) and give it all back to the ancestor (by, e.g., burning them).

Just as, as Weber has remarked, once the Protestant ethic (intraworldly asceticism) had succeeded in infusing the "spirit of capitalism" into the (e.g. American) society to lay the foundation of our modern, horrendously vast open-dissipative machine, its religiousness ("salvation" as the goal toward which the work spirit was directed) was cast away and the justification for mindless disciplined work degenerated merely to the utilitarian one of "working for the greater, common good of all"; so here, in the second, mature phase of capitalism, once feminism in all its varieties, from the moderate liberal strand to the most zealous, messianic (and even the most extreme: segregationist) radical-cultural feminism, has succeeded in infusing a work ethic ("having a profession is sign of freedom") among the female population, its usefulness to world-history will have been exhausted and it will be then cast away, forgotten. In fact, it's happening already. At the start of the 21st century, the American female population no longer has much sympathy or even care for the "feminists"; they, in fact, frequently disdain them. The feminists themselves complain of the "unfinishing business of feminism", being alerted of "the decline of feminism and its popularity". The many women among the right-wing politics certainly detest feminists as a bunch of left-wing "liberals". But the expectation for women to work side by side with men has become the standard; neither among the right nor among the general "middle" population will objections ever be raised to women going to work free from discrimination and harassment. All right wing women work, and all ordinary, "feminist-unfriendly" women work. In America, in fact in all developed societies, all people work, men and women. Thus is accomplished the world-historical function of the feminists.

In a way, then, feminism has sown its own demise by its very success, especially within the changing power structure of American society (where, as said, the right has been transformed from true conservatism with a Christian bent into an imperial progressive fascism in an Evangelical garb, while the left remains the same): its successful infusion into society of the two constituents of its intraworldly messanism -- work ethic and the deification of motherhood --has caused the "right" to incorporate these two as well. Since working women are no longer anathema to the new rightists, and since the deification of motherhood has re-justified the traditional dependent, house-wife role of women which these rightists still espouse next to their tolerance of working women, the "right", with the incorporation of these, if only vulgar, "feminist values", appears no longer offensive to ordinary women, which prompts the latter to support the anti-feminist right in increasing number under the forceful wind of propaganda relating to other issues, as demonstrated by the 2004 American presidential election. There is, that is, a burgeoning "respect for women" among the new right which itself owes its origin to the second wave feminist revolution. If, for instance, the right -- even the Evangelical fundamentalists -- were of the same such sort of male chauvinistic attitude as was prevalent among them or the general population during the 1950s -- if, for example, the Evangelicals uttered constantly "women are stupid and cannot do men's job" rather than "motherhood is the most important job in the world" -- the increasing female support of the new right to the detriment of the feminist tradition continuing from the reaction against such chauvinism could not have materialized. But such insight seems to escape both camps: to the increasing number of women working for the political right (as campaigners, as lobbyists, as political commentators, as government officials) the thought never seems to have come that they need to thank Betty Friedan and all the fore-mothers of the National Organization of Women for their current, feminist-bashing position; and the feminists themselves never seem to have realized that these new female forces working against them are also the "daughters of their fore-mothers".

This thermodynamic interpretation of history as a theory of power has then a more or less preoccupation with the "question" of women and feminism; but it finds a cosmic origin for the rise of feminism in the thermodynamic structure of the Universe. Whatever the intentions of feminism, the "liberation" of women has definitively been tied up with "work" (in the sense of a "job" in the sphere of public production). This book's (what may be called) iconoclastic debunking of the feminist sensibility (Weltanschauung) -- in contrast to the typical criticism of feminism from the conservative Right according merely to a desire for a restoration of the traditional gender roles (sexual division of labor) which is just as ideological as feminism itself -- may, I surmise, be prejudicially dismissed by feminists because the debunking of their "liberation" deprives the oppression of women in the past of any meaning. What I attempt to do is to take up the position of complete objectivity, and imagine what an alien anthropologist coming to Earth to study human civilizations would think about feminism. I suspect that it would see the social success of feminism in America to lie in its providing a peculiarly effective solution to the dilemma of consumerism (the mobilization of more consumers) during the second wave and to the problem of the further integration of the American republic during the first wave, while in experiential content and motivation it is only the last of the mass movements of the secularization of Christianity. (The two must be distinguished, for one can try to propagate whatever messianic fantasies one likes, but if these are to actually succeed in changing social reality then the social reality itself must be ripe for it -- with regard to its metabolic or integrative mode: i.e. power must have use of it.) This also means that, although the mobilization of women into public production (the "liberation of women") is necessary for any nation-state with a maximized economy, feminism is not necessary as another society may be able to transit from capitalism to consumerism through such mobilization without a messianic ideology revolving around gender struggle; e.g. Japan, where today the mass of "office ladies" are enough to sustain the economy without any ideology of gender equity, let alone a messianic equation between this and the perfection of the world. In Europe, too, feminism is much weaker, partly because World War II has definitively exhausted the messianic fervor derived from the immanentization of Christianity through the failure and destructiveness of the fantasies of nationalism and racial utopianism. But, then, for the sake of the restoration of the meaning of women's oppression in the past the origin of this oppression is sought in this historia as well -- not in the male desire to dominate, of course, if liberation from this desire turns out to be a hoax -- but in the integration of human society on the model of an organism and its consequent internal differentiation of functions, all this under the thermodynamic pressure responsible for the formation of the biosphere in the first place. Incidentally, once this is done, human history turns out to be a surprisingly linear process, a continuous growth of the same thing, and even continuous from the biosphere into the noosphere. The linearity of history is restored at the expense of the trinitarian discontinuous (Christian) type favored by the secular saviors (an original [undifferentiated] equality, the Fall [inequality], and the restoration of [differentiated] equality).

Footnotes:

1. Such mindless increase of productivity effected by the Protestant ethic culminated in Baxter's assessment of the rich: "With Baxter not only do these exceptions to the ethical duty to labor [i.e. the rich people who have enough wealth to live on so as to not need working] self-evidently count no longer, but he emphasizes starkly that wealth does not exempt one from that unconditional command [of the duty to labor]. Even the rich shall not eat without working, for even though he need not work in order to cover his needs, God's command still holds, which he has to heed just as much as the poor do." ("Nicht nur diese Durchbrechungen der ethischen Arbeitspflicht aber fallen bie Baxter selbstverstaendlich fort, sondern mit groesstem Nachdruck schaerft er den Grundsatz ein, dass auch der Reichtum von jener bedingungslosen Vorschrift nicht entbinde. Auch der Besitzende soll nicht essen ohne zu arbeiten, denn wenn er auch zur Deckung seines Bedarfs der Arbeit nicht benoetigt, so besteht doch Gottes Gebot, dem er ebenso zu gehorchen hat wie der Arme." p. 172) Such extreme view was due to the Puritan concept of "calling". "For God's providence has prepared for everyone without distinction a 'calling', which he must recognize and in which he must labor, and this calling is not a destiny as with Luther, to which one must submit oneself and with which one must content oneself, but a command of God on everyone to work for His Glory." ("Denn fuer jeden ohne Unterschied haelt Gottes Vorsehung einen Beruf (calling) bereit, den er erkennen und in dem er arbeiten soll, und dieser Beruf ist nicht wie im Luthertum eine Schickung, in die man sich zu fuegen und mit der man sich zu bescheiden hat, sondern ein Befehl Gottes an dem einzelnen, zu seiner Ehre zu wirken." Ibid.) This was wholly different than the Medieval, e.g. St. Thomas Aquina's, understanding of the Pauline injunction, which was applicable there only in so far as is necessary for the maintenance of life, applicable for the whole society and not for the individual, and not applicable for the rich who had no need to labor in order to live; and there contemplation fared much more importantly than working as a means to participate in God's Realm and to achieve minor salvation (the salvational state of the soul; ibid.).

2. Philip Clart, "The Protestant Ethic Analogy in the Study of Chinese History: On Yü Ying-shih's Zhongguo jinshi zongjiao lunli yü shangren jingshen" in B. C. Asian Review, volume 6, 1992. C.f. also Robert N. Bellah's "Reflections on the Protestant Ethic Analogy in Asia" (where the situation of Japan is discussed) and his other essays on Asia in Beyond Belief, Harper & Row, New York, 1970, 1976.


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