Responsibility

Responsibility

 

Or why the twilight of the idols never happened 

Often we overlook the importance of responsibility in the formation of our cosmos. That is, in the imaginary of our world, responsibility plays a key place. Rather, one of the key concepts that structures our world and our meaning is the personal divestment of moral responsibility by projection. Theologians like Ludwig Feuerbach, and critics like Friedrich Nietzsche or Karl Marx were quick to demonstrate how Christianity, as it is often practised, uses a projection of an ontological being "God" to alleviate human weaknesses and create a slave morality. But the courageous vision of such thinkers has in no way come to pass, even in Marxist movements. The problem is, humans have a basic need to divest themselves of responsibility whenever possible.

The corporation is an excellent example in our time. Never before have humans consciously created unreal beings and invested them with responsibility, authority, and power. The raison d'être of the corporation is to divest individuals of responsibility so that a larger group can bear collective risk and reward, thus allowing for greater works. However, this structure rewards risk without responsibility. And this precisely characterises the 21st century imagination as it is guided by the internet and powerful computers. Virtual reality is a conscious creation of an ontologically unreal reality, thus enabling the full range of human experience without actual consequences. This virtuality has begun to seep into the "real world" especially seen in the notion of the self and authenticity. The self is imagined, much like a corporation, as an ontologically unreal reality. The self is constructed, but has an identity that must be attained, and whatever the choices one makes, one must be immune from critique.

Capitalism, is, therefore, the most egregious example of this irresponsibility. It is built upon the notion that pursuing personal wealth will lead to the commonwealth by an invisible hand, or a system. But there is no system. There is no ontologically real being called "The Economy" with a capital 'E'. There is no system of economy. There are communal imaginations, personal choices, relationships, and base greed.. While collective irresponsibility can lead to great risks and rewards, so too will it have immense unintended consequences, chief of which is the destruction of the world itself.

The irony of modern humanity is that the society that killed the plausibility of belief in ontologically real transcendent beings (gods) also must consciously create just such beings, though now depersonalised and systematised. We still believe in idols and we still make them, rightists and leftists included. Now, however, we consciously make them. And with the advent of artificial intelligence (AI), just such gods are about to see a new dawn, only now the gods will be more real than they ever have been.