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The Barbarism of Pure Culture, launched in September 2019, is London-based blog and publishing venture.

 

 

Philosophical Notes on ‘The Barbarism of Pure Culture’

“Conscience utters its morality and does not act… This cessation of action is a self-willed impotence, the impassivity of a beautiful soul which will not besmirch its beauty by acting.16 This beautiful soul acknowledges others by use of a language ‘in which all reciprocally acknowledge each other as acting  conscientiously’. But in fact no-one is acting at all… This hypocrisy is another ‘law of the heart’, ‘a frenzy of self-deceit’, for conscience asserts its particu-larity as ‘law’. It is opposed to others under the guise of furthering their particular interests as if they could be a universal law… we are left with the realization of the barbarism of our abstract culture, of how we have reproduced that barbarism by denying the ethical, by fixing the illusion that we are absolute or pure moral consciousness in our moral law or in the law of our hearts.”

(Gillian Rose, Hegel Contra Sociology)

“…it was already Hegel who, apropos of the medieval culture of alienation, spoke of the ‘barbarism of pure culture’ (Kulturbarbarismus). The fact that the greatest barbarism of our century (Nazism) took place within the nation which glorified its culture against the superficial civilization of its neighbours (Germany) is by no means accidental: there is ultimately no contradiction between Heinrich Heydrich, who directed the Nazi terror in Bohemia and planned the ‘final solution’ of the Jewish question, and the same Heydrich who, in the evening after the hard day’s work, played with friends Beethoven’s string quartets, perhaps the supreme achievement of German culture.”

(Slavoj Žižek, For They Know Not what They Do: Enjoyment as a Political Factor)

“There is no document of civilization which is not at the same time a document of barbarism.”

(Walter Benjamin, Theses on the Philosophy of History)

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