The Metaphysics of Chaos
by Alexander Dugin
The modern European philosophy began with the concept of Logos and logic order of being. During two thousand and some hundreds years this concept was fully exhausted. All the potentialities and the principles laid in this form of logocentric way of thinking were now exhaustively explored, exposed and abandoned.
The problem of Chaos and the figure of Chaos were neglected, put aside from the very beginning of this philosophy. The only philosophy we know at present is the philosophy of Logos. But the Logos is something opposite to Chaos, its abslolute alternative.
From the XIX century with most important and most brilliant European philosophers such as Friedrich Nietzsche, Martin Heidegger and up to the contemporary postmodernists the European man affirm began to suspect that Logos was approaching to its end. Some of them dared to affirm that from now on we are living in the time of the end of logocentric philosophy, approaching something else.
The European philosophy was based on the logocentric principle corresponding to the principle of exclusion, the differentiating, Greek diairesis. All this corresponds strictly to the masculine attitude, reflects the authoritative, vertical, hierarchical order of being and knowledge.
This masculine approach to the reality imposes order and principle of exclusivity everywhere. That is perfectly manifested in Aristotle’s logic where the principles of identity and exclusion are put in the central position in the normative manner of thinking. A is equal to A, not equal to not-A. The identity exclude non-identity (alterity) and vice versa. There we see the male who speaks, thinks, acts, fights, divides, orders.
Nowadays all this logocentric philosophy has come to an end and we should think about the other possibility of thinking not in the logocentric, phallocentric, hierarchical and exclusivist way.
If not any more Logos satisfies us, fascinates us, mobilizes us, so we are inclined to try something else and to address the Chaos.
To begin with: there are two different concepts of Chaos. The modern physics and philosophy refers to complex systems, bifurcation or non-integrating equations and processes using the concept “chaos” to designate such phenomena. They understand by that not the absence of order but a kind of order that is difficult to perceive as such, so it rests to be the order but very complicated one, that seems to be not order at all, but in the essence it is. Such «chaos» or «turbulence» is calculable in nature but with more sophisticated theoretical and mathematical means and procedures than the instruments the classical natural science is dealing with.
The term “chaos” is used here in the metaphorical manner. In modern science we are continuing to deal with an essentially logocentric manner of exploring the reality. So the “chaos” here is no more than a dissipative structure of Logos, the last result if its decay, fall, decomposition. The modern science is dealing not with something other than Logos but with a kind of post-Logos, the ex-Logos, the Logos in the state ultimate dissolution and regression. The process of the final destruction and dissipation of Logos is taken here for “chaos”.
In the reality it has nothing to do with Chaos as such, with the Chaos in original Greek sense of term. It is rather a kind of utmost confusion. René Guénon has called the era we are living through now, a era of Confusion. The Confusion means the state of being that goes next to order and preceds it. Thus we should make a clear distinction between two different concepts. On one hand we have the modern concept of chaos that represents post-order or a mixture of contradictory fragments of being without any unity and order, linked among them by highly sophisticated post-logical correspondences and conflicts. Gilles Deleuse has called this phenomena a non-co-possible system composed by the multitude of the monades (using the concept of monads and co-possibility introduced by Leibnitz) becoming by Deleuze “the nomades”. Deleuse describes postmodernity as a sum of non-co-possible fragments which can coexist. It wasn’t possible in the Leibnitz’s vision of reality based on the principle of co-possibility. But within the postmodernity we can see excluding elements coexisting. The non-ordered non-co-possible monades («nomades») swarming around could seem to be the chaotic, and in this sense we usually use the word chaos in the evereday talk. But strictly speaking we should make difference.
So we need distinguish two kinds of chaos, the postmodernist “chaos” as an equivalent to the confusion, a kind of post-order and the Greek Сhaos as pre-order, as something that exists before the ordered reality has come into being. Only the latter can be considered as Сhaos in the proper sense of the word. This second (but actually the original) sense the concept of Chaos should be examined carefully in the metaphysical way.
The epic vision of the rise and fall of Logos in the course of the development of the Western philosophy and the Western history was exposed by Martin Heidegger who argued that in the context of the European or Western culture Logos is not only a main philosophical principle but also the basis of religious attitude forming the core of Christianity. We can also notice that the concept of kalam or intellect is in the centre of Islamic philosophy and theology. The same is valid for Judaism (at least in The Philo the Jew vision and above all in the Medieval Judaism and the Qabballah. Thus in the high modernity where we are living we assist the fall of Logos accompanied by the corresponding the fall of classical Greco-Roman culture and the monotheistic religion as well. These processes of decadence are completely parallel to that Martin Heidegger considers the present condition of the Western culture in whole. He identifies the origin of this state of thing in of some hidden and hardly recognizable error committed at the early stages of the Greek thought. Something went wrong in the very beginning of the Western history and Martin Heidegger sees this wrong point precisely in the affirmation of the exclusivist position of exclusivist Logos in the thinking as such. The shift was made by Heraklites, Parmenides but above all by Plato from the thinking to the philosophy that was equal to the installing of two level world vision where the existing was perceived as the manifestation of the hidden. Later the hidden was recognized as the Logos, the idea, the paradigm, the example. From that point the referential theory of truth proceeds. The true is the fact of the correspondence of the given immediately to the presumed invisible essence (“the nature that likes to hide” according to the Heraklites). The presocratics were in the beginning of the philosophy. The unfettered explosion of the modern technique is its logical result. Heidegger calls it “Gestell” and thinks it is the reason of the catastrophe and annihilations of the mankind that inevitably approaches. According to him the very concept of Logos was wrong so that he proposed to radically revise our attitude to the very essence of philosophy and the process of thinking and to find another way which he called “the Other Beginning”.
So Logos appeared first with the birth of the Western philosophy. The earliest Greek philosophy arose already as something that excluded Chaos. Precisely at the same time Logos has began to flourish revealing a kind of mighty will to power and the absolutisation of masculine attitude to the reality. The becoming of the logocentric culture ontologically annihilated the pole opposite to Logos itself – i.e. the feminine Chaos. So the Chaos as something that preceded the Logos abolished by it and its exclusivity was manifested and dismissed by the same move. The masculine Logos ousted the feminin Chaos, the exclusivity and exlusion subdued the inclusivity and the inclusion. So the classical world was born stretching its limits for 2 thousands and 5 hundreds years – up to the Modernity and the rationalistic scientific era. This world has come to its end. But nevertheless we are still living in its outskirt. At the same time in the postmodern dissipating world all the structures of order are degrading, dispersing and confused. It is the dawn of Logos, the end of order, the last chord of the masculine exclusivist domination. But still we are inside the logical structure but not outside it.
Stating this we have some basic solutions concerning the future. First one – the return to kingdom the Logos, the Conservative Revolution, the restoration of the male “full scale domination” in all realms of the life – the philosophy, the religion, the everyday life. It could be done spiritually and socially or technically. This way where the technique meets the spiritual order was fundamentally explored and studied by Ernst Junger, the Martin Heidegger’s friend. The return to the classicism accompanied by the appeal to the technical progress. The effort to save falling Logos, the restoration of traditional society. The eternally new Order.
The second way is to accept the current tendencies and to follow the direction of the Confusion involving more and more in the dissipation of the structures, in the post-structuralism and trying to get the pleasure of the comfortable glide into the nothing. That is the option chosen by the left or liberal representatives of the Post-Modernity. It is modern nihilism at its best – originally identified by F.Nietzsche and explored thoroughly by M.Heidegger. The concept of nothing being the potentially present in the principle of the identity proper to the Logos itself is here not the limit of the process of the fall of the logic oreder but rather consrtucted rationally realm of the illimitate expansion of the horizintal decay, inculculable multididues of the flowers of putrefaction.
However, we could choose the third way and try to transcend the borders of Logos and step out beyond the crisis of the Post-Modern world, literally Post-Modern, i.e. laying beyond the Modernity, where dissipation of Logos reaches its limit. So there the question of this very limit is crucial. Seeing from the standpoint of Logos in general, including the most decayed one, beyond the domain of order lays nothing. So cross the border of being is ontologically impossible. The nothing is not: so speaks after Parmenides all logocentric Western ontology. This impossibility asserts the infinity of the outskirt ob Logos and grant to the decay inside the realm of order eternal continuity. Beyond the border of being lays nothing and the movement to this limit is analytically infinite and unending (here is fully valid aporia of Zeno of Elea). So nobody can cross the frontier into the non-existent not-being that simply is not.
If we insist nevertheless in doing this we should appeal to the Chaos in its original Greek sense, as to something that preceeds being and order, something preonthological.
We stand in front of a really important crucial problem. Great number of people today isn’t satisfied with what is going on around us, with absolute crisis of values, religions, philosophy, political and social order, with the Post-Modern conditions, with the confusion and perversion, with the age of utmost decay.
But considering the essential sense of the becoming of our civilization to the present state we cannot look to the precedent phases of the logocentric order and its implicite structures because it was precisely the Logos itself that has brought the thing to the state where they are now, bearing in itself the germs of present decay. Heidegger identified with the extreme credibility the roots of the technique in the presocratic solution of the problem of being by the means of the Logos. In fact Logos can not save us from the conditions installed by itself. The Logos is of no use here anymore.
So only the preontological Chaos can give as a hint how to go beyond the trap of the Post-Modernity. It was put aside on the eve of the creation of the logical structure of being as a corner stone. Now it is its turn to come to the play. Otherwise we will be doomed to accept the postlogical dissipated Post-Modernity that pretends to be eternal in some way because it annihilates time. The Modernity has killed eternity and Post-Modernity is killing time. The architecture of the Post-Modern world is completely fragmented, perverse and confused. It is a kind of the labyirynth without exit, folded and twisted as the Moebius trip. The Logos that was the guarantee of stictness of the order serves here to grant the curvature and crookedness, being used to preserve the impassability of the ontologically border with nothing from the eventual trespassers.
So the only way to save us, to save humanity and culture from this snare is to make a step beyond the logocentric culture, addressing to the Chaos.
We could not restore the Logos and the order addressing to them because they bear in themselves the reason of their eternal destruction. In other words, to save exclusive Logos we should make an appeal to the alternative inclusive instance that is Chaos.
But how could we use the concept of Chaos and base on it our philosophy if philosophy has always been for us something logical by definition?
I order to resolve this difficulty we should approach the Chaos not from the position of Logos but from that of Chaos itself. It can be compared to the feminine vision, the feminine understanding of the figure other that is not excluded but, on the contrary, included in the sameness.
The Logos regards itself as what is and as what is equal to itself. It can accept the differences inside itself because it excludes the other that itself outside itself. So the will to power is working. The law of sovereignty. Beyond Logos, Logos asserts, lays nothing, not something. So the Logos excluding all other than itself excludes Chaos. The Chaos use different strategies – it includes in itself all that it is but at the same all what it is not. So the all inclusive Chaos includes also what is not inclusive as it and more than that what excludes Chaos. So the Chaos doesn’t perceives the Logos as the other as itself or as something non-existent. The Logos as the first principle of exclusion is included in Chaos, presents in it, enveloped by it and has a granted place inside of it. So the mother bearing the baby bears in herself what is a part of it and what is not a part of her at the same time. The man conceives the woman as external being and seeks to penetrate her. The woman considers the man as something internal and seeks to give him a birth.
The Chaos is eternal nascency of other, that is of Logos.
To sum up, the chaotic philosophy is possible because chaos itself includes Logos as some inner possibility. It can freely identify it, cherish it and recognise its exclusivity included in its everlasting life. So we come to the figure of the very special chaotic Logos, that is completely and absolutely fresh Logos being eternally revived by the waters of Chaos. This chaotic Logos is at the same time exclusive (and it is why is properly Logos) and inclusive (being chaotic). It deals with the sameness and otherness differently.
The Chaos can think. It thinks. We should ask him how it does it? We have asked the Logos. Now it is the turn of the Chaos. We should learn to think with the Chaos and within the Chaos.
I could suggest, as an example, the philosophy of Japanese thinker Kitaro Nishida, who has constructed “the logic of basho” or the “logic of places” instead of Aristotle’s logic.
We should explore other cultures rather than the Western one to try to find the different examples of the inclusive philosophy, the inclusive religions and so on. The chaotic Logos is not only the abstract construction. If we seek well we find the real forms of such intellectual tradition. In archaic societies as well as in the Eastern theology and mystical currents.
To make appeal to the Chaos is the only way to save Logos. Logos needs a saviour for itself, it couldn’t save itself, it needs something opposite to itself to be restored in the critical situation of Post-Modernity. We could not transcend the Post-Modernity The latter can’t be overcame without appeal to something that has been prior to the reason of its decay. So we should resort to other philosophies than the Western one.
In conclusion, I would like to say that it’s not correct to conceive the Chaos as something belonging to the past. The Chaos is eternal, but eternally coexisting with time. So the chaos is always absolutely new, fresh and spontaneous. It could be regarded as a source of any kind of invention and freshness because its eternity has in itself always something more than was, is or will be in time. The Logos itself cannot exist without Chaos like fish cannot live without water. When we put a fish out of water, it dies. When the fish begins to insist excessively that it is something other than water around it (even it is true), it come to the shore and dies there. It is a kind of a mad fish. When we put it back in the water it jumps again. So let it die this one if it wants. There are other fishes deep in water. Let us follow them.
The astronomical era that is coming to the end is the era of the Fish constellation. The Fish on the shore. The dying one. So we need water now very badly.
Only the completely new attitude to the thought, new ontology and new gnoseology can save Logos left water, on the shore, in the desert that grows and grows (as Nietzsche foresaw).
Only the Chaos and the alternative philosophy based on inclusivity could save the modern humanity and the world from the consequences of the degradation and decay of the exclusivist principle called Logos. The Logos has expired and we all can be buried under its ruins unless we make the appeal to Chaos and its metaphysical principles and use them as basis for something new. This is maybe “the Other Beginning” Heidegger spoke about.