Beginnings

Wikipedia has no entry for beginning;1 although its entry on philosophy makes use of the words beginning, beginnings, beginners, begins, originated, originating, original, origin, origins and, well truly, Originalveröffenlichung, 75 times. The begin and the beginnings are disambiguated and lead to pop culture (an album, a play, a film, a song, a video game; a collection of short stories playing in the Honorverse, a novella, a poem by Kipling, thirteen albums, including one by The Allman Brothers Band, three songs including an instrumental by Jimi Hendrix, four television episodes).

Becoming has an entry in Wikipedia; a short one, beginning with Heraklit and ending with Nietzsche; only few pre-socratic philosophers mildly touched in between. (Becoming has no plural, by the way. Why not? Because everything is always becoming? Or because anything can only become in one single becoming?)

Ending again is disambiguated away; the only pop culture holding up on the end: a hardcore punk band.

This is not a failure of a cooperative, libre (in Stallman's sense) net culture, because the no-beginning-mentioned diagnosis applies not only to Wikipedia, but also to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy;1 with two major differences in comparison to Wikipedia: Stanford doesn't help out with pop culture and it recommends suicide as the first alternative suggestion for ending.

It's a failure of culture in toto.

Yes, I'm aware of the concept to distinguish verb- and noun-centric philosophies; and I'm aware of our™ roots in the age of enlightenment.

But.

The so called enlightenment ended seven generations ago. Since, we have departed from its fervor, swaggered through modernity, explored becoming lost in the thickets of postmodernity, and now we stand in the dim djungles, with the tools of rational analysis, critical philosophy and critical theory in hand, the map, which is not the territory, soaked in the dregs—and lack the means to light a fire to see our own failures.

Its not even a we anymore. Its a plural of wes. To describe humanity you'd need a meta-plural, a plural of plurals. We have segregated. Most huddling under the cold fluorescence still emanating from the neon tubes of capitalism, separated into fully secured living areas, unsoiled suburbs, their inhabitants further subdivided into mask-wearing tribes and several others, and ... the slums—or longing for it from the distant dark of war and famine. Not taking part in the segregated huddling are few dispersed entdeckers (about whom, according to Wikipedia, can be spoken in German, Russian and Romanian but not in English2) exploring into all directions, their compasses pointing towards their beholders' believes.

I am going to call this, this here and now, the age of segregation.

Hence, the only way to begin with beginnings and start again with becoming, seems, to go back forwards through pop culture: music, theatre, poems, short stories, novellas, series episodes, films and computer games.

 

p. s. If anybody thinks this is just crazy gibberish, you might reflect on these lines by Theodor W. Adorno, written from the perspective of aesthetics theory:

Art responds to the loss of its self-evidence not simply by concrete transformations of its procedures and comportments but by trying to pull itself free from its own concept as from a shackle: the fact that it is art. This is most strikingly confirmed by what were once the lower arts and entertainment, which are today administered, integrated, and qualitatively reshaped by the culture industry. For this lower sphere never obeyed the concept of pure art, which itself developed late. This sphere, a testimony of culture’s failure that is constantly intruded upon this culture, made it will itself to failure—just what all humor, blessedly concordant in both its traditional and contemporary forms, accomplishes. Those who have been duped by the culture industry and are eager for its commodities were never familiar with art: They are therefore able to perceive art’s inadequacy to the present life process of society—though not society’s own untruth—more unobstructedly than do those who still remember what an artwork once was. They push for the deaestheticization of art.3


  1. as of Thursday, March 24th, 2022, 11:32:05 PM CET 

  2. An entdecker is an explorer who already has found something. 

  3. Theodor W. Adorno: Aesthetic Theory, 1970, translated by Robert Hullot-Kentor, London : Bloomsbury, 2013.