Theater of Cruelty

The warlike mindset

Truls Lie
Truls Liehttp: /
Editor-in-chief in MODERN TIMES. See previous articles by Lie i Le Monde diplomatique (2003–2013) and Morgenbladet (1993-2003) See also part video work by Lie here.
UKRAINE / What is it about our modern way of life that promotes such hostility and military-technological "solutions"?


The subject of this text is the dangerous technological way of life or way of thinking of our time – but more on that in due course. 

At the time of writing, we do not know whether the war in Ukraine will escalate globally, with fatal nuclear weapons. The prelude to Putin's desperate and head-shaking destructive acts of war is as much an armament to the United States / NATO. Despite promises not to expand eastward after 1989, NATO gained 14 new member states, and with Ukraine's ability to launch missile bases in the neighborhood, the "sleeping" bear was awakened. So Putin's Russia is not alone in being aggressive – NATO's so-called collective self-defense, even with the US / NATO bombing and forced regime changes, can be mentioned with keywords such as Serbia (1999), Iraq (2004) and Libya (2011). But read more about US base policy and NATO on the following pages.

Here in Europe, we love open, liberal societies, so what exactly is president? Putin do you think it is justified in attacking Ukraine, in addition to preserving the interests of Russia itself and its country? As pointed out by the editor-in-chief of Consortium News, Joe Laura in the wake of Putin's 3350-word televised speech recently – which was admittedly criticized for having a number of historical errors – he wants to protect a difference. Putin referred, among other things, to the thinker Lev Gumilev. Gumilev promotes a kind of "bio-cosmic" inner energy or emotional substance that is typical of the Russian, called passion fruit. But is this really deeply thought of as an endangered cultural identity, or more a pretext to retain the great power and the dream of what was lost with the dissolution of the Soviet Union? Putin really believes that Ukraine which NATO member would be the starting point for an attack on Russia? Or is it the dictatorial power of individuals that Putin doubts – a power that in the West is often more hidden behind big business, technology and militarism? Is it the desire to see its enormous military apparatus in action? Or is it most psychological, after being ignored for 30 years – neither the EU nor NATO would have Russia as a member – with the feeling of being isolated and ignored? And hence the victim role with Putin as the tragic hero – an overly dangerous desperate Putin who now with nuclear threat declares that even "death can be beautiful"?

With the invasion of Ukraine, Putin has now achieved the opposite of being listened to – instead, he and Russia now face enormous economic and political losses. If not we all perish in the apocalypse someone prescribes after the protracted conflict.

More about this in the coming pages here in MODERN TIMES's spring edition.

Total mobilization

Is it possible to find deeper insights or philosophical critiques of the enormous military
industrial complex the world has equipped – via an overly rapid technological development? It does not seem that human wisdom has developed at the same rate as this total mobilization. 

In the recently published Norwegian translation by Peter Sloterdijks The human greenhouse (Existenz publishing house, see also page 28) reference is made to the philosopher Martin Heidegger's statement: "The vulgar sense does not see the world for just the being." Heidegger was more concerned that we all in the zeal of our will lost the ability to reflect or to have eyes for the nature of technology – as something far more intrusive to our way of being than just to be considered technical tools and "prostheses". Long after the extreme world wars of the last century describe sloterdijk the people of todayas spoiled and thoughtless, as «more unstable, volatile and more unfaithful in nature than any animal before them». With Heidegger, he points out that «masculine virtues of war and random brutalisations have blocked the insight into the workshop of evolution. Too much of the violence has been influenced in its inner and outer manifestations». A "creeping decadence" from long periods of peace has led to thinkingone lost his orientering against violence and combat preparedness. As emotionally unstable "deficient beings" with too much will and too strong drives, Sloterdijk's diagnosis is that we – and then include the actions of NATO and Russia – have built up a group dynamic irritability «which can release paranoid, orgiastic and self-destructive violence».

Sloterdijk adds – because we know the benefit politicians and the media have of using enemy images – that the «increasingly suspicious attitude also in the future […] is particularly strengthened by the fact that the American warlords did not refrain from immediately using the most extreme allotechnical the weapon of all – namely atomic bombn ». The barbaric use of high technology in Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the time showed how uninhibited the use of destructive technology can be. 

But is there any way out of this, à la Sloterdijk? He points at least forward via ecology for a "relational ethics without enemies and dominance". 

The question of the technique

"Total mobilization" is an expression from Ernst Jünger, the author who also described the downfall of the West. The term was also used by Heidegger in 1938, as a critique of Hitler's progress. 

Heidegger's critique of technology is known from his long lectures and essays The question of technology in 1957. This became a well-known reference for the critique of our Western mentality, where technology became a well-willed and challenging way of thinking. The way you choose to go with the board and caresilence, outsilence and upsilence – with production, control and framing of most things ("Gestell"). As we who read Heidegger at a young age, perceived this, the use of technology and machines became part of us and our way of thinking and acting. Not only did we put ourselves as subjects above nature (objects), but eventually we ourselves became objects like gears in a global apparatus or machinery, based on the "mood" or prevailing way of life that follows our current historical era or existence. Today, we can probably add the influence from technological algorithms and media, but not least how we, as before, constantly turn things and environments into storage and resources that are stored for use. An object is interpreted as a stock. 

Martin Heidegger

The world has now with the United States created a huge bestand of weapons and top-trained technologically equipped soldiers. Annually, the military-industrial complex costs over 17 billion kroner – a destructive waste that has doubled since 000. And we can add the hypermodern information war – with cyber war and artificial intelligence. . As Putin himself has pointed out in a lecture for children, anyone who controls the technology of artificial intelligence will dominate the future. 

It does not seem that "tough" top politicians manage not to use everything that is there for use (as a stock). When the opportunity arises, military technology and "shooting-happy" soldiers are released.

All-inclusive technology

More up-to-date than Sloterdijk's book (originally published in German 20 years ago) is
Technology diversity av Come on Hui from Hong Kong (March 2022, Existenz publishing house). Here, too, Heidegger's thinking is fundamental. 

But first to former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger: In connection with his statement that Ukraine (meaning "border country") must never become a NATO member, his text from 2014 was now republished on CNNBC: "All too often, Ukraine as a topic has been presented as a test of strength: whether Ukraine should unite with the west or the east. But if Ukraine is to survive and prosper, it must not be one outpost against the other – the country should act as a bridge between them. " Interestingly, Yuk Hui refers to Kissinger's recent article "How the Enlightenment Ends", in The Atlantic from 2018. The point is that the light from the Enlightenment now gradually leads into the deepest darkness: Has man with the emergence of artificial intelligence lost sight of the machines? Has civilization passed its peak, according to Oswald Spengler once suggested? The former war veteran (Indonesia / Viertnam) Kissinger wrote in his diploma thesis about Spengler when he went to Harvard as a young man: «Life is suffering, birth carries death in it. Perishability is the lot of the living. No civilization has been able to last, no one has really been fulfilled. " 

But according to Hui, the enlightenment is not over; rather, it is the case that modern technology maintains the idea of ​​enlightenment – but more like Marshall McLuhan once pointed out that «the medium is the message». The all-encompassing technological apparatus we inhabit and surround ourselves with in our modern everyday life – I would say everything from tools, weapons, transport, machines and ubiquitous communication – has become our active practice, the very opinions. A scientific-technical way of thinking dominated by efficiency and a rationality that tries to incorporate everything and everyone in its "universality". Yuk Hui writes about this form of nihilism as the «technical apparatus that surrounds us, and the enormous force that pushes us towards an apocalyptic end point. What Heidegger calls 'the end of philosophy' is nothing but the victory of the anthropological machine. " In pessimism at Kissinger.

A planetary thinking

Is there thus any way out of this disability, unless a nuclear war decided by Messrs. Putin, Stoltenberg and Biden puts an end to the possibility of moving forward? 

Heidegger prescribed a meekness ("Gelassenheit"), a la-væren-være, a like-minded in dealing with the environment: To be able to say both yes and no to the technology, or see the difference between fine technology and raw technology. The thinking was heard in the east – as some Buddhists visited the German thinker in Freiburg. Hui from Hong Kong, for his part, prescribes one technodiversity, a pluralism, in which he looks at a number of local customs and Eastern ways of thinking (examples from China and Norway, so-called cosmic techniques). However, not a pure ecological nostalgia, but more closeness to the nature of things. Let me add French Félix Guattaris Deep Ecology also as caring with each other, or Norwegian Erland Kiøsteruds ecocentrism based on Chinese language and thinking (see video interview on 

Hui ultimately calls for a critique of globalization or the planetary of our time
mobilization of matter and energy, rather a planetary thinking, as a free relationship with technology. Is it possible to reverse the reckless zeal we see today with the US 800 base around the world – and now soon bases (as potential bomb targets) in Norway? Or Russia's aggressive military-technological invasion of Ukraine that could escalate?

Today, one can speak Chinese nuclear missile stored with five directional warheads hitting five major American cities simultaneous – that is, cause the death of 200 million people. Hui calls for what he calls "two twin monsters: on the one hand imperialism, and on the other hand fascism and nationalism", a new orientering which can be found in it local. Maybe something like that passport issue?

Anarchism also promoted the local in the global – yes, we could not just be left in peace here we are…?

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