Section four. The flight from freedom
Chapter one. Man enjoying the orocess of self-liquidation
1. Negation of the personality as a mystic cult
2. Neo-avant-gardism and LSD, the two latest drugs
Chapter two. Hedonism and cruelty
1. Non-restraint of urges
2. Politicisation of eroticism or ``sexualisation'' of politics?
3. The end of anti-utopia
4. The inner life and something about Goethe (contemporary moods in West Germany)
5. The shade of The Grand Inquisitor


The foregoing analysis now makes it possible to understand more deeply the paradox of the relations between the New Left movement and the "adversary culture". This clash was not without a touch of drama, as the adversary culture first used the New Left movement as a destructive force and then simply absorbed it, assimilating the "left revolt" in the framework of its by now officially sanctioned structure. And always in the background there were glimpses of a ubiquitous character for whom, back in the last century, Marx had used the sobriquet "industrial eunuch". It so happened, and not without effort on the part of that character, that the New Left movement, to consider it from the viewpoint of social consequences (which cast additional light on that movement's character), became a form of self-affirmation (``revolutionary'', needless to say) of the very hedonistic-consumer consciousness to inflict the last and decisive blow on the Protestant Work Ethic, which opposed it. Though corresponding to the early phases of capitalist development, it still preserved its admittedly far from new positions right up to the middle of our century.

After the New Left ideology had fulfilled this function, disclosing the profound inner connection between its model of man with that which had long been cherished by the capitalist "industrial eunuch", it quickly began to lose its message and its drawing-power. After all, its slogans, which had sounded so ``revolutionary'' at the beginning of the movement, at the end of it were calmly assimilated by that same ``eunuch'' who effectively used them to intensify the consumer activity of the "authoritarian man"–the very ``conformist'' whom the New Left invariably regarded as their most avowed enemy. The hedonistic-consumer consciousness gradually grew up in the culture of the West, and then erupted noisily from the secret places of the social subconscious in the form of a New Left revolt against bourgeois taboos. In the final analysis, as was bound to happen, it no longer appeared in the romantic image of the revolutionary rebel, but in the guise of ordinary functionary of the widely ramified adversary culture–the culture created from the image and likeness of its presentday consumer, who had become aggressive and had developed a taste for extravagant pleasures. Symptomatic of this metamorphosis were the "latest moods" of the late 60s and early 70s. Merely a translation of the New Left ideology into the language of the mass hedonistic-consumer consciousness–a translation which, in fact, institutionalised both these moods and this consciousness as the same adversary culture, which broke down–at its own convenience, needless to say–the barriers between the masses and the elite.

Such would appear to be the connection between the ideology of the New Left revolt, on the one hand, and, on the other, the new moods initiated in the West by this same ideology. If the former reflected the final stage of the struggle by the hedonist-consumer consciousness against the opposing humanistically and ethically oriented traditions of Western culture, the latter were connected with the results of this process, that is, with the institutionalisation of this type of consciousness in the form of the adversary culture corresponding to it. We shall now examine the ideology of the New Left and the latest moods that replaced it in the framework of this common tie, which in one aspect is determined by the common social-economic tendencies of state-monopoly capitalism, and in the other, conditioned the formation and consolidation in the Western consciousness of the corresponding model of man ( taken in its relationship with definite literary, artistic, aesthetic and sociological conceptions, and also in its connection with the corresponding literary and artistic practice). In such an approach, various trends of Western youth subculture unexpectedly reveal an inner kinship–although they were strongly opposed to one another at the moment of their emergence and have consistently replaced one another during the last ten years: hippies, hammlers, beatniks and the New Left. Similarly, the paradoxical similarity of standpoints comes to light on the part of such different, at first glance, intellectual idols of the contemporary Western youth as Herbert Marcuse and Marshall McLuhan, Norman Mailer and Frantz Fanon, Suzan Sontag and Hans Magnus Enzensberger, Chester Anderson and Peter Handke.

It must be said that this has already been noticed by certain perspicacious authors, especially Martin Walser and John Passmore. The first, in his article "On the Latest Moods in the West",1and the second, in his article " Paradise Now",2 tried to reduce to a common denominator certain features of contemporary intellectual and artistic life in capitalist society. Moreover, the denominators of the, left radical Walser and the moderate liberal Passmore proved, naturally, altogether different: if the first was ultimately interested in the political qualification of the phenomena analysed, the second confined himself mainly to their ethical evaluation. However, the very formulation of the question about a common denominator proved fruitful in both cases: it helped the two writers to give a complete picture of certain common trends in the West European consciousness increasingly prominent during the last decade.

These trends, now known as the latest moods, arose entirely as a manifestation of the consumer consciousness. This appears in various forms at various levels of contemporary Western bourgeois culture. As it penetrates into that culture's ``upper'' levels, it undergoes a number of fairly complicated metamorphoses. However, its core–the hypertrophied consumer attitude–remains unchanged. This makes it also possible to examine the consumer consciousness as a system, stimulating the search not only for external and nominal, but also for inner and organic connections between its most varied manifestations. I shall analyse certain of these mutual ties in the next section.


1. Negation of the Personality as a Mystic Cult

Attempts to associate the latest moods with the present state of capitalist society are not only detectable among the outside observers of this typical phenomenon of the Western mind. Thus, Leslie A. Fiedler, whom Walser presents to the reading public as one of the prophets of the latest moods, sees them as an "essential consequence of an industrial system" that has freed the young from work and duty. He regards them as an inevitable result of the welfare state, making non-commitment (that is, the rejection of every kind of ``recruitment'') the "last virtue still possible''.

Leaving on Fiedler's conscience the actual 'means of interpreting' the connection between the latest moods and the consumer society (a term that gets to the heart of the matter rather than welfare state), and also his attempt to present this connection as fatally inevitable, one must agree that it is indeed taking place. The fact that such a connection exists is now stated in purely statistical terms: the wider the dissemination of consumer society trends in the West, the wider the strata of contemporary lumpen (especially the ``lumpen-intelligentsia'') who feel themselves free from work and duty, regarding independence of all political and moral obligations and duties as the only possible virtue.

Perhaps, however, the connection between the latest moods and the consumer society is most conspicuously in evidence if we take not the quantitative, but the qualitative aspect of the problem; that is, if we compare the 202 deepening of consumer trends in contemporary capitalist society with the specific forms of sublimation of crude consumer aspirations. The most important feature of the process leading to the emergence, development and replacement of the various forms of sublimated consumerism consists in the conversion of the striving for sensual pleasures (in the widest sense of the word) into something after the manner of a religious faith–faith in the divinity of pleasure, of 'any' pleasure, simply because it is a pleasure. Moreover, this religion–it would be more accurate to call it a hedonistic religion–also has, as we shall see, a mystic nucleus and a corresponding esoteric cult.

The meaning of this cult has been given precise formulation in the title of 'Paradise Now'–one of the most publicised shows of the Living Theatre, which, as is very indicative, was performed by a completely nude cast. Of the two words 'Paradise Now', in the form of a categorical demand, not the ``Paradise'', but the ``Now'' is stressed. Paradise must appear, and of its own accord, if people stop putting off till tomorrow (or even for a minute) the satisfaction of their craving for enjoyment.

The ideologists of "Paradise Now" have no doubts about the practical possibility of this. Like Tuli Kupferberg, the ideologist and poet of the latest mood, they argue as follows. As a result of the four revolutions–sexual, electronic, artistic and psychedelic–that have taken place in the middle of our century in the developed capitalist countries, entirely practical possibilities have arisen for the satisfaction of all human demands for pleasure without exception. The sexual revolution was to remove from the erotic sphere all restrictions created by religious tradition, bourgeois law and bourgeois morality. The psychedelic revolution, associated with the rehabilitation of drugs, makes it possible to liquidate the taboos transmitted by individual human self-awareness, which prevents man from fulfilling his desire to surrender himself to pleasure. The artistic revolution, which has broken the obsolete type of human perception, on the one hand, relies on the first and second revolutions and, on the other hand, deepens them, opening up new possibilities for pleasure latent in art.

The main importance of the electronic revolution is that it has enthroned His Majesty TV. With the spread of television, and here we hand over to Marshall McLuhan, on whom Tuli Kupferberg draws, our world as a whole has suffered the profoundest of possible transformations. It has truly entered a new aeon, since time has ceased and space has vanished. Cut down by the ubiquitous TV to extremely .small dimensions, entangled in the visible and invisible nerves of communications, our social-cultural cosmos is now, if wo are to believe McLuhan, a "global village".3And humanity, correspondingly, is returning to its primordial state as a tribe not divided up into conscious individuals.

First, all-powerful TV disposes of writing, the specialised acoustic-visual metaphor that, according to McLuhan, over many centuries has established, and continues to establish the "dynamics of Western civilisation".4 Along with written culture individually oriented perception and therefore discursive, logically consistent thinking are also being dispensed with.

Secondly, TV removes the individual's feeling of identity and thus his sense of personality as such. In our age, declares McLuhan without a shade of irony, it is becoming impossible to take up a definite position for longer than a moment.

Thirdly, says McLuhan, by liberating people from the archetypes of the individual consciousness TV appeals to the collective unconscious at the bottom of human souls– under the not so deep layer of personal archetypes. In this way, television is successfully achieving unified perception and unified imagination. Moreover, winding up this high-minded summary, McLuhan explains (true, in a somewhat different connection) that people are receiving from this a deep and dark feeling of involvement akin to the "oriental type of sensibility". This profound and dark feeling of the oriental type apparently also cements the approaching tribal culture, which, according to McLuhan's prognosis, will not allow any development of the individual consciousness. The party's over! . .

In other words, the liberalism of the individual consciousness and of personal responsibility which have brought humanity to an impasse, is being displaced, according to McLuhan's prophecies, by the authoritarian collective unconscious invoked to impose order in men and, at the same time, to make happy the foolish (because they are conscious).

So reasons McLuhan. Kupferberg, however, adding nothing to this, simply seems to hope that unlimited technical possibilities have opened up unprecedented prospects for human intercourse; the economic conditions have been ensured under which man, even in the present era, may spend most of his time on the gratification of his desires, urges and impulses.

This goal not only links up McLuhan with the ideology of "paradise now", as expressed in the latest mood, that is, the mood of the early 70s, it associates him and the new mood in with the similar aspirations of their predecessors, beatniks and the hippies.

According to John Passmore, the word ``beatniks'' does not mean "beaten by life" as some writers think. ``Beat'' is a short form of ``beatific'', and the beatniks are those who have experienced foreknowledge or a vision of bliss. The beatniks would like to arrest the moment of bliss, liberating it and themselves, their consciousness and memory from everything that would prevent the adequate experience of the blessed state.

In his article, Passmore quotes a very indicative statement by Norman Mailer that the ``hipster'' lives "in that enormous present which is without past or future, memory or planned intention". He also quotes from John Earth's book, 'Giles Goat-Boy', summing up the ideal of its hero: "only to Be, always to Be, until nothing was . .. but one placeless, timeless, nameless throb of Being"–and ``Be'' is used as a synonym for sexual enjoyment. Here we have the foundations of the contemporary mystic hedonism in which being is identified with pleasure, moreover, not just any pleasure, but specifically sensual pleasure, preferably erotic.

In the light of these principles of mystic hedonism, it is possible to understand the clearly expressed hostility of the beatniks, hippies and prophets of the new mood to time in general, a hostility entirely absurd at first glance. After all, time, with its inexorable movement from yesterday to today, from today to tomorrow, has always been hostile to the desire to "stop the moment", especially if it is taken as something empirically sensual, physiologically given. With time comes memory of the past, concern for the future, the consciousness of own finiteness and mortality– all these, according to the ideologists of the "paradise now", spoil the human capacity for pleasure.

Hence the striving to relate time itself to the ideology, to the transformed consciousness, to the imagination of the sick psyche of the human being crushed by the many different taboos created by bourgeois civilisation and by the repressive, oppressive culture in general. Norman Brown, summarising in his book, 'Life Against Death', the mood under examination as a contemporary form of religiosity, puts it quite bluntly: "Time is ... neurotic." Moreover, Brown draws on Freud but also enters into controversy with him. It is Freud's idea that the subconscious, the 'id', controlled exclusively by the pleasure-principle, does not contain anything which corresponds to the idea of time. This idea, incidentally, is also connected with Freud's treatment of mysticism, which is, according to him, nothing but the perception of the outside world from the viewpoint of that same 'id', which knows nothing of the time. Brown also attempts to draw on mysticism in his endeavours to adjust Freudianism to meet the demands of mystic hedonism.

Brown believes that traditional psychoanalysis leaves no hope for man's emergence from a state of neurosis evoked by the persistent idea of time which is hammered into the human consciousness by the repressive culture with its endless worries and reminiscences. In order to return to the "simple health that animals enjoy, but not man",5 it is essential to take the road which mysticism has long been indicating, that of immediate enjoyment, in which there is no relation to the past or the future.

Why does this prophet of mystic hedonism disagree with Freud, although the materials from which he builds his conception are clearly borrowed from psychoanalysis? The fact is that, along with the pleasure-principle that controls the unconscious, or 'id', Freud also postulated a realityprinciple that controls our waking, diurnal consciousness, our 'ego'. This second principle, according to Freud, is formed as the guiding principle of the consciousness as the child, initially gripped by a natural desire for the totally unlimited satisfaction of its urges, comes up against more and more new obstacles–at first in the family and

immediate environment, then in the wider social and cultural milieu and, finally, in the social-cultural ``universe'' as a whole. In this way, this principle implants in the human consciousness the demands made on it by society. While accepting Freud's means of describing the human psyche, Brown, like all other representatives of mystic hedonism, does not agree with Freud's evaluation of these principles. Freud maintains that the pleasure-principle is destructive, whereas the reality-principle is constructive in relation to culture, since it is associated with the achievements that raised man up out of the animal kingdom. By limiting his urges for enjoyment, man obtained freedom in exchange; renouncing the happiness that consists in the absolute-identity of the animal organism and all its instinctual manifestations, modifying these phenomena of the organism's life activity with culture, morality and spirituality, man won the right of dominion over the animal world and, most important of all, opened prospects for the imposition of order (and, perhaps, even of harmony) on 'his' relations with those of his own kind, having ensured the elementary security of existence which could not and cannot be guaranteed by uncultivated Nature. This is what Brown disputes, taking his stance on the pleasure-principle, or,enjoyment whatever the cost.

Rooted in the human consciousness, the reality-principle is the main obstacle to the affirmation of a mystic attitude to the world. It fetters, distorts, corrupts, ``ideologises'' the natural urge of each man for unlimited and uninhibited enjoyment, now accessible only to animals (not to mention criminals who have defied universal conformism and bourgeois values). Consequently, the reality-principle must be abolished, and if it does not voluntarily agree to leave the historical scene, it must be blown up by revolutionary violence. With it will disappear the basic dogma of human consciousness, time, the main source of the neurosis that has lasted for so many centuries.

Thus speaks Norman Brown. . .


The legitimate question arises, how is this to be done? How will it be possible to realise that mystical-sounding programme in practice? It turns out that it is not really so difficult in the era that has survived the sexual, electronic, artistic and psychedelic revolutions.

The sexual revolution has already created the appropriate psychological atmosphere for taboo-free erotic pleasures, having violated the ``conservative'' attitude associated with concern about the future (question: what next?) and looking back on the past (question: does this correspond to established sexual customs?). Medicine has obligingly taken the trouble to free sexual pleasure from distracting and corrupting thoughts about posterity (or the possibility, with passing encounters, of venereal diseases). Incidentally, the sexual revolution also encourages a breakdown of normal heterosexual relations. This last has had such a powerful impact on the social consciousness of the West, inspiring a veritable flood of films, plays, novels, essays, medical treatises and philosophical works, that the relevance of the various sexual customs has been struck off the agenda. Here, too, social consciousness has calmed down on the soft cushions of scepticism and relativism.

What takes the form of scepticism and relativism in people observing the sexual revolution from the sidelines but not wanting to enter in conflict with its ideology, is, to its active defenders, a new religion, a new mysticism, etc. (this age cannot seem to manage without them). Since neither religion nor mysticism can avoid hacking back to history, those who strive to propagate the latest sexual aspirations in this guise cannot avoid doing so either. A new interpretation is acquired by the Biblical saying that man and wife are one flesh; by the rules of contemporary unisex, this is taken to mean that men and women (if they want Paradise Now), must dress the same, behave alike and be indifferent to the sex of the partner.6 In similar vein are the views according to which the man and woman are different hypostases of the same divinity. And, of course, a corresponding interpretation is given to platonic love. No one in the West can be shocked these days by the arguments of the heroine of Lawrence Lipton's novel 'The Holy Barbarians' and her hippy friends to the effect that since, in the primitive religions, the gods were hermaphrodites, so people wishing to be like the gods today must ignore the difference between the sexes. As we see, it is now not only far from difficult to bring paradise down to earth (all you need do, says Passmore ironically, is to pull down your pants), but also to become God.

However, at the very moment when sexual relations are beginning to be treated as a mystic cult, religious ritual, etc., a new circumstance arises. If, as Heine put it, it takes one for virtue but two for sin, two are not enough to convert the sin into a cult activity. At least a third is essential. And it is even better if a fourth, a fifth and a sixth, etc., can be present–the number being determined by whether we are dealing with an esoteric (``elitist'', to use the contemporary sociological term) or an exoteric (mass) cult. This is the point at which mystic hedonism feels a need for the collective, understood as a fantastic tribe consisting of people connected with one another by sexual relations completely unthinkable in the past, leaving primitive promiscuity far behind (the latter can no longer be regarded as the extreme in sexual relationships).

This is the exact equivalent of McLuhan's tribe of people plunged into the dark depths of the collective unconscious. On this point, McLuhan's probe also explains the obscure meaning of the corresponding concept of mystic hedonism as the concept itself explains McLuhan's prophecy. The most important thing disclosed in this comparison is the secondary, auxiliary nature of the collective, tribal principle in relation to the pleasure-principle, which here, too, is featured as higher, fundamental and purposeful. Both in McLuhan and in mystic hedonism, the tribe (clan, commune, etc.) is proposed first and foremost as a means of liberating man–in collective ecstasy–from the personal self-awareness that obstructs the maximalisation and intensification of pleasure.

The new mystics have rediscovered the true significance of the ancient Bacchanalia in coming to the conclusion that sexual pleasures experienced ``collectively'' are increased many times by a feeling of ``togetherness''. True, in order that such an experience should take place at all, any kind of selection in the sexual sphere must be renounced, such as the clearly obsolete desire to see something unique–individuality or personality–in another person. Mystic hedonism rejects all these archaisms in exactly the same way as mass production.

The ``truth'' revealed by the new mystics was soon snapped up by contemporary Pop art. One example of a popular spectacle inspired by mystic hedonism is the musical 'Hair' about the ecstasies of tribal love. As Passmore testifies, this musical completely baffled an audience not initiated into the secrets of the new mysticism: it was hard to distinguish between the men and the women. All was clear from the start to the ``initiates'', however. The character of tribal love, affirmed by the musical with truly ``revolutionary'' passion, is such that there is no need to tell the men from the women. Moreover, for the satisfaction of the erotic urges portrayed in 'Hair', women, according to Passmore, are quite unnecessary. In the name of the commune and tribal love, the musical revolts against the female sex as detrimental to the direct collectivity of sexual intercourse, by bringing into the erotic sphere an illegitimate (even in the remote past, and so all the more obsolete in the present) factor of individualisation, selection, etc. In this revolt against the specific, if one may put it that way, role of woman in the sexual relations, women themselves take part in 'Hair'. Like the men, they are obsessed with the quest for absolute union, total community, in which all people think and feel as one being. And no dissension, please! We're sick of it! . .

The road, so theatrically pointed out by 'Hair', is seen by the new mystics as leading to the full and final solution of a problem which for decades has troubled 20 thcentury philosophers, novelists and film directors–that of incommunicability. To break down the thick walls that separate people from one another and prevent them from arriving at mutual understanding, it is essential for them to get together (not less than three at a time) and strip.

Needless to say, after so considerable a social and ideological charge, the shedding of clothes in public acquires a mystic and ritual significance. The ``religious'' meaning of this rite is explained as follows. Consciousness of nudity as a sin came to man after his fall, that is, to reason in the spirit of the new mysticism, after his individualisation, his isolation from the total unity of the commune. Consequently, in order to return to a state of primal innocence, he must undress.

However, it still takes collectivity, impersonality and anonymity to bring to a climax all the pleasures attainable Lhrough mysteries of this kind. They create the atmosphere of general irresponsibility likely in a crowd possessed by an intoxicating sense of total permissiveness (a feeling that easily develops into destructive action). In this atmosphere, no behaviour seems impermissible, since it has been done not by ``me'', not by "the other one", not by a "third person", but by all of us together, that is by Nobody and Everybody at the same time.

It is impossible to unravel the significance of this ``ambivalent'' feeling, otherwise than by turning to the language of art which, incidentally, has often attempted to reflect on the subject under discussion. The hero of Thomas Mann's 'Death in Venice' once experiences a similar feeling. True, as the author tells us, this happens in a dream, but after all it was a long time ago, at the beginning of the century. At that time, the emotions being examined were considered permissible only in visions, myths, or halfbanned works of art. The idea of merging this art with life, of taking its emotions out into the street, of making them public property, did not at that time exist. To judge by Mann's work, however, it was already imminent: and the more acute minds were in a state of deep alarm in expectation of the moment when it would be extracted from the world of dreams and presented as a practical problem of the day.

``That night," writes Thomas Mann of his hero Gustav von Aschenbach (a writer of the traditionally humanist persuasion with a strong classical background) "he had a horrible dream, if dream is the right word for a physical and spiritual event which admittedly happened to him while he was fast asleep. . . The scene of the action was his soul, but the events burst in from outside, immediately breaking down all resistance–the stubborn resistance of the intellect. They swept over him and transformed his existence, the culture of his life into dust and ashes.

'It began with terror, terror and lust, and horrified curiosity about what was to happen. It was night, and his senses were strained, since from somewhere far away he could hear the approaching tramp of feet, booming, and mingled sounds from far away: banging, galloping, muffled claps of thunder, shrill shrieks and howls–a sustained `U-u-u-uh'. All this was pierced and at times frighteningly and sweetly drowned by the warbling strains of a flute, shameless in their persistence, immodestly bewitching, so that everything trembled within him. But he knew a word, obscure, although it gave a name to what was coming: 'The Alien God'. The heat shimmer swirled, and he saw a mountain locality like the one where his country house was. And in the torn light, an avalanche was rolling down from wooded heights and mossy crags: people, animals, herds, a frenzied horde, they inundated the glade with bodies, flames, uproar and wild dancing. Women, with long robes of animal skins dangling from their waists, were throwing back their heads, groaning, rattling tambourines, waving torches which scattered showers of sparks; armed with naked daggers, they gripped writhing snakes by the middle, or screamed, holding up their breasts with their hands. Hairy men with horns on their heads, with animal skins on their loins, their heads bowed, were throwing up their legs and arms, frenziedly beating copper tympani and kettledrums, while chubby boys clutching at the horns of goats, were driving them with rods wound with green fronds, shrieking as the goats leapt about. All around there was an incessant howling and loud cries–all of soft consonants with that sustained `U-u-uh' at the end, sweet, wild, never heard anywhere ever before. But here it filled air, that sustained `U-u-uh', as if it were a stag bellowing, taken up here and there by many voices, debauchedly exultant, inciting to dance, to the twitching of arms and legs. It never abated. But the low, appealing strains of the flute pierced through it all, dominating everything. Were they not luring him too–shamelessly, insistently– as he resisted, yet responded to the celebrations, to the immensity of the supreme sacrifice? Great was his loathing, great was his terror, his honest striving to defend himself to the last gasp against this–alien, hostile to dignity and integrity. But the din, the howling repeated by the mountain echoes was growing, was swelling to uncontrollable madness. Odours befuddled his reason, the sharp reek of goats, the sweat of quivering bodies like the heaving of putrid water, and he was drawn by yet another familiar odour: that of wounds and plague. His heart shuddered in unison with the kettledrums, his head whirled, frenzy overcame him, blindness, drunken voluptiousness, and his soul wanted to join the chorus of the god. An obscene symbol, gigantic, made of wood, was brought out and raised aloft: they began howling even more frenziedly around him, shouting the same summons all the time. They were foaming at the mouth, raving, exciting one another with lewd gestures, prodding with lecherous hands, laughing, groaning, driving the sharp wands into the bodies of those nearby and licking up the blood that flowed. But, humble to the power of the alien god, with them and among them now was he who was dreaming the dream. Moreover, they were him when, maddened, frantic, they flung themselves on the beasts, slaughtered them, tore off smoking chunks of flesh with their teeth, and when on the pitted, mossy ground there began the general sacrifice to the god. And his soul tasted debauchery and the frenzy of the end.''

It is enough to compare this scene of tribal love with what is given in the musical 'Hair' (and in a whole series of other works whose authors hold their noses at the mere mention of the Pop art), to realise the distance covered by the West European mind. All that stirs Mann's hero to horror and disgust (although, to be fair, it does not lose its attraction) is painted today in the rosiest colours imaginable. The Alien God of Gustav von Aschenbach has ceased to be alien, repulsive and horrifying, having become the only divinity in the era of universal consumerism. And, incidentally, the "paradise now" ideology consisted in removing any tension that might exist between man and his new god in order to show that he was not ``alien'', but "one of them''.

2. Neo-Avant-Gardism and LSD, the Two Latest Drugs

The reader may have noticed that in the process of luring Mann's hero into the Bacchic-Dionysian ecstasy, of special importance are the warbling strains of a flute, shameless in their persistence, immodestly bewitching, so that everything trembles within him, but which insistently and unswervingly draw Gustav von Aschenbach as he resists and yet responds to the celebrations, to the immensity of the supreme sacrifice–that is, if we take it in the spirit of Thomas Mann, to the hero's renunciation of his ego, to his self-identification with the raving crowd of people and animals who form the drunken chorus of the Alien God. Mann was right both as an artist and as a psychologist: the simple presence of man in the crowd is still not enough for him fully to renounce consciousness and self-awareness, merging into the collective unconscious that bestowed " paradise now". Art is needed too, and not just any art. The art that is akin to the flute. Or the kettledrums that make the heart of the respectable Aschenbach shudder in unison with them so that his head whirls and his whole being is overcome by a blinding frenzy, drunken voluptuousness and the desire to join the chorus of the god (who occurs in his darkened consciousness already without the distancing word ``alien'').

It must be said that all this is excellently realised by the proponents of hedonistic mysticism. That is precisely why, among the "four revolutions", which have, according to Tuli Kupferberg, made paradise possible now, the artistic revolution is also mentioned. As a result of this revolution, art has been transformed, if we are to believe the prophets of the latest mood, into one of the most powerful means of overcoming the individual consciousness and plunging man into the collective orgasm. And so, art stepped outside its own limits and became something more than it had .been before in, say, the framework of humanist culture. This enables the poet Chester Anderson to elevate one of the trends in jazz music–Rock–to a universal principle which is "not limited to music alone''.7

Rock, according to Anderson, is a mystic phenomenon that is not subject to definition and which cannot be categorised. It is what might be called the everyday miracle of our age. For instance, the composer who has recognised this miracle and mastered it could play "the audience's body like an obedient guitar". Body indeed, and not soul, since the latter is unnecessary: Rock is a means of setting human bodies in motion, by-passing their souls, or at any event, missing the individual consciousness and acting directly on what lies ``under'' it. Furthermore, it is not only more effective from the viewpoint of possibilities of affecting man (and, ultimately, of controlling his bodily movements), but it affords him far greater pleasure than in the event of ``mediated'' action–passing through the consciousness and related to his self-awareness, ego, freedom of choice, etc.

It is characteristic that the notions of the ideologists of the latest mood about what art should be in the electronic civilisation are very much along the lines of what has been said on the subject by McLuhan. Furthermore, direct borrowings are not essential; certain identical points of departure are enough for the ideas of various people to move in a similar direction. And those identical points of departure are there. First, the new mood, just as in McLuhan's "philosophy of the media", assumes the switching off of the individual's self-awareness and his immersion in the ecstasy of the collective unconscious. Secondly, there is an observable tendency in both cases to the purely physiological interpretation of this ecstasy, in opposition to the ephemeral, sublimated emotions evoked by traditional art.

This last tendency is clearly indicated in McLuhan's arguments about the* almost physical effect of the TV image on man, involving him in the orgiastic element of the irrational, the unconscious. This tendency was particularly symptomatic in McLuhan's attempt to accomplish a ``revaluation'' of human senses, elevating, as a true model of human sensibility, that of touch, since it is less sublimated (i.e. less spiritual) and is therefore in closer contact with the unconscious. This contemporary mystic hedonist would like to go blind, not in order to penetrate into the essence of things with the mind's eye like Democritus, who blinded himself, according to the legend, but to know fhe world by touch without any relation to the space-time perspective.

This throws additional light on the famous McLuhan tautology, "the medium is the message," making it more or less comprehensible. It indicates a need to transfer attention from what is happening on the television screen and is perceived by the viewer as a meaningful chain of interconnected objects, to what happens with the human consciousness if this chain ceases to be meaningful; in other words, if the place of acting on man's cognitive ability is taken over by the simple bombardment of the screen of his consciousness by a number of irritants–"pure signals", not carrying any message apart from the fact of communication.

The first result of what is achieved by this is the conversion of the audio-visual complex of irritants into something physiologically more real than what was represented b'y this complex when it was oriented on the interpretive and cognitive, i.e. spiritual, capacity of the human consciousness. For if the consciousness is switched oft, nothing is left in the audio-visual complex except unsublimated (that is, not transferred to the spiritual, ideal dimension of human existence) beam of impact on the nervous extremities of the visual and aural analysers, with no likelihood of relief. This undoubtedly results in a lowering of the more spiritual feelings–visual and aural–to the less spiritual level of the tactile and corresponding direct contacts with the object acting on man.

As a result of action on the neuro-physiological structure of a man who has received no relief, no transfer to the spiritual level in which he can apprehend and interpret the source of this impact (or that about which this impact signals), the individual is indeed reduced to a state of excitement, or, more often, irritation–since ignorance of the source of the excitement can irritate; the person knows that he or she must do something, but cannot imagine what. More often than not, this irritation wells up as a vague (and therefore even more oppressive) feeling of alarm, or less frequently, the nervous ``joy'' that the psychiatrists call euphoria and that can become derangement at any moment. As we see, the process of activating the human unconscious by means of television (somewhat modernised in the McLuhan spirit) looks like an attempt to infect the viewer with something in the nature of a psychic illness, or phobia.

``Pathological cases of phobia–of persistent terror and the like," writes Lev Vygotsky, founder of the Soviet psychological school, "are invariably associated with certain ideas which are for the most part absolutely false and which distort reality. This is how they find their spiritual expression. Thus, a patient suffering from persistent terror, is, in fact, affected with a feeling–he has a causeless terror and for that reason his imagination suggests to him that everybody is chasing and persecuting him. In such a patient, we find a sequence of events that is the exact reverse of this in a healthy person. With the latter, persecution comes first to be followed by terror, but with the former it is terror first, then imagined persecution.''8

Furthermore, as is known, in some cases of phobia, the patient becomes so profoundly involved in his unconscious that he is incapable of thinking about anything but his fears. Incidentally, this can be dangerous to others. Psychiatry has recorded many murder cases triggered off by phobia.

Physiologists are said to have caused something like phobias in mice by sending electric pulses to certain parts of the brain. Strictly speaking, this, according to McLuhan, could be achieved with television and ``cool'' art. True, he 'is' hoping that the profound and gloomy feeling of involvement in the collective unconscious will give man powerful sensations–from those that are now half-forgotten by humanistically individualist civilisation.

In the light of all this, it is easier to understand McLuhan's statement that contemporary television's desire to evolve artistic forms comparable to those of the theatre and the cinema is conservative and archaic, since the only real future for television is in cartoons, adverts, etc. In trying to resemble theatre and cinema (and the more `` traditional'' arts), television is trying to show on the screen a certain apprehended reality, the sum total of mutually connected objects and their movements, accessible to and presuming upon rational cognition. It 'is' a means of acting an man at the level of his consciousness, as the outside world acts on man. It is a matter of ``communication'' at the level of ideal objectiveness–that which is built up on the television screen and, correspondingly, in the consciousness of the perceiver, the viewer. And just as in a work of art this objectiveness comes out as something complete and interpreted only in the light of the author's ideals, or values, so in the perception of this work, the aesthetic experience acquires this or that character according to the relation of the above-mentioned objectiveness to the perceiver's ideals and values–a relationship which is accomplished by his ego, his self-awareness. This structure, typical of all ``traditional''–or ``hot'', in McLuhan's terminology–art is what he has in mind when he says that the artistic structure of the cinema and theatre has lost the ability to act on contemporary consciousness and perception.

McLuhan wants to say that the means of impact by mind on mind has become obsolete, and postulates instead a more direct and effective influence–by subconscious on subconscious. To be more precise, by the cunning, manipulatory conscious mind of the communicator on the unconscious mind of the totally unsuspecting recipient. In other words, the manipulation of self-aware individuals by specially directed irritants affecting their physiological structure is preferred to free mutual interaction.

It should be pointed out that this is not solely McLuhan's view. It met with understanding in West European television. In conformity with this, it received a new resonance–not brutal in the McLuhan style, but reassuringly lyrical: "Are the large shadows on the cave-wall–the simple and eternal human visions of goodness and morality–now being transmitted by the most trivial, lightly regarded, and despised forms?" asks one of McLuhan's respectable disciples. "Is it in the 'environmental sub-plots' of advertising messages, simple and stereotyped playlets, and other expressions of mass diversion and entertainment that the human beat and human message is being most effectively transmitted? Is it possible that we have stumbled upon the only route by which the human race may reach the ultimate end in its journey to peace? Is it conceivable that what political thinkers can hardly foresee may be brought to realisation by `show-business' entrepreneurs? . .''

But the most interesting point here, next to the excerpt quoted by William Bluem and its logical conclusion, is the following thesis about the art which a few years ago used to be called ``elitist'' with a respectful intake of breath: ". . . the motion-in-time arts become the first to concede. . . A student says (of `Blow-Up') 'I don't know what it meant, but it was 'greatr' Enter the cool response and the exit `ooh-and-ah'. Hello to the escape of `happenings', and goodbye to structure. Enter 'Labyrinth', and exit linearity. In with fragmentation, out with form. Hail new icons–- farewell old symbologies. The old arts which produce ' meaning' lose force, and when we seek them, we do not attach the old importance to them."9

If the author of this lively passage were told that, it is all meant to justify the tendency to the ``self-liquidation'' of art, provided that the word ``art'' really means something, he would certainly answer in McLuhan fashion: "So what?" If there must inevitably be "masses of faceless humanity", what need is there of personally oriented art? If "unquestionably, the condition of man is moved towards homogenization by the 'mass' quality of the TV experience", what need is there of an art that appeals to human individuality? If the times are going "to produce a serious breakdown in the logical flow of human response between what we 'know' and what we must believe", why should art survive, trying to give meaning to what is meaningless?

William Bluem will not be the only one to answer calmly and ironically: "So what?" in answer to the question: "Are we not witnessing art's self-liquidation as a reflection of the crumbling individual consciousness, the personality principle in the late-capitalist civilisation which has clearly fallen behind dtself?" If not a calmly ironic, at least, calmly academic answer will be obtained from a number of treatises which peacefully announce that the ``Orphic'' principle is resurrected in contemporary art, that is, the principle of the inexorable (and therefore justified–what else?) striving of art to tear itself up and hurl the pieces at the raving public in order that its frenzy should reach a climax. Let us remember that this kind of Orphic act was shown in Antonioni's film, when the fashionable variety artiste ends his concert by smashing up his instrument and throwing it into a frenzied crowd of fans.

It isn't just a matter of the instrument. The chopping up of a piano or the smashing of a guitar over one's knee is a more or less harmless act in itself although it is unpleasant, as is any destructive act, especially if it is being aestheticised. The fact is that in this case we are dealing with the external symbolisation of a deeper process, that of the real self-destruction of art which is fed up with round-about ways of awakening in man the fine feelings. With the instrument that once delighted the human ear, the guitarist is now learning how, as it were, to beat people over the head so that they swoon in orgiastic anguish, screaming ``hosanna'' to the adored tormentor.

Not self-abnegation for the sake of something higher than itself, but renunciation of that something higher for its own sake, for the sake of its "game of love with itself", as Hegel would have said–that is what, overcome by Dionysian ecstasy, this mob needs. The experience of the fact that the "mystic secret", or "paradise now", is created not in the transcendental sphere, not in the ideal dimension of art, but in itself taken "as it is", in its possession by the demons of craving and lust–such is the experience sought by this mob, smashing up art like a child's toy that fails to satisfy it.


If we now cast a general glance at the tendencies we have described in art, an art obsessed with an Orphic message of self-liquidation, then it will not be difficult to see the ideal model to which it is now tending as it moves beyond its own limits. This model is drugs or, to be more precise, the effects they have on man, making easier for him to "switch off" from his worries, from space and time, from personal self-awareness, from the ego–that is, providing him with "paradise now". And so it was certainly not by chance that Chester Anderson combined art (of the electronic civilisation, naturally) with drugs in his "Rock phenomena", expressing the basic aspirations of the young Rock generation.

Rock is an essential aspect of contemporary mystic hedonism; it reveals the ``narcotic'' effect in art and the `` aesthetic'' factor in narcosis. Moreover, Rock is an important offshoot of mystical hedonism; it discloses a tendency to become an independent religion which threatens to take over the more substantial elements of the latest mood. It is here that the "artistic revolution" combines with the ``psychodelic'' one, and the aesthetic means of depersonalising the individual that are intuitively felt by Orphic-Dionysian art, are brought into contact with scientifically verified techniques of liquidating the personal principle by means of the most up-to-date achievements of psychopharmacology.

This very suggestive connection between contemporary mysticism and contemporary science, a connection which in one (or perhaps not just one) of its aspects is moving towards an open alliance with the most ambiguous mysticism, converting it into the latest version of black magic, and it gives Rock fans a sensation of participation in some kind of 20th-century religious mystery. According to Alan Trachtenberg, the author of an article with the arresting title of "Culture and Rebellion", the word Rock has now acquired a connotation of religious mysticism. "Its practitioners are no longer entertainers but gurus,"10 people bringing new revelation to the world, a new kind of consciousness and behaviour. Consequently, everything they do, as they surrender themselves to orgiastic dances or the "common trip" has something of the religious cult or the mystic rite about it. The performance of Rock music is correspondingly re-interpreted. As Trachtenberg writes, the performers are now not celebrated solely for the " excitement of rhythm and sound". No, it is something much more; it is the "litany of liberation" in the light of which the performance and the appreciation of it are experienced as a mystery or, more precisely, as a form of religiousrevolutionary play. As we see, a revolutionary play is also needed to liberate man from his consciousness.

Chester Anderson calls Rock "the music of consciousness".11 Many other representatives of this music talk incessantly about its "religious nucleus".12 Fiedler, one of the most distinguished theorists of the latest mood, call LSD-takers and other drug addicts the "new irrationalists", the "holy peace-breakers".13 Another ideologist of the latest mood, R.D. Brinkman, regards them as precursors of the future "cosmonauts of the inner world". Leonard Cohen hails them as "the new Hebrews". Nor is there any lack of attempts at the theoretical justification and substantiation of the psychedelic ``cosmonautics''. Brinkman, for instance, tells how drugs help in "widening the sphere of consciousness",14 introducing the unconscious into the concept of consciousness, adding mindlessness to mind. He affirms in all seriousness that everything that "intensifies madness" is entirely legitimate and we must proceed from this.15

Needless to say, however, the greatest authority among all these substantiations and justifications belongs to those who are in the stream of contemporary mystical hedonism, proclaiming drugs to he the most direct and effective means of achieving "paradise now". For this reason, the most impressive (and therefore convincing) arguments in favour of the drug-taking are those to the effect that drugs "intensify the feeling of togetherness", according to the poet Alan Watts; they get rid of the conscious mind's inclination to inhibit tenderness, and in this way they help men and women to enter into associations based on physical tokens of attachment; in general they help gatherings of people to take the form of rituals, dances, play, in a word, everything symbolising love that unites the members of this group (see the model proposed by 'Hair)'. Furthermore, as was to be expected, considering the current fashion, this function of drugs is put forward as anti-bourgeois and directed against the industrial society. After all, in this society no one dare risk free erotic contacts, whereas drugs, by removing inhibitions, make such contacts possible and thereby help the creation of togetherness.16

There is, finally, one more means of justifying the psychedelic revolution, which liquidates the last "bourgeois taboos" that have still been barring the way to drug addiction (even if only in the sphere of official consciousness). This means of justification was put most eloquently in an article by Peter Stafford, "Drugs, Rock and Revolution". "My thesis," he writes, "is that psychedelic drugs have social significance of the first order and that with the passing of time (in not less than five or ten years, I suppose) they will completely transform the present political reality".17 Stafford believes that if, say, some manufacturer uses drugs, then one may be sure that the ``knowledge'' he has obtained "during his trip" will ultimately come to fruition in his activity. In this way, the whole of social reality will actually be transformed by the drug addicts into a completely new world.

Today, the psychodelic revolution is justified by the very different representatives of the quasi-intelligentsia– from the esoterically oriented mystics, who wrap up the vulgarly consumer essence of drug addiction in the mythologems of Zen Buddhism, to the politically aligned publicists who associate the spread of drug-taking with prospects for disintegrating the bourgeois ego. Moreover, it is not so difficult to find what all these apologists for the psychedelic revolution have in common: hostility to the personal principle of human existence, to individual selfawareness with its eternal striving for the freedom and independence of mankind.18

Finally, whatever means of justification for drug addiction we may encounter at present, we cannot escape the fact that we are dealing with drugs, which, apart from everything else (stimulation of the erotic urge, easing of sexual "forms of communion", release of the individual from "capitalist exploitation" as regards his "bourgeois ego", etc.) are bound of themselves, as Walser puts it, "to bring pleasure, the maximum pleasure", 19 a pleasure infinitely greater than that which can be experienced by a person in a normal, healthy state of mind.

Any psychiatry textbook tells us that drugs like morphia, which can plunge a person into the above-mentioned ``trip'', have an euphoric effect on the individual giving a sensation of general physical and psychic comfort20 ( comfort is the right word here!). True, next comes the hangover: in the language of psychiatry it is termed the condition of abstinence, during which extreme irritability, abruptness, anger and aggression are observed.21 But if the appropriate dose of morphine is administered in time (the amount increases with the growing tolerance of the organism), then there will be a return to the blissful moment of pleasure in physical and psychic comfort.

In general, the essence of the ``psychedelic'' condition is pleasure and still more pleasure, maximalised by the switching off of the higher spiritual functions. Whatever may be said about the ``anti-bourgeois'' essence of drug addiction, and however much it may be justified by ``left'' or ``right'', by politically or mystically aligned defendants, they are all merely different ways of justifying a hedonistic cult, the esoteric kernel of the consumer ideology in the mid-20th century.

1. Non-Restraint of Urges

After describing the mystic nucleus of the latest moods in the contemporary West, we moved on to an outline of those moods in the broader social context, discussing trends in the consumer society and the ``revolutions'' evoked by it–sexual, artistic and psychedelic. We shall now try to present these moods as a complete picture of the psychic condition of their carriers, the quasi-intelligentsia (and the social groups drawn to them). We are hardly to blame if our picture looks like the clinical chart of a psychic epidemic.

Indeed, what has been said above makes it possible to conclude that the welfare society has shown a marked tendency towards hypertrophied consumerism, evoking in certain circles something in the nature of a psychic disease manifest in the "non-restraint of urges", the reluctance to delay the satisfaction of the first impulse to occur, even for a moment. This is a condition very similar to that of the capricious child that throws a fit of hysterics, stamps its feet, destroys objects within reach and hits its parents if they do not immediately buy the toy it fancies.

If one turns to what the psychiatrists would term the anamnesis of the syndrome described, it becomes obvious that among adults who now suffer (or, rather, enjoy) the non-restraint of the urges–at least among the more active carriers of the latest mood–similar symptoms were observed in early childhood. Moreover, these clearly abnormal manifestations were cultivated all through childhood by parents and grandparents. The latter, after the trials and tribulations of the war and the post-war-shortages, achieved a relatively high standard of living, and were subsequently concerned with one thing alone: that their children and grandchildren should not be bothered by worries of any kind and that they should never be refused anything.

But if the unthinking minor simply says "Give!" and starts throwing a temper in front of its harassed parents, who hasten to satisfy his "legitimate desire", then, on growing older, he tries to turn that gesture into a norm of conduct, to justify it accordingly to his intellectual development. Subsequently, it comes to light that other representatives of his generation are similarly inclined to explain that gesture, and then it is elevated to a symbol charged with the highest meaning; it becomes the symbol of a whole subculture, a "youth subculture", as Western sociologists now term it. They thus acknowledge the growing influence of the quasi-intellectual consciousness on those of the young who have not yet been able to adapt to culture, although they think it owes them something.

Here begins the ideologisation of the infantile gesture and of infantilism in general. From this comes the desire to "return to childhood", so typical of the latest mood. True, the childish thoughts are perceived now in a strictly erotic sense, so that in the latest psychoanalytical interpretations of his soul (which have far outstripped the obviously out-dated Freud), the child sometimes seems more like a highly experienced sex maniac. However, children's books are widely read and generously quoted by the representatives of the latest mood.

The same archetypal gesture–"Give!"–is behind many Pop culture phenomena; those stars of the youth subculture who have embodied the above-mentioned gesture in the total image of the contemporary behaviour and feeling for life. The present-day variety singer (or instrumentalist) is the priest of a cult of uncontrollable urges, overwhelmed by the ecstasy that fills him, by the vital forces tearing him apart, and incapable of quelling a single of his instant outbursts. The same function is performed by many film stars, whose screen parts and personal images illustrate the ``uncontrollability'' of their various urges.

Hence the various sensational remarks (exclamations, to be more accurate) by preachers of the latest mood, like the cry of Brinkman–the one who dreams about the " cosmonauts of the inner world"–calling for a machine-gun against criticism.22 Or there is the comment by the now fashionable composer John Cage that it is "better to be brutal than indifferent". In the same category is the wellknown outburst of German playwright Peter Handke, who, at a demonstration, expressed the desire to collect into a heap all of the "left shit and the right shit", add on to it the "liberal shit" and "chuck a bomb at the lot". Finally, an eloquent climax to this series is the argument by Brinkman (in the foreword to an anthology edited by him and dedicated to the latest tendencies in American art) that Americans show little force and violence in art, and that they have not yet shaken off their timidity and revulsion at the sight of them. A good illustration of this argument is a portrait of Hitler in the anthology with a caption underneath it in black letters: "Welcome back''.

It must be said that there is nothing accidental about the emergence of the word 'Gewalt' (force) in connection with the latest mood; it very successfully expresses in German all the ambiguity of force-violence. Such theorists of the new mood as Fiedler, for instance, who is extremely well informed, mention, among its most important tendencies, the western as one of its three main elements symbolising the present urge for violence, cruelty and other forms of brutality. If we consider the latest mood as represented in contemporary literature, then, according to Fiedler,- it will be possible to distinguish three elements–"The Western, Science-Fiction and Pornography", and the three aggregate conditions: "Dream, Hallucination and Ecstasy". This is also indicated by the fashion for the Theatre of Cruelty, resurrected during the last years in the Western theatre and infiltrating into the cinema, as is shown by the latest work.

But how is this now obviously definitive tendency to be reconciled with the hippy-beatnik note of love, which would seem to be at the very source of the latest moods and to be shaping their mystical nucleus? Is there not an insoluble contradiction here? Is not the western, an element of the latest mood, a corruption of its real message? For us, the examination of all these aspects of the general problem of the ``western'' element is all the more interesting, since it enables us to analyse in greater depth the syndrome of non-restraint of urges taken in its dynamics, in its ambiguity or, as Freud might have said, ambivalence.

It is a great temptation to try and explain the sudden emergence in the latest mood of the '``western'' cadence of hatred and cruelty, which has consolidated itself in discordant (and compromising) proximity to the hippy-beatnik note of love and tenderness, on an analogy with the two stages of narcosis described by us–the euphoric state of amiability and indiscriminate sexual urges, and the depressive and irritable state of abstention, notable for extreme aggressiveness, abruptness and anger. This, however, would be to oversimplify the problem, relegating it to a purely psychological (or psychopathological) level.

We will come closer to a solution if we move up from the psychological level of analysis to the socio-psychological and if we remember one peculiarity of group ecstasy which seeks to discard the individual consciousness. As has been observed many times in the relevant literature, this kind of Dionysian rapture is initially ambivalent, ambiguous: its participants are overcome simultaneously by two opposite aspirations: the masochistic, encouraging self-rejection, and the overtly sadistic, inciting all the participants in the Bacchic orgy to attack anyone in this situation who tries to preserve personality, a feeling of responsibility, freedom of individual decision and a capacity for the critical evaluation of what is happening. Meanwhile, the universally known "pack effect" is Connected with this ambivalence; it is peculiar to various non-formal communities–teenager and youth societies, gangs, etc. which are put up by the latest mood as ideal models of the human community. The essence of this effect is that extreme self-denial by the members of the ``pack'', working themselves up into pathological demonstrations of that self-denial (self-torture, self-inflicted injury, etc.), is combined with extreme sadism towards all those who have failed to adapt to that community. This is only possible by self-abasement, the consistent renunciation of one's ego, the carrier of which may be henceforth only either the whole ``pack'' or he to whom it has entrusted its personification–the Leader; to be a personality is his privilege only, and he guards it jealously.

It must be said that this sadism is obviously functional –from the viewpoint of an informal gang-type community, from the viewpoint of welding them together in the gang. The ancient mysteries clearly established that to keep the crowd in a state of electrified tension and weld it into a kind of togetherness or community, the ritual of sacrifice was essential and, correspondingly, a victim was needed not only to placate the divinity rising above the crowd, but also to mollify the "chthonic gods" (the fathers of the Christian church preferred to call them demons) by which the mob is possessed. The universal love (if that is the right word, as used by the mystical hedonists, for promiscuous sexual relations) with which the Dionysian mysteries were accompanied, also entailed, as we see, a certain far from always purely symbolic act of hatred–and the less symbolical that act was, the more ecstatic was the collective love that followed it. The same may be said of the gangs: the law courts have dealt with countless cases in which the leader has compelled the members of the gang to carry out senseless murders whose sole purpose was to bind them all more tightly with a strict oath which is seen by them as an avowal of ``love-friendship''.

Finally, if we bear in mind the communities cemented by Dionysian ecstasy, which necessarily entails "switching off" the individual consciousness and the higher psychic functions of the individual in general, it must be agreed that the note of sadism is functional here in one more sense. Since "a holy place is never empty", other values come to replace the "switched off" values of human culture and spirituality. These are vital forces, measured by the non-restraint of the first cravings that occur (arising, say, in the subconscious) and by the determination–i.e. brutality–of their self-assertiveness. However, these chthonic values may not so much assert as simply demonstrate themselves merely by offering as a sacrifice someone lacking in the requisite vitality.

Vitality, bursting its bonds of personal self-awareness, can demonstrate itself only in the form of strength-violence, or physical compulsion used on others less powerful (or less uninhibited) carriers of this vitality. In general, direct physical violence is the logical limit (or, if you like, ideal) towards which each demonstration of self-sufficient vitality is so spontaneously and inevitably drawn.

This method of involvement (now interpreted as vital physical proximity) in the community replaces–to those with neo-Dionysian aspirations–the obsolete forms of influencing people such as personal charm, persuasive argumentation, the noble precept, moral inspiration and so on. Particularly telling is the means of recruitment demonstrated by art with leanings towards neo-Dionysianism –for example, the theatre that models itself on happenings. Direct assaults are made on the public: the actors jostle the spectators, sprinkle them with confetti (and sometimes less pleasant objects), sit on them, throw various objects at them, etc. etc. And all this out of a disbelief in the means with which a person is influenced by an appeal to his conscious mind.

2. Politicisation of Eroticism or ``Sexualisation'' of Politics?

Works of art more or less under neo-Dionysian influence are convincing evidence that artists in the West are conversant with the ambiguous techniques of drawing people into ecstatic communities by giving free rein to the masochistic and–above all–sadistic instincts of the crowd. However, these very works of art are equally convincing evidence that a great many writers of the latest mood could not resist the temptation to use these techniques in their work, although there was bound to be some aesthetisation of these instincts by elevating them to the level of art without any sublimation whatever, since sublimation is ruled out as ``bourgeois'', according to the latest mood. They could not resist the temptation because they were so eager to be demon seducers dangling man on the strings of his uninhibited instincts. Furthermore, each writer who succumbed to this temptation could easily conceal its true meaning from himself with arguments to the effect that, by working the strings of the uninhibited urges, it was possible to lead the masses on to the true road, like a good puppeteer putting on a show with absolutely obedient marionettes, a magnificent work of art, a true embodiment of Good and Beauty.

Hence the appearance in the Western theatre and cinema of a whole stream of films and shows full of the most noble intentions, such as to denounce fascism, to brand the American evildoings in Vietnam, to express solidarity with the colonial peoples struggling for independence, etc. etc., while actually using ambiguous means in striking contrast with the ultimate aim. The note of love underlying such intentions is asserted with the techniques of the western and the Theatre of Cruelty: by unleashing the extremely dangerous instincts of the public, which is consciously turned into a mob obsessed with sado-masochistic impulses. The unleashing of these impulses is now seen as a common means of drawing the public into what is happening on the stage or the screen.

This has been pointed out by many critics and journalists. Nor has it been missed by Walser, who on this point clearly pays tribute to traditional humanism. Speaking about the tendency of the preachers of the latest mood to cultivate "evil for self-amusement", Walser notes that this merely means that the antagonisms of contemporary bourgeois society are reproduced–but this time as an aestheticised cult. When this "evil for self-amusement" is dressed up as a film extolling the activity of the Vietnamese guerrillas, as was done by Godard in one of his films, the result is only to magnify the sum total of this evil (and, correspondingly, of sadistic self-amusement). For Godard, as Walser writes, referring to Carlo Schellemann, cannot answer "the violent activity of the bourgeoisie" with anything other than "the repetition of this violence in a subtly written scenario". 23 The only reasonable reaction to this multiplication of violence by violence can be a feeling of disgust above which, according to Walser, "no one rises''.

It is this very circumstance, however, that makes Godard acceptable to the theorists of the latest mood such as Fiedler. He can therefore allow himself to depart a little from his usual non-political approach and discuss the "actual overspill" of the cult of violence associated with the "western image" into the idolisation of Che Guevara, typical of the left-radical trend of the time, or of the Vietnamese patriots. He can do this with all the more ease since, as Walser writes, in this kind of overspill, it is still not clear what the violence is being committed for. As a result, the aspiration towards evil for self-amusement wins out in the end. All the rest is simply a means or technique of catering for sadistic urges.

Approximately the same could be said of the film ' Marat/Sade', based on the play by Peter Weiss, 'The Persecution and Assassination of Marat as Performed by the Inmates of the Asylum of Charenton under the Direction of the Marquis de Sade'. Marat's words about the improvement of the world, the cry of his associate Jacques Rou, calling people to choose sensibly "where to go" and other reasonable appeals–all these are drowned in the atmosphere of insane ecstasy created in the film. This atmosphere so infects the spectator that his conscious mind is put completely at the mercy of his collective unconscious, which incites him to enjoy the madness of destruction, the ecstasy of violence, the frenzy of sadism, etc. In a word, not only is the total amount of evil and violence in the world not diminished, it is clearly increased by such films, although they are inspired by a noble desire to denounce that evil and violence.

``So what?" answers consistent priest of the hedonistic cult. "The total amount of pleasure is obviously increased thereby. After all, to the limited enjoyment of love, we now add the unlimited enjoyment of hatred, of violence and of evil. Why shouldn't we do so when the pleasureprinciple is supreme and absolute?''

``After all," we are beginning to have doubts. "Why should we discriminate against extravagant, let us say, sadistic pleasures? Isn't this to put a limit on human possibilities? Are we not cutting off from man the way to sublime, incredible, divine pleasures? And who can distinguish for us which is love and which is hatred, which is self-denial and which is masochism, which is sadism and which is reasonable compulsion? And if the greatest act of ecstasy calls for the greatest sadism, then why not go all the way? Is it really not permissible to sacrifice the tear of a child to enrich human sensuality? All the more so when bourgeois civilisation is shedding buckets of them, as the saying goes...''

This extract from an imaginary dialogue between selfassured priest of the hedonist cult and the intellect inclined to enter into the opponent's position right up to the loss of its own viewpoint, is not so imaginary. Such debates often occur in liberally and humanistically slanted Western magazines–especially when yesterday's mystic hedonist (and disciple of Zen Buddhism, Krishnamurti and Bodhisattva) suddenly appears in the leather jerkin of the New Left extremist with a plastic bomb in his hands, shouting slogans for the immediate union of the sexual and political revolutions. When the pleasure cult joins that of "revolutionary violence", the social revolution is treated as a happening and when the model of art combined with revolt turns out to be the image of the grand piano set up on the barricade with the pianist beating out the inevitable Rock, some liberal-humanist intellectuals clearly lose their psychological bearings. It is similar, the psychologists say, to what affects a dog if it is first taught to react in different ways to a circle and an oval and so develops the appropriate conditioned reflex. If the oval is given a shape more like that of the circle, it is said that the unfortunate dog can no longer distinguish between the circle and the oval and becomes equally excited at the sight of either. It is also said that an ape, when it was subjected to a similar experiment, rejected the proposed rules of the game and spat in the face of the scientist who was trying to confuse its ideas of what was a circle and what wasn't. The story about the ape may only be wishful thinking. In any case, human beings who find themselves in a similar situation follow the example of their near ancestor far less frequently than that of the dog. They are inclined to take the entirely absurd rules of the game as something worthy of profound reflection–let us say, the game of moral relativism.

For the theorists and practitioners of trends in contemporary Western art that are developing with the latest moods, the paradoxical combination of pleasure brought by the sexual revolution and by political extremism, by the artistic revolution and ``revolutionary'' violence, by the psychedelic revolution and acts of terrorism, has proved to be a truly liberating discovery, offering hitherto unheard-of prospects. The element of cruelty, sadism and other brutalities, introduced into the demagnetising enjoyment of love and pleasures associated with it, is electrifying the whole sphere, giving sexual games a significance they did not have before.

Introduced into the world of sex, the element of sadistic perversion and cruelty neutralised its primitively pornographic aspect so that it was not pornography any more, or at least pornography deprived of its former lightness and banality. Everything that was the frivolous and vulgar in the old pornography was cast aside as suitable for "silly love stories''.

Walser explains the latest mood's inclination for pornography as society's way of expressing a "lack of satisfaction''.24 However, this means of accounting for the sadistic tendencies does not explain what "lack of satisfaction" means or why it should be compensated for by sadistic and not ``trivial'' pornography. Fiedler's observation–that those with a penchant for pornography today want to "make it serious" so that it will acquire a more respectable aspect– is much nearer to the heart of the matter than Walser's interpretation of it from the sociological point of view. And, incidentally, as is shown by Fiedler's arguments about Godard, it was this desire that of necessity attracted the prophets of the latest mood to the combination of sex and politics or, to be more precise, the politicisation of sexual relations and, correspondingly, the ``sexualisation'' of political (and even socio-economic) relations.

At the basis of this combination lies the interpretation of politics exclusively as violence and, what is more, rape (the distinction between democratic-liberal and fascist politics here is totally obliterated). For representatives of the latest mood, who are generally far removed from real politics, politics–when they are compelled to consider them in conformity with the spirit of the time or simply with the New Left fashion–are simply a metaphor of violence and sadism. Moreover–let there be no misunderstanding here–this sadism is not necessarily considered negative: the rehabilitation of sadism to make sexual games more serious has brought in its train the rehabilitation of sadism as a tool of the political game (remember Godard's "The Little Soldier"). All that is needed now is the original act of identification, with the word ``violence'' presented in all the ambiguity of its political and sexual meanings, and the rest will automatically follow: sexual relations will become political, political–sexual; in a word, the sought-for union of political and sexual relations becomes a fact (at least, a fact of the latest films in the West).

It must be said that at first this ``discovery'' made a big impression: it seemed to be giving art a universally understood and, moreover, powerfully effective language in which it was at least possible to discuss the most up-to-date political themes. And, of course, many people in the art world began mining this vein of gold, inspired by the most noble of intentions: to talk to people about the widest social political problems, drawing on their intimate experience of sex. As important a film director as Luchino Visconti could not resist the temptation to try his hand at this line, as is shown by his famous film, "The Damned". Moreover, this highly talented film, if one bears in mind its purely professional side, was clearly playing up, in all its ambiguity, the sexualisation of politics and the politicisation of sex.

Visconti evidently believed that it would open up new possibilities for dialogue between him and the general public on the disintegration of capitalism and its degeneration into fascism. He would personify the depths of this degeneration in the person of a certain "offspring of the capitalist hell" who would commit all the pathological sex crimes known to medicine (and mythology). And all this, of course, is accompanied by killings, suicides, poisonings, executions, etc., in the combination of sexual perversions, sadism and political violence mentioned above. All this naturally has a powerful effect on the audience. The target of impact (it would be more accurate to say, of assault) is not the spectator's mind, but his unconscious, his "vital structure". And, of course, the result of this impact proves entirely different from what Visconti wanted to achieve– the shattering denunciation of capitalism and fascism, and also the concomitant corruption of the mind–bourgeois ideology, as it is in our century.

In connection with Visconti's film (as with similar works clearly influenced by the latest mood) it might be of interest to quote a remarkable argument by Rousseau, which, however paradoxical it may seem, is far more relevant to our own age than to what was happening during the author's lifetime.

``Follow most of the plays in the French theatre and in nearly all of them you will find abominable monsters and atrocities, useful if it is desired to give interest to the plays and exercise to the virtues, but indeed dangerous, since they inure the eyes of the people to horrors of which they ought not to know and which they ought not to imagine possible. . . It is difficult not to find an excuse for the incestuous 'Phaedra' shedding innocent blood; ' Syphax' poisoning his wife, the young 'Horace' stabbing his sister, 'Agamemnon' sacrificing his daughter and 'Orestes' cutting his mother's throat do not cease to be interesting people. Add that the author, to make each of them talk in character, is forced to put in the mouth of these evildoers their maxims and principles, arrayed in all the finery of verse and endowed with an impressive and sententious tone for the instruction of the public. . .

``. . .One kills his father, marries his mother and finds that he is the brother of his own children, another makes a son cut his father's throat, a third makes a father drink the blood of his son. One shudders at the mere idea of the horrors with which the French stage is embellished for the amusement of the most gentle and humane people on this earth. No. . . I maintain it and I bear witness to the fright of the readers: the massacres of the gladiators were not as barbaric as these appalling spectacles. One saw blood flow, it is true; but one did not foul one's imagination with crimes that make nature shudder.

``Fortunately, such tragedy as exists is so remote from us and presents to us beings so gigantic and so nightmarish that the example of their vices is hardly more contagious than that of their virtues is beneficial, and in measure as it wishes to instruct us less, it also does us less harm."25

Poor, naive Rousseau of the beautiful soul! This is the tirade with which he attacks the contemporary performances of Classical tragedies, an which the ancient system of sublimation (and, in the final analysis, a mastering) of the urges forbidden by society was multiplied by the supersublimated taste, filled with rational rhetoric, of educated French society in the second half of the 18th century. Even in these dramas or, to be more precise, in the heightened interest in them, he imagines fatal omens (which the attentive observer could discern in Rousseau's own outlook). What would he have said about the present tendency to desublimate art so as to stir the public directly with emotions similar to those portrayed in a work of art? And how would he have evaluated, against the background of this tendency, Visconti's attempt to "enlighten the masses" about the true mechanisms of capitalism and fascism by means of the desublimation of instincts forbidden by bourgeois society?

If the state of art in those days prompted Rousseau to consider the possibility of dispensing with art altogether, then to what reflections would he have been driven by the trend of the latest mood in art? Incidentally, the prospect of liquidating art does not frighten the artists of the West; after all, many of them regard their activities as the ``overcoming'' of art by merging it with politics–(inevitably, with political violence), with revolt (understood as sexualpolitical orgasm) and so on. And if they are helped in this by some new Napoleon who can in practice carry out the idea (borrowed incidentally from Rousseau) of his predecessor that there is no better spectacle for the people than a military parade, for which they will probably be only too grateful to him. Finally, there will be an end to all roundabout ways of dissolving art in life. . .

3. The End of Anti-Utopia

One of the ``Dodos'' of humanist culture, Alan Trachtenberg, draws attention to the remarkable fact that today's carriers of the mission of liberation,26 active as stars of the youth subculture, are putting up as a revolutionary, allembracing demand what has long been demanded of its members by the consumer society, which stimulates in them a "craving ... for more of the same", exactly what the new "industrial eunuch" wants them to crave for. In other words, today's destroyers of "bourgeois taboos" are knocking on at an open door–an act quite relevant in a certain sense–let us say, if they walk too slowly and casually through this door. And whatever mystic arguments, whatever sociological tenets, whatever ideas of "political expedience" may be used to justify the need to knock on an open door, they cannot but be used to hide from more or less sober observation the simple fact that the door is open. And it has been open for quite some time.

Observers of this process from a humanist viewpoint, however, have been alarmed not so much by the tendency to tie in the latest mood with the banal consumer values of the mass society, although the trend has (we shall have more to say about this later) far-reaching consequences; and not so much by the involuntary ``self-mystification'' of the youth protest movement, saying the opposite of what it does and doing the opposite of what it says–although most of the critical shafts are now being aimed at this Achilles' heel. These observers are worried by something else (also, incidentally, on the surface), namely, a change in the ideological and political atmosphere, in the sociopolitical climate of the radical movement of advanced capitalist countries in nothing like the direction that was expected of it after the first demonstrations by the New Left, which gave rise, as is known, to such rosy expectations among the progressive intelligentsia.

In fact, the same note predominated in the latest mood and was observed by certain authors in connection with the trend of mystic hedonism (obviously with an eye on the far from liberal East): a total lack of any interest in "democratic institutions or processes of democratisation''.27 It must be said that this note was not a consequence solely of political naivete on the part of the mystic hedonists obsessed by Oriental means of justifying their ecstatic aspirations. The lack of interest in the fate of the democratic freedoms in the 20th century arose from the lack of interest in personality, in personally oriented self-awareness, in everything that humanist culture contributed to philosophy and politics, putting forward freedom of personality as the supreme and fundamental principle.

As Passmore observed, a feature of mystic hedonism is the "rejection of freedom and responsibility for the mystic ideal of unity"28–unity in universal ecstasy. This rejection is now justified on the grounds that once people have experienced rapture when, holding hands, they sing songs, once they are ready to sacrifice everything for the feeling of the commune, the feeling of life, it is no use trying to distract them from these, the only real experiences, with overdone 19th-century phrases about democracy and freedom which, moreover, have become camouflage for the selfish interests of the powers that be. This mood, Passmore observes, is dangerously close to the fascist position. He does not go so far as to describe the romantic rebels as fascists in jeans, since there is an almost pathological mistrust of the leader principle among today's rebels, but nevertheless he does not rule out the possibility of these moods developing in the direction of fascism at its most banal. In any case, Passmore is extremely wary of the way contemporary mystics (especially the ones with half an eye on the East) show off their "moral and political irresponsibility" and he is uneasy about generally known fact that the leading representatives of the contemporary Zen movement become convinced fascists with extraordinary ease.

A similar tendency was recorded by Martin Walser concerning another element of the new mood–the cult of violence and cruelty, combined in a paradoxical (or perhaps not so paradoxical) manner with the apologetics of the psychedelic revolution and the legitimisation of madness. This combination impressed Walser so much that he came to the following conclusion: ". . .the formula for the latest form of fascism is being created in this new mood."29 Moreover, this conclusion applies not only to Brinkman, who slotted a portrait of Hitler into his anthology as a kind of "slap in the face of public taste"–in this case, the antifascist tradition, that had led to the 'Verinnerlichung' of revulsion at violence–but also to Fiedler, although, as Walser puts it, he "loathes fascism". "With each excursion into his interior," writes Walser, meaning any participant in the present psychodelic revolution, "the democratic possibilities die and the possibility of the opposite grows, that is, fascism." A testimony to their dying is the fundamental refusal of the ideologists of the new mood (and its rank and file) to distinguish between democracy, liberalism and fascism, which are equated with one another on the grounds that they are all ``politics'' and it is useless to try and tell a yellow devil from a blue one, and a blue one from an orange one. Evidence pointing to the growing possibility of the opposite, that is, of fascism is furnished by tendency of the latest mood to assess these political alternatives now equated, as it were, with one another on the basis of other criteria "outside the bounds of political reason and rationality", as with Brinkman.

Finally, the same tendency was noted by Trachtenberg in connection with the politically conscious branch of the new mood–the youth movement as part of the subculture of protest, and according to the contemporary style of rejection. Trachtenberg, like many other radical teachers who have preserved their humanist positions in spite of the latest mood, supposes that, having entered into contact with the mass culture of the consumer society, the youth protest movement has been infected with the organic conformism typical of that culture. This latent conformism, sanctifying in the youth movement only the impulses that are produced by the consumer society, must inevitably corrupt the initial aspirations of the young radicals, setting them on the slippery path of political adventurism and leading them up the blind alley of a meaningless revolt which is not a true alternative to the existing order. In the course of this revolt, there might float to the surface–and obtain official recognition from the powers that be–only what the late-capitalist civilisation reproduces as its social subconscious, that is, everything that humanist radicals have long been calling the "hidden irrationalism" of the American (and bourgeois in general) mode of life. Such is Trachtenberg's viewpoint, which has in recent years been receiving a wider distribution in circles opposed to the latest mood and the politics that reflect it.

``.. .Their rejection," he writes of the young extremists, "takes a form that might in the end reinforce the institutions they want to overturn. The glorification of Pop, for example, suggests that as profoundly as the young feel alienated from their society, they are right at home in its culture."30 Many signs, particularly the intolerance of the extremist students, their loathing of theory, their contempt for spiritual culture in general, their inclination to be content with slogans instead of sober reflection and with ecstasy instead of systematised constructive activity–all prompt Trachtenberg to draw the conclusion that " unexpectedly, conformism has appeared in the camp of rebellion as well as in the main body of society".31 "But," he writes, "there is cause for worry and for criticism in the degree to which student radicalism deviates from democratic and socialist thought, and veers in the direction of a `counter-culture' which is capturing many Americans.''32

But perhaps the most symptomatic (and dangerous) feature of the ideological-political atmosphere that has formed under the influence of the latest mood is that the statements of the type described–incidentally, not uncommon on the pages of the progressive press–do not make the necessary impression on those to whom they are addressed. The generation born after the Second World War only knows about fascism and Hitler's death camps from books and television films and has shown an obvious inclination to "get bored" too quickly with their schoolteachers' arguments about freedom, democracy, humanism and human dignity. As for the ideologists of the latest mood, they made full use of the "boredom with democracy" to strike this last item off the agenda. And when reproached with antidemocratic views, with undervaluing the rights of personality, with the efforts, clearly interpreted in the spirit of Mussolini and Hitler, to subordinate the individual to the ``totality'', the young hedonists or extremists seem to be responding with McLuhan's "So what?''

Of course, these words are often spoken by the young solely to shock their "institutionalised fathers". However, it is significant of itself that what is proving fashionable today is precisely this and not some other form of bravado. This fact testifies more vividly than many others that today it is possible to speak about the "end of anti-utopia", associated, incidentally, with endeavours to debunk the prospects of the impersonal ``herd'' future which have been proclaimed for many years by countless falsifiers of the socialist ideal, beginning with Sorel, Mussolini, Spengler and Hitler. In the existing mood, such falsifications do not frighten anyone either in theory or in practice. Moreover, the prospect of ``soothing'' man, who is tired of his ego, in the dark but comfortable bosom of the collective unconscious, sometimes looks like wishful thinking and has many supporters. This is shown by the number of McLuhan's admirers.

The name of this prophet of the collective unconscious has not surfaced accidentally in our discussion on the end of anti-utopia. It was McLuhan who first announced this end with his typical frankness and publicity consciousness. In the manner of his usual ``probes'', McLuhan once declared that the "haunting fear of 1984 is both absurd and out-of-date". This prophet knew how to grip his flock: the fear of seeming old-fashioned stimulated many of the quasi-intelligentsia to nod their heads in agreement, rejecting yesterday's rosy liberal cliches. The probe proved highly effective; McLuhan found many imitators who announced that the fears evoked by the various anti-utopias of Huxley, Orwell, Bradbury and others were entirely groundless and, above all, obsolete, provincial and so forth. These imitators were concerned that there should be no misunderstandings about McLuhan's inspired message in his struggle against the various old-fashioned fears.

Thus, William Bluem explains to "those who fear the death of the `individual' " (the time has at last come to put this out-of-date word in inverted commas) that " McLuhan's `probes' posit a world beyond mere masses of faceless humanity–a brighter world of common, blissful and unselfish sharing".33 "We should make no mistake about it," he states categorically. "McLuhan's tribal village and wordless intuitive world may well be on its way, and if it is, the media experience is hurrying it along.''34 "It obviously foretells individual agonies, for the computers are daily printing out the essentials of social survival in every modern nation in the world, and these print-outs are interchangeable.''35

However, such formulations by McLuhan and his followers need not come as a surprise to us if we remember their prerequisites, which are not so far from the prerequisites of those against whom the famous anti-utopias of the 20th century were actually directed. It is much more surprising that they should be reproduced by theorists who ostensibly hold diametrically opposite views and are inclined to be critical of McLuhan in many other respects. Of particular interest are the arguments of Hans Magnus Enzensberger who, like McLuhan, tries to overcome his fear at the "monolithic consciousness industry" by demolishing "George Orwell's appalling picture". For it turns out that, in spite of their opposite political positions, he is moving in the same direction as McLuhan in his examination of the "electronic media''.

Enzensberger is notably anxious to explain the " electronic revolution" in terms of emancipation from time, and thereby from tradition, history and so on. 'As' a result his thought is very much along the general lines of McLuhan's theories and those of the latest mood. Enzensberger's closeness to McLuhan and the latest mood becomes much clearer if we remember his ideas on the happening– the political happening, for whose urgency and topicality he is ready to sacrifice everything–cultural tradition, historical continuity and a sense of human history.

And so we return to the happening. It clearly caught the imaginations of those who were more or less under the influence of the latest mood. For the mystic hedonists, as we remember, the model which the happening took as its ideal was the disorderly sexual communion of our primitive forebears interpreted as ``infantile'' sexuality. At the next stage in the development of this mood, the model was given maturity and seriousness by the addition to the note of love, of the overtone of cruelty and sadism as a result of which the ideal to which the happening now aspired approached the Dionysian mystery, but in not overidealised form. Finally, as Enzensberger describes it, the ideal happening is the political meeting in its most chaotic and anarchic form, when each participant contrives to get up on to the rostrum (whether he has something to say or not), the orators shout dementedly (sometimes listened to, sometimes not), and there is barracking, stamping, whistling with other manifestations of elementality and spontaneity. This is also a kind of "paradise now", for the result of such activity may be only minimal (it is hard to pass a sober resolution under such conditions, and so the best variant is when it is not adopted at all), and in a certain sense this ecstasy has an end in itself. It would also perhaps be possible to say like the student commenting on ``Blow-Up'', "I don't know what it meant, but it was 'greatl"'

This is one of the most important conditions under which the representatives of the latest mood (and those who, owing to this or that concatenation of circumstances, were "fellow travellers") are ready to banish all fears at the prospects about which the authors of the anti-utopias have given warning. For although these forebodings are indeed coming true in the West today, the happening, a resurrection of primitive forms of ecstasy, promises to become highly attractive and certainly not as ``boring'' as the clapped-out late-capitalist Establishment.

``But surely Hitler once tried to realise a similar prospect. And everyone knows how that ended.''

``So what? After all, before it `ended', there were so many ecstasies, mysteries and happenings. Mightn't the game be worth the candle?''

4. The Inner Life and Something About Goethe (Contemporary Moods in West Germany)

In 1981, in Frankfurt-on-the-Main, at the 8th Romerberg Conference, a noteworthy discussion was held under the general heading of "The Inner Life–Flight or Salvation?" The theme attracted about a thousand participants, including intellectuals of various persuasions, specialists in the social sciences and theology, theatre people, journalists and, of course, the chic habitues of such occasions who do not do any particular work but are usually politically very much on the left. Needless to say, not all of them spoke during the debate, but they took a lively interest in it. During the two days of the conference, 15 reports were read, not to mention the unscheduled exchanges and off-the-cuff speeches, which inspired one observer, Günter Maschke, to call the two-day discussion a "Hyper Hyde Park Corner". According to Maschke's ironic classification, the meeting was attended by rentiers worried about the demise of humanity, terrified anti-nuclear protestors, Christians flirting with armed revolution, liberal representatives of the middle class, left-wing casuals and young people longing for part-time employment. This ensured a fairly wide and varied range of views. Among the distinguished participants in the Romerberg Conference, another observer, the critic Ulrich Greiner, mentions Hans Maier, the Bavarian Minister of Culture, Jean Ziegler, the Swiss socialist, Alfred Hrdlicka, the Austrian artist, Adolf Dresen, future head of the Frankfurt Theatre, Lars Gustaffson, the writer, the critic Wieland Schmied and, finally, the writer Adolf Muschg, whose report was described as the "most vivid and elegant''.

The problem of the 8th Romerberg Conference was formulated so that its object–the transition by considerable numbers of the Western intelligentsia from the outer to the inner life, from the public to the personal, from the social to the private–was assumed to be self-evident and beyond doubt. This transition is treated as self-evident, clear, neither requiring discussion nor relevant to it, by Günther Ruble in a long article, "What Has Happened? An Accompany Word for a Conference on the Inner Life", published in the newspaper 'Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung' on the opening day of the Conference and outlining the points of departure of the expected debate: "It concerns the weakening sense of solidarity and the growth of personal interest, egoism and mistrust, all going hand in hand." "The facts, presented by literature and the other arts, hardly contradict this. We find images of overstrain, disunity, disorientation, continuing dependence on mundane matters which enervate rather than delight. 'You get on my nerves' is also a fashionable catch-phrase." The same tendency is also mentioned by the first speaker at the conference, the West Berlin philosopher Michael Theunissen, who considered the question, "What Is the Inner Life"? Theunissen distinguishes the inner life which is a swing towards, or an approach to, something with content on the one hand, and the inner life which is deviation or evasion. Moreover, according to Theunissen, as Maschke reports, "the latter is now showing a tendency to push out the former". The same process is announced by Hans Maier in his report: "Of Retreat and Return". Here, Maschke detected "fear, which, it would seem, often troubled the other speakers too: fear of the fact that all the big groups were breaking away from society and avoiding discussion''.

As we see, the turning away of a certain part of the West German intelligentsia (incidentally, not just the intelligentsia–a great deal in this connection was said about the young) 'from' the ``external'', 'from' public social life, is being taken for granted as if it were an incontrovertible fact: but this is what should have been discussed first; its meaning should have been clarified and an evaluation given. However, the theme of the discussion was a somewhat different problem (although connected with the first, but not entirely derived from it)–that of interpreting, analysing and evaluating the inner life, inasmuch as it was tacitly assumed that the departure from the external life had inevitably resulted in a transition to a deepening and development of the inner life. Meanwhile, it was the discussion of this problem at the 8th Romerberg Conference that very quickly brought to light (the longer the debate lasted, the more obvious the paradox became) that the 'departure' from the external life was not by any means identical with a 'transition' to the inner life, if the latter were taken in the exact sense refined by a cultural tradition of many centuries without any quibbling. In order to transfer to the inner life (or even to take refuge in it, as some preferred to put it during the debate, thus giving the problem a polemical start), it is necessary that there should be somewhere to go, that there should be more or less developed forms of inner life available, making it truly possible to live such a life. And here, as the participants in the discussion testified (some consciously, the others involuntarily) the situation was clearly unsatisfactory.

In reality, participants and observers alike treated the seemingly undoubted fact of a transition to the inner life as problematical, giving numerous and impressive examples proving that there was nowhere to turn for the time being. The inner world, the ego into which the contemporary Western intellectual, with whom we are mainly concerned, would like to return, inspired by the Romantic associations of the word 'Innerlichkeit' (inwardness or reticence), which once conveyed so much to the German soul, is today a scene of utter devastation, a waste land, to use T. S. Eliot's metaphor, a desert where all life has long been exterminated. Moreover, this condition, which has changed the "inner life" into a contradiction in terms if not into complete absurdity, has once again been achieved with some aid from those same intellectuals who have now suddenly discovered their last refuge in the world of the interior, the private, the ego.

In this way, the real problem of the 8th Romerberg Conference was somewhat different: it was the simultaneous 'unauoidability' and 'impossibility' of resorting to the inner life as experienced by the West German intelligentsia today. This real contradiction made itself felt throughout the discussion, no matter how clearly and distinctly it was acknowledged by the various speakers, and it imposed its own emphases on the agenda proposed by the organisers. The debate repeatedly came up against the question of conditions for the possibility of the inner life in the West at the end of the 20th century–in dependence on which there were available facts pointing to a transition having taken place in the West European consciousness, as well as the evaluation of these facts.

As was to be expected, in view of the pathological nature of a consciousness eager to get away from public life but unable to find the inner space in which it would be possible to take refuge, the most convincing and articulate speeches about contemporary forms of the inner life were delivered by specialists in psychopathology. In the report, "Coming to One's Senses in Order to Define Oneself", Horst Eberhard Richter, a psychotherapist from Giessen, described the three most widespread Western forms of flight "into the interior": the use of drugs; the search for salvation among the Eastern gurus and, finally, what he calls the ``psychoboom''–the growth in the popularity of psychiatry, in which an increasing number of intellectuals and other educated people see the last means of returning to a normal inner life. Richter sees all three forms of flight into the interior on the same psychotherapeutic level on which the function of the drug pill is equated with the act of Eastern-style meditation and the latter with the effects of a psychoanalytical consultation.

However offensive this equation may seem, let us say, to the advocates of Zen Buddhism or Freudian psychoanalysis, Richter demonstrates its accuracy, eloquently describing, as testified by Günter Maschke, those growing groups which move from one therapy to the next, and for whom therapy has long been, not a promise of recuperation, but simply a crutch and a long-term compensation for defects and fears. Moreover, the patients themselves, proceeding from drug-taking to meditation under the guidance of the latest Eastern guru, and then to ``soul-saving'' chats with the psychoanalyst (or travelling the same road in the opposite direction)–these are the ones who are ``equating'' all the now fashionable resurrections of the long-lost inner life; nor have they much idea of what it is: narcosis, immersion in nothingness or easy-going chats on subjects with erotic implications.

It goes without saying that when the inner life is covered by the above-mentioned equation, it is hard to adduce rational arguments in its favour. It is much easier to refer to the simple fact that this type of self-deepening is fairly widespread, reserving the right to a negative evaluation, as, indeed, did Richter when he described all the abovementioned forms of 'Innerlichkeit' as flight '(Flucht)', escape, etc., and thus cast a shadow of doubt on the inner life as such. Incidentally, the writer Adolf Muschg, a speaker with a very different viewpoint, unequivocally assessing the transition to the inner life as positive (and even inclined in this connection to overestimate the concept of flight, withdrawal, etc., having deprived it of the negative characteristic), had to begin by setting drugs apart as a means of ``self-deepening''. "The flight into drugs," he said in his report, "What Does Flight Mean Today?" ( adjusting it to flight into "compulsory productiveness") ".. . is an example of avoiding the conflict; not only does it not bring the refugee any happiness or help him find his bearings in any way, it leads to sharper conflicts that even endanger his life.'' Curiously enough, however, when Muschg tried to indicate forms of the inner life alternative to the one achieved with drugs, he could not point to anything in West German culture apart from the tendency towards anti-culture, designed as ``Schizo'' (Americans, in such cases, use the term counter-culture, fashionable in the USA at the beginning of the last decade). "Deleuze-Guattari," says Muschg (in his report, published in the newspaper 'Die Zeit' under the typical headline, "Goethe as an Aid to Flight"), about one of the ``anti-spectacles'' of the West German Alternative Theatre, "offer in 'Anti-Oedipus a' mass of tempting formulae of the absurd, and on top of this you are presented with the schizophrenia of the show as a whole, without schizophrenia it wouldn't work, Schizo is the patron saint of the anti-culture." Moreover, the task, according to Muschg, is certainly not merely to present the "schizophrenia of the whole", to show it for universal observation and explanation; the essence is to compel the spectator to accustom himself to this schizophrenia, to experience it, that is, to become a ``schizo'', if only for the duration of the show. For, as the writer affirms, "we cannot all react to this reasonably, prudently or systematically; we must experience it–we can experience it.''

As we see, this proposed fruitful way of flight, promising progress, according to Muschg, is only a new variant of mental derangement. Except that, as distinct from what is achieved by psychopharmacological means, this form of artificial derangement is achieved by art, by techniques of aesthetic action on man that have been deformed and converted into their opposites. This is strikingly vivid testimony of how enduringly and thoroughly contemporary West German culture has lost the idea of the inner world as a moral sphere in no way alien to reason or reasonability as such (even in the time of Kant, not to mention in Greek antiquity, morals and morality were related to practical reason). At best–and for Muschg, the "case of Goethe" (not Leibnitz, not Kant, not Schiller, but Goethe, who in this report is the only example given for imitation), the fruitful flight into 'Innerlichkeit' is thought of as a flight into illness, into spiritual regression and into fantasy. But in none of the many cases recommended by the speaker as examples of flight, deviation, withdrawal and so on "as a productive means", is the inner life associated with morality.

That is why Muschg's proposed version of flight into the inner world (with references to the universal authority and unique example of that eternal refugee, Goethe) is as doubtful as the one with which it is contrasted. Although behind one case of ``egress'' from social and public life (narcosis), so behind the other (flight into schizophrenia, spiritual ``regression'', infantile playfulness, etc.) there are many similar human actions making it possible, if so desired, to consider the call to the corresponding aspect of flight from social life as entirely realistic.

But what matters is not, of course, that, impressed by one way of avoiding social ties and obligations, the speaker justifies it and makes polemical use of the idea of flight, reinterpreting it and endowing it with a positive meaning. In opposition to the ``frontal'' models of thought to which the Western intelligentsia have been accustomed by left-extremist thought, which represents the public, external life as a fortified 'front', and the private, inner life as a vulnerable 'rear', it may be that this game of revaluation 249 of the term is admissible, leading to the "value neutralisation" of the concept of flight. Especially when it is often necessary in life not only to advance, but to retreat, and, sometimes, with speed. Anyone who ignores this, imposing a moral ban on flight in general risks finding himself among the first who will be thrown by the necessity for retreat into a state of inescapable pessimism, whether it takes the form of paralysis of the will or of extreme activist avant-gardism. Consequently it is impossible not to understand Muschg's argument when he says, with the left extremists in view, that dogmatism of this kind has^ as its inevitable result, "not simply stagnation of the alternative policy, but the predicament of having to sweat it out on a fortified front line that has become an anachronism– with all the depressing consequences of struggle without any future for the soldiers themselves''.

The point is that the inner life, as explained by the West German writer, excludes the possibility of anyone living it; it is not life (even if only inner) in as much as it is deprived of its own content and is wholly reduced to the experience of more or less extravagant states of mind. The schizophrenic condition, the state of spiritual regression, the state of infantile playfulness–none of these forms the true content of the inner life (especially when it is the inner life of a great artist like Goethe). It is impossible to live in these states–at best with their help one can only switch off from life, including the inner life (``disconnect'' like the alcoholics and drug addicts). With their help, indeed, one can deviate, slip away, flee from the external life–with its sometimes truly intolerable worries and obligations, the sum total of which is usually called alienation. Whatever Muschg may think, however, the result of such a flight will not inevitably be the inner life. As is shown by the present state of the inner life, variously described, let us say, in the materials of the 8th Romerberg Conference, the above-mentioned means of exodus from public, or external, life actually block rather than facilitate the formation of a meaningful inner life. Consequently, flight into this kind of 'Innerlichkeit', as mentioned by the West German writer, is nothing less than a fall into the void. Here we too find ourselves witnessing what Günter Maschke (in his extremely savage review of this discussion–he published it under the ironic title, "Come, Let's Have a Chat") calls "total devastation of the ego, the internal content of which is the subject under discussion''.

The inner life does not have any particular content radically distinct from that of the external life, for life itself, including that of man, is unity, it only has various aspects: the external one, turned to all people taken together, and the inner one, turned to each person separately. Consequently, even in his inner life, in the life which, since the times of the Stoics, it has become accepted to call life alone with oneself (but which it would be dangerous and irrelevant to identify with the life of the mythical Narcissus), and in one's external life, in the activity accomplished jointly with others and unthinkable without that collaboration, man has to do with the same content, the same object, the same totality of problems which he must solve for himself, since the whole meaning of his existence, both theoretical and practical, is locked in their solution. The inner life of man is his infinite inner dialogue, or more precisely, his dialogue with himself, which he conducts on the subject of life, again and again trying to solve for himself the riddle of its infinitely many voices (after all, life speaks to man solely in the voices of other people, whether near or far). And where this very special dialogue does not take place, in which man talks to himself as with others, and with others as with himself, it is no use turning to the word 'Innerlichkeit', which says so much to the German soul: after all, we are not dealing with the inner life in the case, but with mere ``disconnection'', which is its total opposite.

This dialogue can be more or less articulate; it can be more developed and consistent, or compact and concentrated; it can be more rational or, on the contrary, more emotional, more considered or, on the contrary, full of vague impulses. In all cases, however, it is conducted in a universally human language, that of the acts of consciousness accessible to each. representative of the human race, each of whom can be called 'homo sapiens'. Moreover, the most lucid, coherent and intelligent specimens of this dialogue become works of universal human culture, works of an aesthetic or ethical order. These objectise the inner life of man as he tries to solve the riddle of existence.

It is characteristic, however, that this interpretation of the inner life, taken in close conjunction with the vitally important 'Realien' of human existence (and thus the immutability of its moral content is also conditioned), did not find active defenders at the Romerberg Conference, although this interpretation is entirely traditional for European culture and, indeed, was summed up in German classical philosophy. Incidentally, in some of the speakers, Iring Fetscher for instance, one senses a desire to explain the departure of fairly large groups of the intelligentsia from public life by channelling this fact into the general tradition of German development, for which a turn to the inner life was always a conspicuous feature. But this is the whole question: is 'Innerlichkeit', as understood in the present-day FRG included in the German tradition? As for what is understood today as the inner life by the ``left'' modernist West German intellectuals who have lost faith in the possibilities of "fundamental reforms" (Muschg) and therefore in the meaningfulness of the external life– is this not radically different from what was meant by ' Innerlichkeit' in the last century and, moreover, is it not totally incompatible with this? Finally, is not this question seen here in all its profound contradictions: either the inner life is what it has long been held to be by the West European cultural tradition, in which case, what is being passed off as the inner life by those of ``left'' modernist intellectual-aesthetic orientation is something altogether different and very remote from it. Otherwise, the inner life must be taken to mean what in the last hundred years has been passed off as it by the representatives of modernism in art, psychology and philosophy, in which case it must be concluded that people in the 19th and earlier centuries had no knowledge of the inner life at all.

The modernist split between the inner and external life, even to the Manichean opposition of them as two mutually exclusive substances, is a tendency that periodically comes to the foreground in West European culture after one more failure of the latest avant-garde attempt to liquidate once and for all the ideals in human existence and the inner life in general (the last of these attempts was the neo-avant-gardism of the 60s and 70s). As was to be expected, this modernist break was explained and justified at the 8th Romerberg Conference. And in this, perhaps, lies the meaning of the two-day conversation which took place in Frankfurt–at any event, from the viewpoint of the immediate future of modernism, which is still ``left'' for the time being, and is clearly squeezing out the extremist neo-avant-gardism, relying on the prevailing moods of the day.

Theunissen's report offered a philosophical explanation for the deepening split–even to total incompatibility–- between the inner and the external in the life of contemporary man (true, without realising how fatal for the inner life as such was its opposition to the external life, which totally deprives it of moral foundations and footholds). Although Maschke mentioned the speaker's dependence on the phenomenological orientation in contemporary Western philosophy, Theunissen gave a typically neo-Marxist explanation for the break: he attributed it to the continuing alienation of man from a world which, to quote the West Berlin philosopher, "has become even more alien to us than it was to Kierkegaard". Theunissen is referring here to the Danish thinker because the existentialist philosophers, also much beholden to phenomenology and neoMarxism, regard him as the pioneer of 'Innerlichkeit' in its contemporary form.

A more specific turn to this socio-philosophical explanation for the present split between the inner and outer life was given by the Swiss socialist, Jean Ziegler. He tried to present above-mentioned alienation as a consequence of the blind alley up which the world finds itself as a result of the North-South problem '(Nord-Süd-Konflikt)'. This had led to the unhappy consciousness of the Western intellectual–a consciousness of well-being achieved against the background of hopeless poverty and famine in the "third world". The unhappiness of this consciousness, according to Ziegler in his report, "On the Existential Situation of the Intellectual in the North-South Conflict", consists of disillusion in the possibility of getting rid of injustice; hence the flight from the world, fatal to himself.

It is very characteristic that the more definitely and thoroughly the speakers interpreted the concept of the inner life, basing it on the traditional idea, the more pessimistically were they inclined to evaluate its present condition (Ziegler, Schmied). On the contrary, the more this or that speaker departed from the traditional understanding of the inner life (as a rule, it was those with an inherent tendency to relativise the very concept of the inner life, associating the explanation of its meaning with a definite historical background), the more optimistically he looked at its present state, ignoring its contradictions and paradoxality (Muschg, for instance). Moreover, the speakers of the second group more often than not referred to processes 'accompanying the transition' from the publicly external image of life, the 'reaction' to its now tiresome rhetorical globalism, rather than to real phenomena characteristic of the inner life itself.

These processes were noted by Muschg, when he said: "It is not a matter of the long march any more [a hint at the slogan coined by Rudi Dutschke who, in the second half of the 60s, called for a long march against the " latecapitalist establishment"], but separate people and groups are making themselves heard better: they know where the shoe pinches and which shoe they don't want to put on any more. People are getting a chance to hear, see and feel; this seems less than they have expected so far, and yet it is still just a little bit more." These people were also meant by Ruble when he wrote that in the FRG "beyond the parties, the diffuse field of action is forming of a new anti-technological and even romantic mood which ... is on the increase"; "that the slogans for discussion today are not levelling and socialisation, but a world fit to live in. They [these slogans] are being spread today with the aid of the concepts of humaneness, gentleness and even with the aid of aspirations for a new humanism". The same thing was evidently in Maschke's mind when, objecting to Ziegler, who had given his proposed slogan of "cognition of the other" an abstract-universalist and rhetorically global meaning, he wrote that such cognition is "feasible only in the framework of the observable" [for each individual person]. Here again there arises an anthropological and structural social problem which cannot be handled with a potion of the expressionist and Sartrean 'Menschheitspathos'.

However, Maschke's review and resume of the 8th Romerberg Conference shows with particular eloquence that just as the departure from the now meaningless external life does not signify a transition to the inner life, the rejection of abstract rhetorical "love for humankind in general" does not yet signify the appearance of real love for one's neighbour, which indeed could become the soil for the growth of a substantial–that is, full of ethical content–inner life. Meanwhile, the results of such a departure and rejection are much closer to the picture sketched out by Ruble: "Under the shell of passing life, as until the present time . . . there is no longer hidden the question of the meaning, to which they do not know a binding answer any more; all that is felt is the vagueness of 'where to?' and 'what for?' and 'what has happened?' "

In general, the prospects for a transition to the inner life, which optimistic observers would like to see behind these departures and refusals, would perhaps be encouraging if this 'Innerlichkeit' were not now so terrifyingly unlike itself. On this prospect it would perhaps be possible to place hopes for the moral self-concentration of the Western intellectual, for his recovering of the plundered and devastated territories of his inner world, if that self-concentration were not so reminiscent of the "departure into switching off", into "deep unconsciousness"–a prospect of man's flight from himself, from his consciousness, to say nothing of self-awareness, from the morally oriented ego.

Indeed, the inner world of the contemporary West German intellectual who has lost his receptivity to the problem of life's meaning, the inner world now in a slate of devastation and ruin caused by frequent avant-garde (and neo-avant-garde) invasions–can that world be looked on as even the least safe of sanctuaries that will allow them to rescue from galloping ``alienation'' (and destruction of meaning) of that minimally human something that is still subject to salvation in man? Is it possible to find in this inner world at least some kind of ground for true opposition to that real-life absurdity, that Kafkaism come true, of which there is more than enough in the exterior life as it is, and in the life of the sprawling giant European cities, and in the life of all mankind as it teeters on the brink of thermonuclear extinction? The question is all the more relevant since, as we remember, in the report by Muschg (who, by the way, was valued by Maschke as one of the few who had got to the heart of the matter) the inner life and the external life–with all their contradictions and incompatibility–are identical in one respect: both exist under the sign of schizophrenia and Schizo, the last saint of which contemporary Western civilisation is worthy.

Incidentally, the author of this much appreciated report is himself inclined to answer the question very positively, evidently in the belief that the spear that is inflicting the wound (the universal insanity that has seized both the outer and the inner life) can be used to cure it (``schizophrenia'' of individual conduct as a means of evasion, slipping out, running away from the schizophrenia of social life, ``alienation'', externality deprived of its meaning). As Maschke writes, summing up the speaker's ideas, "he [Muschg] was the only one to come up with a real understanding of the oft-sought alternatives and of the youth revolt. In opposition to the Old Left [the name for those who were called the New Left in the 60s] the new scene of protest (for example, Zurich) 'has no backbone left to break'. The decentralised fluctuating nature of the movement, which has rejected rational discussion, is making possible the more purposeful 'conduct of a war', than the former confrontation strategy under which the participants sought the shortest possible route". This is a reference to the new form of protest against lack of social meaning (taking on, as Muschg thinks, the image of a global schizophrenia), about a new means of "alternative life" based on the inner life understood as flight into regression, into sickness, into infantile fantasies and the schizoid type of individual behaviour under the patronage of St. Schizo.

However elegant Muschg's structure may have been, it clearly convinced far from all at the Romerberg Conference. In any case, Maschke, who was definitely impressed by the general intention of this structure, had to admit to one point–the rejection of the alternative proposed by the West German writer. As noted in the survey, Ivo Frenzel, who also spoke at the discussion, "regarded as futile this elusive, nebulous and boggy opposition, these hit-and-run tactics, this evasion of generally obligatory rationality, this legitimisation of 'Schizo as the patron saint of the anti-culture' (Muschg). Frenzel summed up the 'alternative life' as a flight into the inner life and asserted that alternativists of all colours always had a 'vision of the end of the times' ''.

Putting on One side the problem of whether the alternative image of life is flight or not (since Muschg removed this question, proposing a functional instead of a value approach to flight), Maschke objects, however, concerning the subject of Frenzel's last affirmation. He considers that this idea about the alternativists is "obviously contradicted by the oft-noticed merriment and light-heartedness of the alternative life style, the enjoyment of something actually achieved, the new-found wit, and also the mode of existence, reminiscent of the old-fashioned Bohemia". On this point, Maschke is clearly closer to the truth than Frenzel, except that it is difficult to say whether the above-mentioned features give a positive description of the "alternative .life style" and its corresponding ' Innerlichkeit' or whether they dethrone it. After all, it looks so lightweight, if not frivolous, against the background of global insanity and universal schizophrenia to which Muschg appealed when justifying the necessity for the corresponding type of inner life. Is it possible to expect of the eternal Bohemian incoherence, chaos, lack of a sense of obligation (not to say irresponsibility), that high degree of moral self-concentration and intensity, that ethical saturation and fire of the inner life that is so necessary for mankind in moments of destiny? And are not such moments being experienced today in the FRG and in Western Europe as a whole in the crucial moment of decision aggravated by economic crisis and the danger of Europe being turned into a thermonuclear missile range?

The atmosphere, as Maschke sees it, with a departure from the external life and the rejection of abstract rhetorical love for mankind in general, seems at first to be at variance with the observations of two other writers, Ulrich Greiner and Günther Rühle, who expressed their views on the Romerberg Conference. According to Greiner, "the latest mood in the West [a hint at an article by Martin Walser, "On the Latest Mood in the West", published in 1970 in Hans Magnus Enzensberger's magazine 'Kursbuch]' is very old: it is fear. It predominates in the criticism of culture and publicistic writings. Images of decline [a reminder of Spengler's 'Decline of the West]' are current coinage, although worn, but still readily used in payment." According to Rühle, who explains this fear in much greater detail, attributing its source to the actual crisis being experienced by present-day capitalist Europe, "personal and collective fears are at the present time primarily an expression of the common feeling [of fate] rather than of the standardised thinking and behaviour notable in the Fifties and early Sixties ... Unease and growing nervousness clearly arise from the hidden suspicion that people are still living a life whose healthy fullness has already been lost. .. There is a fear of disaster.''

It is only possible to reconcile these two clearly dissonant conclusions about present-day moods of the intelligentsia in the FRG–each of which indeed draws on the appropriate set of entirely realistic facts of consciousness characterising the same West German intellectual–if one realises that the second conclusion (fear dominating the contemporary mind, as described by Greiner and Ruble) is evidence of the profound implications of the first ( frivolous infantilism and the affected silliness of the " alternative life style" about which Maschke writes, referring to Muschg). These seemingly incompatible factors are now combined in the consciousness of the same contemporary intellectual, and the dialectics of their contradictory coexistence are hinted at by Greiner when he develops the idea of the change of ``apocalyptic'' moods into the ready cash of worn thought cliches and used verbal stereotypes: "In vain the experts in demoscopy try to ascertain whether people really feel worse in our latitudes. Something is said in favour of the proposition that daily optimism, which consists solely in hoping to get up out of bed on the morrow, has remained relatively unshakeable. Daily routine can outwit fear; the immediate worry invariably gets the better of the apocalypse.''

Fear does not vanish entirely because of this, however; it only disappears "into the interior", taking up all the space that used to be called the sphere of the inner world. As Ruble writes, "hopelessness comes from social space and eats into the sphere of private life"; fear makes its subsoil, which is also sometimes taken for the inner life. This is what the Western intellectuals try to remind us about, this is what they try to bring to light, doing so each time with less success, owing to the above-mentioned cunning of day-to-day reason. ". . .The criticism of culture," testifies Greiner, "welters in images of destruction. And it could not do this if it did not have real proof of a deterioration in our prospects. However, conversations of decline flow too slackly and verbosely, they are engendered not so much by reality as by an awareness that is being more and more ideologised.''

Against the background of this general state of the consciousness–a state of routinised apocalypse!–childishly evasive and at the same time cheeringly derisive moods have arisen in the FRG during the last three or four years. Maschke (after Muschg) has associated these with the alternative life style. This is to do with the moods in which the routinised apocalypse finds, as it were, its logical climax, unexpectedly entering into contact with the ``underground'' devil-may-care attitude which was once fathomed by Dostoyevsky with such prophetic insight: "Is the world going to vanish, or shouldn't I drink tea? I will say that the world can vanish, but I shall always go on drinking tea." A mood all the more alarming since never before in history has our world been so close to vanishing into nothingness one fine day. . .

The challengingly devil-may-care declared immoralism of the ideas about the inner life that predominated in the more important speeches both at the Romerberg Conference and on its periphery could be explained by the intelligentsia's reaction to the myth of the moral rigorism observed by the New Left extremists, which has inevitably led them–it is alleged–to the adoption of terrorist ``tactics'' (here, the word ``tactics'' has to be printed in inverted commas, since, however paradoxical this may seem, it has proved more stable and invariable than ``strategy''), which were to determine the general long-term prospects. These ``tactics'' have repeatedly unmasked themselves, beginning with the end of the 60s: first, leading the general democratic movement in the FRG up a blind alley; secondly, changing a great many socially active West German intellectuals into ``fans'' of the various terrorist gangs; thirdly, reducing political life in West Germany to general brutalisation, since the widely advertised moral rigorism of the terrorists, and with it moralism as such, were now under doubt. And so another cliche appeared in the consciousness of the West German intelligentsia: an automatically negative, cruelly suspicious reaction to everything associated with the concept of morality, moral ideas and so on and so on, again–for the 'nth' time!–pushing theWestern intellectuals into the soft yet cunning, embraces of aestheticism and bohemianism.

But the main question, still unclarified, is that of the notorious moralism of the left extremists and terrorists. Indeed, if we consider that morality is related not only to the human head, but to the human heart, then is it at all moral to sacrifice totally innocent people (for the sole purpose of "demonstrating protest" or simply announcing the existence of a "group of protesters"), without experiencing the slightest gnawings of conscience, but, on the contrary, regarding one's activity as a model of high moral conduct? Is not each terrorist act of this kind a radical negation of the deepest-lying foundations of all morality in general and, at the same time, evidence that the perpetrators are lacking the elementary ethics without which morality and moral consciousness are simply nonsense? Isn't the terrorist setting himself beyond morality, taking over the prerogatives of the Nietzschean Superman who is beyond good and evil, thereby discovering in himself a secret ambition which, perhaps, he would not admit even to himself: the ambition to live in society at society's expense, to represent himself as a benefactor of mankind and, at the same time, to be free of the demands made by society (and mankind) on each individual?

Since the moral rigorism of the terrorists, about which so much is being written and said by their fans and sympathisers, is in fact the latest intellectual mythologem (for at best the terrorists took for their ethic feelings emotions of a very different order, which no one helped them understand soberly), the reaction to this has proved to be deeply ambiguous. There is beginning to come to light, to put it mildly, the not altogether moral underlying reason for the excessively sharp reaction to moralism which, as it turns out, alarmed certain Western intellectuals far more than the most unbridled terrorism . .. That is why to explain such a reaction certainly does not mean to justify it, as is demanded by unlimited liberalism, which coincides closely with boundless indifference, the more so that man too, after all, is not an animal living on a `` stimulusresponse'' principle, but a being who makes sense of the stimuli, with which attempts are made, to evoke in him (and sometimes altogether purposefully) a known response.

If we interpret the inner world in the spirit of such a response to moralism that ensures "second wind" (for how long, though?) for the modernist aesthetism and the bohemian world outlook, then the return to it can only be evaluated as flight. On this point we shall be in agreement with those at the Romerberg Conference for whom, as Greiner put it, "the old German vocable 'Innerlichkeit' was ... a collective term to denote any kind of withdrawal . . ."–true, with the important proviso that this withdrawal leads nowhere: the inner life, here an aim, has lost its truly inner limits together with its discredited moral content. "To pull oneself together in order to return to oneself", "to come to one's senses so as to define oneself"–this was not so easy for the West German intellectual after the countless ecstasies of the avant-garde and neo-avant-garde persuasion, whose aim was to forget oneself, to escape from oneself, to avoid the grim and irrevocable ``either–or'' so essential for moral self-determination.

As if suffering from a hangover after the various carnivals and happenings (usually far from politically innocuous), after the excesses of sympathy, reaching a climax with total political disorientation, the West German intellectual is asking himself: "Who am I?", "Where am I?", "Where is my ego?", ``Haven't I lost it entirely?" This is the condition denned at the 8th Romerberg Conference as a transition to the inner life, a yearning for 'Innerlichkeit'. There is indeed a transition, but is there anything to live by in the sought after inner world, and has it been preserved after the pogroms unleashed on it by those same intellectuals? . . And in general, the meaning of a situation only confirmed by that most instructive conference, is not so far from what Günther Ruble wrote about it in his "What Is Lost? A Word on a Gathering Devoted to the Inner Life", published in the 'Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung' on the first day of the discussion. "The question is, can the private world still exist when the instability of social affairs is causing so much fear and, on the other hand, does not isolation in the sphere of egoistic and private interests aggravate the sorry state of social affairs? Before such questions the doors of the beautiful gardens of the inner life are shut.

5. The Shade of the Grand Inquisitor

If we now try to isolate the main tendency which recurs again and again in the latest mood (whether mystical hedonist or left-extremist), then it might be summed up in words: the flight from freedom. Freedom in its humanist sense as formulated by the authors of the ' Manifesto of the Communist Party:' "the free development of each is the condition for the free development of all,"36 in so far as this thesis is explained in 'Anti-Duhring:' " Society cannot free itself unless every individual is free.''37 It is from this problem of the freedom of each person taken separately as a rational being capable of taking decisions "with knowledge of the subject", that the prophets of the latest mood are trying to escape. It is opposed by McLuhan's prospect of the ``happiness'' of people (in a herd) in the bosom of the collective unconscious, in an atmosphere of Dionysian ecstasy, excluding individualisation of every possible kind.

This tendency creates the unavoidable impression that the theorists and practitioners of the latest mood decided to demonstrate to the world that variant of human `` development'' which the Grand Inquisitor upholds in Ivan Karamazov's poem: "With us, however," prophesies that remarkable character, "all will be happy, and will no longer engage in rebellion or mutual destruction (as is the case everywhere under your freedom). Oh, we shall persuade them that they will only become free when they renounce their freedom, place it in our hands, and submit to us ... Freedom, untrammelled thinking and science will lead them into such quandaries and confront them with such portents and irresolvable mysteries that some of them– the stiff-necked and the defiant–will destroy themselves; others–defiant but puny–will destroy one another, while yet others–the rest: the weak and unfortunate, will come crawling to our feet and cry out, 'Yes, you were right; you alone possess his mystery, and we are returning to you to beseech you to save us from ourselves.' "38

If we compare this with what was said by McLuhan and Bluem, then they stand before us in their true form as pathetic epigones of the Grand Inquisitor. After all, their ``probes'' and ``soundings'' are mere plagiarisms, untalented variations of the basic idea proposed by a character born in Ivan Karamazov's feverish brain–the idea that it is only possible to make people happy by depriving each of freedom. "Since," according to the Grand Inquisitor, "Man and human society have never found anything more intolerable than freedom!",39 and man wants nothing more than to be delivered as soon as possible "of the terrible anxiety and present agony of personal and free decision".40". . . Man has no worry more harassing than that of finding somebody to whom he can hand over, with the greatest celerity, the gift of freedom the unfortunate creature has been born with.''41 As we see, these words convey the reasoning of McLuhan, Bluem and other ideologists of the "flight from freedom" far more accurately and profoundly than they could have expressed it themselves.

In all fairness, however, it should be borne in mind that they are in a far more difficult position than their predecessor. Since the time when Dostoyevsky created the Grand Inquisitor, many of his successors have appeared on the political arena, trying to "liberate people" from their " hateful freedom", having relieved their hearts of "the awesome gift that brought them so much anguish"42 and taking over the "command of the parade", to use the more prosaic language. The results of these attempts have been so appalling, that to this day the mere thought of political adventurists like Hitler and Mussolini evokes hatred and loathing in the hearts of most people. For this reason, the modern upholders of the Grand Inquisitor's cause have to act differently, presenting the idea of the `` liberation'' of people from liberty in such a way that it will not evoke associations with certain political figures.

The task was now formulated as follows: it is essential to find a being who could perform all the Grand Inquisitor's functions, that is, who, standing at the head of the people, would agree to take them in charge and tolerate freedom and "rule them", bearing on his own shoulders ``the curse of the knowledge of good and evil",43 and defining these concepts according to political expedience, but without evoking unhealthy personal associations, and in general would not have any ``personal'' attributes and would be totally anonymous. As we remember, McLuhan nevertheless managed to solve this problem by leading all his disciples into intense raptures. The most impressive and yet entirely anonymous person of the Electronic Computer was put up for the post vacated by the Grand Inquisitor. The solution appealed to the imagination and seemed " scientifically grounded" for, as Bluem, McLuhan's populariser, wrote, not without pleasure: "It is certain that many of our social options are becoming more and more circumscribed as the ultimate rationality of brain-computer-printout plans our courses of action and response in relation to others,"44 and therefore (we shall not repeat passages already quoted) there is no longer any need for the individual, personally oriented choice, the more so that the "decline of individuality" has come, but this is also the rise of the collective unconscious.

As we see, the card suggested by the Grand Inquisitor and already played and lost by Hitler and Mussolini, has not changed. The "social options" and with them any free decision are being wrested from people and transferred to the Being that stands over them. This Being takes on itself the "burden of freedom", presenting people in return with the happiness of the collective unconscious, coloured, as we will remember, by emotions of the "Oriental type". But whether this Being will be a new Hitler or an electronic computer–that is a mere detail. After all, Hitler was also first a "political machine", and only then a human being afflicted with various schizophrenic obsessions. Moreover, as the historians show, these were sufficiently ``functional'' from the viewpoint of the existence of a human being named Hitler as an impersonal machine. For it was with the help of precisely such paranoic ``ideas'' that a political machine, under the fashionable notice-board ``Hitler'', was able to induce Dionysian ecstasies in the very people who were being deprived of elementary human freedoms and rights and yet were putting up with this as if it were true liberation.

In other words, the political machine named Hitler combined two functions also necessary from the viewpoint of McLuhan and Bluem. One of them was ``computative'', enabling the calculation of political variants and the formulation of political goals. The other ``inspiring'', with the aid of which people are involved (remember McLuhan's meaning of this word) in politics, which in this aspect now functions as a field of the collective unconscious. Harold Lasswell, the well-known American sociologist and political thinker, called the first of these functions ' credenda' and the second 'miranda', the former being an appeal to reason, in any case, to sober "political reason", and the latter addressed to the emotions, to the imagination of people and especially to their "political prejudices". In the opinion of certain far from liberal political theorists, the main reason for the collapse of Hitler's Germany was the above-mentioned fusion of 'credenda' and 'miranda' in the same political machine: without this, it would have been possible to preserve the 'credenda' of National Socialism while sacrificing its 'miranda', together with the paranoic Hitler.

That is how, as if summing up the main lesson of this ``history'', Bluem, closely following McLuhan on this point, proposes to divide these functions, transferring them to different "political machines"–the computer and His Majesty TV. The second of these machines will reign, providing the public with the joys of the collective unconscious and also fulfilling the role of director (remember the role of the stars at the Pop concerts). The first will be in control, deciding, for people ``tired'' of freedom, problems of good and evil, social options, political orientation, etc., etc. "All the computer is doing," writes Bluem, "is aiding man in his efforts to establish the 'credenda' essential to social stability, order and progress ... "45 However, from other assertions by Bluem and McLuhan, we can well imagine the ``price'' of this help: the machine only agrees to give aid if its master (already ``ex'') consistently rejects all his personal functions by delegating them to it. After this, who is to distinguish which is law and order and which is not, which is progress and which is reaction, and how much this social stability is going to cost–with dollars evaluated in the number of human lives? And there will be no alternative but once more to trust the machine, which will give, on this count, exhaustive information about which people, plunged into the nirvana of the collective unconscious, will naturally forget at once.

In the light of this division into 'credenda' and 'miranda', it is not hard to picture the role of the other representatives of the latest mood in fulfilling the Grand Inquisitor's scheme. The mystic hedonists will put into practice the aspect of his plan which he outlined as follows:

``But the flock will be gathered anew and submit to us, and this time for ever. And then we shall give them unclouded and modest happiness, the happiness of the weak creatures they have been created as. Oh, we shall at last persuade them to eschew pride, ... we shall prove to them that they are weak, merely pitiful children, and that the happiness of a child is sweeter than any other kind.''46 Today, as we have seen, there is a whole system of argumentation to prove this thesis, beginning with excerpts from the Oriental sages (some of them tell how on the way ``back'' it is actually better not to stay in the childhood phase, but to go further and be reincarnated as a flower or a stone) and ending with quotations from 'Winnie the Pooh'. The idea that the "happiness of a child" is the sweetest of all clearly receives public support.

As for the representatives of the latest mood who are determined to ``sweeten'' this already cloying "happiness of a child", adding the thrills of cruelty and sadism, sexual perversion and political violence, their role is somewhat different. More concerned to recruit others for their Bacchic chorus, they are developing the tools of calculated mind-bending to ``help'' man liberate himself from his ego, from his sense of personal worth even when he does not particularly want this. There is no assumption here that man is only thinking how to escape from his "hateful freedom", as distinct from the Grand Inquisitor, who has clearly shown in this point a kind of benevolence and political short-sightedness.

None the less, the attitude of these people who restyle protest and turn it into "protest for protest's sake", clearly confirms certain forecasts made by the Grand Inquisitor. These are, after all, the people whom he meant when he said that ".. .though they are rebellious, they are spineless rebels, who cannot live up to their own rebelliousness".47 For to revolt for the sake of revolt is only possible to people with a slavish mentality, that is, those incapable of proposing a real alternative for what exists and therefore in a condition of real, though negative, dependence on it. And changing ``revolt'' into an end in itself is merely vivid testimony that people do not know (and therefore do not want to know) "What next?" and "What is going to follow after the revolt?" That is why they must try to prolong its duration, the more so that it is a source of violent sensations.

Nor can it be ruled out that these ``rebels'' will behave exactly as prophesied by the Grand Inquisitor: "They will grow timid, look towards us and cling to us in their fear, like chickens to the mother-hen. They will marvel at us and be terrified by us, yet be proud that we are so powerful and wise that we have been able to subdue such a turbulent flock of so many millions. In their debility, they will quake at our wrath; their minds will grow timid, and they will be as tearful as children and women, but, at the least sign from us, they will just as readily go over to merriment and laughter, innocent joy and the happy songs of childhood.''48

It may be presumed that the latter will be the concern of His Majesty TV, which Marshall McLuhan has brought in to assist the Grand Inquisitors of the future. . .

  • 1. See Martin Walser, "Uber die neueste Stimmung im Westen". 'Knrsbuch', 20, 1970, S. 19-41.
  • 2. See John Passmore, "Paradise Now. The Logic of the New Mysticism". 'Encounter', 1970, November.
  • 3. See M. McLuhan and others, 'The Medium Is the Message', New York, 1967, p. 63.
  • 4. Ibid., p. 125.
  • 5. See Passmore, op. cit., p. 6.
  • 6. See Passmore, op. cit, p. 10.
  • 7. See Martin Walser, "Uber die neueste Stimmung im Westen".
  • 8. L. S. Vygotsky, (The Psychology of Art), Moscow, 1968, p. 264.
  • 9. William A. Bluem, "Media Mononucleosis". 'Television Quartery', vol. VI, No. 4, 1967, pp. 48, 50.
  • 10. A. Trachtenberg, "Culture and Rebellion. Dilemmas of Radical Teachers". 'Dissent', 1969, Nov.-Dec., p. 502.
  • 11. See Walser, op. cit, S. 28.
  • 12. Ibid.
  • 13. Ibid.
  • 14. Ibid, S. 29.
  • 15. Ibid.
  • 16. Walser, op. cit, S. 29.
  • 17. Ibid, S. 27.
  • 18. It might be interesting to compare all the above with yet another characteristic of the drug addicts (like the attempts to elevate them to a kind of mystic cult). It belongs to Thomas Mann, who spoke his mind very clearly on the subject of Aldous Huxley's novel 'The Doors of Perception'. "This," writes Mann, "is the last and, I had almost said, the most daring offspring of Huxleyan escapism, which I never liked in this writer. Mysticism was still, at least to some extent, a fairly respectable means. But I find it simply scandalous that he should have gone as far as drugs. My own conscience is not clear when I now take in the evening a little seconal or phanodorm in order to sleep better. But to reduce myself day and night to a state in which I was indifferent to everything human and I fell into mindless aesthetic auto-intoxication would be revolting to me. And he recommends this to the whole world. .. It is an ... absolutely irresponsible book which can only strengthen the growing stupidity of the world and its incapability of displaying reason when faced with the mortally serious problems of the age." (Quoted from the 'Thomas Mann. Briefe 1948-1955 und Nachlasse'. Herausgegeben von Erika Mann, Berlin und Weimar, 1968, S. 349.)
  • 19. Walser, op. cit., S. 29.
  • 20. V. M. Banshchikov, T. A. Nevzorova, 'Psychiatry', Moscow, 1969, p. 131 (Russ. ed.).
  • 21. Ibid.
  • 22. See Walser, op. cit., S. 24. Further quotations: S. 22-24. 13
  • 23. Walser, op. cit, S. 25.
  • 24. Walser, op. cit., S. 28.
  • 25. See ,T. J. Rousseau, 'Oeavres', Tome V, l partie, Paris, 1817, pp. 26-27 ("Letter to d'AIambert on Spectacles").
  • 26. See Trachtenberg, op. cit, p. 502.
  • 27. Passmore, op. cit., p. 10.
  • 28. Ibid.
  • 29. Walser, op. cit., S. 36. Further quotations: S. 24, 36.
  • 30. Trachtenberg, op. cit., p. 502.
  • 31. Ibid., p. 504.
  • 32. Ibid., p. 502.
  • 33. 'Television Quarterly', vol. VI, No. 4, 1967, p. 48.
  • 34. Ibid., p. 49.
  • 35. Ibid.
  • 36. K. Marx and F. Engels, 'Selected Works' in three volumes, Moscow, 1973, vol. 1, p. 127.
  • 37. F. Engels, 'Anti-Duhring', Moscow, 1954, p. 408.
  • 38. F. M. Dostoyevsky, 'The Karamazov Brothers', vol. 1, Progress Publishers, Moscow, 1982, p. 394.
  • 39. Ibid, p. 386.
  • 40. Ibid., p. 396.
  • 41. Ibid., p. 388.
  • 42. Ibid., p. 392.
  • 43. Dostoyevsky, op. cit., p. 396.
  • 44. 'Television Quarterly', vol. VI, No. 4, 1968, p. 49.
  • 45. 'Television Quarterly', vol. VI, No. 4, 1967, p. 48.
  • 46. Dostoyevsky, op. cit., p. 395.
  • 47. Ibid., p. 391.
  • 48. Ibid., p. 395.