Capitalism is a nihilistic order, not only for its rejection of the value-based judgment, but also because it destroys the life-creating potential of man and nature. Capitalist nihilism is not merely characterized by its anti-human but also by its anti-existential nature. Nature “knows” that death is a precondition for rebirth, but it does not “know” the annihilation of life. In nature as in history, death opens a possibility for new life: by its nature death is life-generating. Capitalism destroys the very cycle of death and rebirth, that is, the life-generating potential of death, and produces a destructive nothingness.
Capitalism does not generate merely a totalitarian state, but also a totalitarian society. As a matter of fact, life, itself, became a totalizing force that forms men’s characters, their consciousness, interpersonal relations, their position toward nature… Man becomes a destroyer, not only by means of his work and his consuming attitude, but also as an instrument of the capitalist life-sphere, that is, by living the capitalist way of life, which goes on 24 hours a day and spares no one. Capitalism compels people to live a destructive style of life and, thus, become accessories to the obliteration of the world. The growingly ruthless way of life, based on the ever-accelerating process of capitalist reproduction, allows men to survive only if they behave in accordance with the ruling processes. This is the cause of one of the most ruinous forms of social pathology: people actively depriving themselves of basic human characteristics in order to survive within a capitalistically totalized world. Under capitalism, man does not “improve” himself through the development of his own specific human potential, that is, as a historical being, but through an imposed ruling model of living that deprives him of naturalness and humanness. The basis of the petit bourgeois’ tragicquality is in the fact that the petit bourgeois assesses his own values by applying the ruling value-model that depreciates him as a man. The sacrosanct authority of the principle “Money does not stink!” makes the individual expose himself to the worst humiliation and indignity and makes him perform the most awful crimes in order to obtain money and social affirmation. What is dominant in the most developed capitalist societies is no longer the “escape from freedom” (Fromm), but the escape from responsibility for the destruction of life. That represents the basis for contemporary conformity. It is not only of an anti-libertarian but of a primarily anti-existential nature. The petit bourgeois denies any personal responsibility for the destruction of life and transposes it onto “God”, onto the Sun, the stars, Biblical and other prophecies, onto “clandestine earthly forces” materialized in the form of “Freemason lodges” and other groups acting “from the shadows”. Instead of being motivated by the growingly dramatic crisis of existence to struggle against capitalism, the petit bourgeois allows himself to be directed by that crisis toward an escape into the illusory worlds of the entertainment industry by religious movements, churches and sects, by narcotics, alcohol… At the same time, consumption represents the most significant form of escape from the responsibility for the destruction of the world. Development of the shop-a-holic mentality, which stands for man’s ultimate drowning in the capitalist swamp, is the most ruinous form of escape from reality. This, again, confirms the universal nature of the notion that capitalism turns the consequences of the destruction of the world and of man into its own sources of profit.
Capitalist totalitarianism is the most perilous form of totalitarianism ever created. It is based upon the total commercialization of nature and society. Every part of the planet, each segment of social and individual life has become an integral part of the destructive capitalist growth-mechanism. Other historical forms of totalitarianism are manifested as related either to the idea of the past, or a certain transcendental idea, or an idea of the future – all of which open possibilities for a critique. Contemporary capitalist totalitarianism is based upon destructive nihilism: it annihilates both the idea of transcendence and the idea of a future (past), and thus it also nullifies the very possibility of establishing a critical distance from the existing world. At the beginning of its development, capitalism generated a visionary consciousness that opened space not only for the development of capitalism, but also for overcoming it (More, Campanella, Hobbes, Bacon, Owen, Saint-Simon, Fourier…). In becoming a totalitarian destructive order, capitalism exterminates visionary consciousness and creates a totalitarian positivist consciousness – to which corresponds the concept of “the end of history” and “the last man” (Fukuyama). Capitalism abolishes history, transforming historical time into mechanical occurrences, that is, into a positive nothingness. Simultaneously, capitalist periodicity is not only of an anti-historical, but also of an anti-existential nature. Capitalism destroys the very possibility of a future, which appears in the form of a capitalistically degenerated u-topos.
Capitalism nullifies history by turning historical time into mechanized sequence of events, that is, into a positive nothingness. With capitalism begins the non-historical time of the destruction of nature, which represents a period of the obliteration of life on Earth. Capitalist temporalization is not only anti-historical, but it is also anti-existential in character. “Nothing” is not merely a pointless (non-reflected) life, but the extinction of life. Capitalism is a totalized annihilating power that generates absolute nothingness and therefore induces a fatal and hopeless tragicquality. What on a vital, human scale occurs as real phenomenon, within the existential parameters of the capitalist value system is turned into a non-event. Capitalism annihilates the human, in order to give a spectacular dimension to the non-human and the anti-human. In that process a fetish-quality is being attributed to the very process of annihilation, instead of just to specific objects or phenomena. Devoted to the myth of the “revolutionary” character of capitalism, Marx never recognized that capitalism does not primarily project itself into the future by developing the productive forces and emancipatory possibilities of the civil society, but through the destruction of nature and of man, and by obliterating the emancipatory legacy of bourgeois society. Capitalism will become “stable” when it obliterates all life on the planet and reaches the “absolute zero” of inanimate nature.
The Christian cataclysm stands for the end of a worldly existence and the beginning of “real” life. But it is not conceivable if man is deprived of his soul, that is, if his deep inner faith in the “real” world is destroyed. Capitalism deprives man of his soul, that symbol of his vitality as a spiritual being in which is contained the basic prospect of his deification. The capitalist cataclysm nullifies the possibility of the Christian cataclysm: there is no sin and no redemption, no repentance and no absolution… Capitalism turns the world into its own advertising space, and turns man into a destructive hedonistic fanatic who does not feel the need for moral challenges that aim beyond the existing world. Human relations have lost their spiritual and moral dimension. Money as a spectacular nothingness became a vehicle for nullifying spiritual values, and the principle of “Money does not stink!” became the supreme “religious” tenet. The contemporary apocalypse is not based upon religious consciousness and does not have an illusory character. It represents the ever more probable reality that is resulting from the development of capitalism as a totalitarian destructive order.
A ruthless demolition of the social tissue, and, thus, the destruction of man as a social being, represents another “quality” of capitalism. Capitalism degenerates man as a natural (erotic) and social being by degenerating interpersonal relations between individuals. It annihilates man’s need for another human being and creates a morbid character, primarily by destroying, from earliest childhood, any need for other human beings, and, thereby, any possibility for the development of his sense of humanness. Capitalism creates a lonely man who is lost within the nothingness of capitalism and predisposed to escape from the real world into one of illusion. Men become technologized Leibniz monads. Moreover, and even worse, inducing man’s fear of other men represents the basis for capitalist “sociability”. Turning man into an enemy of other men is one of capitalism’s most horrible crimes. By nullifying man as a social being through the creation of atomized individuals who are perpetually at war with one another, capitalism heightens the contradiction between reproducing individual existence and ensuring the survival of humankind. In fact, ensuring man’s immediate existence by means of the capitalist system’s reproductive machinery, which turns the individual into a destructive egotist, dramatically threatens the possibility for humankind to ensure its own survival. The atomization of mankind, which represents the most ruinous form of its de-politicization, further aggravates this situation.
Capitalism generates such forms of “sociability” as to degenerate man as a social being. “Sociability” is being reduced to interpersonal conflict, to dishonesty, fraud, crime… Nothing in the contemporary world destroys man’s need for others more effectively than do contemporary interpersonal contacts. The authentic interpersonal relations in which man can realize himself as a libertarian, erotic, emotional, spiritual and creative being are nullified, causing relations between people to take on a technical and destructive nature, leaving man a mechanical and destructive being. Capitalism creates counterfeit-sociability in the form of “consumers”, “spectators”, “fans”, “Facebook addicts”… Sport is one of the main vehicles for the degeneration unto annihilation of human sociability. Athletes are reduced to a quasi-militaristic, circus-trick-performing and suicidal-stunt class, and the audience is turned into a “mindless mass of frenzied supporters”. Musical “spectacles”, beer festivals and other mass drinking parties, disco clubs, supermarkets and malls, pedestrian zones in commercial parts of the city, etc. – these are all varieties of the capitalist production of a “sociability” that is deprived of naturalness and humanness. It is reduced the creation of a “mass consumption” that is conditioned by the capitalist process of destructive reproduction, and stands for a totally commercialized existence. Capitalism turns man from a social being into a consumer-being, and turns the society from a community of emancipated individuals into a crowd of consumers. The mega-mall has become the most important social space, and “sales”, with their “consumer stampedes”, represent the most authentic expressions of the capitalist sociability.
As far as the Internet is concerned, the increasing possibilities for technical “communication” are replacing the decreasing possibilities for authentic human communication. Instead of establishing direct contacts, people establish “relationships” via an image “concocted” to appear to be a “stable and successful” individual in terms of the dominant values, that is, in terms of man’s self-degradation and self-mutilation. Anonymity, the possibility of an interruption at any moment, the possibility of constant “transformation” and “upgrading” – all these are mediators in this “communication”. The computer screen does not show the true picture of an individual, only a mask. The Internet does not serve to establish interpersonal contacts, but only creates technical relations where people are “freed” from sensuous, erotic, emotional, and, ultimately, from social existence and social mediation. The screen shows images one cannot feel, touch, or look in the eyes of… Images without odour, voice, warmth… One is “freed” from that world where man cannot realize his humanity because he is reduced to a technically disguised apparition. Internet-populism is the most inhuman form of populism. Deceptively, everyone can appear in the “public”, but that is only a virtual “public” of anonymous people who are hiding behind their computer screens. At the same time, the overwhelming majority of texts diffused on Internet are without cultural sophistication and being imposed by means of ever more aggressive “technical presentations” produced from the machinery of the advertising industry driving consumer society. The worst thing is that young people accept being thrown into this virtual world. It is a conformist solution for a lonely soul mired in capitalist hopelessness. To accept this virtual world means, in fact, to accept the existing world in which there is no place for youth, love, future… Ultimately, it is about removing any possibility of people’s coming together and acting as political subjects – striving to eradicate the causes of misery. The annihilation of man as a social being by means of technology and the “consumer” way of life represents the most efficient way to bring about his de-politicization. Without the oppressed having any immediate interconnection and organization based on a clear vision of a future world that should be fought for, street rallies are being reduced to mass expressions of discontent that, instead of contributing to the re-humanization of an inhuman world, are more and more a factor in the regeneration of new forms of oppression and exploitation.
(Translated from Serbian by Vesna Todorović/Petrović)