The non-generical universality and the globalization
Abstract. The globalization is transforming event our perception about the content of the „universality”. The classical meaning, linked to the ideas of omni-generality, all-sharing, holistic-quality etc. was strongly attacked in the last century. We have renounced at the idea of Weltanschauung but had we renounced at the idea of universality, too? Could we?
1. Different dictionaries (philosophical or not) seems to commonly agree that “universality” is:
a. “the quality of being universal; existing everywhere”:
b. “existing everywhere or involving everyone”;
c. “the quality, fact, or condition of being universal”[i]
d. “In western history, the term universality refers to the medieval concept of an absolute, all-encompassing morality that justified a universal secular rule by one all-powerful Holy Roman Emperor, and also justified as universal the religious rule by one all-powerful all-encompassing (hence the term catholic) church. In the 17th century, the doctrine of universality gave way to the doctrine of raison d'état or national interest. Universality is comparable, but not equivalent, to the concept of the Mandate of Heaven in Chinese history.” [ii]
And so on.
2. For the concept of “globalization” we will find also many definitions
a. the increase of trade around the world, especially by large companies producing and trading goods in many different countries:
b. when available goods and services, or social and cultural influences, gradually become similar in all parts of the world.
3. I have proposed the concept of “non-generical universality” almost 20 years ago, in an attempt to explore the final implications of 2 observations:
a. The presupposition of the universality in any philosophical approach of the Being.
b. The presence of several concepts of universality in any philosophy, at least implicitly.
The starting point was the Romanian culture, of course.
4. Behind any philosophical approach of the Being, there is the presupposition of its universality (as identical).
The universality is a basically & necessary condition of the any general propriety and of any classical science.
We are presupposing there is an irreducible ground of any being, any knowledge, any values etc. because in any order we must finally stop: anagke stenai. No matter what is supposed to be this principium, we are also presupposing it has to be common to all the beings, processes, phenomena etc., to have the largest generality, to be universal.
So much that universal has to be One.
But, accordingly to Aristotle, the One itself has never the nature of a genre[iv].
The universality itself cannot be universal, cannot be One.
This non-generality is an onto-logical and not a simply and only an epistemological one.
There are degrees and types of universality, like there are degrees of infinity: by inclusion or by exclusion (like it is in aesthetics, for example), absolute or relative (like those of the Lord face to that of the Human Being), internal or external (like in the living beings, mono cellular or multi cellular, continuous or discontinuous etc.
So much that we can agree that the universality, the One, the Being is non-generic.
On the other hand, we are presupposing, too, that the universality of that One must be always & everywhere the same, that the universality must be identical.
Or, we do not have the same idea, the same conception about the universality, because different people have different ideas about universality. And it cannot be in otherwise, because we are searching the universality, but we have a personal history: ein Vernunft aber bleibt stehts Zukunft.
Existing different types of universality, it is obvious that those different ideas of universality will illuminate the non-unitary proprium (nature) of the universality itself. May be this is why Aristotle said: „the Multiple is not, in an absolute manner, the opposite of the One”[v].
Being un-identical everywhere and every time, the universality is un-unitary (null-unitary), too. In fact, the Being is nullifying everywhere its original unity. The endless search of the universality became eventually an ontological reality.
5. Some unattended favourable arguments for the idea of the non-generic universality, of the non-unitary One could be indirectly found in various researches.
a. In the science of complexity, for example, we are not passing from pure Chaos to maximum Order, but from a minimum structured and structurable Chaos to the Cosmós: the Being is becoming an Order because it has the propriety to become an Order.
In the societies and in their research (philosophical or not) the situation is very similar one.
B. In mathematics, there are some objects that overpass the borders of classical universality, like the Möbius’ band, the Klein’s bottle or the Rubik’s cube.
The last one, for instance, is a good illustration for a type of non-generic universality, because, in order to obtain a good arrangement of its surfaces, we do not have rules about what to make, but what to make not.
In any ontology (including the social ones) we are in a similar situation: searching the unity of the existence, of the Being we do not have rules but only interdictions. Like in the Upanishads, we cannot tell what the Being is, but what is not: neti. It seems we have the right to observe and understand only the precariousness, the weakness of the Being.
6. Let’s see some other facets of the non-generic (social) universality.
a. Exploring the non-unitary One, the null-generic universality of the (social) Being, is to explore universalities.
That is why Wittgenstein has created the metaphor of the rope.
b. The structure of the philosophical categories is also applicable for the any cosmological model of the universe.
It shows that the presupposition of the generic and unitary universality has its limits. In fact, this conception is implying a direct attack against the last fortress of the classic conception on reason: the basic logical principle of identity.
7. Let’s observe that a language, a society, a culture etc. are finally non-generic (null)-universalities.
a. Indeed, the universality of a society is over passing the logical universality.
It seems to be more related to the abduction than to the deduction (as it is the case with the classical idea of universality). That is why we can understand any other human being, even its values seems strange for us, but we will never understand it as we are understanding ourselves.
The non-generic universality is the true source of the pluralization of the societies, the genuine force of the diversity and of the democracy.
b. From this perspective, the ethics of difference and tolerance, and the right to be different are onto-logical founded.
c. In cultural and political studies, the difference, the Multiple is also prevaling the unity, the One.
Indeed, let’s observe that "no culture can live, if it attempts to be exclusive" (Gandhi).
8. The non-generic universality of the Human Being makes inepuisable our existences.
That is why it seems to be more apropriate that any other philosophical idea, in order to explain and keep the Human Being’s fundamental diversity and politropy. It became the principle of the pluralization of everything human.
That is why globalization as universalization is finally impossible, as is any attempt to reduce the irepressible human diversity and that is why the globalization as common pluralization and diversification remains the only reality.
9. We lived in a tyranny but has not forgot the mystical approach of the Being. That is why our post-modernity is more senzitive one. Our allergical sensibility face to any temptative of generic universality is real.
From this point of view, any generic universality (and any claim that globalization means unification and universalization) is just another type of excess.
The dictatorship of the democracy is equal dangerous for the irrepressible human diversity like it is the tyranny.
In an attempt of conclusion, let’s agree, refrasing an idea of Plato, that evil means not to think that there is something irreductible in all the beings, but to consider it exists in a reducible and unique manner, instead.
[i] The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, fourth edition, 2000.