Letter to M. Soros
Dear M. Soros,
only knowing you as an extraordinary successful and famous business man, who also is socially engaged in some East European countries, I was very astonished and - seeing the tenor - very pleased to find your article "Die kapitalistische Bedrohung" in "Die Zeit". Once again I liked to read the revised, very personal version of your article ("THE CAPITALIST THREAT") in the current "The Atlantic Monthly". Perhaps it is not to much to call this article a little revolution.
Being occupied with the subject of a new political order for the world since more than 17 years in a very unusual way, my understanding is sharpened and influenced by the way I have found to establish a free and living community of mankind - what is my term for "open society".
"Open society" seems to me a little bit a term of another epoch. This characterization doesnęt at all want to criticize your ideas, but I think, your concept of an "open society" and of the belief in fallibility has some similarities with the "kategorische Imperativ" of Immanuel Kant. Kant also have seen the problem, in what way people should like to follow the irrefutable idea of the "kategorischer Imperativ", a problem arising especially by its abstractness. Your article (the one in "The Atlantic Monthly") is very clear and conscious about this problem. But you could not see an alternative to the "open society". I think, as a result of the re-examination, you mentionned in the article, this is not wrong, but to weak. "Open society" is a necessary but not sufficient idea or component for a future world-order.
I will ask you to follow me in a discussion of the subject, which is a matter of priority for you as well as for me. I hope to make you curious on the idea of a next step, following to the modern disposition - a disposition, not at least the notion "open society" is part of. Such a next step in my view is necessary for maintaining, evolving and for spreading the level of political civilisation, we normally call democracy and which is indispensable not only for us, but also for all the friends of Neoliberalism or Laissez-faire capitalism!
Neoliberalism is a relict of the Cold War. In Socialism all is state, nothing is market - in Neoliberalism all is market and nothing is state. Therefore people like F. Hayek always had a touch of anticommunism (a touch, which also had marked the notion "open society" and which only your turn of interest from former socialist countries back to the western societies has put away). Today the concept of Neoliberalism still is en vogue, not at least because some (egoistic) people have realized, that it is a very good way to get power.
But nevertheless the striking success of modern capitalism, which is the innovative combination of science/technology, economy and "neoreligious" elements, should be understood in a more general way - in accordance to the historical stage, we are in.
A german philosopher (E. Altvater) have said: "Globalization started, when the first men left Africa!". Now we have arrived at a highly integrated global society of mankind and it is no wonder, that most abstract principles are ruling the world. The main principles are: 1.) The functionning of (any sort of) machine or process basing on modern science ("causa aequat(=) effectum", Leibnitz). This functionning is independent of the general character of the causa, which is the end of metaphysics and independent of the general qualities of the effectum, which is the start of the environmental problem.
2.) The assertion, that "any object or any entity = two amounts of money (buy and sell)".
These principles are prevailing in our age, because they are independent of all traditional cultural peculiarities. Their only "contents" are the "=", a mere logical relationship and that they work (which is the sort of success, you have emphasized in your article).
Perhaps the so-called first philosopher Thales of Milet invented philosophy ("All is water", what means all is the same in its basis) in order to (politically) unify the greek towns in Asia minor. Each of them believed in another local myth of polis and therefore were separated or even were in war with each other while all together being under the threat of a persian attack. Thales' project didn't work. (from Hans Blumenberg, "Das Lachen der Thrakerin")
I agree with all you have said about the capitalist threat, about the hollowness or "valuelessness" of money and so on. But I think, the power of capitalist activities today is first and foremost the result of the lack of a political form, of the genuin political institution for a unified mankind. It follows that the capitalist threat is only to parry on the political field. But so far no existing old or modern institution seems to be able to shape the world-communitiy of men, which is in the same time closed (by the biospere, by the nature) and open (because there is no culture, no sustainable future without openness - an openness, which is inherent to language). The world-community is an entity, a "subject/object", we cannot understand (in the sense of your "Impossibility of absolute truth").
Therefore we can only integrate it in our modern life by changing it into a freely chosen "project" for individuals (Villem Flusser, "Vom Subjekt zum Projekt").
I think, the "missing link" in the concept of an open society like in the whole modern disposition is the necessity of reintegrating the personal fate, which is nonrational and nonenlighted, but which nobody can escape (- which is a "special interest"). This reintegration of the fate into modernity could not take any traditional form, but has to find a definitively new, contemporary and generally available form. "New Mythology" the first romantics (or even Hegel) have called this desideratum two hundred years ago (in "Das erste Systemprogramm des deutschen Idealismus", whose author is unknown). Your idea of a belief, as you have described it in the article, - or let me say - your whole article points in this direction. But fallibility is not enough to create a "New Mythology" - though being post-enlighted "New Mythology" apparently cannot be whatever sort of absolute truth.
My life have had a great break in 1979, when I was 22 years old. After that I was addicted to the subject, I am writing about this letter. It has become my personal fate to think and to act about the form, existence and future of a unified, but free mankind. In the consequence of that break I have got the courage to start a philosophical study. But with a disposition being so unique and uncommunicable at that time I had to go my way alone. I developped my thinking like an artist - what corresponds to your: " - belief in open society is a matter of choice and not of logical necessity". That's, why I left university too, because my thinking goes beyond science and theory.
The result is called STRING (a notion, which has its origin in the physical theory of the self-organization of the universe). STRING for me has the position, open society and fallibility have for you. STRING is a political project, which wants to realize "World-politics for Individuals" by creating a new political institution.
If my letter gives you the impression, that STRING could be worth having a look at it, all information is to be found at STRING-Homepage. To get the idea of STRING, it is necessary to have a second view, a reflexion. What I mean by this, is, after having read some of my texts, you should try to reinvent them in your own language, in your own mind, in your own personality - if you like to do so, but there is a step to go!
STRING is real philosophy and more. It stands for a new innovative institution basing on a non-bureaucratic, transnational, individual-based world-constitution, which shall establish a free world-order! I want to inaugurate and organize this institution, which has two sides, first a temporarily limited world-event (the constituent assembly, the glorious symbol of mankind's identity and greatness, ... ) and secondly the status of political independence of the individual. I want to be its first representative in the sense of a "primus inter pares".
Please start with "STRING - Individual and World-Politics" and "First Newsletter on Philosophy and Politics" and the Homepage itself for more details; "WIR?! ..." and "CYBERSPACE" are not translated so far.
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Thank you for your attention