Catching up with my reading schedule. I finally began looking into Phillipp Goodchild's "Theology of Money", which I mentioned earlier in the Integral Capitalism Thread. It's an extraordinary read, summarizing vast streams of thinking and taking steps into the yet unexplored.
I've read part one: "On Politics" and it made my brain hurt. In a good way ;-)
First Goodchild distinguishes two kinds of power (with Carl Schmitt): physical power, like hitting someone on the nose, and the human power of the will as expressed though speech and action and found in markets and nation-states. He then introduces a third kind: political power, which is the authority that guides the action of will on will. The political power depends on certain distributions of resources, which are themselves influenced by traditions, customs, markets, kinship, regions, language groups, currency areas, and nation-states.
This intangible "energy" of the political cannot be encompassed within modernity's concept of humanity. He shows that modern humanism is defined by three axioms:
1: the human is independent from the divine. Spectral and Occult Powers are regarded as illusionary.
2:the human subject is constituted as such through rational self-reflection as a self-determining agent.
3: continued mastery over an external nature
IOW, The fate of modern political thought rests on demonstrations of its effectiveness, it rests on a conception of power as mastery, it rests on the non-existence of invisible powers beyond those of physics and the will. Since the dawn of the modern age, nature has been mastered by science, technology and economics.
In the last decades of the 20th century, it became obvious that there are limits to the modern worldview. Chaos and Complexity Theory, Economic and Ecological Crisis show the impotence of Modernity to master external Nature. Subjects are not rational automatons, but are driven by passions and emotions, by promises, threat, violence, persuasion, moralizing, praying, but also influenced by sufficient supply of resources like fresh air, water, fertile soil and so on. It is doubtful that the alliance between the individual will and those other human and non-human powers can ever be reduced to represantation and mastery.
Conclusion: Through reason, the mind became subject to itself and constructed its
own sovereignity. As a result we get a limited domain of sovereignity
and a broader domain of ignorance and impotence.
So in order to move on from representationalism and the illusory belief in sovereign self-determined subjects, Goodchild proposes that power is mediated by physical, human, and meta-human configurations. One possibilty to escape the theology of sovereignity is to engage with immanent problems. Goodchild states that there is a social body that corresponds directly with the power of the imagination in representation, which occurs in reality as well as in the mind. This social form of power is external to both physical processes and the human will. It is here where a political theology is to be sought.
Political Power is thus unthinkable without a body that supports it, whether such a body is a weapon of violence, a sovereign authority, or money itself.
He goes on to show that today money acts as a living symbol of the sovereign individual. Money, like nothing else, is an expression of individual power. Money effectively symbolizes the value of property, the soveregnity of freedom, and the power of desire. It is the political body that stands before and represents the individual. Money is the supreme instrument of political expression.
That's a rough sketch of the first part of the book. Part 2 is called: A Treatise on Money and Part 3: Of Theology (with promising chapters like 'Metaphysics and Credit') Ohoho. Can't wait to get on with it.
to be continued