The following post is a pre-commentary to Prof. Johan Galtung’s article “Hitler and Stalin: Two Europeans” that will be published on Monday, March 23rd. Enjoy this special preview:
Read the original article here: https://www.transcend.org/tms/2015/03/hitler-and-stalin-two-europeans/
“Hitler and Stalin: Two Europeans” is yet another elaboration of Prof.Galtung’s theory that Western Occident I cosmology, in juncture with Cartesian epistemology, manifests itself in worldviews and policies that are extremely violent. The tendency of Westerners is to view leaders such as Hitler and Stalin or Hitler and Churchill, as diametrically opposed figures, when in reality their worldviews and actions are isomorphic at their root. This is to be expected- Occident I cosmology confines perception to the Occident I box, and divisions within European history through the lens of DMA (Dualism, Manicheism,Armageddon). Cartesianism splits the Western holon into good and evil parts. For example, Good Europe vs. Bad Hitler. However, the point of the essay is not just to point out that “they both didn’t support peace,” but is actually focused on how cosmology is translated to practice.
The issue really lies in a construction of reality based on one contradiction, one theory, that then builds the rest of society’s axioms. “If the theory is pyramidal, so also the practice, the policy machinery.” This is the dialectical nature of theory and practice. Theory drives practice, but practice also drives theory once enacted, as data is privileged in Western epistemology. Galtung also mentions that this type of structure necessitates privileged truth guardians at the top of the hierarchy. Could it be that simplicity=emergence of violence? At least from the standpoint of human beings as followers ofcultural-civilizational scripts, this seems to be the suggestion. A concentrated hierarchy means that someone, those who are ‘wrong’ must be at the bottom or eliminated according to a DMA mode of intelligibility. Near the end of the article he notes that democracies also legitimize violence, not only dictatorships. This is because it is based on the same essential theoretical construction.
My overall take on the paper- It provides solid examples of the relationship between cosmology, epistemology (theory construction), and violence. It could be made a bit more explicit how the pyramidal theory construction translates directly into legitimization (cultural violence) of structural and direct violence. I think that it would be interesting to separate and analyze violence stemming from cosmology vs. violence from epistemology. There seems to be a link that Galtung is driving at, but the result is mixed.
The article comes out Monday on the Transcend Media Service!
Find all of Prof. Galtungs Editorials on www.transcend.org/tms