The human being can sustain culture only insofar as he separates himself from this culture.  In simplest terms, one can be creator only in that he understands himself as creator as opposed to creation.  When he confuses himself with his creation, the creative process stops.  The creation--which is essentially an inert object--replaces the creator; but the creation cannot itself create.  These insights came to me early in my career.  Beginning in Germany at Tubingen, where I took my first class under Otto Bullnow in Philosophical Anthropology, a basic point of view and a methodology began to take hold in my thinking.  Anthropologists in general, I think, "think small."  That is what we are doing here.  I also used the word "pedestrian" because that is what we have so far been contemplating:  a man walking in the African landscape, now stooping to pick up a stick, now using that stick, now breaking it and now throwing it away to find another one.  We have said all this before in tedious recapitulation.   It is all the more tedious speculation because to focus on some small early homunculus-type individual appears to lack the grand ambition of a Hegelian philosopher.  This is only appearance.   Because, as I have said before, we are all Hegelians through and through.  Thus if we are to meditate upon the world dialectic envisioned by Hegel himself we must, according to our notions, see this dialectic within the appropriate physical subject matter, which is primal humanity even as, as I say, the first men engaged in the first tool use.  This is some hairy, solitary beast of the African savanah.  This is what we have been sstalking about all along.  The argument I am making now is this:  that the person who extends himself through culture must understand, at some point, what the essential part of himself is that creates the culture; and where, too, the culture begins its extension.  This understanding contradicts, basically, the fundamental original purpose of the culture that it, in other words, actually becomes the human being.  Thus if our primal hunter picks up a stick, and thereby extends his arm, he may at first remember that he is a person and the stick extension of himself is an artifact and artifice, in itself insensate and not the user himself.  Fingers have sensation and are a subjective part of the person; the stick has no sensation.  Nor is the stick itself active in choosing itself as a tool; only the man can do this.    This is how our primal, isolated savanah-wanderer thinks.  At first there is no confusion as to what is the man and what is the stick.  But more history and culture was to come; and the involvement of the person in his culture was to become far more complex.  In picking up a stick, and then alternatively putting it down, the primal person defines himself.  So, every time he breaks his stick and throws it down, he defines himself as the real person he is.  He could rather have considered the stick a part of himself; so that throwing it down would be to throw away himself or at least something of himself.  He would have virtually a religious dread of destroying something that is himself.   But, regularly changing weapons and tools the early hunter was asble to distinguish himself from the extension of himself that was his stick or implement or weapon.  To him, then, he was clear as to his own identity:  the stick was one thing, he was another.  I speak hypothetically in that this early hunter, who had a brain no larger than a chimpanzee, probably did not think much about anything.  The main consideration however is that by his actions he defined himself; so that he could not think of himself as other than he was.  When I say "other" I evoke the Hegelian principle of opposition and dialectic.  Because finally, several million years later, the human being would again confront himself--and not recognize himself.  This general theory, but without its anecdotal reference to early humanity, was outlined by Hegel and the Neo-Hegelians.  In summary:  as I say, it was through the suspension of culture and separation from culture that the human being defines himself.  And so he must define himself:  without a sense of who he is, or an appropriate image of himself, all creativity is suspended.  In fact this has been the history of humanity--a decline of productivity through a loss of identity.

Philosophical Anthropology enters the discussion of, above all, value and purpose--general philosophical questions--at an important milestone of civilization.  Where we talk of value and purpose we are speaking of a human being, who traditionally has been at the center of all philosophy.  (Man is measure of all things--Protagoras.)   Philosophical Anthropology is a critical examination of the human being's concept of himself.  At the end of a civilization, as its crowning achievement, is this civilization's idea of Man, not what man is but what he should be.  Today's notion of a human being is artificial through and through, in the same way a tool or machine or even the stick weapon of primal man is artificial.  This is where things stand in our present investigation.   The feature of today's so-called global society that commands our attention is its absorption of the creative person into his own creation.  I have talked about the features of this civilization, but not in an organized way.  From the simple stick of primal man we pass by stages and degrees to such complex phenomena as the city-state, nation and world religion as phases of the self-objectification of the human being.  That I could see the nation prefigured in something like a mere stick held as a tool is an unlikely prospect.  The aspiration to see just that continues here unabated; it is our cherished hope that we can stretch our minds to see that connection.  For the present, however, we may undertake a more straightforward line of speculation.   I have said that a human being can be creative only so long as he understands himself as a creator.  The danger is that this same creator will lose himself or his identity in the creation itself; but the creation does not create.  So all creativity comes to an end.  We see this in the "persona" of the artist and there are examples at hand.  The great artists, and I mention first and foremost the greatest of them all, Pierre Renoir, as men who have known themselves as real people.  Artists are among the greatest Philosophical Anthropologists, or ones who understand themselves as real persons, precisely because they are so little acclaimed during their lifetimes.  We pick up our story now of the Paleolithic walkers and stick-user.  Early on, the hunter if he breaks his stick or loses it can simply find another.  He sees himself as on-again and off-again as a stick user; he thus defines himself as what he is, a being who in himself, as he is born, does not possess any such extension as a stick or physical weapon.  He is isolated from nature and vulnerable in the face of nature.  When he begins to fashion more advanced, complex and composite tools this changes.  His whole life takes on different meaning and direction.  His dependency has grown on the individual tool of his possession.  This is one he labored to produce and would have to labor further again were he to lose or break it.   But this dependency on one tool implies a further dependency on the human beings of his group, through whom he has inherited knowledge and support.  To create a new tooll of equal or superior quality he has to turn once again to his group; he has to return home, to his campsite or house, where there are human familials with whom he cooperates and finds support.  The advance of tools means the advance of society in general, not as a familial group, now, but as an artificial product of the same general order of being as the tool itself.  Society is simply an extension of the tool but one involving human beings as well as physical, inert objects.  Society comes now into being.  But there is now one more issue we have not yet talked about.  That is the fact that to separate onself from a mere stick, and to conceive of oneself as a being essentially independent of that stick, is not difficult. 

The stick is a very easy thing to undertand in its form and function and purpose.  Where this stick extends itself into a whole society, on the other hand, this distinction between man and thing is not so easy to make.  The human who saw clearly saw himself in contradistinction to his stick has no easy task, on the other hand, distinguishing himself from a whole social and technological organization.  This larger entity of course has its own conception of "man" which it imposes on each member of the large group; and each member, when he thinks of himself, thinks rather of the image presented by society.  This is a highly processed and artificial image.  Thus it makes sense to say, as the Neo-Hegelians do, that the human being is "alienated from himself."  We state that this is true, adding only that this truth is manifested most clearly through a consideration of the primal facts of human the hunter's path; but, held as it was in the hunter's hand, it was "other" than the hunter.  I repeat here again the notion of "other."  At this point we may make reference, already, to this specifically and narrowly Hegelian concept of "otherness."   At the risk of falling into germanic metaphysical mumbo jumbo we need this notion of "otherness" in order to continue.  The mere stick, even by itself, was necessary to the human's life; and it followed logically--and we can see this development already in the human mind--that the stick could under certain circumstances be put by the man higher than his own life.    He could not defend himself without it, and his manner of death would be more compelling than the fact of his life.  On the other hand, as this hunter plodded along his path there were other sticks lying there, some better than the one he presently held.  We pass to a consideration as to how culture was finally placed--or rather placed itself--above the human beings who created the culture.

These and other facts were made focus of Philosophical Anthropology as this new field emerged in the 1920s in Germany under leadership of Arnold Gehlen, Helmuth Plessner and Max Scheler.  We must also give high credit to Fichte and Hegel for the essential logical underpinnings of Force Theory, the concept of dialectic and categorical thinking.  Humans think categorically, defining their concepts in terms of opposite concepts.  There emerged then in human life a new factor. That is, through human effort, the tools of one's life evolved from simple forms to more complex forms.  Reducing this principle to its simplest anecdotal expression we may say, significantly, that.while the hunter could replace a mere stick with another stick, an axe requiring great effort was not so easy to replace.  This axe was more "valuable" because of the work that went into it.  But was this artifact more valuable than a human life itself?  Even at a very early and primitive phase of culture such an artifact could mean the difference between life and death for the hunter and his family.  But there is more.  The effort that went into that axe was now increasingly a collective, rather than just an individual, effort.  We now see the existence of that same axe, which began as a mere stick lying on the ground, as no longer being  the momentary inspiration of an individual man so much as the considered and routinized work of a whole group.  Labor was provided by individuals; but they were already,  in the Paleolithic cultural period, watching one another, passing information and learning from one another.  Eventually culture began to pass into a new phase wherein its most basic structure was self-sustaining and self-affirming.  Even while the wholey individual tool such as a mere stick was of-and-for that same individual, the new technology--new already in the Paleolithic Period--was of-and-for the collective group.  We now pass to the final phase of culture; that is, the phase where culture is only for itself.  I have not said, nor will I ever maintain, that culture is actually not of human beings.  At some point, we are saying--and here is where Swartzbaugh's paradox--is most clearly stated--culture sustained itself ideologically and in religion, while, on the other hand, the bare presence of human beings themselves, as individuals and as groups in instinctive relations, was necessary to the perpetuation of culture.  In other words, even while culture itself would deny the very existence of human beings--and I make reference to the highly human-effacing concepts of nationalism and other such religions and ideologies of self-sacrifice--those same "real" humans are indeed necessary for culture.

First the ancestral human, by not only the use but the disuse of his artifacts, defines himself to himself.  I must emphasize that here, in this definition of man by himself,  the disuse of culture is as imortant as its use. The human sees himself more clearly as he is when he is without culture, which he was, in the earliest phases of history, only briefly and unwillingly.  This happened when a man lost or broke his stick-tool.  Thus we may say the following.   It is in use of culture that the human defines himself as a creative being; but it is through the disuse of culture that the human defines himself as a real being.  The use of tools first alternated with their disuse.  Human identity in that period was never a problem.  But that changed.   Human culture has had an unabated run of use, with no disuse ever.  The human being now--because he had no alternate vision of himself--had to see himself as categorically cultural.  In fact, this culture produced along with other artifacts a concept of who the human being is.  The man, obviously--except through strenuous self-assertion--accepted that concept; thus he saw himself as his culture sees him.  That is, he sees himself as a categorically social and cultural being.  This being is the same one that culture, as I say, invents; and the one also that categorically accepts culture itself.  Thus the individual person, seeing himself as culture would have him, or as culture says he "should" be, universally and absolutely affirms culture.  I am suggesting that the human finds himself in a categorical situation where the only possiblity of defining himself as he really is--and as he must see himself in order to endure--is in a posture of categorical revolution.  He has to revolt against society, ironically, just to exist as a person.  The human being and culture come into a relationship of categorical opposition and one that has no resolution, as I say, except through anarchism and racialism which envisions a new man.

Last edited by richard_swartzbaugh (2010-10-24 14:59:13)


In the story of Abraham--the seminal myth that all the Abrahamic religions, Judaism, Christianity and Islam--have in common, the idea behind God's command to Abraham is that man put God higher than himself. No point is made in religions worldwide other than this simple one of human self-effacement.  But then there are all the formal and informal admonitions in culture that say the same thing.   In all the unfolding of culture, from its specializations and the depencency of humans on these specialized tools, and its involvement of humans on a mass or collective basis, this same simple idea emerges.  That idea is that culture is higher than man.  Yet, paradoxically, culture cannot continue without "man" or some one or group of humans.  Culture panders to these humans without however affirming them.   The analogy of a barnyard would help clarify our point.  The farmer feeds his animals, only to kill them later.  In this way culture "panders" to the human being who sustain the culture, as necessary to the system but not the purpose of the system.  In the instance of the barnyard, there is no contradiction or paradox in the farmer feeding his animals, since the animals do not finally create the farm in general.  That role is left to the farmer himself.  In the instance of culture, on the other hand, it is not a farmer who provides the sustaining force to culture but the very "animals" that are fed by culture.  The culture consumes and deprecates the very creatures which ultimately bring culture into existence. 

The human being once defined himself in the disuse of his culture.  He saw himself as he was without culture.  But there is more.  Today the only way a human being can define himself is in a categorically revolutionary opposition to the culture that has already falsely defined him.   Early man defined himself by dis-using his tools; present day man defines himself precisely through withdrawal and separation from his culture.  Heidegger would say humans are estranged from civilization and that is their loss; Heidegger along with certain "Marxists" such as Adorno et al would say we must reappropriate this civilization.  I say such withdrawal is a gain insofar as the human being can see himself anew and as he actually is.   And before he can once more create, he needs to define creativity as it stands apart from the creation itself. Revolution, or categorical opposition theoretical and practical, is the only course of man in his odessy to find himself. 

Culture began, we are saying, in the "fact of the stick," and has continued in the ongoing contradiction between the human being and his "other," which finally is culture in general.  This contradiction is never finally resolved but continues through partial and temporary resolutions.  We forsee a "final" contradiction between culture and nature.  The resolution to that conflict is not the total victory of nature; rather this new resolution is the fact of "race."  In other words, culture as we now know it passes away in the face of nature as race.  The culture we have always known is that of a certain "man"; this man passes away, we are saying, in the face of a new man.  It is not now culture that changes to meet the needs of a man that culture has already created, out of whole cloth, but rather the man that changes--into a racial being similar to the highest forms of the caucasian race--to create again a new and race-bound culture.he human being can survive, finally, only by separating himself from his own culture.  We must understand that the culture that evolved finally, even at so early a phase as the Middle and Upper Paleolithic, was more radical in the separation of the human creator and his own creation.  I have talked about this separation as "Swartzbaugh's Paradox".  In simplest terms, it was one thing for a man to replace a stick he had lost or broken with another stick, and entirely another thing to replace a tool that was the result of difficult individual and collective labor.  He was more dependent on the refined tool than the simple tool.  Having broken his first tool, he would have to return to his campsite and long hours spent at the campfire to make a new one.  Also he was dependent, more and more, on other members of his group.  They contributed motivation, inspiration and knowledge.  The human thus, in preparing a more specialized and refined tool, became more a collective social being in the "higher" human sense.     But there are further things to consider.  His whole existence had changed from an individual life to a life mediated by the "other" in the widest meaning--technological and social--of the word other.  His individual life was finally confronted by the collective "other."  This other presented, on the other hand, a great challenge.  That is, where the collective and technological entity conflicted with the individual one, the former was stronger; or it tended to be.  However, just as the final motivation for culture comes from the real, individual human being, in his modest drive simply to survive and reproduce himself, the "individual"--meaning the basic and original human being--must separate himself from his own culture.  This separation is in thought and pracice.  We are faced essentially with the paradox that, simply in order to exist, both the human being and the culture must finally contradict one another and also, paradoxically, resolve that contraction according to the cicumstances in which the contradiction manifests itself. The revolution that the human being has immanently before him is precisely against his image of his own self.  Once that is gone, finally, there will be the possibility of a new man and, consequently, a new culture.

The (what we are calling hypothetically) civilized person defines himself in a situation of cateogrical revolt.  By "defining" I mean he understands who he really is.  For us here, under the flag of Force Theory, what the human being finally aspires to is not the communistic  ideal of a chicken in his proverbial pot, but a true understanding of himself to replace the ideological understanding of himself provided by his culture.  The human being has been separated from himself at the time when purely technical problems became social problems.  When the stick carried by the man evolved to a composite tool which, in order to get cooperation and information, entangled the human in social relations.  The very first humans using "naturefacts" rather than artifacts were different in this regard.  He defined himself every time he put down his tool or weapon.  He was one person carrying the stick as weapon; but then he was an artificial person of his own creation.  Carrying a stick he could not see or understand the "real man."  Once he put down his stick he could see the real man. Here the outlines of his real body appeared along with a sense, all too real, of his vulnerability and fear.  In contrast to mainstream Philosophical Anthropology we see the inspirational moment of self-knowledge not in any abstract idea that we are simply "tool making animals," as Ben Franklin called human beings.  We see ourself really--we could say phenomenologically--when these tools and culture are stripped away.  Philosophical Anthropology is there finally to understand what early humans could see as practical, everyday persons--but ones without culture.  Earlier and throughout this blog I have spoken of the communist thinkers; a need exists, always, to put what these theorists say and what is said here.    Speaking of Marx and Engels (which persons are sometimes difficult to separate but did have their own ideas), there appears a concept of what we might call a new man brought into being through revolution.    Karl Marx frequently used the word "radical."  We use the same word.  But Marx proposed to use radical revolution to build a new society; and to build a new man only through this new society.  We are suggesting something entirely different.  The man we foresee, the man of the future, comes into being only by stripping away society altogether to expose the human to knowledge of himself.  This is essentially Philosophical Anthropology. Society we are saying eternalizes the man of the past as a "citizen."  Marx never thought this way.   The revolution we propose under the flag of Force Theory as the ideological wing of PA is radical in that it strips away society.  We are indicating that the communist revolution was directed only at one society as opposed to another, while maintaining the concept "society"--as suggested in the word "socialism"--while Force Theory separates, theoretically, the individual person from the entire idea of society and culture.  The "real" man becomes visible only when separated from the "faux" human being that is the human's own invention.  It is through his conception and misconception of himself, we are saying, that the human becomes estranged from his own self.  Unlike the communists, who say that the human being is essentially fulfilled--fulfilled in his essence--through social collaboration, we say, on the contrary, the important thing in human life is achieved only by separating the man from society.  Because, we are saying, this important thing is the human being's understanding of himself.  That conception is appropriate to our interest in Philosophical Anthropology, knowledge of the "essence of man" (Wesensbegriff des Menschen--Max Scheler).   Here we have no interest in economics as being simply a great confusion that befalls humankind on account of his entanglement with products of his own making.  We search here for a way to extricate ourselves and turn, then, to Philosophical Anthropology. 

PA is the new radicalism.    First there was the fact of "real man," then came, finally, as the crowning achievement of world philosophy, Philosophical Anthropology as the theory of this same essential man.  We do not include culture in understanding this real man, we understand him phenomenologically by stripping away, in thought, this same culture.   Civilized man, on the other hand, can understand only when he puts aside his entire culture and society.  There is for him no such thing as this tool or artifact as opposed to that one; everything in his life is connected with everything else.  Thus when he aspires to understand himself, the only experiment that will lead to this understanding is by stripping away--in categorical revolution--several million years of cultural evolution.  Here of course, in this blog, we are proposing no anarchist acts against society; we are speaking, again of course, theoretically.   Finally we return to Karl Marx's idea of "radicalism."  I have already spoken of the etymology of the word "radical" because this word descends from the same word as "race."  Both "radical" and "race" trace their origin to the Latin word "radix," or root.  Karl Marx said we must go to the "root" of the human situation.  We agree.  But for us the root is race itself, as the source of or link with being.

Last edited by richard_swartzbaugh (2010-09-14 15:42:10)


There is a contradiction between what the human is and what he makes.  Nowhere does this paradox appear more clearly than between the human being nature has brought forth and the ideal of Man that human beings themselves create.  Humans, having appeared, in effect re-create themselves.   Man's re-creation of Man has been a theme of Hegelian philosophy but reached its most visible point in Engels' communist utopia.  A new man was supposed to appear with a new society.   In anticipation of the new man, on the other hand, Engels already assumed an ideal of what a human should be.  Society rose to approximate the man; not the other way around.  All through history, we are saying, the human being while domesticating animals according to the humans' own purposes, have thought of domesticating themselves.  The paradox of human self-domestication is that, while a person may think of domesticating his neighbor--essentially, making a slave of him--the man never desired to domesticate himself.  This is precisely the paradox of culture:  that even as the human being imagines a perfect human being, he thinks of himself, individually, as already perfect.  We are compelled at this point in our discussion to look more thoroughly at the overall idea of domestication.   In fact, the issues raised in this topic are already familiar to most owners of pets and domesticated animals.  Our line of argument is straightforward.  A German Shepard is a dog breed that is artificially maintained by human beings.  Were it not for human agency, this breed as any other "pure bred" type would disappear into the mass of anonymous dogs. 

At the risk of appearing merely clever :rolleyes:I have proposed a topic within Philosophical Anthropology:  "Dogs:  a Study of Human Nature."  Still, dog breeds are a stone that needs to be turned over in the event there is something interesting there. Comparing human beings as we do dog breeds is not what we propose to do; rather we are now raising the issue of the role of culture in animal domestication.  Domestic animals are a feature of culture.  And how they are bred--or on the other hand left to degenerate in form--reflects upon how humans would breed humans themselves, if in fact they could.  The small experiments along this line--slaves in the old South and Suma wrestlers in Japan--reveal the futility of this attempt.  Humans have failed to breed themselves as a perfect form of culture.  We disagree with Spengler who observed that Greeks came to look like their early statues.  We say here, rather,  human races are not of culture but of "nature."   It is true that the effect of domestication is both of two things.  First humans breed varieties and "breeds" that conform to human purposes.  But secondly, neglecting to maintain a breed causes the untended breeds to melt into an anonymous mass of entartet or decadent and polymorphic forms, ones which however breed among themselves.  Oswald Spengler refers to the spottedness of certain animals as a degeneration of the original animal coloring through which it camoflaged itself in a free ranging state.   To selectively breed animals for human purposes raises the paradoxical fact that domestication means decadence. Animal forms become decadent, we say, not in being selectively bred so much as, following selective breeding by humans, in being left to breed among themselves.  Here is where all the spotted and discordant features appear among animals.   Decadence can be defined, precisely, following human agency,  as simply a lapse into a certain Gattungswesen or generic type.  Applying this principle to humans themselves, in the absence of a "racist" selectivity of a type of human being there results, finally, a lapse into a kind of species-being that conforms to the idea "dog mut."   Humans who fall away from a specific form may be called the "muts" of humanity.   We are making a different point about dogs than the one that comes up, continually, in the realm of "scientific racism":  that, as there are dog breeds so are there breeds of human beings.  This point has been exhausted in the literature on race.  What we are proposing here is revealing, not so much about biology as about culture.  Strong human types come about through nature.  These features may be the African ability to tolerate strong sunlight or the Eskimo's tolerance of cold.  In any case, even as culture does not replace nature in producing distinctive human types, culture still gives humans an opportunity to breed randomly among themselves wherein the features that distinguished the human species are scrambled together in a mixed breed--or what we are calling a decadent--randomness and formlessness.

Self-domestication is a frequent topic among Philosophical Anthropologists.  Gehlen has the best account; regretably his is not thorough.  Plessner accepts without explanation the idea that the human is a domestiziertes Tier.  His is a very unsatisfactory treatment of an important issue.  Here we must start from scratch.  We are saying that the term self-domestication is self-contradictory.  The point here is this:  Before there can be domestication of any kind there must be a self that to begin with is strong and commanding.  To become domesticated means, precisely, that a being is subject to a commanding will outside itself.  Domestication always means subjugation of some being other than oneself.  Were one to domesticate oneself, that would be to enslave oneself--a contradiction.  We are saying something rather simple that will not cause confusion.  We are saying that domestication means simply to carry the principle of slavery to the level of genetics.    Here one does not coerce humans to be slaves; one simply breeds them.  Seeing self-domestication in these terms, this practice would be tantamount to self-castration or even suicide.  We are in this logical dead end when we talk about self-subjucation of any kind.  In fact, we can say that the self itself is a high product of evolution and nature above which there is nothing at all that is superior or overriding.  The self is always domesticator, never what or whom is domesticated.  Where the topic of domestication and self-domestication is raised, by what writers--and I can mention a number--we may raise later. LBolk, J Heuzinge, H. Plessner names a few--we will later say.  Here there will be no attempt at an original contribution, except one this one point, that, in other words, self-domestication is a term that logically contradicts itself.  Whoever is enslaver cannot be enslaved; whoever is domesticator cannot be domesticated.  The bred slave is the lowest sort of creature.  We've already talked about dogs.  The point about the domesticated animal is that, while subject to purposes of human masters, the dog is also freed from the trials and tribulations of raw nature.  The slave likewise is both created for a purpose other than its own purpose; but it is also sequestered from the raw forces of nature.  The former source--from humans--means that the slave is formed and not random; but the latter principle, whereby the slave is protected, results in a contrary force from which other and free-ranging species are free.  That force is the natural "downhill" tendency to fall into decadence.  So we are saying, it is not the artifical way in which domestic species are selected that makes them, from our point view, pathetic; it is the lack of other forces that keep them, as Spengler would say, "in form."   Even as humans selectively breed animals, giving them distinctiveness and uniformity, they also sequester them from outside forces, opening the prospect that, "free" from these forces, these beings slide into degenerative biological chaos.   The obvious fact is that humans do selectively breed animals into distinctive forms; but humans also create for these animals and all others of their species a general state of freedom wherein the species in general can deteriorate into genetic chaos.  It is this later feature of the state of domestication  that here attracts our attention and becomes center of our focus.  Animals are bred to distinctive forms; they also are allowed degeneration that no other species, human beings included, can experience.:rolleyes:

Last edited by richard_swartzbaugh (2010-09-19 13:56:22)