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The unfailing supply factor of true development PDF Print E-mail
The Labour Movement-Economy

development.2When we see the imperfections of civil society,  imperfections which are inescapable, and to say anything else would be a form of utopianism on our part, we are bound to look for a fourth pillar in which the entry points for quality -  the absence of which is causing anthropological and functional collapse - will exist and function. It is quality which is the spiritual element in every sphere.

So far, quality has been naturalised either as a feature necessary for the recognition of the individual within the universal, or as a feature of an arbitrary documentation and registration of quality, and, above all, of its substantiation as a factor in inequality and totalitarianism. We see this happening, in any event, in racist theories, policies, and elsewhere. It is, therefore, a question of democratic development and the handling of quality in the face of those forces which are opposed to it and which are often overwhelming. Here the remark of Fr Friedrich Spee, who, at great cost to himself, dared to speak out against the insanity of witch-hunts and the Inquisition, when he said that the one thing that mighty rulers lack when they have everything is someone to tell them the truth, is very apposite.[1]

Democratic development & the opening of the portals of the 'capital developments' to come
We can speak of the existence of a general evolutionary capital, of a reserve, and a plan. We can speak of a code - in a metaphorical and allegorical mode of expression - of the 'development DNA' of society and of civilisation, and, within this framework, we can examine the 'portals for actions' of these 'evolution genes'.

We are speaking here, in reality, about a community of quality, a community of the spirit. In a community of quality, quality itself reflects a spiritual dimension. This is a dimension which does not stem from the materialistic field of massivity and is not founded upon the law of force, of which Rousseau said: "force is a physical power; I fail to see what morality can result from its effects. To give in to force is an act of necessity, not of will."[2]

Furthermore, for this reason it remains something sought after, and wherever it becomes a reality, a demand arises for a new quality. The new spiritual perspective, then, in this community of the spirit can be approached through a clarification of concepts. It is not a community of subjects, and, in this sense, it does not perform a role assigned to it, but it is a community of dialectic, a community for the handling of concepts, it is a community of pioneering action.

When, however, we truly wish to approach the community of the spirit, we must clarify what is spiritual, and what is not. A field of post-materialistic values has been created in the modern world. How authentic this is is open to question, since recourse to and preoccupation with the past - in the sense that the past is an acquis, something already materialised - is a form of materialism. Therefore, anachronism and fundamentalism are forms of materialism.

Nevertheless, even in the past there were points of an upsurge of quality and of the spirit. How do we isolate these and how do we safeguard only these as content of the community of quality and of the spirit? These are questions which will be answered in a definitive way by the future, but here we must note that there are certain dangers inherent, similar to those in civil society.

Civil society, in order to achieve equilibrium, needs a vision, a reserve of post-materialistic values which will allow it to make its inner transcendence and synthesis in a progressive manner, in a functional way which will ensure the evolution of the future.

The community of the spirit is a community which, first and foremost, clarifies the world of concepts. It clarifies the world of meaning and of significance. It dialectically ranks meanings and values, and, at the same time, shapes a framework of organic unity of important figures who have been creative in the history of man and of humanity.

It is a field of history of the 'great instigators of ideas', of the directors of the spirit and the intellect, and, in addition, it gives expression to a code of civilisation, a cultural DNA. It could be said that above all it expresses an approach of 'evolutionary maturity', and not so much a code which is oracularly delivered. It expresses an ecological field of civilisation and development, a course of sustainable progress.

These 'factors for the embodiment of ideas', principles, and values are - as Clerk Maxwell put it when speaking of the critical 'wave in the hypotheses of men' - the 'systemic attractors' of history who, in spite of their small demographic and quantitative presence, serve as pivotal players in history with a 'multiplicatory dynamic of diffusion' and make up the spiritual and cultural elite, detached from the seduction of any power or current artificial surplus value.

The community of the spirit is the vital field for the dynamic of these developments within the framework of power and its distributions, liberating the mind from what is considered to be self-evident. Moreover, as Lewis Mumford observes: "... Who can set bounds to man’s emergence or to his power of surpassing his provisional achievements? So far we have found no limits to his imagination, nor yet to the sources on which it may draw. Every goal [humanity]... reaches provides a new starting-point, and the sum of all [humanity’s]...  days is just a beginning."[3]

Primarily, the community of the spirit blunts the force of the idols of strength and power both in the field of the market and in that of political management. Moreover, it has a demythologising, ennobling, and normalising effect on the narcissism of civil society, because civil society, apart from its constructive, creative, mediatory, and supportive work, is a natural agent of narcissism which, in the last analysis, is the same as that which is expressed both in political power and in the mentality of institutional management, and in the functioning of the market.     

The framework of the development of the community of the spirit and of quality entails the clarification, on the one hand, of terms, and, on the other, with the opening up of social development in an upward evolution of ideas within the body of society. And as regards the importance of the clarification of concepts, it suffices for us to reflect upon its significant role in the composition of international instruments by virtue of which international commitments, rights, and obligations are precisely defined.

The community of the spirit includes, as we have said before, those figures whom we could term the 'doorkeepers of ideas' of human society. Thanks to the 'instigators of the embodiment' of ideas, concepts, and actions, we function with human hands and feet, with human intelligence, in a space which is shaped universally by relations. The community of the spirit operates as a regulator of mentality. It is not exactly an institutional partner, but the necessary field for the practice of politics and the necessary 'field of unlocking' of the interest and the service offered of each one of us. It is the field of opening in a society of interest, in a society of voluntarism and creativity. This is the potential of the community of the spirit in relation to civil society.

It is in this way that we define and expound the community of the spirit as other than identical with civil society, precisely because the concept of the citizen does not necessarily presuppose any inclination towards service or towards solidarity or towards the realisation of an illuminated limit in consciousness and mentality as put forward by great proponents of enlightenment such as Immanuel Kant when he remarked that: "Two things fill the mind with ever and increasing admiration and awe, the more often and steadily we meditate upon them: the starry firmament above and the moral law within."[4]

In other words, we are talking about a nucleus of actions and values in the interior of civil society, a nucleus defined ab initio as the 'framework for the transcendence of materialism'. Materialism lies, on the one hand, within the framework of 'competitiveness', and, on the other, at the level of the 'realistic' handling of situations under 'the starry heavens'. These act as a brake - a natural one, of course - on the upward evolution of society, and, in this sense, constitute materialised realities. On the road, then, to the transcendence of materialism, the community of the spirit is defined as a community which does not share fully in power and the market, nor does it share in citizens' expectations from power or the market.

It is a community which creates a surplus, a cultural capital asset. And as the concept of cultural capital, if we wish to be more specific, we must define that capital which is formed by post-materialistic values, together with the values which are connected with normality. Post-materialistic values which bring out the inwardness of man, wholeness, and solidarity are those which look towards the future, make good use of the past, and are not a fixation with the memory of the spirituality of the past.

Fixation with the memory of the spirituality of the past is a purely materialistic field, and no confusion should be allowed to arise over this. Thus the community of the spirit, as a fourth pillar of integrated social and democratic development, gives expression to a field of generation of history by means of talented figures who, nevertheless, do not define, do not operate themselves as a field of absorption of surplus value. Even if they stand out in the light of their biography and of history, they function within a framework of collectivity and diffuse the action of ideas into the whole, something of which Groethuysen reminds us when he says: "The sage’s consciousness of the world is something peculiar to him alone. Only the sage never ceases to have the whole constantly present to his mind. He never forgets the world, but thinks and acts with a view to the cosmos."[5]

There are many such examples from history, and we may certainly see more in the future.
The problem, then, for us, is how we are going to define, how are we going to create, how are we going to recognise the community of the spirit and of quality. This recognition of the community of the spirit and of quality is of capital importance for historical evolution.

Historical evolution has been shaped by an inflow of ideas from a reservoir of inspired intelligence which functions in a decisive way in many areas - among them, that of the regulation of the market; the fact that the market itself is something devised should not escape us. In this sense, the community of the spirit is an unfailing supply factor of evolution. The same also applies to institutions and civil society.

Whereas the three pillars remain as institutional partners, the community of the spirit is not exactly an institutional, but rather a cultural, partner. The cultural partner, however, has to be established as a tribune for communication, as a tribune for recognisable intervention and exposition of ideas, as a field which makes a redistribution of the surplus value of communication and politics in a way which is productive and creative for developments. The community of the spirit provides the solution, the way out from the seemingly self-evident and being hostages to what is considered as given, and, in this perspective, is the nodal point for the resolution of problems and impasses. We can include within the community of the spirit many sides of the expression of man and society, but, in any event, it is in anthropological terms aware, as Kant observed, of the "enticement of (any) power, (which) inevitably diminishes the critical faculty of man and his ability to base himself on reason"[6] - and of the mystery of love and of insight into the heart of each individual to which Kazantzakis gives priority as a major necessity for the balancing of material, technical, and intellectual civilisation in such a way as worthily to take possession of peace and freedom as a basic task of the 'International of the Spirit' which he himself proposed.[7] This vision was shared by the founder of the modern Delphic Idea, Angelos Sikelianos.

The primary field for distinction is that of distinguishing between concepts. The democratic approach to identification does not mean not giving other partners and inspired figures credit for their quality and values. On the contrary, there is no blind surplus value formed when recognisability in the person of the authors takes place. There is no formation of a blind surplus value, which is usually incorporated into an impersonal concentration of power which in the end will be personalised in the bureaucratic executive mechanism and its personalities - whether this bureaucracy is democratic or totalitarian. In no circumstances is the non-recognisability of roles and of authors aid to democracy.

On the other hand, this does not mean that any democratic social involvement of the community of the spirit and of the creative - individuals or group - has to do with a bleeding dry, a draining off of inwardness and democratic solitariness. It is these subtle distinctions which ascribe a qualitative colour to the pillars of the democratic development of the future. 


[1] Fischer-Fabian, Siegfried, Eppur Se Muove [Greek edition], publ. Konidaris.

[2] Rousseau, Jean-Jacques, The Social Contract [Greek edition], publ. Polis:

"The strongest is never strong enough to be master all the time, unless he transforms force into right and obedience into duty. Hence the right of the strongest, a right that seems like something intended ironically and is actually established as a basic principle. [ ... ] Force is a physical power; I fail to see what morality can result from its effects. To give in to force is an act of necessity, not of will. At most, it is an act of prudence.  In what sense could it be a duty?"

[3] Mumford, Lewis, The Transformations of Man [Greek edition], publ. Nisides.

[4] Fischer-Fabian, Siegfried, Sie verδnderten die Welt [Greek edition], publ. Konidaris.

[5] Morin, Edgar, Seven Complex Lessons in Education for the Future [Greek edition], publ. Eikostos Protos.

[6] Gore, Al, The Assault on Reason [Greek edition], publ. Kathimerini.

[7] Brief account of the life of Nikos Kazantzakis, [in Greek]

Ioannis Zisis, writer

Photo from wikipedia

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