May 28, 2023
by Doug “Uncola” Lynn:
There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.
The heart is deceitful above all things…
When small men cast big shadows, it means the sun is setting.
– Lin Yutang, Chinese philosopher
Upon the recommendation of a blog commenter, I recently read “The Crisis of Modernity” by Italian professor and philosopher, Augusto Del Noce (1910 – 1989). The book was published in 2014 and is a brilliant compilation of twentieth-century essays and speeches by Del Noce. His philosophical insights are profound and his conclusions and societal predictions, especially regarding Scientism and the Technocracy, are eerily similar to those of English author and theologian C.S. Lewis – see my previous posts entitled “The Abolition of Man Amid the Consequences of Reality”, and “Gnostic Parasitism in the Post-Modern Simulacrum”, and “A Postmortem on Postmodernism”.
These three articles were an attempt to summarize and share perspectives on how Clownworld has manifested at our time in history. Correspondingly, this post is a 6,000+ word exploration of Del Noce’s philosophical and religious perspectives on modernity.
Merriam-Webster defines “metaphysics” as “a division of philosophy that is concerned with the fundamental nature of reality”, and, as written in the translator’s introduction of “The Crisis of Modernity”, Del Noce discerns the dynamics between historical social and political outcomes on one hand, and philosophy and religion on the other 1 – or, stated more simply: the “interplay between ‘the history of ideas’ and the ‘history of facts’” 2 .
As a young man, Del Noce aligned with the ideology of the political left but later came to understand atheism was NOT just a potential outcome of Marxism, but, rather, a precondition of the entire system.
He later coined the term “heterogenesis of ends” to explain the paradox of how Marxism succeeds and fails simultaneously. Due to contradictions within its metaphysical assumptions, Del Noce believed Marxism can become reality only in the exact way it does; and because of its negation of absolute truths, the historical result produced by Marxism becomes its own “empirical verification” 3.
Considering atheism as a “protagonist in the development of modernity”, Del Noce claimed it appeared at “the end of every major cycle of European thought”, including “Bruno at the end of the Renaissance, the libertines at the end of Cartesianism, de Sade at the end of the Enlightenment, Marx and Nietzsche at the end of classical German philosophy.” 4
According to Del Noce’s translator, Carlo Lancellotti, Del Noce judged “the affluent society as intrinsically totalitarian and anti-traditional” because it “recognizes the empirical sciences as the only valid form of knowledge”. Del Noce also predicted progressivism would be “incapable of resisting the growing dehumanization of the technological society.” 5
Defining “Scientism as the ‘totalitarian’ conception of science, in which science is regarded as the ‘only’ true from of knowledge”, Del Noce identified the three aspects of the “progressivist phenomenon” as “scientism, eroticism, and theology of secularization.” He also claimed Fascism and Nazism were “misdiagnosed” by post World War II western intellectuals as being “revolutionary” when these movements were (are), in reality, “reactionary phenomena.” 6
Augusto Del Noce and The Crisis of Modernity
As an aside, I had my regional library search for the book and they were able to borrow it on my behalf from a seminary / university located on the eastern U.S. seaboard. I’m told it was the only copy they had and, upon my receipt of the book, I saw it was brand new; it had never been read, in spite of the date-stamp inside showing it was accepted into the seminary’s library in July of 2015.
The contents of the book included the translator’s introduction, three main parts consisting of twelve chapters, and three appendices: The three main parts as follows:
Part One: Modernity, Revolution, Secularization
Part Two: The Advent of the Technocratic Society
Part Three: The Predicament of the West
Augusto Del Noce’s erudition and understanding of philosophy was broad and deep. During his life he obviously read scores, if not hundreds, of various writers in multiple languages and from all historical time periods. Moreover, his ability to recall and connect the various ideological “genealogies” to his own perception of modern political and social outcomes was beyond impressive.
The purpose of this post is NOT to provide an exhaustive chapter by chapter review of Del Noce’s “Crisis”, but to, instead, highlight some of his perspectives on modernity, tradition, scientism, power, dialectical politics, Gnosticism, Christianity, and the “permissive society” (and pursuant to my previous articles).
At the close of one of my articles from May 2017, I wrote the following:
Whether by the lens of the Romantic or the Classic worldview, people follow whatever, or whomever, they believe. Some on the path towards truth, or beauty, or excellence; whereas others simply submit to authority out of fear, or apathy, or lethargy; never knowing the Greek word for authority is “exousia”, which translates to “lordship”.
In the end, however, the majority of mankind finds value, often unto adoration, or even worship, in that which is served by their time and talent. It means on the road to any destination; towards excellence or mediocrity; good or evil, virtue or debauchery, ethics or relativism; stability or chaos; freedom or oppression; war or peace; law or anarchy; towards either a constitutional republic, a theocracy, a scientific dictatorship, or a soul-crushing totalitarian state, at every turn, on every path, and around every corner; all debates are rooted in theology. One way, or the other.
So I was gratified to read in “Crisis” a quote by the French philosopher Pierre-Joeseph Proudhon as follows: “…at the bottom of politics is always theology” 7 ; and I appreciated how Del Noce, a Catholic, keenly dismantled (what I view as) the modern Political Left’s deceptive inversion of the “separation of church and state” – because totalitarian secularism is, indeed, a metaphysical belief; even if it isn’t generally acknowledged as such.
As mentioned earlier, Del Noce saw through the veil of the “progressivist phenomenon”, identifying it as a “theology of secularization” and manifesting in modern Western Civilization as “scientism” and “eroticism”. 6
Tradition vs. Modernity & Authority vs. Power
In the first chapter of “Crisis”, entitled “The Idea of Modernity”, Del Noce reveals the etymology of the word “modern” as having a chronological meaning – whereas the word “modernity” is more akin to a philosophy 8, or as he saw it: A radical break from historical “transcendence” toward “immanentism”. 9
Much later, in the “Authority versus Power” chapter, Del Noce cited “the eclipse of the idea of authority” as an essential element of modernity and summarized the eclipse as “the disappearance of the idea of the Father” –particularly in regards to the “crisis of the family, of education, of the church”. 10
Del Noce identified the etymological root of the word “authority” as deriving from augere (to make grow) and tied to auxilium (help provided by a higher power), then demonstrated how modern subjectivism has associated the idea of “authority” with “repression” and “what stops growth”. And this is what Del Noce viewed as “the greatest among the reversals that have come to pass in history”. 11
A crucial point made by Del Noce is this: “the crisis of the idea of authority is linked with the crisis of the idea of tradition”; and, all throughout his writings, Del Noce considered the idea of tradition as derived from “tradere”, which is to “hand down”.
Just as parents have represented authority in the family, so do professional educators “hand down” knowledge that was… until recently in history… “understood as a process of elevation from the immediate experiences of the spirit to the recognition of the order of values.” 11
Now, modern teachers have become more “authoritarian” and less “authoritative” as conformity is prioritized in education. Del Noce argued that “participation in the [Christian] Word” allowed for a “communion of the spirits in one same truth” yet, today, the young seek to “emancipate themselves from the burden of the past and use the teacher as an instructor in the methods of liberation”. As a result, free-thinking students are coerced by the group and isolated if they don’t conform; thus, the teacher’s authority is used to “free” the student from potentially being isolated by the group. 12
Within the modern church, Del Noce defined the endpoint of the “theological revolution” as the “death of God”; and, in particular, the “death of God the Father in Jesus Christ.” 13
Del Noce described how the word “power” elicits the idea of “material force” affirmed by “external means” whereas spiritual authority is “interior in essence” involving the “primacy of the invisible”. Citing “common sense” as a “distinctive assertion of this metaphysics”, he revealed how contemporary culture views authority as a form of power, as a sociological and human notion, but no longer according to “the ‘eternal past,’ the authority of the gift of personal grace… and the authority of “legality’. 14
Viewing ideology as distinct from metaphysics, Del Noce described how conceiving authority as “reducible to the concept of power” coincides with the “Marxian option” and ultimately leads to “science extended to the human sphere” becoming “the only valid from of knowledge.” 15
Declaring the concept of “evidence” as the “great discovery of Greek metaphysics”, Del Noce claimed that “submission of the mind to evidence is more radical than submission obtained through force or persuasion” and thus has a “liberating nature” free from the pressure of lower or exterior forces”. Del Noce viewed “truth” as having “a super-human character, so that dependence on it coincides with liberation from domination by other men”. 16
Del Noce identified today’s permissive society as replacing “freedom to” with “freedom from” 17 and warned that “despotic regimes could establish themselves by promising happiness in exchange for freedom.” 18
While reading “Crisis” I grew a deeper appreciation of John Locke’s assertion of law preserving and enlarging freedom… and as contrasted with the World Economic Forum’s unconstitutional mandate: “You will own nothing and be happy”.
Although Del Noce acknowledged Marxism and psychoanalysis as “competing explanations of the worldly origin of ideas” he also admitted that it was “completely natural that somebody (and very soon) would think of unifying them” – and identified “the synthesis of Marxism and left-wing psychoanalysis as the only effective weapon against Christian civilization.” 19
Similarly, in another chapter entitled “The Ascendance of Eroticism”, Del Noce claimed the “decisive battle against Christianity could be fought only at the level of the sexual revolution. “ 20
Sex, Scientism, Marxism, & Revolution
Del Noce identified western civilization’s sexual revolution as a radical liberation from authority… the rejection of tradition… and “the rejection of metaphysical-religious thought.” 21
Could there be a better description of today’s Woke Clownworld? I don’t think so.
Subsequently, after reading Del Noce, it would appear that Marxism, Scientism, revolution, violence, and sex, all mix together in a mystical sort of alchemy:
Science, at least in the modern sense, studies reality as a system of forces, not of values. It provides instruments but it does not determine any goals. From the perspective of those who regard science as the only valid form of knowledge, one can speak of only one goal: incrementing vitality. …The sexual revolution is indeed the point of arrival of “scientism.”
– Del Noce, Augusto. “The Crisis of Modernity”, trans. Carlo Lancellotti, McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2014 , page 175
Throughout much of his writings and speeches, Del Noce referenced Austrian-American psychiatrist and psychoanalyst Wilhelm Reich (1897 – 1957) and his 1936 book “The Sexual Revolution”. Reich was a Marxist as well as a pupil of Sigmund Freud during the 1920s in Vienna. According to Del Noce, it was Reich who “wanted to replace class struggle with ‘struggle against repression’” 22 – which began in full force by the mid-twentieth century as interest in Reich’s writings were rekindled.
Reich believed sexual repression was why Bolshevism failed and claimed that “no power on earth” could stop “a sexual revolution in progress”.
Del Noce, however, did not consider Reich to be a “great thinker” 23 and, obviously, by default, those who shared Reich’s views. In 1970, Del Noce wrote the following:
… the writers who are the scourge of “hypocritical moralism” and claim that free sexual activity is “normal” are in fact pawns in the Communist game. …They have been often called “useful idiots”; based on how they show themselves capable of taking care of their own interests, I would rather call them “non-foolish servants,” while stressing they are still servants. It is well known that Russia hardly likes Communist parties in other countries to seize power by their own revolutionary strength. It is much better to have a situation in which all ethical and religious principles that could support an effective resistance disintegrate to such an extent that the only possibility at the political level is a puppet government, which in fact would be in a subordinate position. The fellow travelers, charged with the task of disintegration, have also been good at ensuring their own future.
– Del Noce, “The Crisis of Modernity”, pg.177
Replace the word “Russia” with “China” and doesn’t that assessment seem especially relevant to our time in history (particularly regarding the woke and fraudulent Biden administration)?
Del Noce also predicted how sex and scientism would transition into violence:
Now, what morality will flow from scientism? If science is neutral with respect to ideals and values, the same cannot be said about scientism, which suppresses metaphysics and claims to make science the exhaustive knowledge of reality. As we have already said, science regards reality as a system of forces. Hence, to the elevation of science to philosophy will correspond the elevation of force to value.
– Del Noce, “The Crisis of Modernity”, pg.154
Del Noce identified one of the most “insidious delusions” as the (perceived) “correlation between the sexual revolution and peacefulness”. He also called it a “tempting delusion” because of the old proverb: Those who feel good do not move – or, that is to say, that sexual happiness should free people from all kinds of resentments and aggressiveness. 24
This is wrong, according to Del Noce, because history demonstrates how permissive societies eventually transition into a “full-scale offensive against Christian civilization.” Del Noce identified “de-Christianization” as a “common feature” of “psycho-erotic-Freudian-Marxist” ideology in combination with “the magic power of the idea of negativity”. He furthermore disparaged “the inevitable appearance of friars and theologians who interpret drug use as the beginning of a form of mysticism”25…and he warned of the eventual outcome:
Surpassing Marxism on the ground of the sexual revolution leads, therefore, to total negativism, not only against civilization and values but also against the very principle of reality, and is accompanied by the most sacrilegious and blasphemous expressions. We should speak not of peace but rather of “permanent violence” as a replacement for the ideal of ‘permanent revolution’…
– Del Noce, “The Crisis of Modernity”, pg.183
An Inversion of Values: Christianity, Devil Worship, Tyranny
Del Noce argued that intrinsic to eroticism is the “sacred turned upside down” and added his insights relating to a 1986 book written by Georges Bataille entitled “Eroticism: Death and Sensuality”:
… ‘the development of eroticism is in no respect foreign to the domain of religion, but in fact Christianity sets its face against eroticism and thereby condemns most religions.’ …. It was Christianity that separated religion from eroticism which, not by chance, comes back punctually in all forms of heresy. Today is the time when all heresies seem to have gathered together.
‘The orgy is not associated with the dignity of religion… its potency is seen in its ill-omened aspects, bringing frenzy in its wake and a vertiginous loss of consciousness. The total personality is engaged, reeling blindly toward annihilation, and this is the decisive moment of religious feeling.’ … This is why sacrilege, black masses, the ‘Sabbaths, vowed in the lonely night to the secret cult of the god who was the other face of God,’” are essential.
This explains also the necessary link with devil worship…
– Del Noce, “The Crisis of Modernity”, pg.184-185
Del Noce summarized how the ascendance of eroticism causes any attempt at “repression” of such to be viewed as a “violation and a diminishment of democracy.” He argued that mainstream pornographic presentations promote “consequences separated from premises” under the guise of “freedom of thought” and said “rational argumentation” against such eroticism is an “appeal to irrational powers”. “Can democracy allow… [consequences separated from premises] without becoming a suicidal democracy?” he asks, and then concludes as follows:
…. Totalitarianism, considered in the aspect that makes it a new phenomenon irreducible to past forms of tyranny, is born precisely from the corruption of democracy, i.e., from the concessions that democracies make, because of a false idea of freedom, to those who manipulate the irrational.
– Del Noce, “The Crisis of Modernity”, pg.186
The Frankfurt School : Metaphysical Being vs. Social Being, the Permissive Utopia, and the New Man
Del Noce identified the presuppositionary original flaw of the Frankfurt School as perceiving progressive (revolutionary) thought verses conservative (reactionary) thought as true and false, respectively. In so doing, he claimed, “liberation becomes the criterion of truth” and from the perspective of replacing “metaphysical being” with “social being”. 26
Hence, the descent of (formerly transcendent) Western Civilization into atheistic secularism (immanentism), it would seem.
According to Del Noce, Gnositic Utopias take the form of virtue without sacrifice and while prioritizing “well-being”. Thus, by separating the idea of morality from that of sacrifice, the idea of the “initial fall” [of mankind] is abandoned in the pursuit of utopia:
… at our time in history heresies and utopias have all come together giving science the task of legitimizing them…. Historically, to the rise of every new science has corresponded the rise of a new form of utopia… the idea of the permissive society is the utopia that has accompanied the spreading of psychoanalysis…
– Del Noce, “The Crisis of Modernity”, pg.139
Del Noce identified the opposition between “repression and permisssiveness” as linked to “two opposite conceptions of the nature of values” thusly: 27
1.) The “common moral sense” traditional view that values are “immutable, that they possess an objective reality”. That values are absolute and “cannot be reduced to any psychological and sociological explanation (and thus to affective states or social situations)”. And considering “tradition” as derived from “tradere”, to “hand down”.
2.) Pursuant to Marx and Nietzsche: values viewed “as reflections of given historical situations, so that they cannot be abstracted from their context. Values subsist only within the movement of history, and they too are subjected to laws of birth and death. Hence, any transformation of the social condition, of the technical means of production and communications, etc, must produce a transformation of values.”
Del Noce addressed what he termed as the “semi-culture” as follows: “the outlook of those who receive from outside, from the mass media and thus from the groups who direct and control the flow of information, certain ‘new’ opinions and accept them without any serious consideration of the premise that shape them”, and he claimed the “semi-educated man‘ does not know what he does not know’”. (emphasis mine)
If that doesn’t perfectly describe our current propagandized Clownworld, I don’t know what else would.
Del Noce speculated what Nietzsche meant when he claimed “God is dead” and argued that the “idea of the permissive society requires that atheism be presupposed” – even claiming the Frankfurt School’s (gnostic) views on “Platonic purification and the modern idea of scientific-technical domination of nature as stages of the same process.” However, once people assume the “mystifying character of atheism”, they become “ensnared” by what Del Noce identified as the ‘‘heterogeneous of ends”. 28
As stated earlier, the heterogeneous of ends describes the simultaneous success and failure of Marxism; “that Marxism was bound to produce the exact opposite of what Marx intended, due to an intrinsic contradiction in its metaphysical assumptions”. Furthermore, Del Noce understood that Marxism is, in reality, defeated because “history had refuted its fundamental metaphysical assumption”, namely, the revolutionary transition to the ‘new man’”. 29 (emphasis mine)
The Gnostic Dreams of the “New Man” and the Inevitable Outcome
In Del Noce’s view, both ancient and modern forms of Gnosticism sought to escape reality. In antiquity, gnosis sought to free the soul from the world “in the name of divine transcendence” by atheistically denying God created the world and, thus, destroying the spirit of power within people. However, in modern “post-Christian” gnosis, “the exact opposite takes place”: 30
It would seem, therefore, that atheism occurs as the divine is eclipsed by materialism until all that remains is the human will to power:
The [ancient} Gnostic quest is about rules to free the soul from the world; conversely, post-Christian immanetism searches for rules to build an absolutely new world.
… a new gnosis – where “new” means at the same time “post-Christian” or “decayed or “degenerate,”… is the only possible formula that can be used to describe the process that led to the myths of modernity and of the Revolution (regardless of what adjective is used to specify it: political, scientific, technological) as a historical break that will make possible to transition to the “new man.”
— Del Noce, “The Crisis of Modernity”, pg. 295
Certainly, the gnostic conception of the “new man” would seem to shed more light on the metaphysics underlying transhumanism and transgenderism, would it not?
Accordingly, the process of building an earthly utopia (i.e. New World Order?), is something Del Noce labeled (borrowed from Voegelin?) as the “Immanentization of the Christian Eschaton”, or the….
…transition to the idea that man is capable of self-redemption (i.e. of achieving salvation through action. It is the conviction that the advent of the reign of perfection on earth will be fulfilled by a human initiative.
— Del Noce, “The Crisis of Modernity”, pg. 295
Correspondingly, Del Noce reminded us of where mankind has been and he has, additionally, warned us of where we are going again:
…totalitarianisms are founded on the negation of the universality of reason, so that any form of opposition to established power (in the broadest sense, be it cultural or political, supposedly does not express rational concerns but conceals interests of class (according to communism) or race (according to Nazism) … If one reflects about the relationship between [metaphysical] authority and evidence, it becomes clear that, ultimately, negating these two notions must necessarily lead to the persecutions, ending in elimination, of all dissenters.
– Del Noce, “The Crisis of Modernity”, pg.230
Referencing “degenerate gnosis”, Del Noce poses this question: “Why is a new Gnostic blind to the obvious fact that men lack cognitive tools to define the meaning and the end of history?”
Then, he answers that question thusly: “Because he has lost his faith, and he is looking for a surrogate to save himself from the abyss of desperation and nothingness”; and includes the following quotation from philosopher Eric Voegelin:
The more people are drawn or pressured into the Christian orbit, the greater will be the number amount them who do not have the spiritual stamina for the heroic adventure of the soul that is Christianity; and the likeliness of a fall from faith will increase…
– Del Noce, “The Crisis of Modernity”, pg.296
Del Noce labels gnosis in all its variations as a “single metaphysics” and an “anti-Christian philosophy”. Deriving from a fear of the supernatural, the new gnostics seek a “surrogate in ‘experiential alternatives’”. 31
Accordingly… in my own observations… it’s as if the disciples of the new religion seek not to love, but, rather, to be perceived as being loving… and they, at the same time, value self-expression above faith and repentance. What Del Noce labeled as “degenerate gnosticism” does, indeed, appear as a form of godliness while denying the sort metaphysical transcendent power that Christianity has demonstrated throughout history.
Consequently, Del Noce claimed the “new Gnosticism must reject the universality of reason and its foundation in the theory of the Logos”. He then added the following regarding what happens next:
Dictatorship is forced on them by the following contradiction: on the one hand, the followers of degenerate gnosis replace religion with politics as the road to human liberation; on the other, they cannot hope to succeed through persuasion because the [heaven on earth] immanentization of the eschaton is a theoretical fallacy. No matter what form of Gnosticism will prevail, believers in the ancient values will be ostracized and sentenced to the hell of social oblivion, precisely because of their morality and sincerity. And the sentence will be pronounced in the name of a new religious interpretation or of an unverifiable meaning of history (or of both at the same time). Such a sentence is a form of violence, because it strikes those who think in terms of truth – it destroys the truth of the soul… in the name of myth.
– Del Noce, “The Crisis of Modernity”, pg.302
It would appear Del Noce predicted the past as prologue: He defined the totalitarianism of the new Gnosis as a “regime that persecutes the ‘philaletes’ (lovers of truth), and because it creates a “dream world” founded upon “not recognizing reality”. He identified “degenerate gnosis” as a “quest for [material] power”, not for truth. 32
Right vs. Left: The Scientistic Anti-Traditionalism of Large-Scale Economic-Bureaucratic Organizations, Large Corporations, and Political Parties, as Fiefdoms
In a chapter entitled “Right and Left”, and beneath the subheading of “A RADICAL DETACHMENT FROM REALITY’, Del Noce wrote….
… the left is characterized by the utopian mindset, which expresses philosophically a radical detachment from reality. But, at the same time, it is dominated, contradictorily, by a frenetic lust for power. It is easy to understand by what dialectical process utopianism is destined to become a cover and justification for the most unscrupulous and realistic political action if it is brought to bear on real life. The complete absorption of [im]morality into politics – which leads to persecutions, terror, and, ultimately, the selfishness of a new ruling class, which is the endpoint of all revolutions – could never be achieved without the utopian component, which promises that humanity will reach peace, happiness, and security after such turmoil.
– Del Noce, “The Crisis of Modernity”, pg.249
Not only is the extreme left’s “alliance between power and the intellectuals” mandating utopia via “total revolution”, it goes even beyond that, according to Del Noce: Through the Nietzschean and atheistic casting aside of the Godhead, the scientific elite believe a “qualitative jump in the process of evolution which will lead from man to superman” is “about to take place”. 33
Del Noce believed that politics and culture are one in the same to the radical left and argued their “unsatisfied and unconscious needs for “transcendent reality” were projected from ideas by Marx and Freud – of which Del Noce connected to the twentieth-century French intellectual Jean-Marie Domenach’s “passion for the limitless”.
Regarding this embrace of ideological negation, Del Noce summarized revolutionary atheism as “a sort of horizontal transcription of negative theology” because… without God, what remains is limitless and formless; values are reduced to ideology and since “the handing down of values is eliminated”, any “continuity of the past” is rejected. In turn, tradition appears as “the dead trying to suffocate and kill the living” until the negativity transitions into an “acceptance of reality that presents itself as raw power”… and… then… “the task of the politician changes, by a dialectic metamorphosis, into that management technique at the service of the strongest.” Moreover, Del Noce claimed the exact outcome occurs with “today’s technocratic right” as the ruling class further separate from the masses as ideology eclipses values and becomes an “instrument of power”. 34
Referencing the French May Revolution and the Surrealist Revolution, Del Noce identified the formula of pure negation as a “complete divorce from reality”, “extreme desecration”, and with this statement: “All that is must collapse in front of what it must become.” 35
This pure negation is also referred twice in “Crisis” as Friedrich Engels’ “teaching of dialectical thought”: “Everything that exists deserves to die.” (a quote by Mephistopheles in Goethe’s Faust.) 36
Although the political right opposes the left’s negation via affirmation, and reactionary reaffirmation, of values and being, Del Noce considered Catholics as in between right and left. He believed Catholicism was “divided” and having reached a climax in the twentieth century – between men of the left (advancement of the human condition in the name of ideals) and men of the right (preservation of principles). 37
Yet, even as more of those who call themselves Catholic have drifted further into leftist negation since Del Noce died in 1989, it only proves the continuing validity of his warnings against the “negations against metaphysics” that are inherent to Marxism and Scientism:
…. accepting all the negations against metaphysics formulated by theoretical Marxism… leads to the “totalitarian” view of science as the “only” true knowledge. According to this view, every other kind of metaphysical or religious knowledge expresses only “subjective reactions,” which science, extended to the human world through psychological and sociological disciplines, is able or will be able to explain. Such scientific totalitarianism can be called scientism.
– Del Noce, “The Crisis of Modernity”, pg.231
Del Noce summarizes scientism as the “hatred a priori against every form of transcendence” and claims modern science only knows “horizontal causality,” searching only for “laws as constant relationship between phenomena”. Again, he identified science as viewing reality as a system of forces, not of values.
Moreover, the amazingly prescient Del Noce foresaw “scientistic anti-traditionalism” that could “be represented only by large-scale economic-bureaucratic organizations” as “all higher values collapse”. He viewed the “essential element of totalitarianism” as the “refusal to recognize the difference between ‘brute reality’ and ‘human reality’ so that it becomes possible to describe man… as a ‘raw material’ or as a form of ‘capital’.” 38
It appears Del Noce predicted modernity’s Woke disintegration amid rampant corporatism, scientism, globalism, World Economic Forum-style gaslighting, cultural cancellation, geopolitical alignments, and the inadequacy of “left / right” politics in opposing the “new totalitarian reality”:
Unlike Communist totalitarianism as a “secular religion,” which is able to establish some continuity with tradition… the new totalitarianism is a totalitarianism of “disintegration” because the complete negation of tradition coincides with the negation of all “fatherlands.” As a result, large corporations and political parties take the semblance of fiefdoms, and only foreign powers can play the role of mediators between them.
This could be how the “sunset of the West will take place. It has been a growing possibility, constantly progressing and accelerating… For now, a future extension to the whole world of this destructive form of totalitarianism is remote possibility, given the forms of nationalism and imperialism that are strong in other countries. If that extension were to happen, the historical process of the modern age would conclude with the reappearance of slavery, with the enslavement of those who are defeated in the political and cultural wars. Incidentally, this leads to a very unconventional judgment about “Russian imperialism,” which is actually “obligatory” in order to not give in to the process of disintegration.
… In the context of these propositions, it becomes clear that the current political formulas are completely inadequate…
..All that people on the right do, essentially, is identify totalitarianism with Stalinism and deny that Communism might undergo a democratic evolution… People on the left evoke the ghost of a Fascist threat… and to some kind of ill-defined “American imperialism”… There are also centrists who want to oppose all forms of totalitarianism, both Communist and Fascist. What utterly escapes all three positions is the new totalitarian reality that is taking shape.”
Del Noce, “The Crisis of Modernity”, pg. 95-96
Based upon mistaken interpretations of history and modernity, and in correlation with Nietzche’s predicted “advent of nihilism”, Del Noce argued that “secularization theology” accompanied the transition from the revolutionary idea to the scientistic-technological society. Certainly, the future did not look necessarily bright from Del Noce’s perspective, even decades ago. He warned of the “messianic aspect” in Communism as ultimately eclipsing the values of the past and creating a “most complete vacuum”: 39
What is left, if not a human being disconnected from the past and without hope for the future, deprived of a community based on values, so that we can speak, as a general form, of an individual without a person?
…But this we can say from the secularist perspective, the end of Christianity could only be envisioned precisely in the form in which the theologians of secularization intend to achieve it, regardless of their degree of awareness.
– Del Noce, “The Crisis of Modernity”, pg. 285-286
Del Noce identified the “Fascist” as the complete incarnation of the “repressive type” which allows propaganda to claim cultural “permissivism” as representing “the fullness of anti-Fascism”. 40
ANTIFA versus MAGA, anyone?
Marxism is revolutionary which, in turn, engenders reactionary politics (including eventual warfare) from those on the right side of the political spectrum (including what has been labeled as the fascist right).
People act on what they believe, hence the metaphysical influences throughout history within politics, economics, science, religion, and culture. Subsequently, as history shows, each sequential civilizational turning has amplified in direct correlation with advancements in technology.
In our digital age: science, faith, politics, and economics are being coalesced on a global scale… and according to the construct of Scientism.
Therefore, people will choose according to transcendent objective truth… or… secular/historical materialism.
Those are the battle lines now.
In modernity, there exists genuine virtue that is real, and virtue signaling which is fraudulent. There is science and there is Scientism. There is objective truth and there is emotionalism; reason or feelings; knowledge or deception; truth-tellers versus wizards.
Some choose what to believe while others choose who to believe. Then they act on their beliefs in faith – many with courage and others acting out of self-concern and cowardice.
In reading Augusto Del Noce, it would appear that Clownworld has manifested in this manner: Atheism precedes a faith in relativism which soon transitions to nihilism and, ultimately, violence in the expression of power.
A slippery slope, indeed.
Del Noce referenced the characteristics of totalitarianism as revealed in philosopher Eric Voegelin’s 2001 book “The Myth of the New World” as follows: A “ban of the questions” leads to the purposeful “obstruction of reason”. Then, what begins as a persecution of religion will eventually mutate into the persecution of reason, in every totalitarian system. 41
What is pure power when not subject to morality? Force. Del Noce was correct in saying: “Where force is absolutely sovereign, justice is absolutely unreal.” 41
As another aside, in closing, let me just say that any misinterpretations (and/or oversights) regarding Del Noce are mine alone. The “Crisis of Modernity” contains an epic amount of content and I would not be surprised if any experts in all things Del Noce accuse me of remembering him wrong. Should that be the case, I welcome any such discussion in the comment sections. This article was a result of my reading “Crisis” and highlighting that which I, personally, found relevant to our time in history and pursuant to the content of my previous articles.
In the second appendix of “Crisis”, Del Noce said his insights were to “stimulate reflection” and that “providing solutions” was “beyond the scope of this brief work.” 42
Perhaps, therefore, if solutions are to be found, a good start might be to apply Del Noce’s insights toward the objectives of restoring Logos, logic, love, and law in our own communities first, and, then, beyond.
1. Del Noce, Augusto. “The Crisis of Modernity”, trans. Carlo Lancellotti, McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2014 , page ix
2. Ibid., page x
3. Ibid., page 80
4. Ibid., page xiii
5. Ibid., page xv
6. Ibid., pages xx-xxi
7. Ibid., page 250
8. Ibid., page 3
9. Ibid., page 6
10. Ibid., page 189
11. Ibid., page 190
12. Ibid., page 191
13. Ibid., page192
14. Ibid., page 193
15. Ibid., page 194
16. Ibid., page 195
17. Ibid., page 205
18. Ibid., page 207
19. Ibid., page 214
20. Ibid., page 177-178
21. Ibid., page 217
22. Ibid., page 176
23. Ibid., page 175
24. Ibid., page 182
25. Ibid., page 183
26. Ibid., page 218
27. Ibid., pages 139-140
28. Ibid., pages 141-142
29. Ibid., page xiv
30. Ibid., page 294
31. Ibid., pages 296-297
32. Ibid., pages 302-303
33. Ibid., page 252
34. Ibid., page 254
35. Ibid., page 258
36. Ibid., pages 43 & 253
37. Ibid., page 260
38. Ibid., page 232
39. Ibid., pages 285-286
40. Ibid., page 138
41. Ibid., page 233
42. Ibid, page 286 (from a 1983 article entitled “Notes on Secularization and Religious Thought”)