Sunday, October 19, 2014

Ukraine as Medium and Message: From Apeiron to Peras, from Limit to Chaos and Back

Marshall McLuhan famously quipped that “the Medium is the Message.” The message is oftentimes a cliché, and media as well as political discourses are abundantly sinning in this area. A cliché as message that kills thought, understanding, and the meaning, is also a common, stereotypical political method. In order to see more and to understand better what is at stake, it is, however, necessary to pass through the trivial and hence also further into the heart of McLuhan’s formula. 

While many clichés and ready-made stereotypes surround the war in Ukraine, the meaning and importance of the war is not trivial at all. On the contrary, Ukraine, which means a frontier, is not only in many ways a limit of numerous fundamental processes, but also their breaking point where the hitherto existing system is being unhinged, and one of the reasons is the strange comeback of fascism as a potent political force standing at the edge of the evolution of the post-Soviet oligarchic regime. 

The battle for Ukraine is a battle for a new world order in which the continuous existence of existing truths (or clichés) is no longer guaranteed, and neither is the existing system (or the existence of some of today’s states). 

Ukraine plunged through Maidan (and maidanschik means swindler and thief) into apeiron (or chaos and war) and, at the same time, in Ukraine, the existing order has run into its critical limit, perhaps even into its end (peras). According to McLuhan himself, a moment of such a character means reversal. That is to say, certainly no trivial reversal. It can be thus argued that, with Ukraine, the ground is moving, opening not only a possible abyss, but also opening and revealing the hitherto obscured meanings of Russia, Ukraine, Europe, the EU, the US, but also of capitalism, oligarchy, Nazism, enslavement, and the ambiguous relations in which the media relate either to our political awakening or deeper and deeper slumber. 

In Ukraine, the ground of the new order of human things is now being forged and fought over. The issue and its antagonism is fundamental. It goes down to the very root of the question about what it means to be human. 

The question has been posed again with a great urgency and it has to be answered. 

If Nazism is back, then also man’s very best needs to be called up to fight it as well.

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