From Apocalyptic to Messianic: Philosophia Universalis

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From Apocalyptic to Messianic: Philosophia Universalis

ABSTRACT: Perhaps for the first time in history, the turn of a millennium is directly reflected in philosophy-as an apocalyptic end of philosophy. Recently, an attempt to channel apocalyptic into messianic has been undertaken by Derrida in his Spectres of Marx. However, Derrida's endeavor does not relate directly to philosophy and thus does not alter its apocalyptic landscape. Considering the critical state of contemporary philosophy, it is unclear whether such an alteration can be performed in the West. A radical reinterpretation appears to be much more probable when undertaken from an outside position. It may be that this is the case with the Philosophia Universalis developed by the Russian-American David Zilberman (1938-1977) from classical Hindu philosophies and applied, as a new synthesis, to Western philosophy. Major ideas of the Philosophia Universalis as well as its principal results and achievements comprise the content of this presentation.

It is a miraculous feeling:

You are touching cinders,

But because of your touchz

They blush — they turn into diamonds."

David Zilberman

Contemporary Western philosophy is eschatological through and through; bread of apocalypsis is philosophical daily bread there for quite a long time already. (1) One may argue who introduced what Derrida calls 'an apocalyptic tone in philosophy' (2) — Derrida himself, Heidegger, or, even earlier, Nietzsche, Marx, or Kant. It appears, however, that the very idea of the end of philosophy is taken seriously. As any end, the end of philosophy means death, and thus, as Derrida elaborates on in his Spectres of Marx, entails funeral, eulogy, spectres, and sentiment of irretrivable loss. Could it be otherwise? Would it be possible to philosophize at (on) the end? Could philosophy be an eschatology and still remain a living thing?

Questions of death and rebirth, ends and new beginnings are among those fashionable ones in contemporary philosophy. They have been raised lately, among others, by Derrida in his indepth and novel analysis of apocalyptic and messianic. (3) This exploration, obviously inhereting to philosophical intentions of M. Blanchot, E. Levinas, and V. Benjamin, results in a broad picture of a world organized under the idea of the "new International", a messianic structure of the future ought to replace (and actually replacing, according to Derrida) apocalyptic discourses of today. Messianic as a structure of experience within community without community, party, political structure, as focused around some secret unindentified bond between those accepted into it, appears to be the widest possible description of the human world to come.
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