America's Shadow: An Anatomy of Empire by William V. Spanos

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By William V. Spanos

A learn of imperialism that stretches from historic Rome to the post-Cold struggle international, this provocative paintings boldly revises our assumptions in regards to the family tree of the West. instead of finding its resource in classical Greece, William V. Spanos argues, we must always glance to historic Rome, which first articulated the information that may turn into primary to the West's imperial venture. those founding rules, he claims, have proficient the yankee nationwide id and its overseas coverage from its origins.

The Vietnam conflict is on the middle of this publication. within the contradiction among the "free international" common sense hired to justify U.S. intervention in Vietnam and the genocidal practices used to achieve that good judgment, Spanos unearths the end result of an imperialistic discourse attaining again to the colonizing reason of the Roman Empire. Spanos identifies the language of enlargement within the "white" metaphors in Western philosophical discourse because the colonization of Greek idea through the Romans. He exhibits how those metaphors, and their position in metaphysical discourse, have lengthy been complicit within the violence of imperialism.

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For the movement of distancing and mediation in the process of inquiry eventuates in the sundering of Dasein from being and the reduction of each to a singular, clear, and self-present status. This operation is usually referred to as the transformation of being-in-the-world into a subject-object binary. But to estrange the sedimented meaning of this verbal counter — and to draw attention to its relevance to the imperial project proper — I think it preferable as well as more accurate to refer to this splitting of Dasein from being as one in which the encompassing (Apollonian) eye and its 16 The Ontological Origins of Occidental Imperialism seminal light are separated from and privileged over the other more immediate and truant senses in the pursuit of knowledge about being.

I will amplify on this indissoluble relationship between Western philosophy and literature in the next chapter by way of interrogating certain representative passages from two canonical Western literary figures of the modern period whose poetry and criticism have had an enormous cultural influence, especially in England and North America, namely, Matthew Arnold and T. S. Eliot. Here it will suffice to say that both, like Hegel, invoke the idea of "comprehensive vision" in knowledge production in the name of "intellectual deliverance" (Arnold), but their articulation of its meaning clearly suggests that its real end is the willful spatialization and pacification of time and the difference it disseminates under the aegis of the imperial eye.

Thus perceiving meta-ta-physika produces and validates the essential logic of the ontotheological tradition. This is, of course, the hierarchized binary logic that enables the first, "major" term — the term representing a self-present and plenary object — to demonize the second, "minor" or "subaltern," term: the term representing an entity that is not present to itself. This binary logic, in other words, empowers the privileged term to represent the Other as nonbeing (spectral), as some kind of arbitrary threat to Being — the benign total order to which the first term is committed — and thus to subdue and appropriate this Other to the latter's essential truth.

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