Global Expansion & Latin America

With his emphasis on the mechanisms of internal and transnational colonization, Habermas points out a problem that has recently been approached, from other perspectives, by theorists like Edward Said, Homi Bhabha and Gayatri Spivak: colonialism is not something that affects only certain countries, social groups or individuals of the “Third World”, but a shared global experience, which concerns both the old colonizers and the old … colonized. The territorial and nationalist colonialism of modernity has led to a postmodern, global and deterritorialized [form of] colonialism.

Santiago Castro-Gomez

The modern era takes as its starting point the beginning of the seventeenth century with the publication of Novum Organum in 1620 by Sir Francis Bacon. This text receives credit for being the first publication to explicitly lay out the fundamental tenets of scientific methodology. Subsequently, this methodology has served as the basis for the Modernist  ideology  that  has  dominated  Western  European  consciousness ever  since. Prior to its publication, the notion of truth was regionally determined by kings, religions, or the use of force. This produced a lack of consistency that turned truth into a relativistic conglomeration of uncertainty. We should bear in mind that these observations were evident throughout Western European societies. Alternatively, scientific methodology provided a consistent basis for truth that could be verified by empirical investigation. This major paradigm shift took hold throughout Western European societies and became the standard basis for what can be regarded as absolute truth and remained so until the first half of the twentieth century.

The character of truth was once again transformed, however, during the first half of the twentieth century. This time the major paradigm shift focused on the absolute characteristic of truth that was believed to be inherent in the notion of scientific methodology. During this period the advent of Quantum Mechanics was developed and provided the scientific community with the ability to study the behavior of wave particles at a subatomic level. It was shortly thereafter that the German physicist Werner Heisenberg introduced what is now called the Heisenberg Principal of Uncertainty. What Heisenberg discovered was that one cannot determine the location and velocity of subatomic particles simultaneously because of being in a constant state of motion. Stated simply, this discovery meant that scientists were on longer able to pinpoint what we consider to be reality.

The  Principal  of  Uncertainty  most  drastically  impacted  the  Logical  Atomists whose objectives were first stated in the text, Principia Mathematica, written by Alfred Whitehead and Bertrand Russel at the turn of the nineteenth and twentieth century’s. The objective of the logical atomists was to produce what could be considered as a “picture perfect” language based on science. The prized pupil of the logical atomists was Ludwig Wittgenstein who, with his publication of Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus in 1922, had finally produced a scientific language that fulfilled the objectives of logical atomists.

It was during this very same period that the German physicist Werner Heisenberg was developing the principal of uncertainty. It was in this way that the basis for scientific truth lost its foothold on its’ inherent notion of scientific certainty. The absolute truth or Certainty Principal that served as the basis for scientific investigation was now shown to be invalid. It was, therefore, necessary to develop a new foundation for scientific truth. The philosopher Karl Popper was quick to provide a relativistic notion of truth termed the “Principal   of   Falsifiability”   that   basically   holds   that   the   products   of   scientific investigation are to be taken as true until such time that they can be disproved by further scientific investigation. This notion of truth still serves as our basis for scientific investigation.

The  next  major  paradigm  shift  in  Western  European  ideology  is  currently unfolding in this the early part of the twenty-first century. However, this paradigm shift can no longer be considered North American, Western European, or Continental in scope or reach. Instead, we now exist in a time of Global Expansion or Global Unification, depending on philosophical orientation. By way of over-simplification, the difference between Global Expansion and Global Unification is inherently identical to that of the colonizer and the colonized. Global expansion refers to the expansion of the colonialized notion of capitalism and its ever expanding desire to conquer the basic world order. Alternatively, global unification is a phenomena that is simultaneously being realized by colonialized groups around the world and their mutual efforts to decolonialize their way of thinking to revert to their own beliefs and ideology regarding being in the world. In this context, our global paradigm shift will determine the very future of the world and the natural state of humanity.

When we view our shared planetary home in terms of an economic world system (Wallerstein:1974) we come to better understand the manner by which such a modernist and capitalist system has been able to expand its power and control over ever larger portions of the globe. However, in terms of the lives of the inhabitants of these colonialized territories, the concept of Transmodernity (Mignolo:2011) serves to help us better understand how the transformation of Wallerstein’s world systems could come to include the simultaneous expansion and control of human consciousness based on a Christianized view of what a civilized world should be. In this way the Western European modernist ideology maintains its control over the civilizing process as based on its own self-authorizing ideological beliefs.

When viewed in such a manner, we can start to better understand the true significance of colonial expansion by European countries across the globe. To be sure, this global process or infestation into other inhabited parts of the world is so much more than mere colonialized capitalist expansion. The entrenchment of colonialized ideology presents us with a self-contained, self-authorizing and self-reinforced system of power and control. In this context, the axes of social stratification could come to be recognized as being structured along the lines of race, gender and cultural difference. What’s worst, such a design of the inferior valuations of others was consistently reinforced and propagated by the institutions of colonialized territories. This, in turn, has produced a colonialized mindset in the consciousness of the people inhabiting these territories. Therefore, the threat to our future as human beings can now be understood as expansive and, more importantly, as a real threat to further entrench itself throughout the world with the         implementation   of   its   own   self-serving   legitimacy   and   global   hegemony (Quijano:2002).

Latin American philosophy can be better understood by the manner in which Latin scholars have de-structed (Dussel:1996) this process of attempted hegemonic control over humanity’s future. There are three revealing perspectives expressed in the works of Latin American philosophers that we must consider in order to understand the timely contributions they have made to the attempted domination of our world order. By way of a critical deconstruction of global expansion, we need to examine the colonialization process and how it serves to deterriatorialize and negate the concept of space in establishing its dominance over the consciousness of colonialized peoples (Maldonado- Torres:2007). Such a form of dominance over the consciousness of colonialized people also carries with it the colonialization of the notion of time (Quijano:2000) and it can be argued that these notions of space and time converge to reveal an axes of power in the radical exteriority of the modernist institutions of colonial domination (Mignolo:2007).