The Deterritorialization and Colonialization of Space and Time
If we consider how the development of philosophy has evolved as a discipline of study in Western European scholarship, what we would find are the self-contained developments of ideas made in the process of constructing philosophical systems of ideology that reflect Western European consciousness. To a certain extent, this would appear to be as it should but only in relation to Modernist ideology as the beliefs and interests of the dominant socio-political power structure of the existing status quo. Stated differently, from the perspective of the citizenry, such self-contained systems of thought could never be said to authentically represent the beliefs and interests of all citizens as, for example, in the case of colonized territories. In this context, if we further consider the implications of such self-serving closed belief systems, we would be better served if we could identify a line of demarcation to distinguish between those for whom the closed systems are intended to work and those for whom they are not.
The line of demarcation that we seek has already been provided in Latin American philosophy in the works of Enrique Dussel. Specifically, we need only consider such self-serving closed systems from their radical exteriority. Once again, in the deconstructionist observations of Jacques Derrida, we need only trace the elements of such structured and closed systems in order to reveal the first principles standing outside of the closed system while yet informing its’ structure. It is in this sense, and in the analysis of the relation between the colonizers and the people they have colonized, that we can most easily understand how the deterritorialization of the colonizer’s ideology serves their own self-interests in the furtherance of their domination and control over the lives of the people they have colonized.
That is, what can we consider the true significance of the deterritorialization of Western European ideology to be and how can it be said to impact the people of colonized territories? When we examine a Western European philosophy such as Capitalism, there is an inherent assumption regarding the alleged neutrality of the philosopher and philosophical reasoning that it entails (Maldonado-Torres:2007). This, however, as Maldonado-Torres has shown, is an erroneous assumption. Consider, for example, what Karl Marx may have had in mind when he was thinking about the means of production, the proletariat and the economic structure of capitalism in the United States. Would it be fair to say that the structure of a capitalist society in a colonized territory would function identically with respect to the means of production, the proletariat and a colonized labor force? By eliminating the territoriality of systems of Western European philosophical thought, the colonizer is able to maintain a cloak of invisibility over notions of economic equality and justice. Furthermore, under the conditions of ideological invisibility that accompanies the deterritoriality of colonialized ideology, the idea of being able to produce viable theories of social reform to equally serve the needs of people living in colonized territories is virtually impossible. In this context, well intended social scientists would be unable to breach the iron cage of the colonizer’s theoretical assumptions regarding what may or may not be in the best interests of the colonized citizenry. We must bear in mind that such well-intended social scientists would themselves have to operate against a false ideological background and the systems of domination and control that maintains a stranglehold over the lives and consciousness of the colonized.
When we think of the colonizer’s ideology from a radical exteriority, we must also be mindful of having to assume our own perspective of critical consciousness in the process. That is, our understanding of the colonizer’s ideology is not the only factor that needs to be considered. Stated differently, following the development of an ideology from the radical exterior is only one half of the necessary equation that is required to decolonialize our mindset and way of thinking. There is also a temporality that serves to impact the coloniality of power and knowledge. The difficulty in acknowledging such a notion of temporality is that it is a matter of accessing our own aesthetic sensibility (Quijano:2000).
From the radical exteriority of scientific sensibilities, there is no causal relation or reason for allowing time to enter into our understanding of colonialized ideology. However, from our individual and collective sense of self, the obviousness of time’s impact is an essential part of understanding the coloniality of power and knowledge. When we say that a specific ideology that is generated under the context of Western European sensibilities is contained within a closed system, we are simultaneously encapsulating such a closed system within the framework of a specific point in time. It is only by including the notion of time used in this manner that we can even come to understand the notion of evolution and development of ideas.
However, when time is used in this context it becomes a delimiting factor for our considerations. In the early twentieth century it was common for horses pulling wagons to wear what were called blinders to prevent them from being able to see what they may be pulling. In this same way, the structure of a closed and self-contained ideological system also serves to prevent an objective examination of the system itself. This is why the structurality of the system is able to maintain its internal integrity. With respect to the colonialized members of a conquered territory, the longer the colonizers maintain their’ stranglehold over the colonized, the more the dominance of the colonizer will overcome the consciousness of the colonized and, over time, the more overt means of domination will be able to recede in favor of an implicit control over the consciousness of the colonialized citizenry.
The effect of time’s delimitation of colonialized citizens is, at least in one way, manifest in the inability of its’ colonialized citizenry to imagine alternative realities or possibilities. This is to say that the colonizer’s way of the world becomes the only way imaginable for its citizenry. In other words, after living over a long period of time acquiring the necessities of life under the colonialized power structure of the colonizer, the tangible necessities of life themselves will have been used to reinforce the ideology of the colonizer in the consciousness of the colonized and in time it even becomes possible to have members of the colonized assist in the control over others that are colonized without even realizing that they have also become completely colonialized on behalf of the colonizer’s ideology. The colonizer’s ideology begins to disappear to become our own national ideology and time serves to swallow the colonial past under the horizon of history.
What we come to realize in examining the notions of space and time from the radical exteriority of the colonizer’s ideology, then, is the revelation that the historical process itself is an essential element in the development of the institutions of colonial domination. Thus, we are now able to see a doubling regarding the axes of power used by the colonizer to dominate the consciousness of the colonized, a process that can be thought of as a colonial double axes (Mignolo:2007). In terms of our accepted world history we are better able to understand how the notion of Global Expansion and the capitalist economic model upon which it is driven, places
itself and its’ core of the Western European worldview as the focal point of enunciation for the control and domination of the world as a whole, while leaving the voices and opinions of other world entities in a position of subservience. Stated differently, in the expansionist ideology of Western European ideology, we are once again being given a worldview that cast Western European ideology in the context of civilization and all other world entities to be seen in the position of barbarism. From the radical exterior, this process is no stranger to third world underdeveloped countries, women, and people of color. This is in every way shape and form the ideology of the conqueror seeking world domination.