Alexandre Kojève’s lectures on Hegel’s Phenomenology that took place at the Ecole pratique des hautes études in Paris between 1933 and 1939 defined postwar radical thought. He spoke of the End of History in a somehow less triumphant way than Fukuyama. Allan Stoekl sums it up in an introduction to Blanchot’s The Most High:
“With history closed, time will cease and therefore so will ‘man’. But what will remain? Kojève is indifferent; perhaps ‘man’ will once again be an animal, with a language like that of bees. The State at the end of history will be a kind of higher order nature, lacking all the elements that make for a human experience – history, progress, conflict. But no, Kojève later corrects himself: negativity, destruction in labor, will remain; only now it obviously cannot serve a purpose. All humankind will engage in purely formal exercises, like /…/ the Japanese. Tea ceremonies, the Noh theater, the spectacle of formal dress will replace useful labor in ‘the struggle.’ We will all be dandies, in other words.”
We will all be dandies and we will be calling ourselves leftists. We shall have our picnic ceremonies in the park, updating our Noh avatars and windowdressing with the name Andy permanently engraved on our lips.
We shall be the endless ending of the end.
Artwork: Jork Weismann