Daria Dugina, Philosophy as Destiny

Speech on the occasion of the presentation of a diploma to the winner of the award The Face of the Nation. Fighters of the Invisible Front 2022 to Daria Alexandrovna Dugina, 2 February 2023.

Life as an 'intelligent way of doing things'

Life in today's world presupposes and even requires an enormous effort on our part, not only in worldly matters and outward movements. Above all, it requires an effort of the mind, of thought - a mental effort, a "mental doing" as it was called in the monastic tradition of the "holy fathers", w this praxis of the Mind is necessary not only to make a "distinction", diacrisis, as the Greek Platonists used to say, to distinguish one from the other - the precious from the non-precious, the good from the bad, the casual from the fatal, but for something much greater and more significant... We live in a damaged, twisted world, in a broken civilisation whose backbone is broken, as is its perception of vertical and hierarchical superiority. An intelligent effort is needed to restore the proportions of this intelligent hierarchical world, the model for which was created by Plato, and that is Platonism.

The imperative of Platonism

Daria Dugina chose the pseudonym Platonov and devoted herself to the study of Platonism and Platonic philosophers. The American A. Whitehead once said that the entire world's philosophy is nothing but Plato's margin notes. By engaging with Platonism - we get to the centre of the typhoon, to the heart of the problem of meaning generation, of the creation of thought structures, of the mind, of history, of cultures, of civilisations... Dasha knew this and deliberately chose this path. The way of the mind is dangerous. People fear the mind like fire.  Once, the city authorities of Athens had the wisest thinker of Greece and of all humanity, Socrates, executed; the people of Alexandria murdered the Neo-Platonic philosopher Hypatia. Today, the elites of the Western world hate free thinking in a vicious and totalitarian manner. They kill and intend to kill thinkers, philosophers, sages, prophets, geniuses - all those who do not think about the fate of mankind in unison with the group of villains who have taken over the modern global discourse, who are about to shut down the Human Project altogether, turning it into a clone, a computer, information in the cloud. Daria Dugina knew that this reasoned obscurantism had to be countered first and foremost by Mind: thought, idea, concept, design. She chose Platonism as the focus of this struggle.

The two-storey structure of Platonism

Plato created an intelligent and coherent two-storey world, in which the ideas, models, forms of things and events of the world floated in the upper storey, while in the lower storey dwelt matter and things themselves, which existed by contemplating the ideas-Logos and imitating them as their celestial models. Thus was constructed the hierarchy of Heaven and Earth, a hierarchy of ideas at the head of which shone the idea of the Good, or the One: the inexpressible, the inexpressible, beyond all that could or could not be thought. Platonism described an intellectual and intelligent structure of the world, open from above. It placed man at the centre of a vertical hierarchy as a kind of mediator between worlds. By contemplating ideas, man ensured that the world was constructed and things were produced, echoing the celestial archetypes. This model of the world has existed for millennia. Its structures, hierarchies, scales of ascent and descent are reflected in all the world's religions. Man in it is a 'being who ascends' (towards Spirit, Goodness, Truth, Beauty, Justice, the One), and sometimes returns (Plato's Myth of the Cave) and climbs back up Jacob's ladder, the ladder of spiritual perfection. This ascent of man, his perfection, his transubstantiation, is the goal of life.

Becoming and the dark side of freedom

However, the world deteriorates over time, man becomes foolish. In one way or another came the Modern and then the Postmodern, which is partly what we find ourselves in today. The 20th century French postmodernist Gilles Deleuze falsifies Plato - only in the margins of his writings - fundamentally distorting the Platonic image of the world. Deleuze argues that Platonism was not talking about the dualism between ideas and matter, but about the duality of matter itself: that which welcomes ideas, that is, copies, and that which avoids the influence of ideas altogether, hides from them, escapes the influence of the intelligent model, the Logos. In the world, our most popular Western philosopher tells us, there are things that slip away, avoiding any form, any definition. He calls this 'pure becoming', 'infinite', 'shadow of the copy', 'copy without the original' or 'simulacrum'. According to Deleuze, such indefinable things and persons, who elude the idea, the Logos, are not completely without measure, but this measure is not above them, but below them, in the subsoil of their existence. They do not remain in the shadow of the One Creator, of the highest heavenly meanings, but under the spell, the hypnosis of a mad element that lives below that order which in the Platonic universe things receive from the Logos, the world of Mind and ideas.

Deleuze's two worlds: copies and simulacra

Thus Deleuze establishes two worlds: one governed by the mundane Mind, which receives models and forms from the celestial spheres, and this world appears to Deleuze as decrepit, not free, not dynamic, totalitarian. It is the world of a fixed reality, of a fixed certainty, and therefore the world of 'pauses' and 'stops', with a clumsy language to describe it, to speak of it.

The second world, new and beautiful, comes to the aid of the old, bringing with it flowing meanings, a flowing, light element of flux, and a 'rebellious becoming' without pauses and stops.

Through the immobility and rigidity of the old hierarchical world of ideas and things (it is not difficult to guess that this is the Platonic world of double arguments), Deleuze's second world, the world of paradoxical becoming, appears like a ghost, where everything is fluid to the point that the meanings of past and future are identical, where before and after, plus and minus, cause and effect, excess and deficiency, crime and punishment merge in an inexplicable concord and inter-transformation. We enter a world without limits that are transgressed - hence the world of crime, of lawlessness. It is a world of mutual reversibility of events, i.e. a place where reason is problematised. Deleuze likes the idea that alongside formalised things and beings there are indeterminate events and that on their surface even smaller events, which he calls 'effects', are stirring. Effects are fluid, light, ungrounded, arbitrary, spontaneous.

Man as event

"What is a wound on the surface of the body?", Deleuze asks himself. Is it a dense thing with its own status? Is it an effect, a small event that 'does not even exist, but only persists for a while in its manifestation', becomes, possesses a minimum of being.

What are we ourselves? Isn't human life, including our self, our inner summit, which we revere as subject, our world, our dream, Deleuze suggests, just a blind churning on the surface of some event? We are only a slight creaking on the surface of being. A rustling of paper, a kind of mist that moves at the edges of things.

What is the redness of iron, the redness of the face?, asks Deleuze. It is a mixture of reds and greens. We too are mixtures, mingling, for better or worse, with things.

Deleuze's 'world of effects' mixes and spreads. In it we move in an infinite Aeon of becoming.

There is no All in the world,' argues the master of French rhetoric, 'that orders and is responsible for the metamorphosis of things and ourselves.  There is no reason in the world. What is required of us is not to be, but to slip.


Deleuze's world is a journey towards Chaosmos, with the loss of names and the negation of all permanence, including knowledge (because 'permanence needs peace and God', as Deleuze notes, 'and we cannot give you that'). It is a universe without verticality, where the symbol of the tree as a vertical axis and hierarchy is replaced by the image of a rhizome, a tuber like a potato, which sprouts casually and unconsciously to the side, to the side, down, sometimes even up. This is the world of the infinite, the apeiron (ἄπειρον) - what the ancient Greeks particularly hated, as opposed to the limit, the peras (πέρας), which completed, fixed the thing.

Deleuzian becoming implies a fusion of language, where nouns are swept away by verbs as more fluid entities, and where in becoming everything dissolves and disappears. Deleuze's actual world of becoming is the world of language that disintegrates and mutates in the process of this disintegration. Since the denotative is abolished even before Deleuze's philosophy, in the structuralism of F. de Saussure, from which Deleuze distances himself, reality is transformed in him into a purely linguistic residuality, in which the semantic fabric, the field of meaning of being, dissolves and disappears, involving Man as the owner and manager of language in this extinction. Acquired in pure becoming, post-language is transformed into an inexplicable bellow - into a flash of 'effect' on the surface of the molten smoothness of matter that collapses into infernal depths. Daria Dugina dedicated her essay 'Black Deleuze' to Deleuze and has often referred to him and his philosophy in her speeches, interventions and lectures.

Predatory Things and the Empty Subject Ltd

The programme of man's dissolution, destabilisation and dissolution of the world itself is today being elaborated not only in the extravagant and perverse programmes of the Deleuze school, but also in the post-Deleuzian philosophical groups of contemporary Western 'hyper-materialist realists' or 'object-oriented ontologists' (OOO), such as R. Negarestani, N. Land, G. Harman, R. Brassier, C. Meyasu and others. These philosophers explain that man, in classical Western philosophy, unjustifiably appears to us as too upright, authoritarian, arrogant and self-righteous. However, compared to artificial intelligence, for example, it is absolutely imperfect and unmanageable. It is therefore pointless and dangerous to continue to indulge man in his illusion of being the administrator of the universe and the architect of social progress. Man is too burdened by the Logos. Why are we so sure, ask the OO representatives, that man is the measure of things, the main pole of correlation? There is Nothingness and its circularity, which is called 'becoming'. Henceforth, the world of the being formerly called 'man' is characterised by indeterminacy, blurriness, fluidity, 'permeability', chaoticity, and this concerns not only the events of his life, but also the state of his fragile and unstable self.

But what is truly solid and reliable in the world are cosmic objects, simple things, the Earth, its core, compressed in the prison of an icy crust. Objects, though phenomenologically indemonstrable, are also practically attainable: if only we extinguish our human Dasein, they will reveal themselves to us in a completely unexpected way, most likely as monsters, according to Graham Harman of Weird Realism. While our human presence is still persistent, the noomen are unreachable. They (the noomen, the things) live in a radically external (hellish) way, inaccessible to us, and quite possibly quite predatory, and we take advantage of this, naively considering ourselves their masters and mistresses, but there is a great rebellion of things to come, as Bruno Latour said. Man is nothing, with all his ephemeral claims, capacities, projects and illusions; objects must be freed from man, left free to create, to follow their own cosmic paths and trajectories; man must be removed from the path of the Earth's core, for example, to free the nuclear demon within the Earth, so that this hot, glowing solar essence can unite in a cosmic dance with the Sun - this is what the Iranian-born American philosopher Reza Negarestani tells us, echoing the British philosopher Nick Land.

Daria Dugina has studied the texts of contemporary object-oriented ontologists very carefully, polemising with them in articles and speeches. There was also a curious incident. Daria once participated in an on-line presentation of Negarestani's book in Moscow. This incident became well known because in the middle of an intellectual discussion, one of Dasha's admirers asked for her hand and heart. Daria kindly promises to consider this proposal, but only after the suitor of conservative-traditionalist ideas manages to master the philosophy opposite hers and learns R. Negarestani's Cyclonopedia by heart.

Attack on surfaces

The theme of the insolvency and vanity of man in the representatives, as we have shown, is synchronised with that of the dissolution of man in Deleuze, the subtle philosopher, in which the true will is proclaimed not for things and huge cosmic bodies and objects, but for the weak surface effects of all these properties. Taking in the panorama of modern Western philosophy, we see before us the different flanks of a single front attacking our spiritual tradition - Platonic, Christian, traditional. In this invasion of modern Western philosophy upon us, there are no verticals, no hierarchies, no forms, no ideas, no values, no objects, no essences, no causes, no qualities, no schemes, no goals, no language, no depth, no height, no freedom, no spirit, no God. There is no place for man either. He is commanded not to go deep, not to look high and far, not to dream, not to project, not to think, but to slip and dissolve, to rustle and not to think too much of himself. We are commanded, even ordered, to stay on the surface of things, to glide along the surface of events, to follow trends, to follow agendas.

War of wits

I said "we are commanded"!  Yes, that's right! Behind the soft rustle of Deleuze's wild speech, we traditionalists feel the heavy tread of the totalitarian imperative. Does this not mean that there is someone in the world who understands what rules are offered to us, and that in the world there are not orders of things per se, but orders of interpretations? Under the guise of a seemingly random philosophical game, are requirements imposed on things and ourselves, hence principles and rules by which someone glues us to certain standards of perception and behaviour?  Yes, this is indeed the case, and our intellectual adversaries in the West understand this. Just as the cardinal law of geopolitics states that 'He who controls the Heartland (Eurasia) owns the world', so here the formula works: 'He who controls the discourse, establishes the meta-language, rules over everything'.

Are the paradigms - the keys to worldviews, civilisations and cultures - known in the West? The codes of humanity's history and future?  Yes, without a doubt. But they are in no hurry to share this knowledge even with 'their own', let alone those who are obviously classified among the epistemological herd.

In Russia, the answer to this question is offered by Russian traditionalism. Daria Dugina's father dedicated his 24-volume series of works, Noomachia, to the study of the Logos of civilisations, the paradigms of human history. And Daria grew up with it, assimilating from an early age a taste for Tradition and vertical ontologies. Daria was born and raised in a family of philosophers of which she was and still is an organic and integral part. She is an eternal rising star of Russian thought. All the sharpest questions thrown up by toxic modernity and the post-modernity of the western twilight are answered by the great traditionalists of the 20th century: René Guénon, Julius Evola, Mircea Eliade, Ernst Jünger, Lucian Blaga, Emile Cioran, Louis Dumont, Georges Dumezil, Alain de Benoit and dozens of other refined thinkers.

He saw the traditionalists as those pioneers of Mind in 20th century history, who tried to understand the sinking of the ship of humanity as a transition from the spiritual paradigm of Tradition (Antiquity, the Middle Ages and the Renaissance) to the materialistic, individualistic and anti-hierarchical paradigm of the Modern Age, and then to the eroding paradigm of the Modern Age that is the Postmodern Age.

My daughter, Daria Platonova Dugina, was deeply interested in all these topics.  She dedicated articles, reports, texts, fragments of her unfinished dissertation to them. In the near future, I hope to publish a book with her philosophical and historical-philosophical texts (reports, articles, excerpts).

Daria followed her traditionalist parents who, in turn, devoted their entire lives to analysing, translating, expounding, and teaching traditionalist doctrines and their interpolation into various fields of the human sciences - philosophy, sociology, political science, history of philosophy, science, art, theory of international relations, etc. - and to the study of the history of philosophy.

My reference to the two intellectual trends of modernity - Deleuzianism and object-oriented ontologies - is not accidental. As mentioned, our current condition requires a solid mental effort: not just a detached mental act of deciphering and actualising the intellectual landscape of modernity, but a determined, deep, I would say initiatory, penetration into the essence of the contemporary intellectual struggle. It is a struggle, a confrontation of minds in the contemporary world, a real battle or 'War of the Minds', 'Noomachia', as Alexander Dugin called it. What is most surprising and unexpected to the superficial observer is that this war is full of battles, clashes, battles lost and won, delivered with intellectual intelligence, deceptive manoeuvres, brainwashing and intellectual disinformation. Today, in the official rhetoric of political science, we speak of 'mental wars', i.e. the same 'war of the mind', the war of the spirit.

Thus, our enemies in this war of the mind know very well the price of a thought, the price of an idea, the price of a project. Even Arthur Rimbaud, who said that 'the spiritual battle is as fierce as the battles of an army', knows this well.

We, the philosophers of tradition, traditionalist philosophers, who have been able to discern the strategy of the modern world and recognise the paradigms of the Modern and Postmodern that are alien to us, participate in this fierce battle. They are imposed on us by modern Western civilisation, with its particular historical paths, its principles and values: liberalism, individualism, anti-hierarchy, materialism. These principles are not harmless. Ultimately, they are inhuman and, in one way or another, lead to the destruction of man and the erasure of humanity from the Book of Life.

Daria Dugina was in the vanguard of the war of wits, on the intellectual 'frontier', as she liked to say, in the space of the battles of paradigms, ideas, civilisations; she was a true knight of the intellectual front, a true 'philosopher-guardian', as Plato called philosophers, because they guarded the highest thing man has: his intellectual dignity, his right to freedom, to thought, to the protection of the highest human values, to access, by climbing the ladder of contemplation of the highest principles, the entire volume of what in Platonism is called Truth, Good, Justice, Beauty, Goodness.

Translation by Lorenzo Maria Pacini