By Rudolf Bernet
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Additional resources for An introduction to Husserlian phenomenology
It is in this sense that Karl Mannheim, for instance, distinguishes it from the concept of ideology: Utopias too transcend the social situation, for they too orient conduct towards elements which the situation, in so far as it is realized at the time, does not contain. e. they are not ideologies in the measure and in so far as they succeed through counteractivity in transforming the existing historical reality into one more in accord with their own conceptions. (176) It is also in this context that Arnhelm Neusüss does not give utopia an unreal or chimerical meaning, but a real one, in the sense that utopia denies the reality which factually unravels before it: “It is not within the positive determination of what it wants, but in the denial of what it does not want, that the utopian intention becomes concrete.
Above all, it is a utopia because, paradoxically, the postapocalyptic condition these works describe is a condition that is happy in its way, at least if we take into account the fact that the atomic catastrophe, weighing on us as an impending threat, is there imagined as having already happened, bringing with it a sort of freedom for the survivors. This sense of liberation, albeit always a paradoxical one, also hinges on a distancing from technology and its products, which is typical of the post-apocalyptic genre.
For our societies, it is no longer a question of inaugurating a different future, but, instead, of simulating this opening. This simulation legitimates contemporary societies by making them inherit the 34 EXISTENTIAL UTOPIA legacy of modernity through permanently invoking the “other” or the otherness of what is to come, yet making this “other” vanish into sameness. On the other hand, if in contemporary societies the act of calling upon the otherness of the future becomes a mere expression of centrifugal dynamism, then that which is still to come (l’avenir) is reduced to a simple promise banished outside factual time.
An introduction to Husserlian phenomenology by Rudolf Bernet