We are no longer directly threatened by an extremism which might deviate into total political domination. However, has the risk of political instrumentalization through myth disappeared as a result of this transformation of European politics? Clearly, as historians acknowledge since Croce and Collingwood, there is no exact distinction between the reality of historical events and the creative imagination, since the reconstruction of reality itself necessarily appeals to imaginative reconstitution. Nevertheless, this methodological avowal should not serve as an excuse for neglecting the basic difference between the imaginative act aimed at the reconstruction of possible ties between facts and a will to manipulate which deliberately seeks to replace attested facts by fiction.
This consideration brings me to the critical perspective I will suggest in conclusion. This widely-accepted hypothesis, or one of its variants, was forcefully expressed by Nietzsche in the following highly paradoxical statement:. Such historiography would, however, completely contradict the analytic and inartistic traits of our time, for which such transformation would represent a falsification. As a consequence, the consistency of reality dissipates in the face of the assumption that it is no more than the product of the imagination; on this basis the most variegated possibilities of interpretation are considered to be equally valid.
When dealing with the problem of political radicalization earlier in the 20 th century, each of these thinkers set in relief the danger presented by a thoroughgoing instrumentalization of politics in the guise of fiction, myth or chimera. With the coming of the 21 st century this danger has by no means disappeared. Contents - Previous document - Next document.
English Translations. Full text PDF k Send by e-mail. Translated by the author. Julliard, S. Sand, eds. II, pp. AB was ordered out of bed and instructed to do light work in the garden. Although the treatment had not resolved his tremor, AB's mood lifted when the plaster came off. Reexamination after six months was recommended and AB was granted 30 percent disability. From February on, he had developed shortness of breath and in April, he lost his voice.
On admission to the Jena military hospital, he could not talk and was gasping for breath at a continuous rate of sixty per minute this continued for days. Electrotherapy of the larynx, speech therapy, breathing exercises, verbal suggestion, and transferal to the locked psychiatric ward failed to address his symptoms. A ward doctor made the following note in the patient's case record:. The man is told that his lack of progress and his nervous character … could only be overcome through absolute rest, he had to be patient.
If necessary he would have to rest in isolation for a year or longer. At the beginning he is very upset about the isolation. Cries and sobs, retches and gasps for breath, as if trying to say something, indicating that he wanted to write something down. He is told that every written communication had to be prohibited. Only when he regained his voice he would be allowed to unburden himself about his illness.
Two days before Christmas, the patient reacted furiously to the doctor's remark that in order to avoid any emotional excitation he was not allowed to take part in the holiday celebrations; he threw his feces about his room, threw a cup against the wall, and threatened a male nurse. Not all patients responded so well Binswanger's therapy. Sometimes when soldiers did not respond to treatment, Binswanger abandoned his general practice of offering soldiers a discharge from military service as illustrated in the following case. Clearly, the failure of cure in this case was not blamed on the doctor but on the patient.
Electricity was not simply used as a form of punishment. Milder currents were supposed to help re-activate paralyzed or relax tightened limbs contracture. By demonstrating the muscular contractions and movements, it was hypothesized that the patient would get a feeling for the normal use of the disabled limb. The gradual application of increasing electric currents was supposed to induce a sensation and therefore facilitate the recovery of normal sensory function.
A treatment for functional deafness practiced by Robert Sommer exposed the patient to strong, unexpected auditory stimuli. The patient was told to hold his fingers completely still. Without announcement, a bell rang behind the patient. The patient, startled by the unexpected sound, moved his hand, which was recorded on a graph. The recording thus served as evidence of intact auditory processing. It was believed that the soldier's active resistance to treatment could be overcome or disabled by means of an unexpected and sudden action.
For example, physicians applied unheralded painful electric stimuli to patients who had been forced to remove their clothes to make them feel more vulnerable. A second course of unannounced electric stimulation was followed by more exercises. Richard Hirschfeld, who mainly treated patients with aphonia, used faradic currents in combination with verbal suggestion. While waking, the patient received strong faradic currents to his auricle and nasal mucosa. Simultaneously, he was vigorously told that he could talk now and that he had already talked in his sleep. As soon as the patient started talking—before gaining full consciousness—he had to continuously recite poetry.
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When he talked too little or too quietly, he was punished with more faradic stimuli. Patients afterwards had amnesia for the intervention and they were not told what had been done to them. Hirschfeld reported a very high immediate success rate with this treatment, though he conducted no follow-up studies to establish the permanency of his cures.
Several other psychiatrists noticed that patients were particularly prone to suggestion on waking because their active resistance was disabled in this state between sleep and wakefulness. On waking from the anesthesia, the patient was encouraged to believe that the drug had worked. A similar method was introduced by D. Dub who anesthetized his patients with ether and, on waking, operated an X-ray machine, pretending that something measurable had changed and the patient was cured.
This terrifying experience commonly led to the patient shouting out in extreme fear recovering his voice within seconds. Several therapeutic interventions were based on the idea that soldiers with functional disorders would learn healthy behavior from recovered comrades or their treating physician. It was also deemed important to minimize the influence of negative role models. Moreover, they were denied aids such as walking sticks and sunglasses.
Hypnotic suggestion was often used when wakeful suggestion did not work. Nonne had first witnessed the therapeutic application of hypnosis by Charcot in Paris in and later by Bernheim in Nancy. Hypnosis was, however, less practicable; the physician had to be well trained and the patient susceptible. Nonne claimed very high success rates with his technique; he reported that by the end of the war, he and his Hamburg colleagues had treated one thousand and six hundred cases of hysteria with a response rate of 95 percent.
In his textbook on hysteria, Binswanger mentioned three reasons why he strongly opposed treatment methods involving deep hypnotic states. First, he did not believe in its effectiveness. Second, he had seen cases where hypnosis actually triggered hysterical symptoms like seizures, and third, he believed it to be too deep an intrusion into an individual's psyche.
Furthermore, he did not believe in abreaction and argued that the powers of suggestion were highly overrated. Psychoanalytic therapy of functional disorders was practiced in only a few treatment units in Germany. In addition, patients had to be reasonably well educated and had to fully engage in the psychoanalytic process. Furthermore, psychoanalysis was still largely a procedure employed for outpatients by neurologists and general doctors, and academic and asylum psychiatry only slowly overcame its hostility to this new treatment philosophy.
The Austrian physician Josef Breuer was the first to report that hysterical symptoms vanished when the memory of the triggering event and the affect associated with it were reactivated abreaction. The retained affective material was unconsciously converted into physical symptoms. They posited a number of reasons why the affective abreaction might not be possible.
First of all, the affective material might be retained because the traumatic situation or the social circumstances did not allow an abreaction. Secondly, the individual wanted to forget and therefore suppressed the memory of an unbearable event. All three scenarios seem conceivable for the soldier involved in trench warfare. However, the experiences of World War I soldiers contradicted some of Freud's ideas; for example, the notion that all neuroses were based on sexual conflicts.
Fritz Stern, a general practitioner who served in a military hospital in Berlin Charlottenburg, published the first German article on the psychoanalytic treatment of war neurosis.
Lujo Brentano E-Mail E-Mail. It is true that since mid-June there had been German plans which aimed at India via Persia, to be carried out after a successful completion of Operation Barbarossa. The First World War provided the catalyst for new conceptualizations of "the West", in which the United States of America, the rising star on the horizon of political and economic progress, featured particularly prominently. Riasanovsky, Nicholas V. Suggested Tag.
Unlike Stern, though, he conducted his sessions in a darkened room to induce a sleeplike state that would facilitate access to hidden memories. Sauer claimed that his patients fully recovered so that he could send them back to military service, but it is not known how many of them actually went back to active duty.
Another variation on classical psychoanalysis was the relative brevity of the intervention. For example, Ernst Simmel developed a brief version of analytical therapy that included hypnosis and dream interpretation. Simmel was one of the keynote speakers. Subsequent plans to establish psychoanalytic treatment units for war neurosis could not be realized, though, because of the imminent collapse of the Central Powers. Contemporaneous publications on the treatment of functional disorders did not discuss medication in detail.
Medication was primarily prescribed for sedation and analgesia. Calming medications commonly used were Valerian, bromide salts, chloral hydrate, paraldehyde, and the barbiturate veronal. Analgesic medications most commonly administered were aspirin, antipyrine, phenacetin, and pyramidone.
Diet, massage, physio-, hydro-, and work therapy were also part of the whole treatment concept.
Binswanger also strongly believed in work therapy, thirty-nine out of our one hundred randomly picked patients were sent out to work in the hospital gardens, the farm, or various workshops for example, joinery, boot-making. Twenty-seven out of one hundred patients were prescribed a rest cure, commonly associated with a high calorie diet. Most of the treatment methods described above involved a variety of elements, such as suggestion, surprise, punishment, and repeated exercises. Hardly, any treatment concept can be purely assigned to a single category.
Rather than a pseudoscientific technique, this was a clever way of demonstrating an intact stimulus—response sequence motivated by the latest neurophysiological experiments.
Whereas the first two methods by Rothmann and Dub comprise an element of deception in that the patient is made to believe that a certain procedure had been undertaken—when this was not the case—Sommer's treatment was not based on false information at all. Moreover, we differ from Lerner in that we consider isolation primarily as a form of punishment rather than a separate category.
Although isolation was used to promote recovery by removing all potentially exciting stimuli and distractions, the Jena case records unequivocally classify it as a punishment. Whereas Lerner categorized the different treatments mainly by procedure, we focused on the underlying therapeutic principles and implicit concepts behavior modification, subconscious processes, cognitive structures. Under pressure from military authorities to return as many soldiers as possible to active duty or to productive labor at home, any intervention seemed justifiable and legitimate.
German psychiatrists confined their patients to locked wards, anesthetized them, used radiation and electricity and put entire limbs into plaster. Doctors and patients did not seem to question the legitimacy of these methods.
During the war, German and British psychiatrists felt that the method used to cure war neuroses was not relevant as long as it proved successful. One observation was that hysterical seizures and hysterical tremor were difficult to treat or even resisted treatment. Conversely, most patients with dissociative seizures 44 percent were discharged uncured.
The Jena case records tellingly illustrate that even if treatment resulted in a complete recovery of the patient, symptoms tended to recur with exposure to front-line service. The patient R. He received home leave in order to get married and was then sent back to the front line. Binswanger met the patient by chance three months after his discharge at a railway station in the South of Germany and found him to be shaking with his head. The patient told him that his disorder had reappeared after a short stay at the front line.
Nevertheless, some psychiatrists tried to establish guidelines for the distinction between hysteria and simulation. They were at a loss to distinguish these two groups on the basis of their clinical symptoms.
A hysterical origin was considered likely in cases where there was a proven prewar history of hysterical symptoms, especially in childhood, or evidence of a psychopathic constitution throughout life. Conversely, malingering was suspected when symptoms did not vary with the emotional state of the patient and when no clear triggers could be identified. Not for the first time, "the West" is in decline.
Or so it seems. People have been talking about a decline of "the West" for more than a century. At the same time, "the West" has been praised for its relentless dynamic, its never-ending creativity, and its startling vitality. It is the discursive continuities and conceptual manifestations of "the West" that need to be investigated if historians are to come to grips with the idea of the West. Scholars have begun to examine the concept of the West only very recently. A handful of studies have shed light on the conceptual origins and shifting meanings of "the West", 10 but historians are still in the dark about many facets of its discursive construction.
While the literature on "Western Civilization" and "Occidentalism" is substantial, in-depth analyses of the concept of the West are rare. The Geschichtliche Grundbegriffe , generally thin on spatial concepts, have nothing to offer on "the West", and there are no detailed investigations of relevant semantic transfers that cut across national boundaries. Considering these lacunae in historical scholarship, this article is bound to offer hypotheses instead of firm conclusions. Its general approach is to trace the evolution of "the West" through an analysis of the communicative contexts, the semantic fields, and the discursive networks in which various deployments of the concept were embedded.
The aspect of visual representations of "the West" through maps, images and other means of "naturalization" will not be addressed, though it certainly makes for a promising subject of future research. The employment of the concept, which helps to register, process and articulate historical experiences, homogenizes space, reduces complexity, and creates orientation.
Second, historical actors start using the concept in a dynamic sense, referring to the past, present and future of a more or less well-defined area in comparison to other parts of the world. Against the background of an increasing acceleration of time, they temporalize "the West", render it a concept of the future Zukunftsbegriff and endow it with diverse horizons of expectation: notions of progress and modernity. A geographical direction becomes temporalized space, as "the West" is placed in the temporal continuum of philosophies of history, with distinct regimes of temporality attached to it.
Third, historical actors start using the concept in a political sense, referring to notions of reason, liberty, democracy, constitutional government, the rule of law, the middle class, private property, individuality, and so on. They employ the concept as an effective tool in political debates, use it to advance political agendas, and fight over its "correct" meaning. Political languages become spatialized, and previously universal concepts become enclosed in a confined space called "the West". This space, however, may not necessarily be conceived as hermetically closed; "Western democracy", for instance, may still refer in a Hegelian fashion to a state of universal progress attainable in principle by every part of the world.
At any rate, "the West" and its cognates acquire a decisive polemical thrust and a clear ideological edge through the polarized opposition to distinct antonyms such as "Eastern barbarism", " Oriental despotism ", or the "Asiatic mode of production". To trace the origins and the evolution of "the West" in 19th century Europe , one is bound to look to the east. Russia emerged as the antonym that gave birth to "the West". First, it became the location of intense debates on "the West" and "Westernization". Second, seen through the eyes of French, German, and British observers, it became a foil for contrasting notions of "the West" that were articulated in what came to be known as Western Europe.
That "Western Europeans" located Russia in the east, however, did not become common until the s and s. Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel's — lectures on the philosophy of history, given in the s, 15 as well as Dominique Dufour de Pradt's — study on international relations from 16 provide an early indication that French and German scholars were starting to substitute an east-west divide for the north-south divide that had dominated European mental maps for centuries. Philipp Jakob Siebenpfeiffer's — journal Der Bote aus Westen Messenger from the West , or Westbote — , moreover, offers an early example of the temporalization and politicization of the east-west divide.
While Russia had long been considered a northern power, it gradually transformed into an eastern one. Though this geographical imagination rarely entered Russian self-conceptions, which typically externalized the east as the Orient , 17 "Western Europeans" framed Russia increasingly as the epitome of " Eastern Europe ". This geographical shift, however, happened later than the second half of the eighteenth century as has been claimed by Larry Wolff born Lemberg partly attributes the re-mapping of Europe to the contemporaneous production of knowledge on Slavic and "Nordic-Germanic" language communities, a process that went hand-in-hand with the gestation of "the West".
In Russia, debates on "the West" served an overarching purpose: the negotiation of Russian identity. In the light of experiences with the authoritarian regime of Nicholas I — and his crushing of the Decembrists' uprising from , Petr Chaadaev — expressed his bitterness over the "immense calamity" of the thwarted revolt that was "setting us back half a century". A veteran officer of the Napoleonic Wars and influenced by French Catholic philosophers such as Joseph de Maistre — and Louis-Gabriel-Ambroise de Bonald — , he castigated Russian society for resisting "all real progress".
In his First Philosophical Letter , written in French in , he declared that Russians, who were "neither of the West nor of the East", but condemned by the Great Schism to Byzantine stagnation, lived in a "narrow present", with no history, tradition, or identity. They were "placed, as it were, outside of time" — untouched by the ideas of "justice, right, and order" which their "Western brethren" had brought to fruition.
Chaadaev used the concept of the West to revisit and re-evaluate the legacy of Peter the Great's — far-reaching reforms, which had been implemented in the previous century. To make sense of these reforms, initially framed as measures to "Europeanize" Russia, Chaadaev deployed the concept of the West to escape the geographical ambiguity of the term "Europe".
After all, Russia had largely been acknowledged as a European power in the course of the 18th century, a status certainly confirmed by the experience of the Napoleonic Wars. Chaadaev's letter prompted the formation of a political camp that pitted the Russian institution of the village commune obshchina and what it took to be the Orthodox idea of a harmonious spiritual community sobornost ' against a "Western" way of life which it dismissed as artificial, soulless, and divisive.
This camp, which soon adopted the name "Slavophiles", coined the term "Westernizers" zapadniki as a derogatory expression used to discredit Chaadaev's "heretical" standpoints as well as the political views of other proponents of a "Westernized" Russia like Vissarion Belinsky — , who was an ardent believer in the "achievements of civilization, enlightenment, and humanitarianism".
As an emigrant who lived in Paris and later in London , he was a striking example of a cross-cultural mediator between Russia and "the West". In the s, the tradition of Russian Anti-Westernism was re-invented by Pan-Slavists like Nikolai Danilevsky — who propagated an aggressive Russian expansionism and constructed a clear-cut dichotomy between a Romano-Germanic Europe doomed to decline and a Slavic "historico-cultural type" destined to prevail. While Hegel, who had a major impact on Russian intellectual thought, had played a decisive role in the transformation of the 18th-century notion of a universal civilization into a spectrum of various civilizations, he had still allowed for building historically dialectic bridges between a civilization-in-the-singular and a civilization-in-the-plural.
Pan-Slavism severed any intellectual ties that might have related different civilizations. The anti-Western attacks that were launched by Pan-Slavists, whether in Danilevsky's irreconcilable fashion or in slightly mitigated ways as in Fyodor Dostoyevsky's — writings, 27 were, of course, not solely debated within the confines of Russian borders.
They also reached audiences in "the West" itself. The exact channels through which Russian concepts of the West travelled westwards still need to be investigated further, 28 but it may be argued that "Western European" Russophobia, a major constituting factor in the crystallization of "the West" from the s onward, was reinforced by both Russian anti-Westernism and the criticism advanced by Russian "Westernizers".
Jules Michelet — , for instance, referred approvingly to Chaadaev's Philosophical Letter in Yet, as Ezequiel Adamovsky born has shown in his study on images of Russia in 19th century France, the tsardom was generally constructed as a "land of absence" that starkly contrasted with the civilizational achievements of "the West".
In he contrasted Russia with the "liberal spirit" of a "West" that consisted of "English commerce and French liberty" — an instructive example of the multi-layered spatialization of political discourse. In the light of the recent uprising he pitted "Western civilization", "freedom", and "individual property" — a semantic field that included Poland — against a Russian "Orient" that he viewed as "despotic, theocratic and communist". In the following year Hyppolite Carnot deployed the same dichotomy to hail the principles of the "great Western family".
The liberal Taillandier, for instance, employed the concept to exoticize socialist ideas by way of linking them to the "Russian spirit" of "Oriental despotism". That they rarely donned the vestments of avowed Westerners reflected their ambiguous self-positioning in Europe's "centre", between a French West and a Russian East. The Russophobia of Rhenish liberals was much more significant than their reservations about their western neighbour.
Indeed, it was their imagination of Russia that allowed them to solve their perplexing double-bind situation: namely, to feel attached to the "liberal ideas" of France, but to belong to a state which they felt was politically backward. The comparison with the Russian "barbarians in the East" was meant to throw into relief the fundamental embeddedness of Rhenish liberals in "civilized Europe". Ultimately, they fit in with the multifaceted German continuity of a European middle position, which has been extensively researched and need not be rehearsed here. The limited space available does not allow for a fuller examination of German images of "the West" in the 19th century.
The Crimean War in particular reinforced tropes of "the East" and helped to homogenize spaces of international relations. As may be inferred from Karl Marx's — journalistic commentaries on the Crimean War, the concept of "Western powers" became common parlance at that time.
More familiar than the evolution of "the West" in the 19th century — and hence treated more cursorily here — is the prominence to which it rose in the 20th. The First World War provided the catalyst for new conceptualizations of "the West", in which the United States of America, the rising star on the horizon of political and economic progress, featured particularly prominently.
This was fostered both by new developments in American policy and by the breath-taking advance in communication technologies and transportation techniques that practically shrank the Atlantic — a phenomenon famously described as "time-space compression". It required, however, two world wars and the propagandistic effort of several journalists, scholars and politicians for this spatio-political re-imagination of the U.