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By William V. Spanos

A examine of imperialism that stretches from historical Rome to the post-Cold warfare global, this provocative paintings boldly revises our assumptions concerning the family tree of the West. instead of finding its resource in classical Greece, William V. Spanos argues, we must always glance to historic Rome, which first articulated the tips that might develop into primary to the West's imperial venture. those founding rules, he claims, have proficient the yank nationwide id and its international coverage from its origins.

The Vietnam battle is on the middle of this booklet. within the contradiction among the "free global" good judgment hired to justify U.S. intervention in Vietnam and the genocidal practices used to gain that good judgment, Spanos reveals the end result of an imperialistic discourse achieving again to the colonizing reason of the Roman Empire. Spanos identifies the language of enlargement within the "white" metaphors in Western philosophical discourse because the colonization of Greek inspiration via the Romans. He exhibits how those metaphors, and their position in metaphysical discourse, have lengthy been complicit within the violence of imperialism.

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This binary logic, in other words, empowers the privileged term to represent the Other as nonbeing (spectral), as some kind of arbitrary threat to Being — the benign total order to which the first term is committed — and thus to subdue and appropriate this Other to the latter's essential truth. It is in this sense that one can say that Western metaphysical thinking is essentially a colonialism. 13 In identifying Western metaphysical thought with colonialism, I am positing a literal and precise definition of the process of metaphysical inquiry.

However remote it may seem, this ancient cultural archetype — this "theoptics," as it were, of the smallest detail in being — is continuous with the modern imperial project. It informs and presides over those celebrated textual tableaux "depicting] [the author's] deepest moment of crisis" that Mary Louise Pratt invokes to distinguish the affiliated "anti-conquest" (private/sentimental) travel literature of the European Enlightenment such as that of Mungo Park from the scientific narratives of state- or public-sponsored European travelers like Anders Sparrman and John Barrow.

These two meanings, it should be underscored, activate our awareness that the naturalization of the word "metaphysics" has congealed two metaphorical systems that are, nevertheless, absolutely integral with and necessary to each other: that which emanates from sight and that which emanates from the object it sees. But to disclose the indissoluble relationship of these metaphorical systems will require separating them out. Holding in temporary abeyance the resonant specificity of the visual metaphorics of the "first" meaning in favor of thinking the second, we can say that the metaphysical interpretation of being involves the perception of "beings" or "things-as-they-are" (physis) from the end, not only in the sense of termination but also in the sense of the purpose or goal of a directional and totalizing temporal process, a process in which this end is present from the beginning.

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