[-empyre-] concerning violence, and more Antigone's bones

Murat Nemet-Nejat muratnn at gmail.com
Sun Nov 9 06:06:40 EST 2014

Hi, to you all. This is my first post, having just dipped my toe on the
middle of an discission.

I would like to approach Alan's idea of anguish-- that language creates
anguish, taking us away from a state of total dissolution, thereby
silence-- from the point of view of violence. Not the intense subjectivity
of pain, leading to the peripheries of death and unconsciousness; but the
subjectivity of violence, equally intense, leading to the same peripheries
from the opposite angle, a position of power.

There are two kinds of violence, it seems to me. One may be called
instinctive, anger, jealousy, fear, etc. The other is rational, war, state
sanctioned punishment, hazing or other rituals of initiation, etc. The
first kind of violence is always punished. Killing out of jealousy or anger
is not a defense. On the other hand, rational violence is never punished.
Rather, it is reinforced, perpetuated through the rational attached to it.
The first kind of violence is consumed in its acting. Anger (hate, etc.)
basically ends with the murder. In the second, this does not occur. The
rational-- a piece of language, a myth-- survives the act, and, therefore,
can perpetuate its violence. Once can kill in the name of security or
justice or tradition or self-defense or freedom or invisible hand of free
markets, you name it, over and over again. I consider these riffs of
language the corresponding opposites of Alan's "anguish," a condition seen
from the subjectivities of power of victim/subject.

The God, Abraham, Isaac story about the sacrifice of Isaac in the Bible
embodies the exquisite ambiguity, double bind of this condition. In his
subjectivity, Abraham is asked to become the executioner of one of these
riffs (God's words, his injunction) while he suffers the "anguish" of
losing his son. Isaac is totally silent, all the way, very close to an
animal state. In fact, at the end he becomes an animal in the shape of an
ewe. God is the creator of language, main actor in his own myth.



On Sat, Nov 8, 2014 at 1:05 PM, Johannes Birringer <
Johannes.Birringer at brunel.ac.uk> wrote:

> ----------empyre- soft-skinned space----------------------
> Pardón, Alicia, I did not know that this news had broken, I am very
> dismayed to hear.
> (Pardón, Alicia, yo no sabía que esta noticia se había roto, estoy muy
> consternado y silenciado.)
> [Alicia schreibt]
> Los 43 estudiantes mexicanos aparecieron (aparecieron?)ayer como polvo
> adentro de bolsas, casi no quedan huesos para examinar. Perdón, pero hoy
> estoy muy conmovida para cualquier an√°lisis. Sin embargo la sola
> enunciación de esto contiene su propia metáfora.
> [translated]
> The 43 Mexican students appeared (appeared?) yesterday as dust bags
> inside, there are almost no bones to examine. Forgive, but I am very
> touched, too touched to any analysis today. But the mere utterance of it
> contains its own metaphor.
> ps.
> The new york times reports the now assumed killings of the young Mexican
> student teachers (normalistas) by drug gangs here:
> http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/08/world/americas/drug-gang-killed-students-mexico-law-official-says.html?ref=world
> _______________________________________________
> empyre forum
> empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au
> http://empyre.library.cornell.edu
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