Wednesday, January 2, 2013

V-Day: Let Us Shake The Earth Into Awareness

1 comment:

chrisrushlau said...

Speaking of political theater, it strikes me that lynch mobs are an example of it. They may be related to the sense among an elite of cultural collapse in a time of epochal change. The scape-goating of the victim, the caricaturing of the administration of justice, and the replacement of solemnity with frenzy in social ritual would all suggest a shame-fear reaction to the loss of privilege: witch trials in puritan Massachusetts, African slavery in the US south, and now the Global War On Terror, in which Jews are both the ultimate target of the lynch mob and the main perpetrator of lynch mobs, with the lynching of Arabs, Afghans, etc.,led by Israel being instrumental to that ultimate goal pursued by the "declining" "West" (Spengler's terminology), as the inevitable backlash takes its course even as the last great hope of "the West"--to conquer Asia--is finally let slip away.
So it will behoove us to resuscitate other rituals to in turn resuscitate our social organism, specifically by restoring the administration of justice to a rational deliberative process.
I've just read a set of Perry Mason thrillers from the mid-to-late fifties which served to warn me how much our legal culture has descended into a mad frenzy since then. Erle Stanley Gardiner spent a few weeks in college and a month in law school, earning his degree by taking an exam, and practicing law first directly and personally and then via his fiction writing and related activities (like his Court of Last Resort, a group of friends who rescued victims of wrongful convictions). He welded (born 1889, died 1970) a literary grasp of human nature and a rigorous command of the rules of civil and criminal procedure into a narrative voice that makes his stories both plausible and inspiring.
To quote another author of that era, Evelyn Waugh, if you're not aiming for holiness, you're not aiming. Truth is the sole criterion for philosophy, and justice is the sole criterion for law.
This all traces back to lived experiences and the nature of psychological denial. Before denial is a force for intolerance in society by being the engine of prejudice, it is a force for estrangement from one's own body, since social relations are mediated by the bodily senses. To despise the object of prejudice, one must learn to ignore the evident fact that the object looks and talks just like the despiser. One must learn to repudiate one's own senses. One must entomb oneself in abstractions beyond testing. It is, then, the inability to dance that best describes the plight of "the West".
Is it, then, possible to teach someone to dance who denies the existence of anything beyond abstractions and uses abstractions only to smash any challenge to their reign?
The rule I find useful is that you cannot talk someone out of suicide, but, if they ask you your opinion of it, you must give them a candid appraisal of the procedure as they propose to undertake it. This asking itself would be dance. The response to it would also be dance.
The essence of dance is that the ideas float on a sea of sensation which has its own laws, by contrast with which ideas are sterile husks, rendering their refugees ("taking refuge in abstractions") residents of their own tombs.