My culture tells me that we are beings who act from rational self interest. Ahem, my irrational self interest is, clearly, unworthy of discourse. If I am given conflict — to which I must be resolute — I must be logical and reasonable. My emotional disposition is irrelevant, irrational and, if showcased, counterproductive. I am a man and I am taught, told, and taught again, that I shall not express my anger, fear or sadness. That is, to my understanding, the antithesis of being a man. But, however, I may ask, where does all this anger go? What happens when I reach deep inside and take a figurative cork and put it in my reservoir of emotive impulse and choose the path of rational discourse? Does this reservoir drain into the ether or trickle-down through an economy of violence?
Violence, as it has been frequently thought, is not merely a manifestation of brute physical forces against the body, but it is also, in addition, the brute mental forces against the mind. Violence lives in how we speak and how we do not speak. Violence lives in our assumptions, our decisions, our aversions and even our hobbies. A country who’s bedrock is founded upon the blood of millions is, to be expected, merely continuing the traditions to which it once began. We can gaze at the genocides of the past and tell ourselves we have evolved and progressed and we are no longer that beastly Hobbesian man that resolves conflict of virtue and property with existential force. We are now, as they tell me, modern. Although, to this day, I am still unsure to which part of me is modern. The punished body, the punished race, the archetypal untouchable caste is now allowed to be rehabilitated, so they say. Perhaps this is civility, or humility, or mere congeniality. Is the human body more profitable alive or dead? Death is brutish, death is absolute, death is a burden to both the dying agent and their capitalist oppressor.
Mass murder is, as you know, becoming trendy and is on the rise — it is, as one could say, all the rage. These mass and indiscriminate killings, which seem to be something that can happen anywhere, anytime and to anyone, are acts of the brutes, of the mentally unstable, of the irrational. These mass murderers, these people — and usually men — have not learned the strategic skill-set of suppressing (or systematically redistributing) their emotions. Industrialized society — being a cog in a machine — can be alienating. Spending the majority of my living hours working to ensure access to the minuscule minutes of bliss while I take a stroll back to my job of pushing rocks up a hill. Watching the fruits of my labor roll up hill to the job-creator and the capitalist and to the ones who have conveniently seen no contradiction or category error by conflating the expression that which is profitable as being equal to that which is ethical. If I am the rational, then they must be the hyperRational. As they are not so weak-minded to get hung up on esoteric philosophic balter, such as justice, equality and freedom. Philosophy is dead and science is God — the irrational zombie corpse of philosophia roams for mere amusement. We should be so bold — raison d’être — to be so enlightened.
What does the rational man do with this anger, this fear, this forlorn? I surround myself with the in-group. I act with contempt to the ones beneath me in class, in creed, in race, in gender. The rational man is told to suppress. The rational man is not racist or sexist or classist. The rational system to which the rational man has built may seem racist, sexist and classist, but this is merely an error of perception. The women, the poor and the minority are not oppressed by the rational system built by the rational man, but rather, their condition is the product of their failures to become like the rational man. They are immature and irrational. The rational man acts, and only acts, from rational faculties, therefore the system he creates must be rational — as rational parts become a rational whole. The world is then split between the rational man who makes rational decisions and the irrational poor, irrational woman and irrational minority who act from childish and squeamish impulse. But where does all the violence go? As being a rational man who is burden with the fraught trivialities of all the irrational and weaker minded folk must have its toll. Anger and frustration must begin to build. Where is the valve of release that prevents a surplus from arising? A surplus of anger and violence. How does rational man contain the bubbling up of his irrational tendencies to maintain his rational disposition?
If violent-energy were something that we could measure, would it follow the rules of physics? Would the law of conservation have an impact on how our violence is exchanged? Would the pent up violent-energy of the rational man, which slowly drips from their psyche, get absorbed into the reservoir of anger of the irrational agents to which they oppress, to which they impress. What does the irrational do? Be expressive? Do they act irrational and kill in mass? Do they dance in lieu of standing; and cry in lieu of smiling? Or, maybe, they follow in-step with the rhetorical splendor of the fascist dictator? Where does all this violence come from — they wonder in amazement. Does the irrational agent act with emotion, act with violence, act with brute animalism, so that the rational man need not?
The rational man takes their violent language and violent oppression and exchanges it through an economy of violence to fill the violent-reservoirs of the oppressed. I mean, how else is the rational man going to remain rational? The weak-minded irrational beasts can be the bearers of our collective violence that must be stored, must be suppressed and hidden in our depository of violence. And then, and only then, when the irrational becomes overburdened with the weight of this pressure-laden reservoir of violence, will it explode with the force of a volatile chemical reaction. As suicide. As homicide. As reactionary fascist fanaticism. Then the rational man and their humanism will gaze upon these irrational violent beasts and say, it must be their madness. Only the mad would be so naive to not transfer the violence to the world around them and redistribute down the schizotypical food chain. It is not dog eat dog. Rather, it is one dog cleverly convinces weaker dogs to eat each other, so that the stronger dog can reap the profit of their demise without the reflective anguish of cannibalism. The rational man is so clever to discover how to exchange sin for profit. The irrational man will act as Abraham and cower under the weight of God’s authority and kill the son whom they love; conversely, the rational man will assume the position of God and kill Isaac through their irrational proxy who naively kills on faith and acquiesces to their highest passion (Kierkegaard 122) — the exhibition of the real qua irrational subservience to the sublime and beautiful. The rational man is our God; whereas the irrational man is our Savior — fear and trembling have beset me; the paradox has overwhelmed me.
We must resist Donald Trump, so they say; we must regulate the death tools of the irrational; and of course, we must FIGHT FASCISM! What other option is there? We will take this personified amalgam of concentrated violence that was built from our systematic redistribution of violent-energy and fucking destroy it! We will stand in the burning house, alive in our burning body and toss fire at the flames:
The external must be joined to the internal to obtain anything from God [Science], that is to say, we must kneel, pray with lips and etc., in order that proud man, who would not submit himself to God [Science] may be now subject to the creature. To expect help from these externals is superstition; to refuse them to the internal is pride. (Pascal 250)
Are we so blinded by our internal pride that we will not see the irony in fighting the violence that was built from our inability to cope with our violence with more violence? Did we just replace one paradoxical God with another? The violence of divinity is nauseating, to say the least.
Can this economy of violence be egalitarian? Is it necessary that the economical distribution of violence correspond so soundly with the economic distribution of capital? Does our economics beget our ontology, or is the inverse the case? We can become more compassionate and create complex conduits of bidirectional exchanges of emotional energy to help validate, understand and to slowly release the tension. Compassion is not the redemptive opposition to a violent existence that can just pendulum from one extreme to another, but rather, compassion is an all encompassing way of being that must manifest in every mode of existence. You cannot be violent Monday through Friday and compassionate on weekends and believe all is well. Every thought, every decision and every act of free will must be built from seeing the Other as an unknowable infinity. Not a face. Not a reduction. Not a totality to which we can package and fold into our pocket under the label of . . . madness or irrational.
For this is the true violent condition of our reality.