Power for man, as the genius of Hegel saw, is the ability to support contradictions, nothing less. It is amazing how we misread reality, how we see power in all the wrong places, all the wrong forms, forms which have nothing to do with our distinctive problems. We think we see power in the people with sure beliefs, unshakable convictions, smug self-confidence. Yet these are psychological weaknesses on a planet which is fluid and full of surprises. We think we see power in the ability to dominate and coerce others. Yet history has taught us that such power inevitably makes a slave of and destroys the manipulator whether it be a man or a nation. We think we see power in numbers, in the deafening chorus of mass enthusiasms and the solid wall of shared opinions. Yet history daily teaches us that nature has no respect for even unanimous misperception of reality, and she has the coldest equanimity for the enthusiasms that carry whole populations into rapture. Nature could only respect the power that typifies a nature, and for man this must be the power to live and endure the paradoxes of his own.
Such power for man must be, of course, an ideal, and an unattainable one -- yet the whole sense of a human life is a struggle in that direction. Human nature is, in a word, an ideal. This is what makes the argument between the "romantics" and the "cynics" or "realists" so difficult and so sticky: it can never really be settled on empirical grounds alone: it all depends what you want to build toward and can achieve....
To believe that one has a higher reason to take human life, to feel that torture and murder are in the service of a divine cause is the kind of mandate that has always given sadists everywhere the purest fulfillment: they are free to remain on the level of the body, to pillage real flesh and blood creatures, to transact lives in the service of the highest power. What a delight. It is the perfect absolution of human degradation and sadists everywhere have hungered for it and reveled in it.
Sunday, December 4, 2011
Search for Info/News on Torture
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