3 Terror In The Wind 2
We live in an age based on violence. The violence does not always take place in our immediate proximity, but it is always within our peripheral vision, because the next best thing to the exercise of violence is the charisma of its exudate—threat and fear. We cannot exist without violence for fear that without it our social structures will not hold together, and that once the structure begins to unravel, it will fall with an explosion and an infinite number of smaller explosions into ruin.
It is because of its own inherent violence that the modern state lives in fear of its demise, uses terror to stay in power, and encourages its opponents use terror and the threat of terror to keep the home-State in a for-ever unsteady state. Against this overt presence of violence stand a certain rhetorical opinions that dispute its necessity.
First, dependence on terror is disputed by the State itself, because a denial of the state’s true state of affairs throws the evidence against it into confusion until the very moment of the catastrophe it courts breaks out.
Second, the State is supported in its propaganda about its self-righteousness by the neo-Christian* church, which claims to be a revolutionary vehicle against the “terror” sown by the State’s opponents. The church insists that it refuses violence outright. Such an outright denial of violence is supposed to create a potential for “a true political act”** presumably on behalf of peace.
Third, the state of terror has lasted for such a long time (at least since it officially announced itself with the burning of Basil in Constantinople in 1184 or 1195) that a dysfunctional society (of which state terror is the main dysfunctional element) is accepted as “normal” today. The abnormality was able to take a quantum leap forward when capitalism was let out of the bag by removing all constraints on the free market. While the removal of regulations occurred gradually, each step manifested itself as an exponential, because each step demoralized society to an ever-greater extent and became the leverage point for the next great leap. Along with the exponential growth of globalization, came growth of State terror.
While many economists have pointed out that with free trade—especially with what is known as The Great Transformation stage, which originated in 19th century England (Joseph Conrad’s novel, The Heart of Darkness, is a profound subjective vision of its corrosive effect)—the growth of the Middle Class was an event demonstrably at the expense of the community at large. Quite a few writers have noted the connection of free trade depredations with a concurrent rise in opposition to it (Naomi Klein at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JG9CM_J00bw , for example), nonetheless, there is little public acknowledgement that the increase in State terror parallels its globalization campaign. Of course, the resort by some who oppose globalization is noted with great a fanfare of condemnation.
The imposition of terror as a desirable state of affairs for the violence bred State becomes clear when we realize that the price of growing a cannabis stalk is no greater than growing a tomato plant. A cannabis leaf or blossom is far less “toxic” than a tobacco leaf, and cannabis does not come near to the addiction that may result from the use of alcohol. The terror employed in the suppression of cannabis and the terror employed by those who sell it is the result of laws prohibiting the plant’s trade.
Why then is growing of cannabis being prohibited?
One reason is the effectiveness of cannabis in enabling the user to lose anxiousness of an exaggerated awareness of time. The latter phenomenon is a byproduct of the machine age and the ubiquitous watch or clock. Tensions that arise in domestic life as a result of the worker selling his-her labor in the market place, the low remuneration which sometimes forces one to work two jobs (if available) consecutively are quite mind boggling. This is why an interest in cannabis by time-stressed human beings is not likely to decrease. Whether inhaled as smoke or seeped in milk and drunk as a tea, the plant has a pacifying effect. that can be beneficial to, both, employer and employee.
Terror and innocence that is induced by human desire (whether for a cup cake or money) are well depicted with cynical humor in an episode of The Simpsons, a well-known comic strip.
In an experiment entitled “Is my brother dumber than a hamster?” Lisa http://tinyurl.com/cz6xcd booby-traps a hamster’s food container in such a way that when the hamster goes for a nibble of food, he gets an electric shock. After a few tries, the hamster gives up. Lisa rigs up a similar device for her brother Bart, but with a cupcake as the object of his desire. When Bart reaches for the cupcake, he gets an electric shock, too. However, unlike the hamster, Bart tries again, and again, and again. Bart never gets it, why he should not have the cup cake (or is it money?) and eat it, too, until, eventually, the synapses of his brain burn out.***
As we know, strange things do happen. In the above episode, Lisa—in the context of this chapter—may be seen as the State. She also becomes the Emperor Alexis I of the Byzantine Empire. She is an enemy of Bart, because Bart, like Basil, wants to say things that are contrary to what Lisa wants to hear. When Bart does not say what the State wants him to say (and think), Lisa sees him as the heretical Basil and burns him.
* More about neo- and arch-Christianity anon.
** Marcus Pound, Zizek, p. 23, Interventions, 2008: “…what is truly revolutionary (i.e., very critical) within Christianity: its outright refusal of violence, and hence the possibility of a truly political act.”
*** I owe the Lisa and Bart episode to a footnote on p. 31 of the above mentioned book.