Until Death Do Us Part…But until then there is a lot of road to haul. How does one explain a condition that has been genetically stamped into humanity since the origins of the oral tradition and the hieroglyphic scrawling of recorded history. Hatred, violence , its containment,control, and rationalizations, reading like fairy tales on the hissing of summer lawns. Philosophers have offered numerous definitions: René Descartes said hate was the urge to withdraw from something that is thought bad. Aristotle saw hate as the incurable desire to annihilate an object.In psychology, Sigmund Freud defined hate as an ego state that wishes to destroy the source of its unhappiness. Anthropologist Claude Levi-Strauss ( 1899-2009) felt that the party would get out of hand, and all the laughs, would end flowing in tears with the obliteration of the human species as inevitable as Marxist prophesy.
“I knew that, slowly and steadily, humanity was breeding such situations as a sick body breeds pus,” he wrote. “It was as if our race was no longer able to cope with its own numbers… War and defeat had accelerated a universal process, and facilitated the establishment of an infection that would never again disappear from the face of the world.” ( Claude Levi-Strauss ) Lévi-Strauss suggests that there is a meaningful difference between Europeans and the Amazonian indians and it is in contemplating this difference that he confronted what he believes is the real problem facing humanity. Lévi-Strauss is highly critical of the Western world which he identifies with the Nazi’s and the Holocaust. . But these are not problems of “Western civilization” per se, for he sees the same problem in “Eastern civilization,” in the caste system of Hindu India,an institutionalized, and only arguably more humane, version of naziism where people who are different are kept separate and unequal. Lévi-Strauss, like Malthus before him, a gloomy and bitter prognoses on the future: “There is today a frightful disappearance of living species, be they plants or animal,” he said. “And it’s clear that the density of human beings has become so great … that they have begun to poison themselves. And the world on which I am finishing my existence is no longer a world that I like.”
“the purpose of a myth is to provide a logical model capable of overcoming a contradiction.” As he saw it, whether misanthropic or not, the human mind tends to organize thought and culture around binary opposites, and to try to resolve the resulting tension through the creative act of mythmaking. The myth, its artistic representation and its own reconciliation with violence is what Theodor Adorno referred to as ” art being magic delivered from the lie of being truth” Levi-Srauss’s theory of binary and opposites can reasonably be concluded with an assertion that if myth can be created it can also be shattered and replaced, or left to rot like his beloved ”pus”.
”The Pentagon yesterday it will scour its procedures for identifying volatile soldiers hidden in the ranks following the Fort Hood shooting rampage and lapses that might allow others to slip through bureaucratic cracks. A 45-day emergency investigation…..” ( Globe and Mail ) An identification test for violence. A mass of contradiction indicating the binary theory of Lev-Strauss. the army is based on violence and fear yet the selection process for recruits is based on passing psychological tests confirming normality…. Apparently, the symbolism, and role of guns, uniforms, medals, and groups is fundamental to the analysis, but has not been included within the broader definition of the study.
novelist Jason Lutes has devoted much of his career on the creation of his ”Berlin” series which is about the German city between the years 1928 and 1933, and a host of characters that inhabit and inform us of that time. It could be categorized as historical fiction, but at the same time an artistic work that derives its power from tearing away at established archetypes and peeling off layers of myth in the same way Levi-Strauss came to his version of conclusions regarding human behavior. Lutes examines how the lives of different characters from different backgrounds play a part in the setting of the stage for the rise of fascism and the outbreak of World War II. The insights and perceptions of Fascism by Lutes, leads one to conclude that the movement is itself less ideological, in so far as it actively proclaims and rationalizes the principle of domination that was concealed, and less manifest elsewhere in the West; the dynamic was more subtle and manipulative in letting the Third Reich do their collective bidding, at least up to a certain point. Lutes work addresses Berlin as the epicenter, and laboratory for this fermentation and distillation of toxic substance and blood sacrifice. A city on a collision between polarizing thought and the recourse to physical force. A few artists and intellectuals were not going to prevent the ”1000 year Reich”, a birthright defined by ”destiny”.