Saturday, January 10, 2009

Don't Give Up Your Anxiety

A recent article in Wall Street Journal reports that some Israeli Jews are now dispelling the anxiety due to experiencing years of constant violence with the most effortless way. This is exactly what Badiou calls subjective corruption. Like a crowd cheering to an ordinary NHL brawl, it seems that they have finally found the shortest but certainly the scandalous way to break away from anxiety by gazing at the effects of the “operation” from the top of the hills near the Gaza border:

“On another hilltop overlooking Gaza, Sandra Koubi, a 43-year-old philosophy student, says seeing the violence up close "is a kind of catharsis for me, to get rid of all the anxiety we have inside us after years of rocket fire" from Hamas.”

This disavowal of traumatic perception of reality might be formulated as: I normally don’t take obscene pleasure in watching other people suffering but violent deeds of the other are so suffocating that they left me no escape other than succumbing to this innocent pleasure.

I was once on the top of the imaginary hill near the ethnical borders in Turkey. If I remember correctly, I was eight or nine when PKK initiated guerrilla warfare against the Turkish Army. From childhood to adolescence my greatest fear was Kurdish terrorism, probably incited by the propagandist images of the bodies of innocent babies supposedly killed in terrorist attacks. I remember how I got relief by reading the count of terrorists killed each day in newspapers. But later in the university years I realized that the authentic menace comes from those in a way or other connected with the state or with the state ideology. I hope I’ve realized that my anxiety is a way too much valuable to exchange with the deceptive purely ideological desire of the other.

The problem with mirror in front of which the nations construct the image for self-recognition by telling stories and creating myths about themselves is not that it simply transforms the narratives to an ideological formula and thus reflects the reality in a distorted form. But it precisely replicates the particularity of the reality to distort the very perception of reality. Ideology here, as we are witnessing in operation, is offering the narrative of the clear-cut reality of the Israeli Jews, they are living in the state unending state of emergency by the treat of Kassam rockets, they are afraid of sending their children to schools, they are doomed to the inexpressible level of anxiety and so on… Their story is real. I mean, it is not deceptive. As a man who also suffers from anxiety disorder I think they should be really anxious about the every day violence that encircles them. But then comes the typical ideological question which demands sympathy to horrible crimes initiated and operated by the ruling classes of those nations: Imagine how do you feel if you were an Israeli Jew living in the same conditions? In this sense, however touching it may sounds; one should show zero sympathy to narratives. And if we are discontented with our anxiety, we should find a more radical way to cure it rather than exchanging our anxiety with the Zionist desire or hostile Turkish nationalism by passively watching the relaxing bomb clouds, etc. Here I propose them or myself too active solidarity with the reality unreflected by ideological mirror.


Renegade Eye said...

I think you presented that subject better than Louis Proyect did. He didn't show the full dimension of the problem, and reduced it to one nations "ghoulishness."

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