[-empyre-] crowd and sacrifice

simon swht at clear.net.nz
Fri May 31 10:24:20 EST 2013

Unlike Zach, I am interested in the naturalisation of collaboration. 
It's wonderful that Ana can give collaboration a prehistory in human 
nature and for Johannes to ask her about it in Spanish.

The necessity that came up before about which I was maddening and 
paradoxical comes from outside collaboration. When collaboration becomes 
its own necessity it has no object.

Providing collaboration - as state or process - with a ground in nature 
- human or non-human - works both ways. Because collaboration is natural 
it can simply be - and become - without anything further said about it. 
But the nature naturalising specifically human collaboration contains 
certain presumptions, a context or system in which natural forces are in 
play. Collaboration becomes necessary under certain conditions, where 
there is threat, certainly, but also where there is opportunity to 
advance the human project or improve the human condition.

In the second case, the collective takes on the necessity for 
collaboration itself as a cause or object of critical action, one over 
which there already exists some sort of unnatural consensus. The 
collective agrees on mass - en masse - action.

Already, it's easy to see that at a certain crowd mentality surpasses 
the process of forming a consensus, which is where the collaboration in 
this case occurs. What follows is unanimous violence exactly of the sort 
Zach evokes as being perpetrated against individual difference. Of 
course it is on a different level to threat from an outside, but perhaps 
returns to this first case, of natural humanity facing off against 
outside threat through group anonymity: anonymity because you don't want 
to be the one, the straggler, the victim, whose name or number comes up 
in a confrontation with a natural threat, a big cat - or a big boss.

The individual gains advantage from joining with the group and becoming 
one big animal to scare off animals individually better equipped for 
survival. If this is the natural grounds of human sociality, 
collaboration is necessary as long as there is perceived danger. 
Convincing people of obscure and omnipresent danger is a matter for 
politics, either collaborative, in the sense of developing a consensus, 
or a matter of instilling conviction by force.

An oscillation appears, collaboration working from a necessary outside, 
and collaboration working against the unanimous violence of previous 
social formations, with previous collaborative and non-collaborative 
natures. But is the picture of the many-armed human group turning its 
many anonymous faces to the natural enemy, the singular predator all 
there is in nature?

I would suggest that beyond its failure to arise in adequate fury to 
address the enemy - and overcome or scare it off - from which 
potentiality there will be those dissenters, who leave the group, there 
is also the sacrifice. Dissenter and sacrifice can obviously meet in the 
one individual, or the several, but remain singular.

The many-armed human beast, dust rising form its many pounded feet, 
elects by expediency an individual to draw off the predator and remove 
the threat. The sacrifice is necessary, a necessary critical object, a 
young girl, an old man, only human. The sacrifice, alternatively, 
presents him- or herself. In actuality, the crowd doesn't need to know. 
It is not even required of those in the crowd that they perceive the 
threat or danger to which the individual becomes her- or himself sacrifice.

The heroes of modernity it is fashionable to lambaste as dead white 
males or selfish and privileged assholes, as, that is, redundant in our 
current enlightened dispensation of cultural polyvalence, of which the 
guarantor remains the doctrine of liberalism, these fascists - to take a 
name that comes from the group - were also often dissenters and in many 
instances became sacrifices. Even to hold them up to popular ridicule 
today amounts to a second type of sacrifice. It makes us feel better 
about not being white male fascists. We assert our group belonging in 
the face of the fascist threat: we collaborate.

I have gone at too great a length. Apologies.

Simon Taylor


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