2001, a space odysseyof Stanley Kubrick. In the episode “The dawn of the human”, set in prehistory, a group of protohumans face each other in their fight for survival resources. But one of these creatures begins to evolve. He takes a dead tapir bone and turns it into a destructive weapon; giving meaning to the bone, it gave it the property of becoming an instrument of violence. That level of abstraction (later it will be so sophisticated that, in the film, it will become a spaceship) is the leap from brute force to the idea that, converted into discourse, will achieve -among other functions- that violence can also be exercised from language.
We live in violent times. But, was there perhaps one that was not?, depending on what is understood by violence. The canonical definition is broad but not sufficient. “Violence: use of force to achieve an end, especially to dominate someone or impose something.”
So, is force equivalent to violence? Is violence exercised only to dominate? what is violence? Excessive aggressive power. But force is not always exerted for destruction or injury, it can also be productive. Although it is clear that history was written in blood. Violence is the midwife of history (Marx). Constant tensions and struggles that use power to bend human wills and dominate the non-human. However, it is equally evident that there are constructive times where the forces are also applied to production and the common good.
The monopoly of the legitimate use of violence, in modernity, belongs to the State. The spillover theory is fulfilled, although not in an economic sense but purely politically. Only the State is empowered to exercise violence in certain cases and to administer it always. If you exercise your right to violence with discrimination, revenge, abuse or cronyism, justice is transmuted into violence.
strategies of hate -which can also come from constituted powers turned into deconstituents- generate violence disseminated by deceitful judges and prosecutors, by hateful political diatribes, as well as by the media sold to the real liberal power. Those who eject hatred through mass dissemination are great ejaculator of violence that embarrass the population with aggressiveness.
Irritability settles on the surface and explodes in everyday situations; Nobody would say that its causes and consequences are political. Is it a pandemic post-lockdown crisis or is it endemic? A crisis is by definition finite, while political and social aggressiveness threatens to be infinite. We perceive it in certain public speeches, in road and interpersonal aggressiveness, in intolerance and – something that is being eaten away by the banality of evil – in the use of criminal symbols in right-wing demonstrations: guillotines and other criminal symbols, aggressions ad hominem instead of debate of ideas and fetishes of assassinated opponents.
“Is there a way to channel the aggressiveness of the human being and better arm him psychically against his instincts of hatred and destruction?”, he asks. Albert Einstein a Sigmund Freud, in 1932, stunned by the widespread fascist violence. “The why of the war” is Freud’s answer. He argues that in prehistory conflicts of interest were resolved by physical violence. Then skills in handling weapons were built. Intellectual supremacy began to replace natural force. A weapon is an artifact, something thought of and used by beings with understanding. Armed people without ethical solidarity is generalized war.
However, the situation is manageable if there are people who manage to implement laws that enable subjectivities to give up part of their personal freedom, so that life in common preserves a certain harmony governed by the State. This is how you can moving from violence to law, an essential passage to alleviate social inequality. But the death drive is imbricated in violence and that drive is impossible to eradicate, although Freud is optimistic and believes that love can lessen cruelty. Einstein agrees with Freud’s pacifist optimism. But he carries within himself a sexist violence that was recorded in testimonies, such as the conditions of coexistence that he imposed on his wife (a physicist and co-investigator in the theory for which Einstein won the Nobel). After a separation (due to his semi-incestuous infidelity) the scientist agreed to reconcile imposing conditions.
Here are the requirements that the wise batterer -in addition to being an abandoning father- demands of his wife: “You will make sure that my clothes and those of my bed are clean and in order; that I receive my three meals on time and in my room; that my room and study are clean and exclusive for me; you will waive any personal relationship with me and specifically you will waive my being at home or traveling with you; you will not expect any intimate relationship with me or reproach me for it; you will stop talking to me if I ask you to; and if you are in my study when I enter, you will leave immediately and without protest if I order you to.” As demonstrated, his concern for social violence does not coincide with his responsibility for domestic violence.
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In The force of nonviolence, Judith Butler devotes a chapter to the correspondence between the two pacifist scientists. He does not mention the private violence of the lord of relativity, but emphasizes the ambivalence of feelings that, according to Freud, manifest themselves in contradictory ways. On the one hand, love preserves social ties, as opposed to hate that savagely destroys. On the other hand, love and hate are passions fighting each other, pecking at each other, intertwining with the drives; Thus, it is not possible to eliminate violence only by expanding ErosButler says, we must also live with those who affect us with hostile feelings. The me is unthinkable without the you. Let us hope to overcome this dilemma by allowing ourselves to live among the living, aware of death, but resisting anger through the rugged and conflictive trajectory of death. collective actioneven under the shadows of doom.”