Sunday, 3 February 2013

On Masters and Slaves

There are two kinds of slaves: perfect slaves and imperfect ones. The perfect slaves have no consciousness because they were born with no power or lucidity; their birth is like that of a hammer or a screwdriver. Imperfect slaves realize that they live in a world that isn't the creation of their will, they feel deeply alienated and abused, but they don't have the vitality or pathos to do anything about it, to reclaim their world. 

Authentic people or masters are the ones for whom alienation is unbearable, they are the ones who feel the deep violence that lies beneath everything that others take for granted, of everything banal and mundane. As a result, they have to take charge of their lives and create their living space. Fulfilling this obligation lies in their noble nature. This is why there is a difference in kind between being a master and being a slave. Because slaves, both perfect and imperfect ones, find alienation bearable, only mildly uncomfortable. On the other hand, aristocrats can't take being pushed around, can't take the constant rape, because banality violates their essential being, the origin of their meaning. 

Suicide is always on the master's mind, as an authentic possibility. However, he doesn't put it in practice out of an instinct of self-annihilation, like the slave, but, paradoxically, out of an instinct of self-affirmation. The lucid act is a bright flare shot into the dark, illuminating the trajectory of his will, the front line of his war. 

The powerful and the weak react differently to aggression. This reaction denotes how much energy they are willing to put into fighting the aggressor. The powerful man’s immediate response shows his conviction that he can prevail, whereas the weak man’s timidity expresses lack of vitality. The aristocrat's temporary retreat, when it occurs, doesn't signal weakness, but the preparation for total war. 

While perfect slaves are like a sterile woman’s ruined womb, imperfect slaves resemble mobile graves. They carry inside them children who still breathe, but are forced to play dead; kids with their lips sewn together with the threads of idle chatter, only able to utter a zombified, constant moan. Imperfect slaves live while listening to a dying song whose rhythm projects them in the realm of an aborted freedom, a faded memory of a brain devoured by dementia The sound comes from a coffin; it is the call of insects and worms, the cheep of a chick unable to hatch its egg. Thus, for defective slaves, the space of freedom becomes the space of torture and deep, barely repressed, anxiety. This is why, the imperfect slave stuffs earplugs in his ears and tries to imitate his brother, the perfect slave, by covering himself with the multicolored blanket of obedience.  

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