|Influences||Simone de Beauvoir, Albert Camus, Sarah Sentilles, Moshin Hamid, Søren Kierkegaard|
|Bio||Seeking salvation through fear and trembling.|
Encountering with care atop a pile of bones
The Island of Tkon off the coast of Croatia is an unremarkable place to the ordinary eye. A fishing village of 768 inhabitants, of 98% Croats bathing in the Mediterranean breeze.
From 1493 to 1593 the villagers lived in a century of fear. “The Ottoman Empire implemented attrition warfare, mostly characterized by raids carried out by irregular light cavalry, the akinji. This tactic was known as the "little war" (German: Kleinkrieg), waged for the purpose of plundering and taking captives”
The captives have only the fate of death. They died on crosses like their saviour, only instead of nails they were fixated by beams of molten iron. Cries of mercy were louder than the infinite crashing of waves, yet they yield nothing but sadistic laughter. So the villagers remained on the cross and their images became permeant, imprinted on the psyche of nations.
Who were the pillagers of Tkon? The men who played the role of an enthusiastic executioner? Or the men who watches the village go ablaze in silence? The shipbuilders of Istanbul? Or the bladesmiths of Damascus? When the question of “who” is raised to rationalise the problem of evil, are we pursuing justice or searching for scapegoats?
We now turn to the question of “what” in attempt to understand evil – we ask: what beliefs underpins this system that render bodies superfluous? We now turn the lens onto ourselves, where each of us is representative of the notion of Humanity as oppose to Animality. And we ask ourselves: What is it to be Human?
“Monsters cannot be announced. One cannot say: 'Here are our monsters,' without immediately turning the monsters into pets.”
– Jacques Derrida
Encountering in Abstraction
Gina Rinehart is now the single largest landholder in Australia, “owning” over 9.2 million hectares, just over 1% of Australia’s land mass. By engulfing open countries into the darkness of private spheres; what happens to/on those lands became largely unscrutinised in a country that maintain its colonial legacies in upholding “private properties”. Rinehart’s company “S. Kidman & Co” is the largest “beef producer” of the nation, with 171,000 cows in their herd [routinely murdered and artificially birthed, disposable and replaceable].
The Kidman Culture values:
• Rural Tradition [Settler Colonialism]
• More than a century of success in the outback [at the detriment of the First Nations]
• The land that sustains their herd [The land now overgrazed and laden with faeces]
At any one time, there are over a million animal ‘on feed’ in Australia.
“A single death is a tragedy; a million deaths is a statistic.”
– Joseph Stalin
On the feedlots, Humanity scarcely encounter itself and Animality is taken as abstractions – A cow is not a cow but an instrument, A death is not a death but a momentary loss quantifiable monetarily, A life is not a life lived but a life stolen from the beginning.
1. A quality or trait belonging to an individual or thing
2. The exclusive right to possess, enjoy, and dispose of a thing
Before the flesh was purchased by the consumers it was the property of the super-market. Before the flesh was purchased by the super-market, it was the property of the abattoir.
Before the Animal became flesh, still they were the property of men.
Born as property, conceived as property, to be disposed as property.
Their mothers, their fathers likewise the property of men, and their mothers and their fathers too. Stretching across time, across continents to the first Animal incarcerated by men.
“When face to face with the other, I am infinitely responsible to him”
– Slavoj Žižek
The abattoir is an institution with one task only, to render faceless, quite literally. The anonymous flesh – now stripped of their faces – does not gaze back. From this systematic abruption of encountering emerge the crisis of humanity. We’ve unwittingly became butchers and slavers.
Encountering with Care
We find ourselves standing atop the piles of bones and anonymous bodies accumulating since antiquity, and with every passing seconds it continues to grow ad infinitum.
We find ourselves living amongst unique beings that are born into this world as the Other, they are segregated from our faces by locked doors and six-foot fences.
We find ourselves unable to situate ourselves since our separation with the Other; and in our mind reconcile our innate goodness with the horrors we perpetuate upon the Other.
Yet we breathe the same air with the Other, and from the same land we emerge.
The land and air traverse locked doors and fences as if they’re nothing.
And with bolt-cutters and hidden cameras we shall do the same.
As there are no closed doors, but doors yet broken in.
And behind these doors lies incontestable Truth.
As nothing is more concrete and self-evidently truthful than suffering.
In the darkened sheds, the truth announce itself with every ear shattering cry, every look of misery, every sound of cracking bones.
In the darkened sheds, Truths are not elusive, they’re presented to you, they’re begging to be seen.
“What I propose… is very simple: it is nothing more than to think what we are doing.”
– Hannah Arendt
Let every instance of authentic encountering shake us to the core. As we are encapsulated, naked before the gaze of the Other, for a moment we can only be truthful, as the Self immediately asks: Who do I want to be, in relation to the Other, and to myself?
This question is only answerable through Action; as action, and inaction are infinitely consequential upon the Other and thus establishes relationality, through which one comes to know oneself.
For far too long, have we negated truth and freedom in favour of stability within the world we’ve built as Homo faber, only to realise we’ve built hell on earth for the Other.
We’re standing naked before the Other, before history, before the future.
As we hold within our palms, every potentiality.
We cannot say we didn’t know.
We cannot say we didn’t try.