We are born human, evidently. But this evidence seems to get lost the very next moment. Ever after our birth we have to prove that we are human, that we are human enough to be worthy called and treated a human being.
Human beings are caught up in the paradox that they are born human beings, but have to become a human being. The human being has to achieve humanity, because being born a human being is not worth any more than being born an animal.
The big word humanity is a big variable. Sometimes it simply means to have the right attributes: the right skin colour, the right passport, the right health data, the right college diploma, the right party membership, etc.
Why? Because those who judge humanity are not more human than others, all they are ahead of “us” is to dispose of means of domination.
God is dead? No, we won’t let him die. Yet, his image is terribly damaged. And he cannot defend himself. I cannot defend him either. But maybe I can guess how it came that he got trapped in such a bad position.
Many a philosopher has stated that God gave us the means to dominate nature. But maybe nobody thought of it, or maybe nobody dared to say it: that by giving us the means to dominate nature we equally received the means to dominate God.
Is there any feminist out there? Very few would raise their hands upon this question. To be a feminist is the most unfashionable political position that ever existed. It is true that the proletarian became rather historical as well, yet he kept some romantic charm. The feminist has no romantic charm on her. She is an undesirable figure. And here we arrived at the key point of the disapproval of feminism. What does a political role have to do with desire? Political positions can be more or less attractive, but to turn the approval of a position into a question of desire is something new. Besides men and women believe that the appearance of the feminist affected the desire between man and woman in general. I couldn’t believe my ears, when I heard women seriously giving fault to feminism that they don’t find a man. To me this is a most peculiar turn. So what is behind it?
It reveals how our power relations are interwoven with systems of desire: subordinate roles were made acceptable by the promise of desire.
But we shouldn’t let ourselves get blinded, the 1950s, where gender roles tended to be very traditional have not been the most passionate times in history. The promise of being desired ended in the kitchen. The white wedding lasts one day.
The 1920s with all its changes and insecurities have more exciting stories about desire to tell.
So we should be very sceptical of the myth that a traditional woman’s role gives more pleasure. And maybe have a look at what feminism has to offer: Feminism is questioning critically any role whether it would be the housewife or the career woman and helps to recognize in both roles the power plays. Therefore it can teach us how to play with these roles. And is this not what can create great desire, playfulness change and surprise?
The ear is innocent.
I’m all ears, wants to say: I am attentive. I dedicate all of my time and attention only to you. But it is often used to calm down the other in order to continue with what one was doing (cleaning up, washing the dishes, writing an e-mail).
I cannot hear anything is a way to avoid saying I don’t understand or don’t want to understand.
Everyone knows the gesture of politicians tipping at their ears to indicate that something is not working with the simultaneous translation. How often do they do this, when they don’t understand what they hear? How often do they pretend to not understand acoustically because they don’t want to understand what they hear?
Are you deaf? Is a very tricky insult. It pretends to ask in a polite way: Are you stupid? But in reality says in an unpolite way: You are stupid? Are you deaf? Says: Are you so stupid that I have to assume you are deaf, in order to explain myself how it is possible that you cannot understand something so easily understandable? While pretending to ask: Could you not hear acoustically what I was saying?
And finally I cannot hear you, is another way to say I will not listen to you. I will not obey you.
The ear remains innocent.
Democracy is a good thing. This seems to be common sense today. But nobody can really answer, what that is, democracy? Even though of course there are many answers, like always when nobody knows the answer. A closer look on these answers shows that most of them can be reduced to one and the same answer: Democracy is when you elect your president.
However, even in the German Democratic Republic people went to vote (in the socalled Volksdemokratie) and whether states like Russia are very democratic although they have elections is doubtful. So either democracy is not only about having elections or it is not necessarily a good thing when it is reduced to electing a president.
Let’s go back to the meaning of the word democracy: The demos rules. Who is the demos: the expression was used to describe the non-noble citizens of Athens. Taking this at its word (unfortunately in history it was never taken at its word) must mean that citizenship is not inherited. But if it is not inherited, it must be possible to achieve access to the demos by demanding or fighting for a position within the demos, because any criteria of citizenship can be democratically challenged. The demos then can never be fixed to one closed group, but has to be ever changing.
When demos rules one should in the best case never know in advance, who is ruling, because any development of a ruling class, installs back again a fixed group, which is incompatible with the demos as being open to newcomers.
Allowing real demos that means a political subject, which is ever changing, can be frightening. Immigrants can then legitimately demand to become part of the demos. The demos is the legitimisation to ask for participation in it.
I am not so sure whether this is what people have in mind when they say: democracy is a good thing.
Hoping for workers struggels in China.
How far is China? “We” thought it is far away, far enough, and tried to push it even further away. China was to be an exotic other for centuries imagining mysterious beauties in secret places of the forbidden city.
But exotic as it was deemed to be, it was soon to be associated with the other side of the medal of the exotic label, a “dark power”: At the end of 19th century an expression was born, which comprises a fear of chinese masses migrating to Europe: the yellow peril.
Nowadays China grew close in a very different way than expected, not as an exotic other, and neither as a ‘yellow peril’. Although for sure many would love to draw a continuity of this resentment up to now. But there is no uncivilised hordes breaking into Europe from China.
China advances in fields, which have been western connotated. It seems to overtake ‘us’, know and practice capitalism better than we do, without compromise.
What do we do? “We” are still hoping China is far, far enough. But I think we should rather hope it gets ever closer, closer to the people instead of the ideology.
Solidarity with the workers in China is more profitable for us than fighting against them caught in the logic of capitalist competition.
I was dreaming to have a big brother. Not knowing that Big Brother was watching me. My imagined big brother, might have been nice or nasty he would have always been a weak little brother in the face of Big Brother and an unconscious ally of Big Brother at the same time. A sister is just a sister, even sisterhood did never reach up to a state-supporting principle like “Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité”. (Blood) Brotherhood was at the bottom of war and peace, sisterhood the cause of some romantic songs.
Are we animals. No, we are human beings. We say no with utter conviction. Why are we so afraid to be one animal among others? Why did philosophers for centuries try to find a clear distinction between animals and us? I guess that there is a hidden utilitarian reason behind this chatty reasoning. We don’t want to be treated like animals. Why do we compare some people to animals, barbarians, savages, indigenous, biests? I guess we want to treat some people like animals. What is there to say: Maybe we should start to fight for human rights by fighting for animal rights.