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This essay is a very belated response to a " part 1 " published in February 2015. The gist of that essay was a response to a corre...

Tuesday, January 13, 2015


I wrote my essay-series A REALLY LONG DEFINITION OF VIOLENCE in part to take issue with a critic's overly politicized concept of violence, but inevitably it touched also on such favorite concepts as Kant's "might," Fukuyama's "thymotics," and Bataille's "sensuous frenzy," as seen in PART 3:

It is sensible, then, to see violent activity-- as well as sexual activity, to which the former is inextricably linked, if only in a cultural sense-- as a subset of a larger set comprising "all forms of activity/might."

Saying that the activities are "inextricably linked," however, does not mean that they can't be discerned as separate phenomena, much as one can discern that light is both wave and particle. I devoted the 2010 essay LEAD US NOW INTO TRANSGRESSION to four examples of comic-book art showing respectively (1) erotic violence, (2) non-erotic violence, (3) non-violent sex, and (4) violent sex.

Keeping these distinctions in mind, then, I will admit that when I made this statement in PART 3, I was probably thinking largely of "non-erotic violence" and "non-violent sex" as theoretically pure states of each phenomenon when I made the following statement in PART 3:

While there are ways in which sexual partners can attempt to "assault" one another-- ways which include, but are not confined to, rape-- sex is dominantly isothymic, in that sex usually requires some modicum of cooperation. Violence, then, dominantly conforms to Fukuyma's megalothymic mode insofar as it usually involves a struggle of at least two opponents in which one will prove superior to the other...

By the schema above, both phenomena do have "impure states," and logically it follows that those states will not be easily attributable to either megalothymia or isothymia, though all four states would be included under the rubric of Kantian "might."  I should note that sex, even when not coupled with violence, can be used as a form of non-violent yet still coercive "persuasion," much in the same way money works (see discussion in PART 3).

So though sex in its pure state does not involve competition in the same manner as does violence, it manifests "might" no less than does violence-- though, as I commented in PART 3, most critics tend to think of "might" and "violence" as the same thing.

In my next few essays, I'll devote some time to pursuing a line of thought left fallow since this essay from June 2013:

I have some thoughts as to how these categories of goal-affect might relate to Frank Fukuyama's categories of "thymos:" *megalothymia* and *isothymia.*  But these will be elaborated in a separate essay.

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