2014-09-06

He that is without debt among you, let him cast a shoe at the system

We believe that all committed activity should be based in one way or another in a notion of justice. It seems as if there was something like a basic principle of justice, common to many cultures, related to the idea of the equilibrium between opposites, as the plates of the balance symbolize. Yet we believe that the paradigm of the good and the evil, the righteous and the sinners, as the Judeo-Christian myth of Michael the Archangel tells, would be only one possible interpretation of this idea. And also an outdated interpretation that, not only doesn't make sense any more in capitalism, but also it is complicit in the perverse logic of domination embodied in the very system of capitalist production. The example par excellence is the bourgeois satisfied and proud of his well done work, not considering himself responsible for what happens outside his office.

But if we wished to overcome this paradigm and find another more suitable to capitalism, we believe that it should be based rather on the opposites pleasure and pain, and in their connections. Thus, this principle of balance would have more to do with some sort of universal compensation of pain and pleasure. Of course we do not intend to measure that. But we could instead formulate a possible corresponding moral principle, which could be operational in the contemporary neoliberal capitalist regime. Or better a counter-moral principle with regard to the morality of capitalist religion: "He that is without debt among you, let him cast a shoe at him." Or, in other words, the guilty ('schuldig') wouldn't be the one who owes ('schulden'), following the Nietzschean tradition (On the Genealogy of Morality, 1887), but the opposite. It would be in fact the privileged, "he that is without debt", who owes a debt to the rest, who is co-responsible for and beneficiary from a violent and unjust system in its very essence. And therefore it would also be he who should, in order to expiate this guilt, "cast a shoe" at the very structure of this evil system

Image after Domenico Piola's Stoning of St. Stephen (ca. 1650)  [pd] and hot stone therapy [ua-fu/fd].