2014-08-30

The Violence of the Symbols

The symbols of power are what they are precisely because they allude to a latent violence, which is what ultimately sustains power. Walter Benjamin spoke in this sense when he said that the violence "makes" and "preserves" the law, that this dialectic of violence and law operates under the "threat" of a violence always ready to act (Critique of Violence, 1921). In fact the function of the symbolism of power is precisely to shape this threat, to signify this violence, albeit in a latent way, without making it too much explicit. This function of symbolism can be clearly confirmed in the case of the eagle, the symbol of power par excellence, that many political regimes have used and still use today. The eagle combines many of the features that characterize empires: the distant and sharp vision, the surveillance and control of the territory, the speed and the skill in the attack to docile species...

Image after Lichtbliock/Andi Hill's Deutscher Bundestag [fu/fd] and others [ua-fu/fd].