Be (Respectfully) Violent

Hegel’s lesson from the fall is that the worst thing is to treat an other as harmless, as incapable of evil. This very consideration of innocence deprives them of their humanity, their ability to do good. The fall creates the condition for human striving towards the divine; without the fall there is no human.

Anyone who plays competitive sports know this. The most patronizing thing your opponent can do to you is to not try their best because they’re afraid that you’re going to lose badly. What it says is: you are so harmless and weak that I feel sorry for you. In fact, I often grow paranoiac i badminton matches whenever I am came back and caught up from an initial loss. “Please try your best, don’t let me any points!” I would plead. If for nothing, to be recognized as someone worth contending against. I want to be human, not sub-human. I want respect, not infantile care. True respect for an other is to insult them. Incidentally, if we cannot take a defeat (as I often cannot), then at that moment, at least, we are sub-human.

This is also what we do when we idealize someone we love. We reduce them to a one-dimensional image that gleams with the divine and lacks the dimension of the shadow. This is why love is so violent (SPEAKING FROM MY TRAGIC PERSONAL EXPERIENCE…) when the other becomes the fantasy of everything good, without any of the evil that must accompany the divine.

The fall, the capacity for evil, may be the best thing that has ever happened to mankind.

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