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A Bullshit-y, Obscure Post: Literature as Violence

Tuesday, February 16th, 2010

From Walter Benjamin’s essay “Critique of Violence”:

If the rule of myth is broken occasionally in the present age, the coming age is not so unimaginably remote that an attack on law is altogether futile. But if the existence of violence outside the law, as pure immediate violence, is assured, this furnishes proof that revolutionary violence, the highest manifestation of unalloyed violence by man, is possible, and shows by what means. Less possible and also less urgent for human kind, however, is to decide when unalloyed violence has been realized in particular cases. For only mythic violence, not divine, will be recognizable as such with certainty, unless it be in incomparable effects, because the expiatory power of violence is invisible to men. … Divine violence, which is the sign and seal but never the means of sacred dispatch, may be called “sovereign” violence.

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