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Living in Leviathan (or Why We're Expecting the Sky to Fall on our Heads)

dream*
dream*

I would like to start with the basics, before elaborating in later articles on the inherently madness-inducing strict narratives of intolerant societies. 

 

In as few words as possible, the narrative of the Western European society (for this only I can attest) is based on the work of men such as Thomas Hobbes (aka “the father of liberalism”, best known for his contribution to the social contract) and his likes. Through the structural application of their ideas, their worldview permeates our communal and individual understanding of the world and our reaction to it. 

 

Hobbes claims in Leviathan that there is no inherent morality in humankind and that man’s only drive is his desire (and much later psychoanalysis added an interesting take on the subject). Therefore, maintained Hobbes, in order to achieve a sense of safety you need the long-armed law and hard monarchy. Hobbes must have been either a really scared and traumatized individual or an unprecedented visionary, depending on your belief system. In order to understand him and his work better, we must take under consideration the fact that Leviathan was written during the English Civil War (1642-51). Research doesn’t fail to mention that Hobbes's ideas had apparently already crystallized in the years or even decades before the outbreak of the war. Certainly war brews like beer, so claiming that it had “nothing to do” with Hobbes conceiving and writing Leviathan would mean ignoring a basic fact. 

 

It is well-documented (and quite obvious) that our neoliberal society draws directly from Hobbes’s ideas, and these are therefore projected to and incorporated into our view of the world and ourselves like a colored filter on a lense. In other words, our thoughts, experiences and behaviors are saturated by the development and application of the thoughts and theories giving birth and supporting the system we live in. We live in Leviathan: This effectively means that we live in a constant pre-war, pre-disaster state, because this is the prevalent, the Hobessian narrative of our socioeconomic model and the values system we live by, and as long as we view the world in its terms it will remain unmoved. It’s the real Matrix, if I may be excused the cliché. (Besides, as it is to be expected, a constant state of apprehension and uneasiness is desired and cultivated for reasons largely connected to the survival of this very system).


However, experiencing the world as Hobbes did while conceiving and writing Leviathan is a genuine experience, although (unwittingly) fabricated, and one of the deeper psychological implications of the immersive cultural experience of living into someone else's world that touches upon our deeper collective values and sense of self. As a narrative, Leviathan is ultra-realistic, devoid of empathy – which Hobbes anyway supports is not a genuine quality – maintaining that the only thing existing in a world ripped of its humanity is desire and the shortest way to its object. And even if realism is a big metaphor in itself, it is subtractive, taking away from literature its metaphorical, magical dimension (the one that makes it appealing, one could argue). Perhaps this is why our 'reality' is so dry and our system hates all things non-tangible and far from obvious connections to reality so much, be it eg. spirituality, passionate love or hearing voices.

 

The picture Dream appears in the blues collection.

 
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Friday, 31 December 2021 11:00
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