Why war?

[from Invitations philosophiques à la pensée du rien]

1. Manipulative destructions       

It is not certain that destruction could have just two terms, the one destroying the other. Indeed, if it is a question of destroying something other than people, it is necessary that we endorse a third term, at least: the benefit that the first term draws from the destruction of the second. I would only consent to having my leg amputed if this, and this alone, would save my life. This type of relative destruction is necessarily partial, and consists only in eliminating the existence of one thing to guarantee the existence of another, to the extent that, existence always being the goal, one is still quite far from radical annihilation. And if it is a question of eliminating people, we had better expect that I will try to destroy those who are trying to destroy me. This, then, is a matter of a codestruction, in which two groups would mutually massacre each other. Even here, such a mutual destruction is barely plausible, for in the absence of any other term in the destructive process, the two groups can have nothing at stake in the massacre of the other, let alone if one assumes the loss of at least part of one’s own group. These cases of dual or mutual destruction seem absurd—until one discerns a third party, both inconspicuous and peaceful, sometimes lying at the root of, and always standing to benefit from, the conflict.

The most current forms of destruction, manipulative destructions, involve four terms. A and B get along so that C and D will kill each other. This is what is produced in war, which is decided by those who do not fight. One who measures the terrible harms executed by the players of war concludes by doubting its compatibility with reason; but one who discerns its advantages for those who are dominant finds the reasons which theoretically suffice to explain conflicts, and practically suffice to trigger them.

2. Hypercapitalism relies on annihilation

If our capitalism effects a globalization, it is important to ask what kind of globality this is. Yet could hypercapitalism perhaps be able to impose itself upon the totality of the world without becoming a properly ontological principle, a universal rule allowing the measuring of the degree of existence that suits being given to each existent? The content of the rule is well known: it is a matter of giving to each existent the degree that is, out of all the possible degrees of existence, precisely the most profitable one: from hyperexistence to complete disappearance. Such is the necessary condition for maximum profit, which would not be optimal without taking the greatest share from all its operations, and thus as much from its destructions as from its productions. But this condition itself would not exist without the possibility of profitably destroying the individuals who have no other profitable possibility, or whose destruction brings in more than their production. Our mode of production, hypercapitalism, finds in annihilation its insurpassible condition.

trans. Gil Morejón, December 2013

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