Raids on Human Consciousness: Writing, Anarchism, and Violence
However one looks at violence -- as an instrument of bureaucracy or ideology; as a product of racial, gender, or class antagonisms; or as the inevitable result of power politics -- it is an integral part of every social system and is one of the most pressing problems of our tortured century.
In Raids on Human Consciousness Arthur Redding examines the contention that violence, be it the mass product of revolutionary uprising or a private sadomasochistic indulgence, may be taken to instill in those who commit it the capacity for radical change.
Conscious that mainstream theory considers violence deviant, a departure from the normal equilibrium of social and aesthetic structures, while other critiques take it to be integral to any dynamic system, Redding begins with the anarchist inquiry into the relationship of violence to the imaginary representation of modern communities. He explores the "public images" of anarchism in literature and popular culture and emphasizes the diverse strategies by which modern writers encounter, derive, deflect, and manipulate fantasies of political violence.
Redding recognizes that language fails when confronted with the extreme suffering of human bodies. Acknowledging that flesh is subject to war, torture, and everyday brutality -- violations to which language can never do justice -- he nonetheless finds it urgent to reclaim language on the far side of suffering.
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But our ultimate goal is to demonstrate that the two cannot in fact be
distinguished , at least not in writing . . . . Violent events are not simply so but are
called violent because they bring together different concepts of social order . To
( 691 ) “ Negation without strength and without generosity ” is already a terrifying
enough prospect but one that at least we might be able to accommodate ( to
preserve our own sanity ) as “ passion , ” or ressentiment . Yet Stavrogin has
16 Yet for all her weaknesses the portrayal of Vida herself remains sympathetic ,
to my mind at least . It is not clear that we are supposed to abandon Vida in favor
of her sister ' s position . If her sister ' s feminism is arguably more attractive from ...