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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What is avoided is the radical price paid ( usually by others , willy - nilly ) in order
that those of us who are privileged with the status of participants may go about
solving the world ' s problems . The courtroom , the negotiating table , the room of
Yet , again , a deeply politicized violence , which keeps returning as form , is the
core of the problem . The will to knowledge is shattered by a violence that
dramatizes the limits of comprehension ; scampering in retreat — and no less is
at stake ...
blurring of those distinctions — even in a contaminated world in which junk
culture has strewn itself across our very natures — will yet have to deal with the
problem of what it is that a “ fantasy ” might be , for whom it operates , and what its