The Libidinal Hostilities and Phobic Responses

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We have been pained by recent the spate of desecration of crosses and other holy spaces in Goa. While we have not been able to nap the culprits, Goans have shown that they cannot be provoked by the sinister designs of the wicked perpetrators of these crimes.  The impacts of these crimes are devastating to its victims and cannot be brushed aside. Here we shall delve into the issue with the help of libidinal analytical tool developed by French thinker, Jean-Francois Lyotard in his book, Libidinal Economy. Drawing inspiration of Sigmund Freud, Lyotard views that society is structured by the way the thirsts of human libido is being satisfied we attempt to understand the hate crimes of vandalisms. Just like Karl Marx gave us the economic determinism of everything in our society, Lyotard proposes the libidinal conditioning of everything. This means he see libidinal energies and intensities flowing in all our relationships and undertakings. In the context the desecrations that afflicts us in Goa, we invite us to view these destructive acts as acts of hate which derive their energy through the satisfaction of libidinal intensities. We can take other approaches to study the sad incidents by using other analytical tools. We have chosen the one developed by Lyotard to study these acts of terror.

Indeed, these terror acts are the effects of libidinal hostilities. Hence, we begin by drawing our attention to a relation between fascism and fascination. This analysis takes us to the aesthetics of fascism. All these vandalisms are in bad taste to every well-meaning Goan. It is clear that the series of desecrations that we are facing today exhibit a pattern that points to a design and therefore they are certainly orchestrated and not irruptions of local feuds and conflicts.  This means they are not consequences of local politics but are being parachuted on the local people from outside. It is a case of macro politics trying to stir up local micropolitics.  The desecrations that afflict us in Goa are not at the service of peace but are engineered to develop cracks among peace-loving Goans. There is an unambiguous political function of these vandalisms.  Maybe a kind of fascism is fancying its chances to bring division among Goan people. Since we do not have identified the culprit who may belong to any religion, we employ the notion of fascism to characterize the perpetrators of these hate crimes.  They tried to engineer divisions in our society but the strength of Goan communal harmony has shown equally admirable resistance to their social engineerings. All these dastardly acts are directed toward the creation of a hostile Goa that will become a boiling pot of religious divides which in its turn would lend itself to be exploited for political capital by the political masters that would prey on them.  This is why all Goans have to stand together and defeat this divisive agenda.    

The fascism of all shades and hues is fascinating. The destruction and vandalisation of the holy spaces try to deterritorialise the reigning peace and reterritorialize strife, suspicion and schism among the Goan people. The peace and harmony flowing on the beautiful face of Goa has become an un-faceable face for some of the divisive forces. Hence, they are out to deface it. Besides, for their bad luck, it has been proved that we Goans have a bold face to face the divisive monster which is let loose on us. Although these forces have somewhat succeeded in dismantling the physical religious structures, they have not been able to bring about cracks in our strong communal harmony. Though the pouring of the poison of division has not succeeded, for now, we Goans have to stand on guard to protect our peaceful co-existence and conquer these forces of division. We have to somehow resist the logic of disintegration that is embedded into the politics of desecration. The first step to build this resistance will consist in the recognition of the libidinal energy that motivates the perpetrators of these atrocious acts.  Hence, besides the political ends that these cowardly acts serve, there is a certain gush of intoxicating high that satisfies the libido of the perpetrators as well as their ilk. Somehow they enjoy the mad destruction that they inflict on others. Hence, an effective response would have to address the libidinal economy/structure that moves and oils the wheels of fascism in our society.  The libidinal economy supports the political economy. Hence, to address the political we have to deal with the libidinal. 

The desecration of the holy spaces is an expression of libidinal hostility, a discord that we seem to have come to enjoy.  Sometimes our conflicts become our vehicles/occasions to invest into our libido. How we address this libidinal fantasy often decides the quality of our society. The intensities that push and pull us to invest into our libido that appears to have become blood thirty has to be understood, recognized and adequately responded to by all and sundry.   Of course, while we address the libidinal intensities of these acts of desecration, we have to also attend to the message that is communicated by these painful acts. The message is straight and unambiguous. It has a pathological intent. It wishes to inflict maximum wounds on its victims. These acts are agonizing and the apparent silence of the victimized community cannot be construed as weakness. The strength of this silence is that it is able to speak emphatically and loudly that we Goans love peace and communal harmony.  Yes, there is the power of a centripetal force in our Goan-ness that cannot be shattered by the centrifugal forces introduced by the series of desecration. It is by the strength of our respective religious convictions and power of communal harmony that Goans have defeated so far the divisive theatrics of the perpetrators of desecrations.  This does not mean that the police do not have to nab the culprits. While the Goans have shown great resilience, the law enforcing authorities and the Government has the duty to protect the religious spaces and monuments with all the force at their command. It is now for the Government to get its act together and bring closure to these hate crimes in our peaceful Goa.  The fact that the police have caught one Francis Pereira is a step in the right direction although there are rumours that claim that he has been bribed heavily to take all blame. Maybe we still have to wait and watch. If the police have fully cracked the case they have certainly taken the communal sting out of it. If there was no communal hatred as it seems, for now, it is great news. It also tells us that somehow we are thinking through communal doldrums and are easily let to see a communal stain in everything. Perhaps it is not Lyotard’s libidinal economy but what can be called a phobic mechanism that is clouding our thinking. 

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Hypocrisy is the tribute that vice pays to virtue.

- Fr Victor Ferrao