The Libidinal Hostilities, Desecrations and Phobic Responses

We have been pained by the recent spate of desecration of crosses and other holy spaces in Goa. While we had not been able to nab the culprits until recently, 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 their 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 from 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 through the lens of the libidinal economy.  Just like Karl Marx gave us the theory of economic determinism of everything in our society, Lyotard proposes the libidinal conditioning of everything. This means he sees libidinal energies and intensities flowing in all our relationships and undertakings. In the context of the desecrations that afflict us in Goa, we invite us to view these destructive acts as acts of hate directed to inflict pain which derive their energy through the satisfaction of libidinal intensities. We can take other approaches to study sad incidents by using other analytical tools. All these approaches may be valid. But we have chosen the one developed by Lyotard to study these acts of terror mainly from the point of view of one who uses them to inflict pain on others. It includes the criminals as well as those who take joy in such acts when inflicted on innocent victims. This approach has opened us two important facts: the first reveals that we are reeling under phobic pressure (induced by an atmosphere of intolerance in our country) that impedes our thinking, yet we have exhibited resilience and strong resolve to protect our valuable communal harmony while the second manifest that we have an undeniable communal situation in our society that is leading us to suffer/enjoy it as a victim ora perpetrator or simply as spectator feeding on its theatrics.

Indeed, these terror acts are the effects of libidinal hostilities and fed into our libido differently as victims, agents and consumers of these vandalisms. 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-meaningGoan. 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 the 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 have not identified all the culprits who may belong to any religion, we employ the notion of fascism to characterize the mind behind these hate crimes and well their inordinate consumption. One Christian of some sect is arrested by the police. But it is difficult to believe at this point that one person is behind all these crimes. That is why we may do well by thinking of it as a fascist mindset. Such a mindset 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. 

Fascism of all shades and hues is fascinating. The destruction and vandalisation of the holy spaces tries to deterritorialise the reigning peace and reterritorialize strife, suspicion and schism among the Goan people. A nameless monster is out to deface the beautiful face of Goa. Although this mindless force has somewhat succeeded in dismantling the physical religious structures, it has 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 (agents and libidinal consumers). 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 may serve, there is a certain gush of intoxicating high that satisfies the libido of the perpetrators as well as their ilk. Somehow we enjoy the mad destruction that we 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 is the driving force of 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 bloodthirsty today has to be understood, recognized and adequately responded to by all. 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 but 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 mindset behind the desecrations. This does not mean that the police do not have to nab all the culprits that may be involved. 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 led to see communal stains in everything. Perhaps, Lyotard’s libidinal economy transforms into phobic responses that have been clouding our thinking as Goans in this regard. Be it as it is, our precarious condition only tells us that, even in such situations, we Goans have stayed calm. Kudos to all Goans! The power of Goykarponn has assisted to tide over this dark night.


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Hypocrisy is the tribute that vice pays to virtue.

- Fr Victor Ferrao