Between Losers and Victors

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Everything is infected by its other, its outside, its adversary, its boundary, and its limit. A woman, for instance, is only a position that gains its definition from its placement in relation to man. This means that man is defined in terms of his other/ woman. This makes all identities oppositional. This reduces the other as the other of the same. The other of the same takes the same as a benchmark or the metric standard that produces the other in the image and likeness of the same. The other, therefore, becomes an absence of the same. Thus, the other and the same is thought through the economy of the same. The other has to image the same but as its opposite. This means the other cannot be the other. It is an otherised other from the privilege vantage position of the same. This economy of the same expels otherness from the other. Difference/otherness is domesticated. It is erased and the other of the same is constructed/ manufactured. This means the other is displaced and an otherised other is placed in its place.

The otherised other then becomes the opposite pole of our binary thinking. The binary logic is our habitual either/ or thinking. It thinks by opposing and annulling one pole of its binary play. In fact it castrates one side and takes away its generative power. It only allows one side to be endowed with fertile generative power. It has only one phallus. The other phallus that is castrated has to Oedipalize. It is a lacking other. It has to allow the one that is having the phallus to have it say in silence. It has to choose the withdrawal of latency and submit to the reign of the fertile phallus. This becomes the law of the father. We all bow down and worship the single phallus of our binary or either/ or thinking. The binary play keeps the two in a dialectical opposition while annulling or invisiblising the real other. In dialectics of this kind, there can be only one voice. This is the voice of the victor. The other voice is the voice of the defeated. The voice of the master annuls the voice of the slave. There is structural violence in the binary logic. It is a logic of exclusion. It is a monarchical monologue. Unfortunately, it has become the mainstream way of thinking and being in the world.

To subvert it, we need the middle voice. This middle voice is not the middle of virtue as thought by Aristotle. It is not a fifty/ fifty thinking. It does not take the one that is deemed as better of the two poles of our thinking. It embraces both the poles of either/ or thinking. Its embrace is big enough to embrace other poles of our thinking. It keeps both ends into play. It is a logic of affirmation. It does not negate nor put one pole in opposition with the other poles. It keeps them in the middle of hyphenation. It holds the two together and brings about a play that is not one that puts the two in dialectics but the one that keeps them in dialogue. All the poles of our thinking are set side by side. They do not take a side against the other side. It sides for the other side. It is a logic of love. There cannot be singular and a singularized victor. It is a partnership. Everyone is on the winning side. Such a logic of hyphenation is emancipative. It is the logic of fullness/ abundance and not a logic of lack. It has the power to free us from chains of thinking with binary opposites. It makes us one for the other and the other for the one.

This logic of inclusion appears to be building the play several of ills that exclude otherised others. Nationalism, racism, casteism, patriarchy, all monarchies, and fundamentalisms of all shades and hues play the logic of exclusion. We see how nationalism racism, casteism, patriarchy, all monarchies, and fundamentalisms are manifest the rain of oppositional thinking. They have their life and being in the dialectics of opposition. It wins by defeating the otherised/ castrated other. It is therefore a play of the logic of unsaying. It unsays the otherised other(s). The otherised other cannot have its voice. Paradoxically, the one that silences the other also does not seem to have its own voice. It lives on the borrowed voice. It otherises the other by setting the free play of the logic of exclusion. Thus, by excluding the other one is included. By rendering the other as anti-national, one becomes national. But it may really not be a fact. Nationalism can become a hiding place for the greatest rogues. There is no guarantee that those that profess and express their faith in the nation are truly national. This means that nationalism is not national enough. no nationalism is fully national. It lacks something. This is why it has a driving force of negation and exclusion. This is the reason we can say that it has a borrowed life. It is already castrated and hence repeats its own castration by castrating those that it deems as anti-national in search of de-castrating/overcoming its sense of being castrated itself.

This means the logic of the same and the otherised other that constructs a castrated other is actually castrating both sides of our thinking. The pole of thinking that is posing as a winning pole is already defeated. It is a logic of defeat and thinks that it wins by defeating the otherised other. In reality, both the poles as well as all other poles of this logic keep everyone on the defeated side. Unfortunately, we have built all identities, communities and societies on the basis of this logic. We are living defeated and keep defeating everyone. This is why we have to embrace the logic of hyphenation. We can think of the two poles/ all poles of thinking together. We can hyphenate all the poles of our thinking. It will keep everyone on the winning side. We then win by wining together. It is a win-win condition. There are no losers but only victors. The world can be different if we allow the free play of this logic of hyphenation. We do have the imperative to hyphenate life. We belong to each other. We cannot exclude this primary belonging by letting the logic of opposition have a free run and ruin us and our society. Let us not live a castrated life. Let us embrace the fullness of life.

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Hypocrisy is the tribute that vice pays to virtue.

- Fr Victor Ferrao