The Return of the Repressed Master and Lessons of Peace for Goa

Anyone will tell us that the controversy around Fr. Bolmax’s statement about Chatrapathy Shivaji is excessive. Perhaps, we have to mark a line of distance and critically view the same. Somehow the reactive politics manifested what we may use psychoanalysis call surplus Jouissance. The mob reaction linked to the said event creates an over-proximity of things which we as Goans feel as a kind of crossing the lines of decency and civility. Those scene of mob fury at the police station produces a sense of denial with us saying this is not our Goa. It is a discomfort that we Goans feel seeing ourselves. It has put a strain on the field of vision. Here perhaps we have the challenge to understand that, we have reached a point where the two master discourses (one that is deemed as offensive and the other that is reacting to it) are mutually constructing each other. They both presuppose and generate each other.

Language is synchronic and is a relationship of the play of signs. Thus, we need to analyse what happens when language functions as speech. In this context of the speech, the speaking agent is marked by the master signifier or the Big Other who remains its silent witness and governs social relations within the given social field. This is perhaps why some felt the discourse of and around Fr. Bolmax is offensive on both sides of the dividing line. It is offensive on the side of Goa and Goan-ness too. Maybe Big Other/ the symbolic order of our society does not permit us to see disruptive angry hate-ridden demonstrations among Catholics and the Hindus of Goa who do share bloodlines down the centuries. Peace and harmony at least at the visible level is the master signifier that orders social relations in our society. Thus, harmony is what Lacan would call the ego’s ideal that is embodied in our society and we all intensely feel the imperative to make it an ideal of life ( ideal ego).

From this perspective we can say that both discourses that we are seeing are out-lawing our symbolic order and Goans with self-respect can see how the repressed master signifier has come back to haunt us. The master signifier is about the primacy peace and harmony in Goa between all communities. The political discourse that we are considering in this context is about the retreat of the master signifier. The master signifier is about Goa as a land of peace and joy. Indeed this is the recognition of Goa worldwide. This is why we do have all right-thinking Goans inviting those that stand across to dividing line to give peace a change. Hopefully, this discourse that is inviting us Goans to get back to our senses based on what Lacan would call object an ( an absent object that is the root cause of all desire) is steadily growing. While we may trace that both the conflicting discourses belong together and both are triggered by a felt sense of absent object which is different in each case, the loss of value of unity as Goans is the one that is acutely felt across communities and is the reason for the several calls for building peace in our society. Thus, if peace fails, we will fail Goa and become impotent Goans.

We as Goans have are have embraced otherness without any demand over it to dissolve into our sameness. Unfortunately, the discourse of the right wing that is informing the controversial discourse we are studying seems to be demanding an experience of the other be deprived of its otherness. it castrates the otherness of the other into sameness. The issue has acquired sharp tooth and nail because of the advent of social media. This new communication technology has enabled us to reduce the digital space into a political space. Therefore, it is a challenge for all right-thinking Goans to develop a critical distance from the content of the digital space. It is for us to choose Goan-ness as our master to come out of the present condition. The master who was repressed by the divisive discourse under our consideration has already arrived. It is for us to master the harmony lessons embedded in our Goan-ness and work to build peace in our society. Our geometric point of reference is Goa, Goans and Goan-ness. We can identify how Goa’s peace is being threatened and we have begun to feel out of place ( alienated) in our very own Goa. Hence, the geometrical field o Goan society is inviting all of us to work to build peace and unity in Goa for all. The repressed master signifier is haunting us Goans to respond and to come to an understanding and by forgiving everyone turn a forward-looking leaf on the book of Goan-ness.

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Hypocrisy is the tribute that vice pays to virtue.

- Fr Victor Ferrao