Immunization, Imperialization and Totalization

Immunological thinking emerges out of insecurity. It comes from a felt need of self-protection. It has be told to us by scholars that immunological thinking emerged as a response to globalization. Identification with the local is based on and is against contaminating globalization. This brings out the subversive side of a community. In our country, for instance, those who think ‘Hindu Khatre me hai’ are subjected to immunological thinking and are out to immunize Hinduism against real or perceived dangers. It is a form of biopolitics. We can also trace similar felt fear about Goa as dying. I do not say that there is no truth in it. I have written about danger of loss that we feel in Goa. But we have to be aware how biopolitics generate immunological thinking in us. Biopolitics thus open limits or possibilities of a community. We can certainly identify a biopolitical turn in politics. With it, immunological thinking has taken us captive and we are striving to immunize our communities on war footing. Perhaps, we have to shun aside negative biopolitics and embrace affirmative biopolitics . What we are experiencing appears to be a kind of totalitarian biopolitics in our country It has rendered us hostile and inhospitable which is tied to our real or perceived needs of self-preservation.

Today we have come to understand the reality of a community with more clarity than before. We have always existed in a community but never really had a perfect community. We had always room to grow. We always experienced challenges to our community life. Hence, Roberto Esposito teaches that what we already always have in common is this lack of community. It is linked to the finitude of our existence and our morality as well as our being in time. Martin Heidegger indicates that forgetting of our finitude is the cause of most the evils in our society. Our finitude makes both community impossible as well as necessary. Community is always different from what it wants to be. Community, therefore, carries it own non-belonging to itself. It is always in the process of evolution and devolution. This is why community embarks on a path of immunization. Immunization is a progressive interiorization of exteriority. As such, immunization is good. But when we step into acute immunological thinking, we feel the other or exteriority as threat to our existence and step into totalitarian biopolitics. Immunization is a frontier or a dividing line, a limit that protects the individual/ community from the demands of the community / communities respectively. If the community is an outside of an individual, immunization is what brings the individual to himself/ herself. The same is true of inter-communities. If the other community/ communities is/ are an outside of a community, immunization is a way of returning to itself.

Immunization is the hermeneutical key to understand politics today, particularly in our country. Unfortunately, immunization is employed around what is deemed as proper to a particular community and not around what is in-common with other communities. When we privilege what we deem as proper to a particular community,(majority community for instance) against what it has in-common with other communities, we have the case totalization of immunization which then translates into hate politics leading to violence and desire of extermination of the other to preserve the purity of one’s community. This then results into the imperialization of one community. This imperialized community then imperializes the individuals belonging to that community and individuals belonging to other communities then can be marginalized as a logical requirement of the immunization of the community. Marginalization of the minorities is , therefore, the immunitary device that characterize the politics of the right wing in our country. We can see the same in Goa too with the right wing regional force Revolutionary Goan Party. In this context, we may have to isolate the regionalistic force, Goa Forward which cannot be characterized as following totalitarian biopolitics. This is why we have the challenge to draw the line between regional and regionalistic politics. Thus, we can clearly notice that so-called ethno-religious nationalism/ local ultra-regionalism is rooted in what we have called ultra immunological thinking.

Immunological thinking is not all together bad. When immunological thinking produces totalitarian biopolitics, then it becomes imperial and oppressive. Hence, politics that is based on what is deemed as proper alone and one that forgets what is in common to communities, becomes imperial and produces totalitarian biopolitics. Against this totalitarian imperialist biopolitics, we have the challenge to work to generate affirmative biopolitics. Affirmative biopolitics is a way of protecting ourself from too much protection. We have to embrace counter-immunization to the extent that we are enabled to open up to what is threatening us as individuals or community in order to loosen the grip of felt need of self-protection has over us. This means counter-immunization is a deconstruction of the reigning politics that is produced by acute immunization drive. Such a counter-immunization can open our eyes to the reigning myth of threats to the individuals and communities. Thus, instead of blindly catastrophizing those threats to communities , affirmative biopolitics works to produce counter-immunization that paradoxically immunizes us against the damages of imperialist immunization. Counter-immunization therefore, is affirmative immunization and produces affirmative bio-politics that is based on what we have in common and not on we deem as proper to us. What we have in common is existential and what we deem as proper to us is essencentric and can be a construct of vested interest. Essencentic derivation of what is proper can produce thanatopolitics, the politics that administrates death and therefore, generates totalitarian biopolitics. This leads us to think that our life can be preserved at the cost of killing other life. It means I prove by fidelity to my community by hating/killing/exterminating other communities. Thanatopolitics is a consequence of totalitarian immunization. Against this thanatopolitics, we require an affirmative biopolitics that immunizes life itself. It is only through this counter-immunization that we may be able to protect ourselves from too much protection.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Hypocrisy is the tribute that vice pays to virtue.

- Fr Victor Ferrao