The Origin

Featured in The Burning Block Issue 4

It is hoped, in every nation state, that some final goal or eventuation will reveal itself when the conditions are just right, thus abrogating all injustices deemed necessary along the way. It is assumed that this final eventuation will be tied, as if metaphysically, to the origin, in the manner of a religious eschatology. But how many nation states truly had such mythic events to begin them? Revolutions have long defined the internal destiny of countries that were not fortunate enough to take their own shape but were forced to conform to the new model. They end in bangs and whimpers alike, squelches, booms, howls, laughs and cries of rage. A state always has more than one goal lying adjacent to others. Some are aware of the intersection of these goals while others can only ever go on being unperturbed citizens if they don't know of the other goals. The state as a linear-spatial reality has war, not only as bookends, but as a feature of its internal nature every single day, which rebreeds itself in the hearts of each man, woman and child. Even if the origin were to completely vanish (though it often does anyway, if it exists at all), the child would still be disciplined for not conforming correctly to the societal timescale. What is discipline in a child but an anxious hastening of activity for the sake of a civilized schedule? What are most marital conflicts but the insufficiency of serfdom swallowed up in the ambition of everyday dreams? What is a surprising parking ticket but one more deterrent, one more closed fence to herd people a direction that best preserves the spatial continuity of those who would like the rivers to bend around them like rocks? There is, perhaps, not a single origin in any case, but only ever constant perpetuations, constant repetitions of violence as word, as writ, as an unavoidable calamity which announces itself most earnestly as an act which does not want itself completed, but which goes on sucking people into its orbit at every turn while it simultaneously promises truth, hope, love, security, opportunity and freedom.

Just as it is hoped that systematic violence will have some long-lasting effect it throws ahead of itself, so states are ideas thrown out ahead of themselves, suspended ever in the realm of imaginary beneficence. Unfortunately, there doesn't ever seem to be equilibrium. The point at which man grows into his state is skipped altogether; there is only his unseemly compromises with it, and later, the moment he surpasses it despite the insistency of a few of its agents who have yet to adjust to the will of the people. The seal breaks. Barbarians overrun the city. Militias cut the heads of the monarchs. The blood flows most earnestly where man and his relationship with his surroundings have ruptured. Eventually, so many heads are cut that there is no one left to call an act a ‘sin,' or a ‘crime' at all, for all the law givers, moral designators and guardians of language have been sacrificed in the name of a liberation purchased by the incompatibility of two currencies.

The origin itself represents the meeting point of two incongruous planes. It is only a forking point at which so many other paths will lead to so many other origins which are, as the other ones were, the point of forked paths themselves. The political domain presses us up so close against the limit that we can only look back into the circle which reflects us onto the world. We are the center point of a place that needs us to identify itself. Sovereignty loosened itself from the power of the commitment of one person and redistributed itself into the network of personality-less equations functioning around the king as center point. Each and every one of us sees ourselves as the point by which the nation is measured. The state as a configurative projection of different social equations, in its self-perpetuation, goes a step ahead and casts itself onto the immanent plane of the common denominator. The individual as center point is always connected by the radius of his circle. The bifurcation required for the individual to see himself as something separate from this circle suggests the nature of an origin to him. Because he was born, everything else must have been born from causes as simple as man and woman. All events, in his mind, are births, and births come with the announcement of the infant's terrible cries. A man makes much noise to prophecy in the name of that greater noise, and encourages others to join in the cry.

Origins can only be named as such as a grounding feature of a certain set of historical conditions which announce themselves anew at singular points in which the conditions are interpreted to the same effect as others. They are original precisely because they are comparative and define themselves in the same manner as one another. Their budding nature is indifferent to goals and questions of purpose even if these events absorb purposes and goals and use them as tools to further their own conditions.