God and Guns 5


The Burning Block Vol II No. 8

This is my rifle. There are many like it, but this one is mine.
My rifle is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it as I must master my life.

Without me, my rifle is useless. Without my rifle, I am useless. I must fire my rifle true. I must shoot straighter than my enemy who is trying to kill me. I must shoot him before he shoots me. I will?

My rifle and I know that what counts in war is not the rounds we fire, the noise of our burst, nor the smoke we make. We know that it is the hits that count. We will hit?

My rifle is human, even as I, because it is my life. Thus, I will learn it as a brother. I will learn its weaknesses, its strength, its parts, its accessories, its sights and its barrel. I will keep my rifle clean and ready, even as I am clean and ready. We will become part of each other. We will?

Before God, I swear this creed. My rifle and I are the defenders of my country. We are the masters of our enemy. We are the saviors of my life.

So be it, until victory is America's and there is no enemy, but peace!

The gun as a providential bridge to utopia. The suspension of the tragic in the name of the ideal.

Heidegger: If I may answer briefly, and perhaps clumsily, but after long reflection: philosophy will be unable to effect any immediate change in the current state of the world. This is true not only of philosophy but of all purely human reflection and endeavor. Only a god can save us. The only possibility available to us is that by thinking and poetizing we prepare a readiness for the appearance of a god, or for the absence of a god in [our] decline, insofar as in view of the absent god we are in a state of decline.27

SPIEGEL: Is there a correlation between your thinking and the emergence of this god? Is there here in your view a causal connection? Do you feel that we can bring a god forth by our thinking?

Heidegger: We can not bring him forth by our thinking. At best we can awaken a readiness to wait [for him].

SPIEGEL: But can we help?

Heidegger: The first help might be the readying of this readiness. It is not through man that the world can be what it is and how it is -- but also not without man. In my view, this goes together with the fact that what I call "Being" (that long traditional, highly ambiguous, now worn-out word) has need of man in order that its revelation, its appearance as truth, and its [various] forms may come to pass.
- "Only a God Can Save Us": The Spiegel Interview (1966)

Our culture of weaponry is the result of our having adequately erased the notion of sovereignty. Without sovereignty, human agency is based merely on survival - the lowest common denominator of existence. We're dealing here not simply with the crisis of nihilism, but it is also that. It's not simply that modern life in the western world is a paradoxical mix of boring, depressing and anxiety-inducing, but it is also that. In a world in which every neighbor can be a potential enemy and the system itself is potentially something from which one might have to defend oneself, there is no one convenient direction to point guns. There is no common enemy, for we can find our enemies within. Mass murderers have merely dipped down lower on the trust-scale than society requires us, which is quite low as it is. 

What proves most frightening is not that it is so easy for people who are likely to go on killing sprees to obtain guns, but rather, that the tendency to go on killing sprees could be just one potential indication of an inevitable war of all against all which has been caused precisely by the contemporary values we cherish most: individualism, liberty, the illusion of equal agency and aptitude for beneficial social status, which all depend quite obstinately on the adulation of personal desire at the expense of reality, the personal need for the unconditional affirmation of one's behavior, regardless of the depth or scope of it's extra-personal consequences, and a deep resentment toward limits as such, be they cultural, structural or even natural. 

It may just be that the ultimate consequence of such values - values which breed fragmentation, isolation, fear, hatred and enmity for what is near and desire for what is far - is acts of destruction of a purely negative character. If such is the final dial on the knob of such values, is there much difference between these values and the acts of violence which follow them? When one becomes one's own God, whom shall one fear so long as one's weapon is in one's hand? 

It may be the case, as Heidegger posited, that only a god can save us. But the important point will have to be that it is a god who is not just a base projection of our wants and wishes... It will have to be a god who cannot be mistaken for us.