Thursday, May 17, 2007
is something that works, seemingly, because otherwise you would fall. i think that my fear of flying is related to the idea that flying is merely not falling. animal spirits of flight or fight are among the associations i am having (especially now that beatrice the kitten is, along with choco the dog, one of the inhabitants of our house). but i am also thinking of a decisive moment in the film Journey to Kafiristan in which the choice must be made to travel on to India or to return to Switzerland at the outbreak of World War II. The one journeyer (and National Geographic Society journalist) continues, and wants the other, Annemarie, to continue with her. Annemarie replies that she thinks that they should return, to where they could be useful during the war. She asks the other woman, "But what if you don't know it's you who is turning the wheel?" But flight is clearly the choice of the other woman, who doesn't want to be "useful." I often wonder about the fantasy involved in such a choice. The idea that if you don't do either you would fall is not necessarily elaborated, since flight is, in one way or another, generally synonymous with fall. But not falling presents another question. Marx, for example, in "The Secret of Primitive Accumulation" (Chapter 26 of Capital I), makes an analogy between primitive accumulation and the original sin. The fall of original sin is supposed to account for the division of the world into good and bad, in the same way that primitive accumulation is supposed to account for the division of the world into lazy rascals and the frugal elite. Marx's insight is that primitive accumulation is the point of departure for the capitalist mode of production, not its consequence. As "primitive," it is the pre-history of capital. The analogy with original sin is not played out, but Marx's critique of it implies that the myth of the fall (as with the myth of primitive accumulation) involves the type of certain uncertaintly that riddles the presentation of anything that, like flight or fight, seems necessary.