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politics and original sin

SIMON CRITCHLEY


Subject Literature

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405168908.2010.x


Extract

The return to religion has become perhaps the dominant cliché of contemporary theory. Of course, theory often offers nothing more than an exaggerated echo of what is happening in reality, a political reality dominated by the fact of religious war. Somehow we seem to have passed from a secular age, which we were ceaselessly told was post-metaphysical, to a new situation where political action seems to flow directly from metaphysical conflict. This situation can be triangulated around the often fatal entanglement of politics and religion, where the third vertex of the triangle is violence. Politics, religion, and violence appear to define the present through which we are all too precipitously moving, the phenomenon of sacred political violence, where religiously justified violence is the means to a political end. The question of community, of human being together, has to be framed – for good or ill – in terms of this triangulation of politics, religion, and violence. In this essay, I want to look at one way, admittedly a highly peculiar and contentious way, in which the question of community was posed historically and might still be posed. This is what I want to call “mystical anarchism.” However, I want to begin somewhere else, to be precise with two political theories at the very antipodes of anarchism. Carl Schmitt: The Political, Dictatorship and the Belief in Original Sin Let ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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