The Collective Allice or On Fear, Death, Multitudes and Pain

: : Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?'That depends...

: : Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?’
That depends a good deal on where you want to get to; said the Cat. I don’t much care where’ said Alice.
Then it doesn't matter which way you go; said the Cat. –so long as I get somewhere,’ Alice added as an explanation.
Oh, you're sure to do that; said the Cat,if you only walk long enough.’ : :

Lewis Carrol, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

Every single body has its dark side. Every multitude, every community, every collective has its
labyrinths with no way out. And it is so because of the confusion that arises regarding the
‘singular’ and ‘plural’, because of the evil spirit that hovers between ‘I’ and ‘us’. And it is in this
very abyss that the multitude reflects. Because the multitude has the uniting, but also
destructive power. And it is so in political movements – the political thought from the Antiquity
to the present has been founded upon of the differentiation between the one and the several,
the many. But the multitude is at the same time both one and the many.
Thus us the space in which the key political, but also ontological battle of our present
takes place – how to create a community in the field of bio-power without putting down,
without killing the individual. How to create a collective and not zombifying crowdedness, in a
democracy that is being transformed into a discursive category debated at conferences. How to

create a body, a Hamletian body that will stand against and redefine the imposed lie of
capitalism, of injustice.
The new nature of the political body, the body that is disoriented both economically and
aesthetically-politically, resembles a singular tissue that refuses its own organic unity. It is a
“body without organs”. It is Hamlet-machine. And it is not easy to understand the anatomy and
consequently the immunisation of that body. It is a dying body, but not fully aware of its finality
and mortality.
The post-emancipatory epochs are characterized by the entropy of the traditional social
bodies. But we must learn what that body, that tissue, can do. The tissue of the multitude is in
constant evasion, it cannot be captured because it cannot fit and be moulded within the
traditional political hierarchies. The multitude is and open and expansive network where all
differences can be freely and equally expressed, a network that offers tools for encounters in
the illusion of disappearance in order to allow us to work and live together. The project of the
multitude expresses the desire for a world of equality and freedom, and demands an open and
participative democratic global society. Today, however, the possibility for a democratic
multitudinous body is endangered by the constant anxiety, by the anatomy behind which we
sense the decomposition, the rotting, by the particular constant socio-cultural and economic
“state of exception” dictated by capital and the illusion of freedom. This concept of freedom
that has the effect of a billboard slogan is in fact captivity within the utopia that escapes
through various fields of power.
The common social body is a possible matrix within the very core of the production and
reproduction of the contemporary society and has the potential to create a new and alternative
society or new alternative communities. These alternative communities we should view as a
different tissue, amorphous and fluid tissue that is yet to form its body. What is important here
is what kind of body will that shared singularity form. And who will for that type of body? Is that
going to be the “services” of capital, or forceful marginalization? Is this body going to be the
new Frankenstein or Cabala’s Golem, both of them yearning for love and acceptance, both of
them a paradigm of the excluded, unwanted? It is a fact that this new social body can be

shaped as a productive organ of the global body of capital. But there is another possibility of
autonomous organization of this common singularity through a particular “power of the tissue”.
The power of the collective body is to transform ourselves through historical actions and
through the actual new world.

Assembling the illusion of reality
To experience the real is to experience the horror, which is often accepted as invisible and as
normality. Horror is just one of the types of illusion of reality and nothing more. And the illusion
of reality is something that is most skilfully established in the experience of the panoptical
power. Key questions, unfortunately, are never to be found in the domain of the imaginary, nor
they address it. They are aimed at the futile attempt to discover what is it that in the radical
experiment called life has the role of the real. Not in a single case in point is that the belief in
the promise of a better tomorrow. All subjective and individual capacities for action, as well as
bravery, cowardice, action, and resignation are always to be found in the present.
A passion for the real is placed centre stage and this real is established by assembling its
illusion. We need to see the kidnapped reality and re-articulate the illusion of the real. We need
to create an autonomous zone of trust that, in the multitude of concepts and opinions, will not
be blocked operatively, that will overcome the minor provincial and personal existential fears
and will make a fearless step toward the horizon that will constantly move further away.
The time has come for a haven for the real that will not assemble illusion. That will
create constant strategies of/for constructive confrontations and political utopias. Because we
live in times when we wish to avoid every direct temptation, every authentic and deep
experience of the otherness. We wish to be safe, comfortable, in our suffering – on the new lit
bulletin boards is the following advertisement: better be in submission than in risk. If they do
not match, we will leave the other, we will not try to penetrate the otherness. If the other
suffers, that is their own problem. Death is the only subject that can bring us back from the
induced coma. We must reinvent risk and adventure against certainty and comfort. It is a
necessity to start the search for new forms of political confrontation and imagination.

The unfinished democratic project
The outlines of the new topography of socio-cultural, political and economic hierarchies go
above and below the national borders. Today, new processes of legitimization rest upon
biopolitical productivity of power. We need to find a way to recognize the warning signs and
thus recognize the potential of our contemporary world. We live in a global apartheid and that
system is not only a system of exclusion, but it is also a productive system of hierarchical
inclusions of the representation of power.
Democracy has remained an unfinished project throughout entire modernity, trapped in
its national and local forms, while the processes of globalization of the last decades have only
added to its challenges. The primary obstacle to democracy, however, is the permanent state of
exception. Therefore, the modern dream of democracy can be considered a project that is
irretrievably lost, buried under the panoptical weapons and security regimes.
The global society is being read as a regime of global security. And of course, national
states and the old international order, say the political scientists, are no longer able to protect
us from the threats that the world now has to face, some other forms of sovereignty need to be
created to manage the conflict of the world with itself and in itself. Not one of these
argumentations, however, allows for full realization of the concept of democracy, since they all
continue the organization of social elements in an organic political body, thus unescapably
reducing the freedoms for action and establishing their hierarchies. The democratic multitude
cannot be apolitical body, not in a modern shape at least.

We are afraid, so what?
“I can’t stand fear. I hate being afraid. There is only way to free yourself from fear. It leads to its
core.”

Peter Hoeg, Miss Smilla’s Feeling for Snow

Let us not deceive ourselves: we are afraid. Very much afraid. We tremble like cherry blossom
at the very thought of fear. And because of that, we cannot even realize fear, articulate it,
name it. We are afraid of the absence of fear.
At present we live cruel times when the parameters of the marker are used in the
handling of the sale and exchange of identities, thoughts and feelings, of the psycho-dynamic
determinants and road signs along the paths that our lives have taken. Now the collective, or if
you wish, clones Alice rules the roost, being endlessly reflected by the microscopic prisms in
hope that she will discover all aspects of her journey. But her journey this time is not in
Wonderland, but in the land where our yearnings, our bodies, are thrown on the garbage pit of
economic and political violence. Alice finds herself in the infinity of emptiness, in the multiplied
mirrors with crooked images of reality where contents are simulated via false overcrowding of
activities, actions, products, “projects”, “works”, and some sort of engaged acceleration. And
the rabbit is always late and never manages to get to the principal, festive, tea party. And he is
confused because, the tea party still takes place, but without him. Fear has become the only
preservative thing that can retrieve and construct the story about our wholeness, about the
justification of our existence here and now, that we are not virtual, that our lives are not
phantasms, that we are not writing them out following a decree. And nothing but the fear of
our finality feels more fit today to initiate our reflecting on the community – nothing is more
necessary than a situation that looks like an epochal knot of failure of the idea about the
importance of the common community (commons) with the mystery of new individualisms,
nothing is more disturbing than the entropy of the idea that the community is a property
owned by the subjects that join in it.
In the cauldron of this entropy of identities and in the semantic worthlessness of their
definition and naming, we are left only with fear, the fear we are aware of standing against the
fear that is nor articulated and suppressed and which we refuse to consider as principal for the
evil that it does in its environment. As such, fear has become one of the most exciting emotions
and refuges for the sorrow of our roving from birth to death. By knowing our fear, we get
stronger, we get nobler, we overcome it, while the Other, for whom his fear remains unknown

and the single motor for practicing power, paradoxically weakens. Since fear can incite the
illusion that stimulates the yearning for life.
And therefore, its Majesty FEAR is constantly stimulated and enthroned. With the lack
of communication, or to put it more correctly, with the onslaught of hypertrophic empty
communication codes, charged with high-frequency public and private noise, with the strain to
invent an apathetic, automatized, behavioural “pleasant” coexistence that is supposed to
camouflage the discontents of culture, with the rhythm of indifference, fear becomes the only
thing that can retrieve and construct the story about our wholeness, about the justification of
our existence here and now, that we are not virtual, that our lives are not phantasms, that we
are not writing them out following a decree. Fear becomes the second name for the thing that
is to remind us, not of life, but of being alive.
We are afraid of making decisions, of travelling, flying, staying put, being jolly, crying, of
love, commitments, of looking at ourselves through the eyes of the Other, of being gentle,
different, silent, saying “no”, saying “yes”, of confrontation, of standing up. We are afraid of
freedom although we keep calling it and dreaming about it (but we say to ourselves, that’s all
right, it should stay there, in the sphere of the unconscious, because it is easier to be
subjugated than free. Freedom demands responsibility and love!) We hate terrorism and
violence, but we would not know what to do without them. We are appalled by the
ruthlessness of political crime, but we say to ourselves, woe betide if we are to deal with
ourselves and our evil, and not with the unconscionable stupidity of others. We fear that the
film tape of our life will be clumsily cut by some bad editor at the most important sequence
that is to show our true face. And while fearing we hide our fear behind the cloak of
fearlessness. All the fears mentioned above we “cover” by persistently and repeatedly
practicing them in vain.
But what kind of fear are we talking about? We are talking about the fear of the
anesthetized man who has distanced himself from everything that can make him face himself,
the Other, or even the very meaning of FEAR itself, bared and known. The man who does not

know that he is afraid is like a crystal glass on the verge of being broken into a thousand pieces
with a single touch.

Fluidity and democratic socialism
We know that fluid life is a result of inconstancy, taking place in constant situation of
uncertainty. The hardest and most acute worry that haunts the fluid life is the fear that one will
not keep pace with time, with the events that change swiftly, that one will miss the sell by date,
that one will be overcrowded by the things one owns but are no longer needed, that one will
missed the moment that signals the change of direction. This fluid life is an endless string of
new beginnings – and for that very reason, the ends come soon too.
Disjointedness, incoherence and surprise are usual state in our lives. We might not even
be able to live without them any more – they are inherent to our lives, to our communities. The
human concept of joy cannot be fed with anything else any more but with sudden changes and
always new stimuli. We cannot stand anything that lasts.
That is why fluidity is the determinant, for better or for worse, that shapes our bodies,
our communities. It is a suitable metaphor that can help us understand the nature of the
present, which is, by many indicators, a new stage in the history of modernity. We spill out, we
diffuse, we leak, we melt. And thus we discover the cracks and crevices in the body of life
through which we manage to escape, perhaps undamaged, unlike solid bodies. Modern times
have found the solid bodies in a particularly advanced stage of decomposition, with no
yearning, in disembodiment.
Disjointedness, incoherence and surprise are usual state in our lives. We might not even
be able to live without them any more – they are inherent to our lives, to our communities. The
human concept of joy cannot be fed with anything else any more but with sudden changes and
always new stimuli. We cannot stand anything that lasts.
The idea of democratic socialism, that might help resolve many dilemmas, without, on
the other hand, becoming the new Faith, is to have institutions (including educational

institutions and modes of political thinking) that allow the individuals to lead their life through
recognition of their dependence on others and on collective projects. And the key for
democratic socialism is to have institutions in which we participate because we recognize
ourselves and our freedom in their shape. This participation in the societal institutions –
including the societal labour we recognize as necessary for the maintenance of our society –
should not be forced, but motivated by our active commitment to participation. It should not
be a job for the army or any other institution to force us to fork. Instead, the task of our
democratic society is to be organized in such a manner for us to be internally motivated to
participate, to contribute and transform its current life, owing to the fact that we have been
educated to fulfil our spiritual freedom. This fulfilment of our spiritual freedom must include
the opportunity to criticize or reject the established forms of participation. Just as the
institution of marriage is not an institution of freedom unless it allows for the legal possibility of
divorce, democratic socialism as an institution of freedom must offer a practical possibility to
refuse to participate in a given form of life – otherwise, our participation will not be free, but it
will be a result of material concerns.

Together or alone
Nothing appears more suitable and more necessary than the reconsideration of the notion of
community. The idea about the community as a property belonging to the subjects who have
joined in it is problematic. The fluid modernity which we inhabit consists of societies and
communities in which conditions under which the members of these societies and communities
function change faster than they can imagine, faster than it takes the modes of functioning to
consolidate into habits and routines. These fluid modern communities, just as the fluid life,
cannot maintain the same shape, nor keep the same directions.
Eric Hobsbawm noted the following: “Never was the word “community” used more
indiscriminately and emptily than in the decades when communities in the sociological sense
became hard to find in real life.” He proceeds to say that people look for groups to belong to,
temporarily or permanently, in the world in which everything else moves and shifts and nothing

else is certain. And at the very moment when the community collapses identity is invented. The
community is the home that for the majority of people remains a fairy tale rather than e result
of their personal experience.
What is the confusion around the community and the individual, then, what is the trap?
To be an individual means to be unlike anybody else. To be an individual means “I am what I
am.” The problem is that the “others that are the same” and from whom you cannot but differ,
are the very same that incite you to be different. This is what we call a community, a society, in
which you are only one of the many members, on in the mass of people, known and unknown,
who expect from you and from everyone you know, to possess and undeniable proof that you
are individuals, made “different from the others” either by someone else or by yourselves. In
the society of individuals, it is expected that everyone should be individual. But it is a paradox
that, not only are the differences completely annulled, but also that everyone is exceptionally
similar to each other, because they have to follow the same life strategy and to use shared
recognizable and readable signs that convince others that they are actually doing it.
Paradoxically, individuality belongs to the “spirit of the crowd” and to the demands
imposed by that crowd. To be an individual means to be similar to everyone else among the
many/in the crowd – even identical to everybody else. Under such conditions, when
individuality is a universal must and everyone’s burden, the only thing one should do to be
different and truly individual is to try not to be an individual, and that is indeed very hard and
paradoxical. It is the Gordian knot and an almost unsolvable problem. It is a problem that is not
only a logically contradictory, but also a practical task whose solution fills our loves from cradle
to grave. In the community /society of individuals, in our “individualized society” it is demanded
from all of us to be individuals, and we long for and persist on being just that. Being an
individual is usually defined as “being different” and because that “I” is expected to distinguish
itself separately, it seems that the task in its essence is self-referential. We have no choice but
to follow the path that will take us to probe deeper inside ourselves, which appears to be the
most personal and most guarded refuge in the already overcrowded and noisy world of
experiences that resembles a marketplace. We wander inside ourselves, unpolluted and intact,
untouched by external pressures.

Individuality is the final product of the societal transformation. The rise of individuality
marks the progressive weakening of the dense network of social relations and this marks the
loss of the community power or the loss of the interest for normative regulating of its
members. This normative emptiness is filled with new ordering of the social space that leaves
out of its interest the interpersonal relations and the micro-world of closeness and directness.

Responsibility and the daimonic as political
The relation between secret and responsibility, that is to say, between mystery and sacral and
responsibility is perhaps of key importance in the articulation of the condition under which we
are now trying to build the community. There is certain heterogeneity in this. Many
philosopher, Martin Hägglund among them, warn of the danger of the daimonic (divine) as
plundering with the effect, and sometimes with the paramount purpose, to remove all
responsibility, that is, to produce a loss of all responsibility’s meaning and the awareness of it.
We tend to incline towards the daimonic, to the authoritarian, to the concept of ‘deus
ex machina’, all this in order to avoid responsibility. The daimonic must be correlated with
responsibility – a relation that does not initially exist. The daimonic is first defined through
irresponsibility or, if you wish, through the absence of responsibility. It belongs to a space
where the command to be responsible for has not echoed yet: the call for being responsible for
oneself for one’s actions and thoughts, for the other has not been heard. The genesis of
responsibility is not related to history of religion or religiosity. It should be analysed in relation
to the genealogy of the subject who says “I”, with the genealogy of its relation to themselves as
an instance of freedom, of uniqueness and of responsibility, of the relation to themselves as
existence before the other – the others with their endless alterity, the one that sees without
being seen, but also the one whose endless goodness gifts in an experience that will be reduced
to gifting death. To gift death: this expression is equivocal.
Trapped in historicity, we can ask ourselves whether the European can perceive their
own history as a history of responsibility, illuminated by pain. Is historicity the one that kills the
political, annihilates the aesthetical. If the historian of Europe, of humanity fails to interrelate

historicity with responsibility, they will reveal a defeating fact – that historical knowledge is
used to wrap in mystery, block and satiate all questions, all foundations, but also all abysses. In
the very heart of our history, of our actuality, but perhaps also in our future there exists an
abyss – a huge cleft that opposes the longing for change, emancipation and redefinition of all
quandaries regarding history and the community’s responsibility.

The ending is an open work
“Last night I dreamt about reality. What a relief it was to wake up!” Stanislaw Lem

Oblivion, rejection, erasure and effortless replacement – these are the new paradigms for
survival, for sparing the bare life. And for this very reason this life can be also termed “a story of
constant, uninterrupted strings of endings”.
The paradigms we live in the societal, cultural and political and even artistic space are
the following: creative destruction, uncertainty as value, instability as fear and motivation. The
new survival skill is a sort of acceptance of disorientation, immunity to fainting, adjustment to
vertigo. It is clear that the new collective body is not fostering, but a result of inconstancy,
which takes place in a constant situation of uncertainty. The life of this work is a string of new
beginnings – and the ends come soon for the same reason. In this space we are to reconsider
the alternative collective body, which squirms and cries in pain and which in the maelstrom of
death is to create the new community model.
The world is in war again, but things are different this time. This is not the traditional
conflict between sovereign political entities, that is, national states, these are new,
supranational forms of sovereignty – a global empire that changes the forms and nature of war
and of the political, and even aesthetic violence. War has become an immanent part of the
quotidian, and is in communication with infinity.

The new character of the global political body, it has to be admitted, consists of
divisions and hierarchies that are equally economic and political. The organs of the political
body rest primarily upon political divisions, and thus what we need is critique of political
economy in order to understand the autonomy of that body.

Beyond the end
To be a responsible witness of humiliation, of violence, of bare life, is not a step towards
unforgiving and revenge, but a step toward building a constructive battle with what Virginia
Woolf terms “the false tyranny of plot”. Since we inhabit the very core of one such tyranny,
with foreseeable complications but unforeseeable resolutions, it is our task to be authors,
artists, creators, not only of resolution, but also of complications. We must not allow anyone
else create our own tyranny of plot. We must be a creative, authorial and conceptual step
ahead of the tyrant.
In the early stage of this transformation, young Karl Marx noted in one of his secondary
school essays that at sunset moths fly to the house lights. And indeed, the attraction of the
night lights grows proportionally with the darkening of the external world.


Shared on: August 1, 2023 at 11:08 am