All guerrilla armies, hidden in forests and mountains and the jungle of the cities of the Middle East, exist physically but not spiritually outside of society and are thus endowed with great auratic potential (with which the epithet “terrorist” unwittingly connives). But here in Kurdistan that aura is augmented with sexual characteristics that stem from the negative magical power long associated with women under patriarchy as “the second sex”... The genius move, the alchemical move, is to flip this from a negative to a positive, while retaining the negative as a threatening, hidden power (that becomes overt with the gun and grenade). Now patriarchy trembles, so to speak, as the demon it has created rises from the ashes and ISIS fears more than anything else to be killed by a woman.
fireflies re-emerge in force, as not so much the sign of the Messiah but of something even more wonderful, namely the mastery of non-mastery. Voilá! (p98)
If thereby we see mimesis as gift exchange, we also see how mimesis dissolves persons into that which is exchanged in metamorphic back-and-forth reciprocities of personhood... It is a game we play continuously. We call it life. Yet that life depends upon the intricacies and intimacies of that “soulful hybridity,” on whether it be motivated by the magic of dominance or by something even more complex summed up as the mastery of non-mastery. (p125)
Mastery of non-mastery is a shamanic conjuring with the bodily unconscious, a variant of which is called “proprioception” whereby without you knowing it, your body unthinkingly adjusts to space. It is as if you are actually part of the rooms and hallways, open skies and fields, streets and subway tunnels you pass through.
Here the servant triumphs over the master and does so in a decidedly MNM way. It is a triumph in which master and servant transform their relationship into one of incongruous equals in a never-ending homosexual, or at least homoerotic, debauchery, mocking each other and playing games like children or drunks at each other’s expense. It is as if all the demons of servitude, its guile, deceit, suffering, humiliation, and self-immolation, have surfaced and exploded in hallucinatory, play...The theater they construct and keep on constructing seems as if it will wind on forever, just as the mastery of non-mastery keeps unwinding the many layers of paradox by which it is constituted and by which it is energized, hence the sex and play. (p21)
the theatrical element of power
Prisoners of codes evolved in pre-meltdown time, we are locked into the normal, not its exception. But then how do you invent a new cultural form geared towards the exception as the rule? ... Is the problem, therefore, not the need for a new culture—a “culture of catastrophe”—but the need for something like the mastery of non-mastery that doubles back on itself, so to speak, a twisting logic that meets at least halfway the exception as the rule?
The devastatingly original, not to mention often cynical, microsociology of Erving Goffman is based exactly on this theater. Goffman takes this to such lengths that at times his mode of exposition—his very grammar—implodes as each phrase redoubles the cynicism of the one before, thus creating pervasive mistrust of itself as well as of the world referenced. In other words, the mode of exposition bears a mimetic relationship to its content as well as displaying the outer limits of where such cynicism leads, throttling language in excesses of dissimulating fervor. (p46)
The flood of green books, freshly minted journals, essays, research grants, talk shows, films, fellowships, political campaigns, and endless conferences on the Anthropocene, animism, life, vibrant matter, and the “ontological turn,” so on and so forth, amount to a renaissance in planetary self-awareness, even if couched in crabby secular language. (p56)
By nature-language I refer not so much to language about nature as to language that appears to insinuate itself into nature and vice versa through a bewildering multitude of projections and reference points.
Maybe even dance a little, that MNM dance that is surely not only a concept (heaven forbid!) but a fiery flaming thing, coiling and uncoiling? After all, even a concept needs flesh and blood, its mimetic counterpart, what Fredric Jameson in his remarks on mimesis once called “the micro-narrative element of the sentence itself.”