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What can be more "totalitarian" than this closed loop of "your very fear of being guilty makes you guilty" - a weird superego-twisted version of the well-known motto "the only thing to fear is fear itself"? One should nonetheless move beyond the quick dismissal of Robespierre's rhetorical strategy as the strategy of "terrorist culpabilization," and to discern its moment of truth: there are no innocent bystanders in the crucial moments of revolutionary decision, because, in such moments, innocence itself - exempting oneself from the decision, going on as if the struggle I am witnessing doesn't really concern me - IS the highest treason. That is to say, the fear of being accused of treason IS my treason, because, even if I "did not do anything against the revolution," this fear itself, the fact that it emerged in me, demonstrates that my subjective position is external to the revolution, that I experience "revolution" as an external force threatening me.
But what goes on in this unique speech is even more revealing: Robespierre directly addresses the touchy question that has to arise in the mind of his public - how can he himself be sure that he will not be the next in line to be accused? He is not the master exempted from the collective, the "I" outside "we" - after all, he was once very close to Danton, a powerful figure now under arrest, so what if, tomorrow, his proximity to Danton will be used against him? In short, how can Robespierre be sure that the process he unleashed will not swallow him? It is here that his position assumes the sublime greatness - he fully assumes the danger that the danger that now threatens Danton will tomorrow threaten him. The reason that he is so serene, that he is not afraid of this fate, is not that Danton was a traitor, while he, Robespierre, is pure, a direct embodiment of the people's Will; it is that he, Robespierre, IS NOT AFRAID TO DIE - his eventual death will be a mere accident which counts for nothing:
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The third Bremen lecture lays out just how severe the problem is. While we have already seen how the essence of technology prevents us from encountering the reality of the world, now Heidegger points out that technology has the world (“world and positionality are the same”). Technology reigns, and we therefore forget being altogether and our own essential freedom — we no longer even realize the world we have lost. Ways of experiencing distance and time other than through the ever more precise neutral measuring with rulers and clocks become lost to us; they no longer seem to be types of knowing at all but are at most vague poetic representations. While many other critics of technology point to obvious dangers associated with it, Heidegger emphasizes a different kind of threat: the possibility that it may prevent us from experiencing “the call of a more primal truth.” The problem is not just that technology makes it harder for us to access that realm, but that it makes us altogether forget that the realm exists.
2 Sigmund Freud, 'The Uncanny,' Art and Literature: Jensen's Gradiva, essay 'Fearing Fictions' or Peter Lamarque's 'How Can We Fear and Pity Fictions'.
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Many of the soldiers in the present war are so determined to die on the battlefield that they conduct their own public funerals before leaving for the front. This holds no element of the ridiculous to the Japanese. Rather, it is admired as the spirit of the true samurai who enters the battle with no thought of return.
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This preemptive self-exclusion from the domain of the living, of course, turns the soldier into a properly sublime figure. Instead of dismissing this feature as part of the Fascist militarism, one should assert it as also constitutive of a radical revolutionary position: there is a straight line that runs from this acceptance of one's own disappearance to Mao Zedong's reaction to the atomic bomb threat from 1955:
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Only then will “another whole realm for the essence of technology ... open itself up to us. It is the realm of revealing, i.e., of truth.” Placing ourselves back in this realm avoids the reduction of things and of ourselves to mere supplies and reserves. This step, however, does not guarantee that we will fully enter, live within, or experience this realm. Nor can we predict what technology’s fate or ours will be once we do experience it. We can at most say that older and more enduring ways of thought and experience might be reinvigorated and re-inspired. Heidegger believes his work to be preparatory, illuminating ways of being and of being human that are not merely technological.
Freud the uncanny essay citation crossword
Consequently, insofar as the shift from "we" to "I" can effectively be determined as the moment when the democratic mask falls down and when Robespierre openly asserts himself as a Master (up to this point, we follow Lefort's analysis), the term Master has to be given here its full Hegelian weight: the Master is the figure of sovereignty, the one who is not afraid to die, who is ready to risk everything. In other words, the ultimate meaning of Robespierre's first-person singular ("I") is: I am not afraid to die. What authorizes him is just this, not any kind of direct access to the big Other, i.e., he doesn't claim that he has a direct access to the people's Will which speaks through him. This is how Yamamoto Jocho, a Zen priest, described the proper attitude of a warrior: "every day without fail one should consider himself as dead. There is a saying of the elders that goes, 'Step from under the eaves and you're a dead man. Leave the gate and the enemy is waiting.' This is not a matter of being careful. It is to consider oneself as dead beforehand." This is why, according to Hillis Lory, many Japanese soldiers in WWII performed their own funerals before living for the battlefield: