The Career of Living Things Is Continuous Reflections on Bergson, Iqbal, and Scalia donna jones It is the forgotten war, but still the watershed event of modernity. The Great War was a catastrophic shock to world civilization. The rationalization of slaughter raised the question of what value Western civilization actually placed on life, but the fascist reaction to the horrors of World War I also gave new meaning to life and identified it with death. Only some responded to the carnage with calls for healthy and sensuous living--calls to limit nicotine or alcohol use, to wander in nature, and to display the naked body. But in Germany the intense lived experience of the battlefield formed the basis of a new Kriegsideologie. The German Erlebnis captures this fusion of life and experience. To live meant to live life dangerously. Ernst Jünger's war writings explored the psychodynamics of extreme lived experiences (echoing all the way to Katheryn Bigelow's Hurt Locker). We also find an increasingly strident irrational commitment to the vitality of the nation, predicated on the racist destruction of life that is weak.1 Life either had to grow or die out. But life could only grow through death. Imperial
Qui Parle: Critical Humanities and Social Sciences – University of Nebraska Press
Published: Apr 26, 2012
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