THE UNBEARABLE LIGHTNESS OF THE LYNCHING
(The lynch of Janez Jansha by the Slovenian media)
When I watch TV Slovenija and Pop TV and listen to Radio Slovenija, I take great care not to let myself be fooled by them, to be bewitched by them. I am most interested in the informative programs – although I would prefer to call them: »disinformative programs«. The more I watch and listen to them (especially certain commentators and television and radio presenters) in election campaigns, the more I feel the urge to join the right-wingers despite the fact that I have always avoided political affiliation and voting in elections and referenda.
The printed media do not lag far behind and positively excel in agitating for the system and producing propaganda: the weekly Mladina, Dnevnik and of course Delo. One could not say that they are impartial, let alone independent media.
The current pinnacle of these campaigns is a staged political trial in the post-totalitarian system which, in terms of its perfidiousness and inconsiderateness, surpasses the staged trial against Janez Jansha that we remember from the times of the totalitarian Yugoslav system. I have therefore been forced to look at what I wrote about the media lynching.
I was almost a little surprised (for my memory has faded with time) to discover that what I wrote then about the media lynching and the political judicial process is also valid today. I also asked myself when I first felt the beginning of this renewed persecution. It began with the Depala Vas affair – Minister Janez Jansha being removed from the position of Minister for Defence. We could just as well call it: the affair with Smolnikar (the affair of the double agent). This game played by the system became even more obvious when the first heralds of our current events appeared via email bearing the brief appeal: »Anyone but Jansha!« Soon afterwards this became the slogan of the main Slovenian media in the struggle to retain power by those who were in power but who felt they might be losing it. Although there was no real chance that something like that would actually happen. Their continued power in the post-totalitarian system was never really under threat.
Now the particularly eager and reputed citizens of Slovenia have with their lynching of Janez Jansha surpassed every measure of good taste and respectability. They have already dedicated three or four sessions of the Slovenian parliament to it and mobilised a series of Slovenia’s most highly reputed lawyers who are all referring to the legally binding conviction of Janez Jansha. The Slovenian judiciary, which is not actually much trusted by Slovenian society in general, has with this indecent ruling – in a staged political trial – over night become popular and infallible and respected. Does Slovenian society now trust it? To avoid having to describe the agonies of the system, let me just say that the system is virtually in a state of siege.
»All want to participate, all are hitting out ... An important reason for the rapid growth of the masses is the complete lack of danger in the feat. It is so safe because the predominance of the masses is enormous. Its victim can do nothing. Either it flees or it is tied up ...« (In our case this is a political murder and the victim is in prison).
What else does Elias Canetti say about this case? (see the supplement).
I cannot avoid mentioning how surprised I was at the role played by Matjazh Hanzhek in this lynching. A long time ago – before he joined the system – he accepted the respected role of Human Rights Ombudsman and now also the role of Slovenian MP. He was a collaborator of the independent Revija SRP and until October 1998 his publishing house Zalozhba LUMI d.o.o., Ljubljana published the journal. In 1992 he also published my book A Treatise on Freedom, which contains everything that is written below in the supplement and many other things besides about common values and the values of the system.
From the history of lynching we know that this is an ancient achievement of human civilisation – a mechanism for settling scores with the victim. It was never spontaneous, the masses were always incited. Nowadays, it has become very modern, mainly thanks to the technological development of the media and the development of mechanisms for controlling the system. However, its essence has remained the same. According to written sources, the only effective countermeasure is also almost 2000 years old.
Nova Slovenija – the party of Christian Democrats should perhaps be reminded of it:
»May the first person without sin cast the first stone.«
(In our case: at Janez Jansha).
Let us now look at what I have written in the past about media lynching. I have a strong feeling that it is even more relevant nowadays than it was in June 1985 and 1988.
(I have abbreviated my articles somewhat but they can be read in full in Slovenian by following the links.)
FROM THE VALUE ORIENTATIONS OF POLITICAL PROPAGANDA
It was Franci Zagorichnik who encouraged me to write the article Current events in the light of values: To the Committee for the defence of human rights – values. I could say that he actually ordered it and immediately published it so that I had two articles published in one edition of the journal (this one and the Story of Pilate). There is probably no need to say that he in no way dictated the content of the article. He was only interested in how I saw current events in the light of values. Current events in those days meant the »trial against the trio«: I.B., J.J., D.T., who were soon joined by the fourth F.Z., and even a fifth for a short period T.B..
In the end only two remained relevant, J.J. and I.B., who was at first the uncounted grey eminence of the »four« who was never formally charged (incriminated) but who was in fact the leader of the Committee for the defence of the »four«. As I said, these numerations really get on my nerves.
If I consider this article again today, there are a number of things that bother me in it, although it must be said that I could never have foreseen the turn of events that I see today. I am above all bothered by the following: solidarity with persecuted enemies of the system is my ethical exigency, but it ceases to be if this solidarity is institutionalised, if it is organised by some power that is similar to the one that creates victims. My problem is so much greater because the article also contains the following words:
»In this crisis of values of the system that is caused by the predomination of power, i.e. the politicisation of the state apparatus, two sets of institutions stand out as particularly powerful and in which political power is exerted to its maximum possible extent. It is not difficult to guess that these are two »crowd crystals« as Elias Canetti would call them: the police and the army.«
»And if it was only this: the militarisation of the system as a necessary evil for the protection of the system, one could still somehow manage to breathe. Army barracks are visible, uniforms are visible, ranks are in clear order of hierarchy, and war and putsch occur only in exceptional circumstances and are short-lived states of the system. But here is also still present this invisible power which has put on a cloak of secrecy and denouncement. The invisible but largest institution of the system is oversized, overly powerful. Tell me which institution in the country is the strongest and I will tell you the name of the system. If it is the police then our system is a police state. Secrecy is an insidious value, being invisible it has undreamed-of power, it is easy to rule in secrecy, inspiring fear of denouncement, but as it is insidious it makes all other values disintegrate; firstly the public sphere and with it democracy, and it is most damaging to the value of freedom.«
(See document: Current events in the light of values)
(This is what I wrote in Ljubljana on 10 June 1988. Now I would say that this was a very rapid reaction, even too rapid.)
It is hard to say what is most disturbing in these thoughts nowadays because even the very image of new power – not disruptive by itself – has subsequently become disruptive. Was it possible to foresee this? Probably yes. The article was aimed against the value of power, not only some concrete value but institutional militant power in general. The next actualised value (the carrying and unmasking value in the article), which governed us at the time, controlling us and taking away our freedom, was a military secret. The problem of the ethical consideration is brought to the fore when the actual victim of persecution J.J. becomes defence minister in the new system and his friend and defence strategist for the »four« I.B. becomes minister for the police. And this new defence minister proposes six times as much funding for the army (war, butchery) than the new system spends on culture (preservation of the nation’s identity (for creativity, for the liveliness of life). Well, it does not matter you might say, someone must have this role too. That is true, but it is not good if these are former persecuted persons because the masses are not supportive of the mighty and the powerful but of the victims because they only identify themselves with victims (unify, become one in spirit). How can they now become one with them? This is rather too grotesque an expectation. It can also last for some time, this new institutional identification with uniformed institutional defenders of freedom but it will come back like a boomerang.* (As this was written before Yugoslavia’s military aggression on our new state, this sentence must be corrected. »This new institutional identification with uniformed institutional defenders of freedom will last a long time, their glory will be as that of the Slovenian General Maister, and greater, but it will come back to us like a boomerang.« Something strange, that I cannot comprehend, later happens with these concrete victims of the system whom I particularly strive to help and express my solidarity with. They almost arrange themselves in two extremes. For some it holds true that when they climb up in the institutional hierarchy, which is not surprising on its own because this is the way the mechanism of social turnabouts functions, I am nevertheless surprised by the radicalism of the transformation of the victim into those who will henceforth perhaps have to create victims themselves. Similarly, I was surprised a few years after expressing my solidarity for Vojislav Sheshelj (at the time of the Belgrade trial of the »six« in the first part of the investigation) by his sudden rise to the position of Chetnik leader. A comparison is not possible for us, (*especially not nowadays). And neither is it for the Serbs but the reasons for both nations are contrary to each other. For us Slovenians J.J. and I.B. are eternal national heroes and mythological personalities as V.Sh. is for the Serbs.
But there is another fundamental difference that does not stem from the nature of the individual but from the nature of the system and the nation’s character. Sheshelj is inevitably marked by the »complex« of creating a greater Serbia which can only be done by subordinating other Balkan non-states (republics of the former Serboslavia). So that the Serb nation attempts to subjugate – enslave nations whose identity and freedom it does not acknowledge.
In this way Jansha and Bavchar (contrary to Sheshelj) are defined by the independence-gaining »instinct« of the Slovenian state and the struggle in self-defence for the nation’s freedom. The advantage is so great that it cannot even be outweighed by the mythological heroism of the Serbian patriots (we can mention the notorious Chetniks, Komits, as described by their compatriot Dimitrije Tucovich) nor the power of numbers of the Serbs, in the »second Yugoslavia«, not even their predominance in the commanding roles in the Yugoslav Army. The outcome of the conflict is foreseeable and with it the balance of my heroes. But the predictability reaches only to a certain extent, to the extent that is framed by the value system of the institutions. This predictability of action determined from an institutional role is great, I would say surprisingly great. But there is also the remainder that is indeterminable, unpredictable. It is ever present and if we fail to bear it in mind we are blind and numb to it, but it will surprise us. Let us call this remainder the individuality of man and the individuality of the nation, their essence from themselves, from themselves and for it.
For others it is the opposite that counts, that rehabilitation for them is in no way possible, not even in the new system, at least not as long as they are alive. Not even the new system can digest them or use them and therefore cannot rehabilitate them either. What remains are dissidents, hidden and rejected individuals for all times. They are not popular in their own nation; rather they are unknown and anonymous. They can also find themselves on the opposite side; they could even by traitors of the nation. But there is another game that is also being played here, let us call it fate playing games with people. They are not accepted by the system, they are not accepted by the nation, they have no access to it.
The reason why they are institutionally useless is also known. They have remained faithful to their personal value orientation. No system can allow this and forgive it, especially not converts from it.
I have expressed some solidarity with such difficult cases in the following article: (Games played by the system: Visual words, nos. 8-9, 1988, Ljubljana, p 94).
Games played by the system,
The system in the light of system theory and a little differently,
Confession for the system
(Two kinds of game: games played with the person, his individuality, games played with the nation, their freedom – subjectivity – About the system in the light of system theory and a little differently – Confession for the system)
This time also he will only borrow some of the content from the articles, namely the content that in my opinion refers to the essence of the processes of the system).
»Time will show its essence, but instead of waiting, we can help ourselves with memory. The system helps us; it reminds us of the victims in the Dachau trials. The living and the dead waited forty years to be rehabilitated. Until then they were repeatedly the subject of suspicion, were stigmatised and tormented.
Every previous attempt at rehabilitation fell through. Let us be attentive to the word rehabilitation which should mean: to give a condemned person back their good reputation, their honour. I believe it was necessary to give them back their individuality, their truth had to be unambiguously expressed. Meanwhile, the system had to be rehabilitated: directors of crucifixions, non-autonomous judiciary, the secret police, the political avant-garde, basically the whole system because the system was integral, totalitarian. We who calmly observe the errors of the system must be washed of our guilt for the errors are not true errors but intentional truths of the system. May I say again that execution is the premeditated murder of the system. And if we do not have sufficient knowledge about this process, we have enough about some other, for the system they are systematic. But we do not want to see this. We are consoling ourselves by saying that this is an accidental error, a judicial error, executions are rare and after all we now have rehabilitation and can rest. How can the system rehabilitate itself with just one, albeit a preposterous trial when there were so many of these executions that one can no longer envisage a bright future for the system. One can console himself; great injustices are facts of the past, matters of history and it is best to forget them, it is over. Self-delusion and lies are the consolation of oblivion. There have been trials and there will be more as long as the system will be aimed against the person, as long as the rift between the system and the person, between him and his role in the system will be so damn important, decisive.«
»The system adapts its form of repression but its essence remains the same.«
»If there was not this doubt over the legality and constitutionality of the system! But this doubt is present and is pervading us! We are suffocating in laws and are ashamed of constitutional changes! Too many laws are a clear indicator of illegality, too many changes to the constitution a clear indicator of non-constitutionality or in other words, the illegitimacy of the system. The intimidating »trials are only the tip of the iceberg«, which is visible, the rest cannot be seen and known because we want it that way. But sometimes I simply cannot understand how to manage with what I know about, shall we say, at least three more trials of the system? I am acquainted with the trials of Zoran Lenart, Stojan Sotoshek, Oto Vilchnik and I also know them personally. And I cannot understand how we can live and know what we know, we their friends, acquaintances, former work colleagues: journalists, lawyers, professors? Perhaps they no longer even have those former friends, acquaintances and colleagues? The system’s process of isolation works slowly but surely on those that are marked by the trial; I call it a civil death. Each of them has his own story and every one of them is interesting and frightening on its own. Oto’s story has lasted seventeen years (now already 20 years) and is still ongoing with no end in sight and the other stories are the same. Why do they not tell them, each person the story of his trial? They do tell them, but we do not want to hear them. And every declaration they make will be met with a barrage of suspicion, further accusations, insults and humiliations.
Such is the iron-like scenario of the trial. At best, the trial is officially scheduled to be reopened or is actually reopened, but everyone knows that it is part of the game of the system. As for the real trial, I mean the unofficial one, it does not end, it is here all the time. Such is the scenario of the system. Joseph K. would ask you: do you already have your own trial?«
»I prefer to ask: does the system have enough analysts that it can trust and that could investigate what lies beneath the tip of the iceberg? Which committee, which commission could sift through the heaps of suspect judicial documents for which the judiciary unofficially knows that they are political? Officially, of course, they are not. Which commission could sift through the piles of strange documents at the courts of united work? Which commission could look through the mounds of unintelligible decisions made by disciplinary commissions in organisations of united work? These mounds are disappearing faster than the tip of the iceberg, not everyone makes it to the top of the mountain.
Those working to disunite united work are slowly but surely filling the reserve armada of unemployed people in the system. One gets the impression that the system is solving these rehabilitation matters in order to save its face.«
Articles: About the system in the light of system theory and a little differently: I will not summarise the confession to the system. See the documents: Games played by the system, The system in the light of system theory and a little differently, a Confession of the system: http://www.revijasrp.si/knrevsrp/pogum2001-1/3-2dod.htm#igre
From the history of lynching:
The incited crowd,
The law of the crowd or concerning the just judgment,
The verdict of the mob or the pronouncing of the judgement on Gabbatha
The technology of the trial is very old, as old as humanity itself and its essence changes very little, only the expressions are slightly different. Only our viewpoints differ. Sometimes we see them more from a sociological point of view, from the point of view of the system, and at other times more involved and human, from the point of view of the individual. However, none of these essences satisfies us. For there is another essence here, deeper than the personal and sociological essence of all trials, which I wanted to show in these three articles. Their essence is one, difficult for us humans to understand, it is timeless, transcendental!
The human reason senses it at times, then forgets it again and is pacified with that other more everyday way of seeing things and understanding the drama of being human and the system, or the person and institutions. But it is inaccessible to science and if it wants to analyse and explain it at all costs it falls into reductionism.
The implacability of the human existential fate on the one hand and the institutional role on the other remain enigmatic and unchanging through time. I attempt to get as close as possible to this eternal secret in the Story of Pilate, to unravel its esoteric dimension. Obviously, this is by no means a scientific text, the explanation is literary.
Current events in the light of values
Games played by the system
From the history of lynching
CURRENT EVENT SIN THE LIGHT OF VALUES
For the Committee for the defence of human rights (values)
The value of secrecy is governing us,
the military secret is depriving us of freedom,
again and again, this sacrificial rite of crucifixion, lynching, spitting on
the person, three persons, three individualities.
Ivan Borshtner, Janez Jansha, David Tasich;
all this because of Us,
so that we may be enshrouded by a cloud of fear,
that would paralyse our consciousness,
that would pollute our psyche,
we know that WE are the true culprits,
it is all because of Us,
our being Us.
If the arrests of Ivan Borshtner, Janez Jansha and David Tasich are legal, if they are in keeping with valid legislation, the constitution, international treaties and our legal practice (?), then all this is undoubtedly important.
But what does this mean in our common consciousness which substantiates and orientates such a legislation and its use. It is worth briefly reflecting if values really are the profoundest determiners of our behaviour and the reasons for it.
Through these events the system is trying to prove its own legitimacy. It has reached the lowest phase of substantiating itself (the system) through its values. It cannot fall any lower. It can only take pleasure at this level of the disintegration of the value structure. We could have expected such a »development« in the value system; from the point of view of the system it is logical, necessary and unavoidable. Only from here onwards is it possible to reappraise the values of the system, from here onwards catharsis is possible; before it was impossible or at least unconvincing.
If I briefly describe the main characteristic of the value structure of the system it will be a terrible over-simplification but I will risk it nevertheless. Historically, for as far back as man can remember, three ways of creating a value foundation for the system have been dominant: the religious, political and economical. Three propagandas tore at our consciousness and dominated in the consciousness of the systematic person.
We could also put it a little more illustratively, three ways of creating a value foundation for the system polluted our consciousness and gave it a basic social reason for being. That is all the part of us that is enveloped and controlled by the institutionalisation of both the social as well as the individual being, us.
Nowadays, our system is characteristically marked by the predomination of one sole value which is power. This is a value that gives a basis to every political subsystem; through it, i.e., through power, structure is given to the institutions of the system, as far as the individual roles of concrete individuals. However, this value is so predominant in our system that our consciousness is extremely politicised; politics dominates with it in all spheres of social activities. Undoubtedly, it gives greatest attention to the economic sub-system, literally suffocating it with its value foundations and preventing it from achieving an autonomous value foundation and hence a normal functioning, let alone development or expansion of economics in the system. When politics is too powerful the system is total or totalitarian and that is so because the value of power (political power) predominates in our consciousness. This power dominates everything, not just economic relations but equally our education, science, and culture, even free time and our intimate life. As this power dominates everything it is integral; scientific and cultural creativity are in its shade, are its decoration because they cannot establish themselves on their own values; they become extremely politicised and paralysed to the extent that they become dysfunctional for the system as a whole, they are a burden for the system being at best its unproductive necessity but above all room for political manoeuvring, its powerless power. In the light of values, the crisis of the system is the disintegration of the value system, it is the devaluation of the values of non-political activities (nowadays, it almost sounds unbelievable that some activities of the system such as culture and science are in essence apolitical).
The system as a whole has been pervaded by politicisation; the system is pervaded with the obsession of power, the obsession of controlling the system person. However, as a person is not solely a system person and as a system person is not solely a political person, the system based on such values implodes and disintegrates. The legitimacy of its value foundation is questionable and unconvincing, political propaganda loses its power of persuasion, it can no longer convince us. Propaganda that is so unconvincing is ridiculous but power that is so powerless is dangerous. It becomes archaised and reaches out for its last means. Regulation, control and the value substantiation of the system is in agony, in short, in terms of values the system is non-legitimate and without foundation.
We could say that these arguments are too general and have no direct connection with current events, however, the connection is more evident if we shed more light on the structure of the whole value system and within it the structure of values of the political subsystem, so let us look at it briefly:
In the system’s value crisis that is provoked by the predomination of power, the politicisation of the state’s apparatus, two sets of institutions stand out in terms of power in which political power is maximally exerted.
It is not difficult to guess that these are two »crowd crystals« as Elias Canetti would call them: the police and the army. However, this institutional action is again only the result of prior changes in the structure of our consciousness, in the way the system is founded on values, or in the disintegration of value substantiation, or the archaification of the legitimacy of the system, put randomly, in the state of consciousness in which power dons its roughest overcoat, violence. The value of the armada is power in special clothing, it is militant power, the roughest form of force which wins or is defeated in the system’s most difficult moments: in combat, in war, in the revolution, in the extreme crisis of the system. The system endangers itself already when it generates the conditions for the actualisation of the values of the armada for all of society, imposing them with force, the threat of weapons, with contempt for freedom and even human life. Generals are always dreaming about war, putsches, coup d’états and overthrows. Only in exceptional circumstances can they show their power, its purpose, the purpose of its organisation – institutionalisation.
»In our civilisation it is simply so that we must kill as many people as possible; we go to war to talk about peace; we have the value of peace so we can declare it. Declared values are not valid for a person we respect; they are only for the naive. For the powerful and mighty, war is an indispensible expression of their power. Power and war are for the hierarchs more than anything else. An old propaganda trick is to extol and propagate the beauty of war, its romanticism, the romanticism of everything military, its mission to defend freedom and independence. For it is not possible to mobilise an army with the horrors of war, the limitations of army-life and uncontrollable violence.«
»It is inexcusable to frighten the masses with the rule of chaos and mutual elimination if the armada, this crowd crystal, were not allowed to shine if the individual was free to make their own value determination. No system has sincerely and truly ever allowed this. We can only rely on ourselves, on our self and our We, we can turn to where strong systems cannot reach.«
»The development of the system can in no way be satisfactorily planned, even when we plan it as uninterrupted (although waning growth), the social system will at a certain point of development stagnate and fade away. But the system person cannot and must not know this, how else could he explain that no system plans non-development and disarray at least for a certain period that is already visible and unavoidable. For before this happened (what we nowadays call the crisis), the value system disintegrated for freedom is elusive, it can neither be bestowed nor declared or disclosed and certainly not confined to the system.«
When the military subsystem or military apparatus or military machine actualises its force and power over the whole system, from birth to the grave or from nurseries to pensioners, there is only one vision of the barracks, general popular defence and self-protection.
And if it was only this: the militarisation of the system as a necessary evil for the protection of the system, one could still somehow breathe. Barracks are visible, uniforms are visible, rinks are in clear order of hierarchy; war and the putsch are only exceptions and short-term states of the system. But here is ever-present the invisible power that has put on the cloak of secrecy and denouncement.
The invisible but most powerful institution of the system is oversized and too powerful. Tell me which institution in the country is the most powerful and I will tell you what the system is called. If it is the police, then our system is a police state. If our country is not a police state then we only have the impression that there is a strong institution in the country that has pervaded the entire system and has set its own people in the country’s most important institutions. And then we just have the impression that we are constantly living under the threat of being charged and what is even worse, that we sometimes sense (if our sensibility is even a little developed), that our fellow citizens are also afraid of us for everyone is a possible informant. Secrecy is an insidious value, being invisible it has undreamed-of power, it is easy to rule in secrecy, inspiring fear of denouncement, but as it is insidious it makes all other values disintegrate; first the public sphere and with it democracy, and it is most damaging to the value of freedom.
Nowadays I would say this about current events:
It is true that we have been hit by a wave of intimidation, fear of force,
violence in its darkest form;
it is true that this is nothing new for the system;
however, something is fundamentally different today.
We have already smelt the scent of spring; we have already tasted the sweetness
of freedom of speech and the expression of thoughts.
Will you be able to suffocate this cry?
Do you know what the bloody harvest will be like?
We know that the victims are meant for Us.
They are sacrificed to make us afraid, to control Us.
The victims and we are being honoured;
Someone in power is very afraid, is himself extremely frightened.
This someone can be anyone because he is carrying out some important role
(high up in the hierarchy of power) for the system.
This is therefore impersonal, the system is impersonal, it is the structure
of human roles, institutions, the activity of the system.
The values of the system are not personal; they do not hurt the person himself,
only his role, his foundation, his purpose in the system.
But what is personal – human?
Personal – human is somewhat different:
more sensitive, less tangible, indefinable;
it is vividly felt, emotional;
for we have so far not even touched upon universal human values.
You are forcing us to think about system values in such a way,
that it is increasingly difficult to speak about those other universal human values,
as though we were ashamed of them, as though we no longer feel them.
However, only universal human values are direct facts
of human consciousness; we feel and experience them directly,
no propaganda can pass them on to us or force them upon us.
They are alive and spontaneously come alive and no repression
can crush them by force and the crudest exertion of power.
That is why I ask you, executioners:
What have you done with our feeling of Our freedom?
What have you done with our understanding of the truth about Us?
What have you done to Us with our love?
This is individual, you will say; of course it is,
but our WE is also the perceptional spirituality of WEdom.
That is why I tell you, it is your fault:
that there hangs in the air a cloud of renewed hatred,
the conceit of lies is swaggering amongst us,
fear for freedom is being personified by three victims.
Reply to yourselves like this: those solving the system’s crisis themselves.
If you still have living universal human values within yourself,
you will perceive this directly, you have only grown a little unaccustomed to this direct
sensuousness and the direct perception of values.
He will not be able to describe this schematically, as he described
the values of the system, so I prefer to tell you something about universal values
from the Story of Pilate (from my book about three values:
truth, freedom, love and their transcendence or
John’s revelation while the former quotes are from the Treatise on
freedom or studies of the Value system of institutional structure).
It is my sole wish that the Story of Pilate is not classified as:
nostalgia for a time when religious propaganda predominated,
but as an expression of solidarity with and sympathy for:
Ivan Borshtner, Janez Jansha, David Tasich and pass it on to them,
when it will be possible.
Excerpt from the document:
Confession for the system
Our system is a political system: someone has taken possession of the system; they have taken possession of us and keep on taking possession of us. This is evident in every institution and in our every role. This is also expressed normatively as the self-governing expropriation of self-foundation. I consider it clarified and unproblematic that we have done this with ourselves. However, what is problematic is how we are now to take back what we have dispossessed ourselves of. We have at least allowed the politicisation of the self through politics. »Man is our greatest treasure«, is my favourite slogan. But what happens with it if someone utters it that should not utter it? May I mention as a warning how it can wrongly be understood as I myself understood it.
Roughly as follows:
The system has taken possession of man, the role of the individual. The system has been taken possession of by politics. Politics has been taken possession of by the party and behind it are hiding secret services and organisations. But it is not possible to see in this way what is happening with man, our greatest treasure. Even a flash of the daily problems we face or a quick look at the newspapers of the day answers this question. The newspapers clearly express all the current problems of our institutional changes. Man is in the forefront and when he is not, it is not solely because it is self-evident. There has been enough ambiguity and feigning of ignorance; I feel as though I am still not thinking right. May the expressed opinions about our problems be an example of how media reports should not be understood. Is it not questionable where the bad habit can bring us if everyone finds their own explanations from the constitution to the measure for a human?
FROM THE HISTORY OF LYNCHING
In the beginning of 1985 I sent an article about the »incited masses« to the Committee for the defence of freedom of thought and expression, the president of the Serbian philosophical society Kosta Chavoshek. In those times we had similar views regarding the incited masses. Until this day, only a few years having passed, all manner of things have changed for us. Above all, the lynching of individuals and nations has become a first-class dish. I am afraid that we no longer have similar views when the lynching of nations is tearing at our consciousness. That is why today I again dedicate (offer up for consideration) three stories from the history of lynching both to Kosta and the Committee.
1. THE INCITED MASSES
When you find yourself in a position in which your own ordeal awakens the need for solidarity, this position being very, very similar for all people, there is a kind of force that pushes you into it, some barking, some lynching, some crucifixion is hanging over you. When you come into this position you become almost ashamed for having only been formally sympathetic to those who have been even more barked at, even more lynched and more crucified. Now you know that solidarity exists.
But who could convince the officials that solidarity is not loyalty, that solidarity is a force, that it is a productive human value which they themselves help to consolidate?
(Officials are in power, they are not in the position and the essence is inaccessible to them.)
When the masses are incited, there is always some barking followed by the lynching and the crucifixion. Will this bring it release? Will this raise it up into a consecrated, solemn crowd?
Incited masses, mob?
What does Elias Canetti say about this:
»The incited masses are created through the phenomenon of the rapidly achievable goal. This goal is known and precisely determined. It is also close. Its goal is killing and it knows who it wants to kill. It sets out for this goal with an unsurpassable determination, no-one can deceive it. It is enough to make the goal known, to spread the message (the news) about who must be killed and the masses are immediately formed. The focus on killing has a special character but in terms of its intensity it is one of the strongest things that exist. Everyone wants to participate, everyone is lashing out...
An important reason for the rapid growth of the masses is the absence of danger in the undertaking. There is no danger because the predominance of the masses is overwhelming. The victim can do nothing to it. It either flees or is bound up...
No-one need fear any sanctions because of its death. The permitted murder now replaces all murders for which one would fear severe punishment if perpetrated...
The undertaking is so easy and takes place so quickly that you must hurry up to arrive in time. The rush, excitement and certainty of such a mass of people has something gruesome about it. This is the excitement of blind people who are most blind when they suddenly think they can see. The masses hurtle towards the victim and its ruin, to deliver themselves from the death of all their members in one go. But then in fact, something happens that is completely the opposite. Thanks to the ruin, but only after it, the masses feel an even greater threat of death than before. Then they fall apart and scatter into a kind of flight. The greater the victim, the greater their fear. But they can only survive if there is a quick succession of similar events.
The incited masses are a very old phenomenon and we can find its roots in the primeval dynamism of the unification (fusion) of people in a hunt.«
This is one of the most beautiful descriptions of the incited masses. We could only find a more beautiful one in the belles-lettres, but that would not be as systematic. But before we comment on the eternal relevance of human savagery we will ask the same author who this time speaks about the modern hunt. It is important for us to mention that he says this in the same chapter.
»The incited crowd which catches its victim falls apart incredibly rapidly. This fact is well known to the endangered rulers who throw a victim to the masses in order to prevent its growth. Many cases of political ruin are ordered for this purpose. On the other hand, the leaders of the radical parties are not aware that by reaching their goal, the public ruin of some dangerous enemy, they cause themselves more harm than their enemy. It is possible that following such an execution the masses disperse and never again achieve their former power...
Frowning upon group murders is of a newer date. Even nowadays, we all participate in publically causing ruin through newspapers. However, this cooperation like all other forms of cooperation is much more comfortable. One sits peacefully at home and, faced with one hundred minute details can dedicate oneself to those that particularly trouble him. One agrees with (condones the action) after everything is over but his pleasure is not tainted by even the slightest feeling of guilt. He is not responsible for anything, neither for the conviction, nor for the witnesses and their testimonies, not even for the newspaper (the mass media), which has published this message. Well, it is true that one knows more about these things than in the past when one had to walk for hours and stand so as to only see a very little. The incited masses live on in the newspaper readers as a milder form and are even more irresponsible due to their distance from the events (that are truly happening). We could also say that the incited masses are therefore in their most depraved and at the same time most durable form. They do not even have to gather together and therefore cannot fall apart, and yet their transformation is ensured by the daily newspapers.«
Every comment that is not a further ode to the author for their lucidity would be slightly out of place but I must nevertheless risk it. However, to avoid the risk being too great, I will stay with the author in the spirit.
As I dedicate special attention to the mass media and the mass propaganda, this being so to speak my homework, I would have to apply myself to it thoroughly, however, I have decided otherwise, I will be brief.
Frowning upon the collective barking, followed by the lynching and crucifixion no longer suffices. We now know what a bloody harvest is. We now know that we participate in public exterminations through the mass media. We are filled with disquiet. The media are like a snake and we are like mice. Hypnotic power is humiliating for us because we know that all this is because of us. We are too comfortable in our armchairs. There is too much room between separate cases. Descriptions of time follow each other too slowly. That is why we know we are guilty. We are to blame for the trial, for the condemnation of the man, for the witnesses, for the crown witnesses, even for the fact that there are crown witnesses, for every statement they make, for the media that we allow to hypnotise us.
My admiration in this case is for the victims. The person who is being lynched knows all this, knows who has pointed their finger at him and is the one who does not allow us to be cleansed.
We will never be a solemn, consecrated mob.
Fragment from the document:
The law of the crowd or concerning the just judgment,
The verdict of the mob or the pronouncing of the judgement on Gabbatha
8.1 The one who tempted fate today by pushing away
his shield, himself,
now goes forth to be alone with God on the Mount of Olives.
2 In the morning he returns to the temple,
and the people gather, sit at his feet,
and are taught.
3 Then; somewhat victoriously,
almost solemnly but in hidden hatred,
the Pharisees and scribes bring him
a woman caught in adultery;
they place her in the middle of the crowd,
and say to him:
8.4 Teacher, this woman has just been caught in adultery,
5 we know what Moses says! What do you say?
6 And he bends down and writes on the ground with his finger.
7 When they ask him again he straightens up and says to them:
Let any one of you who is without sin
be the first to throw a stone at her.
Recapitulated from my interpretation of John’s gospel, from the book: John’s Revelation or On Three Values. See also John’s gospel, translated from the Greek original, in Ljubljana 1931.
Underlined words, comments in brackets and mistakes in the translation are the fault of R.Sh.
When I reread this article – albeit a little late, the journal was already printed – I decided I had to correct it: omit superfluous repetitions and mistakes that came about in the rush before it went off to the printing press. These corrections do not alter the content of the article!
However, something else was decisive, I realised that this article of mine is without soul, it is missing something essential:
Dedicated to a Slovenian politician I respect
In Ljubljana, 20 September 2014
Translated from Slovenian by Marko Petrovich
Printed publications: journals and books
Aktualni dogodki v luchi vrednot, article, revija: Dialogi, sht.10-11, 1988, Maribor, p.112-114, /autor/
Igre sistema, chlanek, revija:Likovne besede, sht.8-9, 1988, Ljubljana, p.94-101, /autor/
Iz zgodovine lincha, chlanek, revija: Dialogi, sht.5-6, 1989, Maribor, p.89-97 /autor/
Rajko Shushtarshich, Igre sistema, O sistemu v luchi sistemske teorije in malo drugache, Spoved sistemu, Revija SRP, 9/10, 113
Rajko Shushtarshich, Iz zgodovine lincha, Revija SRP, 15/16, 11
Traktat o svobodi ali Vrednotni sistem, knjiga, Zalozhba LUMI, 1992, Ljubljana