We generally believe the enemy is ‘out there,’ and dispatch cowboys, armies, posses, swat teams, marines, boys in blue, nerdy scientists — to get them.
There are lots of examples of blaming the other guy. Religion often emphasizes self perfecting: sanctification in Christianity, enlightenment in Buddhism; which surely lead to divergent paths and a divide across which we cast aspersions. The enemy isn’t us, it’s you lot.
But Pogo Possum- the cute little swamp creature from Okeefenokee – said, “We have seen the enemy and he is us.”
In his excerpt Terry Eagleton tells us that real relationships develop when there is a shared understanding that, like the elephant, the monster is in the room.
Here is Eagleton:
Tragedy is the form that recognizes that if a genuine human community is to be constituted, it can be only on the basis of our shared failure, frailty, and mortality. This is a community of repentance and forgiveness, and it represents everything that is the opposite of the American Dream. This means, in the terms of Jacques Lacan, that the symbolic can be founded only on the Real. Only by acknowledging the monstrous as lying at the very heart of ourselves, rather than projecting it outward onto others, can we establish anything more than a temporary, imaginary relationship with one another, one which is not likely to endure. This means relationships based on the recognition that at the very core of the self lies something profoundly strange to it, which is utterly impersonal and anonymous but closer to us than breathing, at once intimate and alien. This has had many names in Western civilization: God, Language, Desire, the Will, Language, the Unconscious, the Real, and so on.
Terry Eagleton, The Nature of Evil, Tikkun
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