Borders and Vacuums
Department of American and Canadian Studies
University of Silesia in Katowice
Borders and Vacuums
Abstract: Whoever said that the more thresholds we draw, the more marginal spaces we create, was certainly right. The indefinite character of liminality seems to infallibly invite radical solutions: the margin is the locus of the aporia: a non-encounter with a non-language in a non-space. It is there that the Spanish conquistadors located the native peoples of the Americas, construing them as “out of place” in the place in which they had dwelled since the times immemorial; it is there that the thinkers of the Age of Reason would relegate phenomena defying rationalist argumentation or empirical proof, yet undeniably felt as present; it is finally there that individuals driven by empathy end up today amidst the ruthless political tug-of-war between 21st century nationalisms and progressive advocacy of freedom and equality. The mirage of greatness, poisoning the minds of many, calls into existence discourses of degradation and deprivation; the self-proclaimed “righteous” need a scapegoat to purge their own sins; the necessary condition of “being great” is the legitimization of the fallacy of someone else’s insignificance. with alt-facts ousting hard facts from the public space, with Orwellian media shamelessly creating realities based on the binarity of familiarity and enmity, with all visible attempts to silence the academic humanities, arts and letters by means of massive cuts in funding, the marginalization of those who find the “he who is not with us is against us” philosophy abhorrent gains significant momentum. But it is not in the margins that the monsters awaken: it is in the very heart of the well-defined center that fear rules unchecked while coercion, wearing white gloves, and walking hand in hand with blatant lies that boost fearful egos, facilitates turning a blind eye to cynical oppression, rendering the alleged winners actual victims of their own would-be “greatness.” More thresholds, more limits, all designed to keep the Others out, but all trapping those drawing the demarcation lines within, are being called into existence with increasing speed and intensity; yet the tighter the grip of the stultifying discourse is, the larger the space of the margin, the more obvious the aporias.
intro; philosophy; literary and cultural theory; border; language; conceptual space
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