Two Torturers As Demonic “Agents” Of A Destructive (Power/ Manipulation Oriented) Social Environment Making People Victims, Homicidal And/Or Suicidal

Veteran suicide claims on average the lives of 22 veterans each day, or one every 65 minutes (Department of Veterans Affairs – DVA)

“Every day, 22 American veterans commit suicide, totaling over 8, 000 veteran suicide each year”
(Washington Post, Feb. 2, 2015)

Marcel Janco “Two Guns to the Head”, 1940
M. Janco “Two Guns to the Head”, 1940

With suicide, a person is much more desperate than when he is risking his life in war. During war he is equal to his enemies: both have the same goal – to kill the enemy before it will kill you, both equally hate one another. But with suicide you are transformed into a prisoner of hate. It is, as if, self-hate is more hateful than hate, it is the ultimate defeat when your hate is turned away from the enemy outside and became focused on yourself, when you are imprisoned inside your own death (when you betray yourself – as if, take the side of your own enemy).

The torturing thugs in Janco’s drawing give the captured person a “choice” – to be killed or commit suicide. Self-murder is even more murderous than murder – the self-victimized, as if, joined the enemy against yourself. It could be like a treason, if the command to kill yourself was not perceived as given by our superiors.

For soldiers, veterans and civilians, suicide is the identification with an adversary environment which is trying to repress and suffocate a desperate individual. In Janco’s drawing we see two torturers as “demons” of sadistic inter-human environment. The first – on the left of the victim (to his right) tortures him by mock or real execution. He looks up (to god – asking Him to permit to finish off the arrested or because he feels ashamed for torturing the prisoner). But the second torturer, the younger one, is completely taken by his “creative” idea of how to transform the homicide into suicide. His face is innocently fascinated with his joke – the forcing the victim to pull trigger on himself. In his radiant excitement he doesn’t think about god – he all belongs to this moment, like a kid playing a videogame of overpowering zombies, aliens, monsters and villains. From murder to suicide (from murdering to forcing suicide) – two phases of environment’s domination over people, of political and economic system over human beings. From homicide to suicide. From sending young people to kill and be killed to statistic of veterans’ suicide. From giving people jobs that will allow them to eat, procreate and laugh while watching entertainment, to pushing them into the swamp of chronic unemployment and despair.

But look at the victim – he is resigned in front of inevitability of violent death from the hands of torturers (persecuting society or political system operating through violence, and helped by the indifference of those who are still prosperous and entertaining themselves with consumption of things, services and images, and praising their destiny as being a part of human civilization).

It is difficult to imagine Janco’s plots and topics realized not through the medium of drawings but through, let say, watercolor or oil paint. It could essentialize the evil of human making which Janco depicts. In his “Two Guns to the Head” drawing the evil is sketchy – ontologically not solid or dense. The evil is ghostly, as if imaginary. It’s revealing the ephemeral vanity of miserable human existential imagination. When humans imagine super-human or pre-human (for example, elementary particle reality), they feel themselves better than human life (in their theology or in astro- or quantum physics). It is human life – which they cannot and aren’t able to make decent – they concentrate on a more pleasurable/clean realities, on what is too big or too small. After the nightmares of the planetary and human history these intellectual escapists from human reality are too happy with their comfortable life and cognition.

Until human wars, especially the frivolous ones – for geo-political domination – will continue, our troops and our civilians will continue to be murdered, not only by the enemy (homicidally), but by wars’ influence on our own souls (suicidally).

The two thugs in Janco’s drawing carry the connotation of being “demonic” agents of the destructive/manipulative social and international environments.

Posted on Aug 3, ’15 –   Marcel Janco’s* (1895 – 1984) Drawings About Violence against Helpless People by Acting-Out Politics