When Guns Are Guts The Books Are Gone and Wars Are Welcomed

“…democratic elections…are not per se an indication of Truth – on the contrary, as a rule, they tend to reflect the predominant doxa determined by the hegemonic ideology. Let us take an example… – France in 1940. Even Jacques Duclos, second in charge of the French Communist Party, admitted in a private conversation that if at that point free elections had been held in France, Marshal Petain would have won with 90 percent of the votes.”
Slavoj Zizek, “First as Tragedy, Then as Farce”, Verso, 2009, p. 137

Books and guns have always coexisted. Very often books were even collaborating with guns whenever it was possible to prove that guns are needed to protect books (the defense of civilization argument). The collaboration between books and guns historically has been so customary that guns can be viewed as an extension of books, as books’ hard cover. But we also learn from history that guns sometimes kill books. We saw this in Germany under Nazis. And we see this again in US. Nazi gun-people (gunple) were burning books. In US there is no need to physically destroy books – it is enough to distract people from reading: to occupy them with gun-ownership, target shootings, video-games, pop-music, sport events, money- and property-worship, jingoistic pride and hate toward those who are not like us.

The trashiest novels, the most plebian gossip columns, the most elementary comic-strips (where text mutates into crude images) still resist the immediacy of perception (IP) easily achieved by mass media. The destiny of book culture was sealed when mass media immediacy (that excludes mediation of meaning between the viewer and the image) met commercial interests. Human desires met its technology of rapid satisfaction. The alliance of mass media technology and zest for profit precludes opening of meaning behind the visual image – commercial interests need childish consumers because IP (when meaning is not intervening/intruding in the symbiosis between viewer and image) is the most valuable good. IP indirectly reminds us of the blissful borderless unity with primordial objects we all experienced in the earliest period of our life. For the consumption of immediately available (semantically transparent) images, the masses are ready to pay generously, addictively, blindly. Hollywood and Bollywood entertainers and propaganda professionals know this well and try to upgrade their profit-making skills.

The mass media (commercially successful) images go straight to the individual viewer’s unconscious (not touched by humanistic education that could weaken the need for primordial symbiosis) and invoke the need for a type of dyadic relations we had with our mothers (or mother-surrogates) in our infancy. And mass media profit makers do their best to exploit our regressive need to dissolve in dyad, and they make the mass images as symbiotic/dyadic as possible. Mass images simultaneously function as our slave, protector, love-object and object for identification. The result of their consumption is extreme infantilization of the audience’s psyche and mind. People are more and more pulled away from reading and thinking and are fixated on their spontaneous feelings, intuitive glimpses, mechanical identifications and instant emotional gratifications. They become impulsive, sentimental and extreme in their emotional reactions. They burn books symbolically – by ignoring them. While gunple are guards against adulthood (the main psychological difference between a child and an adult is exactly the ability to tolerate the thirdness – meaning that intervenes between the subject and the object), the book people (bookple) – who are interested in educational fiction and scholarly books, are becoming psychologically and intellectually marginalized – almost transcendent segment of the population. Bookple are the guardians of meaning, and it looks that today meaning can be respected only on the virtual space of the Web and in Academic enclaves.

But are we not too generic in subscribing to the idea that there is a cultural contradiction between books and guns? There are books that glorify guns or are instructions for gun use. Books can be on guns’ side, like guns can be bookish (following the propaganda of gun violence under the mask of the necessity to defend ourselves against the malicious otherness). So, the gunny books and bookish guns happen to be of the same political orientation – pro-guns and anti-books (anti-culture). It seems we cannot avoid having to provide the definition of a book in contradistinction to a gun. “Book” is then a cultural motif that suggests that it is possible, desirable and more effective to try to solve problems without or at least with reduced violence. “Books” offer us help in understanding each other and the world we live in while guns are a purely technical tool and as such without any knowledge about the nature and content of concrete problems. Books in this sense are smarter than guns, and so are the users of books in comparison with the users of guns.

Three centuries of Enlightenment through books and by the idea of books made guns fearful that one day it will lose its prestige and eventually fall out of use and will be forced to disappear from human history. But for the same three centuries of its democratic direction the Western civilization hasn’t shown the trend of lessening the human reliance on guns. Books talked, often very passionately but guns were continuing to kill and maim. In Bushmerica books (of humanistically scientific orientation) are not noticed by the masses at all. They are burned without fire; they are burned by the blue phosphorus of incited and celebrated indifference to culture. Masses and future generations prefer violent video games – children are taught video-violence because it is profitable for the Military-Industrial Complex and National Rifle Association. Bushmericans don’t even know the names of the American writers and poets; they have never watched a serious film. They don’t know how to think – they only want to feel the pleasure from their guesses about whom to accuse and on whom to make profit.

The formations of apocalyptic clouds from Akira Kurosawa’s “The Rhapsody in August” (1993), a film which analyzes the psychological consequences of WW2 experiences for the post-war Japanese and American generations, are coming closer over our heads as a premonition of coming global wars.

Battle formation of clouds

Battle formation of clouds
Besieged by clouds

Besieged by clouds
Attacked by clouds

Attacked by clouds