Narcosis

The word “narcosis” keeps recurring in Sergio González’ transfixed meditation on the sinister effects of narcotrafficking in Mexico (El hombre sin cabeza, Barcelona: Anagrama, 2009).  “Lo siniestro es aquello que, debiendo permanecer oculto, se revela” (97).  There is a paradox, then: narcosis prompts the flourishing of evil at the same time that narcosis is, in a sense, an attempt to ward danger off, to disavow and negate it.  For González the image of evil as maximum danger is the beheading: “Las decapitaciones, mutilación suprema, materializan lo siniestro como concepto y como fuente del arte de figurar” (97).  There is a narcotic drive that responds to the business of narcosis.  Narcosis, as business, creates the drive, and the drive is devastation itself.  Narcosis is for González the business of capitalism, or capitalism is the business of narcosis. 

Within narcosis there can be no waking up.  It leads to increasingly deeper slumber.  Narcosis is an image of thought today.  Or, rather, narcosis is the unthought in the image of thought today.  It is only fitting that decapitation stands for that paradoxical image, that non-figural figure: “fuente del arte de figurar” in the narco world that is our world.  Narcosis beheads. 

At the end of his essay “Logos (Heraclitus, Fragment B 50)” Martin Heidegger says “everything today betrays the fact that we bestir ourselves only to drive storms away.  We organize all available means for cloud-seeding and storm dispersal in order to have calm in the face of the storm.  But this calm is no tranquility.  It is only anesthesia; more precisely, the narcotization of anxiety in the face of thinking” (Heidegger, Early Greek Thinking 78).  Narcosis is thoughtless thought, beheaded thought.  Can a class on narco change that?  Can a class on narco break away from narcosis? 

It is doubtful.  One would rather not station herself “in the storm of Being” (78).  Narcosis is cozier, even if it decapitates.  We narcotize anxiety in the face of thinking.  Thinking is to be warded off.  But what is thinking?  Can a class on narco be a class on thinking? 

“The word of thinking rests in the sobering quality of what it says.  Just the same, thinking changes the world.  It changes it in the ever darker depths of a riddle, depths which as they grow darker offer promise of a greater brightness.  The riddle has long been propounded to us in the word ‘Being.’  In this matter ‘Being’ remains only the provisional word” (78).    Being against narcosis: anxiety has to be undergone for the sake of a greater brightness. 

But first we need to establish that narcosis is the primary phenomenon in our world.  Only then can we hope to understand the need to break away from it.  With clear eyes so that we may begin to see the lightning in the storm. 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s