A Note on Savage Moralism

Infrapolitics is, before everything else, and insofar as it moves beyond its sheer facticity into a form of thought or a form of life, a step back into a meditative thinking focused on existence which is always in every case mine–my existence, even if I do not own it. It is a meditation that may not have a purpose other than itself, other than just happening–but, if infrapolitics is then the letting-happen of existential meditation, it is not without effects. A trans-figuration always occurs, in the precise sense of a displacement of the figure of existence: de-metaphorization, and an eventual re-metaphorization on alternative grounds, or on no ground at all. The question is whether the trans-figure can be adequately described through the notion of savage moralism.

The step back, as it affects and displaces forms of life, ways to affirm existence, indeed ways of dwelling in time and space that are in every case yours (and not someone else’s: and they are yours not because you own them as you would own an umbrella, but because you can´t mortgage or transfer them: you are stuck with them, for the duration, however long they last)–this step back is not a step back into a region of principles, or norms, or rules. It is a region alright, but it is not a grid. The step back is not a step back into ethics or politics insofar as we understand ethics or politics as concerned with calculations on the general good.

Does this mean that infrapolitics is not concerned with the general good? That it dismisses ethical or political issues as merely ontic, fallen into everyday calculations, not worthy of infrapolitical meditation, indeed not “existential” enough? Not at all. And this is not trivial. Infrapolitics is not a form of ethics, and it is not a form of politics, which does not make it ethically or politically vacuous.

Savage moralism is a concern with the general good or the good in general that derives, not from norms, not from rules, not from the moral law, not from divine commandments, not from any previously assigned or assumed legitimacy. It merely derives from the consideration that existence–the region of meditative infrapolitics, the region of eventually trans-figured infrapolitics–may be always and in every case always already yours, even if you do not own it, but it is yours only to start with (and definitely also to end with). It is immediately also a common existence, an existence you share with others who share with you, always and in every case, the equiprimordiality of their own existence–their existence, which they do not own, which does not mean you do. You own nothing beyond a few things, an umbrella maybe.

If you want them to let your existence be–and you would rarely want anything else from them–, you must logically reciprocate. A concern with the good is a concern with letting things be the things they are as a condition of their reciprocity to you. They must oblige by letting you be. Your infinite obligation is also their obligation. This is what is common. Savage moralism is based on self-defense as a matter of existential survival, which includes the fact that you defend your mortality by defending the mortality of the other. You defend the mortality of the other through defending your own mortality, and your right to it. Since death is the enigma that makes your existence always and in every case only yours, not mortgageable or transferable, not someone else’s, it also makes it never interchangeable, never equivalent. Which means their existence is never interchangeable, never equivalent, never indifferent. Savage moralism is what it takes.

Savage moralism is a savage demand, beyond any rules, or else an indefinite, chaotic number of demands following an indefinite, chaotic number of rules. But it has never abandoned the general good–it can’t, as it is its condition of trans-figuration. Or one of them.

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