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Antihumanism and Theatre or Who has a Human Face

Article in Problemi 8-9/07

All that has no visage is suspicious, for the clearness of the visage is set up as a guarantee of human piety, honesty and non-maliciousness. The Christian fear of the mask, which is labelled as a sign of evil, is today intensively manifested in the paranoid attitude towards Muslims, covered faces, who are all of them potential terrorists. A disguise causes fear because there is definitely something hiding underneath it and that which is hiding cannot be benevolent or else there would be no need to hide. There is no other conclusion which the classical metaphysical humanism could come to in the context of its own logic which is always disjunctive. Fear is always the fear of the unknown, of something that has no clear image which is why we never know where it will attack from. Fear is always uncertain. Uncertain in the certainty that somewhere there is evil. But where did evil come from? Does the devil really lurk in every bush? What are his intentions? Is not his only motivation precisely the marvellous fun he has with man’s desperate efforts to finally unmask him? What is most fantastic about this fun is the fact that it cannot fail, for the poor exorcist always looks under the wrong cover. The unmasking of evil is an a priori failure: namely, its unrepresentability is part of its own structure. Evil can, therefore, not be unmasked, but we still have to keep trying to unmask it. Why? Because without this, of course, evil would simply not exist. Evil exists only because we fear it. Or more accurately: evil exists so that we can fear it. Fear itself produces evil, evil is the product of paranoia, it is that unknown object that must circulate so we can fear anything at all. And the mask is its very handy representation."

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