A specialization in destruction
One of the mechanisms often used by the human psyche is displacement. What the mind does not want to accept, it displaces, pushes out to the subconscious, or outright denies it. Instead of what was pushed out, wishful thinking appears. It is good to be clear about this sometimes, simply in order to live like a human being. It’s unpleasant to admit, but the Latvian state, both the first and the current one, is a product of a coincidence.The first one was born out of a revolution and the main goal of any revolution, as the word itself indicates, is to overthrow and destroy. The founding of the current Latvian state was, again, a result of a revolution, not velvet, but a singing one. The overthrown world was overthrown yet again, and the destruction continues. It shouldn’t be a surprise then that there are ruins all around us.A characteristic principle for a newly established world is “anything is possible”. Exhilaration is also sometimes a factor. Some people, for example, who are not even thirty have already reached the highest echelons of public office. The sociopolitical tectonics pushed them up to the summit. It is important, though, to remember that the same principle is also characteristic for a concentration camp or for a world that functions according to the same system. This principle also describes the current biopolitics, where a person has no power over his own life being allowed to live and die. But even death is often postponed, or at least protracted.This principle was perpetuated especially well by the communists, or specifically the Bolsheviks - the minority that was passed off as the majority. With equal resolve it was also maintained by the national socialists, the fascists and similar riffraff – the knights of clear or affected conscience. Today, others are joining them. Their essential raison d’être, the basis for their being and actions is destruction and disintegration, while at the same time they seek to fulfill their wish for a new, or old, world. This is a devilish game, through and through, which can completely engulf a person. One gets sucked in without knowing it, and no emotional energy is necessary after that. Recently, this pleasure from destruction is becoming very popular in Latvia.What is destroyed is the society itself, the political, the nation and a person’s own existence. The state is, at its core, a total of formal structures, mechanisms and procedures, intended for people to be able to live together, so that this communal life would not turn into hell. Society means maintaining social relations. It does not only contain traditions and rituals, but also formal practices that help us care for a common cause, the public good. The nation or nationality today ensures the fulfillment of the duties set out by the political nation.In the process of destruction, reduced life forms appear. Everyone lives for themselves, or, at most, takes care of those closest to him. The less comprehensible this all is and the less knowledge there is, the better these reduced, confused, beings functions, if they can at all be called beings. What begins is a sort of social and political wilderness – primitivization, archaicization, brutalization. This state of affairs is characterized by the phenomenon of winking at one another. Whether it is clear and understandable, or unclear and incomprehensible, it is enough to wink once and the deal is done.One possible way to destroy is paradoxically to introduce reforms. In the beginning, the word “reforming” meant the renewal of old, original forms. Today, foaming at the mouth, people blabber about reforms, and assail even that which helps us remain on the edge of decency. The destruction is also evident in the external gesturing, which only deepens the constraints and the estrangement from not only thought, but even the so-called common sense. Sinuous motions, chattering are the new form of winking. Alongside this is the wild idiotization, the closing into oneself, often into one's own psychological problems that are supposed to be compensated by vengefulness or by mass events, in masses. Idiotization, the dawn of wretchedness and crudeness.Education usually helps us remain within the realm of civilization. Today, for many reasons, it has turned into half-education. In Latvia, even that is being undermined. The result of this disintegration may very well be a gelatinous mass of idiots, those people who live only for themselves. A similar disintegration is happening in politics and the economy as well, only the financial sphere there is nothing more to be done. The destruction is usually accompanied with rationalizations that it cannot be otherwise, that society doesn't understand etc. This is how uncontrolled zones of power appear, groups that justify their own existence with preservation of society, the people, their interests etc.After the inanely famous “second decree”, the most illustrative example of destructive disintegration in Latvia is the current referendum on the second official language. A nonsensical undertaking to begin with, the referendum is presented as practically the only path or a fateful choice, even though it can be described, in the best-case scenario, as self-hebetation, or just dumbing ourselves down. It’s hard in this situation to notice what is really important.The same thing destroys the political nation. What’s more, it is destroyed by those who use the nation as their platform. The political nation is not an ethnic structure. But these people create nationalized masses out of it. The supposed opponents of the nationalists also help this process out. Both sides are prone to unacknowledged vindictiveness. Thinking or independence is not allowed in either one of the groups. Both are controlled by “We”, and its opposing “They”. That is an archaic opposition. “They” can be identified as those who don’t understand, those who have wronged “us”. “They” can be the occupiers, colonizers, etc. These “they” are opponents (a wink, and it changes to enemies), who have to be defeated with common efforts (read – destroyed). What is even sillier is that in the middle of all this foolishness one loses sight of the prelude to territorial reshuffling and the introduction of Russian as an official language in the European Union. It’s sad that this devilish game is played by those who present themselves as true Latvians, nationally oriented patriots. But, just one wink, and anything is possible.This winking is present even in the language. One example is the word nelatvietis – “non-Latvian”, another one is a newly created word krievvalodīgie, or Russian-speaking. This kind of terminology, by the way, is also used, with some variation, in the country where, as the Latvians say, the sun rises. Just read the recently published book by Andrey Savelyev “Image of the enemy. Study of race and political anthropology.”Winking allows one to look somewhere else, allows one not to see. Exactly because of this, it is possible not to see how the criminal world and the higher echelons of society become intertwined. And this symbiosis is nothing new, it took off actually in the early 20th century.Pleasure from destruction is attractive, and there are many ways to justify and substantiate this phenomenon. Some people even specialize in destruction, because this is also a way to, at least for some time, gain popularity and feel good about one’s own uniqueness. But it is also possible to look at it with disapproval. It is possible that all of this is the reason why life in Latvia is unpleasant. One’s existence, the actual “I” means almost nothing. The exclaimed “I” is most often related to the infantile, narcissistic or megalomaniac “I”, a derivative of those “we” and “they”.
About the author
Igors Šuvajevs is a professor of philosophy at the University of Latvia in Riga.