The Sacred and Violence

Power as a problem

What does it mean to be possessed by something sacred? The visualization of the sacredness is: through violence. The sacred is an idea of man – a vision after which he strives. Man, like an addict, longs for symbiosis with this idea of the sacred. The sacred here meant as a counterpart to a powerlessness (guilt/sin); the sacred as a redemption and a sun, whose light in the distance breaks out enticingly through fog.

The man who has not become aware of powerlessness is at home in peace and in silence, and he is not pressed for anything, because he is at one with the ground of being.

What does powerlessness mean? A guilt/sin, a pain that throws us back to the body, that makes us realize how little we are in security and coherence. It is a disruption of coherence, meaningfulness and a grasping of truth in a painful way. Disorder and chaos on a destructive level to which we are thrown back from a point of sensefulness of purpose or from a gentle sense of belonging. The pain of the body (also the psychosomatic effects on the body through psychological mechanisms).

How does it proceed when we are thrown back on the body? We have to split off from it and escape and yearn to a place where an order and meaningfulness is promised. We fantasize it to ourselves as it could/should be. Thus, the pain and powerlessness generates the energy, just as the cold of nature in winter makes people move so that they do not freeze to death. In this way we are urged to move, to arm ourselves to stop the powerlessness. While moving in the cold is indeed healthy for the human being, obsessing over the fixed idea of a saint is not necessarily healthy because it fragments us – moving the body in the cold, on the other hand, integrates our body towards a common goal in a whole and health-giving way. Perhaps this is also a somewhat nonsensical example.


  • one way leads into becoming obsessed with the idea of a saint/sacred
  • the other way leads to reason and recollection, which considerations could integrate the powerlessness (this goes well when the pain is not too violent). You could say that every person has a limit where it becomes too extreme.

If man follows a sacred object like the masses of people around him or designs an individual holy object/subject for himself, he is whirled around by these forces and is thereupon an executor of a higher power to which he gives up himself. The driving force here is also the fear of powerlessness. Not meant here is a sacred that fills us intrinsically; like the feeling of the love to us or the people. The sacred that is spoken of here is an idea of a savior who fights and conquers a powerlessness.

Through the gaze of this saint, we (panoptically) and prejudicially look at the powerlessness as a workpiece that is being worked on to conquer it. This workpiece is the guilt/sin in ourselves or the other people. What are the purposes for proceeding on this path? It depends on the particular person or actor of the sacred. For example: Revenge, satisfaction of hunger/sexuality, creation of morality/culture, common good, disobedience, prevention of violence. The reasons that lead us to entrust ourselves to such a sacred concept/dogma are many. In the case of the mafia, it would be honor, whose violation is known to be severely punished. The state also creates a sacred which it suggests to us, for example the sin/powerlessness of unemployment – so it invokes the sacred of work as salvation from social condemnation.

Now, how can the actor possessed by the sacred shape the work of powerlessness according to his purposes? The sacred is the invisible power. Thus, he must realize/visibleize the sacred in the world.

But to realize violence one needs power. The power enables the realization of the violence and is the means or the transformer which realizes the sacred into the reality. (examples: The labor/work has power over our lifetime, the seduction has power over the moment). There are many kinds of powers. The sacred as an abstract concept, in the face of powerlessness, has a promise of power for us that leads us to devote our energy to the realization of the sacred. It is a set of wheels that is set in motion. Thus, the real power of an idea or religion, for example, the power of a dogmatic book religion like Islam is a promise of salvation that has accumulated over time to gain “weight” in the world.

The power in its union with the potential violence appears in such a way in two forms:

  • Mythical violence of the sacred: the youthful, original form; Jehovah appearing in the thorn bush. The revelation, inspiration and sexus, Eros. the inexplicable power of a greater something that we cannot clearly see and understand, but that has shown that it rules over us without our ability to understand it. It demands sacrifices, but in this sense it receives none, because it is filled with ecstasy and blind. Its expression through violence is dionysian.
  • Divine violence of the sacred: the matured sacred, which justifies and declares itself to man. Does not demand sacrifices, but receives sacrifices and expects them in orderly ways. This order-creating and self-justifying violence is apollinic

When the sacred focusses its purposes and brings them forth in itself or in people, the means of violence are chosen which are to shape the workpiece to the sacred (purpose).

  • For the Mythic Violence it is the immediate means of violence. It is the natural law; the end justifies the means. The lozierende, kaptive, autotelic, depriving, monitoring, absurd violence. Laughter, silence and the evil eye also express themselves here. Example: commanded sacrifice of Isaac by Abraham
  • Divine violence justifies itself: the justice of its own ends is to be questioned according to the means, and the radiance of Divine violence is enhanced by its lawfulness. It is indirect violence, that is, violence for the sake of the living. Example: Hephaestus, who was persuaded by the gods to punish Prometheus.

The sacred such armed now aims back to the origin from which it once emerged. On to the subject, so the individual sinful/suffering and powerless man or just that which is to be deformed for the sake of the sacred (also the technological disguise of the world). It is such the effective space of the real happening sacrifice: “The surveillance society”, “The camp”, “Demonized future and technology”. This space is impregnated by the sacred and the sacred strives to penetrate it in such a way that man in this cave only sees the images that the sacred projects on the wall.

We see that in this space of action there is a recreation of what was present in the origin.

  • We see how the Dionysian violence of the mythical sacred treats man as “mere life” and applies to man the terrible kinds of the immediate means of violence mentioned above. Fear, pleasure, pain in an excessive way. Absurd contracts applied by the “sovereign”. The effect is the creation of the victim in order to experience order itself. The sacred is expressed here in such a way that the original powerlessness is projected outward and realized in order to no longer have to feel it as a powerlessness/victim (this applies to the actors who act through this kind of sacredness). It is a matter of “making equal” in the Dionysian intoxication.
  • The apollinic violence of the divine sacred establishes laws by which humans must live. These laws are to ensure that the sacred is not violated – that is: that the original guilt/sin disappears by prohibiting or enclosing it, so to speak. It is not necessarily one with reason, for the laws created here tend to be justified dogmatically. It is the language and history that is created here. Tendentially, this violence and form of contracts is able to create, through the creation of a common language (contracts), the possibility of communication that can question violence as such (the possibility of communication and language is a child of this violence and is not completely subject to it). The apollinic violence is in its highest form the “Sacrum Facere”. The workpiece of impotence will picture the apollinic god himself to satisfy the highest desires and aims of the gods. For if they (the gods) are the highest (the “true redeemer”), who can / want to redeem people in the ultima ratio also from the evil sides of the sacred (the sacred itself as fragmentation) and the compulsions; (dealing with the powerlessness through violence), so they (the gods) will not shy away from also giving themselves as a sacrifice in a countermovement of violence to protect life against powerlessness.

What remains in the space of action after the violence?

  • The Homo Sacer, the sacrificed man who was a victim of violence, which in turn becomes a above mentioned powerlessness in later cycles. So the children (orphans of war) be fulfilled of the psychosomatic conditions for revenge, if they could not get to know any other way to handle this situations, or the coherence was disturbed by lies (absurd contracts)
  • The Homo Liber, the human being protected by contracts. The contract is the solidified sacred that gives him a permanent protection against violence, if he respects the rules. These rules have the goal to contain the powerlessness in a way that life is guaranteed and the power of the gods, so to speak, is confirmed.

What is the power?

Power is always something that will threaten us in our freedom. It sanctions and gratifies and thus always potentially endangers us as subject, our individuation principle. And when power elevates us, it always does so on the wings of a sacred, unless it is physically given and not artificially produced for a sacred. What is Carmen? the invocation of the sacred, so seduction is a possibility to invoke a (his) sacred in a human being, so that he deals with it and this sacred is then the anchor of Carmen (seductress), which she has placed over him (the seduced) by her power (of beauty, seduction, gratification possibility,…). However, this anchor has actually nothing more to do with Carmen but it was already available as potential in the seduced.

The sacred divides the world with a prejudiced look. If the sacred looks at the world in a fragmented way in order to be able to locate the guilt/sin, this is a pathologizing view that should always be fundamentally questioned. For even with the goal or purpose of healing, it is coherently disturbing to distort the truth for a purpose (we know this as magick in occultism – altering reality in relation to a will, this will here being the implementation of the idea of a saint). The victims can be characterized as: the whore, the martyr, hero, sacrilegious. Everything is considered below the failure or adherence to the dogmas of the sacred. It is a focus on fulfillment of a fear-based view. Such view can be understandable, because we all know: pain makes blind. But violence gives birth to pain.

At best we manage to get out of the sacred by focusing on a holistic view that puts the human being with his faults in the focus and if the pain and powerlessness are not so great that apparently no other option remains, we should always think about reason before we go into storms and wars or follow false promises of salvation in the face of a higher power, because it deprives us of our substance. The substance is in the body.

Salutogenesis instead of pathogenesis. Integration instead of fragmentation. Trust instead of fear.
But also: no fakeness, will to truth and such kind of karmic re-understanding is necessary.

I would be interested to know what the reader thinks about such connections. Can we get along without a sacred, if it always brings violence with it? But what about denials of apollinic violence, which, for example, is able to enclose man and thus put a veil over the truth of the world. We certainly do not yet have the “perfect contract” of which Immanuel Kant speaks, which is, so to speak, the best solution for the majority of people. Is this also the best? Life is a constant up and down between different powers and while on the one hand we fear the high mountains and deep valleys, we also forget who we really are when we are just traveling in a straight line for a while. Is our true self and being like a boring boat ride on a shallow water (when we are not threatened by any fainting)? The natural energy and substance in us, which lets us have joy in the wild water ride and the extremes – this joy has nothing to do with the above faintness – because if we are safely on the way in the extremes, then we are one with our Seinsgrund. The pain creates fear and painful extremes that are beyond our limits (that we can handle at this time). The fear mentioned here is not to be understood as an illusion, nor is the powerlessness; for in this life the pain is a reality. But pain alone does not make people violent.

This text is inspired by the book “Die Gewalt des Heiligen: Legitimation souveräner Macht” by Claudia Simone Dorchain. I find it very important to understand these connections, because I think they are a fundamental bend, which we humans can look at and see through from a higher point of view with the help of philosophy, so that we do not fall for gnostic doctrines of salvation, but can experience an integrative view and true understanding.

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