Tuesday, 26 July 2005

Monsters in Waiting

It has been a matter of great importance to madmen that it be seen that there is nothing between madness and sanity but social prejudice. That which goes in favour of this view, however, is little but the wish of the madman to propagate his madness; for to him the madness, as expressed in an idea, is a great and sacred truth, which ought to find acceptance; and it is in that it does not find wide acceptance that he views the norms of behaviour and society as a prejudicial affront, and common decency and sense as an unjust hinderance.
.....A war is declared against the status quo, radical change is proposed, and all that has been hitherto accepted by society at large is pronounced a great sham, an evil imposition and a bar to self-fulfillment. Yet by this “self-fulfillment” he means nothing but the acceptance of his madness.
.....This broadcasting on behalf of madness and social pathology, this desire to subvert and destroy society, is candidly described by China Miéville in Socialist Worker Online (“China Miéville: A Marxist Guide to Monsters”):

I think that on our side there has always been a sneaking sympathy for the monster. The notion of the monster as mere social pathology is put about by people whose ideal is the social status quo.
.....But there are those of us who, because of our class positions, realise that the status quo is all about violence. So it’s not surprising that we wouldn’t completely buy into the idea that ‘pathologies’ are a bad thing.
.....I very much want to preserve this critical view of monsters. If we go down the route that they are just ‘about’ social pathology, then it follows that we should just get rid of them. But if there are no monsters after the revolution, I don’t want to play!
Mr Miéville need not fret unduly, however; for if we are to judge by other socialist revolutions, there would no doubt be no shortage of monsters in the one to which he looks forward.

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