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One must still have chaos in oneself to be able to give birth to a dancing star. -Nietzsche

  April 22, 2011

Noise and Fumes

War is a violation of boundaries, asserting one's power to encroach and impose damage upon others for full effect. Terrorism is gentler, seeking only to create disruption, feelings of powerlessness, and submission to chaos.

We jihad in the suburbs to undermine the possibility of peace and quiet. Loud motors call out for martyrs at all hours in the streets, skies, and yards; benzene is the holiest of carcinogens; Mohammed runs the local filling station.

Pollution is passive-aggressive revenge against one's neighbors, and a frustrated lashing out to antagonize and unsettle others. You can't escape noise and fumes, and the attack can be easily instigated and then sustained for hours. Once unleashed, the barrage renders large territories unusable with a crushing wave indiscriminately crippling all in its midst.

The approach is perfectly modern: there are no corpses to show on television for outrage, only psychological scars and progressive tolerance for disruption, dysfunction, and collective sabotage. We feel a surge of power when making a mess aggressively forced on others, while at the same time seeking advantage by exhorting them to be impotent and not pollute back at us.

This is grand war by subterfuge, a contest of impositions. You might be just a cubicle dwelling cog at the office, but when you run your motor or throw trash in your neighbor's yard, no one can ignore your wrath.

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