Tuesday, May 29, 2012

from a Review of Homo Sacer

The question arises as to why and how to think a politics beyond relation when relation lies at the heart of politics. Agamben embraces non-relation as an ethical response to the absolutism that he sees governing our most constitutive of relations, namely, our relation to the law. "The originary relation of law to life is . . . Abandonment", he writes, alluding to the law's sovereign demand that we submit under its full force even when its contents fail to make sense. After an astounding reading of Kafka's "Before the Law", which overshadows ethically and exegetically the impressive deconstructive readings of this parable, Agamben shows that we are not simply summoned by the law, but that we appear compulsively in front of it. Whatever the law, it is law only insofar as it solicits from us the sense of absolute abandonment and unconditional respect, the sublime sentiment Kant called reverence.

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