Fragment nr. 40 from “The Truth of Labyrinth”
At this stage, we are pleased to call them by name.
One, Anger (Mephisto)
One of its main parameters is to stay inside the ‘border’. The idea is that of not crossing a limit. This feeling will evoke a sense of breaking and entering, intimate violence bordering on desecration. A suffering which will cry out for vengeance. In fact, such a ‘border’ will always define an identity (individually or nationally). Being touched there, crossing the limit, the reaction will be immediate, namely fury. Fiery breath. A voiceless explosion. Then, the progression to the act. The lack of control. The loss of oneself. A real derangement of the Subject, who is nauseated at the intrusion, will subject it to public obloquy, before looking to cut it down to size. For it’s the covering of an identity that is at stake, as well as a body: you couldn’t attack without taking risks. Often, the danger will even be greatest, ‘all that for nothing, folly, the sage would say, dumbfounded, the eye focused on the spreading fires.’
Two, Vanity (the Braggart)
Just like passion, vanity will spread, diversify, and extend in a parade, something ‘to be presented’ and ‘for the show’. Unbridled in our society where show is revered, one can only imagine the damage it causes. Careers, performances, and all sorts of pride are its trump cards. The braggart mounts the stage and cuts into a pathetic dance. Am I not the most beautiful, the richest, the most talented, or the most powerful, or all four at the same time? The braggart struts about, he plays around in front of the mirror. His art is the illusion of splendour, a sensible madness to help us. A form of ‘acting out’ fit for driving the Subjects into their final corners. For he plays the braggart in proclaiming his vanity on all accounts. Would we come to debase him again, as he once again crosses a ‘border’. There where a wounded animal lies in wait to bite or kill, great is its fury.
Three, Fear (the Slave)
Just like sentiment, fear is radiant and can be applied to a multitude of objects: a deadly spider, passing through metamorphoses (phobias, fear of desertion, etc.), its ultimate determiner will be fear of the Other One, paralysing both body and spirit. For fear paralyses the Subject. The kneeling slave, beseeching his god, will withdraw and retract in pouring out his strength. A regression which fixes us in the world of dark reflexes. The slave will be like the inverted twin of the braggart.
Four, Ignorance (the Shadow)
This is an active and innate urge, the shadow plunges into the depths of our subconscious and our wanderings. For it is already threaded into our existence. Omnipresent, it is the original demon from which the other three emanate. You can’t eradicate a shadow without falling into an insane hope: a revealed absolute knowledge (or sovereign good), dogmatic, at the ‘limits’, false engraved in bronze. The shadow has the consistency of smoke, see how it envelops us and smothers us. In contrast to the truths we are obliged to protect.
‘Here’s to small fires’, the Sage would say, only too aware of their limits.