The Alan Sondheim Mail Archive


The Edenic

The idea of the Edenic - an unsullied paradise; hegemonic then becomes
sullying, but also encapsulating. The Edenic becomes a dominated
sub-culture by virtue of the lie; it resists, imitates, and adapts.

The Edenic trope is one of childhood, naivete, goodness, lack of conflict,
even lack of culture. The individual is "at one" with nature; nature and
culture are one. The culture is self-sustaining and inert; nothing
changes. Even sexual display and conflict is non-existent. At the back of
this at times there is also the idea of unbridled sexuality.

The trope is also one of destruction; the Edenic has no concept of owner-
ship or stewardship; THEREFORE the land is there for the taking. The
Edenic has no sense of monotheism; THEREFORE the humans are close to
animals, sub-humans.

The Edenic has no recognizable boundary, THEREFORE no rationale, no
rationalism; it cannot be negotiated with, but property must be seized,
and by seizure, created.

This is the disorganization of the Edenic, its messiness, irrationality:
this is the boundary-less, boundless feminine crying out for the phallic
order. Whose feminine? Whose crying? Whose phallus? Whose order? What's
the phallus ordering around? What's around here? What's around?

The Edenic is tragic, mournful, noble; the Edenic is dirty, messy, lazy;
the Edenic must be controlled; the Edenic must be annihilated; the Edenic
will survive as trope within the hegemonic; the Edenic becomes the
bypassing of Paradise; the Edenic becomes the exotic; the Edenic becomes
the site of tourism; of tourism without contestation; of contestation. The
Edenic is always in retreat; if the hegemonic is defined by "not both here
and there," the Edenic is "neither here nor there." Both operations make a
calculus; only one is named. The naming of the Edenic is the erasure of
the name: of the Edenic, of the name.

The lie appears because the Edenic is under erasure just as soon as it's
formulated. By erasure: it's divested of power, because it's asserted
never to have power, never to have legitimacy. Religion entangles here; by
virtue of inerrancy, religion legitimates, inscribes. Where religion
inscribes, the Edenic is absented: barring from the Garden of Edenic
implies the inscription of walls, the inerrancy of procedural judgments
and the power to carry them out. Absenting makes the art grow fonder for
uncanny loss, last vestige of the imaginary. Absenting fills the absent
with bureaucracy, misrecognition, capital, and the distribution of power:
this is where the lie lies.

The Edenic was never born; the Edenic dies in violence: forget picture,
memory, representation; forget tomb, paean, epitaph. It's not there, it's
not allowed to make (a, any, the) differance.

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