While the prevailing culture trivialises death, showing it as something inevitable for the poor unfortunates of this world and referring to victims as collateral damage thus making them anonymous and invisible, it also extols other deaths, those that in the eyes of the mass media should be in the headlines and worthy of every tear.
So, there are deaths that are nullified and others that are exaggerated.
I’m choosing a bad time to plant this idea because the human nervous system is altered and very raw; we all have tear-filled eyes because of deaths on the front pages. And these tears are fair enough, because every violent and avoidable death is horrible and worthy of our most vigorous repudiation and atonement.
This self-satisfied prevailing culture also tells us that the lives of some are less valuable than those of others and justifies certain deaths. It tells us who are worthy of punishment and who can punish, those who get what they deserve and those innocent of all blame.
It’s obvious that the innocent will generate a sense of greater heaviness through our incomprehension at the premature ending of their lives, but it shouldn’t be morally acceptable to endorse the death of any human being.
And how is it that a decision can be taken to kill, to eliminate another person? How can you take this step?
Well, I repeat, because of culture. It’s not unusual for someone to be wished dead, that the worst happens to somebody. On the contrary, you can hear people say, “They all need shooting,” and for this person to look so big after having formulated their murderous desire.
I’m not saying that all of us who desire death and misfortune to someone are capable of bringing about misfortune or murder but how is it that some people are? Because it’s not just a few we’re talking about. The statistics are terrifying; deaths are counted in their millions and half of them are violent or avoidable. I won’t go into the nitty-gritty of what is considered avoidable or not, but broadly speaking deaths due to curable illnesses and hunger immediately spring to mind along with deaths due to lack of access to water or environmental contamination through lack of scruples or corruption. Natural disasters that shatter impoverished places, where there is no medical attention, where there is scarcity of the most fundamental things or where buildings are not fit for habitation, they should also be part of this list.
Horror is permanent, as is the malaise generated by the unscrupulous who wield power and decide about who lives and who dies, and also those who decide about what people think and feel, indoctrinating us through their programmes, their mass media that repeatedly tells us what is culturally acceptable or unacceptable through what is considered high art in every historical moment.
Language dominates us if we are not attentive and if we associate terrorism with Islam and piety with Christianity and when we think about the corrupt and point the finger at the political classes while defending Big Business because it generates employment. Skin colour, standardisation, the marketing of feelings, all form part of a discourse that has been studied and aims to demarcate the cultural limits that dictate to us what is or isn’t politically correct.
To rebel against these dictates can generate a lot of criticism, but it will also allow us to deal with any matter through a new prism in which we can accommodate values that seem more appropriate and that will put in doubt what we “should” think.
This laborious exercise would allow us to get out of the hypocritical trap that the prevailing culture endows us with and it would also give us guidelines to be able to understand how we repeat certain concepts, conjectures and beliefs without having previously thought about or reflected on them.
It is necessary to confront one’s own thoughts and analyse to what point they are contaminated by the injection of imposed models, what ideas or positions one has taken as absolute truth and which voices continue to be a reference for each one of us.
It’s a good moment to take on this task in order to stop the wheel and see how to think for oneself, to escape from what is easy, what is dictated, what is already pre-prepared. Digestion doesn’t have to be comfortable but it should be beneficial and what is certain is that after the difficult moments of digesting raw ingredients, perhaps trying dishes that we thought we wouldn’t like or that maybe we simply hadn’t tried before, we will reach new conclusions, we will have new elements available to us which can help us to make resolutions from a better position and with a decolonised flavour.
Every murder is abominable and every conscious use of violence is hateful and should be denounced. It doesn’t matter which form of violence: psychological, physical, sexual, religious, racial, economic, domestic or moral.
To decolonise our subjectivity is to put in doubt those ideas that want to convince us that human nature is violent, that death is our only destiny and that the world is like it is and always will be…