chapter  9
15 Pages

Other work: a dividual enterprise PER BÄCKIUS

Would it be possible to comprehend contemporary Western societies without the individual? How many institutions, laws and conventions would not appear utterly meaningless and senseless devoid of it? Doing away with the individual, ‘unthinking’ its concept, type and name-erasing the individual’s entire history-seems to counter reason and common sense. It would probably take the disposition of a madman, an alchemist’s imagination, and a pataphysical squint to carry out such a dubious enterprise. Were anyone, for all that, to succeed, we would most likely react with the same kind of loathing and dejection as the narrator in Poe’s story:

This old man, I said at length, is the type and the genius of deep crime. He refuses to be alone. He is the man of the crowd. It will be in vain to follow; for I shall learn no more of him, nor of his deeds.