A point made by Kato-san

It is not the main thing in the “幽霊と語る” film, but…

He told there are two exceptional cases in which a state forces its nation to commit homicide.  The cases are war and death penalty.

If a system of law has a commandment “you shall not kill”, then having death penalty in the system leads to contradiction.  Clear.  But did he said something similar in the film, or is this just what I thought…

This entry was posted in film and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to A point made by Kato-san

  1. voodoo child says:

    That looks like an interesting movie. I would like to see it! I see he was a friend of Tsurumi Shunsuke, and Oe Kensaburo, so he must be cool!

    Regarding the comment you site, I think there is probably also a third situation in which citizens commit homicide due to state actions. This is a more subtle one because we are not entirely forced, but willingly participate, although the internalization of norms as an effect of power, as indicated by Foucault, is definitely a kind of force (which is why he spoke of “force relations”).

    Zizek describes this in his identification of two categories of violence – subjective violence and objective violence. Subjective violence is that which involves identifiable subjects (agency) – the sort that fills the newspapers. In the quote above, Kato was speaking of that.

    Objective violence is divided into symbolic (that which occurs in language) and systemic (that which occurs as the normal operation of neoliberal capitalism). Objective violence is by far the more horrifying, and subjective violence is often just a side-effect (think of the Akihabara murder). The norms by which we judge what is violence (subjective) are themselves the products of far greater violence. As Zizek asks, what involves more violence, the robbing of a bank or the founding of a bank?

    So, take take the fact that 4000 children die everyday from a lack of clean water. This is ‘normal’ and an effect of the capitalist system in which we all particpate. We could stop this easily, but we dont. We know this happens as a rule (even if we dont know the exact figures we are aware of the phenomena), but we pretend we dont to the extent that we believe we dont. We go on functioning as if nothing was happening.

    One might object that there is nothing we can do, but as Kato mentioned in the trailer, that is not so.

    One might object that it is not directly our fault. But is this objection justifiable?

    Imagine if I was standing by a river in which a child was drowning in a couple of feet of water and I could easily step in to save it but I don’t, I concentrate instead upon my laptop, or mobile phone (products incidentally which use rare metals such as coaltan which are the sources of conflicts in africa – violence in the Congo increased markedly after Sony released its PS3). I think most people would hold me morally responsible for the child’s death. I think in France, there is even a law stipulating as such?

    So overall, I think we are to blame on two counts. First, for our non action (imagine if everyone had to watch those deaths on a video, how long could you stand it? – here the complicity of the mass media comes in as Chomsky demonstrates, if it was operating properly we would probably be out in the streets demanding action, but it isnt and we keep subscribing).

    Second, for being shaped by it. Taking here Sandel’s communitarian approach (which AH introduced VC to so thanks for that!) which holds that our identities are shaped by our histories which include the actions of others – so I am a product of British imperialism, have benefitted from it, and thus bear some measure of moral responsibility for redress.

    In short, our identities as active consumers in a global capitalist world denote us also as murderers, an identity which we nevertheless successfully repress.

    And of course, global warming is the ultimate leveller where everyone is complicit, the rich more than the poor – e.g. I wonder what part my firstworld lifestyle played in the flood deaths in Pakistan and will play in the forseeable (another criterion for culpability as Chomsky notes) deaths in the future?

    “One death is a tragedy. A million deaths is a statistic”. (J. Stalin, attrib.)

  2. voodoo child says:

    Yes, indeed.

    Zizek was talking at the systemic level of global captitalism. But of course the two are not mutually exclusive, as the states are units in the system, and one could argue companies and even individuals are too (it’s all just humans, right?). Thus, I suppose you can choose your level of analysis.

    For example, one can look at specific state policies in specific countries to hone it down to states (e.g. Western and Japanese investment in Chinese sweatshops), or even companies. But for something like global warming, although we know who the biggest emmitters are, that is not so easy – exactly which Co2 molecules caused what flooding and which deaths?

    One could try the individual level too – which products do I buy etc – but also difficult to pin down corresponding victims.

    Thus, the really identifiable driving force is, I think, system level. This enables us to consider the phenomenon as a whole. Capitalism, as Zizek argues, may have had particular origins in Europe, but it has become the one truely universal and universalizing force that knows no cultural/national boundaries. States, companies, and individuals operate to perpetuate it.

    Another option is to drink beer in the summer heat. Interested?

    • azumih says:

      Yes. No, actually already I have drunk, a bit.

      Allow me to say this. I knew that stoning is still here when I saw a movie “Osama” filmed by Afghan director. But I could not help voting against stoning to Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani when I heard about arrest of family member of her layer. That news somehow reminded me of the Kato film. And I have been sick for these days, but of what. Daunting.

      I need to drink a bit more.

    • azumih says:

      Ja. You mean industrial capitalism specifically, don’t you. I am a bit too inclined to some broader sense these days, including mercantile capitalism which should have existed before Noah.

  3. voodoo child says:

    I was sick earlier too. According to a Takeshi show waking up hot at night lowers the immune system etc as do temperature jumps over 5c which are hard to avoid!
    Or maybe the onset of psychosis?

    I saw a sign for a blues bar in shinjuku which I have been meaning to investigate for over a year now……
    If still interested when is good for you?
    This weekend is not good for me….but after is fine……
    Should we switch now to emails so as not to be too public…?

  4. voodoo child says:


    • azumih says:

      How come you notice it. I loved to stay a while at cafe with a great quiet picture of Ahmed Yassin. Since there are lovely book shops around the cafe, I was always with Ibn Arabi, Al Ghazali, Mevlana Rumi,,,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s