Power says: human beings are pitiful and cowardly by nature. They need to be disciplined and humiliated. Then it shows the people its leaders. Capitalism says: human beings are avaricious; everyone has to fight all the others for his or her piece of meat, emerging triumphant because his or her success is in his or her own hands. Then, it shows us cheerful, rosy-cheeked business executives. The sovereign says: nature is evil, but some of this evil will be called good and god, because I am acting in its name, and I will call this action justice. Marquis de Sade’s hero continues: “I am an abomination, something nature has vomited up to help in its work of destruction…I feast on all of despotism’s pleasures…” “And justice?” “It does not exist in this country, which is exactly why I chose it as my home…”
No matter what country you are in, the world market establishes a “natural” order of things that perpetuates inequality. This is why we think that capitalism will go on forever. In the name of nature, justice is replaced by arbitrary rule, becoming blind fate, inevitability, and the indifferent “will of the gods.” Nature, however, remains silent, allowing anyone at all to dispose over our lives in its name.
“This life enslaves itself regularly, we can trust it to do so, it never fails to kneel to indifferent power, to that power of mortal indifference that is money. Diabolical, radically bad in that way, nature is prostitution, it enslaves itself faithfully, one can have confidence here in it…” (J. Derrida).
Whoever wants to inscribe him or herself into law speaks in the name of nature, saying that no other order of things can be possible. Natural – and at the same time sacral, elemental, primordial – given once and for all (by god): this is how the power that has been imposed upon us appears, whenever we forget that it itself is beyond law and right, that it has no justification. As soon as we hear commands like “obey!”, “consume!” our movement is blocked by prohibitions: “stop!”, “pay!”
There is no need to try and imitate nature; it will never work anyway. Every time we do so, all we get is a concentration camp or a fitness club.
After all, our human nature is culture, and culture is not only a world that creates itself out of nothing, like the Native American god. Instead, it also changes itself, based on what is, moving toward something that has never been. It changes itself when it understands that “certainty is never certain.” (Brecht). It changes through our own agency.
Culture is protest. Not against nature, but against that humiliated, atrophied part of itself that dresses up as nature and hits the street as a prostitute. Protest is natural to culture. Protest is its purpose, its nature, an animal passion that we remain true to, no matter what.