Lacanian Review Online: GPS-less Voyage

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When they poured across the border
I was cautioned to surrender
This I could not do

(Leonard Cohen, The Partisan)
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5th December 2018

Bodies in Space

As those of us who still benefit from the civilising effects of capitalism huddle closer together on our gated islands, the margin of those who fall outside the net seems to grow wider and wider. While out shopping we have to step over bodies in the street, outcasts of savage capitalism, surplus to requirements, abandoned like refuse on the sidewalk.

There has always been evidence of homelessness in the streets. One thing that increasingly strikes me is not just the profusion of improvised encampments but the sight of some of these bodies slumped on the sidewalk without visible signs of animation, unable to tell whether dead or alive apart from the stain of various bodily fluids seeping around them.

The loss of bodily functions may of course be due to the influence of toxic substances. These bodies, however, are not just comatose. They are apparently inanimate, parcels of flesh wedged at odd angles as though they have fallen from a great height, unable to make most minimal attempt to compose themselves where they lie. It is not just that these bodies are barely animated, not obviously habited by any living substance. It is more that some of them do not even seem to occupy any recognisable corporeal space. […]

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