The universal…appears as something violent and extranéous and has no substantial reality for human beings.
Nothing is more degenerate than the kind of ethics or morality that survives in the shape of collective ideas even after the World Spirit has ceased to inhabit them — to use the Hegelian expression as a kind of shorthand. Once the state of human consciousness and the state of social forces of production have abandoned these collective ideas, these ideas acquire repressive and violent qualities.
Because the collective ethos is no longer shared — indeed, precisely because the collective ethos which must now be herded by quotation marks, is not commonly shared — it can impose its claim to commonality only through violent means. In this sense, the collective ethos instrumentalizes violence to maintain the appearance of its collectivity. Moreover, this ethos becomes violence only once it has become an anachronism. What is strange historically — and temporally — about this form of ethical violence is that although the collective ethos has become anachronistic, it has not become past; it insists itself into the present as an anachronism.
Politics of “the who” …the exposure and vulnerability of the other makes a primary ethical claim upon me.
The recognition that one is, at every turn, not quite the same as how one presents oneself in the available discourse might imply, in turn, a certain patience with others that would suspend the demand that they be self-same at every moment.
It may be that only through an experience of the other under conditions of suspended judgment do we finally become capable of an ethical reflection in the humanity of the other, even when that other has thought to annihilate humanity.
~ Judith Butler from Giving an Account of Oneself
Every neurosis is a primitive form of legal proceeding in which the accused carries on the prosecution, imposes judgment and executes the sentence: all to the end that someone else should not perform the same process.
~ Lionel Trilling