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(2019) Violence and meaning, Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan.

The temporality of violence

destruction, dissolution and the construction of sense

Felix Ó Murchadha

pp. 41-58

Violence tends to the destruction of meaningful entities and of that through which such entities are meaningful. Not all violence is annihilating in its effects, but violence aims towards a nothingness which discloses a certain fragility of meaning. The obliteration of the singular, the reduction of organic and structural unity to charred flesh and rubble, is not simply an event within a world, but an event that threatens worldly sense. The constitution of such worldly sense is dependent on time, on the interweaving of temporal tendencies, or orientations, in Husserlian terms: retention and protention. But this interweaving of temporal orientations requires a minimal order of continuity whereby retention, both near and far, and near and far protention allow for a sense of temporal stretch which has a unity and a sense. This is true even though every now may be new, temporal relations being of self-differentiation. Annihilating violence—whether of the individual raped and tortured or the community left bereft through war, colonization or natural disaster—has a traumatizing effect which results in a disconnection from the past and derealization of that which profoundly modifies the retentional and protentional orientations. The vulnerability of temporal constitution, which violence discloses, reveals a fundamental absence at the core of time itself and a nothingness threatening the stability of normalized meaningful entities and spaces while revealing a groundless space of the emergence of meaning.

Publication details

DOI: 10.1007/978-3-030-27173-2_3

Full citation:

Ó Murchadha, F. (2019)., The temporality of violence: destruction, dissolution and the construction of sense, in L. Lauwaert, L. K. Smith & C. Sternad (eds.), Violence and meaning, Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 41-58.

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