Interview at Open Book Toronto about The Politics of Knives

Open Book Toronto posted an interview with me about writing The Politics of Knives. An excerpt:

OB:
What does “the violence of language” mean to you?

JB:
In his book Violence, Žižek wonders “What if, however, humans exceed animals in their capacity for violence precisely because they speak?” and notes that “there is something violent in the very symbolization of a thing, which equals its mortification.” Of course, this symbolization occurs through language: “When we name gold “gold,” we violently extract a metal from its natural texture, investing into it our dreams of wealth, power, spiritual purity, and so on, which have nothing whatsoever to do with the immediate reality of gold.”

I think a further violence, a more personal and political violence, occurs when we use language to develop narrative. Even the simple story of our day invalidates other viewpoints on the external events, which are meaningless in themselves, and forces them into a sensible order. We use language, and narrative, to impose upon the world an order that suits us, and we use violence for this same purpose.

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