This is a guest post by Soumyabrata Choudhury
Polonius: “What is it you read, my lord?”
Hamlet in New Delhi, 2016: “India, Pakistan, security, sovereignty, nation, anti-national…words, words, words”
According to Sigmund Freud, when we dream, and when we suffer psychotic delusions, we treat words as pictures and things. A word’s meaning, in these conditions, becomes the shape of the word and its appearance is the same as feeling its physical impact, its blow. We cannot grasp anymore that a word refers to an object or idea outside in the world or that it can be used as a metaphor or an indirect analogy and image. We cannot even receive the rhetorical communication of words intended to persuade, exhort, transgress or insult. In each of these communications intended by an addresser we already feel physically, viscerally and as a consequence, mentally under the assault of the words of the addresser as if they are blows.
So in response we don’t persuade, exhort, transgress or insult back but instead, we curse (the upper limit of lucid discourse in this state), punch, grab the addresser by the throat, pull a knife or gun if we have any of these articles in our possession – or we cringe, weep, hold our heads in our hands and rock to and fro. Now it is very unlikely that in a real psychotic condition, we are able to invoke a particular law or clause of law in our favor, complain to the police and come up with a fluent image of language as justification for our actions. “We had no choice but to do what we did because the other(s) insulted our Mother India”. In a real psychotic condition, it is more likely we will be the ones to be taken away. Continue reading A Close Look at Certain Words Allegedly Shouted Recently in JNU and Their Impact on Our National Intelligence: Soumyabrata Choudhury