55 South Audley
London W1K 2QH, UK
The right to war is inherent to the right to be a population, and this right exposes the group in itself and everyone around it to great risks: to the boundaries of the right and/or the existence of all the members of the group.
War is a trade that can demand anything from one who practices it. It is a conflict between different communities which aim is either annihilation or submission, which presents itself as a manifestation of strength and supremacy that privileges one instead of the other. In this process humanity becomes raw material, an available resource to use until exhaustion, a particular kind of “capital” to use unconditionally: the notion of boundary, so ancient and universal in our human species, has a fundamental role.
In the moment when boundaries are not marked anymore or if an imposed structure does not define and govern them, the forgotten instinct can emerge from the subconscious, self-censorship collapses, thoughts lose their direction and everything can happen, particularly when thinking, for example, of the boundaries between the ego and the other, the mind and body, good and evil, life and death.
The attitude that crushes the rhetoric that sees the notion of ‘good’ as the fundamental principle of the actions of human beings is perfectly reflected in the novel “Lord of the Flies” by William Golding which analyses and explores this issue. The book is linked to an experiment made by the writer in the elementary school where he was teaching, in which the students were divided into two groups to discuss a matter of the day, sometimes with a moderator and at other times independently and without any kind of control. He noted that, in the absence of an adult, often the discussion degenerated into a brawl, demonstrating how conflict is a constant yet underlying trait of human behavior, even at a young age. Is not by chance that since 1946 b.C. unitl now there have been in the world only 227 years of respite, demonstrating how peace is almost an anomaly, a small parenthesis in time whislts war seems to be the norm.
Since the 20th century, war starts questioning the notion of the border: no longer limited to specific territories but as having an almost unlimited exstension. Conflict does not identify anymore solely in the clash between two well defined factions but rather it underlies all sorts of armed conflicts between groups that are often identified by the conflict itself and which runoff widely from the concept of nation, covering a range of interests ranging from ideological and socio-economical to religious and identity ones.
The spatiality of war has completely changed in the conflicts that have affected our planet in the last century: it has expanded its range of action thanks to the use of flying machines (airplanes, airships and drones) and special types of weapons (bombs and missiles). Cities, and consequently the domestic space, are therefore one of the fighting fields of contemporary wars, while historically the assault on the city was the final part of the conflict. The combat space expands and diversifies itself, flooding the landscape, the city and the common life. Even time, or what we perceive as such, undergoes this change. The knightly habit of getting together in a particular place at a present time, is something forgotten in a world where in any moment we
could become victims of an attack.