Tricks

All outcomes are trickster justice, all histories trickster narratives. Choice interfaces the dual and ambivalent components of ‘what is’ and ‘what will be.’

Choice itself is both volition and consent. To foreclose on one set of possibilities is to set another unseen few in motion; to control for the other later on is to choose to ignore yet others. And so on into multitudes of choices and sieves.

The serious figure of the clown presides over the momentary revelations of chance. To insist on its absence is to ask for the obliteration of ambivalence, and thus to foreclose the possibility of proportionate justice by long division. For the loss of chance is the loss of unreason, and that makes bewilderment out of history.

Dualities must not be understood as contrasting things, unintegrated, oppositional, even if it is considered ‘modern’ (not ‘primitive’) and enlightened to regard human persons and behavior as arranged around principles rather than the ‘concrete ambivalence’ that constructs most of our material reality.

Neither should dualities in their material examples be considered ‘point and counterpoint’ in an intellectual chorus. For that would not question the order of the small world in which the duality manifests, only argue about its order of things. And in their fixing of the problem (abstract morality and moral exceptionalisms) they would leave out all the world of ambiguity, thus confirming other-worldly power and this-worldly reason.

There is no order, no one Reason, nor even a given moral code. “All antinomies are bound into the ritual cycle” of choice. Choice interfaces the dual and ambivalent components of ‘what is’ and ‘what will be.’ All outcomes are trickster justice, all histories trickster narratives.

–Ref: Paul Radin. The Trickster: A Study in American Indian Mythology.


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