Thursday, March 01, 2007
(4:01 PM) | Adam Kotsko:
The Power of Social ForcesLast night when I arrived at my apartment after a long and arduous day, two of my seminary colleagues briefly came in with me, in order to use the bathroom. I followed my regular practice of removing my shoes, putting away my coat and books, etc., and at some point in the process, I stubbed my toe. More properly, I would say that I stubbed my toes -- in fact, arguably my full foot participated. It was among the most painful stubbings I have ever endured, and my foot still hurts as I type this, 18 hours later.
I have had ample occasion to stub my toe in my current apartment, because there is a kind of pipe sticking out of the kitchen floor in a much-travelled area. We try to keep the garbage can right next to this pipe, so as to reduce the probability of toe-stubbing, but sometimes the garbage can is moved. This pipe-like object appears to be made out of some type of titanium alloy and produces an intense (and somewhat satisfying) pain when it is inadvertantly kicked. The experience is almost sublime, to the point where the normal litany of curse words seems to fall laughably short. In such toe-stubbings, one is brought into contact with the holy, the mysterium tremendum and fascinans. One offers up one's "fuck" and "shit," fully aware of and humbled by the inadequacy of the offering.
One will hestitate to believe this, but my toe-stubbing last night was even more painful than a toe-stubbing on the pipe sticking out of the kitchen floor. Yet somehow I not only avoided the litany of swear-words -- I didn't even so much as pause, wince, or in any way indicate what had happened. I'm sure that if you asked those individuals if I stubbed my toe that night, you would be met with blank stares. If told what had happened, they would protest. "No," they would say, "it's not possible. I've stubbed my toe; I've seen toes stubbed. To stub one's toe and give no sign -- assuming it were possible -- would be inhuman, even monstrous... this terrifying expedient, this God sacrificed himself -- who could credit it? -- out of love, out of love for the debtor!"