Originary Violence

From Generative Anthropology

Originary violence refers to the unpredictable violent conflict that could have arisen on the originary event, had it not been deferred via the originary sign.


Before the originary event, conflicts over commonly desired objects (such as food) were resolved by a dominance hierarchy, where the winner of the fight between two animals would receive the "dominant" status and first appropriation. At the originary event, mimetic rivalry has overridden the existing dominance hierarchy, and as the group of hominids symmetrically converge on the central object, a violent conflict appears to be imminent. However, this imminent conflict is not simply a pecking-order-fight, because the symmetry of appropriation extends among the entire group, not just an "alpha" and "beta." The unprecedented situation has given rise to an unpredictable, imminent violence, where everyone knows everyone else wants the object, but no one knows who is going to get it and what the others and oneself will do if the drive to appropriate it continues.