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Irrational Experiences, Heroic Deeds And The Extraction Of Surplus

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Chapter Summary

Through a heroic deed one grabs reality and bends it to one's will, paying no consideration to everyday constraints, to ordinary morality or even to the rules of logic. Ultimately, a heroic deed must appear as gratuitous, as grounded upon itself, as similar in this regard to Schmitt's sovereign decision. Among scholars of religion as much as literary figures, the concern with the heroic act goes hand in hand with the concern with irrational experience. The heroic act, the violence, seem to require another act of violence, one in which one oneself is seized by a power greater than one's own, a power that, like the heroic deed, violates logic and morality. What we encounter at the other end of the heroic deed is experience, Erlebnis. This irrational experience has as its object the numinous, as described by Rudolf Otto in Das Heilige.

Keywords: Das Heilige; heroic deeds; irrational experiences; Schmitt's sovereign decision



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