In the beginning there was: HE. Man as the measure of all things so that he may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.
He separated himself from the Greek chorus’ dancing and recitation and pronounced ‘I’: the birth of the tragic hero. From there he went out to conquer the world and all its inhabitants. He declared himself as ‘self’ and everything else as ‘other’. He declared himself as a rational and thinking being and on stage he recounted his adventures: conquering the savages and killing the beasts.
The monologue of the imperialist about the universal human condition was exquisite: He told us how he was created in Gods own image. HE made him a subject, an organism – a tragic Adam who was cast out of paradise because he was seduced by Eve. The protagonist shouts, he weeps, he implores, he moves the audience to tears. They see themselves in him! The applause was never-ending. The critics were raving about it.
But now! Suddenly in the middle of his performance, the face of our protagonist distorts, his words become slurry, unrecognisable, his movements that have been strong and decisive become weak and lifeless. There is a cry from afar but it originates from his own chest. His eyes roll back into his head and there: he bursts into thousands of fragments! The audience gasps with horror.
Our protagonist is “becoming-woman, becoming-child, becoming-animal, -vegetable, or -mineral; becoming-molecular of all kinds, becoming-particles.”1 In the end he has become imperceptible. His becoming is never-ending and never finished. The play goes on and on. Hours become days become weeks and years.
The centre stage seems empty but in the margins there is movement and giggling. Strange beings human and non-human are stirring in the wings. They communicate in languages we have yet to learn. These beings perform an exorcism. It is the human being that is being exorcised.
The creatures place our protagonist – or what is left of him, or rather what isn’t left of him – one last time on the autopsy table to remake his anatomy. Their dialogue sounds as follows: “Man is sick because he is badly constructed. – We must make up our minds to strip him bare in order to scrape off that animalcule that itches him mortally.”