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07 May 2009

"Existential Threat"

This is yet another term of contemporary political-media discourse that rankles me to no end. It's a tarted up way of referring to a threat to the existence of x, usually Israel, but that's beside the point here.

In fact, Muslims are apparently the only ones who can bring on an existential threat -- Hillary noted the existence of such a threat to Pakistan yesterday, from other, non-domesticated, free-range Muslims.

So, I put on my thinking cap and came up with some examples of real existential threats:

  1. Inauthenticity.
  2. Being turned into a beetle.
  3. Boulders that cannot be pushed up hills.
  4. Boulders that do not roll back down hills.
  5. Essence.
  6. "Clean up your room or I will again describe in detail the mindless, all-consuming maw of eventual and unavoidable non-existence."
  7. Parsifal
  8. A three-hour black-and-white film shot in close-ups of two upper-middle-class Euro-Americans bemoaning the meaninglessness of a Godless universe in the comfort of their well-apportioned flat. After two hours and forty-five minutes of incessant whining, the couple finally has sex, followed immediately by a joint nervous breakdown.
  9. Spending an evening with this person. (Scroll to 3:45; watch till 6:50.)
  10. Full revelation of the free choices made by moral agents, who are to be judged only by their actions, in France during WWII.

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