In a world in which individuals increasingly feel as if they're being led by a transcending power, Roberto Escobar points to the possibility, nay, the necessity of re-gaining control over our lives. What is the political role of the eye? In perhaps obvious terms, one could say that the few "keep an eye" on the many and the power's oversight appears to be total. At the same time, however, if we shift our view towards the few and their "splendour" - courts, palaces, monuments, rites, symbols, pageants - the many derive from them worldviews and models of living. But does this actually exhaust the political sense of our watching and being watched? Is our "being there" really dominated by power's watchful surveillance, on the one hand, and, on the other, our tendency to subject ourselves to its legitimacy, justice, and biographies? Drawing on the ideas of Camus, Canetti, and Simmel, the literary creations of Greene, Pasolini, and Karen Blixen, the paintings of Pieter Bruegel, and the films of Peter Weir, the author passionately asserts his will to conquer the terrible nature of our times and find in his eye the promise of unexpected freedom.
Roberto Escobar teaches Political Philosophy at the University of Milan.