Collapse Volume VII, 175–238


Vague Weaponizations or, the Chemistry of Para-Tactical Engagements


It is commonly believed that actual combat—that is to say, ‘the firefight’—is one of the most stressful experiences that one can undergo (a perception that has been somewhat excessively and unnecessarily valorized by the likes of Ernst Junger and others). This is patently false. What is stressful is the experience—however temporary—of that sliver of spatio-temporality on and within which combat is anticipated. Thus, for example, in accounts too numerous to list, there are detailed descriptions of how—in the early hours of June 21, 1941—as the assault formations of the Wehrmacht moved into their jump-off positions along the German-Soviet border on the eve of Operation Barbarossa – an event that Hitler had predicted would arrest the breath and attention of the whole world—even battle-hardened veterans experienced a highly debilitating sense of unease that seemed to emerge from the pits of their stomachs, and which spread—like an uncontrollable contagion—among their comrades-in-arms. For the veterans, while this experience was not unexpected, it was as unsettling as it was for their more inexperienced comrades…