The Rise of Liminal Authorities: Trickster’s Gaining a Craft, or the Techniques of Incommensurability

  • Agnes Horvath
Part of the Modernism and … book series (MAND)


Any situation of incommensurable liminality by definition first of all disrupts integrity and unity, breaking the whole down into its composite elements, and thus — in the current sense of the term — produces a crisis that must be dealt with directly. From this perspective the appearance of metallurgy as a technology that divides units into parts can be characterised as an anthropological and historical marker of crises.1 What is more, this technological process handles crises in a mechanical, procedural manner, thus destroying the original composition of elements. Metallurgy as a technique was developed through an awareness of pain, using suffering to force objects to give up their original physical properties, playing with excess and enacting a new circle by confounding accepted ways of thinking.2 In situations of crisis, this way of thinking reaches spiritual depth and produces significant effects, as it deprived entities from self-support, reducing life to subservience,3 as seen in the post- or pre-metallurgical alchemy, whose origins are uncertain, as the knowledge was secret, was forbidden to reveal, was enveloped in mystery (Thompson 1932: 43–4). In this way the crisis was resolved, though only by capitalising on the opportunity and using destruction to generate new and different entities.


Divine Love Initiation Ceremony Ritual Process Mime Form Fugitive Slave 
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© Agnes Horvath 2013

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  • Agnes Horvath

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