The following quotations are from:

Pierre Clastres, Society Against the State


“What is the root of the imperfection besetting men, which we do not desire? It arises from the fact that ‘things in their totality are one.’ A startling utterance, of a kind to send Western thought reeling back to its beginnings. Yet, this is indeed what Guarani thinkers say, what they are continually proclaiming—and they pursue its strictest consequences, its most unsettling implications: misfortune is engendered by the imperfection of the world, because all things that constitute the imperfect world are one. Being one is the property shared by the things of the world. The One is the name of the imperfect. To sum up the deadly concision of its discourse, Guarani thought says that the One is Evil itself.” 171


“One is everything corruptible. The mode of existence of the One is the transitory, the fleeting, the ephemeral. Whatever is born, grows, and develops only in order to perish will be called the One. What does that mean? Here one gains access, via a bizarre use of the identity principle, to the foundation of the Guarani universe. Cast on the side of the corruptible, the One becomes the sign of the Finite. The world of men harbors nothing but imperfection, decay, and ugliness: the ugly land, the other name for the evil land. Ywy mba’e megua; it is the kingdom of death. It can be said –Guarani thought says—that everything in motion along a trajectory, every mortal thing, is one. The One: the anchorage of death. Death: the fate of what is one. Why are the things that make up the imperfect world mortal? Because they are finite; because they are incomplete. What is corruptible dies of unfulfillment; the One describes what is incomplete.

            Perhaps we can see it more clearly now. The imperfect earth where ‘things in their totality are one’ is the reign of the incomplete and the space of the finite; it is the field of strict application of the identity principle. For, to say that A=A, this is this, and a man is a man, is to simultaneously state that A is not not-A, this is not that, and men are not gods. To name the oneness in things, to name things according to their oneness, is tantamount to assigning them limits, finitude, incompleteness. It is the tragic discovery that this power (pouvoir), the secret power that can silently declare that this is this and, at the same time, that; Guarani men and, at the same time, gods. What makes the discovery tragic is that we did not desire it to be so,we others who know our language to be deceptive, we who never spared any effort to reach the home of the true language, the incorruptible dwelling place of the gods, the Land Without Evil, where nothing in existence can be called one.” 172-173