Perhaps the yelling in the background is a cry of existential angst at a futile and heretofore meaningless life.
That every step has led to this exact moment. That even if fought and won, the tide of Fate would inevitably lead back to this very moment: “This life as you now live it and have lived it, you will have to live once more and innumerable times more.”* Oh, would the Heavens open and strike down these untermensch enforcing their slave morality!
But, of course, even if God ever did exist in China, He is most surely long dead.
Perhaps it is the realization that we are condemned to be free. Without God, without the deus ex machina, we create our lives and our reality with every choice. As the blows land, this awful realization is made audible: I, and no other, am responsible for this!
But, what about the Other? Is it that he has yet to share this epiphany? If he understood the import and weight of all his actions, would he stop? Would he make a different choice?
Perhaps the only real answer is this: if you’re going to be a casual observer to a beating, pajamas are the perfect outfit.
* Friedrich Nietzsche, The Gay Science, s.341, Walter Kaufmann transl.
(Ed’s note: Chongqing’s Jiangbei district, January 9: Youku description tells us this gang of hoodlums was “quite possibly” hired by Guanghua Group to force a family to relocate so that their homes can be demolished and new developments can be built.)