Abjection / jugupsā

One of the Emotional Modes


jugupsā - dislike, abhorrence, disgust (423) [1].

Now the Odious (bībhatsa) Sentiment has as its basis the Dominant State of disgust (115) [2].

It is created by Determinants like hearing of unpleasant, offensive, impure and harmful things or seeing them or discussing them (115) [2].

It is to be represented on the stage by Consequents such as stopping the movement of all the limbs, narrowing down of the mouth, vomitting, spitting, shaking the limbs [in disgust] and the like (115) [2].

Transitory States in it are epilepsy, delusion, agitation, fainting, sickness, death and the like (115) [2].

The Odious Sentiment arises in many ways from disgusting sight, tastes, smell, touch and sound which cause uneasiness (115) [2].


The corpse (or cadaver: cadere, to fall), that which has irremediably come a cropper, is cesspool, and death; it upsets even more violently the one who confronts it as fragile and fallacious chance. A wound with blood and pus, or the sickly, acrid smell of sweat, of decay, does not signify death. In the presence of signified death—a flat encephalograph, for instance—I would understand, react, or accept. No, as in true theater, without makeup or masks, refuse and corpses show me what I permanently thrust aside in order to live. These body fluids, this defilement, this shit are what life withstands, hardly and with difficulty, on the part of death. There, I am at the border of my condition as a living being. My body extricates itself, as
being alive, from that border. Such wastes drop so that I might live, until, from loss to loss, nothing remains in me and my entire body falls beyond the limit—cadere, cadaver (3) [3].

In that compelling, raw, insolent thing in the morgue's full sunlight, in that thing that no longer matches and therefore no longer signifies anything, I behold the breaking down of a world that has erased its borders: fainting away. The corpse, seen without God and outside of science, is the utmost of abjection. It is death infecting life. Abject. It is something rejected from which one does not part, from which one does not protect oneself as from an object. Imaginary uncanniness and real threat, it beckons to us and ends up engulfing us. It is thus not lack of cleanliness or health that causes abjection but what disturbs identity, system, order. What does not respect borders, positions, rules. The in-between, the ambiguous, the composite (4) [3].

Book of Mormon

Bodies of Ammoniah (Alma 16:9-11)

And thus ended the eleventh year of the Judges, the Lamanites having been driven out of the land, and the people of Ammonihah were destroyed; yea, every living soul of the Ammonihahites were destroyed, and also their great city,

which they said God could not destroy, because of its greatness.—

But behold, in one day it was left desolate; and their carcases were mangled by dogs and wild beasts of the wilderness; nevertheless, after many days , their dead bodies were heaped up upon the face of the earth, and they were covered with a shallow covering.

And now so great was the scent thereof, that the people did not go in to possess the land of Ammonihah for many years.

And it was called desolation of Nehors; for they were of the profession of Nehor, which were slain; and their lands remained desolate.

1. Monier-Williams, Monier. 1899. A Sanskrit-English Dictionary: Etymologically and Philologically Arranged. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
2. Ghosh, Manomohan. 1951. The Nātyaśāstra, ascribed to Bharata-Muni, Vol. I. Asiatic Society of Bengal: Calcutta.
3. Kristeva, Julia. 1982. Powers of Horror: An Essay on Abjection. Trans. Leon S. Roudiez. New York: Columbia University Press.
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