Essay Issue 22


Martin Villanueva


This is an inquiry into the idea of a proportional response, a stimulated engagement that aspires for an attractive relationship between parts of a whole. This is explored in how it manifests in different forms by different actors within a state (e.g., the governing of thoughts and actions, the servicing of basic needs, and ultimately—most importantly—a citizenry’s response to these [e.g., protest, discourse, art] in light of the consequences for doing so [e.g., suppression, punishment by the state, friend/community/collective-affirmed stupidity]). In law, proportionality is the principle that determines fairness in corrective measures; it ensures that the punishment fits the crime. In war, a proportional response is a retaliation to prevent further attacks. Thus, to proportion is to adjust and to regulate that which cannot be or that to which we are perpetually subjected. A proportional response then—in reality—is futile if not multitudinous and self-reflexive. This course then is important and will not change you.