The Tragic and the Panic [annotated]
Aesthetics of expulsion and invasion
First version published @ LapsusLima on April 2, 2020.
Tragedy corresponds to the city and the theatre, to the commons; panic belongs to the wilderness and to the body, in its immanence, or the un-common. The former invokes social distancing and expulsion; the latter, immersion, even self-absorption, unto [un-self]possession. Tragedy delivers us outside the city walls, to the grave of Polynices; panic shoots us straight into the vascular uncharted.
The tragic arises from a breach against the order of the polis and it is, at least, impertinent, a transgression of the norm. It constitutes an abnormality. The panic is inextricably linked to violations that attack identity and rootedness in form. The threat is informality.
The tragic and the panic both have a goat at their source, manifest in the propitiatory guise of the scapegoat or in the looming formlos of the satyr, who—like all chimeras—is more than the sum of his parts, and could dissolve into them instantly. 
The book that best expresses the plasticity of the intercourse between the tragic and the panic is Klossowski’s Baphomet, where the spirits of the Templars reconvene, within/without time, in a last pineal surge of tribal excitement, to commemorate their mass extinction by possessing animals and children (the very innocents corona mostly spares—and favours as vectors and spreaders. She prefers ambergris, cadaverine, in her repast.)
I am increasingly of the opinion one should not look only to books on pandemics if what one is interested in is not the virus per se but the transformations that its passage will beget. Pandemic is a symptom of momentum.  World-historically speaking, we are suffering a lavish psychosocial gangrene, a (potentially lethal and certainly global) bloodletting plus brainwash of sumptuary scale.
Corona can be read as a variation on the death of the Egyptian firstborns; where the Israelites smeared their thresholds with the blood of lambs—a marking of liminal spacetime—to secure passover. There’s even a hint of quarantine in Exodus, with the Israelites sheltering indoors despite being fundamental (and extraneous) to Egyptian society—a bit like our essential/sacrificial workers, shipped out—like cattle—to meatpacking companies; used to patch up supply chains; forced to accept the choices that the macro polis has made for them.
And we do not commiserate so much as we congratulate them. Kultur is the chronic rebirth of tragedy, and panic its maieutic.
Illustration of the Sabbatical Goat by Èliphas Lèvi in Dogme et Rituel de la Haute Magie, 1856.
Snow Dash. “Pattern slash for Panic cash.” Collage. ~2006. https://web.archive.org/web/20160528152051/http://blog.artfrombehind.net/myhilism
 My March tweets and #Kulturinstinkt are filled with references to liquefaction, derealisation, dissolution and disintegration. A case in point, from March 15:
 Another salient feature during this period of #Kulturinstinkt: acceleration (and its -ism) in numerous forms, from the exponential to the vertiginous. More on this in the next newsletter.