split down the middle
a path running between
What will come on you?
Where the center cannot hold?
The terror of the curses seems to lie specifically in this break of the binary structure. A cursed world is a hazy world, where one cannot--or does not want to--see: "you shall grope in the afternoon like a blind man." The curses undermines the clear demarcation of heaven and earth, as "dust shall rain from the sky." They make the distinction between "city" and "field" meaningless, as the walls of the city are "pulled down" and the outside comes in. Even past and future becomes fluid, as the past is not really past. "God shall bring you back to Egypt in ships, by the path that I said to you "you shall never see it more." With the erasure of these primary distinctions, the relationship between self and other breaks down. Brotherhood, "the wife of your bosom," beloved child--all turn into the enemy. One cannot even relate to one's self: disease attacks from within, and one "watches your life hanging in doubt before you."
If up to this point, Deuteronomy has been concerned with establishing the lines between inside and outside, ingroup and outgroup (see for example 21, 20, 19), this chapter gives a sickening glimpse into what it would mean to break down all these distinctions. What if opening the bounds does not make all men brothers, but rather assures that no men are kin? )