Dangles in a void

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ED1

Senior Member
Portuguese
Hello,

Can anyone explain me what means "dangle in a void" within this context:

Another suggestive metaphor would be a nervous system existing apart from a body. The Church trains and deploys a vast bureaucracy fully capable of serving as administration and police of the Roman Emperor and his provincial governors and tax farmers in the time of Octavian Augustus. But in the time of Frankish marauders, this colossal bureacucracy dangles in a void, and no amount of anointing water can glue such a bureaucracy to such an army and make it a functioning Leviathan.

Against His-story, Against Leviathan, Fredy Perlman​

Thanks!
 
  • PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    It is simply a figurative use. Can you imagine something that dangles in a void? It will be suspended in darkness and not in contact with anything.
     

    The Newt

    Senior Member
    English - US
    It's rather a mixed metaphor, since the passage starts out talking about the nervous system, but the idea is that the bureaucracy is like someone hanging onto something to keep from falling into an abyss.
     

    KaitheseanDemon

    New Member
    English - American South
    The phrase means that the bureaucracy exists alone, without any contact with the army (?) that Perlman says it would need to perform any meaningful action. What Paul said, essentially. It is figurative.
     

    ED1

    Senior Member
    Portuguese
    Sometimes is not easy to understand completely idiomatic expressions or figurative speeches because english it's not my mother tongue, and i'm trying to translate the sentence to portuguese in this case. Still, i guess with your help i'll manage to have contact to the image the author wants to transmit. Thanks!
     
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