Monday, October 02, 2006
At one point a friend, with whom I was in the midst of a conversation on topics grounded in the Western philosophical tradition, suggested that I get a masters degree in philosophy. I had been fighting out of a percieved hole in which I had been placed, a hole dug by Descartes the cogito-man. I fought to emerge from this hole, and as well fought against the advice to pursue a degree in philosophy. Now I realize that I simply did not want to be identified like "The Hand" from The Adams Family by my cogito. I simply wanted to be a free human, fully alive in all of himself rather than detached and aloof from the rest of his body, whatever funny powers are gained, like those of "The Hand", by such disembodiment. There are certain limitations to being merely a hand that skirts along the floor. Similarly, there are certain limitations to being identified merely by a mind that arches across the infinite expanses of the universe.
Christ gave me more. I have been made in the image of God. I once was appalled at how buildings had to fit a certain limited set of preconcieved images for the ends and goals of the Real Estate market. I once was similarly appaled that the church had confined itself to a certain limited set of possible images in the hopes of what it knew, based on its past images, would mean success. Now I see that I have simply been created anew in Christ Jesus, made whole and free. A man. The man I was made to be; this is this man. I have been freely created into a whole new man.
Now I see that part of what it means to be free might be for the Unknown to be interwoven with the many options before us, as His breath brought life out of Nothing. Now I see that part of what it means to be free is to live in the limits given by the God who set them as He makes the world into a mirror of Himself. Now I see that the roles set in place by the laws of the land do not just accuse me of failure, but are bound to set us all upon a cain with a limp. Now I see that I simply saw His image shining through the me and those who set me up in in a different, smaller, truncated image of a slave to these laws of accusation and failure. "You aren't good enough for...Here, go do..." "And He saw that it was good." Shine.
Shall the image be one of a cain of handicap or a rod of authority? I shall remind myself that this image of authority shines from one who had the freedom to be nailed to a tree. Where I pray on this tree between the earth and his feet is the line between being ripped to pieces, shamed and separated from God, and...? I pray with my staff and my staff is my prayer. In what chapel is the marriage of slavery and service? I pray that my heart would do the dance of understanding given by the supplications of the Spirit. May my heart be filled with a humble need for the God of Holyness and Freedom. May I catch a glimpse of the shining imagless-image as it catches me along its yellow brick path.
This line on this tree somewhere between earth and foot, between slavery and service, does it lie in the direction of the boat belonging to impoverished Louisiana shrimp boaters, for whom a helping hand might mean more life? Does it lie in the row of crops of the poor Spanish farmers who might just like to know they are loved by someone outside their little lesser village? Does it lie in the line of verse spoken from the mouth of the once-beautiful young leaprous woman, now dying, "Come now my love, my lovely one come"? The conforming regularity of dark and rusty prison bars? The gaze of the retarded adolescent upon the famouse Princeton professor in question as to why he missed the community's dinner last night? Is it in You. In me...shine. The rectilinear un-gated prison streets of Skid Rowe's homeless and addicted inmates. The aim of the furiously hurting school rampaging lunatic who, by killing himself, never made it to prison. The five mile walk of the Ugandan children wanting to escape the "People's Liberation Army". Where? Is the line. Shine. "You will know the truth..."
Hegel and Jesus have 2 different masters. And Hegel's master is a needle in the Lion's mane. Being made in the image of God means having the power of a Lion. That sounds to me like realization of potential or manifestation of desire.
And besides...regardless of your religious beliefs..."genius"...? I'm not questioning whether any individual is a genius, but what genius is in the first place. Neither Phidias nor Plato were geniuses. Ideas don't even belong to us. Even thinking is a craft. A craftsman making a wood chair...the wood was already there...and some would say even the Chair. Regardless, though, the genius ain't the Genesis of the chair.
There's no geenie in his fountain pen. Unless he's a voodoo master, no? What other alternatives are there? Some future undetermined alternative?
It seems that one connotation of this channeling to which you refer is a distinguishing of difference. Which would point to the distinguished individual and his creative forces.
And like my professor said, these days man is freer than he's ever been (he certainly had a point). So why all the talk of a lack of individual freedom? I think its a valid point...a lack of individual freedom. Its funny...I'd say the things that give him his freedom are his own artifices...modern political machines, technological machines. Yet these very things that give us our freedom are what take it away, we say. The same things both give and steal our freedom.
These things that give and steal our freedom are our artifices. "They have ears, but they hear not...They have mouths, but they speak not...Those who put their trust in them will be like them." Is the issue with the artifice or with our trust?
I'm not just trying to back you into a corner to make a God choice. I'm just exploring why it is that we speak of a lack of freedom when we have so much of it. Its when the artifice is meant to be a totalizing system that difference is subsumed into a sameness...and for those who put their trust in the system, difference is suspicious.
The horizon of possibility for us really is more open than it ever has been. And yet Deleuze speaks of the solution that sounds like an opening of the horizon. Or maybe he just takes that to be a precondition in which he operates and from which he speaks, I don't know.
It seems to me maybe that if the solution to a stifling of freedom that comes from too much freedom is not more freedom. Here we are swimming in an open frontier asking for more opening.
All and all, then...for me...I'd say that a redeemed world would point to the one who redeems rather than the goofballs in whose images the stifling artifices are made. Even freeing artifices appear stifling, simply because of who they point to. Its an issue of trust. People who feel stifled (me included) don't trust the makers of the system that defines us (supposedly). I have to ask MYSELF, though...if its an issue of trust...and I am far more free than anyone in my social class ever was...then AM I placing my trust in the idol? In a way, probably so (I'll let you know when I get further into the Inferno, lol). In a way, obviously not.
I personally am less interested in my own freedom to do than in the kinds of things I can bring forth. On some level I am perfectly free to do things. The bondsman issue comes in when I put my wares out there and nobody in the free market wants to buy them. To what extent do I bend my freedom, and de-differentiate what I can make, in order to accommodate the square preferences of the marketplace? To whatever extent I do that I feel like I'm in bondage, not to any individual but to a set of tastes and preferences that are spawned by system itself.
I think of the preferences of the marketplace as mimicking the spherical essence of the market as characterized by its systematization and totalization. I hope to carve something square out of it. In other words I don't think of the constraints to which you referred as square...the circularity is itself actually the constraint. Circularity, sameness. Its the infinitely extending sameness that is constricting for us square beings, as you discussed.
Besides, there's another element or hermeneutic other than just the one that centers around limits and a lack thereof. If the totalized game wasn't defined by everyone's trying to screw everyone else over, then everyone would be much more willing and happy to play the game. I'm speaking of the narcissism of which you are cynical. But then Narcisissm is when folks don't recognize their image (in the system), not when they are attached to it.
Also...what's the difference between your freedom (from a king) and your freedom in the kinds of things you can bring forth? I mean...that's why we feel a constriction of freedom when...for those of us who seek it...popularity comes into conflict with excellence. The system - although it takes on a character of its own as a thing that, in a sense, appears in the world - is a reflection of actual folks whose will is actually all kinds of screwed up, like yours and mine.
I like your Narcissism discussion: then Narcissism is when folks don't recognize their image (in the system), not when they are attached to it. That's very good, quite profound.
The difference of my personal freedom from the freedom of what I can make -- if on some level I'm a conduit for creation, showing what's been shown to me, then what's being restricted is the revelation of this thing that's other than myself but that might exist in the world only if I bring it forward. The thing isn't the same as its creator, even though the creator is responsible for bringing forth the creation. If enslaved to a master I'm still able to bring forth the creation only I can deliver, then at least the creation has been freed.
But maybe there's also this Narcissistic element at work in contemplating the creation: if it doesn't reflect their own image back to themselves, then they can't see it. No eyes to see the distinct and unique thing that isn't already absorbed into the body without organs that is the society-as-master.
Very interesting definition of totalizing system. No organs, no tuning; and no attuning. Just sameness. And although I had thought of it before, although not as fully thought-through, I got those thoughts on Narcissism from McLuhan.
And regarding this paragraph: "The thing isn't the same as its creator, even though the creator is responsible for bringing forth the creation. If enslaved to a master I'm still able to bring forth the creation only I can deliver, then at least the creation has been freed."...Then what does the artifice iconically point to? Is this the emergence you speak of?
Can't see it...no eyes...Horror Vacui. That far back - at least :) Self can't be a ground. Do marginilized groups or places make a ground? Is that a hope? This takes me to your Locke comments in your post on Foucault on marginilized spaces...
Whatever God created in Genesis 1, the Old Testament doesn't give you a sense that the creation is like the creator. Genesis doesn't even say that the creation points iconically to some perfect heavenly version of itself. It's unprecedented, not like the creator, not like any prior creation.
Can't see it -- he who has ears to hear let him hear, is Jesus' version. I often find that I can put an idea, writing, whatever in front of somebody and they can't see it, don't understand it, have no framework within which it makes sense to them. If all you can see is the thing you already understand or like or the person you already are, then anything "other" is going to remain invisible -- like the stuff under the surface reflection in Narcissus' reflecting pool.
I'm not sure what you mean by ground. Can you elaborate?
Narcissus and the blind guy with eyes...yeah, I'm with you.
"Whatever God created in Genesis 1, the Old Testament doesn't give you a sense that the creation is like the creator. Genesis doesn't even say that the creation points iconically to some perfect heavenly version of itself."
It does say that man was made in the image of God. And it does say that man will rule over the rest of creation. The "logical structure" that determines the creation sequence is intimately interwoven with the make-up of both man and "the world" (heaven and earth and all that is in and between them). I do think that there's a lot of implicit meaning in the Bible; and further, that this implicitness is intimately related to the basic structure of God's being Unknown and Revealed, a structure present before God ever speakes a Word that we hear in the pages of sacred scripture.
And I'm with you on the icons. But I think of the "pure differance" as the personhood, identity or being of the new appearance. This is related to what I mean by Ground. There's no "creation" that just appears out of nowhere these days. Each things is made of some thing. You refer to this when you say that creations tend to build on each other. I think we maybe we are actually saying something very similar here, with interpretive differences from different frameowrks (or a framework of a lack of a frameowrk, or something?).
But basically, though, I do wonder if this "creative" energy or power that gives "pure difference" isn't the "spark" of the distant Godhead still present and barely detectable in each being left here in this imperfect physical stuff that isn't what actually provides significant contribution to a thing's existence, precisely because the ultimate meaning of a being has no ultimate reference to this screwed-up phycial reality of ours...?? At which point the only "Ground" is the aloof Godhead.
Like I said, there's no thing that just appears out of no where. But there might be assumed to be some no-thing present in each being as a trace of that "strange" (Jim Morrison) Godhead.
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