Call and Response.

It is a bit of hilarity by which one finds all the various ways to dispute and knock terms into categories of time and person, at that, never really wanting to apply such ideas to what is actually occurring in the consideration of those ideas.

Such could be the ‘occasion’. For I find that I need the occasion to speak, and regardless of what conventional philosophical situations may confine occasions to particular conceptual prisons, without such occasions I think I would need say nothing to anyone. I sometimes wonder of those that have original ideas that they exchange with other original ideas havers in a solution that stems from an assumption that the idea would never have needed that other for it to have come about. From where do such original ideas come? I guess we will have to leave that answer either to an unknowable universe or an unknowable God. Then what would such philosophical discussions be enacting? Indeed, what would they even be talking about? Oh, I just remembered; the nobility of human progress.

*

So it is here and as well other posts of mine I was given an occasion to put forth essays that convey a certain cognizance without all the magical philosophical mumbo jumbo that wants to segregate oneself from oneself. For, as we should be beginning to see by now, the true magic of philosophy is exactly not real, if what is impossible was not already an indication.

And who real wants to deal with anything that is not real anyways?

***

This occasion arises through an interaction with Dave, who writes the blog “In The Salt Mine” (his blog: http://www.inthesaltmine.com/) that occurs in the comments and replies of my last few posts.

And though I cringe at such an instruction that such an instruction should be needed: This essay in the form of a letter should not exclude; it should invite.

*

The Call: A response in the form of a story…


” Last night, I was downtown, outside of a bar at around 2am. There was a Jesusman proclaiming the Good News of Jesus Christ. He was not your usual street preacher, however. Let’s try situate ourselves in this context, if we can. First, as a matter of appearances, or “visible identity”: He was not old and white and angry as per the usual university-town stereotype, rather he was black, somewhat skinny, and he also had dreadlocks. No facial hair. Moreover, he was about my height and likely a few years older. Stranger still, he was carrying a wooden staff, which was even taller than the two of us. He gripped it about 3/4 of the way up, like one would imagine from the story of Moses. He had a Bible, of course, in his other hand. There was something deeply druid-like about this encounter, by which I mean he appeared very calm with a kind of ‘divine’ glow in his eyes. His voice was not very deep like a bass, rather it seemed like an ‘angelic’ tenor trumpeting. You know the feeling when you talk to some born-again Christians, and their eyes seem to look not at you, but rather through you instead? These were his eyes. They seem to gloss over, as though they are not talking to you as a human, but instead straight unto your ‘soul’. It was a very clever thing he was doing, surrounded by a swarm of flailing people scurrying around to get home safely. He was preaching with a certain sobriety amidst the smell of alcohol and cigarettes, pacing up and down the sidewalk. Plenty of contradictions obtain already, as you can see.

Most people did not recognize him, and they simply walked past. Or, they pretended to ignore him. I, however, tend to pay attention to “what is going on” in situations with a kind of meta-awareness, so quite naturally I saw him from a distance. He was preaching mindlessly about Jesus Christ in a not-so-overtly ‘hateful’ manner as one would normally expect, looking out with this shepard’s gaze over the flock of drunk people. We were all waiting at the bus stop, and he was about to walk past. He noticed that I recognized his presence, as we made eye contact. I knew better, though, than to say anything, so I kept silent as he began to pass us. He would have passed on by, too, had my friend not opened her mouth first. She and her boyfriend, also a good friend of mine, had been “fighting” all night long. She is a lot more mature than he is, generally speaking. It was obvious, you could see it on her face, that she was in a real state of spiritual disarray, if you will permit the phrasing. She is not religious in any conventional sense. She is usually very sunny, constantly radiating joy and endless smiles, with a compassionate heart for Buddhism. I don’t know if she meditates regularly or not. Nevertheless, it was she who engaged him first with a kind of anger, and her boyfriend stepped aside in intoxicated frustration as if he could not believe she would ignore him to talk to a street preacher. It was really out of character for her, having known her for several years. I know that she is not usually so outspoken or confrontational when it comes to strangers – even after a few drinks. It also strikes me as true, at first impression, that she did not simply wish to “avoid” fighting with her boyfriend. He mis-perceived the situation in a reduction of things, as far as I understand. I think we may take these as two separate considerations, even if they are related.

She unleashed whatever remaining fury she had at the preacher, in a way that greatly surprised me, saying in annoyance that he should go home since everybody is clearly here to drink and party. I got the sense that she thought it was useless to preach in such an environment, under these conditions, at such a time. She was frustrated perhaps by this more than his words themselves. She said some other things, too, which now escape me, but I remember how I was taken aback by the sharpness of her words. He responded, calmly, that anything she said would have no affect on him, since “it is Christ who speaks through me” and that he does not care what happens to him since this world is transient, or something of a similarly predictable sound. He asked her, then, if she accepted Jesus. She responded again not with a rejection or dismissal of him but with a half-exhausted “Yes, I accept Jesus. I accept.” as if she was really thinking “OK, fine, I accept, now what happens?” This answer didn’t surprise me, since I do think she was also being half-serious. I mean that if I, rather than the preacher, were to ask her that same question in a different setting, she would probably say the same thing. He, however, was not impressed and he insisted that she *truly* accept Him, as if she did not see all that which was entailed by a committed acceptance. At the same time, I was aware of what I was witnessing, as though silently meditating between the two of them. He would look at me during the conversation, and I was aware of my appearance too, wearing a sandy-colored sweater and black jeans as opposed to a collared shirt and khakis, leaning piously against a wall, listening intently, etc. I am told sometimes in jest that I have the word “CHAPLAIN” painted on my forehead.

Thus far I have touched slightly upon our themes of real/true, acceptance/non-acceptance, engagement, etc. The back-and-forth negotiation of reality continued, as she protested that she did not go to church, to which he said that he made no mention of church. Each time she would bring up something that was, to him, absolutely irrelevant to the discussion. She mentioned to him that I thought the same thing about this situation as she did, even though I did not speak. Accordingly, he never addressed me at all, never asked me any questions, as if he could tell I already understood his meaning or purpose. He spoke only to her, and I was just there as a witness. At the end, he made it clear that he only went out of his way because she first responded to him. He asked why it was her, of all people, who had heard him among the crowd and listened to his words. He said finally, at a particularly powerful moment, that it was because she *already* knew they were true but couldn’t bring herself to live up to this truth in reality. I looked him in the eye, placed my hand on his shoulder, and said “thank you” (the first and last words I said this entire time) so to excuse ourselves, and, perhaps, maybe, to actually and unironically thank him for helping her in the possible case that he really did. Does it achieve good “in fact”? In some ways, it is indescribable, and I am left without words again.

I think in this example there is a question of “legitimacy” that we can explore together somewhere. Do you know intuitively what I mean here? You said at one point “Yet when I go to describe its legitimacy, I am left with inadequate language; at first I wish to tell it, but I find that the story sounds nonsensical in words”. Yet this story does not sound so nonsensical, does it? Was I really that drunk so to interpret their meaning as I did? It is one possible telling of those events, among many others. It is my perspective *triangulated* from the other three (hers, that of her boyfriend, & finally the preacher). Perhaps you have something to say about my functional “method” of triangulation here, which comes so easily to me in social situations. It is not quite meta-theory unbound, since it has its own mode of informed participation….

… I am aware, for instance, that my triangulation outside of the situation (e.g. between you and I, in my previous post, where I describe “what happened last night” rather than “what is happening here & now”) takes each of these perspectives as fixed “categories” given to thought and thus in a sense my thinking here, in this storified account, is somewhat reduced from whatever irreducibility actually happens in reality. I am mostly witnessing in this story, as I was semi-detached from things in which I am really actively embedded, abstracting myself from them so to come to a mostly cognitive understanding. I am in reality doing more than just that, though. There are issues with this approach as a matter of resistance (I am not resisting in this case, not guarding so much against the preacher’s impositions of arena – which doesn’t in itself seem to demand much in way of resistance), just as there are also merits.

To the extent that I grant this possibility and I am aware of it from within the situation itself, perhaps we may call this story an example of the formula: “triangulation” + “meta-awareness” = “meta-triangulation” as distinct from, say, a standardized meta-theory (not too like that theology belonging to the preacher) and also distinct from a more formal, calculated triangulation scheme without such a felt and bodily awareness of all possibilities of thought and action. I do hold that I am usually aware of these felt and bodily issues when I am embedded within a situation, even if they do not register so much while I am writing about what happened after the fact so to “make sense” of things. I’m not sure if any of this is substantial, but I am trying to get at these differences anyways: the inside/outside perspectives. (See, e.g. the discussion here: http://integralpostmetaphysics.ning.com/forum/topics/layman-pascal-s-rules-of-meta-theory)

I mean to get at, alongside legitimacy, a related issue: that of substantiality. It seems this quality of being substantial deals with issues surrounding “life itself”. Legitimacy may be derived as though transcendentally, perhaps, from a certain felt and bodily resonance with that which is substantial, as a matter of content which fills in these forms, which in-forms things of concern in community. You make mention to the “point of contention” as this kind of content, substantially so. My story above deals primarily with recognizing forms, and as a result this meta-triangulation “method” if you will lacks a certain substantiality when more rigorously thought out and situated, in which there is no method available, and things generally happen without procedures.”

…And response; a call in the form of a story.

You present an interesting situation; one that I feel I must have lived at some point in some way or another. I’m not sure, but I’m also not sure if you were mediating, at least how I come upon the situation of your narrative. Yet you are mediating the story to me, in so much as there were events that you witnessed, and so are conveying it to me.

I shall first attempt to offer a rendition which seems a type of analysis that may speak upon the main point of your presentation.

The point of departure could be seen as your friend the girl. That she is more mature than her partner, says something perhaps about their relationship. That he could not believe in his intoxicated frustration that she would ignore him for the sake of talking to a street preacher suggests to me that he is maybe a little more insecure of their relationship and it came out some that night through the booze, and she thinks it ridiculous that he would doubt her so; hence the argument. I could be wrong but I get that impression.

Her move to focus her frustration on the preacher, particularly that he should go home since no one cares for what he has to offer. Maybe this is the Buddhism in her, but somehow she cares, and his response comes to her. The engagement is due to a mutual witnessing, and there you are also witnessing the event. The witness that speaks, the witness who is silent, and the witness in between. Though the real situation can be broken down in this manner, the truth of it seems to have to do with legitimacy, and acceptance would also then seem to have to do more with the middle and what it witnesses. The preacher could be said to have already accepted in a most positive sense in that he speaks about the object of acceptance. You (the observer) could also be said to have already accepted, and by this it makes well sense that she is then in the middle by non acceptance.

By virtue of your remaining silent, you could be said to be in an ironic situation, being two places at once. You have already accepted but have not asserted anything about its object, its point, and so in a way you could represent what I could say is a more significant situation of non acceptance in as much as this is beyond or posterior acceptance, non acceptance here then having fidelity to the event of acceptance, or what could be said to be the real non acceptance not yet having (prior) fidelity to the object of acceptance, at least, in as much as you (in your narrative) have not or do not ask or confront, “have you accepted Jesus”. The suspended question here is marked by the ‘thank you’ (see below).

But it seems that you may have accepted (non?) Jesus. How would you know ? How would anyone know? What does the silence say?

She mentioned to the preacher that you thought the same way as she did about this situation. I assume this signifies a sort of defense of her part that is weak, since you suggest that you and the preacher are having a sort of sympatico understanding. This, I think, brings to bare the question of legitimacy. It is your silence that allows for her mediation, for she ‘is knowing’ something beforehand of the situation that has arisen over the object of acceptance and how or why one would be talking about it in the din of obvious oblivion, and that she has obviously heard above the din the call that we can say is the call of non-violence in the face of violence, from the din of the crowd but also the argument with her boy friend.

Thus a certain legitimacy may arise from the silence itself. Your silence may confirm to her the opposite of what was really occurring for you, between you and the preacher. I’m not entirely sure how you viewed this, but her side of the conversation may indicate the confusion that would arise if indeed you and the preacher were to begin to discuss what accepting Jesus means, and maybe this is what she meant, being that though your inclination in the situation was toward such acceptance against her, as some feeling-thought arose around some unspoken knowledge between you and someone you have never met, she was drawing upon what she knows of you. Perhaps the preacher sensed just as little and was actually careful not to bring you into the conversation.

The preacher supposes to be meditating God and the given one (the girl) who has not accepted; that she heard, was called, suggests the mediation of his part, as one who was called that might deal with such a one not yet accepting. If we can grant that indeed you two understood each other beforehand, in this type of mediation the preacher has no need to speak to you nor you him; your ‘foresight’ is completed in the acknowledgement of mutual recognition: yet “thank you” also completes or reifies the real violence by acknowledging the ‘before assumed’ object, ‘non-Jesus’ so to speak, yet indicates a non-violent solution which might be merely the unspoken assumption. The violence of her argument could be seen against the call toward such a non-violence, toward the unspoken exchange with the preacher. Here, She knew his words were true but could not bring herself to live up to them in reality. But she said that she accepts. Even for the sake of argument or to see what he has to say about that, even in obstinacy or sarcasm, she at least wants to or is willing to accept, and this is the discrepancy highlighted by “thank you”; the same kind of ‘confusion’ or ‘willingness’ could be seen to characterize the relationship with her boyfriend. Hence we have discrepancy shown in reference to the preaching and the silence, of acceptance and non acceptance. Following this presentation, saying “thank you” to him was to most ironic thing that could ever have been said.

The assumed call may be of a type of non-violent acceptance, but there is an element of violence in the implication of propriety that needs be enlightened. For if her attention upon what calls is any indication, she is enlightened to what needs be for the occasion: the violence of her relationship mediated or balanced by the violence mediated in doubt of the preacher.

*

I hope the foregoing is a good rendition and reply upon the point of your story. Indeed, one could even see the compliment between the two, the voice and the silent, and their respective mediations. But can the one in the middle make the move to acceptance? Can communication occur? How ?

I feel like I may be missing some of your intent in part 2, but maybe this can be our process of understanding one another, now that we have a common basis, to develop how we might go about to the next.

Your part 3: Meta-triangulation and shared experience. Maybe that might be a good short title of what you are getting at. The ‘shared’ could be the admitting of feeling and thought that coalesce on occasions that somehow occur in the one as it involves more than one; the person, the persons, the story, the narrator, ‘more than’ feeling-thought activity that signals the occasion of the transcending ‘reason’. But the shared aspect might need be worked out, again, upon the field of acceptance.

**

But I have this to offer also:

Though there may be two separate situations, perhaps we could make a relation of her non-acceptance of what has been offered with the situation of acceptance of the relationship. Again, I step into a perhaps hypothetical situation of the real one; one that is not real. (It is not difficult to understand why and or how the non-philosophical ‘fiction’ comes about.) One that concerns a Kierkegaardian psychological rubric; the aesthetic, the ethical, and the religious – If I may draw a line in this way; from the boyfriend, to the girl, to the preacher.

The first relationship, the boy and girl, is one of love; which is to suggest that all relationships that would endure argument is at least founded in a presumption of love, if not an admitted one. There is argument; in fact, the relationship, though begun in attraction, in an offering, becomes based in a normative state of argument. Love can be said to be the mediator as well as what is mediated; love draws and binds the two together, and love is that which is drawn from for the relationship to be included as a relationship in as much that it endures argument.

In this line, the first pair might constitute the first arena, and in this Kierkegaardian way, ironically both players as an element of the situation, does not remain in any particular defined static role, but rather represents what is necessary to complete the polemic in the aesthetic: in that there is the mediation, love, that is central and pivotal, the players likewise are situated in their role that love gives. The boy, representative here of the aesthetic, is in love; love is legitimized by the passion so much that love is equated with passion as well as the object of having such passion. In this way, the boy ‘loves love’, and in so much as he is a boy, it could be said he loves ‘a girl’, the passion, and yet in so much as he loves passion, he is feminine as he loves ‘a man’, the masculine component located by what can be said to be ‘the proper’ objectification, the ethical, the object of what passion may be or how it may be located.

Unilaterally dual in nature, this arena locates the aesthetic as the boyfriend and the girl as the ethical, but both residing in the mediation of love as the aesthetic; the ethical component yet being that part of the movement of the pure aesthetic in as much as the players find the relationship within the ethics of the sensual and passionate. The aesthetical, the boy, is doubtful; the fool, ready to step from his stable ledge into the abyss below. He is guided only by the ethics of the aesthetic, which in the usual rubric of love, is drawn as the feminine, that object of love, that indeed for the aesthetical is love; the religious is not involved, not even at a distance, for love has not yet become a rule of ethics and its whole demeanor rejects such ruling. And by this chaos that is the passion of the aesthetic, he doubts not only as the impetus of his journey but also doubts in the venture as he moves to enjoin it. This situation is thus one of faith; the operative question is “Is this true?”, since truth has not yet precipitated from reality. It is this of doubting that founds him, but he is also thereby also doubting that the journey will yield anything, this ironically founding his faith in that he still proceeds to leave his home. He is drawn by love yet doubts that such love is true, and yet it is love that is indeed the impetus of his faith that allows for this situation.

The interaction of the players in this first situation is one of passionate desperation. The ethical (of this first arena), the girl, is positioned as the ‘becoming of’ the aesthetic, for as soon as the aesthetic finds himself in this arena, that is as soon as he finds the object of his love, he is already moving toward the ethical, but he is still fickle being subject to the passion of love. The aesthetic is not a type of appraisal of an object, not a calculus of a working approach, an element of technological method; that is of the religious. The boy has ventured into the wilderness, where nothing is; he has moved upon an impetus that is faith but it is faith in nothing, it is faith in what cannot demand faith, but can only ask for it. It could be a transcendent, but this is too much; God is not leading him but rather his refusal to allow It to be that thing that tells him where he is going beforehand is his claim to faith. It is only love, faith in love. But because the aesthetic does not stabilize in his nature, love is known as true through passion, as each occasion develops the meaning and path of love. Yet being human, one cannot forgo objects altogether; humanity resides in a world of objects despite any meaningful negation that one may fancy. In fact, because of the effective negation of the aesthetic, the world becomes love and the first object-less like thing he comes upon in this world is the girl, the ethical. As is her nature she wants to pull him from the aesthetical into a specific love, a love that has forms.

It is this pairing that characterizes the romantic relationship here. The girl, ethics, cannot understand the boy, and is always ‘looking away’ from the ridiculous expressions of love through which it came about; the boy should by now know that the relationship is secure and their relationship founded in love should have moved into the ethical. This evidences an inevitable jealousy. Her’s is desperation in loving one who has stayed in the young passion, a passion that will soon want someone else despite itself, despite his love of love’s object that he resists in his love of love. His is the desperation that stems from the perception that comes by the girl moving into the ethical relationship, of his object-like thing of passion being revealed unto her true form; to both love is being defiled, spited. Yet while her’s rings the ethical tone, his founded in the aesthetic projects upon her so he sees the activity of her nature as being the one stemming from jealousy and the darker or more base desires of coveting, again, that she desires someone else, since he is seeing her religious move, the shadow of himself, in defiance of his aesthetic, as his love self righteously asserts passion and not law, as the true figure of love. Now either he must consciously reject her or she must reject him. If the former, then because his faith is in love he comes to anxiety, for the move he had to make contradicts the aesthetic, his love, and he then comes by the passion that is despairing. If the latter, she thereby becomes a jilter and deceiver; his love becomes unrequited and he is left in the wilderness to be comforted only by love, which is the ethical left and removed from love’s passion, the transcendent as love itself for the sake of love, and his faith is renewed. But she always returns, the object of love cannot stay away, or rather, he always takes her back, and the aesthetic repeats in this way – that is, until the only thing that can be done, the only right thing, the only move left, is to give up the aesthetic for the ethical.

*

The ethical is the Universal. Here lay the rationale of reality, but its law is not yet method; its law is ethical, the determination by the object. The girl is secure in her ways and casts her countenance upon the extremes of passion and law. Her’s is the law of reality, in the same way as there was an aesthetical ethics, as the religious must proceed from ethics, and the aesthetical (we are in the ethical now) must be routed and contained. On both sides are the extreme masculine; she mediates the passionate and the stoic. The passionate is mediated in a wish and a drawing, a beckoning of her charms to the stability of righteousness in existence, a ‘best’ manner to live, but intuited. Her’s is mediation without the question of what that constitutes beyond the socially (objectively?) apparent; the proper manner is found in the moment’s weighing in the real ethical security. Passion is ethical passion. And on the other side, she is the transcendent that the aesthetic romanticizes, and that the religious dictates to veracity. Perhaps she is wisdom.

*

The religious is the Law. The preacher’s job is to pronounce what the rule is; though many will not listen, the preacher secures reality in this such particular way through the ethical. His usurps reality unto itself through the designation, through the de-sign, of the One; the ‘signs’ of the aesthetic are symptoms of divinity and unity, but this is always held off by the Law. Aesthetical passion is now ethically passionate and the individual arises within the Law of how such passion is to occur legally, which is to say now, not only what expression is real, but what experience is real by its proper expression. The preacher imposes method through the proper situating of the transcendent as the object of transcendence that is gained by proper experience; this is conventional religious faith. The aesthetic is now the ethical love, the point of love as reason gained through the social medium experienced and acted through the ethical but generalized into the proper method to regain what it seeks, which is the proper (true) aesthetical (transcending) object. Reality finds its teleology through the religious, where the ethical finds injustice. For the ethical (feminine) is the transcending element of the aesthetic law (masculine), the true object that is always sought but lost in the justice dictated by the Law (injustice) that subordinates what should be supra-ordinated. Thus it is that ironically the aesthetic leaves his home in the Law to follow and seek by the love of love which is justice, and finds not transcendence, but immanence, and the eternal repetition that relieves the one of its legal ties yet obligates him to reality.

*

So in a way, I have outlined a type of meta-triangulation. I mean these tentatively as a sort of map by which to call forth the situation. The aesthetic-ethical I see is maybe a true human situation, but it is not real by virtue of the religious, or rather, it becomes real because the religious asserts the law of the real over all possible human experience; it defines what a real and proper human being is.

In one manner of speaking, I would say that the preacher is misinformed, or maybe rather, has not taken his acceptance beyond spirituality; he has not sought beyond faith. And this is not an argument against Kierkagaard’s ‘why beyond faith; where are they going?’ On the contrary; as I suggested in my previous essay (“Further on Faith”, and elsewhere) what Kierkegaard regards faith, I turn back upon itself in reference to the apparent inability against which Kierkegaard had so much consternation. I unite the house separated unto itself such that reality no longer can divide ‘that which God had united’. Faith is placed firmly of reality, and I leave Kierkegaard’s apparent problem in the view to which he was most blind: that there is no separation of God and human, that the separation is exactly real, which is to say, posited with faith. The irony is saturate; a faith that is set in unity requires no faith to speak about, neither its unity exactly because reality has effectively asserted its usurpation of all possibility into itself; hence Abraham is justified in not speaking of what he is to do with Issac. And indeed, that which is set answers to no relation but itself such that all relation beckons to what is set. The question of subjectivity and opinion then becomes a moot point since it arrives legally and in reality, which is to say, by the religious.

The preacher as the witness who speaks, he is witnessing only the Law, but not the ‘whole of’ the law; he has missed the irony. But nevertheless, his may be a case of the terms of his being human, that those are the terms that he could only have found. He thus represents a particular moment, or perhaps, incarnation, of manner of speaking. For if we are speaking of effect, the effect of faith is certainly at least a God involved in one’s life, for some purpose. Yet again, in as much as he does speak and uses such particular terms, he leaves himself prone to the real negotiation, and there we might find that his terms reflect faith in the law in so much that he has not used different terms; for what is Jesus? And, in so much as we can speak of effect, we can speak of the religious and how such terms of faith have not been investigated and are determined – and in what way can we be determined in the choice for acceptance?

Then again, I do not have larger context of his speaking than the close interaction you convey in the story, but in as much as he a street preacher – well, perhaps I rely too much upon stereotypes.

The issue of communication arises here. The girl has heeded a ‘call’ and likewise the preacher. Perhaps it was a call to communicate, but then the communication is hinged upon one issue. The preacher feels he has something to communicate and it has to do with Jesus, but no one knows what it is. The girl seems to be the only one who sees this, and actually it may be Jesus that gets in the way of acceptance. For maybe the girl ‘knows’ but then cannot bring herself to make the move because it is a commitment that the preacher is asking her to decide upon, a commitment to a real faith that disturbs her sense of knowing that already has decided for her what the commitment is, such that for her to choose to accept Jesus is a violence upon her non-violence. Perhaps she has something to teach the preacher; in a way, perhaps her ‘fury’ is a type or form of violence upon violence that I suggest in my “Concerning Commitment..” essay. As a witness who does not speak, you are perhaps more in the middle, but a ‘chaplain’ at that maybe because you are indeed kind and thoughtful of others. What was the silent communication between the preacher and you? Is this silence ‘in the middle’?

Also as the witness in the middle, perhaps she is being most honest, but maybe it is her challenge to the assertion of the Letter of the Law that puts her more in the space of acceptance, yet then her ‘non-acceptance’ would be in as much as she questions the Law (religious) by the law of the ethical, the just. For the acceptance by which she has not accepted is of the law, and so her acceptance is really an issue of seeing how that question in itself stands in relation to the Letter (the Name of the Father?), as it is an aesthetic question, an ironic questioning as significant event, of, indeed, non-acceptance.

In another way, one could speak of the true situation of the human being as being aesthetic-ethical, but where it is then ‘deceived’ into viewing itself as the ethical-religious. I did mention elsewhere that the motion of the religious is the situation of the aesthetic in reality, but then I could add that it is the Law which denies that the aesthetic has any part except that of adding to the figures and configurations of real individuality.

Further, the triangulation ‘story-you-me’ I think likewise returns the arenas, for I, as perhaps a figure of the religious, have pulled out of the narrative my aesthetic, as the three arenas are meant in their ironic framing. For convention would have it that such a move has been made correspondent with some true progress of the universe, of human beings in the universe and our progress toward our proper place in the universe as understanding of ourselves. If this has occurred though, then it has done so by the very fact of my progress that arrived me at the religious by which I recoup the aesthetical and through which to claim the insubstantial religious reality, that such a position is a religious assertion based upon my ‘staying’ in the aesthetic wilderness – i.e. There is a valid not real, and or reality is not solute. To wit; it is not so much that I happen to have come at a point in history that is or has considered such things represented as the progress of mytho-historico-philosophical thought, for such a point then has argued that such a coming is true unto itself, that the reality of the history of true objects is exactly a conventional, religiously confined and segregated, reality.

The issue to overcome in the religious is the offense of belonging; that the truth does not belong to reality, and that this is offensive to the real progression. This can be viewed as the discrepancy between the aesthetical and the religious. The individual of reality has not overcome the aesthetic jealously of the ethical, and thereby finds what is real is ethically compromised, and all the more relies upon religious faith to justify the shortcoming.

*

As you know, I hesitate to rely upon a true One, and I have succeeded again in offering a rhetoric that reflects this. It seems I cannot help it.

Perhaps I could get at some purchase into why this may be the case by highlighting you, the narrator in the story. Indeed, is the story telling of true things? If so, then it is possible each of us has occupied each of the roles, and it is then a question (that we both well know, and as I have framed it above) of understanding this: one’s orientation upon the true object. Yet also each role can be understood unto itself, as occupying the point of triangulation in itself, that sees the three arenas with reference to itself as the agent mediating narrator of a story of reality.

In this, perhaps, the boyfriend seeing you as the aesthetic, silent, observing, and the preacher, the ethical, and the girlfriend the religious, as she might be a type of ‘idol’ for him. Perhaps the preacher sees himself as the aesthetic, true passionate man of God, the girl the religious who has not accepted but the dogma, the boy the ethical as he is virtually a non player in the argument. I’m sure we could find many descriptions based upon varying positions and identifiers of relativity. There is much to weave out of the various elements in reality, but it seems to avoid what ends it argues – it seems to naturally be incapable of accepting the meaning of its own argument. Becuase it seems everyone wants to be the narrator.

As you have asked, and I have re-asked, and as we may have begun to expose the romance; my concern has to do with the attempt to reveal that which is not revealed in mere theory. Yet quite ironically, due to the conventional load of the real terms, it takes some theory to allow the revealing to have the effect of its revelation, and this movement might be said to be of true historicity – if it ever has before, or will again, the plight is always the same, but termed differently.

*

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12 thoughts on “Call and Response.

  1. Here are some tangentially related initial questions I have to offer in order to further the discussion:

    1) What counts as an “occasion to speak”? You say, with a kind of “gut” feeling, that an occasion to speak presents itself to you whenever one tries to “knock terms into categories of time and person”. This marks a general tendency against categorization, against method, etc. that we share in exposing the romance. Often I have a difficult time noticing when this happens in its more subtle forms when I am “in” the moment. However, when I reflect upon things (such as when I am writing or reading) can I notice them far more easily, and since it takes me some time to really think about it. Perhaps it is important to be alert of frequently occurring patterns of categorization so to increasingly reduce “thinking time” in the real moment. With practice, this skill can be gradually improved. I suppose the associated practice would be simply learning how to “pay attention” to these things by actively going out and engaging in different/more arenas, in addition of course to the study of theory. Here, I feel rather young and inexperienced, but willing to learn all the same.

    Notice how the preacher (mis)takes the Cross as an occasion to speak at every instance, without ever shutting up. There is no problem of his, the individual, articulation of the Good News. Yet, it seems to me that if one needs an occasion to speak that this implies or is itself occasioned by the fact that there is a certain difficulty with an individual and their articulation of these things. It’s hard to say. The preacher would say without difficulty that he has a “true” occasion. You would likely suggest in return that he does not have a “real” occasion to speak, since it lacks substance. The more I began to notice the subtle violences of categorization, the less I myself feel inclined to speak. I often feel crushed by the heaviness of it all, and I am usually reduced to silence.

    2) How does one decide to what extent one will go in their resistance to this categorization with respect to time and person? Is commitment in this dynamic often balanced and proportional, in a direct counter-point? Does one proceed to escalate as the situation demands? This is a question of engagement, and specifically what is “fitting” to the situation at hand. This “best fit” appears to be determined by how many and/or what kind of arenas one has encountered in their course of life, how “big” one’s awareness of the world is, accomplishments, etc. And what does this have to do with legitimacy? Where one is located seems important here, again a question of living in multiple arenas so to best inform one’s action. It seems also that “adjustment” is required while one is in the situation. The word “vigilance” comes to mind in this consideration, too. There’s a lot involved in this meditation, and a lot of work to do.

    3) With respect to history, it seems that many of these things are “already linked” to the historical, or else to a greater conception of humanity. This linkage seems moreover to be a big part of the resistance to categorization, i.e. recalling the real history as a key part of the counterpoint mentioned in question (2). This allows one to “work through” history, whether it is personal histories/trauma or otherwise. Would you be able to say more on this historical linkage in the future? It appears to relate to your historical project. I am reminded here that I should be more patient.

    4) Naturally, I am given to consider the possibility of higher categories, e.g. those which do not come with respect to time and person. A place reserved for these seemingly “original ideas”, related either to God or to the cosmos. These other categories which I am for sake of discussion calling “higher” would prove an exception to the general tendency described above against categorization, and accordingly they would demand other kinds of engagement. This other engagement would arrive with a different style, whether this is ecclesiastical/contemplative or scientific/intellectual in nature, and their exploration would take place in a space more “removed” from reality itself. This endeavor would likely have to demonstrate that it relates to reality in some way that contributes to its overall betterment or enrichment, e.g. even if this contribution is not yet known to humanity, like the scientific study of space travel, etc.

    5) As a follow up to the ecclesiastical mode, what does one do when one does not have the occasion to speak? Imagine the answer: “I just mind my own business” as one just does whatever one does. Abraham Abrahams. But what is worth doing? Really worth it or truly worth it? What about both really and truly? I am thinking again of Robert Lax, a lifelong friend of Thomas Merton, who decided to move to the Greek Islands. He and Merton, in their “anti-letters”, would talk together and Lax would frequently say something to the effect of “If you call me to do anything (a protest, for example) then I will come as soon as I can.” His location as a hermit in Greece meant that his commitments in this world would be kept to a minimum, and moreover they would be of such a kind that a trusted friend like Merton could call him back into the world. And if Merton called, Lax responded with a trust that what he was called to do would be really substantial.

    It seems to me that you are the anti-preacher. 😉

    • I will respond more thoroughly in a bit.

      For now, since it is here, I am quite interested in what you would say the romance is. What are we talking about what we refer to the romance? and, because it might yield a different answer, what is the romance?

      • For me, personally, the romance has taken the form of my tendency to continually re-enact my crisis of faith. It can and does take a variety of other forms, too. It involves a kind of relationality in which no “horizontal” steps are taken (e.g. in a progressive way) and one effectively remains “stuck” in the same place, without betterment, in accordance with the same manipulative script, etc. New thoughts are not thought, and in fact they may be systematically sidelined given the dominant scheme of the romance, which always imposes itself. There is much more involved in this general exposure, but those are some basic features from where I stand.

      • Yours in plain; mine italics.

        It is of utmost joy that I find myself interacting with a person of which experience I had before only taken on faith could exist, no matter how many times and occasions had shown themselves to me. It is now the epitome of irony that when I had begun to speak in a tone that decries faith, a man who had been digging in a salt mine would show himself to me. I am sure that I can be honest and candid with you and that every turn will be seen in the light of our mutual endeavor(s), whatever that may be; though it may at times appear crass and antagonistic, I apologize beforehand for wherever that light may seem to be fading at those times of candor.

        1) What counts as an “occasion to speak”? You say, with a kind of “gut” feeling, that an occasion to speak presents itself to you whenever one tries to “knock terms into categories of time and person”.
        I was referring specifically to the philosophical use of the idea ‘occasion’ that has been employed to mean a specific historical-authorial based idea, located by a specific likewise definition. By this frame I was attempting to breach a particular traditional philosophical siege in which ideas-author-time is held as sacrosanct; a holy sacrament that bars such philosophers from understanding the position by which they are able to have such frames of reference, implicating by this accusation that the construction of ‘non-occasioned’ ideas, those ideas that purportedly arise from actual-true historical-temporal objects, are those ideas that somehow ‘come from nothing’, or maybe even arise from some historical-environmental economy of ‘stored’ and kinetic human information – these authors of original ideas are presented to have access to as a historical-focal ‘furthest point and proper state’, in other words, as agents of free will in reality.

        So I was saying that there are many such terms that are referred to in this way as if the agent is somehow separated from the termed-idea by which the agent can then have an opinion upon it, as if in the discussion they are referring to a ‘common human differential’, at once speaking of some grand scheme of truth that encompasses all human experience, as well as how other human beings may be incorrect, and thus having a different experience than the one that is asserted as correction. And this movement, this method, proposing to be able to resolve contradictions in the discussion.

        The term ‘occasion’ is such a term. So ironically, I mean to suggest that I have nothing to say until there is an occasion to say it, and the occasion summons the response appropriate to it. Yet in fact, it is the occasion of the world that summons the truth, but how can one speak the world in one sound, one utterance? So it is that the particular occasion allows specific terms to be arranged, certain things to be said, accorded to that moment upon which such arrangements are made for that occasion.

        Likewise, I see a significant and profound nuance that you have picked up on with that ‘gut feeling’ statement above; I would not have versed it in that way, but it does have a certain correct tambre, if you will. That whenever someone argues of true objects, the occasion is often ripe to point out the contradiction of their proposal, or at least the reality of it.

        This marks a general tendency against categorization, against method, etc. that we share in exposing the romance. Often I have a difficult time noticing when this happens in its more subtle forms when I am “in” the moment. However, when I reflect upon things (such as when I am writing or reading) can I notice them far more easily, and since it takes me some time to really think about it. Perhaps it is important to be alert of frequently occurring patterns of categorization so to increasingly reduce “thinking time” in the real moment. With practice, this skill can be gradually improved. I suppose the associated practice would be simply learning how to “pay attention” to these things by actively going out and engaging in different/more arenas, in addition of course to the study of theory. Here, I feel rather young and inexperienced, but willing to learn all the same.

        Indeed I may have a general resistance to categorization, but the manner I go about living as a real individual, and the manner by which I understand how I might do this are of distinctly different modes. The mode that resists categorization, in this way of speaking about them, is that which ‘comes into existence through the concept’ and the concept is only right at the moment of the occasion, which is to suggest a condition of knowledge or conventional scheme. Thus what is key to this whole situation is there is no reducible relation between what one does and what one thinks, since the reduction occurs through the occasion; hence the ordination of real and not real, as one could say, are situations prior to the occasion. Hence we come to a certain crux; only by force of will can such a reduction after the fact, posterior, be feasible, and this is the effective ‘sin’ or ‘mistake’ of reality. And this is to say, the only way to overcome the limitation that is the inability to have purchase upon any human event is to be an individual in reality: to have faith, to have an investment (capital) in reality. This is meaning in action. The significant question has to to with reality and one’s orientation upon the object.

        Also; ‘being present’ in activities of daily life, yes, takes a certain awareness of oneself, as well as practice, at least in as much as one cannot prepare for such ‘off-setting’ experiences, as such ‘lessons’ occur only as occasions, but it seems less difficult once the fool has seen that he has never left the wilderness, and that indeed, civilization is a wilderness in denial; ‘the emperor has no clothes’ kind of awakening, I suppose, maybe.

        Notice how the preacher (mis)takes the Cross as an occasion to speak at every instance, without ever shutting up. There is no problem of his, the individual, articulation of the Good News. Yet, it seems to me that if one needs an occasion to speak that this implies or is itself occasioned by the fact that there is a certain difficulty with an individual and their articulation of these things.

        It’s hard to say. The preacher would say without difficulty that he has a “true” occasion. You would likely suggest in return that he does not have a “real” occasion to speak, since it lacks substance. The more I began to notice the subtle violences of categorization, the less I myself feel inclined to speak. I often feel crushed by the heaviness of it all, and I am usually reduced to silence.

        It may be that some violences are not violent in themselves, but are seen as violent by those who would not like to hear it.

        There is a difference between ‘speak the true world’ as I mention above, and the Law of the religious. The preacher may never shut up but I would say that his truth is of the Law, and so he can be mediating the Word of God, and he can speak on and on because the occasion in the religious is Law abiding; to wit, we are agents of free will that can forge a communion with the divine spirit and or know intuitively the truth by some subjective inner determination (as opposed to or without the outer objective determinations). The ‘truth’ here is then the ‘true occasion’ as object of Law: the transcendent spiritual human being. He thereby has plenty to say whether anyone is saying anything to him or listening or not: it stems from the One truth. And its possibility is entirely real. One does not easily relinquish faith for the ubiquity of occasion; hence I said the preacher has not gone far enough, but has stopped with faith.

        Ludwig Feuerbach and, as my earlier post talks about, Baruch Spinoza have proposed similar ideas in this regard. Feuerbach, I believe, summoned a type of economy of human discourse, and Spinoza tends toward what has been called a ‘pantheism’, but these are but conventional situations (not the authors’ necessarily, but the conventional interpretations of them) that want to reduce occasions to real objects. These authors indicate a motion of history, and not so much incorrect or impeachable ideas.

        2) How does one decide to what extent one will go in their resistance to this categorization with respect to time and person? Is commitment in this dynamic often balanced and proportional, in a direct counter-point? Does one proceed to escalate as the situation demands? This is a question of engagement, and specifically what is “fitting” to the situation at hand. This “best fit” appears to be determined by how many and/or what kind of arenas one has encountered in their course of life, how “big” one’s awareness of the world is, accomplishments, etc. And what does this have to do with legitimacy? Where one is located seems important here, again a question of living in multiple arenas so to best inform one’s action. It seems also that “adjustment” is required while one is in the situation. The word “vigilance” comes to mind in this consideration, too. There’s a lot involved in this meditation, and a lot of work to do.

        Not to sound overly non-philosophical, but: there is no decision to make.

        3) With respect to history, it seems that many of these things are “already linked” to the historical, or else to a greater conception of humanity. This linkage seems moreover to be a big part of the resistance to categorization, i.e. recalling the real history as a key part of the counterpoint mentioned in question (2). This allows one to “work through” history, whether it is personal histories/trauma or otherwise. Would you be able to say more on this historical linkage in the future? It appears to relate to your historical project. I am reminded here that I should be more patient.

        I think it may be possible that we may be coming to an understanding of how we might be complimentary in our endeavor(s). I hate to be, uh, putting-off or teasing, but I think you will have a better understanding of what I mean as to addressing the situation of history when you read my longer essay (sorry). It appears to me that perhaps I could be an occasion for you to explore such vectors you mention here.

        4) Naturally, I am given to consider the possibility of higher categories, e.g. those which do not come with respect to time and person. A place reserved for these seemingly “original ideas”, related either to God or to the cosmos. These other categories which I am for sake of discussion calling “higher” would prove an exception to the general tendency described above against categorization, and accordingly they would demand other kinds of engagement. This other engagement would arrive with a different style, whether this is ecclesiastical/contemplative or scientific/intellectual in nature, and their exploration would take place in a space more “removed” from reality itself. This endeavor would likely have to demonstrate that it relates to reality in some way that contributes to its overall betterment or enrichment, e.g. even if this contribution is not yet known to humanity, like the scientific study of space travel, etc.

        Yes; I will refrain from a direct assault upon such higher categories here. It does seem there is needed some sort of different discursive dynamic in speaking about such potential categories; perhaps, as I say, I might be helping you in this regard.

        5) As a follow up to the ecclesiastical mode, what does one do when one does not have the occasion to speak? Imagine the answer: “I just mind my own business” as one just does whatever one does. Abraham Abrahams. But what is worth doing? Really worth it or truly worth it? What about both really and truly? I am thinking again of Robert Lax, a lifelong friend of Thomas Merton, who decided to move to the Greek Islands. He and Merton, in their “anti-letters”, would talk together and Lax would frequently say something to the effect of “If you call me to do anything (a protest, for example) then I will come as soon as I can.” His location as a hermit in Greece meant that his commitments in this world would be kept to a minimum, and moreover they would be of such a kind that a trusted friend like Merton could call him back into the world. And if Merton called, Lax responded with a trust that what he was called to do would be really substantial.

        It seems to me that you are the anti-preacher. 😉

        Lots-O-Laughs, my friend. If there is no particular occasion, then nothing is to be said. Such questions seem to me to not be correct in their formulation; for what happens to me when I force an issue is that the statements do not pan out, they do not hold water. If I act in a presumption of what is true, often enough, what seemed noble at the time turns into pettiness. In a way it has to do with ‘being present’ or ‘present being’ but what actually occurs is the attempt to reconcile what is essentially segregate. How am I to know? Well, this is the issue isn’t it. There is no method that can transcribe what is real into what is real, no translation that can decipher the real into what is real; it is only real at all times. If it is not real then I have no means (yet?) for describing a method to get there, because the real method will show one how to get to what is real and that is all.

        So likewise, this situation, as I see it, how Kierkegaard puts it, is that Abraham, because he has faith by virtue of the absurd, did nothing that could be reconciled in the universe, the ethical, but what occurred was because of his faith the universe (ethics) was reconciled in what he did. The calculus of such an occurrence cannot be transcribed to real terms, because what is real by virtue of the Law cannot account for what is true of the situation of faith (by virtue of the absurd), because it is absolutely absurd by the determinations of the Law. It is this move of faith that K says he cannot make, and it is this discrepancy of which Lyotard
        speaks.

        The real-ization of the limitation imposed by reality forms a precipitate of meaning, and this meaning defies that reality could have ever determined its defection from itself.

        *

        It is a strange and lonely life that can be called by a true friend. Namaste.

      • Thank you for that, of the romance I agree. I have indicated through the K rubric how or by what elements the romance has manifested for me. By the masculine and feminine ‘effectors’, I put forth a ‘theoretical’ proposal. We may be getting somewhere. Thank you again.

      • I have another questions about the romance. Was there a particular moment at which you could say the romance began, that you can point to that moment and say ‘it started there’?

        Was there a choice involved? Were you presented with a choice ?

      • By “horizontal” I mean from here to there, point A to point B. I’m not sure, but I have in mind a certain functional improvement.

    • 1) difficulty and counting. There is a certain difficulty in speaking without a particular occasion; the occasion seems to allow a particular cohesion if ideas. It calls for a certain order of presented terms in response. What occurs in this is then the terms appear ironically, speaking of at least two meanings. I’m not sure if it’s a skill, but it is a result of repeated attempts to reconsile the romance, so to speak. I cannot know what the second or more meaning (s) will be but I can know when I get a response. This response signals what meaning has been conveyed and amounts to the occasion.

    • 2) resistance. The resistance occurs at all times, hence it must be not real. If the resistance were to vacillate then that, I think, would be a real romance; for the escalation is an excersize in anxiety, a ‘running up the stakes’ of the romance to push it to its limit; but also I think as we know, this pushing being against what is real is the motion of trying to allow the contents of the romance to ‘break into’ reality, and thus is a reliance upon what is real, for the impetus is ‘to reveal its reality’. Hence the irony if the occasion.

  2. >Faith is placed firmly of reality, and I leave Kierkegaard’s apparent problem in the view to which he was most blind: that there is no separation of God and human, that the separation is exactly real, which is to say, posited with faith.

    Novalis once wrote “Assumption – eternal peace is already here – God is among us”

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