In his last essay, “Thesis on the Philosophy of History,” Walter Benjamin composes several intriguing juxtapositions: the desire for the future verses the redemption of the past, the oppressing class verses the oppressed, and nature verses labor to name only a few. Of the many, the juxtaposition I wish to investigate here is that which he constructs between two modes of time. Continue reading
In On Stories Richard Kearney suggests, echoing Benedict Anderson’s notion of imagined communities, that nations always seek to solidify their identity. There are many reasons – juridical, social, economic, etc. – for nations to do so, one being the legitimating of violence. In the contemporary Western world it is the nation that exercises the sole right to violence, and this right is based on the legitimacy of the nation as an internally solidified community of “the People”.
However, Kearney points out that national identities are constantly threatened by internal fractures: whether these are the conflicts between class, race, or religion when internal national unity is examined closely it reveals itself as little more than a vapor. Continue reading
One of the loudest complaints against the Ocuppy Wallstreet movement is that it does not have a unified and coherent list of demands. While clarity of vision is something that every political movement should strive for, it seems to me that the Occupy Wallstreet movement is right where it should be for now: it is constructing what the philosopher Enrique Dussel calls an analogical hegemon. Below I explicate what this term means, why it fits this particular moment in the Occupy Wall Street movement, why Occupy Wall Street should continue down the road it is on and what we can hope for from/in it. Continue reading
Below is a very short essay considering Hegel’s re-working of the doctrine of original sin. If you are unfamiliar with Hegel the first paragraph may be a bit confusing, but the rest of it should be intelligible. While I don’t entirely agree with Hegel’s reworking, I think that it, at the least, offers some important insights into human subjectivity. Enjoy!
Self-consciousness is the moment of the tautology “I am I.” It distinguishes itself from itself and moves beyond this distinction back to itself. It is a relation with itself consisting of an existential anxiety regarding its self-certainty. Continue reading
In this short essay I outline the position of rhetorical hermeneutics – Steven Mailoux’s theoretical stance – and juxtapose it with the position of apocalyptic dialectics. It is a brief sketch of a position that I think holds some promise. Apocalyptic Dialectics organizes itself through Hegel, Heidegger, Gadamer, Badiou and the Apocalyptic tradition within Christian theology.
In the following short essay I want to briefly outline the contours of rhetorical hermeneutics, and then move on to argue why, while being incredibly useful, insofar as it is unreservedly committed to a pragmatic position it is in danger of missing a larger truth; namely, the possibility of a dialectical unfolding of truth within history. Continue reading
Vertigo—a sense of dizziness felt when staring into the abyss of complexity.
When one is assaulted by the freedom of an I-tunes gift card and the infinite choices presented there in, one cannot but feel vertigo. One can spend all time traversing the infinite connection of signifiers—different bands, albums, genres, artists and music-mixes.
This vertigo now characterizes all of life, to such an extent that when someone says that the answer is simple an impulse propels us towards consent. A biological impulse sent through our system in order to assuage a low-level anxiety that is constantly reminding us of a lack of homeostasis.
This impulse propels us towards all types of options. Continue reading
This is taken from a conversation I am having in the comment section of my post on Zizek, Hauerwas and Chocolate Laxatives. I wanted to move it here because I thought it might stir some interesting conversation on its own. If you want to see the entire context check out the other post.
Cavanaugh has an interesting section in Torture and Eucharist where he makes use of and then critiques Boff’s and Sobrino’s accounts of martyrdom. He likes that they want to expand the definition of martyrdom, but dislikes the fact that (1.) they base their definition on “abstract principles” of love and justice, (2.) seem to valorize the intentions of the individual martyr’s, and (3.) include those who die while participating in violence. In contrast, Cavanaugh thinks that martyrdom should be based on whether or not the community of which the martyrs were a part is able to recognize the body of Christ in the martyrs death. (TandE, 60-64).
I do think it is problematic to base notions of martyrdom on the individual’s intentions if that is really what Boff and Sobrino do. I don’t, however, agree with the other critiques. Continue reading