Benjamin and Arendt: Pearl Diving for the Messianic

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

Zizek, Pentecostalism and the Inverted Fetishism of the Global North and South

We begin with Slavoj Zizek’s recent comments on a particular form of inverted fetishism,

“Populism is always sustained by the frustrated exasperation of ordinary people, by the cry ‘I don’t know what is going on, but I’ve just had enough of it! It cannot go on! It must stop!’ Such impatient outbursts betray a refusal to understand or engage with the complexity of the situation, and give rise to the conviction that there must be somebody responsible for the mess—which is why some agent lurking behind the scenes is invariably required. Therein, in this refusal to know, lies the properly fetishistic dimension of populism.”[1] Continue reading

Hegel and Original Sin:Consciousness qua human self-consciousness is the Fall itself.

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.[1]  It is a relation with itself consisting of an existential anxiety regarding its self-certainty. Continue reading

Apocalyptic Dialectics

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

Hyperbole

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

Cavanaugh’s critique of Boff and Sobrino meets Zizek

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

What I will be doing for the next Week

I have already read the book once, but have been anticipating this for some time now and have no problem reading it again. An und fur sich is hosting a book event on Philip Goodchild’s new book Theology of Money.

If you can get a hold of the book and follow along than I suggest you do so. If not it will be worth while to follow the summary’s (Anthony Paul Smith has already written one that is outstanding and there will be more to follow). Goodchild’s work is the most interesting work I have read in a long while and I am very excited that it is getting some publicity and to see it get more dissemination.

Also, check out Goodchild’s own remarks on his book here.