Thursday, July 29, 2010

GreenHouse on what Paul wrought.
The fascination of today's would-be "atheistic" French philosophers like Žižek and Badiou with the singularity of the crucified Christ is not accidental. So much of postmodern thought is not merely an "overcoming of metaphysics" and ontology, but a quest to penetrate to the singularity that is neither logical, ethical, nor ontological, but (as Heidegger would put it) the "origin" of the intelligibly determinative. Beginning with Heidegger himself, whom Derrida never really understood and who inaugurated the quest itself, we find a struggling to find some kind of "name" for this origin. Heidegger calls it the "Being" that can "be" only by crossing it out.
You only cross it out to indicate to the reader that you don't mean "being" as all the others explain it, but that you mean beyng.
At first, Zizek's...shall we say, theological pandering, offended me as did most of his hustle.

However from a tactical perspective, he may have a point. It's understandable to compare revolutionary struggle to.,.. the plight of Christ and the Apostles...and there are worse approaches to the Good Book than the political. Hegel was about tactics, in a sense as well. Yet I don't think those ancient rebels were socialist in any sense. Perhaps they objected to empire, to corruption (including that of the jewish courts), even to usury (toss out the moneylenders! ...) but ...it's not ..Che Guevara ...is it. More like desperately poor and diseased humans, all too human ...sort of preparing for death--
When Badiou or Zizek make universal claims, they should apply to or appear in theology, just as much in politics or philosophy. The situation is similar for ontological claims. Perhaps, the ontological is the universal.
The dialectic of Empire vs...non empire (or vs...another empire, or aspiring empire) might be said to be universal. Or to invert Nietzsche, the chandala of the earth battle against the nobles and aristos (or the their henchmen in the armies, or police, etc)--that process repeats itself in various forms (...poly-dialectic if you will...and I suspect Hegel glanced at some hindu texts once in a while...his Weltanschauung not so far from Vishnu-ite hinduism...).

The New Testament thus has a dialectical character--tho' in my readings the political (and economic) subsumes the ...metaphysical (or rather, metaphysics is political). The romans set up a certain political structure, while there were some democratic aspects (and even civil courts) it was fundamentally a police state (and slave state). So, the reaction of plebes (of various sorts...) was not unexpected, however displeasing to a Nietzsche, who, like his role model Marcus Aurelius, never tired of showing his disdain for the poor and wretched of the earth--the roman intellectuals detested the jews and christians (and most outsider cults) because they were unclean, foreign, rebellious. Not merely for the beliefs--for roman citizens of 1-2 AD Jesus ..or "Chrestus" as Tacitus calls him...probably seemed like an animal compared to Apollo....

Heidegger was I believe ultimately ...one of Nietzsche's cousins, ideologically speaking (or ontologically), however. His very reluctance to engage in anything close to political critique (except to praise german nationalism, more or less) seems quite Nietzschean, really, tho' he a had a much richer jargon.
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