i get it now. or i’m ‘getting it’ now, since none of us will ever truly ‘get it’. the frustrations i’ve experienced- feelings of alienation, being misunderstood, or even dismissed- resulting from my attempts at communicating feminist philosophy. one could immediately perceive the neurosis or hysteria in such a frustration, of trying to voice a feminine perspective, a feminine conversation. all those times the women whom i’ve encountered in life that have expressed sentiments of being misunderstood, of being lost in translation, i’m starting to understand. when what she tries to express just isnt hitting her target, reaching the listener, the he; a frustration with her self at the inability to articulate, a frustration with language itself as being insufficient to mediate her voice. its not her fault, it was never her fault, or her lack. language is essentially male privileged. the actuality of language leaves out the possibility of a native feminine voice- at least a voice that adheres to logic, meaning language. i will not elaborate on this idea here. the point is that this world that is constructed of language is inherently inhospitable to her. inhospitable for it is man’s home, constructed by his language. it is the law of the home, the nomos of the oikos, economics, that reduces individuals to statistics, to a mass of conformity and sameness, that annihilates sexual difference, that annuls her. so i’m starting to understand when i struggle to find the words to articulate a feminine voice; indeed, the problem is exacerbated when even when such words are found, they ultimately still fall on deaf ears. for if he has only ever been attuned and conditioned to hear his own language, how can he be receptive of or even recognize a language other than his own? indeed, her voice would not be recognized as language but as nonsense, hysterical rambling. and this is precisely what i’m starting to understand. to be gazed upon by another with a look of dismissal or pity…at my hysterical rambling of nonsense. now i see how guilty i have been so many times in the past of this very same irresponsibility. of an inability to respond precisely due to an unwillingness to respond, an unwillingness to listen to a language not my own. an unwillingness to acknowledge the existence of another language, of her language. hence to be responsible, the possibility of loving at all, depends on the ability to respond, to be respons-ible. and no response is possible without first an acknowledgement and affirmation of the limits of one’s own language and of the possibility of that which is beyond such limits, the possibility of her. which ultimately depends on wonder. an authentic male identity is created within such a temporality of respect, care and wonder to her. a respect for the irreducibility of the infinite difference and distance between him and her. a respect for her not as her, not as an object but a respect for her as irreducible to the same, as not-he. a care, not for her as an object/cause in service of authenticating myself/he, but a care for the difference, a nurture of the difference that calls him and her to strive, to love for one another. and wonder. the wonder that will never be exhausted, that characterizes the journey-ing of the infinite distance, that alludes to future possibilities and adventures, to new frontiers, to new births. for at the heart of all creation is wonder. the journey towards him/her begins in wonder. this, perhaps this may be her language. but i’m wiser now and dare not make such assumptions. instead, i defer to the feminine inclination of asking questions (indeed the male subject rarely asks questions, for he has no need to when all of his linguistic constructions are extensions of himself, he wonders not). for from where do questions come if not from wonder? of course there’s still a lot of work ahead of us, for questions birth further questions. how can the male subject begin to wonder at her? if the ear of the male subject is closed off to such a hysteric voice? how did i get here? i wonder at my wonder for her…
this is the first of a new category of blog posts i’ll be writing. all content from the posts in this category, ‘from the inbox’, will be from emails past, present and future.
if the pen is the phallus that ejaculates its ink-seed onto an intentionally placed world of a blank canvas that cannot germinate it, then the consciousness behind this phallic-pen, it is that of man, of being, of existence; for what is [nothing] cannot be written- that which man is un-conscious of.. and yet written by men…via a dominant prevailing/presumptive phallic/specular/logocentric/self-referential drive (the reason why ‘evil’ exists) to subsume all of life under one ideology…pressed beneath the force of the pen, the ‘God’ of christian architecture, an archi-text-ure, an ideological construct erected to reinforce man’s phallic dominance at the expense of all that it marginalizes, an earth that it covers and stands on without roots..this ‘god’ is written into existence..in the image of das Man, of self-referential being. and thus christendom was born. and thus pandora’s box of nihilism, unleashed..
besides all of that…the christian politico-theology that is practiced today is ‘pauline’. the hash marks betray an inauthenticity…does a damascus event turn one into an overman, and empower one with the privilege to wrecklessly write whatever one wants? no, but apparently it does privilege das Man today to wrecklessly equate words, deficient-images, as absolute truth, explicitly dismissing a fifth of the ten commandments…in other words, deeming scripture inerrant. who was paul? highly educated, trained in greek philosophy, studied at tarsus- a large cosmopolitan trade city- and heavily influenced by stoic philosophy. an influence that prevailing interpretations of the pauline by das Man are blind to. christians are most beholden to spectacle. their willing enslavement to representation is, it seems, rather stoic.
and of course this is all assuming that christians consider their scriptures as ‘absolute truth’ and ‘inerrant’, as being ‘God’s word’. however, appropriating the kierkegaardian argument, if there’s a qualitative difference between the believer at first hand and the believer at second hand, then faith is eradicated. meaning if it takes faith[madness] to [non]believe in something as ir[rational] and super[natural] as the resurrection of christ and other miracles…then it doesnt matter whether or not you were there to experience these phenomena first hand or if you are infinitely removed from said events and are in the here and now believing in it…both instances require faith. and if that’s the case then these words today are no less ‘inspired’ and ‘inerrant’ or ‘biblical’ as paul’s or any other disciples’. and if they are less so than…then faith no longer exists, only reason. for then we only have a politico-theology projected from human consciousness and the assumed words of some ancient persons to hang all our beliefs on…we would only have deficient images of the rational and scientific and nothing else, no revelation, no faith, no alterity…and this would be no different from the mormons or scientologists, christianity would be no different from a cult. that is…if it is ‘neo-pauline’ and not christological, if… there’s a qualitative difference of faith between believers..a difference posited by the politics of das Man. for how could [nothingness] be differentiated?
all this doesnt mean you get to be selfish and live however the hell you want for the rest of your life, if because now you have just adopted the assumption that this writer is promoting anarchism and the end of moral absolutes, it just means ‘faith’ and believing in christ is not as simple as the christendom have sold it out to be. and even when the they admit that it is hard and that it means carrying one’s cross they dont even begin to realize what all that means. so you can either take what they throw at you and embrace it at face value or do the hard work, that is the work of faith, to struggle, strive and discover for yourself what you yourself believe and who ‘God’ is to you divested of all the ‘christian’ baggage and platonic presuppositions. if the faith one experiences is inherited, it is no faith at all. but a repression of it.
main point being…to regard scripture with an over-compensation of rationality betrays an evasion of faith. indeed a prevention or abortion of faith. some ancient dudes’ opinions, you can take them or leave them, just dont build some oppressive ideology around what sounds agreeable to your preconditioned social palette. don’t go absolutizing what was never yours to begin with, a system of beliefs that at best you only perceive of in part. leave the absolutizing to the absolutes. that being said, i will still look into the greek.
it is important to note that homosexuality and/or pedophilia were not taboo in ancient greece. they were common and accepted practices. so the greek rendering of the word we interpret as ‘homosexual’ doesnt directly correlate with our notions of that word in question. the greek typically means ‘soft’ or effeminate but then again, the greeks were an extremely masculine society. all to say…the word is really meaningless outside of some biological term that defines a very specific sexual activity. cause even if it is taken as ‘effeminate’…thats presupposing that we know what such a thing as ‘femininity’ is…and we actually dont. the best we understand it today is as derivative of masculinity. female as other-than male. to define female apart from male has, to my knowledge, not yet been possible but thats another can of worms. basically, whatever homosexuality is….its still very much a masculine ideal. and our view about it today, in todays society only reflects the established norms of today which are very male dominant. whereas if we were living in the times of ancient greece this obviously wouldnt be an issue. our disposition towards it is culturally driven…religion be damned.
a question must be asked…whether or not we can assume that paul’s audience would’ve had much knowledge of stoic philosophy? this question is important because it would shed light on whether or not paul actually intentionally appropriated stoic philosophy…or if he made use of stoic philosophy’s ‘language’ and terms only to turn them on their head and use them argumentatively in contradistinction to ‘identity in christ’ and the sacraments. i bring up sacraments because i’m going to focus on the 1 cor. 6:9 verse…and corinthians is about the sacraments (baptism, communion, marriage to name a few), the phenomena that identify us with the mystery of christ.
before i begin i want to make clear that i do not necessarily ‘believe’ anything i’m about to write below; what i intend to convey is the idea that all translations and interpretations are ambiguous at best. and that interpretation is not just something anyone can do responsibly. we confuse ‘point of view’ with interpretation. judgement with critism. truth with assumption. appearance for substance. people can have their own subjective points of views, how they connect certain thoughts to others, but interpretations they are not. the distinction i mean to make is a psychological one, meaning a mere perspective is come by easily without ‘work’ but merely by a passing glance; whereas interpretation involves all the resources and rigor of philosophical discipline. anyways, you get the point…this shit aint easy and not everyone can do this that doesn’t find joy in work/tension/uncertainty. but there are those that do treat it as just being that simple and so we get a lot of the bullshit that is droned on in churches today. anyways. all to say i wouldnt take advice about this stuff from someone who can’t see past their own image. either everything below will be a projection of my own ego/self or it will be…nothing/meaningless. for before an idea can have meaning, it must first have been meaning-less, or [nothing]. and it is in this meaning-less ‘state’ of [nothing] that i conduct my inquiry. dropping baggage, presuppositions and assumptions. shall we begin?
CONTEXT (for sake of brevity i won’t cite sources but if you’d like them let me know)
background on corinth- cosmopolitan city, major trade port/route. the corinthians valued status, wealth, membership, power and could manipulate the legal system; were complicit in church fraud, leveraging power and wealth to dictate policy and church practices.
in light of the sacramental emphasis in paul’s letter to the corinthians, which culminates in chapter 13’s manifesto on Love, paul seemed to be concerned with the sacrifice of ‘christian identity’ for personal gratifications. i won’t go into an entire study on corinthians but it suffices to mention the utmost importance of chapter 13, what every argument in the letter ultimately alludes to and culminates in. for all this wisdom, all these thoughts, all our being becomes reduced to nothing without…Love. moving on. there’s evidence of wealthy corinthian christians abusing their power, causing others to stumble (beginning of ch. 6), obtaining property status and wealth when other members of the congregation were poor, causing division within church (ch. 3) via outside rhetoric (the ‘secret wisdom’ of God vs. philosophy of the world in chapters 1-2, rhetoric vs proclamation is a main theme that runs through corinthians). all of which is tantamount to manipulating ‘God’ to serve self-interest for once man projects ‘God’ in accordance with his own preferences (power, wealth, desires…manifestations of ‘sin’ as self-interest) he is free to posit whatever the hell he wants, be it ethics, moral values, religious principles, the institution of christendom- all made in man’s self-image in accord with his own preferences… revealing how ‘moral’ failure is always rooted in idolatry of the self (ch. 5:9-11, stoic/platonic list of virtues drawing on set traditions pertaining to virtue/nature; a satire? (v.12) paul is not concerned about those whom the ‘way of christ’ does not apply, he is concerned about christians in particular in this context. “you are not your own” 6:19, very contrary to stoic thought- further evidence for paul’s philosophical position, antipodal to stoicism). so that is some context with which we can now begin to understand the subject of our inquiry, verse 9 in chapter 16. let’s hold these themes (wisdom vs rhetoric…power/status vs. sacrifice/humility of christ…dialectic of love/knowledge) in suspension as we go on…
below is my original translation, from the greek, of the text in question (translation in bold, greek in romanized form in parentheses for the most part):
or have you not known (oidate)
that those who are ‘unjust’ (adikoi)
shall not inherit (kleronomesousin)
the kingdom/dominion/reign of God. do not be led to wander astray:
neither fornicator/catamite (pornoi)
nor servant/worshipper of an image (eidolatreia)
nor adulterer/paramour (moichoi)
nor men who sexually manipulate for political gain(ARSENOKOITAI)
…will inherit the kingdom of God.
and that’s that. i think i’ve made strong arguments against the standard violent readings of these verses and its denigration of homosexuality. it can be argued that the above translation is more faithful to the spirit of paul’s argument. especially his desire to unify the corinthians, to patch the divisions created by lust for power. this is all within the context of the surrounding chapters as well. to read these verses as a list of do-nots is missing the point for its difficult to see paul re-appropriating levitcal law when it is precisely his pharasaical past that he’s seeking to turn on its head (not destroy, mind you..but deconstruct and reinterpret). paul would more likely argue for identity in
christ and an equality found in Love (ch. 13) than an emphasis on stoic ethics that is in accord with that which nature intends (homosexuality as unnatural based on limitation in reproduction which is the natural function of sexual relations). i think my interpretation clearly emphasizes the values of ‘kingdom inheritance’ which is found in christ- a sacrificial love for others that dies to itself, that suffers on behalf of the weak. in contradistinction to the prevailing corinthian worldview of power, dominance and exploitation of the weak.
i’ve already mentioned in the last email how we cant regard scripture as the absolute authority on all that there is. and here’s a really good example of why. it can be argued that we live in a modern day corinth. people create a ‘God’ and religion based on their preferences, based on their fears and what they dont understand..hence the marginalization of women…and homosexuals, etc. what is ‘church’ these days other than a place of economy where power is exercised, where ‘theological knowledge’ oppresses those who don’t know any better, where assumptions are taken as truth? anyways i think at bottom the point is you’re either selfish or your hospitable. we’re either self-interested and are self-enslaved to our desires for domination or we’re self-sacrificing and given over to loving/striving with others. again, take everything i’ve said with a grain of salt for these are merely my all-too-human interpretations. you gotta figure out for yourself what you believe. and it wont be easy. hopefully i’ve shown at the very least how involved, nuanced and difficult understanding an ancient text can be. you shouldnt take anything you read in the bible at face value. especially if you’re reading it in english. alrighty, let me know if you have any questions.
how one interprets law reflects how one reads scripture. the assumption of an absolute and autonomous text merely reflects the super-ego of the interpreter as transcendent consciousness, as God.. breeding nihilism. en d’autres termes, assumptions of power/economy breed nihilism. protestant-christian hermeneutics is repressed vaticanism, it still has yet to differentiate its identity from that which it claims to overcome (paradoxically, it’s incapable of overcoming both the orgiastic and structuralism). thriving in a capitalistic-plutocratic context, it is no surprise. hence the contiguity between the borders of christian consciousness and the nihilistic. koheleth is turning in his grave.
the doors we walk through shape who we are. it cant be undone, what doors you walk through.
every door is a gateway to another dimension where the world-on-the-other-side varies by the language understood on the other-side of the door-frame. frames..crisis of multiple gestell. and what is this enframing other than multiple technological world-views? indeed inherently laden in technology is the possibility of experiencing alterity. unfortunately the intentional consciousness all too often utilizes technology, wie in vorhandenheit, in defense of its self-ideals rather than for the promotion of…death.
death is a verbal placeholder for the nothing on the other side of life. it is it[self] a [nothing] and yet creation is ex nihilo? unfortunately we’ve done irreparable damage to death. lange lebe das leben!
mistaking one’s vocation for truth, we are too unaware of our habits that lead to assumptions. i take no pride in what i do, nor do i find meaning in it. hors-texte?…well that’s a different thing altogether. humans require what they do to have meaning, lest they be sent to the asylum. if one keeps doing something that one doesnt believe in, one still believes in it; not in the thing-itself but in the doing- namely, in the self, the one. of two, there can be no possibility. no possibility of conversion, only repression. embedded within meanings are traces of meaninglessness that our self-erected structures attempt to efface…either embrace the self-created lies or strive with the absurdity. either way, madness is inescapable. either mistake-vocation-for-truth and remain in a mirror-maze of self-representations or revel in the wisdom of koheleth, ‘everything is meaningless’.
for unless things were a priori meaning-less, how could there be meaning? indeed many have yet to discover ‘meaning’; it is the road less taken. the search for this meaning only ever leads back to the self for what is the conventional-meaning other than mere assumption…other than ‘nothing’? an expedition wayward from its inception founded on an inherently barren economy and not the responsibility of oikonomos?
a responsibility gifted in death. for a fortiori to death is art. the meaning created and not the created meaning. for the latter is always sustained by a repressed economy. the former, by faith.
‘you’ve carried on so long you couldnt stop if you tried it…’