…as opposed to the Masculine-ideological “death drive”, we all know so well.
(- art created by unknown and used without permission -)
…as opposed to the Masculine-ideological “death drive”, we all know so well.
(- art created by unknown and used without permission -)
This morning my mind was crossed by this situation in my foot where gangrene has taken hold. I didn’t know it was gangrene for a long time. It was just as black spot in the center of the top of my foot about 2 cm in diameter￼.￼ Still, I’m not really sure if it actually is gangrene because I’ve never gone to the doctor for it, and I never really thought that I should until it crossed my mind that it might be a dead area in my body. But then I pondered it for a little bit and decided not to…
And I’m gonna tell you why.
The area around the top of my foot around that black area of gangrene has been a very bad area of skin that’s been that way for a long time from an extremely bad case of athletes foot that got severely infected when I was probably 25 years old. For a long time the skin was just basically a thin and very light and white with speckled red area of scar tissue, and I got very used to it. It’s been 20 some years now. I figured it was just his massive scar from the really bad case of athletes foot.
Some months ago, a piece in the middle of that skin cracked. And it kind of stung a little bit, but I just put some lotion on it and just didn’t really pay attention to it. I figured it was just some dry skin of my scar tissue that cracked. No big deal, seemed very natural.
So over the next couple weeks this scabbed crack turned into a black area. And then I just noticed that there’s this centimeter and a half black area in the middle of this white speckled scar tissue. And that area was feeling kind of strange, not very comfortable; when I would walk I would feel a burning in my foot is it kind of like bad athletes foot in a way, a stinging and an odd pain. But it wasn’t a fungus, it’s not athletes foot again; I actually did get some antifungal stuff and put it all over the area like you’re supposed to and nothing really changed.
What really happened, I figured, was the skin is scar tissue and there’s no circulation flowing through it. Very bad circulation in that area on the top of my foot of the skin. So finally when it cracked, there was not enough blood flow to heal the area, let alone bring any sort of life-giving value to the area and so the tissue started dying. And it spread and kept dying until it got to that area where there was enough life-support in the body, and then it stopped growing.
This black spot became a curiosity for me, namely because it was a black spot of skin. Like, what the fuck is this? But it was also somewhat uncomfortable because it just felt like the foot was constantly chafing and off and on small pain while I walked every day. Hence, I thought I might go to the doctor. ￼
But I hate going to the doctor. For one it’s a severe inconvenience in my very full life. And two, they’re probably gonna tell me something I already know. Three; there’s a good possibility they’re going to say they’re gonna have to cut it out. Four, I might have to go see a specialist and spend more money; five, the never ending bullshit of seeking remedy for my own problem with someone else’s expertise￼.
That last bit was really the main reason why I didn’t go to the doctor.
I am not old but I am getting old. And part of this getting old, when one realizes that they are getting old beyond just the fact that the number 30 appears in the reckoning of age, The body starts to do all sorts of strange stuff. It is my personal experience, and others with whom I’ve discussed this strange and somewhat annoying feature of life, That the mind doesn’t change very much. The idea I have that is Lance, this creature or this entity or this being that’s been myself and accompanying me in this journey hasn’t really changed much in 20 something years. For sure I have different experiences and I have different thoughts about things that I think about differently things may be, but the person that is me hasn’t changed much since I was probably in my late 20s. What has changed is my body. And the most significant thing that has changed about the body is it starts to get screwed up in various random ways. It’s very Hari Krishna￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼: no matter what we do the body is going to deteriorate, things are going to fail, various random pains are going to occur, we’re going to get hair in weird places, we’re going to start smelling strange, farting, different foods aren’t gonna do the same thing for us, we have to start to do some sort of exercise even though we don’t really want to… no matter what we do the body is going to crumble and it’s going to re-enter the earth. There’s nothing we can do about it , at least right now.
But the mind, or even more than the mind, the sense of self and the power of thinking or whatever we wanna call it, doesn’t really change very much. It’s the same thing, the same functioning.
Ok. Enough of that kind of philosophical nonsense. ￼￼￼￼
My point is that I just expect that I’m going to be uncomfortable at times, more or less. Mostly uncomfortable but I don’t notice the things, but if I’m uncomfortable with something physical that’s going on with me, I just figure that it’s kind of normal. I don’t freak out too much about it, and I don’t obsess about being pain-free or about being totally comfortable. I think that is a very westernized, colonized, privileged, white oriented version of what life is supposed to be: That we have been “God ordained” to live in comfort, and due to the fusion of God and the mind’s intellect, we have a right to be utterly comfortable at all times. I would even go so far to say that the problems of mental health in our modern day probably stem much from that self righteousness. Namely, that we obsess over what might be wrong if we’re feeling uncomfortable, and this obsession turns into some sort of mental issue and extreme case becomes some sort of mental disorder￼.￼ Indeed, I could even go so far as to say that the problems of society and our world stem from the fact that I deserve to be comfortable, and despite anyone else. ￼
Anyways again, there’s a black spot on my foot and it’s really –I started thinking about it– it really is a part of me that is dead.
Literally. There is a part of me that is actually dead.
I thought that was very interesting and very curious, and kind of funny.
There is a part of me that is actually dead. It died. A part of me actually died. And yet, it’s sitting there attached to me. And not only this, but the interface between the dead part of me and the living part of me actually hurts, it’s uncomfortable. And it stays with me most of the day. It’s not terribly annoyingly uncomfortable, but sometimes during the day I do get a sudden sting that makes me remember it’s there.
I have a concoction of oils. Vitamin E, hemp, coconut oil, olive oil. These are mixed together in a concoction that is my personal salve. I use it for everything. And for those who might suggest CBD ￼:￼￼￼￼￼￼ I think I wrote three posts maybe about a year ago about my interactions and encounters with CBD. Indeed CBD for a moment was part of this concoction, but I realized that it makes me depressed. It just does. There’s no argument to make about it. Go read my other posts￼ about it.
Actually, this post is kind of a link or is linked to those other posts about CBD, because one part of the point that I make in those CBD posts is that it would’ve been very easily for me to think that something was wrong with me and go to a psychiatrist or my doctor and start telling them about all the symptoms￼ That I’m having. At the time– again you can go read the other posts– I might have been thinking that CBD is so good for me. So I would have been excluding it from the possibility of affecting me negatively. I just would’ve thought that something was wrong with me and looked to other people to tell me what it is and what I need to do.
I didn’t do that￼. And the same with my gangrene. I didn’t look to someone else to tell me what was wrong with me nor for a solution to the problem.
— Of course, I am aware of infection and must be cognizant of when I indeed might need extra help 😁.
I started rubbing my salve on the area. And it’s not very comfortable. The area is generally sore, like I’ve been talking about. — and yet for 20 years it was utterly pain free! It kind of chafes, it is slightly sore to the touch. And the area is just uncomfortable to touch. Nevertheless, I just started a regimen of putting my salve on my foot and rubbing it on my ankle and leg and just kind of helping the circulation to the area a few times a day.
It is time to let go the dead part of me. That is what my body told me — is telling me. And it is not comfortable!
My idea was that the reason why this area of my body died was because it was getting no circulation. And that the idea of cutting off gangrene is really getting rid of the dead part of myself from the life part. Now, I figure this gangrene hasn’t been spreading so there’s an interface in my body that’s preventing that dead area from spreading to the rest of my body like gangrene might typically otherwise cause complications. Instead, I try to give the area circulation so my body can process out the dead part of myself.
I figured that the oils themselves are helpful to the skin and the nerves and the body, and then my massaging the area routinely helps life circulate into that part of the body that is dead.
And coming back to the title of my post.
It is really the pain that motivated me to assert life. Life. To help the dead part of myself move on. To help that living part of me to grow in itself, itself. Not to negate what is painful, not to shun or deny or cut out what has died, but rather to help what is dead to move on. As well as for life, my life.￼ ￼￼￼Life.
In fact, what is happened is that the gangrene is starting to flake off. My body is literally pushing it out, helping it. ￼And it is getting smaller. And the area, instead of white speckled scar tissue, is red with the blood of new life and circulation as it helps that dead part of me to move onto its next adventure. ￼
￼￼but…life and healing does not always conform to our sense of the righteousness of beauty. Sometimes it has its own beauty. ￼
…and what of our world? x
Rolling around lately in my mind has been strange juxtapositionings of ethical dynamics.
This started because I began to ponder statistics of human deaths. And then pondering the emotional response to the coronavirus thing, an interesting￼ situation presents itself.
Let me see if I can spell it out in a simple way without getting too long in the post.
Recently I posted a few statistics about other types of deaths that occur in our day. What strikes me about comparing the number of deaths for any particular topic is that they are all relatively similar, at least, similar in regard to that really only a small fraction of people actually die while the overwhelming majority of people actually live.
So I had to keep present in my mind a certain kind of ethics in thinking about these human beings. While I was pondering these kind of abstract intellectual numbers I kept having to remind myself that I’m supposed to be feeling bad because people are dying. I had to remind myself that I cry almost every day because one person I was very close to died not too long ago– but not from coronavirus.
Nevertheless. Let’s just ponder a few large categories of major killers in our global society. Cancer; murder; drugs. Let’s do drugs — the category. Lol.
Those are the categories I considered to compare to coronavirus. And I think I conveyed in another post that I talked to a doctor friend of mine about statistics having to do with these categories and coronavirus, and he quickly pointed out at least so far as the drug overdoses that drugs involve a choice where as coronavirus doesn’t have anything to do with choice except that we can try to take precaution so we don’t get it￼.￼￼￼￼￼￼￼
This struck me as particularly insensitive, ignorant (coming from a doctor just goes to show that a medical degree does not necessarily denote great intelligence) and basically judgemental about the people who die from drug overdose￼.
And this continuing to be rolling around in my head, I was struck by the contrast in peoples attitudes towards people that are dying from coronavirus.
In short, people who die from drug addiction are blamed and are viewed as bad people. Even though people are getting more intelligent and empathetic about drugs and addiction and substance use disorders, I would have to say that the overwhelming majority of people are very ignorant and self-righteous about alcoholism and drug addiction and view people that have such a problem as somehow morally compromised if not bankrupt.
Whereas people that die from coronavirus are not viewed as bad people.
And this was still rolling around together in my mind when it dawned on me that the ethics really falls into that something which is completely random, e.g. the coronavirus which comes up utterly because of an act of nature, is really having nothing to do with any sort of blame that we can place on humans except that we were doing human things– We view the deaths and human toll that occurs because of this random act of nature containing more “ethical energy￼￼￼”. And I mean this in the sense that if I am not sad or disturbed or worried about the great potential for human deaths that are occurring because of coronavirus then people judge me as unethical and somehow inhuman￼.
Even as the death toll presently may be less than the death toll that is taking place during the same time of people that overdose from drugs￼.
And the tragedy of people dying from something that is pretty much human created, which is to say, that drug addiction is really created because human beings synthesized distillates which affect human beings more radically than their natural state within plants, but as well with synthesized and created drugs from scratch that are more dangerous and ugly and deadly for human beings then anything we could find the natural sphere.
Yet if I’m not concerned about all these people dying from drug overdose, let alone the social devastation it is indeed creating everywhere, and from being a drug addict, I am not ethically condemned in general even though more people overall are dying from this human made problem￼.￼￼￼
￼It seems to me that peoples’ ethical value placed upon human beings is greater than when it’s something natural or something that arises completely innocent of human activity. Whereas if human beings are involved in the tragedy, then as a society we don’t care as much.
That strikes me as contradictory and quite ironic:
This odd ethical behavior reminds me of a book I started to read which told of how particularly terrible acts of nature used to be considered evil, where as only recently, say since the beginning of the 20thcentury , we refer the name of evil to only what human beings do.
STATS and FACTS:
“I am never able to choose to live. Any choice to live is life itself, is living itself. There is no choice there. My choice will at all times be living.
But, I am able to believe I have a choice of whether to live or die. And this is the distillate of the modern human condition, the contradiction that lay at the heart of all ideals about mental health.”
—— C. N.
Zizek makes a good point somewhere about how the modern liberal must qualify his ethical position from all sides. Kind of like a political correct but more in that what occurs is he never arrives at any sort of ethical activity.
Yeah; let’s get a little less relative:
Whew! Those Impossible essays really get thick. So perhaps a rejoining to a more approachable speaking. But hold on! The ride is just getting fun.
I have been interacting through comments and replies with Dave, who writes the blog called “Big Story Guide”. Our conversation is quite wonderful, so, just as I used our conversation for the basis an earlier essay post ( See: Aphilosophy, Convention, Faith and God), I do the same here, and because this latest reply grew to such lengths (even though I think I have posted replies even longer than this one).
The reader can see our extended conversation under the comments of “Issues and Existence”. And please feel free to visit Dave’s blog “Big Story Guide”: http://bigstoryguide.wordpress.com/2-the-death-to-life-project/
We last saw our heros continuing enquiry into each other’s ideas. Dave is curious for a rendition of Lance’s ‘Big Story’, and Lance has been attempting to discover from Dave the significance for the Christian and the non-Christian in the claim of Christ Jesus. Dave (in italics)…
Your notion of “the qualitative motion of history” suggests a bigger story than The Bible tells – a story within which The Bible should be interpreted. So, when you say, “Teaching, method, apprehending or comprehending terms through a particular scheme, is the issue at the heart of the Gospels,” it seems as if you are sort of taking an aerial view of a mansion of reality/truth. You can see Christians entering through one door (scheme) on one side of the mansion while you see Hindus and others entering by other doors (schemes) on other sides of the building
The quality of history reflects an essential motion, where as history itself changes with the times. I think the Bible presents a certain correspondence with these ideas, one ironic, one conventional.
“If that is the case, what is the more faithful rendition of our story, told from that larger view?”
You have captured one of the more insightful philosophical rebuttals to some of the existentialist authors here, one that contributed, I feel, to the discarding post-modernist critiques to a particular era, and the movement beyond it. The larger view is entirely existential, that we are humans doing human things, that has no more meaning than the meaning we have of it at the time, that there is no knowing a true history, that anything anyone can say has to do only with present discursive situations. The question would be then, how could they know of this? The rebuttal is something like the accusation that the so-called existentialist (but Laruelle with his non-philosophy likewise) authors set themselves as a sort of ‘omniscient’ or ‘removed’ viewer, as if their view is not likewise conditioned by the existential situation.
But I would say that the ‘death to life’ story, as you describe it of the Bible, is no larger than what the above situation grants. To wit: How would it be possible to step out of existence so as to gain such a view? The answer is excruciatingly ironic, for the one who is ‘stepping out’ is the one who says it cannot be done.
One way to speak about it is to say there is no stepping out of existence, that there is no larger story but the story that is reflected in itself by itself, and that this reflection is based in an apparent separation.
Take for example a story book, a novel. Can the characters step out of the story in order to see the story? No, they cannot. They are determined in and by the story to be the story as it goes. It is only the reader who steps out of the story, but he does this by an interesting move. This is the historical significance of the development of the novel-type writing. The reader starts at the beginning and reads to the end. He thereby can summarize the story, talk about its characters, its plot, the development of tension, climax and such; but this telling is not the story, it is a story of a story. The real state of the reader is removed from the story but in such a way that he views the summary and discussion of the story as referring to the story itself. But his telling is not the story; it is not even a summary. It is the story of the story. This real reader misses the story by staying removed from the story, and it is this assumptive state of removal, of distance enacted by the author as well as the reader in reality, that allows the story of the story to be not the story but its summary. This state of being human corresponds with the state of reality, that which marks a quality of history to the reading of history.
Thus another way to speak about it would be to see that to live ‘in the worldly’ way is to live by separation, and with reference to your ‘Death to Life Story’, is the way ‘of death’, not dissimilar to your Big Story.
Would you say that Abraham, being after the Fall, was likewise ‘living death’? I would say no. I would say the he ‘lives’, but did not need Jesus and so was not ‘restored’ to life, but merely ‘lived in God’ but after the Fall. How did he get that way?
The same with Noah before him; …he “was a just man, perfect in his generations, Noah walked with God”. How was this so if all men live in a state of death after Adam? How did Noah “[find] grace in the eyes of The Lord”?
Further, the only thing it says of how Abraham got to know God is “Now the Lord said unto Abraham…”
And what of Moses? Did he do anything to bring God to him or chose to meet God? No. God chose him. And I would add that this is the most offensive aspect of the Bible to the reader of its stories: It could have only happened in the past since if God chose someone today, in the same way as Abraham, Noah, Moses or Jesus, it means that God has not chosen me; but where there is irony, this statement, the meaning of Moses, etc, ‘being chosen’, has no contradictory baring upon my relation with God.
I think that, as a result of your bigger-than-The-Bible-Big-Story, your interaction with the biblical figures Abraham and Jesus becomes pretty highly conceptualized. For example, Abraham experiences “a true ‘before the fall’ covenant, so to speak, with God.”
Are these three people human beings? I would say yes, they are actual human beings who ‘knew’ God. And, in that they did nothing to achieve such a relation with God, that is to say, they did not beckon favor with God, they also did not choose anything about God, at least, not any more than someone else could have; God exactly chose them. In fact, I would say, because they are ‘after the fall’ people, they could not have chosen God; nothing they could do could remove or get beyond their ‘fallen’ condition; only an act of God could do so. In fact, choosing God could only get them as far as their own ‘sinful’ condition was able, which is ‘removed from God’, offended in this state.
This is clearly anachronistic within The Bible’s story, so it would be tremendously helpful to know the bigger big story within which this Abraham event took place. Please, tell me about “the real mistake that began as the Fall.”
Sin can be seen as “the real mistake that began as the Fall.” The mistake of taking an object before God. If this is a signal of human heritage, passed down as a condition or state of being human, then as we are in sin, at some point in the past it would seem there was an original sinner.
In a way, in the story, the ‘fruit’ or ‘apple’ represents the ‘idol’ that comes to stand between Adam and God; it is the worldly object that is seen to be able to make Adam and Eve like God, knowing good and evil: ethics/universe of objects the control of which make humans ‘like God’. The mistake that unfolds in history is the progressive domination of such object, the ‘death’ that ultimately pushes God entirely out of human knowledge and experience. When such ‘worldly saturation’ occurs, then Christ returns to restore life, that is, God.
If this post-fall state is inherited by all humans, then as this is indicated by choice or free will, our state determines thus our ability to know God. This ability, founded in the ‘first significant choice’ – since if there was choice before the Fall then its significance was consistent with God’s will, where ‘everything’ would be significant, thus allowing nothing significant to be punctuated as such – thus likewise conveys the beginning of ethics, since that which is consistent with God’s will has no weight against what could be evil since such a motion in that ‘pre-fall’ state is God’s state and not so much a human state. The post Fall state of humanity, wherein choice upon good and evil resides or is established, is the entirely of what we can know, our knowing being limited by the sinful condition of knowing with choice, can be called the universe, because it consists of or is correspondent with what all humans can possibly know. So it is that Kierkegaard, in “Fear and Trembling” (I believe its this book) begins with “the universe is the ethical”.
It’s worth mentioning again that I think the question, “Is there a teleological suspension of the ethical” is an interesting one raised by the Abraham-Isaac story. But, I don’t think it is at the heart of the story. Instead, the issue of humanity’s death and the possibility of resurrection is at the heart of the story.
The question “Is there a teleological suspension of the ethical?” is Kierkegaard’s primary concern, as I have said, through all his works. This question means: Is there a way of knowing or otherwise communing with God-as-God, meaning, without the ethical doubt that injects one’s humanity in the way of God’s communication with him? In other words: is there a possibility of a God-man?
One of the things I feel like I’m missing in our conversation is how you might see the teleological suspension of the ethical being necessary to some kind of resurrection.
Resurrection, with regards to the ‘death to life story’ of the Bible, is a teleological suspension of the ethical, a breach of universal ‘right-ness’, an actual communion with God ‘as Life’, as opposed to ‘death’. Such communion or communication would not have a possibility of ‘wrong-ness’ since God is above or beyond ethics: God is God, creator of the universe, creator of choice, indetermined by choice. God is righteousness as opposed to nothing else. Hence Kierkegaard considers Abraham and Jesus.
Your questions regarding Jesus’ experiences with faith strike me as also being an interesting aside. I would find them much more compelling if I believed that Jesus represents a God-in-man issue. But, I believe that Jesus is the God-man who came to address the death of humanity through His death and resurrection.
God can only be ‘in man’ as much as man sees God as distanced, or removed, from man; but the movement is that man made that choice to remove himself from God. Hence the significant questions concerning the state of humanity is: What about you is not God? What is resurrection?
This is essential.. This is essential.
[Jesus’s] experiences with the teachability, and learnability of faith, and His personal experiences with doubt strike me as being pretty speculative (but still interesting) and less essential.
I would think these represent his humanity, and, ironically, they are entirely speculative and less essential – and it is interesting how K speaks about ‘the interesting’ as a quality of various worldly topics.
The contradiction between the God-man and the God-in-man presents the impossible situation of reality: Would you know if Jesus Christ, the Son of God, was standing right in front of you? How would you know? Would everyone know? How do you know?
Reality imposes its maxim, framed or determined by the impossible: You are not God, and, no one can have a personal audience or communion with God as God. A man, though, may have God ‘in him’, and hope to be communicating directly with God, because this is the condition of man after the Fall: He needs a redeemer, a proxy, a go-between. Faith allows for a traversing of the distance that has been created by the sin of not choosing God, or maybe better put, the sin of being able to choose God now that there is a sufficient distinction by which to make a decision. This is the post-Fall universal condition of humanity. Only those of the past can be such God-chosen people, for if I told you that God indeed has spoken to me, has chosen me, in the same way as Abraham and Moses, you would call B.S. or think I’m insane. Because reality has it that we are all equal, all of the same capacity and existential presence in the world, then if this is the case, that I commune and communicate with God as God, it means that God has chosen me and not you. This is offense. This is the evidence of sin. This is impossible.
Kierkegaard thus considers the possibility of Christ. Is it possible that God sent his Son to be here on earth, a human? If this is possible, what does it mean for humanity? Does this meaning exceptionalize meaning to certain qualifiers, such that there are ‘humans’ and then there are ‘human but also something else’? How does the exception also place me in a certain position with reference to God? Does this meaning, the exception, include all humans, regardless of how they are qualified? What does this mean? Where do I exceptionalize myself as human, but not ‘that’ human? What is God? Who is God? Where am I offended? Where do I sin? What stories do I tell myself to qualify myself in the world? What are these stories? What is blasphemy?
Can I know God as God? Is there a teleological suspension of the ethical?
For reality, the answer to these questions being the same, is impossible!
But only through faith.
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