According to some Christian outlooks we were made for another world. Perhaps, rather, we were made for this world to recreate, reclaim, redeem, and renew unto God's future aspiration by the power of His Spirit. - R.E. Slater
Secularization theory has been massively falsified. We don't live in an age of secularity. We live in an age of explosive, pervasive religiosity... an age of religious pluralism. - Peter L. Berger
Exploring the edge of life and faith in a post-everything world. - Todd Littleton
I don't need another reason to believe, your love is all around for me to see. – anon
Thou art our need; and in giving us more of thyself thou givest us all. - Khalil Gibran, Prayer XXIII
Be careful what you pretend to be. You become what you pretend to be. - Kurt Vonnegut
Religious beliefs, far from being primary, are often shaped and adjusted by our social goals. - Jim Forest
People, even more than things, need to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anyone. – anon
Certainly God's love has made fools of us all. - R.E. Slater
An apocalyptic Christian faith doesn't wait for Jesus to come, but for Jesus to become in our midst. - R.E. Slater
Christian belief in God begins with the cross and resurrection of Jesus, not with rational apologetics. - Eberhard Jüngel, Jürgen Moltmann
Our knowledge of God is through the 'I-Thou' encounter, not in finding God at the end of a syllogism or argument. There is a grave danger in any Christian treatment of God as an object. The God of Jesus Christ and Scripture is irreducibly subject and never made as an object, a force, a power, or a principle that can be manipulated. - Emil Brunner
Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh means "I will be that who I have yet to become." - God (Ex 3.14)
Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy. - Thomas Merton
The church is God's world-changing social experiment of bringing unlikes and differents to the Eucharist/Communion table to share life with one another as a new kind of family. When this happens we show to the world what love, justice, peace, reconciliation, and life together is designed by God to be. The church is God's show-and-tell for the world to see how God wants us to live as a blended, global, polypluralistic family united with one will, by one Lord, and baptized by one Spirit. – anon
The cross that is planted at the heart of the history of the world cannot be uprooted. - Jacques Ellul
The Unity in whose loving presence the universe unfolds is inside each person as a call to welcome the stranger, protect animals and the earth, respect the dignity of each person, think new thoughts, and help bring about ecological civilizations. - John Cobb & Farhan A. Shah
If you board the wrong train it is of no use running along the corridors of the train in the other direction. - Dietrich Bonhoeffer
God's justice is restorative rather than punitive; His discipline is merciful rather than punishing; His power is made perfect in weakness; and His grace is sufficient for all. – anon
Our little [biblical] systems have their day; they have their day and cease to be. They are but broken lights of Thee, and Thou, O God art more than they. - Alfred Lord Tennyson

Friday, July 18, 2014

Philosophy - Columbia University Press Insurrection Series


The following is an interview with Creston Davis, co-editor of the series Insurrections: Critical Studies in Religion, Politics, and Culture

Question: As both a psychoanalyst and a political theological philosopher, how does your angle on the series differ from other editors?

Creston Davis: This series is so much fun to be part of basically because we all share the same commitment to opening up radically new forms of thinking and practices. And that is so very rare these days especially because the entire academic scene has become sickeningly conventional and thoroughly corporatized.

So it speaks volumes about the courage that Columbia University Press has in pushing the limits and boundaries of traditional orthodox thinking so intrinsic to forms of American feminism, neo-conservatism, liberalism, religion, politics, aesthetics and so on that only serve as ideological masks behind which corporate power strangles academic and political freedom. What I like about the projects we’re doing in the series is that they are not afraid of the basic element of desire. And it was both Lacan and Augustine, a psychoanalyst and a theologian, who weren’t afraid of tracing out the infinite possibility of where desire goes.

Our series is so liberating because it’s not married to an identity politics looking to preserve a certain predetermined zone of “desire”; no, we don’t accept this “zone” we penetrate it for the sake of understanding new horizons, new rhythms, vibrations, and energies. For me, the question is always the question of: What do we love? What do we want? And make no mistake about it these are dangerous questions in today’s conventional world.

In particular, my work has always been closely related to European philosophers like Badiou and Laruelle (in France), Sloterdijk (in Germany), Zizek (in Slovenia), Katerina Kolozova (in Macedonia), Negri and Vattimo (in Italy) and, of course, Zabla (in Spain). Recently, for example, when I was lecturing in Poland I got to know the legendary philosopher, Tadeusz Sławek who was instrumental in forging new lines of scholarship when he invited his close friend, Jacques Derrida to give some lectures in the 1990s. Now we are pursuing publishing Derrida’s lectures in a book for the series.

Another project we are pursing, with the help of Carl Raschke, is translating Hannah Arendt’s last manuscript entitled “What is Politics?” which will continue to add to the conversation about the meaning of the political for our time.

Finally, my forthcoming books seek to contribute to psychoanalysis and continental philosophy while being attracted to the insurrectionist movement. I’ve finished one book (with Alain Badiou) on the philosophical and psychoanalytic foundations of early America. Another book I’m doing with Santiago will be on the precise relationship of Vattimo and Zizek’s practice of communism. So, I think I’m able to contribute to the success of the series in these exciting ways.

Q: Can you elaborate on the insurrectionist commitment to The Real, as understood by Jacques Lacan?

CD: One can never overestimate how crucial Lacan’s idea of ‘The Real’ is especially when you contrast it with the obsession over security today. Everything is about security, liability, protecting your wealth, power, and social status. But this is a dangerous message to believe in because life can never be lived in the frozen fear about security. Life is about risk-taking, about growth, it is, above all about that surplus that springs forth from making a risk: To fall in love, to live with the poor, to fight for justice these are the actions of life. Lacan’s idea of the real witnesses to this surplus that no matter how hard we tried to make the world conform to our corporate and administrative standards there is something else beyond.

That is what our commitment is about. It’s about a concrete and materialist commitment to that surplus of a life lived to openness and joy and not the law and security. Slavoj, Clayton, Jeff and I have seen the collapse of academic and political freedom in the United States with the growth of the “liability industry” which functions like a neo-Fascist logic terrorizing professors into conforming to the status quo. But our insurrectionist movement takes a stance against this political and academic tyranny by risking freedom. Lacanian psychoanalysis gives us tools for breaking out of this conventional mode and into forms of expression that don’t conform to the values of corporate lawyers and the wealthy. In short, we are faithful to this X-factor, that liberation is fundamental to human existence.

Q: Clayton Crockett referred to the structure of the forthcoming manifesto as reflecting Heidegger’s Fourfold - Earth, Sky, Gods, and Mortals. Can you describe how the use of this structure will lend itself to an explication of insurrectionist theology?

CD: Yes, Ward Blanton, Jeff, Clayton and I have been writing our insurrectionist manifesto that will finally position religion, philosophy and psychoanalysis in a positive new direction.

Clayton came up with Heidegger’s Fourfold as a way to present and schematize our insurrectionist theology:

1 - I like how we are doing this because you can think of Earth in much more profound ways than simply a passive planet—we think of it as energy via the triadic theoretical structures of Hegel-Nietzsche-Deleuze, where substance becoming subject within a movement of infinite energetic differentials.

2 - Sky is intrinsically and inescapably a mediating, spiritualized element through which the divinity discloses itself.

3,4 - And then there’s “the gods.” But notice when you talk about gods or a God too often ideological structures of power have tried to denude natural powers into a deity, or make absolute a single God, which once again limits infinity by assigning them a personality, an ethnic history, and to political and moral power. We are rethinking infinity in relation to energy, political freedom, and a new collectivity.

Once we reimagine infinity then we can only think mortals in relationship to the three other structures in relationship to our friends Toni Negri and Catherine Malabou’s creative thinking. Needless to say, we are excited about our project that entirely reframes the very meaning of religion, politics, philosophy and history.

* * * * * * * * * *

Insurrections: Critical Studies in Religion, Politics, and Culture

Slavoj Zizek, Clayton Crockett, Creston Davis, Jeffrey W. Robbins, Editors

The intersection of religion, politics, and culture is one of the most discussed areas in theory today. It also has the deepest and most wide-ranging impact on the world. Insurrections: Critical Studies in Religion, Politics, and Culture will bring the tools of philosophy and critical theory to the political implications of the religious turn. The series will address a range of religious traditions and political viewpoints in the United StatesEurope, and other parts of the world. Without advocating any specific religious or theological stance, the series aims nonetheless to be faithful to the radical emancipatory potential of religion.

Clayton Crockett on The Conception of InsurrectionsAn Editorial and Ontological Insurrection, by Santiago Zabala; Read interviews with the series editors Creston Davis and Jeffrey Robbins; Visit the Insurrections page on Pinterest.

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