The World

One of the successes of Islam lies in its acceptance of the world. Islam, unlike Christianity never asks to escape from the world, but to conquer it and Jews are the first recipients of this message from God. The message of Islam is that your success in this world determines your success in the other world. In this sense, Islam is very much a practical religion. Christianity has a different point of view, your failure in this world is counted as a success in the world to come. Christianity doesn’t ask one to be successful but faithful and a faithful person is seldom successful. This problematic tension between the world and the kingdom of God is one of the enduring sources of the identity crisis of Christianity. Whether the world is an immanent reality or transcendental one remains as a big philosophical question. This question also points to the questions of all questions: What is Real? Is the world Real?
In this essay, a delicate attempt is made to resolve the deadlock. I call it delicate since the resolve comes from philosophy. Theology often goes for hard solutions.
When we speak about Real we often put in the categories of transcendence. Michael Henry is a french philosopher who takes immanence as real. The astute immanence of Herny doesn’t allow to place the value of life outside of life. He grounds the value of life in itself, not in the world or any other living being. Life, for Henry, is pure actuality and Christ is the firstborn Son of the Father and each of us is a Son. The World hinders this pure actuality of life in christ, so we must live in this world without it. Henry makes it clear, “the truth of Christianity differs in essence from the truth of the world. . . . The living is not possible in the world. Living is possible only outside the world, where another Truth reigns, another way of revealing.”
Henry maintains a dualism between world and Christianity. The man is not part of the material universe because he is not born into it, rather he is born into absolute life, “the Christian ethic aim to allow people overcome the forgetting of their condition of Son in order to rediscover the absolute life into which they were born.”
Henry’s immanence is not radical enough. He uses transcendental as if it is immanence. But Henry can be used as an introduction to some one whose immanence is radical enough to alter the pattern of thought. Francois Laruelle inaugurated a hitherto unheard voice of philosophy. His Philosophy which is known as Non-Philosophy is obscure and challenging. He has placed philosophy in such a milieu where a democratic thinking is possible with the overhaul of thought itself. His Christo-Fiction is a book that may direct Christology to a new direction. He is not a religious thinker nor an atheist. Laruelle makes a radical separation of christ from Christianity, “If Christianity is a religion of the exit from religion, Christ is the exit from Christianity itself.”
Non-Philosophy tries to revive the Gnosticism thus it takes the world as its adversary not because it is transcendental but in the name-of-the-Human. The World is inhuman and it has the structure of the hell. The World haunts christ and christ, in turn, debase the world and its authority God. Anthony Paul Smith Sums up the relation of Christ to the world, “Christ names something human, a hope beyond this World, a human and divine protest against the way things are. For the actuality of these Churches is that this protest has gone cold, it has died the death of overfamiliarity. For the original message of those who followed the historical Christ was that a peasant was put to death by the State and that this murdered peasant was resurrected and is in fact God.”
The mandate of the world is to persecute the living as world fosters only biological life. But human life is living, the living is haunted down by the world as much as by the church when it collaborates with the world. The World demands everything to be natural and it wants everything to conform to its laws. But living refuses to be natural and prefers to be heretical. Laruelle writes of this natural v/s living dilemma,
“We call forth ‘the living’, in this way naming humans as victims and those murdered in the cause of heresy, thereby revealing the nature of it. Their persecution testifies to an experience of the human that is not natural, that is no longer humanist or philosophical; it is a heretical concept of man as in-Person and applies to all men. The other first names like Humans, Christ-subjects, Heretics, etc., do not designate natural men, susceptible to biological life and death, but insofar as they exist as Living and are liable to a being-revealed by persecution and assassination. Heretics are living an invisible life, towards which no gaze can turn no matter what its nature, even a spiritual one.”
It’s the genius of Christianity which introduced a notion of Christianity whose essence is separable from its life in the world. Christianity found the reason for man’s feeling of alienation in the world: it is to do with the fallen nature of the world. But today Christianity has made an alliance with the world. Church has shared in the murdering nature of the world. Laurelle comes with this observation, “Christianity does not fail in so far as it attempts to find, preach, or produce salvation, even the universal salvation of humanity. It fails, rather, in the compromise it necessarily makes with the world.” According to Laruelle man becomes the humanity in the last instance which is the saved man only when he achieves a complete no-relation between humanity and the world. Anthony Paul Smith says this notion as the the Lamb of God but Laruelle’s heresy is that Lamb is Adam and what is worthy is a suffering humanity.
It is here that Laruelle’s theory of resurrection functions as a theory of justice. Resurrection is a future dimension of past where justice is accomplished, It is, in a sense, only the resurrection, only a kind of immanent insurrection-resurrection of the in-past, that can truly demand justice by becoming identical to justice.” Only ​resurrection can become a justice since it demands not a recognition of the past injustice but an existence. So, “The axioms of humanity-in-the-Iast-instance are the judgements of the resurrected upon the world.”
Laruelle’s bold vision of justice is based on a life apart from the world. The World has its own hallucinations and every one lives on it has a share of this hallucination. Only a heretic is conscious of its hallucinations and he tries to be a fugitive in this world and world haunts him and demands him to submit to its hallucination. Christ is a clear prototype of this heretic and God is a transcendental tyrant who protects not the christ but the world.

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Damned by Good

For Greeks virtue meant beauty. They admired the beauty of words, the beauty of thought, beauty of war. Above all they admired the beauty of the body, resulting in the invention of Olympics. For the Romans virtue was courage. They built Colosseum where brave gladiators fought for the amusement of spectators. Romans had only one hero: a soldier who longed for the battle field.
Christianity came up and annihilated all these ideas of virtue. Instead, it proposed that the real virtue is charity, the love towards your neighbour.

It may be easy to be beautiful and to be courageous with proper training, but it is quite difficult to be charitable. They are so many reasons to hate your neighbour but not many to love him/her. I found it hard to be good, being good is not my natural disposition. But I have seen people who are naturally good, somehow they can be effortlessly good. But I have this curse of knowing good by doing wrong. I am plagued by these questions: what is great, an effortful good or effortless good? Jesus says that God alone is good, then what is the nature of our good? Now with the invention of social media doing good works have become a fashion. Everyone is ready to be a Good Samaritan if there is a camera to capture. I admire the good works of some people but I I don’t like them personally. It is from them I learnt that being good is more difficult than doing good.

Simon Leys is a well-known writer whose Christian consciousness is evident in his writings. His collected essays “The Hall of Uselessness” changed my perspective about good works. Leys recounts a story which he read in the pages of an obscure and long-forgotten book, dating back to the beginning of the last century. The narrator, D.G. Mukerji, returning home to India after a long stay in the United States, describes his visit to the sage:

“On the floor were seated two young ladies, an old gentleman, their father, and a young monk in yellow, crouching before the Master, as though bowed by his sanctity. The Holy One bade me be seated.
“I am glad,” he said, “that thy feet pain thee. That will start the easing of the pain in thy soul.” . . . He turned to the others. “What was I talking about? . . . I remember: the hospital which is a punishment for doing good.”
“How could that be, my Lord?” questioned the old gentleman.
“Even thou, an old man, dost ask me that question also? Well it all began one day about eleven years ago. I, who was meditating with a brother disciple under a big tree, decided to stop meditating and care for a man who had fallen sick by the roadside. He was a lean moneylender from Marwar and he had come to Benares to make a rich gift to some temple in order to have his way to Heaven paved in solid gold. Poor fellow, he did not know that all the flowery good deeds done to catch the eye of God will in the end become the bitter fruits of desire.
“I ministered to him until he recovered and could return to Marwar, to lend more money, I suppose. But the rascal did me an evil turn. He spread the news all along the way that if people fell sick near my big tree, I took care of them. So very soon, two more people came and fell sick at the pre-arranged place. What else could my brother disciple and I do, but care for them? Hardly had we cured them when we were pelted with more sick folk. It was a blinding shower. I saw in it all a terrible snare: beyond doubt, I felt, if I went on tending the sick, by and by I would lose sight of God.
“Pity can be a ghastly entanglement to those who do not discriminate, and there I stood, with a wall of sick men between me and God. I said to myself: ‘Like Hanuman, the monkey, leap over them and fling thyself upon the Infinite.’ But somehow I could not leap and I felt lame. Just at that juncture, a lay disciple of mine came to see me: he recognised my predicament and, good soul that he was, he at once got hold of a doctor and an architect and set to work to build the hospital. Very strange though it seems, other illusions co-operated with that good man to help him—the moneylender, the first fellow I cured, sent an additional load of gold and built the day clinic. In six years the place was a solid home of delusion where men put their soul-evolution back by doing good. Shiva, Shiva!”
“But, Master, I notice that your own disciples, boys and young girls, work there?” I put in my question.
“Yes, like these two young ladies here, other young people come to me to serve God. Well, youth suffers from a delusion that it can do good. But I have remedied that somewhat; I let them take care of the sick as long as their outlook on God remains vivid and untarnished, but the moment any of my disciples show signs of being caught in the routine of good works—like the scavenger’s cart that follows the routine of removing dirt every morning—I send that person off to our retreat in the Himalayas, there to meditate and purify his soul. When he regains his God-outlook to the fullest, if he wishes, I let him return to the hospital. “Beware, beware: good can choke up a soul as much as evil.”
“But if someone does not do it, how will good be done?” questioned the old gentleman in a voice full of perplexity.
“Live so,” replied the Master in a voice suddenly stern, “live so that by the sanctity of thy life all good will be performed involuntarily.”

This puzzling story challenges our understanding of good deeds. The story brings home the idea that God is good but good is not God. Sometimes our good deeds can stand between us and God making each other unable to have any relation. In this sense, good works corrupt the doer, “The good deeds done to catch the eye of God in the end becomes the bitter fruits of desire.” One cannot purchase God with his good deeds since those deeds are tainted by a desire. Jesus says “So you also, when you have done everything you were told to do, should say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty.”

Our good works don’t guarantee our goodness. It is here the Althusserian formula of Marxism is a good choice: “everything will be determined in the last instance. “Beware, beware: good can chalk up soul as much as evil.” It is an immense revelation. Simon Weil says the same thing differently: if a person does not have enough spiritual strength, the good deeds he does can turn out to be evil.The good works degrade the person if he does not have the spiritual strength that can match his good work. Some People make this complaint, “I only intended good but still …” The people who have spiritual strength has no such kind of intentions to be sorry about.

We can resist the inclinations and corruptions that our good deeds bring only by disclaiming them. Escape from the good deeds as soon as it is done, remaining in them can spoil you. Another way to escape them is changing the telos. Never do a good deed to inherit God or his kingdom. Elkhart’s radical mysticism rests on similar imperative. He says in his Sermon 5b: “So long as you perform your works for the sake of the kingdom of heaven, or for God’s sake, or for the sake of your eternal blessedness, and you work them from without, you are going completely astray.” It is in this context Elkhart defines a poor man as one “who has a will and a longing for nothing.”

Jesus became God by depriving himself fully of God and His ecstasies.

Idolatry

Gorky made this comment about Chekhov, “it seems to me that in the presence of Anton Pavlovich, everyone felt an unconscious desire to be simpler more truthful and more himself.” Perhaps Chekhov’s  A Student is a story that can humble our existence and make us subtle enough to carried away by a gust of wind. The story is simple and devoid of big incidents but it has a charm that may last ever.
A young student in theology has returned to his village for Easter: on Good Friday, having spent the afternoon hunting in the woods, he walks back home at dusk. The weather is still bitterly cold and he stops and warms himself by a bonfire which a widow and her grown-up daughter have lit in their courtyard. Standing by the fire and chatting with the two women, he is suddenly reminded of the Passion Gospel which was read in church the day before, and he retells it to them: on the night Jesus was arrested, Peter had also stood by such a fire in the courtyard of the High Priest’s palace. As he was warming himself among the guards and servants, they started asking him questions: he took fright and denied three times having ever had any acquaintance with Jesus. At that moment, a cock crowed, and realising what he had done, “he went out and wept bitterly.”
As the student takes leave of the women, he is surprised to see that the widow is quietly sobbing and her daughter looks distressed, “as if holding back a terrible pain.” Walking into the incoming darkness, he ponders the women’s emotion:
“Their weeping meant that all that happened to Peter on that terrible night had a particular meaning for them . . . Obviously what he had just told them about happenings nineteen centuries ago had a meaning for the present, for “for both women and also probably for this God-forsaken village, for himself, for all people. It had not been his gift for poignant narrative that had made the women weep. It was because Peter was near to them.”
“Joy suddenly stirred within him . . . Crossing the river by ferry, and then climbing the hill, he looked at his home village and the narrow strip of cold crimson sunset shining in the west. And he brooded on truth and beauty—how they had guided human life there in the garden, and in the High Priest’s palace, how they had continued without a break till the present day . . . A sensation of youth, health, strength—he was only twenty-two years old—together with an anticipation, ineffably sweet, of happiness, strange, mysterious happiness gradually came over him. And life seemed enchanting, miraculous, imbued with exalted significance.

Chekhov wrote some 250 short stories; among all of them, he singled out “The Student” as his favourite.

This is the story one can read as he ages to death and he knows that life never ends but is recounted in varied ways to come equal to an incident that happened somewhere else. That small incident is beyond everything because it is where life saw its own magnitude and beauty. Perhaps that incident might have been the most sorrowful, still it is instilled to generations its braveness and beauty. There are also occasions when we imitate or remember this incident without any ardour then it is a pale and sorry imitation where that incident is lowered to the level of reverberation and everything looks pitiful.
These are the feelings that swept over me when I saw the newly unveiled statue of Jesus in front of a church.
Our effort to make an incident real ends up in disfiguring it, if it is done by minor artists. Caravaggio mixed shadows and lights so masterly in his ‘supper at Emmaus’ to bring all the emotions of the incident. The resurrected Jesus doesn’t look triumphant but he looks very ordinary man whose face betrays the pains of a violent death. It’s not piety that picture demand from us but release to a truth. our hearts surges up to meet a lofty feeling of pathos and we become sure that everything that is crushed under the feet of the power of the world will rise up on the third day.
The particular figure’s aim is to arouse a sentimental devotion which is very much calculative. It is not these cheap sentimentalities that take us to the  way to calvary but truth and beauty that may make us weep and smile at the same time. The figure of Jesus is oozing with blood and his standing on a podium from which blood overflows. Still, Jesus looks devoid of all the agonies and suffering. He is as if ready to come to the rescue of everyone who pleads to him. What this figure evokes in the believer is not a truth but one’s own masochism and need for a protection even from a crushed and crucified man. Crucified Jesus is not our protector but one who must be protected from us.he is not the one to whom we need to pray but for whom we should pray so that the world may stop persecuting him.
Sometimes nothing is dangerous and inhuman as piety and devotion. It blinds our senses and will make us seek pleasure in blood sacrifices. It may force us to kill others. It can also disfigure a truth and turn to our own advantage. Religion makes use of the piety of the people with various false depictions and lies. Thus it begets idolatry, one of the worst crime against God.

Pulpit of Loose Canons

Catholics are the most forgiving people. They learn a portion of their patience from Sunday sermons. Only indifferently patient people can bear the Sunday sermon of priests. Gone are the days when priests excelled in languages. Now we have neither good English nor Malayalam. Our materials are outdated, our outlook is pathetically narrow, our parlance is being mocked, our premonitions are bleak with no substantial reading. When we appear in media, we look vulnerable. Those who have doctorates have knowledge but no life. Those who have no doctorates sparingly escape from stupidities. Some people spent many useless years in foreign universities doing research resulting a huge capital loss of the church. What Voltaire said is correct: the greatest curse of a society is an ignorant priest. There is no wonder when people take us for Draculas. Sunday sermons are excellent ways to quench our Vampire thirst. Some priests take one hour to finish up what can be said in five minutes. Like Narcissus, they fall into their own voice.

Even our greatest preachers are nonsensical, just wooing the people with simple narratives. Their charm remains for a while, then goes off. These simple narratives are deadly, they sedate the intellectual possibilities of religion and keep people in an eternal infancy. Philosopher Zizek said, “I like to complicate. I hate simple narratives, I suspect them.” Shalom TV with all its eunuch talks is an abomination to people who take gospels seriously. Mindless TV sermons are worse than TV serials. Let the dead gods bury their own TV gods. But listen to what atheist Zizek says, “Christians and Marxist should unite against the contemporary onslaught of vapid spirituality.” It’s time we purge this vacuous spirituality with a dose of atheism. Passionate and intelligent atheists are more pleasing to Jesus than effortless TV theists, I believe.

What is the malicious implication which has beset our gospel interpretations? Firstly, our shallow thinking does not trust in appearance, we somehow think that every word has a deeper meaning lying somewhere else. We are searching for a content which is not there. Susan Sontag shrewdly observes “the idea of content today is mainly a hindrance, a noise and is, or not so subtle philistinism.” Interpretation is very much a forceful conscious act which plucks some elements of the text and shows that they are in relation to some other elements of the past. In our case relation of the new Testament to the old Testament. Correlationism is the only thing today’s interpretation is capable of doing. Correlation consists in asserting specific and unsurpassable relations. It’s like saying; there is no X without givenness of Y. Levi R. Bryant unravels the hidden danger of correlationsim, “Correlationism is thus not the thesis that we must relate to something in order to know it, but rather that what we know of anything is true only for us. In this regard, correlationism is a form of scepticism for it asserts that whether or not things-in-themselves are this way is something we can never know because we can only ever know things as they appear to us, not as they are in themselves.” It’s paramount to say that the text has no life its own but in relation to something else. Meillassoux presents his account of how we might break out of the correlationist circle in his discussion of the principle of factuality in After Finitude. The worst instance of correlationsim is the spiritual relation we give to erotic text, Song of Solomon. It’s based on our long lasting understanding erotic as evil. Actually, our correlatinist spirituality is inhuman and evil. What is the problem with erotic? God is erotic. If we can interpret an erotic book as spiritual, then the opposite is also possible, someone can interpret the spiritual book as erotic. Interpretations have this problem, they open up textual anarchisms.

In certain occasions, interpretation can be a liberating act but no interpretation is capable of giving us a formidable and complete scenario. Marxian interpretations of human relations on the basis of economy and exchange is fragmentary. It is foul when it aggressively bind all relations in economic mode. Freudian psychoanalysis is an intelligent tool to read human psyche but it is destructive when stretched too far. Susan Sontag smartly observes it “ in other cultural contacts, it [interpretation) is reactionary, impertinent, cowardly, stifling.” Our hermeneutics is a forceful stifling of the text.

Another fearsome element of our interpretation is that we are not satisfied with the text, they are not enough. They can be good only if we substantiate them with interpretations. And we end up replacing the text with some morbid interpretations. The sensuous and artistic surface of the text remains a threat to religion. We rebel with the book, not for ageing and becoming arid and bore. Hearing our interpretation, does the congregation want to read the text? Only reading is capable of recovering our senses of hearing and feeling. The preacher has only one duty, to propel the listener to read the text for himself. Susan Sontag makes it evident, “In place of hermeneutics, we need an erotic of art.” Our interpretation is seldom an art.
Now how can we read the text without stiffening it? How can we found the text in our situations? If there is a depth in text how can be steep into it? French philosopher Francois Laruelle (of non-philosophy) is capable of giving us some guidelines.
When we interpret the text, we should careful not to elaborate present, distends it, seeking to make present unending, to sustain or carry the evils of the past along with it. By contrast, Laruelle challenges us to exit from it. Our interpretations should usher in the future, “the future is to make a certain usage of memory, rather remember, bear witness or even mourn.” They are indeed some things which do not avail to interpretation. They should not be disfigured but must be preserved as materials for future. Interpretations need truth but truth is not in need of meaning or interpretation. When Pilate asked Jesus “what is truth?” Jesus refused to give any meaning or definition of truth as it is impossible. The truth is something to be experienced in the future.

Perhaps, the greatest admonition of Laruelle is this: don’t put things in white, the watchers and onlookers are the ones who see white. But the one who sees black is a visionary, the black seer is the oracular prophet. “Vision is foundational when it abandons perception and sees- in-the-night.” When the lights are ablaze visions fade. In the wake of the night came Nicodemus to see the most visionary among men, Jesus. They converse intimately. Nicodemus went back with visions of birth because he saw him in the dark, birth hour of life. One has visions when he looks avidly into the pitch dark of night.

“Simplify colours!” Laruelle pleads. “See black, think white! See black rather than believe ‘unconscious.’ And think white rather than believe conscious.” Don’t see, be a seer. Interpretation is capable only of seeing and reporting. So, stop interpreting and start envisioning. To see visions we need to stop looking, “Only with eyes closed can we unfold the future.” The real substance is not available to look and perceptions, the dark matter with which that universe is made and expands has never been to the gaze of man, “Black is the without-ground which affixes light in the remote which never absorbs it. Here lies the crazy and catatonic light of the world” and “no light has ever seen the black universe.”

Don’t dilute your Scriptures in multicoloured dreams rather emancipate them in black, the radical of colours. The vision in black takes as to the essence of colours which is not coloured. Colouring is the job of feeble heart, afraid of seeing the black. There must be a science which can repel ecstasies of colour. One who sees colour from a back universe is able to transform them without mixing. The simplifications of colour can bring out the whiteness of understanding, which means don’t look from the perspective of colour because the horizon of reality is not light, aperture or flash. Our interpreters are children who are afraid of the dark. They fend off the dark by humming colours. They must know “black alone is subject and may render manifest the philosophical interlocking of concepts.” In the depth of a closed eye infinite is a knowledge that penetrates boundless night. Our messages should not be submerged in muggy and corrupt waters of the present. Fit it with a binocular to unravel the remote and future. Laruelle dares, “See black! Not that all your suns have fallen. They have since reappeared, only slightly dimmer. But black is the colour that falls eternally from the universe onto your earth.”

When darkness pitched its vast tent on earth, when all fell into silence and sleep he came into the world as a secret, stranger, nomad. He was a brother of starts and son of the night. He is now the source of all colours, but he himself is not a colour.

A Communist

Philosophers Hardt and Negri’s Empire is a Communist manifesto of the 21st-century. In Empire Hardt and Negri are seeking the best means for undermining imperial sovereignty. How can we be against the empire, the sovereign cruelty? Hardt and Negri think that we can defuse and defeat Empire by refusal, by desertion, by deliberately embracing exodus, mobility and nomadism. We resist the network system of regulation and power by desertion, which means that we do nothing more than deliberately abandoning the places of power. Exodus and desertion are the techniques which allow us to access the generic, “Whereas in the disciplinary era sabotage was the fundamental notion of resistance, in the area of imperial control it may be desertion” writes Hardt and Negri. Exodus does not mean to evacuate the place, “class struggle in the biopolitical context takes the form of exodus but the exodus does not necessarily mean going elsewhere. We can pursue a line of flight while staying right here.”

Who has embodied the joy of neo-communist struggle against empire? Hard and Negri’s answer is St Francis of Assisi. By identifying himself with the poorest and most oppressed Francis countered the key kernel of capitalism. This according to the authors, is an inherently revolutionary act.

“To denounce the poverty of the multitude he adopted that common condition and discovered there the ontological power of a new society. The communist militant does the same, identifying the common condition of the multitude its enormous wealth. Francis in opposition to nascent capitalism refused every instrumental discipline, and in opposition to the mortification of the flesh (in poverty and in the constituted order) he posed a joyous life, including all of being and nature, the animals, sister moon, brother sun, the birds of the field, the poor and exploited humans, together against the will of power and corruption.”

Francis’ obedience was another form of rebellion. He posited rebellion against the power symbols of church and world. Francis lived the communism of Gospels, “Once again in postmodernity we find ourselves in Francis’s situation, posing against the misery of power the joy of being. This is a revolution that no power will control—because bio-power and communism, cooperation and revolution remain together, in love, simplicity, and also innocence. This is the irrepressible lightness and joy of being communist..” write Hardt and Negri.
Anyone who takes Jesus seriously is a communist. Francis took Jesus extreme seriously.

Matter Of Fact

God is material and devil is spiritual. In the beginning, God created everything and found it good. Then from where evil came? It was originated in the mind, mentally or spiritually. I owe GK Chesterton so much for bringing me to this idea.

Evil is an existence which is not actual but spiritual that has no existence like that of matter. God alone exists. Evil is there as if it is there. Indian philosophy calls it Maya. But this spiritual evil is powerful enough to falsify the nature of matter. Evil breeds in the mind then it proceeds to feign the matter. First, one decides to kill then follows the act of killing.

God is material but not materialistic. Both spiritual and materialistic tries to find a meaning beneath the phenomenon. Spiritualism and materialism do not trust in the surface of things. They go deep into the thing, searching for their meaning and end up disfiguring them. There is a secret resonance between spiritual and materialistic.

The matter is pure because it is not something else. A stone is a stone and not a flower. The sky is sky and not desert. Spiritual is impure because it can be something else and many.

Spirit is not a spiritual thing but a material thing which exists virtually. As Deleuze says life contains only virtuals. What we call virtual is not something that lacks reality but something that works as a source of everything that comes into existence. Virtual is not like possible since possible is not yet real but virtual is already real. Only virtual come into existence. Spiritual can never be actual. Even when spiritual come into existence it is a disguised existence like devil becoming serpent to tempt Adam and Eve. Our greatest mistake lies in placing a material thing like spirit in a spiritual world. The spirit should be in a virtual reality and not in a ghostly spiritual world because the spirit is not spiritual. Spirit does not change nature but works on nature while evil tries to change nature. Devil asked Christ to change stone into bread. Jesus refuses but later Jesus did multiply bread into thousand pieces. They are still bread, though multiplied.

What we need today is a material understanding of Christ, Cross, and the resurrection. All our spiritual interpretation has disfigured Christ and disqualified him as transcendence. According to the spiritual interpretation, the meaning is not in the text or in events but is elsewhere. Spiritual interpretation can be easily idealist and undermine the power of the idea to be real. That is why spiritual meaning is often a fabricated meaning.

In christ, God is immanently material. He sleeps, dreams, shouts, laughs, prays, doubts, eats and excretes. Sometimes his body fails him and sometimes his mind fails him but he clings to his spirit without trusting in any spiritual consolations. Jesus revolts against the transcendence of God and his useless omnipotence and omniscience. God’s despairing insinuations are questioned and His inhuman laws are implicated. Jesus exposed the greatest failure of God, his failure to be material. Jesus destroys the transcendence of God by bearing Him in his wounded, withering and dying flesh. Because transcendence is heinous, As Deleuze observes,
“Transcendence freezes living, makes it coagulate and lose its flow; it seeks to capture the vital difference that outruns all thought and submit to the judgment of a single perspective,a perspective that stands outside difference and gathers it into manageable categories. Transcendence substitutes knowledge for thought.”

His death extols the most deadly material thing, the cross. He proves that redemption is impossible without materiality. When he is resurrected he was so human and material that his disciples failed to recognise him. the stop he tells them repeatedly that he is not a ghost known a spirit. Now he feeds us as a material thing, a piece of bread. Jesus was a material God, he remains as a material God. He is with us materially, virtually and really.

Letter To a Priest

Dear Priest,
I am also a priest. But there is a hell lot of difference between our priesthood. From your appearance, I presume that you are someone who is destined to be a priest. It is your birthright. You somehow inherited those high, solemn clerical gestures. I am just someone who bechanced to be a priest. If you are invited, I might be called. I always wonder how could I came to be a priest! I have a nagging sense of guilt whenever I do my priestly duties. I suppose that you are quite comfortable in your wardrobes. I always disliked this “destiny.” I wish to wash away everything of ‘destiny’ which is instilled in me by nature. Destiny is inhuman. I am a fan of ‘spirit,’ The spirit that does not destine anything to anyone, instead, engage itself in a playful game of chance and haphazardness and make things happen.

In the beginning of ‘Ulysses,’ the question is asked: “What is God?” To which Stephen replies: “A cry in the street.” I think you don’t like this definition of God. Your God cannot be a crying God. Your God is the triumphant God of judgements and accusations. Perhaps your God may be just like you, full of assertions. Now there is an excessive demand for priests like you, the preachers of the word of God. Still, I wonder how your word of God preaching fail to announce Christ! Christ is not merely Bible. He is far greater than Bible. There are situations when one can really confuse Christ with the bible. Do you belong to a new crop of priests who does not read anything other than Bible? They seem to have made Bible a book of sufficiency and betrayed its call to the imagination. There are many people who missed God by reading bible alone. Their interpretation of whole life in a godlike manner contained within itself revolt against God. They could not practice an atheism which has a redeeming power to purify faith. Their ever-readiness for salvation pulled them to damnation. Their faith was so solid that eating up that same solidness came up the worms of mistrust and evil.

Last time when I heard, you were erupting like a volcano, because you were dealing with a hot subject: sex. You told the congregation how horrified you become when you see girls in miniskirts and jeans. You chastised the girls who wear churidar without the shawl. Your background energy was some extra pious people who confessed to you that they can’t pray when those girls are in the church. In the name of God you condemned and judged milestones around the neck of all those who made men stumble. You were furious against the human body which fails to be a body of the religion.

Why your God is so sexually obsessed? Why can’t he be less impertinent and less hypocritical with regard to sex? How masquerading we become in our hate against human body!The problem is not in the miniskirts. We should be horrified by the way people are exploited and left as garbages than by the sight of a female breast. It’s not nudity but dress which is the indication of the shame we have inherited.Levi Strauss, the famous anthropologist discovered an aboriginal community which had no relation with outside world. They were roughly four thousand people. He found them naked but handsome and happy. By the time he went to study them again the Christian missionaries had already reached there. Now he found them all dressed but ugly and unhappy. We destroyed them making Christians which is not of the Gospel nor of the Christ. You have by-hearted the Bible without grasping its spirit. Bible is God’s endless and despairing struggle with organised religion which cannot survive without witch hunting. In new Testament Jesus clearly counted priests as the enemy of people.

In his phenomenology of the spirit, Hegel wrote that evil resides in the very gaze that perceives evil around itself. This is what Slavoj Zizek calls as reflexivity:the standpoint from which we perceive a state of things can be itself part of the state of things. Jesus did not fell into this trap of reflexivity. He was not censorious like us. To the woman caught in adultery, he said: “Neither do I judge you.” Jesus was accepting the fact that as a human being he did not have the right to judge another human being.

Jesus was a man on the road, settling on nothing. But his church is stagnant because of the immovable and bureaucratic clergy. They take themselves too seriously and imagine themselves to be the custodians of truth. All our intimidations from the pulpit have managed to destroy the reality of messianicity. Thus in the hands of priests, Christianity became a yoke of the vicious circle. Preachings in shalom T.V amount the vicious circle we are entangled in. Recently I watched an Irish movie, ‘Calvary,’ which tries to show a good priest. In the movie, we see the confession of a young man who suffered unspeakable sexual crimes from an evil priest. Now the young man wants to kill this good priest because he feels that his revenge can be equal only if he kills a good priest of the church. He finds no use in killing a bad priest. The good priest revolts against this injustice placed upon him. And his life is toppled over. He hires a gun for his self-protection. At the end of the movie we see him in a beach unarmed accepting his fate. The young man comes to take his revenge and he points his gun at the head of the priest and asks whether he has any regret in life. To which the priest replies “Yes I have, I could not read Moby Dick.”

At the end of the day, these may be the only regrets haunt us, that we did not converse with the great art forms of the world. Reading is an excellent way to practice ‘transcendental homelessness.’I like the writings of a Jesuit priest Boris Gunjević. There is rare charm in his writings and there is the flipping of the coins in his writing to decide what is good and bad. He wrote placing his trust in books as a way to be part of humanity, “Someday when we get around to writing a genealogy of our failures, inadequacies, and disappointments, an important place in such a study will be the books we never read, for whatever reason.” Every book we have not read reduces our horizon and shows how pitiful we are. Boris Gunjević has this revelation, “The books we never read will be one of the indicators of our anachronisms and our flawed humanity. When our imagined defence systems crumble and we are betrayed by our own mechanisms of denial, only then will reading preserve the dignity of the loser.” Isn’t it something scary?
God did not create the world with any functional end in view but simply for the love and sheer beauty of it. God is such a beauty crazy that he rebukes anyone who passes without noticing the subtle pink colour of His recent flower. Anyone who believes in such a God will not touch a flower without its permission and will not rebuke however naked it. At least art can save us from the worst situation of being megalomaniacs.
Being a priest is a dangerous thing. If you don’t guard against yourself, you may fall into most abominable crimes. There are some who go to any extreme to destroy the reputation of his brother priest to perpetuate to their own power. The whole effort of Jesus was to eliminate the elements of power, the power of God and man. So that he may reinvent himself as Christ.
Literary critic James Wood narrates the contradiction that a priest may get into:

“Growing up in a religious household, I got used to the sight of priests, but always found them fascinating and slightly repellent. The funeral uniform, supposed to obliterate the self in a shroud of colourlessness, also draws enormous attention to the self; humility seems to be made out of the same cloth as pride. Since the ego is irrepressible—since the ego is secular—it tends to bulge in peculiar shapes when religiously depressed. The priests I knew practiced self-abnegation but perfected a quiet dance of ego. They were modest but pompous, gentle but tyrannical—one of them got angry if he was disturbed on a Monday—and pious but knowing. Most were good men, certainly less venal than the average; but the peculiar constrictions of their calling produced peculiar opportunities for unloosing.”

Dear Priest,
You know how to be a priest. But you don’t know how not to be a priest. That is the heart of the matter. I know a priest who knows how not to be a priest. He does it so artistically. His name is Jijo Kurian. He has no time to measure the length of Mini Skirts instead he engages with various social issues defying all establishments. God is ready to appear before him as a cloud or tree with all His magic so that he may photograph Him. More than being a priest or bishop let’s be human beings accepting our predicament and frailty. Jesus detested self-righteous and loved sinners. Jesus message is that God is on the side of sinners despite their viciousness and he calls his Father who is neither judge nor an accuser. We, human can never achieve self-righteousness but only self-delightedness. Let us engage in a project of self-transformation which is never possible without the unfathomable source of love and art.