Saturday, November 17, 2007

Deconstruction is (as Caputo notes) not primarily an anti-movement. It is a positive virtue to be practiced

A typical iconic depiction of Perichoresis is an empty center with the persons circling around it. According to this theologian (again, can’t remember the name) that is like the notion of hospitality in Derrida and Levinas. Rather than assert one’s own position one always cedes the place to the Other. The metaphor emphasizes the horizontal (as opposed to vertical) imagery of postmodernity.
It is a beautiful and deeply moral vision. It correctly shows that deconstruction is (as Caputo notes) not primarily an anti-movement. Deconstruction is a positive virtue to be practiced. The worldspace is real. It identifies itself in opposition to modernity no doubt, but it is not nihilistic. It also helps I think answer the charge that such pomo ideas are inherently elitist. Arcane post-structuralism is no doubt, and poorly done application (esp. in so-called liberal literary academia) certainly is. But this idea is not. It’s children, God-like, dancing circularly.
As even N.T. Wright said, not actually a lefty-liberal, the gift of postmodernity, from the outlook of Christianity, is that it critiques the arrogance of modernity. The hubris, self-inflation, and human/self-centered view of modernity. Not to mention that it reminds us that evil is not to be written off the face of the planet by technological or scientific schemes.
That said, there is a serious problem/flaw in the whole outlook, the humanizing of this praxis notwithstanding.
What happens, when humans, imitating the Godhead in this way, always ceding our place, find that another (not practicing in this way) steals the central place or worse commits violence, using our ceding as a means to inflict punishment or oppression on others?
This is a key question that gets to the heart of the limitation of the postmodern sphere.

1 comment:

  1. I see that the author of this essay has unity-consciousness as one of his themes.
    Strange really when Christianity altogether is based on the notion of inherent separateness. Indeed the essay on this post is full of the language of separation or non-unity. Of the presumed separate "I" being the constant focus and presumed doer of religious/spiritual action---I, I, I, me, me, me.

    Also anyone who quotes N T Wright as an "authority" on religion has a lot to learn. Wright being a promoter of "religion" founded long ago in the childhood of man. Children surrounded, by the wholly "other" parental deity---big daddy in the sky. The santa claus good luck "god".