Saturday, July 29, 2006

Au-dessus de la mêlée [Romain Rolland & Herbert Marcuse]

Civilization, Madness, Eros?

As though these three words could be anyone epitaphy of death or a verbal phrase one really seems to wander slily in between those, seemly trying to find desperately a home one could call his own somewhere in between the ashes of Athens and Jerusalem, perhaps the oldest intellectual struggle from which that hermentic super-structure known as the Western world has sprung forth in order to take us over, since the very beginning of a world never old and never new. "In between past and future".

I can untie the wires without finding a fashion to recompose the painting and our whole wealth of traditions, pasts and within them our thoughts are laid bare before me in a nakedness that produces more disdain and sadness than courage of amazement. Jewishly speaking it reminds me of my conversation with Einat Ramon regarding Heschel and Bialik on the issue of Halacha and Aggadah. After my remarks on Franz Rosenzweig and Hermann Cohen (which I no longer remember) Einat pointed out that the divisions within the realm of the worldly not only no longer existed but they have never existed. As such the burdenproof is supplied by the Biblical man, in its very one world. One in which the secular and the holy were certainly not one (excluding any talk on the Ancient Near Eastern canons of law where no prescriptions for ritual practices were presented that carried a punishment upon the lack of their fulfillment), the two extremes most certainly existed and their combination is what led these men of old into their "wanderings". This insight was provided to me this evening by the legendary Jacob Chinitz.

Our problem in defining the secular realm is that we're navigating on waters that were more Aegean and Dorian than Phoenician. We're living in a world whose secular view is not the product of this formally casual dialectics that the Biblical man experienced but rather the deterministic attitude of the Classical Greek man in which he rejected all the mysteries, mocking Homer and the Pre-Socratic philosophers with their natural dogmas, even more so the Pythagoreans. This we can clearly read into the dialogues of Plato.

Harvey Cox sheds light on the problem by pointing out that the Greek world only contained space, and as long as our world is a Greek one most certainly Motzkin might have been right when he pointed out that the Marxist idea of progress in fact has no base (in an Augustinian sense coming to the same conclusions as Cox through a different perspective). Such not being the case with the Biblical man. The Hebrew man built his identity on the premise of time, and then the world instead of being empty space populated by the human race become immediately history, containing the dual dimensionality of man that my teacher Avivah has pointed towards while quoting Kafka. Cox's analysis goes way too far but I lack the tools to furnish evidence.

[damn computer crashed and what I wrote hereunder had to be redone.... angrily and with a slender and hindered muse]

It's unclear to me how well Rolland knew Heidegger, but from his biographical information I know he studied philosophy at the ENS which he later on dropped not wanting to be poisoned by the ideology of the times, ideology... such a characteristic word of the 19th century. But in his very own work it seems to me as though his "public statement" (that which every genius makes when his talents bring him to the fore of the public world) wasn't too much different from Marcuse's. Rolland must have known at least Hegel, Brentano and Husserl if not Heidegger. That same statement Marcuse made in 1945, the year when Rolland died and 3 years after the suicide of Stefan and Charlotte Zweig in Brazil. We can't attach an exclusive value to their purpose, as Rolland wasn't a Jew.

A philosopher could be deceived about political matters and then simply recognize his error- wrote Marcuse in 1945, but he couldn't be deceived about a regime that murdered six million Jews and that turned error into an everyday event. This same concern that drove Marcuse outwardly to the world of politics and Rolland inwardly to the world of literature. Both might seem today as part of the same driving force (in the post-archaic and already abstract sense) that springs forth human freedom and the quest of otherness. Rolland's interest in India might have been well different from Heidegger's contact with the Kyoto school, in which he betrayed two millenia of Western moral and metaphysical thinking, and beyond that - obliterated it for the posterity. Murderously erradicating the traditions that contained our pasts and with them our thoughts and per force our consciousness.

Marx and Heidegger might not have worked in opposite directions, but wore the same thin force of the pre-rational man, with whom the Biblical man was in itself rescinded to an other-wordly status that excluded his contingengy. Perhaps Rolland sinned in not being critical enough, and it only reminds me of Zweig's accounts of his travel in India.... clearly attacking Cox at least 40 years before "The Secular City" and moreover didn't sin anymore than Marcuse. But those are after thoughts that must be left for the posterity, for I can only clumsily pose the questions trying to follow the steps of my teacher Arendt, in a world in which it is no longer possible to "Be" in the sense that it was before this realm of dread that wiped out any possibility to de-atrophy the senses in order to come to the fore of the catastrophe and exercise our judgement. In that very realm is my distrust of Christianity and of any sort of theology that doesn't clean itself from Aristotle, but therein I'm being Heideggerian at the very top of my energies.

That's why perhaps Zweig and Rolland might have been the last "men" in the sense of Goethe, even beyond Rachel and Rousseau. Marcuse I don't trust or distrust because my opinion about the making of politics is rather ambiguous. I do not want to obliterate the metaphysical world but in my concern to do politics in order to de-estrange the world and bring it forth so that it can gain a dual dimensionality again, I do obliterate the need and importance of philosophical undertakings. Wasn't it in any case that duality what we've been attacking Hegel for? I've written in my journal already a few times that we quite didn't understand Hegel. Perhaps our misunderstanding is that of being Kantians. In that sense we have to find the truth within our earthly prison and therefore eliminate the "travail" of the Biblical man and exchange it for a rather provincial view, perhaps a little bit burgeois.

Bottom line is... there's so much to learn from Zweig.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Personal Note

I hate these personal notes, because they often turn out sort of kitschy and one doesn't know what to do with it; beyond that also being a "Lessingian" at the top of my forces I prefer to keep that silent distance between myself and the world as to make sure a world will exist even in the aftermath of thinking. My mind wanders through slies in mani-fold directions, and even when I managed to focus on the study of Greek for almost a whole day today I almost lost the continuity, yet it isn't alarming because it's still too early in the day.

Books remain open 24/7 but hardly ever completed, and it's really more of a concentration problem than one of lack of intellectual skills. The question of Being in its "thrownness" seems to be rather unavoidable for me, at the centre of all my metaphysical inquiries but the violence of this thrownness and its implications in the worldly world of Men seems to distract me even more and such as the originally intended "Dasein" I'm driven into politics in an almost animal fashion, but certainly one quite different from my teacher on ontology and anything Greek and thought of as lofty and belonging to the realms of the spiritual causes. I become a traitor.

In anycase my life's been surrounded by many different acts of betrayal, so that it couldn't even be termed theatrical anymore, even when there's plenty of that too. I don't cease reading S. Zweig and enlightening my already radically rotten views of the worlds of celebrities and intellectuals. My disdain for anything intellectual keeps growing adrift just like anything European. I seem to be in that so typically Arendtian position to support and forcefully explicate anything among whose aims there's clearly an irrational desire to anhiliate my very existence or at least to make it quite unendurable with toils that wouldn't have been too familiar to our fellow Greek citizens and Athenian "polites". The conflict of interests with Marxist underdogs doesn't seem to have changed at all, and our "analytical" words just become an echoed veil of our failure.

I'm constantly driven by my freedom into the mightiness of the Ocean, as to re-experience the world and recover it but such is the vertigo that comes with the fall that every so often I just seek refugee in those houses of security that exclude the nausea. The Feast of Fools. Those notions are irreparably connected to my whole perception of reality, the necessity to have an spiritual world, a world above... so that this one below can continue existing. This one anyway would certainly not cease to exist had we obliterated the one above, but it would be a return to the mankind of the pre-Biblical world. I don't reject the enterprise of Ontology, nor I pretend to radically take away from a world already old its traditions and heritages, because in them it contains also its pasts and willy-nilly living "Rei". I just call for a "recognition" of this Biblical world-view. I won't develop this here, it might take me some 20 years to really know what I'm talking about. In the meantime I can utmost comment on boring philosophical texts.

Just to "top" an electronic endeavour this morning. Chatting endlessly with an Israeli soldier, and observing his naked pics. Then as a typical dweller of the anti-world scheduling an appointment for base raw casual sex. I wasn't that attracted to him really, who apparently seemed all too uninteresting and unbefitting for my categories of acquaintances and midnight lovers. But the age... the damn age; he fares 21 summers which is one more than me. I don't know how to really explain this but once you get over the 20ish threshold and start counting up then you look at your body and feel you skin with a different kind of feeling, it's some sort of self-directed desire at that stage right in between your masculinity and some vestiges of childlishness and boyhood. Then you start dreaming of yourself younger as though the years would start being spared on you, it's just melodrama but it constitutes an instense sort of feeling.

In that burgueois and morally astray world one can't help but go along the lines of the human condition by thinking "not to have is the beginning of desire". That's why we all sophisticated people yearn for the fireman and the cop and the baker, notions that are an absurdity in every possible respect.

That's how I led myself into it. It's a pity because it turns my whole thinking enterprise into an arbitrary nothingsness for which one could only find counsel in Kundera. I'm really a citizen of the anti-world and unfortunately that's the only world where I've ever been at home. In my vindictive endeavour my little fighting soldier refuses to have sex in the end because I'm a so-called "Pro-Arab". I've never trusted the right-wing (in particular the Israeli with its religious affiliations) to have much intellectuality or common sense, practically I acuse them of living in a world where gut feelings and subjectivity (attacking it in a most Heideggerian fashion) equals consciousness and possibiliti-ness. I've just NEVER trusted the right-wing, and because I have some quite clear ideas about what it means to be Jewish in a wider historical context beyond "Israeli" politics I have by proxy to affiliate myself with the Left and the values of liberalism and relativism even, because I'm bound by the Biblical Relevation... the ultimate atheistic anti-churchy propaganda and relativization of values.

That was really the ridiculous top of the mountain. Plus being such a political animal and "Polis" dweller like myself I can't understand how those "provincial" types that still read Jane Austin and the Brontee's can dare to bring together their political views as an underdog for what they shove up their asses. It is quite a sorry situation because these days not only our political views decide our nationalities and exiles, but they also decide our nights out and the number of "longpigs" we can swallow per year.

This is written in a decidedly profane and rather vulgar language because one can't help the outrage before such events. "Event" in a Heideggerian fashion: Moment of Care, temporality. That's just a comment in the side with a rather cinemetographic mimesis. Funny enough Israel boils with right-wing and rather fascist queers which truly remind me of some other country a while back, but I can't tell you the name of the country. I can't write anything attacking the IDF or the Israelis or Zionism.

It's forbidden to me by my very own conscious objection. This morning I just read some sites from the American National Socialist Party and their endless links to Western newspapers and the endless accusations against this "poor" country, which isn't really any poor. I've lived here for about three years or more and I know things aren't really that pink, but one gets used to it even despite himself. Then I took a glimpse at Human Rights Watch and their disastrous anti-Israeli propaganda all signed by a very fine and well-educated American Jewish lady. Then you wonder if maybe she herself received scholarships sponsored with Saudi money at the finest American colleges and quite exceedingly profited from a "liberal" education that "obviously" isn't available to those that just sit not idly and gather more books than any college student might have ever read. They were too busy with bareback and fraternity issues such as the drinker of the week and the ass of the month. I won't see myself quoted by anybody for the purpose of polit-ichs.

My soldier friend can continue living in that ideal world of binary systems. Fortunately I've scheduled an American leftie for Saturday night. Next thing will be that somebody will refuse to bring you coffee because you believe in God or to provide you medical care because you don't wear the 2007 Mecca Gay World Pride Parade shirt. I think the Bible warned us about this a little bit, Freedom is really a form of Totalitarianism when let too much free, just like poor old Truth.

In other fronts; academia: My state of indecision is helpless.... my options are really studying philosophy with teachers I can't quite respect in a shabby university. Then there's across the sea a world of options. I've considered the following: Classics (Greek & Latin), Theology, Arabic (with Akkadian or German), Akkadian & Greek, Politics. I can't make up my mind.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Der Sinn Von Politik Ist...

One couldn't describe the feeling with enough accuracy, having grown already too experienced in the fashion of recklessly living as though the world above couldn't really exist for us anymore. That's where only Hannah has heartily turned me in some sort of an intellectual warrior who couldn't compromise for less than making this world more human, therefore much more inhabitable. Or in sight of the impossibility, at least transforming the way we think of it thereof.

In that "essentiality" I depart from the discourse of Cox, for with the total obliteration of metaphysics we've also forsaken altogether with religious and intellectual traditions and dogmas the pasts and therefore the world itself as well. I've losy my faith on the Left and refuse to embrace the Right; in all not unlike Lessing I remain critically committed to the world with the only purpose of making it more human by mere discourse. It's dangerous only in the sense that I've gained this cosmological view only from the raw experiences of history and current world affairs, but all the more realizing that by themselves alone they keep me from being able to move in any sort of invisible space I swim in the vast ocean of singled-out ideas in order to find my way around within the traditions, as to break away from this age-old dualism that so irreparably alienated us from the world as our forerunners received it.

No matter how dangerous the warfare we witness we can't let go of the study of the Classics, the Bible and the philosophers, without forgetting for a second Jasper's lesson on the philosophy of politics. It seems natural to me being driven to the public realm and world politics, not unlike Heschel would. The materialist view has turned the left into a bankrupt dialectic, we must hence strive for an existential answer for the interests of liberal politics, not unlike the Biblical prophets.

The pivotal lesson here, for which I must remain critically committed to liberalism is that for us the essence of politics isn't necessarily democracy, but freedom. Once we can no longer turn towards the Polis and the tragedies of the French Revolution still haunts us, we can't so blindly rely on democracy, social-contracts, humanism and logical positivism, all of which can already be judged as sheer fiction. Their triumph would be a loss for humanity.

Dr. Luchtins phrased it wonderfully through Hannah: The danger inherent to the French Revolution is that if all men are equal, when you're not equal it means I can kill you because you're not human. Sadly enough this is background on which the Nazi Holocausts rests, and most possibly the Arab genocide underway. The Israeli state has inherited materialistic dialects and the democracy of the French Revolution instead of Biblical humanism. What I call Anti-Humanism.

The actual lack of this freedom that is at the root of liberal politics is a turn-asides towards the human condition. All in all I'm trying to explain that as thinker I shouldn't fear the making of politics. In the current state of affairs politics is the only way back to philosophy, since we're almost unable to think of heaven at all no more, and with the obliteration of the world above we forsake any possible way to enter back the human world. The way of "politics" was perhaps somewhere hovering on us since Nietzche and in his denial of Aristotelian metaphysics only Heidegger bequested us this rebellion as a testament, that becomes second in importance to no other idea of the 20th century because we're talking about the same man who in its escape from Aristotle returned the most inhumaine form of Ontology with all the political implications it had for being-thereness-in-the-world. We learn from the brilliancy of his mistakes and his potential crimes, as Arendt and Jaspers would put it.

Dwelling exclusively on the metaphysical before the dismise of the human, is a deliberate choice to suspend judgement and deliver it to Man, not to men and therefore to surrender to the fallacy of ethics on an entirely otherwordly ground. That of ontology and so wholly alienated from that "place of dwelling" we're so forcefully attempting to recover.

But how can we recover it when our thinking space has disappeared by vanishing into the category of mythology with all our gods, traditions and histories? We're unable to think (unable to move in invisible spaces) and since our traditions have remained shattered for a long time we can no more move beyond the limitations imposed by nature, henceforth by means of "reason" as our only ally we've obliterated both worlds -the one above and the one below, with all the spaces in between humans that they contained. Diminishing to an unworthy status the quintessence of the human condition - the earth.

We're returned to a pre-rational world, that same world that Biblical revelation aimed to correct. Then moreover if the quest for human meaning is a denial of human freedom it is requiring from us a backwards travail from Greek questions towards (and within) a world that has separated men by means of politics, not exclusively of democracy. A turn towards a world that is both history and space, for an eternal world is certainly a harvest for questions of whatness and thisness (amazement) that do not systematically lead to judgement as the end of a syllogism (the idea of Leibniz). The questions are politically impractical; an eternal world doesn't see the sheer need for memory.

While it's true that the world of history (by necessity separated from nature) can't find a home without a Polis, this can't be a city of deities; citizens must be the dwellers of this space, citizens for whom history goes beyond divine origin into striving. But if the Gods are all dead as well, in order to "judge" anything at all we need to bring them back from their graves, because no practical solutions for the concern of the Polis are to be found wherenever the possibility for speculation (secularly speaking) has vanished.

To conclude a remark from Hannah's study of Augustine: The central idea of humanity is not expectation, but memory, without which the former is no longer possible. A static world is that of the Kantian mind, certainly eternal and unable to move, therefore not human enough and impaired for judgement, because memory is not contigent in a world that has always existed. The very same thinking at the root of that age-old Western problem of history that brought about the 19th century obsession with ideology and history (dialectically juxtaposed), replaced by the 20th century concern for revisionism of that same history. The consequence of rooting anything human artificially on reason, which isn't to be found in neither world above or below.

Judgment isn't based on reason, but on thinking (and experiences of willing) that are quite not the same. Thinking in actuality is the permanent updating of representation, the sin of reason is inertia. Reason suspends judgment in its radical loss of the world. Thinking does save the earth and with it the human condition, but on the condition of thinking our actions. Not when it suspends them to a realm of arbitrariness, alienating the two dimensions of man from one another and vanquishing the distinction between good and evil (atrophy of the senses) by a sacralization of politics and equality and justice that the Biblical weltanschauung tried to correct but using the elements available in the pre-rational world, rather than thiking from a vacuum whereby no living creature has dwelt but force, that "movement" the Pre-Socratics failed at distinguishing and remained condemned to their earthly prison. The problem was first solved by the travailing of Abraham with God's dream and designs (man was a partner in creation), breaking away from the inertia of nature.

Friday, July 21, 2006


Feeling a little bit hindered
Chasing myself out of a hidding place
That stands amidst Thy tents
Oh Jacob
In downtown Jerusalem
Feeling cherished
By the madness of these happy mornings
That pick up human bodies
From the imagination of the papers
And deliver them to the bad guys
Just like in elementary school.

I no longer drink coffee
Or truth is the coffee always remained undrunk
Whereas now it drinks itself to the imagination
And reminds me of being some sort of animal
Hunting my prey
Haunting in this world of men
A warrior born in a metal-cage
That knew no other villains
Than thinkers and beautiful men.

It doesn't look like a Polis
But at least we happen to talk about it lots
That's what makes this shithole
More human than political
One of the most beautiful places
For dust recollection.

Anything can be collected
Nothing can be recycled
Or Repeated
Not even the stone in your shoe
The one that makes you stumble
Anytime you find another one of your gender
As not even Jerusalem
Can free you from the prison of you being not somebody else.

I feel a little mad today
Even slightly illegal
But it's a good feeling
It glows so painfully
Till I vanish
Till I perish
In morningness
And awake by night
To engage in conversations
To remember,
Perhaps even to hope.

I feel a little mad today
Even slightly anarchic
But it's a good feeling
It glows radically
Till I love it
Till I die it
Till we rain in.

Women in Black Today

For a change, after the long and quite short-lived evening (and partly morning) I spent with Rashid I had to find myself facing the world of human-dwellers and citizens, that "City" for so long already betrayed and misused, in many different names. I walked back home entirely drunk in the pleasures of empathy, as though that phenomenal empty space in between my body and my "Geist" suddenly dissipated and both could touch one another as I transformed the energy of the world by my motion and as such imitated God even a little bit.

In the summer days (which are many!) I love the earliest mornings, the fresh morningness that feeds little tiny slices of inspiration dripping from ballons and otherwordly-things that the pink-fingered Aurora was given by her father Zeus to entertain herself. I almost floated through the streaming pleasures of the cold morning and embraced the most serious contemptuousness in the lonely man of faith. My travailing and echoeing through the late-hours and the thoughts of other people, the images of places still unknown and poetry that no one cares to memorize and recite aloud no more. The God led me hearthwards and bequested to me some sleep of pleasure and disregard. One of those mornings when the newspaper doesn't bother with coming, and your foremost love story seems to turn into the Archimedean point of your whole life.

Then later on escaping that sinful boredom that Kierkegaard preaches me about all the time, and without entertaining much Hegelian recollection but altogether lacking the inner drive to utter my prayers after such a colorfully violent and yearning-full nightliness I was still striving for disengaging from. The sun didn't come to me with the smells of the Levant, such as those I see in the mildly nervous streets of the Arab markets in the Old City. It didn't have either the venomous and manly eau of that man who totally forgot me, nor the sweet and almost swift smell of warmth that emanated from R., it was simply a day-less morning.

On my way back just reaching for Terra Sancta College (of course I'd be gladly more interested in writing about Christian places than synagogues and that kind of anachronistic stuff) I saw them. Obviously it wasn't the first time, and for a time I used to be among the earliest attendants to our weekly silent protest against the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories. I didn't feel this "compulsory" sympathy for the people in the left, and I truely educated myself to love all kind of "kratos", and not necessarily the one of the "demos". Respect in which I remained so terribly faithful to the Polis. I also had a gut feeling that they had a right claim, even though I found them so morally unqualified to make the claims themselves. I couldn't help the mixed feeling of pity and empathy, one all too human. But somehow else I felt that I was also being loyal to Lessing. "In the same sense that these things are all true is the same sense in which they are all in a sense false" (Augustine).

I often questioned (since my early days in the left) whether I really had the moral right to stand up for those particular human rights that I'm collaborating in violating in many different ways. The fact that I don't hold a gun doesn't exempt me from my responsibility. I dwelled in the anti-world for long enough, in the world of celebrities, to know a thing or two about them. And we do defile human rights on a daily basis, our own even. This is a little bit of melodrama though.

Issue at stake is, being there holding a poster calling for the end of the occupation made me understand (and not for the first time) that it's not a problem of ideology or religion, it's not a problem of land or water, it's not a problem of anything but the Human Condition. That same condition the world is working so hard to escape while it sinks beneath its shadow. There's no singled-out answer for the Israeli conflict, it's really impossible to know what really goes on here in this sea of entrophy, in these marred waters. If such a thing as the truth existed here, it fled. Fled with the Palestinians, or perhaps with the Templars or the Armenians or whoever else spent a few nights in a hotel, loved an Israeli man for a day and then boarded on a plane. They took it away, and I can't blame them. Because once the truth of anything shall be given to the Israelis or the Palestinians they'll turn licentious. Only God can live the truth, if there's one.

In this lake of metaphysical tantra and mavericks it's really difficult not to suffocate from the newspapers, and even worse from regular people. We've obliterated the world to such a far off removed distant cloud that we can no longer recover the world, we can only remember it and at that with stenuous difficulties. How can you ever judge anything downhere in this earthly world which isn't rooted on the earth? How can you even dare to be a thinker before recovering the world?

It boils down to the fact that utmost we can do is to follow our guts feeling, always a good thing. Problem is when you try to save the world from estrangement with your gut feeling as an only chariot and warrior. In that sense it's tragic to realize no possible political stance is available for us here. Not for the just or for the open-minded, not for the pacifists and not for the world-haters, not for the fundamentalists and not for the secularists. We're lost the world two-fold in a sea of cheap novels and porn movies.

Our political opinions in this country are just the most homeless form of despair. Attempting to take a stance because no possibility is at all viable, but as long as we can't unearthen the source of life rooted in that mystery that surrounds anything alive and everything human.... we don't have any answers. It's all a sick comedy, and the war turns basically sexual and the press into soap operas. From Heidegger: We can only save the world through dwelling, which is in German cognate with the word for building.

...We need to find it first....

You should have been there this afternoon... the Police had to defend the protesters whereas right-wingers protested across the street glorifying the army and calling the women in black "totalitarian". People shouted curses from the cars and even twice the police had to intervene. Christians and foreigners teaming up with liberal Jews while young women called the Jews to realize they don't have any other country. Insults came and went, and there was a bitter sense of madness to it all. It wasn't a protest and it wasn't a Friday afternoon. It was a carnival, a bacanal. Everything about it was demagogic, feminist, sexual and banal. Even the fliers, even the intentions. Most of all the intentions.


What's in a name after all I thought?
For God created man in his image
Thereafter bestowing upon him a name
With which he himself summoned him up
Once the most imporant sin in history had been committed.

Perhaps he created man merely in his shadow,
Reason for which he couldn't allow him to exist unnamed.

Hannah Arendt would say:
"Does something exist,
not in outer space
but in the world and the affairs of men on earth,
which has not even a name."

The Biblical account gives you plenty of examples in this fashion
How Abraham, Jacob and Joshua were carved into holiness
By acquiring a new name.

And then really, anything that there's in a name
Can be reduced to a phenomenological question.

I want to call you by your name
Because it reminds me you're something foreign
Something distant
And as long as you and me are no brothers
Hence not in the risk of Cain's sin
As long as you and me are only friends
Perhaps there's still a chance for the Polis
Even though the Republic fell through as it was being created
Your name reminds me that there's a space between you and me
Which keeps us from being crowded in a room
It is something that contains Christian splendor,
But with it also Christian coldness
Reason for which we do not give it a name
And leave it for the affairs of Realpolitik and professors
I particuarly like poetry
It reminds me of what being meant once.

This space between you and me
Is a sad estrangement from one another
As though we were condemned
To communicate through a little loophole
But with amazement I discover
That whenever I take a glimpse of you through the hole
There's this warm feeling which isn't Christian or civilized
This feeling imported from the Orient
Which is also you and me.

It is a sad space, no doubt
But this space is the only thing that permits us to have a world
One in which politics also dwell
She never pays the rent
And is often in quarrels with the Gods
That ask her to be less noisy
Because in their oblivion
They only want some silence.

This world that tragically
Belongs only to us
And not to some foreign power
Just like the feigned Gods
That our Age of Reason
Took pride in obliterating
And it's a rather strange place.
It's a no man's land
The mightiest of waters.

That when we dwell therein
We're already saving it
Just like we save it
When we think it
When we build it.

In a whimsical shape
A hurricane overtakes us
One yellower than hay
And we sail from home
In an almost Biblical travail
Acting out our freedoms
Realizing that they only drive us back inwardly
To build these prison houses of safety
That do not eliminate the insecurity of the mightiness
They merely exclude it.

But we do not dwell in these houses
Or in countries or schools
Not even in people's eyes
We dwell in an impossibility
We call it often the world
And it is not a logical probablity.

On account of that
I shall not want to make you my brother
Because I read the Bible
And because I shall not obliterate the memory
Remebering a world that existed before Marx
And perhaps even God received an immigration visa
Like we did
And I shall not call you with those European names
That are also yours
Because they remind me of churches
Whereas there's something too warm about you
I shall call you by your name
Your name is Rashid.

Monday, July 10, 2006


Quite badly I miss modern music
Because it glows in the mouth
As one hearkens to its uncompositeness
And deals Hegel a mortal blow
For which God rejoices in encores

Modern music is the only thing I miss
From the world that isn't world
Barely could Augustine dwell therein
It's too much wordly
Cheaper than Romantic plays

I'm not bothered by antiquity
By crime, not even by the anti-semites
It only bothers me history oweing to be written down
As though it were a sin
Less than the bounds of Prometheus
And more likely an Archimedean point

But there's still point for celebration
Morningness is also at stake
And buried in the feulleton
That some weather broadcaster wrote
One that didn't know Noach

Zweig & Gilson: Remembering The World

אוונדן: פאלאצן אין די צייט

That's how a Yiddish poem of A.J. Heschel starts, and of late it seems to me as though the palace of old wanes into decay and turns rather into a painful embrace; unlike other times the evening finds me in a sad tortured tiredness... one that I prefer to conceal from thinking and other demeanours so typical of my nightly hours... the only times when I'm able to experience that spontaneous freedom of twilight, unbeknown.

Quite a beautiful day, and the quintessence of doubt. A whimsical series of momenta connected to one another only by Midrashic instrospections that betray the flesh and turn so absolutely timeless that not even the sun of Jerusalem's hot summer enables itself to remind me of such earthly reality. One would thoroughly appreciate theatre then, for then and only then the human condition seems unusually palpable and righteously graspable.

Nonetheless I did think some thoughts that came to me some weeks before. In days of old (not too old) I used to rejoice in Zweig's account of that "World of Yesterday". It seemed to me as though the world of security could have been the only possible home wherein to hide from the mightiness of the Ocean. Such a world had never been available to me and I found myself running in search of shelter for years with no end until this very day. But even so I did have a world of yesterday, one that made me feel secure about being human and in which only literature had the authority to ask questions on the quintessence of living. One could derive all possible knowledge and wisdom from the Classics, both the Greek and German... the only languages intimate enough for conversation. Often times we read also some of those books so famous from the school's yard that portrayed this violent humanity one could be so proud of.

Living in a pretty Catholic world, George Elliot had all the morality necessary in order to live a life of sin, for after all guilt was nothing but a metaphor of exclusively human goodness. One couldn't trouble less with philosophers or churches. The Bible was read too, in order to grasp a little bit of that "Zeitgeist" ever-present in the glorious history of the Western civilization. I wrote poems almost every night and sent them for oblivious lovers, who in turn only traded them for a little bit of warmth in a hue and perhaps a short line. We wrote letters all morning long and rejoiced in the earliest Martinis of intimacy and pride.

Any betrayal found us in the vein of an artist, self-delusive and irreverent only out of the conviction inherent to his condition; whilst the world couldn't prove him wrong it could neither appreciate his artistic expression. But he was content with it, because the poetry was simply a label to the youngest of bodies and the most innocent sights. Those days have remained shattered for too long, it seems to me as though they died away with those long glasses of cognac and were morning-buried in the sand, with the most incredibly intoxicating of all banal forms of pain. Then came the day to flee, the day to wander.

From place to place, as though one were a prophet receiving training in hardship as a free gift from nowhere. The living room also flet away, with any possible attestation of having been occupied before... my pasts and lovers and friends did exist at a time, but they all had betrayed me and quite unconcerned with it I would ride the train for the coast. Along the way I would write some of my last poems of the period, of rather questionable quality.

But I was then travelling by train and staring into the Ocean, protecting myself from the mightiness of the world. Never again the world would shine as in those years preceding my search for refugee. Living would become nothing but a way to remember the world.

Those days have vanished already with their faces and their flavours. When one becomes thought-of then all of this historiography carries but little meaning. But who can forget these days of new?

Not trying to be in any sense modernist, but yet enjoying the pleasures only reserved to the loftiest of souls and in the most ancient of all Western cradles still inhabited today, so ancient that even the locals became oblivious of its meaning. My history in this city disappears with the days through the raw madness of the air and the viscuous texture of the hours, one couldn't remember himself being a person no more... not anymore than we did in the days of the creation; it all started on a second day and its completion only carried fateful consequences. Every moment is but a dialectical thought that lingers about the rooves and hovers on cups of coffee that in the summer can never be drunk but to themselves.

Living in such dark times... that when people will read our history they will but understand nothing. My only advise to the future generation is to read our poems and our discussions on philosophy (not our books, they're testimonially useless because it's hardly possible to philosophize as in the days of old in a world whereby philosophers promove themselves in order to afford walking their dogs and watching erotic movies), our tax forms and our cardboards. History will not have any meaning. Once the wars will end and no more blood will run in our streets and our pens there'll be no meaning to this dwelling... because one can only save the earth and the physical location into morningness. The world can never be said by optimism, with its venomous declarations of freedom. We're saving the world from the mightiness of being, by keeping it diminished and angry, sleepy and rusty. We're saving it from meaning, and only God aids our heroic purpose.

Not other generation will dwell in Jerusalem like ours, at the crossroads of the quintessence of what being human means. At no other particular period will be Lessing so widely unread and so throughly understood and anonymously discussed. No other possible world will be so terribly modern and vexed. This city is a celebration of this inescapable quintessence. In my miser situation I became acquainted with the most progressive ideas the world could ever bear in its wombs and the loftiest of souls in the porticos of the churches, the rooves and the gardens... in the markets, the brothels, the bakeries and the magazine-stands. The halls of learning remain deserted, or rather occupied by our enemies and all those whose only purpose is to emancipate man from barbarism. While it still demands silently to be emancipated from humanity, from emancipation, from progressivism, from history, from rationality.

Never before in history had God been so lonely, never before God needed to have a history in order to afford his rent at the heavenly dwellings whose ownership he traded for reason. A generation where God hired Aristotle and Madonna, where people like Edith Stein and Thomas Aquinas would become irrelevant to discourse. People are thirsty for a truth that is opposed to falsehood.

Shall God grant me one day to un-live this city and this generation without enduring the fate of Adam, but rather the faith of Noach. I want to sail away in the mightiness of the primal waters far away from here. One day I'll escape this quintessential prison. One day. In the meantime only with Zweig and Gilson one can remember the world. The news continue to shatter the way we communicate. The truth of logic only shatters human discourse. Never before wanted people to engage in discourse as much as today. The justest of all possible world, the most free of all possible words. A silly world, a dehumanized kind of thinking. For that only reason one should continue to philophize amidst the bombs and the parades and the demagogies of the internet: In order to remember the world. An anti-world has taken over. Remembering the world is biblical theology, is building those palaces in time... it is telling Midrash while one altogether weeps and celebrates the irrational. It's living from nightness to morningness and awakefulness to prayers and odes, lyrical hymns and tawdry ballads. It is forgetting history, not the history of humans but of beings.

History of humans is the foundational stone of the anti-world, the most un-existential of all possible dwellings. Humans were replaced by statistics, God by lying hatred.

Sunday, July 09, 2006


כאשר השחר בשטח
כואב לי כוכב בבטן
ובטוח גם ספר ארוך
שאישרתי בבית
כאשר יצאתי לחפש אלילים
ומצאתי בכי כמעט טרגי
שאינו תנכ"י אבל
אלא קצת מטושטש
מאגירים בעולם
ללא אישור מוכר
נודדים ביער
שבו נמצא עיר גדולה
ובה אין אורים
אלא אנשים
שקוצים מהגג
איך כואב להם
שהם כבר לא אנושים
אלא אלילים עירונים
בפנים יפות
שקונים כל אשה
שמוכרים את עצמם
לדעתם של הסרטים
המחנכים של ימינו
אני אומר לעצמי
דור מפגר
שותה קפה
מכין צורעס
ולא מדבר
שכחתי כבר
כל אלו מילים
שהיו חשובים
אבל מה
משקר העולם
אני מתעייף קצת
אין כרגע שירה
סתם יומן של זכרונות
שאינם מדוברים

השינא משקרת

Not an eventless day really.

Thinking deeply about Zelda's words, "hatred lies". In brief I could say that there's a lot more to be learnt from this pious poetry than from complicated text books on ethics and ontology, to be learnt about Torah of course. This really reminds me of Aristotle and his foe Heidegger, for they were very keen in insisting that the spirit of poetry was a lot closer to that essentiality of being than most of arts were. I read this fascinating paper by Heidegger called "Building Dwelling Thinking" in which he recalls how previously he said the nature of poetry is closer to the truth than the spirit of philosophy or the plastic arts is, because there's an unconcealment of thought foreign to the dynamics of other disciplines and forms of expression.

Truth here doesn't mean the "truth" in Aristotelian logic, namely opposed to falsehood. It's rather the "true" as something that equals being and revelation (the latter might be already a Heschelian idea). A truth that doesn't admit of those categories all too often found in Western thought. If this truth is to be found outside history (like the "ultimate mind" of Maimonides... a form of Jewish proto-Idealism obviously rooted in Aristotelianism) it could be part or end of a syllogism in which there're parts to the all. God can't be part of the world in the sense that his being "partial" would shatter his infinite atributes. He's indeed the world, but not in an Spinozistic sense.

It troubles me how in the Orthodox world the strive for truth is understood today; entirely as opposed to the "false". The Orthodox read into the text a sort of dogma whose root is totally a-historical, yet the only way to "access" the importance of engaging in this particular form of discourse is by historical questions firstly, and then by Aristotelian statements of truth and false; logic statements. That's why I'm faithful to Lessing.

I feel how I'm always engaged in human discourse not for the sake of the validity of truth or falsehood in the argument but because those arguments are of relevance in the world. I'm consciously biased and shattered by the darkness of the world. That's how in an almost Socratic fashion I enter all arguments with the only purpose not of expressing my view but of taking a side. Not a symbol of tolerance, in general I'm quite racist and elitist because my experience of the world has shaped me into a conservative thinker, who doesn't think in a conservative fashion. I'm aware of being entirely subjective in my understanding and reading of history, because it's the only possible way of reading history. The Protestant historicism of Biblical scholarship finds me in discomfort, for asking these questions about history is already a denial of history and human freedom. A quest for meaning based on history.

The object has no value other than its value in the world for whoever it is intended. In that sense I'm closer to the source of rabbinic thought (mystery or dogma, "kerygma"") than the Aristotelian forms of contemporary Orthodoxy.

That's precisely why the questions he asked me today found me in discomfort too, one doesn't really ask those questions but out of eschatological fear. A question that is more venomous than any possible deceive or treachery one might receive for an answer. That's why almost desirelessly I played the Sabina in hers and Franz' last encounter... and gave myself entirely knowing that this would be perhaps the last time I would let it happen. There was some tragic about it.

But I'm not sufficiently true to myself, in the sense that I'm still Greek and pagan and free. I can't be that true to myself, it would shatter humanity as I know it. There I return to my never-ending monologue on the nature of sin, in which I remain contemptuously Catholic.

It doesn't hurt that he lies, but it bewilders me. The first steep on the slope that leads to amazement, the most Platonic of all feelings.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Letter to a German acquaintance

Dear one,

Do no think my ideas on emotional pain are particularly wrecked or too much unwise (while they're yet not wise), I'm simply trying to arrive at an understand of the human condition from within itself a lot more honest to nature than contemporary philosophy does. I might as well certainly tell you philosophy has nothing to say about human beings for the most part, it only talks about irrelevant stuff like beings and worlds and philosophers, one quoting the other and so forth.

Then you would ask what I'm trying to do in this lonely profession and I do have an answer for you. It is a lonely profession only in the same that humanity is a very lonely thing and it doesn't necessarily have to do with philosophical discourse. The only reason for which I engaged in this dialogue regarding my views on emotions and human relations isn't because I hold this views to the so totally true, but only because they have a relevance in the world and I'm therefore biased and not worthy of attention by anyone in the academia.

My experiences with pain and guilt are not ordinary experiences, for they're rooted not only in the experiences themselves but in their eidetic value, not their idelogical or sociological value. Things I couldn't be less bothered about. I'm being by no means a maverick, since my assessment of such experiential eidos is also rooted in my contempt for the German philosophical tradition, the only tradition with which I feel there's any point to argue about. That's not because I'm an assimilated Jew or anything such, and in this regard I believe to have cleaned myself of the dangerous "cura posteriore" Hannah Arendt wrote to Mary McCarthy about. It is only because of a notion of pleasure. It's truely a "grey zone" for banal statements, but intellectually because I come from the background of the Classical Studies I could only enter the world of contemporary thinkers through Hoelderlin, Goethe and Schiller.

Had I been trained in the study of history or politics beforehand it's almost certain my thinking space would have shifted somewhere else, but that wasn't the case. In my opinion only the Germans understood the Greeks and valued them for what they truely were (all the way to Hitler), and that's the very reason for which one should drop altogether this silly polis-envy, put away the Classical books (at least all of the philosophers) and draw more from the Hebrew Bible. Not because I'm claiming the Bible is more Western than the Plato or Socrates but because it's a humanist text in the most authentic sense. This is the only reason for which it can become truely anti-humanistic. Not anti-human as was the political and social experiment of the Polis. Once unfruitful in France, it had already by proxy failed everywhere else, yet we are still too keen in founding all our forms of mutual coexistance in democracy rather than in discourse.

This discovery hasn't been the product of religious zeal, but rather of a journeying of 8 long years not unlike Abraham's in the most symbolic sense. I will agree that the plastic world is the most beautiful possible form of representation but it lacks enough depth as to rise itself beyond itself.

When I speak about my feelings and my lust I'm not being sincere in the sense that I haven't embraced so fully the humanity of the Bible myself and remain at the core of things partially a pagan worshipper. This is because my life is one of particularly extreme duality, in which my thinking is simply a struggle in between Hellas and Jerusalem. Do not forget that even though of Jewish birth I had embodied what it meant to be human in a Greek and German sense long before I took a glimpse of Judaism. I was a Greek before I became a Jew. In that sense I'm a truely Western man.

My fascination for the animality of love and intercourse in the pagan sense is only tamed by the guilt product of my humanity. For at the core I want to remain so absolutely human yet it's far from me. Unconsciously I want to be often reminded of the futility inherent to the enterprise, as not to be too confident in a world of security that has been for long shattered by hands of your and mine people.

I'm not a saddist or a masochist or anything like that, but I must confess that the idea of violence is in my opinion one of the most attractive. Simply because it's so contrary to the humanity embodied in Jewish Law and the contradiction often reminds me of my low place in the world, even once my talents have aided my way to enter the world at large. And you being a member of the German nation (regardless of your faith) my engagement (even if theoretical) in the enterprise of sin under your command seems to me as being far from intellectual. As a thinking person I happen to rejoice all the more in the banality of the whole thing, because it is the only reminder I have of the equal inequality per necessitas present in our human condition.

I'm not deliberately breaking the law, not at all. I'm simply entering a dangerous section of the experiential contentiousness... and as you accurately pointed out my only obstacle in between is not that of fear, but the burden of guilt which I so thoroughly enjoy. I've lost my fear a long time ago, but the price has been too dear at my early age, for I'm no longer able to experience the horizontality of youth in its authentic way... being rather outsider to my very own experience in a sense and in a sense not.

My acquaitance with the Midrash has shown me that there's not anything shameful or forbidden about a Platonic relationship between men, yet I'm afraid to say that when it comes to intimacy I'm only afraid of the guilt, not of the fear. Because the guilt reminds me every second that I'm no longer Greek, and that it's no longer an option. I have to strive for ethics that are beyond naturalistic approaches and social sciences. I wish my attractions were different not only in regard to gender but of nation. Yet I can't put myself to really enjoy the company of the natives, not because lack of enlightenment or education... it's simply a matter of political sensibilities and in that sense I'm so totally homeless. Reason for which you'll never really be able to penetrate the darkest corners of my spirit except by reading in between the lines of what I wrote. Just the same way in which I myself read the Bible.

I'm fond of the tragic because even when kitsch-full (something I dread) is honestly human, just like theatre or war. That's why I no longer enjoy myself in the comfort of perfect lovers and ideal relationships. Those do not express the poetic sense of madness present in the creation. Yet I do enjoy the company of the common people not because I can feel any superiority, but only because it can lead me into natural sin by means of innocent thoughtlessness and it is a lot less pained a road than with the artists, most of whom are humanists in the Greek sense. Therefore unprepared for my whole array of revolutionary ethics and freedom denial.

Weren't I to deny freedom this would be a lot easier, because I wouldn't wound up in Calvinist predestination or the atrophy of entropy. My guilt hurts specially because of my awareness, but it doesn't mean in any way that you shouldn't proceed with business as usual. You should read the Bible a little better to understand my mentality, but as far as this is far from feasible please do join me in this Feast of Fools. There's nothing sadder than comedy, and as far as I'm concerned earthliness is a big Eastern joke. I'm drawn to the independence of the foreigner in every place, it's become a helpless feeling. I want to escape being an animal in my private life, reason for which I feel compelled to the observance of Jewish Law. I don't want to make myself free, only unanimal.

If I would make myself free I would rise so high in the sly of experiences and emotions that I would lose my horizontality more than it's already forlorn... the vertigo would drown me in the mighty waters and my selfness would be lost. If I were a free man I would have no necessity to justify my craving for this unbalanced relationshis. I praise my lack of freedom in every step I take, it reminds me of a truth outside history and time. But it isn't so simply, I'm too rooted in Plato and Heidegger to achieve the lack of freedom I yearn for. I'm in a sense free, and that's why all this is possible.


The Theory of Desire

Suddenly whilst walking down the streets of Jerusalem a day-dream occured to me, a day-dream far les mesmerizing than Rahel's but one all too rich in the imagery of Golden Calves. I suddenly thought that one should say two blessings at the sight of a crippled man: "Blessed are Thou King of the Universe that has in his universe such" and "Blessed be the True Judge". It all came down to time in a green summer tile when thinking that the world can only be a monism when a plurality of forms is admitted to measure itself upon the "res" (an epi-phenomenal thing), and the only acceptable plurality is the one that can flow so manifold within an only channel.

One must bless for the good and for the bad. Because there's a Chassidic teaching explaining that one should never indulge himself in anger, for only after the initial test has been passed the real test come upon us, and so on and on we're tested even in the hour of the ailments. We should strive to come out of that typically modern attitude of thinking alone, therefore blessing for the good and for the bad is the simplest form of recognition. Recognition in the Greek-most amazement before the world, a "turning aside" that wasn't particularly foreign to both Homer and Moses.

And this amazement is the only possible cure for madness, because it is a silent agreement with both justice and war, with both hatred and love. I've been speaking about the world too much lately, perhaps only because I've become so alienated from it that all my thinking is directed towards the un-concealmente of the world in a truth that is in itself existing. But in order to enter the world of this darkmost times one feels ought to make a commitment for this wordly enterprise. The commitment for the genius comes with a natural drive, because he's forced onto the world on account not of his achievements but his naturalmost ability to convey in his thinking anything that is particularly universal about being human.

I drive myself into the world because the alienation product of a "childhood in my times" hurts to the very last bone and bestows upon me an obligation to drive my desire inwardly so that they can burst out externally and instead of being true or false to myself or anybody I'm simply attempting to enter the realm of public discourse. Philosophy itself isn't a form of public discourse, it is only the natural outcome of such. To the same extent that the Biblical accouts (in particular those that involve timeless journeying) are not philosophy itself nor doctrine, but become the foundational source from which man can enter the tradition of thought. This such being no more than the "action" of the wisemen in the world whose heritage to the posterity of the human world (if it's going to have one). Even when by making this statement I'm trapping myself in two reverse courses of metaphysics: Nietzsche and the Social Sciences. Yet being a political man of a highly apolitical nature, and therefore a denier of the worth of all metaphysics in contemporary discourse.

But in order to be driven instinctively into the world I must withdraw from it, risking entering the anti-world instead of the pre-rational world in which all thinking deemed original has taken place. I can't entirely drive myself to this world for there's a risk of losing authenticity and selfness along the way, that's why for so long I've refused to convey my thoughts in these pages. Because denying the human freedom quite cheaply granted to me by technology I'm able to join the ranks of history. Writing down my travails and works from my very own pen in the patience of paper... Because words written by man himself have more weight than statements, and a lot less value than action. In hand-writing I'm (in a modern sense) both acting and thinking. It is my heritage to the posterity... my confussion and vexation.

Every so often though, I feel compelled to face the mighty waters in which my ficititious selfhood spaceness vanishes. I'm become property of the world from within the realm of my foreignness to it as though in the dream of Pharaoh. My dual stance before the nature of freedom isn't in any essentiality original but rather inherited... Not inherited from thinkers and philosophers but from the core of livelihood, namely from a canonic text. For it's in no way unsimilar to the epic of Bilam and Korach. A blessing that curses, a curse that blesses... hence my sudden thought about the two-fold blessing before the crippled man in the street. Without Halacha this such embrace wouldn't be possible, therefore I enter Heschel's flight and light... in which the main destiny of Judaism isn't that of being a civilization, but of rising beyond the civilizing proces once we're either overcome history or obliterated it; not unlike we did with metaphysics.

Korach's role in a tragic sense was that of reminding us that equality is a value as opposed to the nature of being as truth is to opinions and negation to objective reality. Vivre la petit difference!
A kind of thought that strikes me as a form of awe, because for those of us for whom fear is no longer anything but a point in the map of synthesis the only possible access to theodicy and ethics is guilt. In a world for which humanity no longer means much guilt is the only way to do philosophy, is the only way to think in the way necessary in order to overcome those old-school notions of naturalistic spirituality and scientism, that are by no means biblical. Shame and guilt are the channels of despair, "a silent despair" is what Heschel describes being the only tools available to the thinker today. I felt tempted to write "religious thinker", but those of us (without being anything of agnostics and mystics) are well aware that if we want to overcome our fondest foe (ontology) those rational categories to divide the realm of knowledge and experience no longer hold valid. Our "fragmentary" notions of worldness, thingness, whatness and the like are rooted only in existential paths, not in categories of experience and cognition.

"Not having is the beginning of desire". For only in abscence of "thereness" one can exploit his potential to its fullest. In Augustinian terms we must strive to make the will of God our own will, and therefore two-fold bless a world essentially incomplete and un-had. This is the only possible attitude in a world where God the artist is in search of man, who has become so thoroughly alienated. A break-away from ontology is the only possible future of the civilized world, having reached its own crossroad at the threshold of violence and carelessness (Heidegger defined this as "a-temporality", perhaps a form of immortality?). That's why the education of our generation must immediately hearken to the call of anti-humanism, which is certainly not un-humanism and darkness. We must desire again, just as when the Rabbis in the Talmud asked "What can I do?", standing right beyond Halacha and Midrash. This is a call for ANTI-HUMANISM.

Repetition and the World of Prayer

Some thoughts are radically unavoidable: As such the idea of repetition doesn't cease to strike me as profoundly troubling, the whole dynamic of life as a mere process of repetition. It does sound indeed strange. That's but an echo of life as a neoclassical portrait, yet so often I've heard the idea springing forth from within the deepmost whimsies of Rosenzweig and Kierkegaard. The denial of this so-called repetition all too common in modern times is nothing but an attempt at the loneliness of absolute freedom, at a naturalistic spirituality and heathen nature of a pagan and plastic world. Obviously the idea couldn't have been foreign to Levinas and Heschel, and most certainly not to Heidegger.

Repetition is the acknowledgement of the world as a gift possessed with necessarily objective existence in a phenomenological sense. It's a self-attachment to the world in order to escape the fatal sense of alienation inherent to our otherness. It seems as though we're but merely imported into this world, yet the physical matter we're made of entirely belongs to it. We also have a physical attachment and "desire" to it that makes us aware of our (even if artificial) belonging to the animal world, one that doesn't necessarily recognize itself as the world in the natural predisposition it derives from itself. The human world is an entirely different mode of creation, one that acknowledges itself precisely insofar as its own otherness is collectively beknown. Repetition is a natural rule (both in theology and biology) and novelty is that particularly human creaving for permanent innovation (worlds being destroyed and constructed but not created all the time, the Midrashic view sees) and re-placement. Synthesis of the process between creative natality and "technical" mortality; therein there's nothing particularly creative or productive about death (in the world of the natural sciences).

The theoretical impossibility (of the synthesis) is what makes the human world liveable to social beings, in the rather anthropomorphic sense of Aristotle. Just as Bergson realized with despair that negation is an impossibility in nature, I would dare to express that in order to remain fully human the world must absolutely reject the linear idea of completeness and its aim towards perfection (in urbanization or civilization), as no human-made artifact has proved itself timeless or totally indispensable for life under normal circumstances more than the nature itself is, and obviously the humanity of humans. No tool or machinery could be defined as perfect, certainly not in 2006. The technical impossibility of perfection is not simply a theological dish-washer, but the loftiest level of awareness available to selfhood as we know it today. Despite the rise of modernity in the technological sense of the word, we're still unable to create life or beings, hence not in vain Shestov mentioned that we're already (and definitely) cut off from the source of life itself (which Heidegger attempts to regain, for once more degenerating into a plastic world), this phenomenally speaking means that there's always a certain category of mystery to the whole enterprise of living, or rather of becoming and being become.

The biblical account teaches how formal covenants, rituals, ordinances and travails (from Noach to Yehoshuah) are necessary in order to set history in motion. It's almost a proto-Humanist moral responsibility. Living itself was a becoming, some sort of textual journeying both from the perspectives of doctrine and identity (we see it in the name-changes of Avraham, Yaakov and Yehoshuah). Here comes in handy Augustine's maxima of "I've become a question to myself" (or I AM become a question to myself). In this process of becoming (that suggests translation of locations) only the routine of repetition (both of organic and inorganic rituals) allows us to create that fictitious space (Merleau-Ponty & Edith Stein) between our physical bodies and our perceptive existence -a Zero point. This is exactly what permits us remember what we're in broadly spiritual terms (spiritual conveyed in the sense of the German "geistlich") and not to lose ourselves in the animal world. Because when a human person becomes animalized, he doesn't become animal but merely inhumane.

Repetition and discourse are the only reminders of a glorious past (or a journey back into divine history) of an allegorical dimension. These activities constitute the most perfect embodiment of humanity in its attempt not to find a human meaning in society and history (the malais of the 19th century), for society is in need of meaning itself and historical meaning is forcibly arbitrary and organically independent from the categories of consciousness at play in the making of modern man. Hence the total elimination of prayer and ritual in the Kantian system had tragically fateful consequences; it turned into the most inhumane form of philosophical discourse (unlike Lessing's). No progress in reason (critical or analytical) can replace the discontent of a society, a human society entirely devoid of symbolism, of the only external manifestation of inner-meaning. It can only mean disattachment and oblivion, that when an obsession (as in contemporary secular education) can be interpreted but as a chronic symptom of alienation. Alienation means not only being alien, but alien to something to which one previously belonged, even in a cultural fashion entirely. With this I'm making a call for a martial court to the whole of Idealistic philosophy and also to the psychologism of modern Theology since Schleiermacher. Both not condemned in their historical contexts but conceptually in an almost post-structural fashioning. The end of symbolism is the most extreme form of functionalist revisionism, and by symbolism I am not meaning necessarily the institutions of modern states. The institutions can be replaced manifold times only to be overthrown there and again, because all human forms of creativity are rooted in discontent; one of the most important messages of the Biblical canon.

By repetition I don't intend to make a political statement of an ideal world whose order must be kept untouched to assure stability or of a chaotic world that needs to be thoroughly reformed. My position is that we define as critical; even when the meaning of the word has been unarguably transformed so very often since Kant. Repetition in my sense is shamelessly ANTI-HUMANISM. Because Humanism in its search for sources of truth within the cultural and critical disciplines that shifted the empasisof the primal question of being (the Greek one of course) to the question of knowledge. As though taking for the granted both life, being and world were free gifts from nowhere. The metaphysical surrendered to epistemology, since it was of little concern to natural philosophy (rubric under which science worked for a rather extended period of time), creating a storm of repression from within the surprising inherent to the question of being and meaning that simply and suddenly burst out in the horrors of the 20th century.

Unarguably following Heidegger, I could blame this horrendous misconceptions on Aristotle, father to the whole Western tradition of metaphysics and logic. Yet it seems to me as though the late Classical world put an ethical (albeit unenligthened) effort in secluding humanity from the extent of its vertiginous freedom. A freedom that chokes, just as the world before having "solid ground" was a totality of "mighty waters" (which God felt ought to separate from heavens and to "speak out" the creation of the dry earth in order to introduce a notion of fragmentation, a separation from "infiniteness" which is a totality and can't be a part of anything, running the risk of automatically becoming "finite"), yet after the sin of Sodom and Gomorra, the cities were thoroughly sunk in mighty waters too, the same waters through which the Israelites crossed into the wilderness. A few hundreds of years ago philosophy was concerned with enlightening man from the clutches of the past. Today our task is to protect him from the abyss of mighty waters; a "Fall" in the sense of Foucault and second to none except the Original Sin, the first "Fall".

The one in which Adam replaced the repetitive routine of Paradise with and for the sake of epistemology. An epistemological query that would remain unfinished to this day and shaky in the most civilized, cruel and violent of all centuries. A century that has replaced the sword with concentration camps and medical experiments. In the aftermath we desperately seek proofs for the existence of man, but we can't find them (not because of a precarious posthuman manisfesto) for tragically modern man dehumanized itself by thinking alone. The Classical men reflected upon things only in the company of friends and the Biblical man did it with God. Anything that couldn't be openly discussed either didn't exist or existed but didn't rise to the ranks of "human things". As Lessing himself, who never discussed things in the sense of being modernly false or true, but simply within the context of their implication in the world. E. Bloch phrased it beautifully when saying "The Church is the community of God tomorrow eternally disatisfied with the present", the "real" man is to be found in a happier future, that doesn't necessarily mean a wealthier or more comfortable world.

The answer to questions human by nature is really in the disguise of questions and conversations. For this very reason the answer is naturally existential, not secular or religious. Respect in which Lessing might have foreshadowed post-secular philosophy in a sense that Schelling, Rosenzweig and Bonhoeffer did not. Nevertheless I wouldn't like to call this philosophy "post-secular", but rather authentically human. The human is the striving, the living, the hope.

The writings of the Prophets show to which extent we would be destroyed by the weight of the answers we demand, being unable to live them or simply to withstand them. It isn't in vain that the Midrash tells us, that Moses of his own accord shattered the first set of Tablets of the Law, for this had been the only set engraved directly by God (all in all the Bible mentions only two occassions when God created things by "acting", Man and the Tablets of the Law. Everything else had been created by acts of speech). The second set (whose maximae are well to known to us as the foundation of moral and legal thinking in the Occident) was engraved by human hands; for a world at whose foundations justice by itself stands, couldn't sustain alone. A world entirely devoid of symbolism (and by detour of dogmas) would be an Auschwitz world, reason for which the particular repetitive nature of prayers, social rituals and study (in any form or style) of the canonical books is necessary for the improvement of our civilization (not solely for its survival, our religion is not civilization alone) for secularly speaking the Biblical message in the context of the Ancient Near Eastern cultures is to rise beyond civilization, like the 20th century expected to rise beyond history through the making of history itself.

Theologically speaking my thesis is that IT IS PRECISELY THE DENIAL OF FREEDOM what makes us so particularly human and civilized. Denial of freedom not in the sense of being unfree in relationship to other humans but to the freedom granted to us as an intellectual virtue, rather than as a capacity. Restraint is the only element in action that makes the social contract possible, even when often times it means no action at all (but not attempting to turn Nietzschean). Repetition is in Kierkegaard the highest virtue worthy of imitation, not only because it demands intellectual responsibilities but because it's the loftiest reminder of an exclusively direct connection to divinity. Praying is renewing a covenant that makes us holy and unheathen even in the most unabstract earthly form.

Just like today, a world both religious and secular devoid of repetition and formalized symbols is the beginning of an anti-world. By this I mean a space between human beings whose collective identity is but alienation. Yet we wonder what's wrong with this phenomenon in the light of homelessness typical of the modern thinker, for we understand it's particularly unhealthy theologically to feel too much at home in the world; yet alienation is particularly estranged from the world in a sense that homelessness is not. Homelessness is a celebration, whereas alienation is a tragedy.

In order to preserve the world as it could potentially be, this species of heathenism must be absolutely erradicated because it's plastic and anti-worldy instead of merely worldless. Repetition and ritual are the only possible strategy. Second only to a philosophy of the human person in which the fleeting moment typical of the thinking activity will run in the direction opposite to traditional philosophy. We must strive to arrive at a certain worldliness from within the very core of Logos, of our wordliness and back to Logos (worldliness and measure as well). Our struggle is to make the world merely unanimal, not perfect or free.

Was the Nazi regime an spotaneous out-burst of freedom? Unfortunately most of us acquainted with the thought of Heiddeger must positively answer to this question. That's why we must step over the ashes of ontology in order to make space for an entirely human philosophy, a philosophy of ethics and action. That is to say a tradition much more biblical and much less concerned with beings that with action, lives and humans. A commitment to a philosophy that isn't religious or secular. We must keep ourselves above all aloof from the mighty waters for as long as we're granted this free earthly existence (or rather not costly). The Hebrew poetess Zelda doesn't offer a recipe for it, but rather an equation:

"Death will take the spectacular difference
Between fire and water
And cast it to the abyss."