Saturday, June 18, 2011
Polydoxy: Theology of Multiplicity and Relation is a relatively new book edited by Catherine Keller and Laurel C. Schneider (Taylor and Francis, 2010). See sneak preview at Google Books. From their Introduction:
In recent years a discernible movement within theology has emerged around a triune intuition: the daunting differences of multiplicity, the evolutionary uncertainty it unfolds, and the relationality that it implies are not problems to be overcome in religious thought. They are starting points for it. Divinity understood in terms of multiplicity, open-endedness, and relationality now forms a matrix of revelation rather than a distortion, or evidence of its lack. The challenges and passions of theological creativity blossoming at the edges of tradition and at the margins of power have show themselves, far from being distractions from doctrinal or doxological integrity, to be indispensable to its life. And this vitality belies at once the dreary prophesies or pure secularism and the hard grip of credulous certainties.
Roland Faber is one of the contributors, a bigwig at Claremont. I greatly appreciated his old article "In the wake of false unifications," which I discussed in the old forum. A teaser:
Deleuze deeply honored Whitehead, and precisely because of the...appreciation of the unconquerable wildness of openended becoming over against any systematic derivation of multiplicity from hierarchical unity.
In a rhizomatic world of infinite differentiations and interrelations, “unity” always appears as finite unification of multiple relations. Nothing is fixed; nothing is perfect; nothing is for ever. The metaphor of the rhizome frees our mind from “false unifications” that defy multiplicity and, as a political category, empowers resistance against “oppressive unifications” of hierarchies
This is what Deleuze saw in Whitehead: that, in a creative world, “unification” is always “multi-pli-cation”—the creation of folds of difference. Any attempt to freeze this movement produces imperialism, that is, the “will to power” to conquer manifoldness. But the imperial desire for a “perfect” world “under control” only earns a dead world. It was either guided by fantasies of necrophilia or misled by rigid conservativism, which Whitehead considers profoundly against the grain of the Universe. This means: Neither is there, nor can we ever know of, any static, world-capturing unity that would not be surpassed by ever vaster difference in becoming.
Now many folks have discussed how kennilngus, with its ideology of false unifications, often ends up supporting "rigid conservatism" politically. But I like this other image, that of "fantasies of necrophilia," as applicable to the dogmatic TOE agenda. I may have to change my neologisim to Necrolingam, with necrolingus the act of so doing. This removes Kenni from the equation altogether so as to not make it so "personal," whereby he becomes just one of of a long line of metaphysical unifiers that like to have intercourse with the dead Absolute and thereby control the relative living through hegemony and ivory (white folk). (Sung to the tune of Ebony & Ivory, all the more ironic since there ain't no "black" or marginal people or ideas in this here unification.)
We can see the difference between the dichotomous view of opposing an absolute God with the death of God--both necrophiliac fantasies--with how Zizek turns this on its head with an undead polydox parallax. Recall this from the “what is the differance” thread, quoting Caputo:
Žižek provocatively suggests an odd kind of 'positive' unbelief in an undead God, like the 'undead' in the novels of Stephen King, a 'spectral' belief that is never simple disbelief along with a God who is never simply dead (101). God is dead but we continue to (un)believe in the ghost of god, in a living dead god. If atheism ("I don't believe in God") is the negation of belief ("I believe in God"), what is the negation of that negation? It is not a higher living spirit of faith that reconciles belief and unbelief but a negation deeper than a simple naturalistic and reactionary atheism (like Hitchins and Dawkins). Belief is not aufgehoben but rather not quite killed off, even though it is dead. It is muted, erased but surviving under erasure, like seeing Marley's ghost even though Scrooge knows he is dead these twenty years; like a crossed out letter we can still read, oddly living on in a kind of spectral condition. Things are neither black nor white but shifting, spectral, incomplete. We have bid farewell to God, adieu to the good old God (à Dieu), farewell to the Big Other, Who Makes Everything Turn Out Right, Who Writes Straight with Crooked Lines, who maketh me to lie down in green pastures. Still, that negation of negation does not spell the simple death of belief but its positive mode in which belief, while dead, lives on (sur/vivre). This unbelief would be the 'pure form' of belief, and if belief is the substance of the things that appear not, Žižek proposes a belief deprived of substance as well as of appearance. Žižek mocks Derrida mercilessly, but when spaceship Žižek finally lands, when this buzzing flutterbug named Žižek finally alights, one has to ask, exactly how far has he landed from Derrida's 'spectral messianic.'