Friday, July 14, 2006

Escape from the ‘Now’, or Return turn to the Present? toward an answer (pt. 2)

I would say that philosophically and cultural/pastorally our problem is not our abandonment to the present, but rather the inability to receive the ‘present’ time.

on answering the philosophical objections to the present (if that can be done): as I mentioned in the comments the either/or the modern/postmodern discussion seems to be a univocal present which guarantees ‘presence’ of ideas and universal accessibility. While under the aegis of progress (moving forward), we really end up with the end of history, and the eternal now of philosophical or political thought.

Against this is an equivocal casting of our anchors into the past (for Levinas) or the future (for Derrida). But these anchors never reach the bottom (nothing determinate) and therefore we are still lost in the see of time, confronted with the Other that faces us, but we can never bring into our present (time) or presence (space). [In light of this I could add two things: 1) much of American pragmatist conceptions of truth and its political relations are similar. and 2) much of currently theological eschatology adopts the above positions, separating the future Kingdom of Christ from the present Church/Body of Christ.]

So against the univocal and equivocal, I would insert the analogical via the time of incarnation. The time of the ‘already-not yet’; the time which splits time in the middle (of the incarnation/crucifiction/resurrection) awaiting it culmination in the future. But his eschatology is not totally separate from the present (working toward the Kingdom, but without claiming too much [Reformed and Pragmatist conceptions do this], but the bears upon the present and we work to participate/create/appropriate the future right now.

And of course I would say that this shift from retreat to the past/future to fully engaging the present, is correlative to shifting from the ethical (what can we do/say) to the political (what must to do/say).

so, concerning the cultural ‘now’ of capitalist modernity: well, I don’t think there is more for me to add then I did in my response to Jason, so I’ll leave it hear for now.

disclaimer: yes I know i've oversimplified Levinas and Derriad. It is much more sutble than this. But hey, this is a blog not a term paper. And while all for rigorous thought, there is also the time to step back and argue the big picture.

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