Pow^(d)er

Posted: August 5, 2012 in Philosophy, Provoked
Tags: , , , ,

Pow^der

Sic transit gloria mundi*”: quoted the Italian premier on hearing the ignominious death of Col.Gadaffi- a mere rhetorical remark and not a didactic one. That we are not concerned with a virtue until we find it lacking in our adversaries, we observe with Nietzsche. Our epistemological and ethical quests have taught us to treat the other as a mere object and ensured that an inescapable dichotomy is maintained. As a result the inauthentically constructed or constituted human nature enters into a labyrinth of complex power relations.  The papal election was once followed by the illustrious ceremony of burning a ball of flax mounted on a gilded pole with the exhortation of the above mentioned: *“Thus transits the glory of the world,” serving a grim reminder against hubris.

Imagination goads man to further the limits of his exertions. All the technical advancements of our times are augmentative rather than therapeutic. The classical attributes of God- omniscience, omnipresence and omnipotence- seem to lure man into their realizations in the temporal realm. This is to be read together with the death-of-God trends in the contemporary worldview. The plight of the technologically, informationally or cognitively disadvantaged sections of the society signals the new equations of power that takes apolitical forms but nevertheless presenting an increased existential impact. Social watchers speak of zombification of the society where corporate greed has made zombies out of men drawing away all the vitality. Mimetic contagion impels men to herd-thinking and increased levels of socio-cultural claustration and poses hermeneutical ceilings. Hannah Arendt has observed that the leader of a mob appeals to the generic or biological needs of the mob and hence cannot lead to an effective social reconstruction. The decadence in our public and private lives is a clear indication of the mob compliance that is latent in our collectivities.

            Reflecting on the word “authority” can be enlightening. It is double headed and hides within itself connotations of a making (authoring) and of an enforcement or administration of a set of norms. The objectivity of moral norms has always been objectionable. Consider the case of a religious rule. There exists a sort of realism in understanding this rule. The rule has to precede the congregation of adherers normatively and constitutively of its lifestyle. It is inauthentic to think that the rule can be disposed to suit the congregational contingencies. There is objectivity of a norm, which at the same time warrants concretization in an intersubjective real-time situation. When a keeper of law presumes himself as the author of the law it becomes purely whimsical and subjective. In that case the sense of “authority” can be suggestively and conveniently explained by the term auctoritas. Let me posit it as an embodiment of an obfuscated distinction between being an auctor in the genitive sense and in the administrative sense. The objectivity shall never be lost sight of and the subjectivity shall not go untouched.

The Nativity reminds us of a dialogical discourse. Arendt classifies actions as those which are meant to fabricate or make and those which are meant to communicate acknowledging the intersubjectivity. Action can become the most dangerous of human faculties. The monologic discourses that govern the world actions can become constitutive of reality. The theocratic world view, reeking of an authoritarian God, gave way to a Christophanous ontocracy in our religious understanding. This was effected by Incarnation. By Incarnation God became perceptibly pervasive of all realities. Every moment of our life should, hence be open to the public aletheia– the gradual disclosure of the whole. There should also be the admittance of non-sovereign qualities of human freedom. God the Auctor-par-excellence subjected his auctoritas to the non-sovereignty of human condition.

This makes the life of Jesus, a kaleidoscope of miraculous activities, a celebration of spiritual spontaneity and a preparation of the unexpected.

23.11.11

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