Thursday, October 1, 2015

What's In a Name?

Deny thy father and refuse thy name...
...O, be some other name! What's in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet...
I take thee at thy word: Call me but love, and I'll be new baptized (Romeo and Juliet, II,ii)

The hegemony of the name destroys life and love in Shakespeare's play. The patriarchy of the name game imbues the name with history and the tyranny of lineage, and the death of Juliet and her Romeo. Neither dramatic baptism, nor sacrament can withstand the tragedy of the name, can re-name a given name, can avert the tragedy of the name. In Romeo and Juliet, the ousia of the name is the stuff of tragedy and tragic irony. Re-naming is just not in the stars for these star-crossed lovers.


It's probably time Catholicism takes some responsibility for the name of God, or what's harbored in 'the name.' Hashem is beyond being, beyond the Exodus ontology (Ex. 3:14); Hashem is the event that this name harbors. Judaism has always known this point about the name, and reserves pronouncing the proper name of God for the rarest occasions, when the event harbored in the name is released as the event. Hashem harbors the saturated phenomenon in the name of God, the event of revelation, of God's self-communication, despite the saturation of that self.

Relationality is beyond family lineage. "Hello, we're the Christs; I'm Joseph. This is my wife, Mary, and this is Jesus." Neither is the Trinity about family. "Hello, we're the God: I'm the Father; this is my Son, and this is Ruach." There is not a single happy family in all of Shakespeare; even Prospero and Miranda cannot be said to prosper as a family. Names tend toward ruination; relationalities tend toward life.

God, theos, deus.

What have I accomplished in that list? there's an accomplishment. The tetragrammaton, lovingly substituted by Adonai, is best left as a placeholder for the name. Even 'Jehovah,' the name, the proper name, in itself, forecloses on the event apart from a liturgy of the event. God, theos, deus. These are code for the name or they are nothing. The rabbis tell me that "G-d" is a bizarre concoction, and cannot possibly do the work intended by such a hieroglyphic gesture; some rabbis tell me the gesture is just a 'fad.' If so, it's a long-lived one.

Theos, of course, gives us theism and atheism (and now it seems, even anatheism). Since theos accomplishes little or nothing, I can no longer imagine what 'atheism' and 'theism' are able to accomplish any more. The words seem to me the emptiest of signifiers, and by that conclusion I do not mean to deny their histories, their often violent histories. The words do signify in the past, but their future is dubious. What can the difference be between opposing empty signifiers, because, after all, that is what these terms do best: oppose. Both terms tell tales told by idiots and signify nothing. Even the blood spilled in their historical significations no longer signifies. Such blood is lost in the din of distant sound and fury. Sanguinity laps silently upon desolate shores; oed und leer das Meer.

There is no difference between atheism and theism; zero does equal zero, but that's all. In this blog I have referenced what 'serious theists' and 'serious atheists' think, but now it's time to get serious and call the game what it is: pure extortion. No one is really serious about the empty signifiers they have committed to. There can be no choice, after all, between evidence and phenomena:  they simply do not answer the same question, and the metaphysical blackmail that keeps propping up the choice races to surpass the desolation and bankruptcy of its offspring empty signifiers.

In the distant past when atheism and theism referenced the same onto-theological "God" the battles were joined and the blood invaded the secret shores of being, rendering green seas incarnadine. Now, as the 3rd phenomenological reduction to givenness has concluded metaphysics and has gone beyond that approach to reality, the onto-theology embedded there has also yielded to otherwise than being, leaving theism and atheism ragged claws scuttling across the floors of silent seas, mindlessly, purposelessly reaching, tearing, snapping for they know not what. The phenomenological self has once and for all surpassed the constituting Cartesian self whose only abode is solipsism. Oceanic metaphysics has strained out a gnat and swallowed a camel---its own project. Theism's only referent has been shown to have no clothes, and its negation, atheism, not only has no referent, but has lost its opposition. There are no longer any theists or atheists; seriousness has obviated these gamesters. They have been torn from a body of knowledge that no longer sustains them.

As the remnants of the theists and atheists continue to have at each other's empty set, hope rises from a sea of faith.

                      ...the world which seems
To lie before us like a land of dreams, 
So various, so beautiful, so new,
Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light,
Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain

But what hope can this be except a ghostly, spectral hope in a
future yet to come? What solace is there really in the
irrationality of denying the existence of something that does
not exist? Is something so various, so beautiful and so new
as that which is to come really without joy, love, light,
certitude and peace? That something to come, so new,
beautiful and various, haunts memory and imagination. It is
the heart of a heartless world, that which quickens the pure
gift and the pure call,and it calls from a nameless place, a
place that cannot be named.

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