Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Secular Transcendence

Much of what I appreciate and admire in Marx and Nietzsche -- and to some extent this may also be present in Freud -- is what I want to call a "secular transcendence." (Perhaps even a profane transcendence.)

In the work of Benjamin and Adorno, this is elaborated into a philosophy of redemption that nevertheless dispenses with any revelation or sacred law.

In the work of Deleuze and Foucault, this is elaborated into an ontology of becoming which illuminates possible modes of subjectivization which can be actualized in acts of resistance and transformation.

In order to develop the project of a wholly secular transcendence, these thinkers made use of a remarkable array of different traditions, theories, and vocabularies (Hegelian idealism, phenomenology, neo-Kantianism, Jewish theology, modern art, sociology, psychoanalysis, etc.).

But in doing so, they've given us something truly amazing -- an amazing gift. A new way of thinking differently "in order, at long last, to feel differently" (Nietzsche).


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