Friday, March 05, 2010

The Penumbra of the Empty, Part XIV

The process of progressively withdrawing religious claims from the political and public spheres of society I have conceived as a dividing practice.

The question I want to ask is where and how the cleavages can be formed: are the cleavages following some sort of natural dividing line or are they imposed—dictated? If the cleavages follow some sort of natural dividing line (natural division being along some sort of inherent basis for separation or differentiation within the undivided,) how is the basis for cleavage determined? If the dividing lines are dictated—how is that even possible?

As always, as I try to think about the dividing practices, I discover I am using a variety of dividing practices to understand dividing practices—an infernal frustration.

Stepping back from that frustration just for a moment, I wonder how a list of “religious claims” I might compile would look. In other words, if I could identify and list “religious claims” in the political and public spheres of pre-Enlightenment society and then compared that list wit the “religious claims” which we actually witness being withdrawn historically, I wonder how they would compare.

Is it possible to know if my list is anything but arbitrary? I would expect to see quite a few of my identified claims confirmed by the historical record, but because I am conventonal, not necessarily thoroughly rational. Is it advisable to regard the list generated in the actions of history as rationally authoritative? (I definitely wouldn’t call it arbitrary.) The questions of order and chaos once again.


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