What I will celebrate on Easter morning 3

George Elerick, cultural theorist, author and activist, goes in search of God's soul.

In the course of the ecstatic vision, at the limit of death on the cross and of the blindly lived lamma sabachthani, the object is finally unveiled as catastrophe in a chaos of light and shadow [...]. - Georges Bataille

At Easter, God becomes an atheist. The object of belief loses faith in himself. In a moment of sheer dismal paroxysm God realizes the limitations of her own divinity. That becoming human would manifest a light so dark that it would separate the divine from the infinite. God finds out that eternity is a lie. That forever is something written by fictionalists. In the crucifixion, God gazes into the abyss of self. God becomes a void.

The catastrophe that is unveiled here is not that God realizes he is no longer infinite and powerful, but rather that his limited subjectivity is his natural state of existence. Easter then, is about the madman who comes to realize that the God of history is no God at all. I use the term madman in the psychoanalytic sense, from the French lexicon of Jacques Lacan; simply defined the madman is the one who believes in his socio-symbolic self to the point of penetrated exhaustion. Another example would be a king who actually believes he is a king. Or a president who actually believes he is a president. Easter then, is about the emancipation from this kind of oppressive identity.

The asymmetrical passage that emerges between the limit of life (crucifixion) and the limit of death (resurrection) is one of open invitation not to view this event of grotesque proportions as some reified sacred event but rather as a moment within the consciousness (ego) of God. That within the divine lies a struggle against anxiety. A God who is limited by the constraints of time cannot remain in limbo, but, like all that (s)he creates, must too make a decision between heaven and hell. Easter demonstrates to us a God who is also subject to the contingency of temporality. God in time. The ironic contingency of the divine act of creation lies in the reality that the very thing God creates he is also limited by. The divine anxiety here then is whether God chooses the liminal space (reality) over heaven and hell. This is where the story transgresses its own fate (i.e., via the resurrection - an unexpected event; God chooses a different course then anticipated), because God chooses to rewrite his own history - but not without a cost. The divine who would emerge with the marks of permanent disfigurement (hands, feet, and side). The perfect God falls from grace.

The resurrection cannot be reduced to some sacred miracle, but rather must be responsibly appropriated to a material existence. To reduce it to a sacred event alone would only exacerbate the distance between the story as a myth and the story as an event that lives in reality. To embrace the impossibility of both being possible is to embrace the ambiguity of existence. To do so we must be willing to pursue the pain of melancholy, meaning we must be willing to sacrifice our assurance for something that lies immanently beyond it. We then must learn to embrace melancholy as a form of ideological salvation against the evil of myopically doctrinal creeds.

The nature of psychoanalytic melancholy resides in the moment when: ...the melancholic is not primarily the subject fixated on the lost object, unable to perform the work of mourning on it; he is, rather, the subject who possesses the object, but has lost his desire for it, because the cause which made him desire this object has withdrawn, lost its efficiency. Far from accentuating to the extreme the situation of the frustrated desire, of the desire deprived of its object, melancholy stands for the presence of the object itself deprived of our desire for it - melancholy occurs when we finally get the desired object, but are disappointed at it. “(http://www.lacan.com/zizalien.htm). The resurrection is then an event that represents a rupture within the divine to its own dissatisfaction with its own mundane existence as being eternal. The resurrection is a disavowal of this boring existence of living forever and exploring the eternity with finitude.

The resurrection in a strictly materialist sense would then be described as an ontological gap. The rendering of the garments were a foreshadowing of a God who would come to face-to-face with his own mortality. This tear in the veil was metonymic for something larger than a dualistic mythological cocktail of sin and redemption, but rather a preview of the redemption of God. That God would come to terms with her own conscious limitations. Easter signals a salvation within divinity. A moment of restoration and awakening.

Adopting the mnemonic perspective (i.e., claiming the historical accounts/memories (disciples) as our own) forces us to fetishize the immaterial soul of the divine and negates the possibility of a God with a soul. This practice (widely celebrated in Churches) demands a blind allegiance to a being that has no soul, a God who is dead, and in a sense only requires an image of the divine created by theological fabric.

The radicality of Easter is that it brings us to the event and does not anticipate our belief in it, but rather invites us to desire with it, the same events that transpired for the divine - that, we too, discover the gap within ourselves, that we discover the light within that is so dark it can only be perceived at night.

Comments

1 On 08/04/2013 Richie wrote:

I’m preaching this Sunday (Easter 3) just read George Elerick’s article found it most confusing. Need a little bit of help please!

2 On 08/04/2013 Lacques Jacan wrote:

Excellent article George.
Some thoughts:
“This practice (widely celebrated in Churches) demands a blind allegiance to a being that has no soul, a God who is dead, and in a sense only requires an image of the divine created by theological fabric”.

Is it not the case that this psycho-analytic insight obtains similarly in a binding allegiance to an analyst without soul, a dead analysts [if you’re getting my drift- I’m trying to invoke the symbolic structure of psycho-analytic discourse to which the analyst relates through an ‘imaginary’ position], and in a sense this analyst requires only the salutary imago of the Law that is the reality principle? Food for thought, indeed. Thanks for your article.

I have been treating of similar questions these days, so do drop by and feel free to interact in any which way the jouissance takes you.

http://lacquesjacan.wordpress.com/2013/04/08/reflections-on-alan-roland-2011/

Cheers!

3 On 09/04/2013 George Elerick wrote:

Richie!

Great to hear from you! How can I help. We can chat here, via email, Skype or I can just come and preach this?!:-D

Ask away. Thanks for visiting


Jacques. Lets write something together! Email me.

4 On 09/04/2013 Richie wrote:

Hi George, couldn’t preach this in my church. Most of the congregation wouldn’t understand it. However, I’m fed up with hearing about miracles, casting nets on the other side of the boat etc. I’m sure this is allergorical?

5 On 10/04/2013 George Elerick wrote:

nRichie

Great to hear from you. You would be surprised what a congregation is willing to sit through. I have preached similar messages as this.
But I also tend to tailor a message toward the audience I am preliminary U.N.
I agree with you. Most miracles are the usage of Jewish soupy an d metaphor. When you break down the language from Hebrew you plastic to see midrash at work. And sometimes it’s simply a re telling of am old testament story to

6 On 10/04/2013 George Elerick wrote:

Make a point. Hyperbole was the tool of the day. Take for example, most of the parables looked at from the Hebrew and the culture of things time are attacks against
the religious

Does that help. I write more about this in my first book.

7 On 10/04/2013 Richie wrote:

Can get your books on kindle?

8 On 11/04/2013 Richie wrote:

Yes!

Number two out this year.

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