For those of you who’ve been following much of my blog and actually reading (as opposed to just watching the videos), the following are tidbits of thoughts to chew on.
Faith has become the opposite of Reason in western cultural forms. This has not been too much the case in most non-Christianized cultures and indigenous cultures, as well as some minoritized cultures everywhere (I only speak of dominant Christian ideas, not all Christian ideas). Aspects of it are apparent in many places/cultures and how we show up in the world. This has spread to due the expansion of market capitalism, neo-colonial aspects of expansion which are residual systems from colonization that exist in globalization and creation of nation-states. Colonization included the spread of liberal Christian concepts in the policies and procedures within nation-state-making, but always in complex relations with the local cultures. Faith and reason are related to each other, a sort of couple, and made oppositional to each other in many cultures and systems due to that battle being set-up while science and some dominant Christian churches sought to dominate their local populations through superiority. But we fail to realize that many scientists were Christian/many Christians were scientists. Chasing God was an aspect for many Christians.
If we are to understand that this ‘division’ was created in historical circumstances, through many repetitions, through many crisis and wars and power struggles between religious institutions vying for power over the people, and the sciences that prioritize rationality over other things, then we see that this division exists, but is not universal, not the entire story, nor oppositional nor are they compulsory. But in today’s reality, they can be. This is a battle and division many people have inherited and have internalized as their own truth. There are different ways of approaching how we live in the world, how we perceive events, and the most important point I want to make here in this post, for now: the ways in which we conceptualize and respond to change and maintaining certain things about our emotions and thoughts. If we read how power struggles form our institutions, then we can understand that we take on a few things without question, which may contain those power struggles–either as a dominance without question, or on the receiving end of oppression, for instance as one example. This, then, leads to how we act in the world, how we are, and not the least–what we commmit to or not, what we put out into the world with others. Often, it is the invisible as well, things that we are NOT paying attention to. The effects of our thoughts on the world, something many of us have no clue about in the modern world.
We cling to things as a matter of faith and rationality. But if we examine, perhaps there is not much difference between the two. For me, there are other ways to approach the world, hence this entire blog. This is not just a matter of ‘choice’ but a matter of looking at oppressive forms that we carry around in social relations and institutions.
What matters to me is that if you label yourself a person of ‘faith’ – what does this mean?
If you consider yourself a ‘rational being’ – what does this mean?
And whatever way you may define it, why do you do this in the world as ‘yourself’ and what effects does it have in the world?
Much of either may have to do with the twins of fear and maintenance. In fact, in much of dominant Christian thought, to have faith means you are unswerving. If we are unswerving, then how does this link to liberation?
I, personally prioritize liberation–not as an escape but an entrance into ethics, communication, justice, loyalty, and the formation of questions and creativity to reach it through the increase of time and space toward negotiation. Sometimes negotiations do not turn out well, but this is not the point. There is no endpoint through which liberation can pre-determine an outcome. In short, liberation-actions are always experiments. Ethics also plays a large role.
So liberation is at odds with maintenance.
Maintence, however, cannot be confused with honoring heritages and pasts, legacies and traditions.
Questioning the heritages, pasts, legacies, and traditions, must be done for liberation.
Questioning does NOT mean disavowing, disapproving, criticizing.
Critique is to DECONSTRUCT. Deconstruction points to how something may have been constructed.
In honoring a tradition or legacy or heritage or culture, which includes a belief, a mindset, and sets of actions by us or someone or institution…….we can say okay to them, but to perhaps question some of its actions and to change them. In deconstructing, we see where some things can be held and CHANGED in some of its actions.
EFFECTS of how things are in the world, what happens when things are put out into the diverse world, is also an aspect of liberation processes.
In deconstruction, we see how and why fear and maintenance show up, perhaps alleviating fears. Most fear the disappearance and disintegration of themselves and their cherished beliefs and actions. Perhaps there is a sense of being ‘wrong’ or being called a ‘nobody’ or a ‘liar’ or ‘fool’ or even worse–to be condemned to torture or death, humiliation and exclusion. So there is a tighter clinging.
On the other end of the spectrum are people who use non-commitment and non-identity as a way of moving in the world. This may also be a tactic of evading what I said above. Life is EASIER when there’s less commitment. It is also very individualistic and self-centered. In the end it is very very lonely, alienated, and non-life-giving. But we all have our paths.
For someone to kill someone, as Judith Butler mentions in her videos in the previous post, for the view that a difference poses a THREAT or a LEGITIMACY to kill, is a question for our times. This threat, this legitimacy, is an aspect of uneven power-relations. In some places, those killings are not seen as tragic, and even be seen as NECESSARY. If we are to apply this not only to gender and sexuality, but to other things such as beliefs, ways of living, etc. that always include gender anyway, as well as nation, class, race and ethnicity, etc., then we can see that they are aspects of power relations and a struggle between fear, maintenance, and liberation. ESCAPE is a tool for maintaining the status quo, as nothing changes from escaping, although we may reduce the result of violence from escaping.
What must we maintain? What are the effects of maintaining something? Can it be maintained DIFFERENTLY instead of wholly packaged in a certain way? Which things should be maintained? Which aspects should be transformed? What are the criteria for this?
If we are to take our everyday maintenances of whatever we may choose to reflect upon and deconstruct, what possibilities are there for a more liberatory, relation-oriented formation of ourselves as individuals, communities, nations, races, religions, etc.?
What are the effects of our decisions and non-decisions?
So, as I have been putting forth in this, deconstruction is not the disintegration of a self or thing or system, necessarily. If we see, in this process of deconstruction, that something is superfluous and fiction, it is okay. For me, what matters is that if it is DESTRUCTIVE to yourself or community, or to OTHERS, then perhaps there are other ways this can be done, and not totally given up, necessarily–just because it is deemed a fiction. And how do we make decisions? If our decisions are insular/interior –meaning if we make decisions that effect others solely by ourselves within, and not concerning or negotiating with the parties whom we affect, then our decisions will perhaps not work anyway. At this juncture, our decisions effecting others must be negotiated. This would be a step, although I would argue that this is not always possible with everything and everyone right now. It would depend on a lot of work on our relational skills.
If we look at our world, nations and cultures and individuals and communities are in a struggle to defend or dominate, or survive or expand or all of the above and more. I put forth that these are learned modes of behavior, and yes some of it is necessary. But most of it can be different simply by reflection time being built in, and to change much of the way we live and to ask different questions other than ‘is this THE TRUTH?’ or “Am I RIGHT or WRONG?” and other such very limited questions that create the same results over and over again.
What are the effects of our truths in the lived world? Not to ourselves alone but in the world? They will have multiple effects. How, in knowing this, could we not think about being perfect or good, but to work together for new possibilities?
I do not think for a moment, that this can be a widespread way of working now. But certainly in some walks of life, we can increase this possibility and not to expect it. Just asking questions and being strong enough for the responses, and to commit to asking questions for liberation’s possibility……..is it worth it? Or shall we just continue the way we are……maintaining….and seeing the world in our truths that have largely been taken from the cultures in which we have traversed, without questioning……? Our violent world has been inherited. We have been born into this violence. We have been told that largely it is ‘natural.’ I would say that ‘natural’ can be created differently, as diversity and nature are constantly changing.
Fear? Maintenance? Toward what?