« Elmer Gantry | Main | Six Takes »

October 17, 2004


William S

Is believing you are on a mission from God the same as embracing the absurd? I mean, to be on a mission from God is not the same as to have faith in God, right? It runs the risk of absurdity because one can be delusional about their own importance. It is an absurd belief about oneself, if it is one at all.

Or, is being ridiculous the same thing as being absurd? He has no fundamentally external goal, it seems. Insofar as his failure is as much evience of his elect status as any success, he could be doing anything, Like the Buddhist embracing the dharma sweeping the floor. But this i not really true insofar a the grandeur of the presidency is also required, the potential for glory in the scope of his action. A glory which is his, but also not his. His motivations are not goal oriented in a fundnamental way, I think. But this is not a result of some insight about the problematic nature of goals set in the future which are the basis for a sort of final judgement of one's efforts and ambitions. He is a closed loop. He places himself as the lever of any movement toward the good, and not only in an instrumental sense.

Pascal's wager is not simply a way to bridge the gap between our situation and God' grace through reasosn, since our acceptance of God is only a necessary condition of grace which has meaning as such only with the suffecient condition of grace - which is not God's existence but God's granting of grace, or God's judgement. We are never in a position to judge ourelves and this is what makes the wager necessary: to open our hearts to the knowledge that only it can gain.

If we are, as Adam suggests, in a sort of state of sin, and thus incapable of moving from the present moment to the just situation, then the idea is perhaps similiar in that we do not have confidence that we can reach the goal we seek. But not becase it is impossible, insofar as it is material situation, an institutional ambition. Rather, it is impossible to get there from here. Are these the same sort of impossible? With respect to action they probably are. But with respect to reason they are not, as John has pointed out. I think the issue is really the characterization of the present moment and the continuity and consistency of action and where the moment of judgement is placed.

Is it necessary that each moment of judgemnt be characterized similarly? That what is fudnamental in us, necessary in us, forms the basis of demands as to what the future must be seems to require that he moments are all identical insofar as the judgement is ours, and insofar as we are epected to take ourselves to this future, and something like embracing the absurd is a way of grasping our situation, sort of like acknowledging we live in sin.

Adam makes a point about the Third World, and I think this is good in that what we see in the movements originating from these places is the same sort of anger and disgust and rage that I have seen in movies about the 60's and 70's. (Yes, yes - movies about). The emotional force behind efforts for justice. Even Ghandi was criticized for mobilizing this under the banner of religion and warned of the threat of its unsustainability. Our judgement in its evry strucutre sems to be legtimized in the sense that it leads us toward the good, if it does, but the question is really how it does, if it does, and the doubt engenders the question of whether or not our judgement when the good is achieved is of the same sort as when it is not yet done.

Maybe what conservatives and Zizek share is a sense of the glory of the good and the glory of just action. Deos the highest glory come with an act of transformation? Or with an ending? Does it come with your acceptance of something, your humility, as it were? Or with your participation in the very end itself? Someone who embraces the absurd would choose the former, I think.


It's interesting to hear all this word about Messianic George Bush. It is counter to my impression of the Bushites which is the view that all they care about is money. I don't think they have any convictions except for securing money for friends and family.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Email John & Belle

  • he.jpgjholbo-at-mac-dot-com
  • she.jpgbbwaring-at-yahoo-dot-com

Google J&B

J&B Archives

Buy Reason and Persuasion!

S&O @ J&B

  • www.flickr.com
    This is a Flickr badge showing items in a set called Squid and Owl. Make your own badge here.

Reason and Persuasion Illustrations

  • www.flickr.com

J&B Have A Tipjar

  • Search Now:

  • Buy a couple books, we get a couple bucks.
Blog powered by Typepad

J&B Have A Comment Policy

  • This edited version of our comment policy is effective as of May 10, 2006.

    By publishing a comment to this blog you are granting its proprietors, John Holbo and Belle Waring, the right to republish that comment in any way shape or form they see fit.

    Severable from the above, and to the extent permitted by law, you hereby agree to the following as well: by leaving a comment you grant to the proprietors the right to release ALL your comments to this blog under this Creative Commons license (attribution 2.5). This license allows copying, derivative works, and commercial use.

    Severable from the above, and to the extent permitted by law, you are also granting to this blog's proprietors the right to so release any and all comments you may make to any OTHER blog at any time. This is retroactive. By publishing ANY comment to this blog, you thereby grant to the proprietors of this blog the right to release any of your comments (made to any blog, at any time, past, present or future) under the terms of the above CC license.

    Posting a comment constitutes consent to the following choice of law and choice of venue governing any disputes arising under this licensing arrangement: such disputes shall be adjudicated according to Canadian law and in the courts of Singapore.

    If you do NOT agree to these terms, for pete's sake do NOT leave a comment. It's that simple.

  • Confused by our comment policy?

    We're testing a strong CC license as a form of troll repellant. Does that sound strange? Read this thread. (I know, it's long. Keep scrolling. Further. Further. Ah, there.) So basically, we figure trolls will recognize that selling coffee cups and t-shirts is the best revenge, and will keep away. If we're wrong about that, at least someone can still sell the cups and shirts. (Sigh.)