forgiveness cannot be universal. as altruistic as the concept might be and however romanticized the idea of assuming responsibility for the ‘sins of the father’ simply leave the one promising some sort of pseudo-reparation thereby implying an ‘all is well’ between the two parties. this is not forgiveness, rather it is a violent gesture of over-approximation.
we have assumed our place in someone else’s narrative. we stand in a gap, where the chasm is too large. and so in this instance, we assume an identity that is not our own. we embrace the ‘i’ that is not ‘i’, we are merely then puppets of our own making attempting to act on stage that wasn’t ours in the first place, thereby creating more context where there should be less. universal forgiveness or asking forgiveness on behalf of others is perverse because it does not allow a natural progression of healing, it attempts to repair something that needs more time.
it denies that process in its entirety by assuming one’s role is to seek forgiveness of ghosts (those who initially perpetuated the act) and in doing so plays the part of ‘father’ (in the catholic sense) to absolve history and the present of ‘their’ sins. so in a sense, this absolution has nothing to do with the people involved, but rather two alive yet inanimate objects called the past and present. these inorganic substances then stand-in for the people seeking the repair and in essence negate the people involved and in essence negate the whole scenario of forgiveness in its entirety.
the symbolic self or ideal ego (the person i think i need/must be) is then encouraged to continue in this role and fulfill its role as mediator and confidant (is this not the theological claim of jesus christ according to the author of hebrews?). if the author of hebrews is correct then jesus never progressed as a person and rather only fulfilled the social order by advocating forgiveness to be something that ‘we’ (as humanity) we were forever incapable of either handling or doing. jesus couldnt have sought forgiveness for the whole of humanity, because god created us with the ability to forgive/love one another. this small truth is why the general notion of forgiveness as universal cannot stand because it rests on the idea that we are incapable of contextualized reparation.
like when tiger woods apologizes to the general public for cheating on his wife and some of the general public believe him and others condemn him even more, this is a great example of the issues involved with over-generalized forgiveness, in that: (1) he decontextualized himself out of his own story and assumed his place was in everyone’s else’s (i.e., making his apology public) and thereby negating any need for an actual apology to his wife.(2) he subordinated himself to the general public for acquittal when the act itself was committed toward his wife, hence also replacing his wife for the general public, so there was no room for his wife to be able to choose reparation; any chance on her part would be sublated by the rest of the general public.
forgiveness must be contextual. it has to be bound to a story, a narrative, it cannot rest in a metanarrative (i.e., general public), in fact, if it does, it loses its own identity and get lost in some romantic notion of false-healing. forgiveness that rests on context is a true form of forgiveness…