Nirenberg claims that “those who prescribe love and its politics are unaware of its long history of disappointment.”
He examines how the politics of love in Old Testament
scripture, the Christian Gospels, Plato, Aristotle, St. Augustine and to some extent, Hegel and Marx, tend to “generate specific anxieties and figures of exclusion, figures that shape the ways in
which political love itself can be imagined.” This places love in the paradoxical political position of
attempting to overcome “those very exclusions that the history of its use has
generated”, and thus “any politics thatacts in love’s name will have the potential
to produce its enemies”.
Basing a politics on love, in other words, has historically
tended to engender the very problems that it seeks to redress—culminating,
among other things, in the alienation,exclusion, and dehumanization of the “foreigner”, “woman,” and “Jew” in western culture.
Nirenberg illustrates this process at work in Judaism’s “tension between love of man’s relation to God and love as the mortar that binds man to man,”manifesting itself in an aversion to
idolatry as symbolized by the “foreign and
female.“ – Grego
PAUL & DELEUZE: Character is a lie of identity
BE ALL THINGS TO ALL PEOPLE…
Some people read this as some form of creative evangelistic tool that Paul props up, as in the best way to connect with people is be where they are. However altruistic and heartfelt this reading might be, I think Paul is speaking more about
how we view ourselves. Moreso how we relate the very essence of who we are.
A sense of being as in Paul’s use of the phrase ‘be’ we find that there is a gap within us. Between the body and the voice, between language and the absence of reality. Language itself brings us into being or existence. But it’s never a complete existence. We never fully exist, hence why Hegels notion of totality is problematic on all fronts. We are never whole.
I think it’s also key to know that from the Greek, Paul’s phrase above is quite disjointed, so it might look like this transliterated: all things, all things, all things.
In this reading we get something quite different to the typical new age idea that character is something we naturally have or the reductionist quaint idea that “character is something we have when no one is looking or when the lights are off”. Character is something we perform but I think Paul is doing something even more interesting. He is challenging the notion that the idea of a whole self or that to be all things in all situations in its connection to how we relate to others and different circumstances that we are never the same. That we constantly change. That to be the self is to be plural not one. That plurality of identity is the essence of what it means to exist.