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(ILR) Josephine Kalieda: Pleroma, the Holy Trinity and Emancipatory Potential of Religation

Updated: Jul 9

Case Study

The Undead and the Disligated

Unfolding of history is an intelligence in its own right as history is unfolding of intelligence in its own right. Through the unfolding of the Geist which individuates an intelligence outside the bounds of time, is it we recognize the equation of history = intelligence = love = revolution. In this case study, I shall focus on adumbrating history of disligation i.e. alienation from the Pleromatic or 'phenoumenodelic' being and religation i.e. re-integration and embedded encounter of the exuberance of life in immanent field of Pleroma.

Of particular interest are European Enlightenment thinkers of 16th-17th century, who formulated a phallocratic philosophy of disligation grounding the endless extraction and appropriation in the era of capitalist intelligence unfolding. In a world where nothing is sacred, where finitude of subjectivity is functionally commensurate to infinity of God in the heretical anti-theology characteristic of the western degradation. The western man is disligated from anything which could humble him and put him to his place.

Appropriation and conquest are the two eyes of the western man through which he "charts" the world for the project of extraction. He says ‘this is mine’ and then — more radically — by identifying itself with its properties and saying, ‘this is me’. He is non-philosophical in so far as even his thoughts are his possessions to him.

He sees the ephemerality, vulnerability and striving of the life that is caught up in it as an objective to get out of it's "fallenness" by distangling its finitude itself from its essence, and raise itself to an absolute freedom? Fichte recognizes this as vision of the ‘free, living being’ becoming an image determined ‘by a limitation of the freedom and life within it. The two ways of seeing thus relate to each other as pure death to pure life’.

What is to replace this finitude of life in the divine being of garden of Eden dubbed Pleroma is infinitude of the capitalist plunder which knows no bounds and no final cause. The only telos of this plunder is the emergence of an infinitude in capital which transcends the fallen finity of life itself. It is ossified terror at dissolution crystallized as the tendency to terrorize life out of its bounds into an undead existence where death cannot be problematized and postulated because nothing was alive in first place. As Catren puts it, "that which is incorporated is not transmuted and spontaneously exhaled in the rhythmic act of living, but rather transformed into an accumulable piece of capital."

This project is precisely the project to overcome the limitations of finite existence which foreclose "the face that not everything can be constituted, rationalised, assimilated, digested, incorporated, imagined—the fact that not everything can be appropriated, conquered, or consumed" (Catren). It is precisely in overcoming this disligatory dissolutory un-finitizing undead state that the conception of love as religatory revolution finds its conceptual ground.

Conceptual framework

The mystical vs the ontotheological In lieu of Catren, the conceptual framework of this study focuses on overcoming the bipolar tendency of the rationalist enlightenment project of conquering the infinitude of God and mystical dissolutionist project of distangling and overcoming finitude. The 'ontotheological projection of the absolute into a hyperbolically external realm' as opposed to Bataille's 'hypothetical mystical dissolution of the individual in the immanence of an absolute now understood as undifferentiated identity'.

These diametric tendencies are both ontological reductions towards a disligated severing from exuberance of infinitely diverse immanent life filtered through the Christian trinitarian modulations or material filters of the father, the son and holy spirit.

'The ontotheological projection' entails a deglorification of the living flesh where nothing is sacred; a depreciation of the temporal world that becomes a disenchanted and ‘desolate nothingness’, 'impervious to epiphany, impermeable to revelation'. The current ecological crisis can, therefore, be understood as a ‘new episode’ in adubmbrations of the 'ontotheological stance and its iconoclastic drives' which fuel the capitalist extractivist project.

On the opposing pole, Bataille advocates for a dissolution of the self via overcoming of the limitations of finite transcendental subjective existence. Therefore, according to him, the ‘communication should be understood here in the sense of a fusion, a loss of self, the wholeness of which is only realised through death and of which erotic fusion is an image’. Such a tendency, he claims, is exhibited in eroticism, in sacrifice and war.

Catren claims that the sacred in Bataille is opposed to the principle of the institution and preservation of individuality and that it is death—and not 'the mad exuberance of life, the vertigo of procreation, the ability to institute ever new forms of life and the concomitant improbable worlds' —that is ‘the privileged sign of the sacred’.

For Bataille, individuation, separation, and temporalisation constitute a fall from the sacred continuity into the profane realm of finite language and extended projects that defer the communion. On the contrary, infinite faculties of loss, ecstasy, agony, laughter, poetry are all redemptive lines of flight.

The thesis that individuation— as projects unfolded in time—belong to the realm of the profane continues to fuel a hypertranscendent idea of religiosity according to which redemption entails a movement away from finite, individualised, and transient existence, from an existence deployed in the turbulent realm of life, with its innumerable mutant lifeforms (both separated and interrelated). This same idea fuels the rationalist capitalist impulse to conquer and colonize towards overcoming the finitude cast by individuation and become that hypertranscendent God oneself.

Both the mystical and the ontotheological differ from trinitarian Christianity in that they deny the divinity of finitude, the mystery of incarnation, the possibility for the discontinuous individual to channel 'egophanies'. 'The mystical heresy' as Catren calls it, privileges the first person of the trinity—the pre-individual unity of the matter—to the detriment of both self-love ('love of the finite I in the devotional acceptance of its singular separated individuality') and 'the concertation between siblings' (of the Holy Spirit).

'Against any Promethean deification of the subject at the cost of its finitude, Christianity finitises divinity at the cost of its hyper-transcendence. The Stimmung proper to trinitarian religion is neither a regressive nostalgia for the primordial undifferentiated One nor an aspiration toward a salvation from finitude by means of an infinitisation of the human' (Catren).

Trinitarian Christianity overcomes both the 'Promethean foreclosure of castration' and the ontotheological impasses of a profane present that dreams of a lost sacred unity. In trinitarian Christianity, the religated living one—far from seeking return to the undifferentiated one or salvation from finitude —roots itself in a material origin in order to propel itself to the communitarian spirit. This is the project of speculative materialism grounded in trinitarian theology of Christianity.


The Trinity as material contradictions of functional filters The fundamental point of the catholic trinity (the father, the son and the holy spirit) is that there is a thing of which there are completely overlapping parts which are not each other by function, but which nevertheless are each other by identity. These are functional filters of the trinity. The excess of the material world comes out of the fact that nothing is everywhere expressible yet everything is contingent on everything else, that is what such a material contradiction encodes in terms of the father and the son.

There is more than one interpretation of what a "contradiction" is. It is not necessarily an abstract or ontological contradiction, rather it's a sheffer stroke ('not both' operation). A material contradiction as in these two things are not in the same domain/space, yet they are of the same exact thing/system. It can be understood as a model of transcendence == immanence which is fundamental to catholic theology.

It can only be considered an abstract contradiction if you take a material contradiction to be universally applicable which is non-sense, since no material contradiction applies the same everywhere. It is not dissimilar to the difference between abstract "mind" and concrete "body": they are not actually separately extended entities at all, yet they may appear differently owing to there being different interpretations or 'functional filters' over the same body as extension.

The holy spirit is the divine interlocutor in that model, while the father and the son are the relationship between what is transcendent (God/the non-discursive, what exists even outside of what can intelligibly be placed into collections) and what is immanent (the son, the discursive, the one who inside time works to cleanse us of sin) and none of those are God because they are all like filters over the total structure of God, nor are they each other because they are different filters, but yet they are all embodied within, subsist within and pervasive within God. It is an hyper-object with filters that are also automorphisms in mathematical terms.

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