Restricted ‘Spirit’

The usage of ‘Spirit’ is undoubtedly Hegelian, this is an admittance i shall own up to – but i support the term within the larger framework of a sociological perspective. I am far more concerned with the religious character of our lives; indeed i hold the opinion that one of the greatest ills committed by Religion has been its bullish tendency to repress our passionate natures. The religious taboo on sexuality, for instance, makes a criminal out of the human ‘soul’.

So what do i mean by the ‘Spirit’? The Subjective Spirit is the individual who lives as an indisputably social being. Their identity is that of the sublated self; what is essential is preserved – but they exist within the Civilized world and in the interests of self-preservation, present a version of themselves which ensures Human Continuity.

Do not forget – we exist as discontinuous beings. In the Profane World, our physical properties are absolutely different [our fashions stress this] – and in the immaterial, our souls all betray this sense of discontinuity. Precisely because we as different beings desire things in various manners to different degrees.

Nonetheless, we find it impossible to exist for ourselves in a state of discontinuity. Love at its most abstract definition desires everlasting continuity. Even work attracts us with continuity: our community in the work-place, the sense of purpose we experience from feeling as if we belong somewhere. Indeed, when the Spirit comes into contact with continuity, it faces the complex challenge of securing community, even with the increasing commodification of our lives [which has proven itself to become resentful of the community offered by symbolic exchange].

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The Principle of ‘Negativity’

Hegelian ‘negativity’ signifies the discarding of a static element, contradicted by a variable that negates what was habitual to the object. What is static is our ‘nature’, culture represents the variable [which is artificially constructed as ‘culture’]. In essence, the human world which we inhabit is Profane [morality is founded upon the duty of the subject to the State/establishment]. If the Sacred world is the world of unlimited immediacy, then this is inexplicably the subject of human negation.

What is important here is the hypothesis that if the Profane World [work and duty] is the embodiment of human negativity, then the Sacred world represents Static life [as manifest in the ‘soul’, not the ‘spirit’] Self-Consciousness is morally aware – it understands the necessity of constructing identity that is socially acceptable. Consciousness [in its animal form] is static; it exists in the immediate, where desire leads the animal to engage its resources through action. Thus desire in the ‘soul’ is repressed, in the social sphere of Profane life, because its non-productivity refuses the application of self in the Productive world.

This conflict arises: haunted by the immediacy of childhood [which has to be tempered in the makings of human ‘spirit’], the individual becomes a subject when they are legally recognized by the Political State. Subjectivity begins when the individual renounces the Sovereign life, in favor of the Productive Identity they secure as a tool – utilized for the growth of the infra-structure. Individuals who are alienated by this almost in-human application of self-as-tool desire the return to Sovereignty, but ultimately find it to be impossible: our subjectivity submits us to the necessity of social recognition and fiscal responsibility and these two facts do not allow for the setbacks to Political Economy, as evident in our desire which takes us back to the Sacred world.

 

Communication

I.

Communication is by its very nature sacred.

This largely owes itself to the fact that a secret promises a challenge to Knowledge.

To know something is i believe to be certain of something; a fact is objective and an experience is subjective.

Within discourse, an objective spirit assumes form. By knowing, discourse makes no exceptions.

Let us think about this politically…

Society is the given order; i am born into a certain family, who themselves are subject to certain socio-economic conditions. When i become a subject legally, i have civil liberties, but these are only guaranteed by my abiding by the laws of my country. Society, itself, is part of the Super-Structure [The Homogeneous Function] True. The Infra-Structure [Modes of Production and Consumption] are historical, but they are made historical only by the individuals who validate them.

The ‘Objective Spirit’ therefore is the Self-Conscious thought of the Profane world, but enacted into Productive action through individuals participating collectively to the demands of Political Economy.

Now, a nation-state can only be functional through the will of its political parts. In the Super-Structure, a divide is drawn up between the lives of ordinary citizens [Civil Society] and Political figures [Political Society]. Politics involves a dominant discourse, breaking through the symphony of opinions to provide a) an objective observation of society (that is profane because it posits itself as being reasonable) and b) offers an objective solution, insofar, as this discourse secures absolute power.

Communication cannot be profane.

This is because when two discontinuous beings enter into conversation, they experience each other’s thought as being other-to-self. Besides, the whole point of continuity is to unite two different persons in an immediate state of intimacy, which in itself is not reasonable.

Reason can only present itself as reasonable through discourse because objectivity determines subjectivity. Discontinuity therefore drives itself to despair if isolated from company; i want to offer something to you – not to myself for there is nothing to offer except anguish.

The Divided ‘Subject’

I.

When a person is born into this world, they find themselves (as they grow older) interpolated as subjects into a given society. It is when these individuals are legally recognized by the Political State that their Self-Consciousness prompts them to adapt themselves to the social conditions which irrevocably affect the individual; negating the child-like sensation of immediacy, in favor of a utilitarian role exerted by the subject from within productive society.

II.

The world must be considered theoretically within the duality of sacred things and profane rites. The world of matter is Profane; an object exists in the material world and is animated by Self-Consciousness, insofar, as it is useful and has value. Hegel, in the Jena Lectures, identifies a person’s being as the space for Subjective Spirit (Self-Consciousness). My thoughts (intimate to the sublated self) are either productive or non-productive to the material world i inhabit. If i negate this socially-constructed self, i risk dissolution of being.

III.

The sacred is therefore the world of anguish; the immediacy of soul (Desire, Hunger, Sensuality) Even the term ‘sacred’ feels obscure: it eludes me because its origin bespeaks a time in man’s history which was deeply religious. Today’s secular society is ruled by objective reason; this of course liberated the individual from Religious Hegemony but at a price. To speak of the Sacred is to communicate subjective anguish at having repressed my intimate nature, for the greater good of conforming to the productive rules endemic to social organization.

IV.

This application of subjectivity to the Profane world of utilitarian reason, should ideally concede this point. Discontinuous beings cannot reach continuity through our current economic struggle. The alienation of an individual (wealthy or impoverished) culminates in their horror at being abstract. They want more than what their station in life can provide for them, and finding this obstacle unbearable, find themselves to be the victims of an endless anguish.

V.

Anguish refers to the restricted individual, torn between the appeal of an ideal and the brutal reality that they may never attain this. The guilt intimate to this individual in feeling this way is expressed, as Bataille notes, through the notion of sacrifice. His conception of sacrifice runs through the individual communicating their anguish through Sacred things (Literature, Art and Intoxication) thus becoming guilty for not having resolved the anguish in a productive matter.

VI.

Discontinuity admits difference, but the self can never satisfy itself with this fact. In our separate lives, we desire intimacy.

The thought of two persons brought together in the act of fusion as two basking in continuity.

When money is involved, the guilt becomes even more poignant.