Monday, August 11, 2008
Mysticism, Place, Chora, Body
The content of mystical longing, as the impossible desiring-questioning of impossible place, is not a perceived object, a there, but a must be or unseen is grounded in the actuality of what is here, in the inexplicable fact that something is happening, that one actually does exist, has body, the most intimate wrestling partner through which and with whom we struggle to get a grip on ourselves, cast off sleep, determine the truth about things, find where here is. The question “where am I?,’ traversing a space bounded from within by the intensity with which it is felt, desires what is most remote, not objectively, for the sake of asking about it, but only as that which would give place to the present, locate it somewhere. If, when the question achieves this location, it is not by hitting its mark or finding a point that discloses the questioner as on a map, but only by mirroring the questioner, giving place to her or his presence, the facticity or actuality or that which is so wonderful/terrifying/beautiful that it might as well be called (and may very well be) God. Chōra, called by Derrida “a strange mother who gives place without engendering,” is the place of the question and is question itself. What can be said of the question can be said of her. And acknowledging this identity may also help to clarify the boundary/friendship/(en)gendering between philosophy and mysticism. Philosophy also originates in erotic, felt, impossible questions, but puts the passion and the body that birthed them aside, to leave them (rather than let them place one) in the abyss, as if in deferral of their consummation, preferring to appropriate questioning as praxis, to replace the question’s original passion with a passion for questioning. So philosophy is haunted by chōra as its original eros, the forgotten love within it that gave/gives the question and which being forgotten remains perceivable only externally, barely, through the dream of questioning, in the form of remotest all-containing space. Mysticism, on the other hand, takes up the questions it is given as passion, as belonging to the place that conceived them. It knows and insists even foolishly that the question’s answer is not its understanding but its desperate and everyday experience and so lives with questions, places itself with them as with body, with what will not go away.