An blog by a member of the Catholic peace movement, Pax Christi, to explore the nexus between contemplation and resistance. "The Christian must discover in contemplation, and in the giving of his life, those symbolic actions which will ignite the people's faith to resist injustice with their whole lives, lives coming together as a united force of truth and thus releasing the liberating power of the God within them." - James Douglass, Contemplation and Resistance.

Monday, February 26, 2007

No Power But Powerlessness

"So the devil tries again: worship me, he says, and the world is yours. It is mine to give, and the power over it all I give to you. And again, Jesus answers with Deuteronomy: "You are to pay homage to the Lord your God, and you are to revere him alone." There is no God but God, and no power but powerlessness. Worshipping God is not a stepping stone to power. It does not make us masters of the universe. It still leaves us in the wilderness, famished after forty days, and only the devil for company. God-forsaken indeed, or so it would seem to us. Jesus knows better." - Adventus.

No power but love. "The dehmanization resulting from an unjust order is not a cause for despair but for hope, leading to the incessant pursuit of the humanity denied by injustice. Hope, however, does not consist of crossing one's arms and waiting. As long as I fight, I am moved by hope; and if I fight with hope, then I can wait." - Paulo Friere, The Pedagogy of the Oppressed.

This, however, is only one half of the equation of hope. Politicians such as Barack Obama are strong on this half, but hope uninformed by the substance of critical thought is as vacuous as the apparent "opposition" of Democrats to the President's war policy. "Critical thinking contrasts with naive thinking, which sees 'historical time as a weight, a stratification of the acquisitions and experience of the past,' from which the present should emerge normalized and 'well-behaved.' For the naive thinker, the important thing is accommodation to this normalized 'today.' For the critic, the important thing is the continuing tranformation of reality, in behalf of the continuing humanization of men." - Friere

Here we see why the Democrats are incapable of taking a stand against the war. They have sold their consciences to a normalized today in which "what is" has imperceptibly merged with "what must be." They are well-adjusted to the weight of history and have surrendered to the lovelessness which is the metaphysical foundation of that history. "Only by abolishing the situation of oppression is it possible to restore the love which that situation made impossible." - Friere.

It is simple and inspiring to speak about "hope" in the abstract, devoid of critical "thinking which discerns an indivisible solidarity between the world and the people and admits of no dichotomy between them." The naive thinker, whose naivete in the case of Obama is carefully calculated, acts in the interests of the corporate master who wish their reality to remain untouched. He is happy to advise them on their plans to control Middle East oil as long as they adopt his notions of strategic success. But the weight of history will remain.

Here is a story you won't hear our progressive candidates talking about:

"'He was kept in a 9-by-7-foot cell with no natural light, no clock and no calendar,'Klein wrote. 'Whenever Padilla left the cell, he was shackled and suited in heavy goggles and headphones. Padilla was kept under these conditions for 1,307 days. He was forbidden contact with anyone but his interrogators, who punctured the extreme sensory deprivation with sensory overload, blasting him with harsh lights and pounding sounds. Padilla also says he was injected with a 'truth serum,' a substance his lawyers believe was LSD or PCP."

This is the loveless void in which our history has become embedded, from which no release can be expected by those unwilling to engage in critical thought that hopes that real humanity can be regained, rather than accepting the false humanity which Satan makes so enticing.

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