Arquivo para May 27th, 2022

The human and divine ascension

27 May

There are many exercises and forms that promise asceticism, ways of maintaining physical and mental energies are useful and important, but the spiritual ascent, which is the source of true asceticism, requires moral, ethical, personal and collective training that puts us in a virtuous circle.

When criticizing modern society, as a society of fatigue, Byung Chul Han reminds us that active life must be complemented with a contemplative life, which does not mean looking at infinity or the sky, it is meditation and the collective exercise of including the Another is knowing how to listen from an inner emptiness, or, as philosophy thinks, a phenomenological epoché.

He introduces contemplation as: “If sleep is the high point of physical rest, deep boredom is the high point of spiritual rest. Pure restlessness generates nothing new” (Han, 2015) and then defines it as: “Modern Cartesian doubt dissolves astonishment. The contemplative capacity is not necessarily linked to being imperishable. Precisely the oscillating, the inapparent or the elusive are only open to a deep, contemplative attention” (idem), therefore it is not a tactical exercise but a “astonishment”.

We say that it is phenomenological because of what follows the definition: “In the contemplative state, in a way, we go out of ourselves, diving into things”, this reminds Husserl “returns to the things themselves” without pre-definitions or pre-concepts, a true epoché .

After the astonishment, rest: “Without this contemplative recollection, the gaze wanders restlessly from here to there and brings nothing to manifest. But art is an “expressive action” (Ibid.), and without it our civilization, he says, quoting Nietzsche: “For lack of rest, our civilization is heading towards a new barbarism. At no other time were the active, that is, the restless, worth so much.”

This restlessness proves the wars, the most atrocious political disputes, mockery instead of dialogue and the careful analysis of social proposals and needs, there is no “rest” for this to be done.

The divine ascension, after the Christian asceticism that comes to passion and death, our civilization seems to go through this as a whole, angels appear who ask the disciples who are looking to heaven (Acts 1, 10-11): “… heaven as Jesus ascended. Then two men dressed in white appeared, who said to them, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand here looking up at the sky? This Jesus who was taken to heaven for you will come in the same way as you saw him leave for heaven”, they stopped a moment before “amazement” and “rest”.

The barbarism of the pandemic, the war and a food shortage that is announced demands “astonishment”, accept that the mystery exists and that the universe had an origin.

HAN, B.-C. (2015) A Sociedade do Cansaço. Brazil, Petrópolis: Vozes. (pdf)