Arquivo para February 21st, 2024

Jonah and the resistance of the spirit

21 Feb

As we approach great tragedies, the Biblical allegory of Jonah is interesting to remember, even the philosopher Peter Sloterdijk highlights it, even if he is not a Christian, it is good to remember that Jonah is also in the Quran and is an important character for Judaism.

The curious biblical passage in which Jonah was supposed to evangelize the city of Nineveh so that it would not perish, one of the greatest of his time, is believed that out of fear of the Assyrians, known for their cruelty, Jonah tried to flee on a ship to Tarshish, who suffered a strong storm, they discover that the reason is Jonah who is thrown into the sea.

At sea, Jonah would have spent three days and 3 nights in the belly of a whale and would then be thrown into the city of Nineveh to return to his mission. There he preached and Nineveh was converted.

Sloterdijk does not use the terms dualism or polarization, he uses it even before the current global polarization that causes bloody wars and great controversies, the philosopher uses the terms dyad, a relationship between two or more different people in which there is no center but rather polycentrism.

This is basic to understanding who Jonah is for the German philosopher, he sees him as a prophet and worshiper of the God of the Jews, whose duty is to establish the relationship between the divine and the human, and that for humans to inhabit the divine they need to know and reject the human losses in the world.

Sloterdijk’s central question in Spheres I – the bubbles, is where are we when we are in the world? And in the German language there is a specific word for being in the world and being WITH the world, the word is “vorhandensein”, which means “being-in-the-world”, which although it means something else for Heideggeer that would just be “dasein”, it takes on greater meaning.

For Sloterdijk the only bodies that are outside this dyad or this polycentrism “the only bodies that are located without duality in the world are those of the dead” (Spheres I), that is, every time you find yourself in a place you are there and with him, you see him and recognize him.

Where was Jonah when he was in the world? Inside the whale. The whale is part of Jonas’ consciousness that provokes him to think about the outside from the inside. Heidegger had already thought about this pure interior of which we are all victims, a radical and intrinsic space, our unique and first dwelling through which all our impressions, thoughts and affections permeate.

The relationship with the outside is then one of “tension”, it is not only a filter of the outside, but it is also a lens to understand everything, even the inside itself, so being on the “whale” was preparation for Jonas to face it, see that beforehand there is a storm on the ship that is “in the world” and it is thrown overboard.

Our inner path must “help”, illuminate and make us aware of what we are “in the world” and be something else like the world when we have this light.

Sloterdijk, P. Bubbles: Spheres I: Microspherology. Translated by José Oscar de Almeida Marques. Brazil, Sáo Paulo: Estação Liberdade, 2016. (em english:  Transl. Wieland Hoban, 2011).