Arquivo para May 22nd, 2020

Asceticism, virtues and ascension

22 May

The word comes from the Greek ἄσκησις, a “spiritual exercise”, which means the control of punctures and emotions, a virtuous path, the practice of which leads to an uphill path, while the opposite leads to the disordered passions and punctures that can lead addiction and death.

In modern times this has changed profoundly, the idea that freedom can do anything and that we must not limit pleasure and passions has led to human decay, in its place a “life of exercises” has been put in place as explained by Peter Sloterdijk (who is not religious) ) anthropotechnics.

“As an exercise, I define any operation that preserves or improves the actor’s qualification to perform the same operation the next time, whether declared as an exercise or not” (Sloterdijk, 2009, p. 14), is the definition of Sloterdijk in his book “ You can change your life ”, without translation into Portuguese.

This is thus an unspiritualized asceticism, so it can lead to both virtue and addiction, even in the religious sphere, if there is not really a spiritual elevation, in the field of theological or philosophical reading it means a propaedeutics (initiation) that leads to hermeneutics, which lead to a fusion of horizons and a life of co-immunity (another concept by Sloterdijk.

Both reading that does not elevate the meaning of life, Husserl’s Lebenswelt, and ideological preaching impregnated with philosophical idealism do not represent an elevation, there is no aspect of contemplation and spiritual elevation in it, only a “vita actively”, what Byung Chul Han calls it the Tiredness Society, without it there will be no healthy and elevated life.

In Christian terms the true ascension is the one that was witnessed by the apostles, and that the historic Christian churches celebrate this week, the Ascension of the Lord (in the photo painting in Azulejos in Barcelos, Portugal), which the evangelists describe as such (Mc 16,19 ): “And the Lord Jesus, after speaking to them, was taken up to Heaven and sat down at the right hand of God”.

Even those who do not believe, in times of pandemic, we must exercise fraternity and the desire and effort that all this passes so that in similar situations in the future we are more aware.


Sloterdijk, P. (2009) Du musst Dein Leben ändern. Über Antropotechnik. Frankfurt, Suhrkamp, 2009.