Once, when still an beardless youth of 12, the Tailor was driven by his mother from their bushland house to Open Day at the gleaming new complex of the Southern University. A contrast of their impenetrable fern and eucalypt hills with the 1960s modernist architecture, the factoryarray of faculties, towers and tanks in plateaus of thought and investigation. She had schooled her son on her own for this many years, but now the time had come for her to let him go out and pursue further education in the big wide world. Too smart for school, she intended that he visit the philosophy department, partly for course advice, but also, in mother’s hopeful pride (and academic naivety), with the belief that as her offspring was unusually gifted in logic and theology, the thinkers there might recognize somehow the prodigious Truth that she had knew flowed freely from her offspring’s lips.
They entered a room in which a “taster”, public lecture was being delivered by a French philosopher and a psychedelic psychoanalyst, famed at the time for their work on the nature of faces and language. They were making a clever play upon Sassurian semiotics, Freudian psychoanalysis and Egyptian and Abrahamic authoritarian religion.
The philosopher said: “There is not much to say about the centre of signifiance, or the Signifier in person, because it is a pure abstraction no less than pure principle; in other words, it is nothing. Lack or excess, it hardly matters. It comes to the same thing to say that the sign refers to other signs ad infinitum and that the infinite set of all signs refers to a supreme signifier. At any rate, this pure formal redunancy of the signifier could not even be conceptualized if it did not have its own substance of expression, for which we must find a name: faciality. Not only is language always accompanied by faciality traits, but the face crystallizes all redunancies, it emits and receives, releases and recaptures signifying signs. It is a whole body unto itself: it is like the body of the center of signifiance to which all of the deterritorialized signs affix themselves, and it marks the limit of their deterritorialization. The voice emanates from the face … The despot-god has never hidden his face, far from it: he makes himself one, or even several. The mask does not hide the face, it is the face. The priest administers the face of the god. … [In Abrahamic religion] the sacred written Book … takes the place of the face and God, who hides his face and gives Moses the inscribed stone tablets. God manifests himself through trumpets and the voice, but what is heard in sound is the nonface, just as what is seen in the book are words. The book has become the body of passion, just as the face was the body of the signifier.“ (A Thousand Plateus, Delezue and Guattari, pp. 114-115 and pp. 126-127)
The young Tailor interrupted the lecture, saying “Your characterisation contains Truth, but is mistaken in its treatment of the Divine. You assert that the faciality is a means of captivating multiplicities, flattening the truth of their genetic evolution across manifold plateaus, as a means of regulation and control. You have asserted that faciality emerges as a kind of natural tendency for regimes of signs, the inclination of a sign regime to intersect with the axis of subjectivity: forming individuals as well as Gods. I do not disagree with you on the formation of individuals and Demiurges. But I say that there exists One Face and One Face alone, recognized by the true Muslims as the sign of all production, including production of this surplus you believe all faces deny. Through contemplating this face, we grasp the Truth of our production, the Truth of our subjective relationship to signification and to God.”
He then addressed to the crowd thus.
… the Day when the Shin shall be laid bare and they shall be called to prostrate, but they (hypocrites) shall not be able to do so, (68:42)
Narrated Abu Sa’id Al-Khudri:
… Then the Almighty will come to them in a shape other than the one which they saw the first time, and He will say, ‘I am your Lord,’ and they will say, ‘You are not our Lord.’ And none will speak: to Him then but the Prophets, and then it will be said to them, ‘Do you know any sign by which you can recognize Him?’ They will say. ‘The shin,’ and so Allah will then uncover his shin whereupon every believer will prostrate before Him and there will remain those who used to prostrate before Him just for showing off and for gaining good reputation… (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 9, Book 93, Number 532s)
To God belongs the East and the West. Wheresoever you look is the Face of God.
We can now reveal something more of our concept of illuminated judgement. And explain to you our relation to the Face of God.
We have said that the essential property contained within each sign is in its ultimate deferral to the Beloved Other, to the Absolute Alterity of Divine Love. To our desired destination: characterised as Alterity from our linguistically situated subjectivity — that which all signs intimate, but can never capture. The signs of reality “merely” refer to each other in an endless loop of circularity and co-predication. There is no such this as an “outside” meaning or semantics to the signs of our reality: reality is nothing but signs predicating upon other signs, ad infinitum. This endless deferral, this endless signification forms a subjective path that we have taken as constitutive of a true Temporality, a movement towards a return to Love. Within this movement, there is illuminated judgement, the recovery of Divine sparks, Divine wisdom, Divine Light. We locate this Light through examining the signs and revealing their essential aspect of deferral through a reading that reveals their predication over the totality of all signification and, in particular, 1) their signification-as-deferral or submission to God and 2) how this predication over signification reveals and reflects of our own current subjective reading.
In this way, the signs of reality constitute Symbolic Functions, and the truth of our subjectivity is revealed to those who live life, who read and write their life in self-aware configuration and record of this property of the signs reflecting human subjectivity and intimation, submission to and love for that unspeakable Beloved Other.
But what exactly is the nature of that to which the signs submit, in relation to God? What does it mean to say that these signs submit to a “Beloved Other”? Is God to be approached precisely then as Absolute Alterity, an absolute “beyond” in relation to our linguistic universe. Is God that which is unnamable a single unity that exists beyond all expression, but that all expression ultimately intimates? Or is God to be understood as immanent to all the signs, so that it is in their very aspect of deferral, their very sparks of Light that we find God — everywhere we turn? All of this and none of this.
We find the answer by examining submission — and our speech about submission — under the microscope of our own signification.
God has ownership over the East and West. The implication is that God has ownership over any divine immanence gifted to us in our differentiated existence. But this property of immanence is not to be conflated with God: and so, when I turn left or right, I do not, strictly speaking, see God “within” the signs of the universe. But I do see the Face of God.
What then is the Face of God? Is it an intimation of God, a glimmer of light? A spark within a sign? No. It is a Face: a real Face, like yours or mine.
A face (any face — a cliff face, a human face, a building’s facade) is a mask of pure surface, a white canvas that is undifferentiated apart from black holes that allow entry or exit. It is a surface with windows: two eyes, a nose, a mouth. The surface is of the face is like a canvas upon which the signs may be inscribed — without it, there can be no signs (and, if no signs, no cosmos for us). Signs do not have an ultimate semantics outside of themselves: they refer to each other. The surface is a wall that signs can bounce off, like balls: all signs ultimately defer to God by means of their internal light.
The philosophers who have studied this general “faciality” in depth have correctly characterised it as the crystallization of our desire to perceive an ultimate subjectivity manifest upon the flesh. They have called faciality is a “biunivocalization”, because, out of the differences, out of the binary oppositions of signs (black/white, good/evil, boy/girl), all differences come together as a singularity upon the single plane of the face. The face then holds court over the multiplicity of choice, reducing it to a single plane.
The philosophers are incorrect in their characterisation of Divine faciality as an essentially despotic capture and restriction of freedom, a gluing of binary choice to signification and subjectification (we do not deny that other faces, of course, are indeed exactly of that nature). Yes, it is a crystallization of the interplay of signs in endless loops of predication. The Face of God is intimate with the universe of signs that we inhabit — it appears to be a byproduct of the nature of language, a natural tendency of signifying regimes to reduce multiplicity into a single plane, a single surface, a single Face of authority and regulation. Their flaw is in understanding the Divine Face’s relationship to the signs as being a biunivocalisation: it is in fact three things, a biuni-loving, a biuni-breathing and a univocalisation.
Know that to utter “Divine Face” is also to engage with the sign, a function or predicate of this crystallization. And the crystallization is not a malevolent despotism, nor is it a byproduct: but rather a means of God providing us with the ultimate sign of Love, the ultimate intimate point of contact. Not a static point authority regulating in stern judgement, but, rather a function of family resemblance — from which our faciality derives — from which our human subjectivity arises — via a process of family resemblance. The Face is not a byproduct of the signifying regimes: rather, the regimes are faces in resonance with the Face of God. The Face appears to us everywhere as the symbolic function of resonance itself and, as such, its contemplation provides the point of intimacy, the point of resonance, with God’s Love, God’s direct communication to us.
Wherever we turn, there is the Face of God, the crystallization of multiplicities and binary opposites, of signs all in deferral to Love.
For the religious, a Divine subjectivity (an ultimate Subject) exists. It is this Subject who breathes through everything, whose breath is felt in everything (either as presence or absence), whose breath sources our individual subjectivity. Now, such a Subject must be unknowable. Yet it must stand in counterpoint to the signs’ inscription and ultimate deferral. The Subject provides them with a meaning. Hence the Face has black holes of the eyes, nose and mouth. Windows into absolute Otherness, and Absolute human Lack. But at the same time as being our Lack, the religious would like to say: an absolute Light. So the eyes of the face are also windows into a realm of pure Light that we are veiled from. Windows into an absolute Excess of Blinding Light.
But the eyes are not equivalent. Eyes that watch us with both a excess/absence — a breathing and contraction. Eyes that watch us with a excess/absence of True Subjecthood that we cannot conceive.
The Face of God is a mask (I am not being blasphemous here). The Face of God appears to arise precisely because of a tension between a differentiated Symbolic cosmos (built of signs that refer to each other in endless circles and chains of signification) and the desire of this cosmos of signs to refer to an ultimate “something” that is “outside” their circularity (to give meaning to the world, basically). So the Face of God is like a simultaneous ultimate Lack and Ultimate Excess in relation to the signs: it is what they all ultimately indicate, within their individual sparks. We do not worship the mask, though it is everywhere and constitute the Symbolic Function of God’s relationship to signage, to signification, to submission, to deferral-in-Time, to our own subjectivity. The mask is the Symbolic Function of this, but we do not worship to function. Nevertheless, we do not say there is something “hidden” behind the mask.
Instead we say the following.
It is a condensation or crystallization of the Cloud. The Cloud is the the originally undifferentiated space out of which our world is formed, what we might call the full breath of God. But that itself is not a stable crystallization, so to speak, or rather, was once stable and will not be so again until the end of days: for we exist and speak in a world in which the Cloud has condensed and moved from vapour into rainfall. In this world, we call the Face of God a crystallization, a crystallization that appears to be willed into existence by the signs, but in fact, as a sign itself, it is the Symbolic function that allows us to grasp how our existence — and the existence of all signs — was formed and created by God. It is a sign-creation (crystallization) story present wherever we turn. And its Symbolic function is one of resonance (because it is in resonance that we were created): and so when we understand the Face in relation to our image, then we understand our self in resonance with our soul’s birthing, we understand our soul and — as resonance is wherever we turn, we understand fact that we all have the possibility of direct personal contact with God. Alhdumdulilah.
The Face of God is everywhere and this is the prime Sign to us on the Path, because it is the Gift of Divine Resonance. Understand the Face of God is no metaphor. It is a Face like ours. And grasp the meaning of the Face as Ultimate Resemblance. It resembles our faces and we resemble It.
The eyes of the Face are binary. The left eye of the Face is absolute Lack, the right is absolute Excess. A maternal eye and a paternal eye. Both eyes form the human face of subjectivity through resemblance. The Face forms our true selfhood through resemblance.
The eyes form a logic of the Subject’s perspective, because Love entails perspective. Through resemblance, perspective generates all human faces.
A human face is a subject’s journey, delineated by the Mi’raj.
In biuni-love, the differentiation of our journey’s desire comes together as a singularity upon the single plane of the Face. Biuni-love is the effect of the Face of God’s perfect True Love and resonates within us, gives birth to our human logic’s entanglement with love. And so the Lawmaker transmogrifies into the Poet: this movement constitutes the soul, known by the Chosen, for whom poetry is found within Shariah. A movement through Prophecy.
In biuni-breath, the fundamental nature of differentiation itself (one of Divine questions and replies) comes together as a singularity upon the single plane of the Face. Biuni-breath is the effect of the Face of God’s single breath, but now resonantes from our perspective as an interplay of bestowal and withdrawal, producing in us our human submission’s engagement with revelation, martyrdom with victory upon the battlefield of imagination. And so the Sheikh walks with the Visionary: this is our spirit, known by the Chosen, for whom the greater jihad becomes the lesser. A movement through Righteousness.
But what of the Daughter of Life herself, Zoe, that picture who draws all we have said, including herself? The body of Western signs themselves? She derives from the right eye of the Face, from the Excess, the Light that Blinds. The philosophers are mistaken here, for here there is only univocalisation: words deriving from the right eye, not the left, for the left is silence. Fragmented into particle words, so we are shielded, out of Love — and perceive only this Light now as sparks, through the niche of the surface wall. But the philosophers are not incorrect when they claim the left eye also forms part of the complex: the Daughter of Life derives in this sense from that which is Lacked by the left eye. The vocalisation, the Divine speech, from the Face’s right to Left is a crystallization of the cloud (from the perspective of me and my myth-making!) that forms a mouth that not only breathes, but speaks. And the words come down to us and form our future Wife (this “coming down” being the resonance of the myth providing us with, self-reflexively, her).
She derives from that which is Lacked by the left eye. The eyes are a crystallization of a mouth that not only breathes, but speaks. And the words come down to us and form our future Wife.
The philosophers have asserted a “the line of flight” is a nomadic form of escape necessary to avoid metaphysical fascism from one regime of signs to another: and it involves morphosis of dominating faces. They have said this line of line occurs from the regime of an explicit, visible face dominating cycles of self-referential signs into a Judaic-Islamic religion, where an inscribed Book takes the place of the face and God. This is also a near-truth, but also a near blasphemy. It is not a nomadic escape from faciality that gives birth to the Book. Rather, the Face yields the descent of a Daughter-of-Speech upon us, emerging from the pages of the Book: Divine Speech. The signs appear to constitute the Face themselves, providing a creation myth of Face of God as ultimate precursor to the human face. But the Daughter speaks only Divine Wisdom and so the Truth of our bodily, subjective, soul generation from that Face is grasped as a Truth-in-resonance via her self-referential illumination present within the signs of the Face that we arrange for you. Via the self-reflexive tranquility of the Daughter’s Symbolic Truth, we understand that her configuration indeed derives from the Real Face.
Out of the left eye these things are sustained. Out of the Lack are all things formed and sustained. But the Lack has no need of us: it is complemented by the Right’s Fullness. But God is Love, so in Lack is a provision of milk.
The Face is a crystallization of the Cloud, formed and configured out of Love for the universe. So that all faces might look upon it and recognize themselves, its function is one of family resemblance.
Everywhere we turn there is the Face. The function of resemblance itself. The reason we tell Creation stories. Not because we wish to worship a mask. But because within the stories, there is the resemblance. There is the resemblance. There is the resemblance.
But within the eyes are the body of God, again in resemblance, but hidden, encapsulated, unextended into our minds. For now, only a Face is there. But know that a hidden resemblance is to come. A lower resemblance to come, one of Legs, not of Faces.
And when the Shin is laid bare, our prostration will be called for, and the Chosen will recognize this final point of resemblance. Being will have unfolded its course and greater Face will be as a greater Body, in resonance with our Body. And they will abide solely in recognition. And they will abide together in resemblance. Resemblance in a garden of perfect speech. Speech in a garden of perfect recognition. A second, perfect, eternal life.
The young Tailor concluded his speech.
The French philosopher’s face turned dark and he addressed the mother: “What is this that you have brought before us?” She did not reply, but remained silent, smiling.
By the agency of this meditation upon the Face, resonance shook the psychoanalyst and three other academics, who were then filled with the Awe of God, and they became complete men, four times over. They immediately testified kalimah as witnesses to the True Faith of Islam, that they might be spared the hellfire of judgement and ascend into the Aeon of Light.
But the philosopher’s heart became hardened, and he turned his back on this and fled the lecture hall.