Prayer and the Body: Revisited

Two years have passed since I penned this piece on prayer and the body. In it, I argued for what I was experiencing at the time: that the Logos is a higher order entity, what I considered to be a real, true physicality — it’s your real body, it’s my real body — in contrast to the illusory bodies we think we occupy as part of our constructed identities within social, cultural, historically situated regimes. I then go on to define what I think real, true prayer is, for this higher order, real, true body.

Armed this hypostatized logos-body, I was able to do two things:

  1. play down the importance of differences in cultural/religious practice as mere relative paths to a common goal, while simultaneously
  2. privileging (from my self-proclaimed position as a “Muslim”) the seven movements of the Islamic salat as universal, perennial, real truth functions of the real logos-body.

The salat of the hypostatized logos-body is the true meaning of prayer and, within the higher order realm of the real body, subsuming the realms of culture and history, this salat takes an Islamic form. The sunnah of prayer, as related within the tradition of Islam, is to be read as applying not to the bodies of Muslims within a particular Islamic culture/habitus but, instead, as a primordial movement of becoming, lived out by the logos, by your true body.

What’s wrong with this picture? Constructing an entirely different, alien body (the logos-body) is a clear substitution for the genetically indigenous Muslim body, that body of the Javanese, the Bangladeshi, the Pakistani, the Arab, the Orient — a substitution born out of repressed desire for identification, for a home within that body. It’s not a higher order body — but a horizontal, metonymic shift from the object of desire (belonging to/possessing the absent cultural body, the tie of kinship/womb). As described earlier, this shift itself became fetishized, generating perverse capital (fundamentally unIslamic reading/tafsir) whose ultimate value is the pleasure of evasion.

Hence the ambiguity inherent in the characterisation of the logos-body: what is it really? It is ecstatic evasion, sexual ambiguity (not physical yet not metaphoric, not the body of Islamic culture yet fundamentally Islamic).

Importantly, the logos-body is my own experience of fetishized displacement — but now universalized across Islam — my own experience, my own ecstatic vision, prescribed as the true substitute for the inferior cultural characterisations found within the religion. Thus the positing of the logos-body operates as a further complication to the Tailorite psychopathology, wherein the fetishization of substitution becomes crystallized (as the body of truth) — and is “plugged back” into the hole of the repressed, absent, desired Muslim body — by means of a “teaching” connector — whose essential nature is fantasy, yesodic domination. The symptom of repressed desire complicates itself with a secondary fantasy, inasmuch as it forms a fantasy substance who returns to sexually re-possess that which was originally desired.

The movement from ecstasy of the fetish to hypostatized body to the secondary fantasy of re-possession gains its capital from continued suppression of the original desire for the Muslim body: and so when she appears at the end of the movement, she is of course not recognized as such but, instead, relegated to one relative cultural body amongst a multiplicity, to be educated into the truth. But here’s the crux of the matter: she isn’t one relativity amongst many to be brought into the “truth” — she’s the  privileged object of desire (inasmuch she is a proxy for absence) — and the absolute truth (the logos in prayer, enunciated as a Tailorite lesson, the fantasy of her domination) — owes its  genesis and its return to her hidden meaning.

“Your body is unimportant, while my body is bread, my blood the wine, so eat my flesh and drink my blood.” 

Within the landscape of the Tailorite psychopathology, April 2010 represents a creative epiphany, wherein substitutive fetishization reaches its hysterical peak and, to the casual observer, it should be clear that the wheels have come off of my pretense at being Muslim. From that month onward, the position shifts into a less ecstatic, more introspective and paranoid mode and eventual recognition of what works it has wrought, and a confrontation with its hidden intentions.

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