The miraculous

Philosophy hasn’t had a lot to say, explicitly, about the miraculous.

In its Aristotelean medievalist epoch, it reasoned around Christian miracles as terms within axioms of its deductive system.

Then comes Descartes (is there no blame we can’t pin on him?) and a strategy of apologetic/unapologetic sublimation of the miraculous to privilege of deductive or inductive it doesn’t matter. Sublimation, of course, being the vertical/temporal Oedipal repression of the previous epoch’s exoteric Judaeo-Christian Hellenic hybrid (itself the horizontal/spatial dual of the Hermetic mystical schools represented by the extant Gnostic, Kabbalic and Sufic texts).

Then comes Heidegger and the realisation that Being had been “forgotten”. Being — not the miraculous — was understood as the primary sublimated term over which philosophy had constructed its discourse, existence itself the unspoken pink elephant in the philosophy department common room.

Existence: Sartre’s uncool these days, but his emotive replay of Heidegger is pertinent here, when he waxes poetic over the gaping void, the absence of a divine will and law, the nausea of out absolutely relative responsibility, our responsibility to our meaning in the face of the mask of thrownness that reveals the nothingness over which it emerges.

But that’s just another phase. I’m much more interested in the sublimated term of the miraculous. There’s no god, no absolute divine will or law, we’re beyond good and evil, beyond morality. All accepted now. But then there’s something beneath it all: the miracle of our materialisation, from star destruction to formation, from
evolution to birth, from cultural epochs to awareness of the miracle.

The miracle is the term that remains hidden behind Heidegger and those who followed him: the miracle of being. We could almost transplant the old mysticisms over that one.

The caveman discovers fire. The woman in the modern hospital giving birth. The life you’ve lived, up to reading this sentence. Miraculous. Growth. Fundamental to matter, fundamentally indivisible from it (screw immanence and transcendence as a dialectic, I’m talking the god particle here). Utterly, utterly inexplicable.


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