Queer ethics

One does not necessarily have to agree with Freud’s claim that religions are putatively the most complex products of repression. However, the religious feeling may be fundamental for alienation. Alienation is the first operation that allows for the constitution of the subject according to Lacan (the second is separation). Religious feeling is not synonymous with spirituality. The latter may be understood as a tendency to treat objects as both worth and perishable and to assign some sort of existential density to the relation to objects. Unlike religiosity, spirituality does neither depend on a capital Other to sustain the awareness of one’s own mortality, nor does it require a belief in afterlife to suspend the assumption that physical death is the ultimate end of the spirit. Spirituality is about contention (Freud would say diking), whereas the religious feeling is the leakage of the other onto the capital Other. The other, my neighbor, is made invisible by the capital Other even if the commandment demands that you “love your neighbor as yourself” (Leviticus 19, 18) because the commandment is moral, grounded in a moral heritage or in the interpretation of a partly dehumanized subject as is the prophet; it is not ethical. For a commandment to become an ethical demand again, the experience it refers to must resign to the legal power it holds and embody the kind of subjective experience that founded it. This amounts to saying that law, like science, is a referential or disembodied form of knowledge. Courts, States, Governments or Corporations do not embody law. Universities, Institutes, Laboratories do not embody science. Religions do not embody spirituality or the mystical element that haunts the work of Mark Rothko and other Abstract Expressionists, Luis Buñuel, Dag Hammarskjöld, Cristina Campo, and so many survivors to the death of God. However, the religious feeling provides us with a paradigm of discontinuity between creature and agent of creation, just as science stands for the loss of embodied knowledge and law implies the death of the righteous – not the individual, ideal righteous that is represented in opposition to the impious, the wrongdoer, the anti-systemic, the terrorist. The law implies, in its own written words, the denial of an underlying continuity of the social body, or at least a continuity that comes to being between subjects who are engaged, consciously or unconsciously, in incarnating the other. This goes a step further in the direction of a non-judgmental, non-referential “queer” ethics of singular finitude, arguably the most radical form of ethics there can be.

Keep reading: https://www.academia.edu/28123750/Queer_ethics._On_justice_and_the_continuity_of_life