Abstract Horror (Note-3)

Nicola Masciandaro discusses the method of ‘hyper-literal anagogy’ in the introduction to his exquisite book Sufficient Unto the Day: Sermones Contra Solicitudinem (p.3-4, also here):

It thus naturally tends to seize semantically on the substantiality of the negative and on what might have been said otherwise but was not — a not that is felt to contain the secret of everything. For example, Meister Eckhart’s exegesis of Paul’s blinding vision on the road to Damascus entirely ignores the ordinary, regular sense of “and when his eyes were opened he saw nothing” (Acts 9:8) [apertisque oculis nihil videbat] in favor of a mystically literal plenitude of possibilities: “I think this text has a fourfold sense. One is that when he rose up from the ground with open eyes he saw Nothing, and the Nothing was God; for when he saw God he calls that Nothing. The second: when he got up he saw nothing but God. The third: in all things he saw nothing but God. The fourth: when he saw God, he saw all things as nothing.”[2] Similarly, Augustine’s well-known statement as to the unknowable knowability of time — “What therefore is time? If no one [nemo] asks me, I know; if I want to explain it to someone questioning me, I do not know”[3] — may be (im)properly read as saying that time is known in the positively negative presence of a nemo, a not-man (ne+homo) who asks about time, a pure question posed by nobody. The presence of this no-one who is still there, a senseless letter-spirit and sudden negative indication upon which superlative understanding depends, provides a fitting structural figure for this method and an image of its divinatory, daimonic form, its sortilegic reading of received signs.

[2] Meister Eckhart, The Complete Mystical Works, trans. Maurice O’C Walshe (New York: Crossroad Publishing, 2009), Sermon 19, p. 142.
[3] “Quid est ergo tempus? Si nemo ex me quaerat, scio; si quaerenti explicare velim, nescio” (Augustine, Confessions, 11.14).


Between The Nothing and Abstract Horror there is no difference. Some related hints (and others). Eventually we reach the Vast Abrupt.

November 12, 2014admin 3 Comments »


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