Unreal Nature

July 2, 2017

The Petition and the Supplication

Filed under: Uncategorized — unrealnature @ 5:49 am

… confessional self-accounting is filled with the need for forgiveness and redemption as an absolutely pure gift (an unmerited gift), with the need for a mercy and grace …

Continuing through the essay ‘Author and Hero in Aesthetic Activity’ in Art and Answerability: Early Philosophical Essays by M.M. Bakhtin edited by Michael Holquist and Vadim Liapunov (1990):

… Wherever there is an attempt to fixate oneself in repentant tones in the light of the ethical ought-to-be, the first essential form of verbal objectification of the life and personality (a verbal objectification of personal life, that is, without abstraction from the bearer of that life) arises: confession as an accounting rendered to oneself for one’s own life.

… Confessional self-accounting is precisely the act of non-coinciding with oneself in principle and in actuality (there is no power situated outside myself that could realize such self-coinciding — the axiological position of the other is absent) …

… this restlessness and unconsummatedness of confessional self-accounting in itself is only one of its aspects, only one of the ultimate limits toward which it tends in its concrete development. The negation of any justification in this world is transformed into a need for religious justification: confessional self-accounting is filled with the need for forgiveness and redemption as an absolutely pure gift (an unmerited gift), with the need for a mercy and grace that are totally otherworldly in respect to their value.

[line break added] Such justification is not immanent to self-accounting, but lies beyond its bounds, in the unpredetermined, risk-fraught future of the actual event of being, just as the actual fulfillment of a petition and a supplication that depends on another’s will lies beyond the bounds of the petition itself, the supplication itself, i.e. is transcendent to them. The petition and the supplication themselves remain open, unconsummated: they break off, as it were, into the unpredetermined future of the event.

[line break added] This constitutes the specifically confessional moment within a confessional self-accounting. Pure self-accounting — that is, addressing oneself axiologically only to oneself in absolute solitariness — is impossible; pure self-accounting is an ultimate limit which is balanced by another ultimate limit — by confession, that is, the petitionary advertedness outward from oneself, toward God.

… A distinctive perversion of the form of confessional self-accounting is represented by invective in its deepest and, therefore, its worst manifestations. This is confessional self-accounting turned inside out. The tendency of this worst kind of invective or abuse is to tell the other what he alone can and must say about himself — to “cut him to the quick.”

[line break added] The worst kind of invective is the just invective, which expresses in tones of malice and mockery what the other himself could say about himself in penitential-petitionary tones, that is, where one utilizes one’s privileged place outside the other for purposes that are diametrically opposed to what ought to be the case (“stay in your solitude — for you, there is no other”).

My most recent previous post from Bakhtin’s book is here.

-Julie

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