Sunday, 28 September 2008
Mankind is redeemed via affirmation. Redemption becomes nihilistic, in as much as it is tied to a power of affirming that negates the notion of progress and creates the possibility for redemption. Traditional messianism offers “redemption from life”, it forcing us to look to something beyond this world; “Dionysus cut to pieces is a promise of life: it will be eternally reborn and return again from destruction” (WP §1052). The Dionysian messiah turns the act of redemption back towards living. It destroys the qualities that curse this world and creates the higher values anew, via the affirmation. “Redemption is the limes of progress”, Benjamin writes (SW 4:404). It cannot come at the end of a fixed progression, but rather exists as its interruption. In political terms, this is why “classless society is not the final goal of historical progress but its frequently miscarried, ultimately achieved interruption” (SW 4:402). As such, any moment becomes the moment of possibility for the affirmation. In the end of the Theses, Benjamin states: “For every second was the small gateway in time through which the Messiah might enter” (SW 4:397). This gateway is usually attributed as the “narrow gate” from Matthew 7:13-14, which serves as the pathway to eternal life. However, there is another gate that leads to eternity. In “Of the Vision and the Riddle”, Zarathustra stands at the gate marked “moment”. All time stretches along the path ahead of and behind him. It is at this gate that eternal recurrence is presented: “Everything straight lies. … All truth is crooked, the way itself is a circle” (Z, 178). Every moment becomes a moment in which we can affirm this moment as having the same status as all other moments; every moment assumes the status of the last judgment, destroying and recreating the world. The affirmation of eternal recurrence opens up the possibilities of every moment, destroying the illusion of progress and precipitating action.