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Freud was most certainly hesitant regarding the ontological status of the drive. In his ‘New Introductory Lectures’, he famously wrote that the drive is comparable to a mythological being, and his drive-theory to ancient mythology. Certainly the drive is a hypothesis, which strives to account for the fact that the apparatus of the signifier, which conditions the split between consciousness and the unconscious, does not follow useful goals, the satisfaction of needs, but tends toward immediate pleasure-gain.

The drive names the tendency that accounts for a series of material consequences of the signifier, without therefore appearing before the analyst’s eyes as a positive substance: 'In our work we cannot for a moment disregard them, yet we are never sure that we are seeing them clearly.’ The drive assumes the same ontological and epistemological status as the energy does in physics. Its hypostasis is indispensable, but one can never confront it directly, only observe its consequences, first and foremost the production of pleasure-gain and the conversion of pleasure into unpleasure.

The visibility of the drive’s satisfaction is comparable to the visibility of entropy, which can be observed only after science has placed the formal language of mathematics over the physical world. The manifestation of physiological needs additionally blurs the visibility of the drive, or better put, because all the bodily needs are channelled through the drive as their privileged representation, they no longer remain unproblematic. The drive is the paradigmatic case of the pun 'traduttore-traditore’. It represents (translates) the apparently natural need in an unfaithfully productive way, thereby betraying its satisfaction.

The translation first and foremost produces a change in the status of pleasure. There is no drive the satisfaction of which would not cause pleasure, although this pleasure is no longer an affect that accompanies the decrease of tension. We can return to Marx’s examples of the two hungers from the 'Grundisse’. The pleasure that can be associated with the satisfaction of hunger is different from the pleasure that clings to the act of eating. The intertwining of the two imperatives, the need and the demand, in the satisfaction of a physiological need conceals the fact that the demand of the drive is constant, that it repeats the imperative of satisfaction beyond the need.

It would be too simple to see in an insatiable hunger that swallows raw food as pre-symbolic natural instinct, which stands opposite to the cultural consumption of food. Bar instinctual life is an imaginary presentation of what takes place beyhind the apparent satisfaction of physiological needs, the persistence of the imperative beyond every attempt at satisfaction.

This feature of the drive did not go unnoticed in Freud: 'A drive…never operates as a force giving a momentary impact but always as a constant one.’ The detachment of the imperative from a concerete reference, and consequently the autonomy of the demand, which depends on the autonomy of the signifier, places the drive in discrepancy with every supposedly natural or instinctual need. The demand of the oral drive, isolated in the need for nourishment, persists behind different and apparently unrelated activities such as eating, smoking, speaking, sucking and so on.

Due to this persistence, the drive’s constant force can only be experienced as unpleasure, more precisely, as 'Lust, die nicht als solche empfunden werden kann,’ pleasure that cannot be felt as such. Pleasure that can only be experienced as unpleasure - with this formulation, Freud provides the best definition of what Lacan envisages with his notion of jouissance. In the need, displeasure precedes its satisfaction; in the drive, displeasure accompanies satisfaction and is the privileged form of pleasure.

Satisfaction now takes place in the increase of tension, and this tension is due to the insatiable Drang (urge), pressure, which is 'common to all drives; it is in fact their very essence’. The drive as representation of physiological needs comes down to the imperative signifier, S(1), the repressed signifier of jouissance.

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Having studied theology 2 years ago, I came across an old quote.

Now being said, I’m not religious but I hope those who are takes this into consideration.

“If you are mean to someone who is not saved by God, they won’t want God.” “Whoever says he is in the light but hates his brother, is still in darkness.” - John 2:9.

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I can say with moderate confidence that citizen insurrections would fall under the same moral prerequisites and restrictions as just war, according to Catholic doctrine, long established. 

Thomas Aquinas himself laid out certain conditions under which tyrannicide would be morally possible (and, by extension, morally necessary).

The veneer of democracy under which we live, coupled withe the bloat of bureaucracy and hundreds of years of accumulated, and exponentially complicated legislation, brings a vast degree of confusion to the issue.

All that said, I cannot see how rioting and looting is in any way justified in the present circumstances. Indeed it would be difficult, if not impossible, to justify “looting” under any circumstances. Depending on how we define the term.

If a murderer is acquitted, do I not have to live with the results? Or, once the legal system fails - which it inevitably will, given human nature - am I then liberated from the constraints of society to appoint myself judge, jury, and executioner? 

I think not, but it is apparently a question worth considering.

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Oh goody! I didn’t know that the truth of theological statements was judged by number of prooftexts! Thanks, Calvinists!

Also let it be noted that this was an answer provided by the blog in question to a non-Christian. Because when somebody challenges the reliability of the word of God and the truth claims of Christianity, what do you do? Why, of course, you proceed to bash Arminianism!

This I repeat to any and every fellow Christian out there: CHRIST WAS NOT DIVIDED. If you are among them who are, so to say, “of Calvin first”, or “of Arminius first”, or “of Ham first”, and “of Christ second”, I urge you in brotherly charity to immediately reconsider your spiritual priorities.

(Also, IIRC, the blog to which I refer was the same one who had interpreted someone’s statement that “not all truths are in Scripture” as “God is a liar”, so yeah…I don’t know why I expected any better. 😞)

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Chris Tilling, Paul the Trinitarian. From Essays on the Trinity (ed. Lincoln Harvey), p.46. 

Me, reading the highlighted text (from “Of course reading Paul…” if you’re reading this on the dash and the bold doesn’t show up): 

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So what lessons do we learn from this overview of these three models [of the relationship between Paul and later Trinitarian teachings]? Common to all of them is a recognition of the conceptual distance between Paul and later Trinitarian dogmas. Any articulation of Paul and creedal faith needs to acknowledge this, and claims of a single straight line between Paul and Nicene Trinitarianism looks like an apologetic move.

And yet this valuable insight contains an unexplored and problematic flip side. Namely, the implication that Paul did not have the epistemological or ontological resources to articulate the Trinity on his own terms. Of course reading Paul in terms of the philosophical and ontological categories worked out in creedal Christianity is an anachronism (even if it remains heuristically useful). But, and this is crucial, it is equally an anachronism to judge the presence of a Trinity in Pauline theology on those same terms. Anachronism cuts both ways! We can’t expect Paul to evidence Nicene Trinitarianism. But that should not cause us to say ‘move on, nothing but seeds or, at best, an inchoate grammar to see here!’
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Is this the least heretical Trinity Sunday analogy ever?

Jeremy Begbie has a fascinating article in Lincoln Harvey’s collection of Essays on the Trinity, in which he discusses “musical space” as a better mental framework than “visual space” for picturing the Trinity and other “difficult” theological concepts: the divinity and humanity of Christ, or the relationship between human and divine will/agency. Begbie also talks about this in the video linked above.

As Begbie observes, it was “almost second nature” for J.S. Bach to use a major triad – such as C, E, G – to depict the Trinity. “Musical space” avoids the “zero-sum games” involved in “visual space”; as Begbie writes: 

If I press a key on a piano, the tone I then hear fills the whole of my aural field, my heard space. It does not occupy a bounded location. It is not “here” as opposed to “there.” It is “everywhere” in my aural space; there is no spatial zone where the sound is not present. If I play another note along with the first, that second tone fills the entirety of the same (heard) space; yet I hear it as distinct. In this aural environment, two distinct entities, it would seem, can occupy the same space at the same time and yet be perceived as irreducibly distinct. […] Zero-sum games are gone; there is no question of “the more of one the less of the other.” We do not set notes in relation to each other against the backdrop of a spatial whole. Both tones make up the one heard space. They sound “through” one another. They can be in one another while being heard as two full and distinct tones. (Essays on the Trinity, p.23f.)

In other words, to put it far more crudely than Begbie: a major triad is both a single sound and three distinguishable notes; “one” and “three” at the same time.

Now, the point here is not that “God is like a major triad”: this would certainly fall into the unbreakable rule that all analogies for the Trinity are heretical. The point, rather, is to make us realise how many of the difficulties we have understanding the doctrine of the Trinity (and the biblical data on which it is based) arise from the dominance in our minds of “visual spatial” thinking, and that other modes of thinking are available to us.

Mathematical spaces provide another rich source of alternatives to our three-dimensional “visual space”; but Begbie’s discussion of “musical space” is perhaps more immediately graspable.

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History as Mystery
M. Parenti

Much of the distortion within mainstream history is neither willful nor conscious, one may presume, since it is an outgrowth of the overall political ideology and culture.12 If there is no conscious intent to miseducate, it is because many historians who claim to be disciples of impartial scholarship have little sense of how they are wedded to ideological respectability and inhospitable to counter-hegemonic views. This synchronicity between their individual beliefs and the dominant belief system is treated as “objectivity.” Departures from this ideological orthodoxy are themselves dismissed as ideological.

Let me add that much of the distortion is willful, perpetrated by those who are consciously dedicated to burying the past or shaping our understanding of it to suit their interests. In a moment of candor Churchill himself told William Deakin, who had helped him write The Second World War, “This is not history, this is my case.”13

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This book appears on almost every list of must-read Christian theology books that I have seen, and so I was very eager to read it, written as it is by a man described as the “greatest theologian America has ever produced.” I was a little worried that it would be hard to read, 18th Century English being just a bit cumbersome, but after having read much of the scholastic 17th Century English of John Owen, Edwards was easy. The first part is about what affections are, and how they are produced in the mind and in the heart. The second part identifies what affections are not godly, and the third part identifies affections that do form part of the godly man’s character.

When I finished reading the last page, I felt as though I had escaped the book with my life. The introduction had warned me that the book might be very damaging to an immature Christian, and I am unsure who exactly I would recommend the book to. New Christians might benefit from its guidance and advice, but also might lose faith, seeing the roots of their faith in so shallow a soil. Mature Christians would probably benefit from it in learning how to spot truly godly affections in themselves and others.

I say all this because Edwards offers very cold comfort in this book. He warns that most of the things we rely on as evidences of our salvation, our testimony, our feelings and emotions about God, our hatred of sin, etc, can all be counterfeited by the Devil in the hearts of unregenerate men. Someone can walk like a Christian, talk like a Christian, and seem on the outside a model of a Christian, but in his heart still be unregenerate. Edwards learned this by his experience during the Great Awakening, a religious revival that swept America in the mid-18th Century. People who for a time truly repented their sin, professed to believe in the saving work of Jesus, and were regular in all the ordinary means of grace such as church going, praying, etc, in a few short years would seem to be unbelievers again.

If you are of a non-Reformed disposition, the notion that someone can be saved for a time and later lose their salvation probably doesn’t seem strange to you. But we know that the Bible teaches that regenerate Christians are eternally secure and will persevere in their faith, John 10:27-29, Romans 11:29, Philippians 1:6, etc. God will not cast us out, not will anything remove us from God’s hand, Romans 8:35-39. We also recognize that those who seem to apostatize were never really regenerated to begin with, 1 John 2:19.

Edwards believed this too, but he knew that the only way to get assurance of one’s salvation was to see the evidence of affections and works in one’s life, that godly affections were a natural result of a regenerate heart, and that godly works were a natural result of godly affections. I don’t know that I am any stronger for having read the Religious Affections, but I don’t think Edwards meant it to be just an encouraging book. He meant it to humble our pride, so that we would carefully search our hearts to “make our calling and election sure,” 2 Peter 1:10. But it’s not just a book for navel-gazing, its a call to work, because “Godliness is more easily feigned in words than in actions.”

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