The Challenge of Yessing

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Once we say yes, we have the burden of the yes. We are bound by our word. James Joyce brings out the obligation of yes when he writes, ‘and yes I said yes I will Yes ‘. He converts the word yes into a verb and transforms what seems to a definite full stop into a continuous mission/ obligation. Joyce said it all. He showed that yes cannot be an ending but is actually a beginning. The echo of yes is not just a confirming agreement. In fact, there is nothing to say after yes. Yes already says it but opens the road for us to keep the promise of yes. This is the yessing that is there is our yes. We have to take responsibility for our yessing through the yes of obedience and the yes of politeness. It is explicitly as well as tacitly saying ‘here I am ’. Yes haunts us to live it by putting its promise into action. Yes is a yes/ response to something that comes before it. The yes of the response to something that comes before it is a yes of promise. It is a yes of yessing. Yes is always a yes to that which comes before it. It cannot exist or mean anything without that which comes before it. It is in relationship with the other that comes before it. It affirms the other. Other as someone that comes before us calls to respond with our yes. The yessing of the yes is a response to give justice to the imperative of the other. Yes of yessing is therefore an answer to the call of the other.

Yes is performative. But it does not fulfil the conditions laid down by J.L . Austin for performatives. Maybe we can agree with Austin that yes of the yessing is not performative in the strict and technical sense. But yes has a meta-perfomative dimension. It is a yes of doing. It has a pre-formative force that is compelling Yes condenses what linguist Roman Jacobson calls the phatic function. It establishes the very possibility of contact. It affirms the one who comes before. It is the yes to the one who is coming. It is haunted by that which is before it as well as one that is coming before it. It is pushed to responsibly fulfil its promise. The yessing yes is bound to the one that is coming before it and that which is before it. The yes is yessing to the one that is coming before it and is in the coming. The yes of commitment and affirmation keeps the one before it always in the coming. Therefore, yes is an adverb as well as a verb. In its adverbial form, it is a non-vocal affirmation of the other who comes before it and to this other, the yes in its non-vocal adverbial form that offers the gift of recognition and affirmation. It performs the phatic function. It is the first breath of yes. The yes that one utters is a verb. It is already modified by the adverb. It is sent into the action of yessing to respond to the call/ imperative of the other. The yessing yes is a repetition of yes. The yessing yes binds us to say yes, yes yes… all the way.

The challenge of yessing yes is to do the yes. It is imperative to keep the promise of the yes. Yes is never alone. We cannot also say yes alone. It is a yes of affirmation and commitment to a doing of yes/ yessing. Yes says it’s yes to the one that is coming by yessing/ taking up the task of being responsible to the other. Our yessing says yes. Saying this yes takes us to the horizon of the impossible. The yessing of yes exceeds the give and take the economy of the market as well as yes and know structure of our habitual either/ or thinking. The yes that says yes by yessing does not look for any returns. It does not say no. It is always yes. It is not a yes of slavery that bends to the master. It is also not a fake yes that says no while it says yes. It is a pure gift. It belongs to the economy of the excess as taught by George Bataille. The yes that is yessing signs with the ink of gifting. The yes of yessing makes us what we are. We are called into being by the response of yessing that we give to the call of the other. Our yessing to the other makes us and simultaneously makes our world. We are yessed into being by our yessing. We are yessed beings that are yessing. Our yessing shapes our being. The yes that says ‘Here I am, makes us what I am ’. Our yessing to the other ( God/Humans /World) makes us what we are. We are yessed into being by our yes as well as the yes of God. The God who says the yes of ‘I am who I am ’ makes me/us what I am. Yes of God in Jesus yesses us and the world into being. The yes of flowers, the yes of the rivers, the yes of animals inspire our yessing. Humans have the challenge to live a yes/ do the yes to God, other Humans and the World. There is a resonance of yes in the yessing of God, Humans and the World. These yeses shape the contours of our world. Our yessing carry our pledge to God, Humans and the world. The triple play of our yessing makes us while we respond to the other in our fidelity and affirm the other that we are responding to with our yes. This is a yes to life as it comes. There is no anticipatory horizon of the possible. The yes that becomes a gift is a yes that says yes to the absolute horizon and does the impossible. It transforms our life into a Yes/ Amen. Our yes is yessing and therefore remains always in the coming. This is why yessing is impossible.

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Hypocrisy is the tribute that vice pays to virtue.

- Fr Victor Ferrao