On Disruptive Interruptions

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Often I am haunted by the question where do I begin? This question articulates a sense of an immobilising interruption. It brings to the fore the kind of weariness and running down of something precious. In my case, it is a type of exhaustion that runs out of themes of writing. Writing, learning and reading stay together for me. I write, read and study at the same time. Life has taken me away from the strongholds and strangleholds of either/ or thinking. Writing has become life to be. But there are interruptions and disruptions that seem to disable my thirst for writing. Life seems to be writing a reversal to me. But this is not really so. Life offers new horizons and hew modes of thinking, learning, writing, reading/ being in the world.

Interruptions are part of our life. They disrupt our life. Interruptions break open the circle of our life. They seem to lead us astray. The flow of life seems to come to an abrupt standstill. How do we face interruption? How do we begin again? Where do we begin? Jacques Derrida tells us that we have to start where we find ourselves. Interruptions are not mere moments of exhaustion. There is latent energy sitting in them. They can open animating new paths for us, offer intoxicating new insights and lead us in exciting new directions that we have not seen before. Although unwelcome, interruptions are good. They can bring rejuvenation and revitalization to our life. They can lead us to revisit the way we lived so far and opens new vistas to let the new future come in. They may assist us to unload the weight of the past and face a new morning of our life. We are challenged to embrace a new frontier. Hence, they are affirmative. They invite us to say yes to the new turn of events to come in our life. They hold a promise of the future that we may not be able to envision clearly.

Disruption are irruptions. They interrupt to lead us to new horizons. We may see interruption as what we call deconstruction. They apply a pause button on our life and perform a disorienting action that is at once orienting. The play of interruption disorients to reorient. They haunt us like ghosts and are unwelcome but they have welcoming promise of a new horizon and orientation that we cannot figure out. Derrida takes the unwelcoming sting out of interruptions when he sees them as intense moments of hospitality. Hospitality to him has a positive deconstructive dimension. This hospitality is not regulated conditional hospitality. It is unconditional and absolute hospitality. It is both hostile and hospitable. It is hostile as it dismantles our comfort zones of life but it offers new ways of being human in the world. Hence, it becomes hospitable. This is why disruptive interruptions are moments of intense time. They show hostility to lead us to hospitability. Life is both hostile and hospitable. We are unhomed to a large extent as humans in the world. Heidegger tells us that we are thrown into the world. This is our giveness/ facticity but it opens our possibilities of being-in-the-world.

Interruptions being moments of absolute hospitality belong to the economy of gift. There is no debt/ exchange of the market involved in interruptions. It belongs to the economy of excess. We can trace this economy of excess in the teachings of George Bataille. Life is not hospital to us out of duty or out of some law. It is gifting hospitality without any apriori conditions. It just gives without any taking from us. It does not bind us to the economy of debt. We are not bound to be grateful to life. Life offers us opportunities of being human in the world. Life cannot be life without disruptive interruptions. Life is not progressive linear upward flow. There are twists and turns as well standstill moments of interruption. Interruption is deconstruction. Deconstruction is hospitality to the other/ alterity that is eclipsed and evicted by the reduction of life to our assimilable and manageable sameness. Life cannot be life if it is merely a status quo. Life disrupts and interrupts the status quo. It is hostile to the politics of the status quo. Life is a force that opens the circle of comforts and leads us to face and embrace new frontiers. Life simply welcomes us without any qualifications. We find ourselves in the middle of life. We are playing uninvited guests and life embraces and opens us new to ways of being human in the world through upheavals that we can call interruptions.

Live remains in the coming. It remains as never fully arrived. This is why its gifting is always in the coming. There always remains more to give. There is always more life to come. This is also why we cannot master life. We cannot keep it under our control. To control our future and the present, we do try to control life. Life has its own way of breaking the chains of human attempts to control it. Disruptive interruptions are these moments and places where life breaks our chains. The breaking of the chains through which we chain life and chain ourselves becomes a moment of redemption or freedom for us. We chain ourselves by chaining life by trying to domesticate the horizon of the future. Such a horizon is our attempt to build a cacoon or island for us. These insulations convert us into what we mean by the phrase, ‘frogs in the well’. There is no challenge and we lose all inventive drive as we feel protected. Living life to the full brings us to the open horizon. Interruption belongs to the open horizon. Life is a great host. It opens us to live life to the fullest and become a person fully alive and give glory to God.

But we cannot be passive before the play of life. We cannot just choose inaction and let life pass us by. It is impossible to let life pass us by. We are always in the middle of life. Life continuously happens to us as well as we shape it all the time. But this shaping cannot close our horizon. When we close the horizon of the future, it closes us. It limits our possibilities. Therefore, interruption becomes moments and places that open our closed horizons. It deconstructs it and leads us towards what Derrida calls the absolute horizon. It opens us to life as it comes. It gives us the courage to embrace the life that we cannot see coming. Therefore that which we see accidental is productive. Let us fully participate in the play of life and orient ourselves towards the absolute horizon where we can live our life as Soren Kierkegaard describes …living life into the hands of God.

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Hypocrisy is the tribute that vice pays to virtue.

- Fr Victor Ferrao