Writing Life with Inventive Ink

We can imagine life as a drawing board. We do not find a black space on this drawing board of life. There is no tabula rasa. We find ourselves in the middle of writing. Maybe we can come to the depths, breadth and heights of life by a careful examination of the grammatology of life. Grammatology is the science of writing. We can think of life as writing us as well as us as writing life. Everyone is born in the middle of these writings. These writings of life precede us write our life. We need this initial stage of being written. The alphabets of our culture, tradition and faith write us into the middle of life. This means our culture, traditions and faith assigns us a place as well as delimit our role/mission. As we grow old, we can dialogue/ interrogate/ contest these writings that write us into being. Some of us choose to cling to these assigned places and roles. Others contest them and make space for the difference that can bring to the table of life. Thus, our life is written in the ink of our culture, tradition and faith. But we can write life with new ink. Several among us have written new life with the ink of blood. There are others who seek the status quo. They too wrote life into the fixated alphabets. Life refuses to be frozen. It is dynamic. What appears to be fixated is actually an illusion. Nothing can be mathematically the same all the time. Change is the only constant in our life. Life leaves behind the freezing points and goes ahead. It is we who get frozen as life moves on. Trying to fix life in the same can mean crucifying life. It can spill much blood as it tries to fix life in the frames and alphabets of the status quo. We do write status quo also sometimes with the ink of blood. To save our tradition, culture, faith we at times spill blood and kill.

Writing with the new ink is never easy. Since it is counter-cultural, we need the courage of conviction to stand up to those who see disloyalty and betrayal in the ink of our writing. We cannot bow down to the pressures of those who wish to live with the status quo. We have the challenge to be inventive. To be inventive, we have to open ourselves to explore life and open ourselves to that which Jacques Derrida calls the absolute horizon. This enables us to do the impossible. To maintain the status quo, we simply have to live what Derrida, calls to do the possible. Unfortunately, we live in a closed horizon that closes us and does the possible. It is an anticipatory horizon. It closes our future. The future then becomes the future of our past or a future of our present. This means the future cannot be the future. It has to bring the past or the present into fruition in the future. In several ways, the future is annulled by our writing of the past/present into it. The real future is therefore lost. What we are left with is the life that is writing the future with the ink of the past/ present. This makes our future is closed. A closed future is a lost future.

When we reject the comfort of the closed horizon and enter the open horizon, we begin to shape the future. The future remains the future. It is not an image of the past/ present. It opens the drawing board of our life that can de-semiotize and re-semiotize everything that we find written into it. Thus, we begin to write/ rewrite/ overwrite/ underwrite that which we find on the slate of our life. This brings us to the sphere of impossibility. We then write with inventive ink. Life does not become a hop at the same spot. It refuses to become the politics of the status quo. It becomes inventive and remains open to the novel and the coming of the future. The future can only come and remain in the coming. This does not mean we become passive and simply summit to the future that is always in the coming. An open horizon does not take away our freedom and agency. Real freedom and agency can only be lived on the absolute horizon. The closed horizon, being an anticipatory horizon fixes us and weakens our freedom and our agency.

We can write life with inventive ink in the absolute horizon. Hence, each of us can creatively bring newness to the table of our society. Unfortunately, most of us feel the discomfort of the open horizon. We become anxious about the open future. We find comfort in the domesticating/taming of the future. Society and humanity cannot grow in such a closed future. The open future enables us to bring unimagined newness to our life and society. It does not mean that the newness that we bring is always good for humanity. It can be also harmful at times. Life on the open horizon is an adventure. It has its failures and success. Life succeeds by failing. Writing with an inventive ink makes us patient, humble and open. It enables us to partner with the future that remains in its coming and writes life inventively.

Inventive life does not repeat life that is already written on the drawing board of our life. Inventive life invents and keeps inventing the future of our life. Inventive life is singular life. It has a unique signature. It is not a copy or a forged counterfeit that imitates and becomes a mockery of mimicry. Life is inventive. It cannot be caged into a hoping at the same spot. It has the power to usher in creative newness. Closed horizon only repeats. It does not let anything new come. Repetition diminishes life and curtails its possibilities. Life in the open horizon nurtures and nourishes life. It brings the best of life. Hence, we have both the challenge and imperative to courageously open ourselves to the absolute horizon and write life with inventive ink. Writing with inventive ink protects our singularity. Otherwise, we get lost in the generalities that are offered by the horizon of the possible. Our singularity can be lived seamlessly in the absolute horizon that enables us to do the impossible.

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Hypocrisy is the tribute that vice pays to virtue.

- Fr Victor Ferrao