Between Dialecticism of Reason and Dialogism of Love

Our society seems to be moving into what Hegel might describe as a ‘night where all cows are black’.  What happened in front of the facade of the old church of Sancoale is painful and barbaric to say the least.  The logic that paints all things in the past as Hindu is apparently underpinning the above event. It is only in the darkness of a night that all animals including humans can be said to be black.  The multicoloured world becomes uniformly black in the absence of light.

At a time when uniformity is preferred over diversity and plurality being looked upon as deviant, it seems that we have come to love the darkness of the night that blinds us about the beauty and diversity of our society. The question therefore is, ‘why do we choose darkness of uniformity against light of diversity?’  Maybe be the answer is in our identity thinking.  Though Hegel had made fun of thought of Schelling with the imagery of a night where all cows are black, it has been shown by Theodor Adorno that Hegel himself is cruising in the same boat. Identity thinking is egological and thinks from self sameness and attempts to subsume and consume the otherness of the other in the sameness of one’s taste. It is therefore primarily a matter of taste and comfort and hence is aesthetic in its orientation. It attempts to digestive in its approach as it assimilates the other into the same. But identity thinking is self deluding and is destructive and can be rightly described as desire for a night where all cows are black and want every one of us to submit ourselves to its chains that can be best described as living in the cave of Plato’s allegory.

The identity thinking is seen in the demand that seem to say to be Indian is to be a Hindu. It  conveniently forgets that the term Hindu can only be used in retrospection to the past since it acquired religious content that it has today only in the nineteenth centuries.   We can see how identity thinking bends backwards into the past and embraces what it deems as Hindu past only by employing the dialectics of hindsight.

This is exactly what we see in the dream theory that was evoked to justify the actions that hurt the sentiments of peace loving Goans as well as in the claims of an ancient temple being there at that site.  Indian civilization with its plural ways of being humans is based on what can be best described as non-identity thinking. As a society defined by caste India could never be based into identity thinking. Although the otherness and plurality is unfortunately put on the scale of hierarchy that categorized diverse ways of being and becoming Indians, nevertheless it allowed diversity to bloom and flower. This is why what we are facing today is degeneration of our civilizational ethos as well as steady decline of classical Hinduism.

Non-identity thinking does not want us to conform to one uniform form of being Indians. It stays open and is not closed to one singular point. Singluarization of Indians into one identity is violence and is a result of identity thinking that is afflicting us today. Pushing India into the night where all cows are black is indeed a great loss to open and plural civilization.

A Christian or a Goan response to the horrific act at the front piece of the old Sancoale Church cannot be dialectical. It has to be dialogical.  A dialogical approach embraces all and does not attempt to dissolve diversity into sameness. It does not dialectically bends back to absorb everything into static or frozen sameness (Hindu in this instant) but dialogically accepts the dynamic plurality of the past and moves forward to build peace and harmony.

Non-identity thinking is boundless and does not close to a singular point.  This means it is not so much dialectical thinking that is moving forward or bending backward by the power of reason but one that embraces the logic of love that affirms all that is behind, in front or around.  This means it allows things to be. It is a kind of amor fati.

Things, people, events do not have to conform to singularized identity. It stays open to plural identities. It is not some much concerned with what is. It is more concerned with what it ought to be in love.  Dialecticism of reason and dialogism of love are different. It does not mean love is unreasonable.  It has been famously said by Blasé Pascal that ‘the heart has reasons which reason does not understand.’ Love transcends the limits of reason.  Between dialecticism of the head and dialogism of the heart, a Goan and  Christian response has to be one that chooses the later.  Dialecticism of reason culminates into totalitarianism while dialogism of love does not closes on to totality but opens us to infinity/God.   When we do not totalize reality into a night where all cows are black, we enter the light of the days that allow diversity, otherness and plurality to flower.

With this approach of love and dialogue we have to   also be mindful about how our interventions become a negative dialectic and is used by the opponent/ friend on the other side to bring about reverse polarization.  This is why any attack   and violence of thought and action can only provide ammunition to the friends in the opposite camp married to dialectical reason that is far removed from advaitic or syad vada logic from our Indian traditions. In the very claim or positive affirmation of their love for mother India one can see the other side, the hate of other? non-Hindu sons and daughters of India. This is how their positive affirmation can become a reversal of the same. Nationalism, therefore does not fully confirms with patriotism. This is how reverse polarization works.  Negative responses to the painful event can actually fire more animosity. We need to allow dialogism of love to play its full circle.  It is only in dialogue of love that we will find therapy for all sides.  Let us not choose darkness.  As Peace loving Goans and Christians let us make a deliberate choice of light where peace and love prevails.

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Hypocrisy is the tribute that vice pays to virtue.

- Fr Victor Ferrao