🕊️Gaza: On Love and Forgiveness

🕊️Gaza: On Love and Forgiveness
Image: Production photo for Werner Herzog’s Fitzcarraldo. (1982) with Klaus Kinski 

This is what has come to me:

A few days before the ongoing mass killing started I watched the film “Kingdom of God”. You could say it tells the story of the crusaders trying to hold onto Jerusalem but it's not really about that, in the same sense that “Gaza” (note the material frame) is not really about the Israelis and Palestinians. What is happening is the playing out of a meaning system that justifies killing which has been going on for 10,000 years. It assumes that humans can run the world rather than god. When people kill they are pathologically attached to the idea that they are real and the world is real, and that is all there is, and so they fight to the death over it. This attachment, this desperation, creates a never-ending cycle of rage and slaughter. The logic of hate is remorseless.

But this world, of land, treasure, and power, is not real - it is just one meaning system amongst many, as confirmed by modern physics and traditional mysticism. Paradoxically the alternative ways of seeing thrust themselves into existence at times when the killing reaches one its of periodic spasms of hell.

“I can do this no longer”: the exhaustion of hate leads to the collapse not just of the ideology that drives hate (“this is my belief, I am right, and I can kill for it”) but of the whole materialistic worldview of the self/world. Into being comes a third “entity”: god. Not the material god - another “thing” - of modern religious practice, but something very different: an awareness of an invisible presence that cannot be reduced to words and concepts.

The realisation is that truth, love, consciousness, and god are all part of a family of what might be called sensibilities. The utter failure of human moral reason - “they did this so I can do that” is replaced by an overriding single commandment: do not kill.

This is not about ethics and its feeble attempts to provide “reasons” - it comes to you. Your unbearable disgust and despair drive you to another place. They turn in on themselves and destroy themselves. And you come out the other side and find yourself another person in another world. It comes about by what used to be called the “grace of god”. There is no will, only the acceptance of a gift.

Love is not that sentimental brittle notion we have been told it is. Love is a militant adherence to a single principle - that love dies for itself. Love is beyond any mundane consideration of life and death. Love is the dogma that action has to be dedicated to the wellbeing of the other, “love your enemies” - regardless of the consequences.

Love in action is forgiveness. Forgiveness, properly understood, has nothing to do with the person who has done you wrong. It is not just the refusal to keep score, it is the rejection of the very idea of keeping score. It is not just the refusal to judge but the refusal to accept that it is possible to judge. It is a completely different aesthetic of what it means to live a good life. We are not here to act for ourselves, we are here to submit to god.

Love is the opposite of calculation. Love is the diametric opposite of material logic. Love relishes being smashed and extinguished. Love finds itself when alone and forgotten in a prison cell. Love is completely stupid - only a fool would follow it. But the hilarious thing is that it is only through its abject failure that it conquers the world - it is god’s joke. Because the enemies of love are fighting on foreign ground. They know neither what they do nor who they are.

They are children of god but they resist this truth to the death - unless they are saved and save the world in return.

This is the hidden and dark origin of the modern notion of nonviolence. Not the shallow contemporary obsession with “what works”. Love works because it does not work. It only works when it is done for itself. Only the very few receive the gift of this realisation but society is always redeemed by the actions of the very few.

For Gaza love in action would require a hundred people to sit by the road and stop eating and drinking. When asked what they are doing, they would say they are waiting to die, or the killing needs to stop. They would win because love is prepared to die for love. And many of the hundred might indeed die before love shames those doing the killing to stop. They are warriors of god.

Of course, people will be outraged. But why object to a few people dying for love when thousands die for hate?

To be clear then; love is only love when it is for itself; because love is god and god is for god. Infinite.

And those who die for love, with mayhem happening all around them, will have a smile on their face. They have entered the Kingdom as it was once called. Reunited with the One. At peace at last.

“The moment you accept it is not possible to fight for both sides at the same time, you've lost your soul.” - Zizek

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