Monday, 28 April 2008

Agamben on transcendence and evil

“The transcendent, therefore, is not a supreme entity above all things; rather, the pure transcendent is the taking-place of every thing. God or the good or the place does not take place, but is the taking-place of the entities, their innermost exteriority. The being-worm of the worm, the being-stone of the stone, is divine. That the world is, that something can appear and have a face, that there is exteriority and non-latency as the determination and the limit of every thing: this is the good. Thus, precisely its being irreparably in the world is what transcends and exposes every worldly entity. Evil, on the other hand, is the reduction of taking-place of things to a fact like others, the forgetting of the transcendence inherent in the very taking-place of things. With respect to the these things, however, the good is not somewhere else; it is simply the point at which they grasp the taking-place proper to them, at which they touch their own non-transcendent matter. In this sense – and only in this sense – the good must be defined as a self-grasping of evil, and salvation as the coming of the place to itself.”

—Giorgio Agamben, The Coming Community (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1993), p. 15.

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