The Liminalist # 147 (Elder Wisdom # 1): The Hero Who Looks Within (with Gregory Desilet)

Two-part conversation with Gregory Desilet, on the wisdom of the elders, Our Faith in Evil, the inherent paradox of evil, evil as misperception, Greg’s Roman Catholic upbringing, a polarized image of the world, how to conceptualize dichotomy,  movies and myths as collective dreams, Christ on the cross, Mel Gibson’s Passion of the Christ as revenge drama, the depth of Christ’s suffering in relation to the scope of human depravity, the brutality of nature, demonizing Nature, the Gnostic view, an original dichotomy, Jasun’s rejecting atheism, Christ as tragic hero, reading the Gospel, the hero who looks within, conflict resolution, tragedy as a means to a higher resolution, Girard & the scapegoat mechanism, Kenneth Burke, scapegoating via literature, symbolic victimage, the generative principle of difference, the ego’s self-rejection, Blue Velvet and sympathetic villains, reflexive melodrama, Moby Dick and the reversal of hero-villain polarity, Les Miserables, Red River, Fight Club’s changeover, The Godfather as tragedy, evil vs. evil stories, Aristotle and the odious drama, seeking contrapuntal characters, voyeuristic activity, empathy for Michael Corleone, organized crime in America, what would Aristotle think of Shakespeare?

Greg’s site.

Songs: “I’m Going Insane 2,” “Le Monstre,” “Vice Versa” by Lee Maddeford; “The(se) Terror Twin(ne)s” by The Agrarians.

11 thoughts on “The Liminalist # 147 (Elder Wisdom # 1): The Hero Who Looks Within (with Gregory Desilet)”

  1. Interesting that neither mentioned Christianity as comedy.

    The classic conception of comedy, which began with Aristotle in ancient Greece of the 4th century BCE and persists through the present, holds that it is primarily concerned with humans as social beings, rather than as private persons, and that its function is frankly corrective. The comic artist’s purpose is to hold a mirror up to society to reflect its follies and vices, in the hope that they will, as a result, be mended. The 20th-century French philosopher Henri Bergson shared this view of the corrective purpose of laughter; specifically, he felt, laughter is intended to bring the comic character back into conformity with his society, whose logic and conventions he abandons when “he slackens in the attention that is due to life.”

    I would say it’s a divine comedy.

    • Also interesting, in light of a fool’s perspective. A fool’s total immersion might account for the seriousness in the faith. Though, he may also be blind in differentiating heretic comedy from the divine, without a certain sobriety, and become tragicomic. I do not believe Christ is a tragicomic. He is a comic of tragedy.

      • The comedy option only occurred to me afterwards, listening to Jordan Peterson. The word seems so incongruous with the Gospel. What about tragi-comedy?

  2. I’m a tragic fool when I see life as a tradgedy and cope by settling with adjusting to an attitude of it being a tragi-comedy. The wisdom lacking here is that I assumed I had true life.

    The gospel says, instead, that I’m without life and a tragic fool, who is subject to the sickness unto death. However, Christ has conquered death, that I might come to life in Him. He, not I, has brought comedy to the tradgedy of my foolishness.

    The gospel is a divine comedy, which remedies the tragic sickness unto death. The Logos incarnates into creation, is subjected to the sickness of despair, to the point of death, and is resurrected.

    The gospel is only tragi-comedy insofar as I lack faith that there is absolute joy in God. The gospel is pure comedy, that reaches from Him into the fallen nature to declare life to the fool enshrouded in tragedy.

    So, perhaps there is a movement from a worldly-wise fool reading it as tragi-comedy, to submitting foolishness to the true essence of the Word. As a sober fool, acknowledging the divine comedy, the joy of life in Him is true divine wisdom. His comedy must reach us in our tragic state and bring us from death(foolish life) to true life.

    • The gospel is only tragic to an ego in fear of sin and death, like Peter denies Jesus’ need to die. Jesus addresses Peter as Satan.

      But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.

      Matthew 16: 21-23

      If we have a tragic view of the comedy, we are not abiding.

      • Not so sure about this, seems an overly-idealized perspective that risks taking a holier-than-thou position.

        Isn’t the duality of Christ as God & Man reflected in the twin aspects of his story, that of tragedy and comedy?

        To suppose otherwise risks belittling and diminishing the depth and poignancy of Jesus’ suffering; it could be a ruse of the Superego.

        • Man’s choice in the garden is tragic to himself, not to God. He is not subject to despair.

          God is always uplifting the tradgedy of man in commandments, covenants, trials and blessings. Continually, though man besets himself with the tragic choices in turning away from God, He is alpha and omega. Creation is always good, and in Him. Tradgedy is only a choice of man to deny Him.

          He condescends to creation as a sinless man(God beholds no tradgedy), enters into where tradgedy defiantly leads to death, dies and resurrects in complete triumph of man’s tradgedy.

          “The glory of God is a living man; and the life of man consists in beholding God” (Against Heresies, Book 4, 20:7) -Irenaeus

          • It didn’t make sense, until it did. There’s no pinpointed day, and in some regard I’m not all the way there. Somehow, it seems to be becoming that which always made sense.

          • I think to be less muddled, the term comedy, which I have not been intending in its contemporary usage, is perhaps not too valuable in maintaining here.

            None of this is of the sort of charismatic laughter or tears, which is self oriented.

            We are fearfully and wonderfully made. Sober mindedly, goodness is in awe of Him.

          • Tragi-comedy also rings to me as a dialectical tension that does not belong to God. And here, Christ without dialectal progression is important to distinguish Christianity’s allowance for a personal identity of a believer in personal relationship with God being retained, while avoiding the error of ego dissociation from reality-dialectics, as in such as Buddhism.

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