Man and Sin by Piet Schoonenberg (1964) 1.5AN

Summary of text [comment] page 39

[Returning to Schoonenberg, what can I say?

The “final impenitence” and “thinking yourself to be a golden calf” have a lot in common.  After all, aren’t we entitled to hear only “what we want to hear”?  Who wants to hear the truth when it is so easy to deny it?]


Man and Sin by Piet Schoonenberg (1964) 1.5AM4

[They realized that they were naked.

This precisely corresponds to the dawning awareness of golden calves as they persecute (what they imagine to be) the causes of their frustrations, the subjects who are deemed thinkanti-object.

When sovereigninfra religions begin to feel vulnerable, they strive all the more to neutralize the sources of their frustrations.

Their exercise of power becomes less and less clothed by the robes of their righteousness.

Totalitarian regimes are left naked in the end.

Then the Lord God, the ultimate scapegoat, the only one capable of speaking for the now voiceless corpses, returns.]


Man and Sin by Piet Schoonenberg (1964) 1.5AM3

Summary of text [comment] page 39

[Consider the depiction of the Temptation of Eve in An Archaeology of the Fall.

The serpent was the reified projection of Eve’s unconscious thoughts.  In Girard’s terminology, the serpent was the “rival whose desire Eve imitated”.

The serpent appears to be Eve’s double, because it appears to desire precisely what Eve desires.  The serpent was both rival and advisor to Eve.  The serpent was a golden calf.

When Eve ate the fruit, Eve and the serpent united against the Lord God.  The joining was spontaneous because the serpent was a projection of Eve’s mind.  Evepro-fruit was proven right.  Lord Godanti-fruit was proven real.  But the scapegoat was not a corpse.  Oops.

The discrepancy between the fact that Eve and the serpent and Adam had scapegoated the Lord Godanti-fruit and the fact that the Lord God was not Lord Godanti-fruit must have been alarming.  Eve and Adam realized that they were naked.]


Man and Sin by Piet Schoonenberg (1964) 1.5AM2

Summary of text [comment] page 39

[I do not know whether Rene Girard ever imagined the possibility that the mimetic rival could be pure projection.

Notably, this could account for an odd yet pivotal detail in his scenario-rich hypothesis. At the zenith of the mimetic crisis, the rivals-in-conflict join one another and turn their accumulated anger against a scapegoat.  The united rivals-in-conflict unite in attacking the scapegoat.  The scapegoat gets the blame for the crisis in the first place. Plus, the scapegoat’s sacrifice appears to resolve the crisis and bring (temporary) relief.

Girard views these features of the mimetic crisis as natural properties of the crisis itself, even though it is hard to imagine two contenders suddenly joining forces.

However, if one rival is the projection of the other, in the same manner that thinkanti-object is a projection of thinkpro-object, then the conflict dramatizes a sovereigninfra religion in battle with the demons that arise with the unintended consequences of its own social constructions.  The battle is resolved at the moment that blame is laid upon the scapegoat.  The projection is reified.  The scapegoat is sacrificed.

Thinkpro-object is proven right.  Thinkanti-object is proven real.  The scapegoat is a corpse.]


Man and Sin by Piet Schoonenberg (1964) 1.5AM1

Summary of text [comment] page 39

[To me, this dynamic provides an adequate description of the idea of “golden calf” that complements Rene Girard’s concept of “scapegoat”.

Mimetic Rivalry lies at the heart of the drama of the scapegoat. Acquisitive mimesis describes the pursuit of sovereign power by infrasovereign religions.  Each has organizational goals that they want promulgated as law.  None can achieve power alone.  Coalitions form.

Once sovereign power falls within the grasp of any coalition of infrasovereign religions, conflictual mimesis begins, where the “Parties of Pro-Objects” contest all others by branding them “anti-objects”.  Every other institution, transcendent or mundane, becomes a potential enemy.  The fundamental transformation of Society begins.

When unintended consequences of the transformations appear, they are declared to be “exceptions” by the “golden calves” (whose behaviors are made “golden” by their object relation) and blamed on the “scapegoats” (who are easy enough to find, no matter what they believe, and who are, by definition, thinkanti-object).]


Man and Sin by Piet Schoonenberg (1964) 1.5AL

Summary of text [comment] page 39

[Co-emergent with the success of a sovereign thinkgroup is the conjuring of the relation of impossibility between the denial of lawessential and acceptance of lawessential.

Denials come in many forms. “The deformative results of pro-object deeds may be exceptions to the mundane world of unintended consequences.  Unintended results are due to those who harbor anti-object ideologies.  The causes reside in those with false consciousness.  The only option must be to even more dogmatically establish the idol of pro-object and more relentlessly punish the ones who are responsible for failure.”]


Man and Sin by Piet Schoonenberg (1964) 1.5AK

Summary of text [comment] page 39

[“The final self-donation” opens our metaphorical windows to knowing both thinkdivine and lawessential.  That does not mean that we achieve the fullness of wisdom.  It simply means openness to wisdom.

“The final impenitence” shuts our windows tight and creates a virtual outside in order to keep them closed.  There is no openness here.  Within the reach of the sovereign, there is no escape from thinkpro-object.

When thinkgroup assumes the throne and eclipses thinkdivine, it becomes thinkpro-object.  “The Party of Thinkpro-object” holds as sacred the “object that brings all of subjects into organization”.

Who does not hold the object in esteem? Who will break one of a tangle of rules? Who dare piss off a perverted instrument of their pro-object order? Who stands at the wrong place at the wrong time?  These are branded thinkanti-object.

Sovereigninfra rule establishes a new religion, a new Public Cult.

Hail Pro-Object!  Hail the Dear Leader who bears “the Object that brings us into Organization”.

Thinkdivine resides beyond the thin line marking the horizon.

Thinkdivine exterpellates.]


Man and Sin by Piet Schoonenberg (1964) 1.5AJ

Summary of text [comment] page 39

[You have the power.  You have the power to be responsible.  You also have the power to be an instrument of “the object that brings all subjects into organization”.  You have the choice.

In this, “the exercise of power” mirrors “the final total self-donation” and “the final impenitence”.

Total self-donation – the confirmation of love – puts sovereign power into context by saying, “You have the power to be responsible.”  Hope and faith yield “organizational goals without the need for sovereign power”.

Impenitence, the hollowing out of hope and faith in favor of some partial object, grasps for sovereign power by saying what many want to hear: “You have the power to bring society into order according some organizational objective”.

But then, what if, by some historical fluke, I become sovereign.  Can I become “the object that brings everyone into organization”?  I am the change is more than a title of a good book.  The phrase brings to the fore the creepy confounding of human flesh and totalitarian impulse.  In the exercise of power, final impenitence becomes idolatry.  The “object that brings all subjects into organization” is mortal.

The golden calf walks on two hind legs.]


Man and Sin by Piet Schoonenberg (1964) 1.5AI

Summary of text [comment] page 39

Schoonenberg wrote that there is a great similarity in the way that mortal sins lead to final impenitence – the complete loss of faith and hope – and the way that simple moral acts lead us to total donation of self – the confirmation of love.

[To me, the “final impenitence” and “the total self-donation” correspond to a habitual participation in either thinkgroup or thinkdivine as interpellation diminishes (more intense) or collapses (totally intense).

On the side of total donation of self, thinkdivine becomes the nested form of complete inspiration.  Thinkgroups fail to interpellate, to the repulsion of everyone belonging to thinkgroups.  In parallel to the “grades of disgrace”, one no longer worries about the consequences to self, others, or order itself.  The person recognizes the consequences and accepts responsibility.  Responsibility confirms love.  Faith and hope flourish as grace confirms love.

On the side of the final impenitence, thinkgroup divides the entire world according to a key – an object – an idea – a promise – a gnosis – into “those who love the object” and “those who hate it”.  There is no need for grace, because the object itself is precious.  The person not responsible for her actions, the object is.  “Precious” is as “precious” does.  There is no faith or hope, because the final impenitent knows the destiny of society.  Sovereign power confirms the inevitable destiny.

Precious and inevitable, the object hollows out the words “hope” and “faith” and tells us what we want to hear: You can wear the ring of power and not be corrupted by its magical lure.]


Man and Sin by Piet Schoonenberg (1964) 1.5AH2

[What is the triadic relation that lawessential differentiates into?

“My acceptance of the potential consequences (lawacceptance)” and “my denial of the consequences of action (in regards to self (option A), self and others (option B) or self and others and order itself (options C and C-1); (lawdenial))” relate to one another on the basis of impossibility.

This triadic relation is most slippery because one cannot assuredly place any element solely into one category.  Instead, the triadic relation writhes as a triadic system of differences with indeterminate normal context, actuality and possibility.

Does “impossibility3 bring “denial of consequences2” into relation with “the potential inherent in the consequences1”?

Makes sense, since acceptance is “a potential of the consequences1“.

Does “denial of the consequences3 bring “impossibility2” into relation with “the potential inherent in the consequences1”?

Makes sense, since denial could be the normal context so that certain consequences are regarded as impossible.  Plus, acceptance is a potential consequence.

Does “acceptance of the consequences3 bring “denial of the consequences2” into relation with “the potential inherent in the image of impossibility1”?

If acceptance is the normal context and the actions come out as denial, then something is making the normal context impossible.  That something could be many things, such as misinformation (I mean, anti-knowledge.).

And so on.  If you think about each permutation long enough, it becomes plausible.]