Non Buddhist Mysticism: Performing Irreducible and Primitive Presence
(Part 4. To read additional sections, go to the ToC and scroll down to “Non-Buddhist Mysticism“)
Gustate et videte
Taste and see
(Psalms xxxiv 8)
Come and see
The Universe is deaf and blind, we can only love it and assist it
(“On the Black Universe,” 2.7)
The Mirror of Simple Souls who are Annihilated and Remain Only in Will and Desire of Love so enraged the protectors of the Church that they condemned Marguerite Porete for heresy. And so, one beautiful spring morning in Paris, on June 1, 1310, she was led to the pyre, bound, set afire, and burned to death. What was it about her book that so threatened the Authorities? Was it “The conjunction of speculation and ‘poverty of mind”? Was it “the erosion of the hierarchy between the simple and the learned”? Was it “the collusion of humility and transcendence by epekeina [the beyond], the putting in parentheses of the meta?” All of this? Yes! And let us add the fact, intolerable to Authorities everwhere and at all times, that Marguerite Porete offered a “short-circuit, a ‘heresy,’ that is to say something which cannot ‘receive a Catholic meaning even after explanation,’ as the pyres so brilliantly argue.” And what was her heresy? It was this: To tell the people of first things. To tell them of what is always the case before, prior: that they are “free of God.” And this: To write for “the profite of tham that ne bene [be not so], that yet schall be.” Let us be clear: this being free of God is not the move of a vulgar atheism. In this freedom we are nothing “except what God is; I [the soul] do not find anything but God, in whatever part I might find myself.” We proclaim as a first name for the Real: God, free of predicates, qualities, properties—even those of free of and nothing. But we must start somewhere. So, let us begin here, in the spirit of Marguerite Porete. Where might we find that spirit? We find it in sharing her insistence on intimacy and union conceived through love and faith against the cool formality and particularism wrought by reason and the already-knowing intellect. We find it in living her non-relation to Authorities—a unilateral relation (from her/our side only) that appears, from the perspective of Authorities, as an op-position, as a rebellious positing from the outside. (It is not so.) We find it finally in fusing with her courageous quest for the liberated soul.
[This is the first of maybe 30-some parts offering specific elements for constructing a practice, or performance. See also, Non Buddhist Mysticism: Preliminaries; Non Buddhist Mysticism: The Spirit of Heresy; Non Buddhist Mysticism: Buddhofiction]
The conjunction of speculation…so brilliantly argue. Laruelle, Mystique non-philosophique, 86.
free of God…yet shall be. Marguerite Porete, The Mirror of Simple Souls, epigraph.
except what God is. Ellen L. Babinsky, A Beguine in the Court of the King: Love and Knowledge in The Mirror of Simple Souls by Marguerite Porete. Dissertation, University of Chicago, 1991, 252.