Negate This

A future that could've been

Morality: Going From Here

Published on by Negate This #Philosophy

I’ve done a disservice to the pages of Marguerite Porete’s Mirror and the works of Hadewijch by not etching them into my thoughts, into the folds of my brain. No matter, though, as Mechthild of Magdeburg suggests, “You should read it through nine times in faith, humility, and devotion.” Again, Nietzsche provides a similar sentiment when he states, “To be sure, one thing is necessary above all if one is to practice reading as an art … rumination.” I will simply read again, slower, again, even slower if need be. There’s no rush, as long as there is rumination in service to my goal: to find the correct ethic for becoming.

The writings of the beguines have struck a cord with me. In Porete’s concept of the Annihilated Soul was infinite possibility, living without a why, without the need for those pesky Holy Virtues. Here was an ethic I’d like to undertake.

But the self-doubt sets in, and I think to myself, “What the hell do you know? There could be a million things to understand, a million things you didn’t consider. You need to know more before you even consider starting any sort of project.” So I need to start at the beginning, why I became so infatuated with the beguines and their conception of Love and the annihilation of the Soul. I’ll let Plumtree’s Tropical summarize that for me:

But I'm sick of your morals

I'm sick of them

(Sick of them)

Yes, for my introduction to the beguines was through Silvia Federici’s Caliban and the Witch, where Federici lay flat the disciplinary power of those morals and virtues brought about by the bourgeoisie and the Mechanical philosophers. There’s was a program of self-hatred, of “a constant battle between the lower and higher faculties of the soul” that necessitated a disciplining of that beastly thing we call a body by way of bourgeois morality, of Reason. At the core of the Mechanical/Cartesian model of the human is that hatred, at first glance directed to the self, at second glance directed toward the newly-created other, the “individual identity,” which came into a master/slave relationship with our soul.

This view of the self, the one with Reason and intellect above those beastly and unrefined bodily needs and emotions, has persisted to this day. Everywhere you find it, you’ll find that same self-hatred, that limiting of human potential. This is what morality is good for.

It shouldn’t be a surprise, then, that I found the contents of the Mirror so enticing, entertaining even. Those who follow me on Instagram can attest to that, as I constantly clowned on Reason throughout my time reading it. No more than Porete herself decided to, though.

Porete says that the Annihilated Soul has let go of the Holy Virtues as a guiding force, and has no Will but the Will of Love/God. The Annihilated Soul sees no use for Reason, and has shedded the need for Holy Virtues by oneing herself with God; she has become extra-moral, consumed by the ethic of annihilation. A shedding of morals and the taking on of an ethic that leaves possibilities of asking what one might do, not limiting human potential. It’s in the Mirror that I first saw a possibility of becoming outside of the rigidity of morality.

But again, the self-doubt creeps in. Perhaps I should give a more careful study to morality if I wish to find something outside of it. Besides, one of the greatest writers on morality, Nietzsche, has caught my eye in the past as I’ve found accounts of his concept of the overman to be at least vaguely similar to the concept of the Annihilated Soul. So I’ve now ventured into the works of Nietzsche, specifically his Genealogy of Morals with the help of Daniel Conway’s guide.

Nietzsche begins his investigation of morals without an assumption of an almost mechanical coherency and temporal consistency of morals. Do not lack in the historical spirit! Do not be overcome by the democratic prejudice! And see this: “a concept denoting political superiority always revolves itself into a concept denoting superiority of soul.”

Sure, Nietzsche. I’ll gladly see where this goes.

FYI to any readers I may have, I just wanted to let y’all know that I’ve created a new gallery page on my website! Sometimes I like to make funky ’lil pictures and I thought it would be fun to share them! Hope you enjoy them ☺️