The Potency of Life

What, then, is the potency of life?  A life, a singular life, a life that dies in the event, a fragile life that does not live in time and cannot be evaluated in terms of money – a life that necessarily dies in its incarnations. . . . Throughout the history of philosophy, philosophers have elevated bizarre idols to obscure this transcendental field. . . . the situation is hardly improved when one throws out the transcendent, allowing capital and time to become impersonal grounds of evaluation and thought.  Life is controlled by that which does not live.  All manner of tyrants and idols have been worshipped as supreme values, as dogmatic images of thought, or as transcendentals – philosophy is superstitious, all too superstitious.

All it requires is for thought to consider a transcendental persona, to show a little care for a dying rogue, to try resuscitation once more, to breathe a little life into ‘this dank carcass,’ ‘this flabby lump of mortality’, for thought to lend ‘a hand, a heart, and a soul’.  For, in modern life, this dying rogue is no one but ourselves, and the transcendental persona of thought is our doctor.  Life is immanence, ‘the most intimate within thought’, yet it is also transcendence, ‘an outside more distant than any external world because it is an inside deeper than any internal world.’ So often the concepts of immanence and transcendence are opposed to each other, as if one could be thought without the other.  Nevertheless, the criteria for absolute immanence and absolute transcendence are the same: they consist in removing all pretenders from the role of the absolute.  Transcendence only has a relation to this world in immanence; immanence only constitutes this world in transcendence. [emphasis mine]

– Philip Goodchild, Capitalism and Religion, 166.


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