Reflections on spirituality in times of uncertainty: The Spirit and its shadow

By Santiago González Casares and Adolfo Pérez Esquivel

These are times of great uncertainty, however, everyone speaks. Everyone says something, everyone knows something, everyone shares something, laughs at something, everyone has a secret. But nobody says anything, nobody really knows anything, nobody really shares and few of us practice humor, few of us make love. These times, Nietzsche characterizes them as nihilistic, are barren times of God’s grace, oblivious to his favor. These are times when we have lost access to Ideas, we have lost the value of things, the true value. Truth, goodness and beauty slip away these days like sand through your fingers, they hide.

To have ideas is to see (videre) things as they are, it is to see the essence (eidos) of things and today, nothing is seen (nihil), we live in the time of nothingness (nihil). There are plenty of examples to understand this phenomenon, beyond the absence of scientific certainty or fake news, lawfare; there is something really dangerous in the decline of all the values ​​of things and it is the disbelief in the presence of the other, and politics is nothing more than that, the natural need of the human being to be with others. Politics is the first to suffer from nihilism, it is not necessary to go very far in space or time to account for it. All the current anti-political spiel is nothing more than a crude but accurate manifestation of it, it is called for the nothingness of politics or it is accused of being nothing, of being useless; And we don’t realize that asking for the nothingness of politics is asking for our own nothingness, for our own annihilation.
Spirituality is the path towards those ideas, it is the transformation from those ideas, therefore both the distance and the eventual disappearance of these ideas (Truth-Good-Beauty) is a distance from ourselves and from the essence of things. . Cultivating spirituality can mean surrendering to the search for these ideas for the sake of the search itself and not for the eventual benefit that its commercialization can give us.

The truth, in times of nihilism, is transformed into scientific certainty of clear and distinct evidence. That is to say, the truth is no longer something universal but something relative to the sovereignty of the ego cogito, to the empire of an individual ego, of his reason and his whim. However, there is something that hides from the scientific certainty of evident verification, there is something that remains hidden, that lies in the shadows. There is something hidden behind what we see, hear, something essential, something true.

Beauty, in times of nihilism, becomes useful, remains tied to the principle of reason and to fashion (the most repeated number in a series). We are only attentive to its effectiveness and commercial solvency, we give utility all sovereignty over aesthetics. Beauty is measured according to the algorithmic calculation of cybernetic reason that submits beauty to the market, far from gift and gratuitousness.

The time of God’s death is when that great Other disappears, but also the other in front of me, who is God if not that face that questions me? That inexhaustible abyss that orders me to responsibility and Good (Levinas). Perhaps spirituality is nothing more than that path towards the other, owner of all truth and beauty. The good would be the doing of the spirit towards that otherness.

The death of God is then the death of the Other, of everything that escapes the individual subject, everything that transcends his command and his grief. The present times that we live submerged in virtuality and artifice do not allow us to access the essence of things, neither their beauty nor their truth. We only see copies on the screen of what is really happening, only copies and pamphlets.

The spirit is not his shadow, but sometimes he gets lost in it. Perhaps spirituality is forcing the spirit beyond its capacity. Perhaps those kids, who today are the most beautiful, are a sample of that, of a collective spirit that challenges the ego from a humble and united us, in the face of adverse results and typical criticism from the media when things do not turn out as predicted. them. A us first to the ego ensured glory and brought out the best of who we are. It will be time to transfer that word to the organized community and perpetuate it over time.

Reflections on spirituality in times of uncertainty: The Spirit and its shadow