The Decolonial Abyss: Mysticism and Cosmopolitics from the Ruins

The Decolonial Abyss: Mysticism and Cosmopolitics from the Ruins

The Decolonial Abyss: Mysticism and Cosmopolitics from the Ruins

The Decolonial Abyss: Mysticism and Cosmopolitics from the Ruins

Synopsis

The Decolonial Abyss probes the ethico-political possibility harbored in Western philosophical and theological thought for addressing the collective experience of suffering, socio-political trauma, and colonial violence. In order to do so, it builds a constructive and coherent thematization ofthe somewhat obscurely defined and underexplored mystical figure of the abyss as it occurs in Neoplatonic mysticism, German Idealism, and Afro-Caribbean philosophy.The central question An Yountae raises is, How do we mediate the mystical abyss of theology/philosophy and the abyss of socio-political trauma engulfing the colonial subject? What would theopoetics look like in the context where poetics is the means of resistance and survival? This book seeks toanswer these questions by examining the abyss as the dialectical process in which the self's dispossession before the encounter with its own finitude is followed by the rediscovery or reconstruction of the self.

Excerpt

Afuera hay sol.
No es más que un sol
pero los hombres lo miran
y después cantan.
Yo no sé del sol
Yo sé de la melodía del ángel
y el sermón caliente
del último viento.
Sé gritar hasta el alba
cuando la muerte se posa desnuda en mi sombra.
Yo lloro debajo de mi nombre.
Yo agito pañuelos en la noche y barcos sedientes de realidad
bailan conmigo.
Yo oculto clavos
para escarnecer a mis sueños enfermos.
Afuera hay sol.
Yo me visto de cenizas.

— Alejandra Pizarnik, “La Jaula”

With her gloomy poetic imagination, the twentieth- century Argentinian poet Alejandra Pizarnik delves into the depth of meaninglessness, the source of inspiration that marks her entire writing career through the 1950s and ‘60s. Her obsession with lack, also represented as the void, absence, and death, points to her existentialist poetic vision that privileges darkness and silence over the “sun” or “word.” However, the dark night of nihil does not seem capable of redeeming Pizarnik’s despairing existential cry, for after her encounter with the void she confesses, “I cry beneath my . . .

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