Section V.6D-V.6F (“The Problem of Scale (Part 1)”)

On Forgiveness (Part II)

O.G. Rose
43 min readFeb 12, 2024

It is not rational to forgive, yet life is nonrational.

Photo by Mike Marrah

V.6D: “The Reason to Be Angry Forever” by Agnes Callard

As Agnes Callard argues (as brought to my attention by Joel Carini), ‘[i]f you have a reason to be angry with me, you will have a reason to be angry with me forever.’⁷¹² Yes, if I could make you realize that your reason for being angry was false or based on a misunderstanding, then your anger might go away, but I would accomplish this ‘by showing you that you never had any reason to be angry with me […] If you did have a reason, you’d have it forever.’⁷¹³ Hence, if we have reason to efface Hegel’s “Absolute Spirit,” we’ll always have a reason to avoid Religion (as we’ll discuss). A single act of pain is a timeless reason to prevent Absolute History. The odds favor Land.

In her essay, Dr. Callard is not trying to tell us that we are doomed to an eternal anger we can never escape; rather, she is trying to show that if we ever escape anger, we must ‘leave the original reason to be angry in place.’⁷¹⁴ Our reason for rage can never go away, a logic which of course applies to “our reason for not forgiving”: if we have a reason not to forgive, we will always have a reason not to forever (hurt keeps its place) — the reason is timeless (perhaps like hell). She calls this “the eternal anger argument,” which could also be “the eternal unforgiveness argument” or “the eternal non-forgiveness argument” (the latter of which is what I think most fall into, Drifting). Critiquing this might be those who claim that anger can actually prove useful as a ‘productive management of the aftershocks of [a] wrong action,’ which is to say that anger motivates us into action to do something about a wrong.⁷¹⁵ This could be true, but not necessarily, and even if we do respond to the anger in a constructive way, if there was indeed an actual reason to be angry, that never changes (even if there was a simple misunderstanding, the reality that this misunderstanding occurred is constant, and we could always ask why the other didn’t do more work to avoid that misunderstanding in the first place). Also, Dr. Callard suggests that anger we “productively manage” is likely not the intense anger which provokes us into a desire for revenge: anger comes in many forms to many intensities, and failure to appreciate “the eternal anger argument” might contribute to us being too sanguine about the problem.

Dr. Callard emphasizes that anger seems to firstly arise as ‘a way of concerning oneself with the (unchangeable) fact that some wrong was done.’⁷¹⁶ We suffer an experience we cannot escape and that we didn’t ask to be unable to escape, and now we have to choose how we will act in response. Isn’t that wrong? Isn’t that grounds for anger? Furthermore, we suffer due to something we value, which is to say something we have established a meaningful relationship with and for which we even sacrificed. To quote Dr. Callard:

‘For when someone cares deeply about his or her friend, country, or education, we say that he or she values it. Unlike ‘caring,’ however, ‘valuing’ is something that we do only in relation to things that we take to be good. Hence you value our friendship, but you do not therefore value my betrayal of you. Rather, we say that you care about my betrayal or that it matters to you or that it has significance for you. And all of these facts are obtained because our friendship is something you value — and something that matters to you, that you care about, and that has significance for you.’⁷¹⁷

I “care” that I am hurt, but I don’t “value” hurt; the possibility of pain occurring to me that I “care” about is what follows from having “values” (which suggests that to be a Child is to constantly put ourselves in a place of having pains we “care” about happening to us, for a Child chooses “values” for his or her self, avoiding “Bestow Centrism”). ‘Anger, fear, sadness, disappointment, jealousy — these are signs of caring,’ and the possibility of “caring” for Dr. Callard follows from “valuing” (which brings to mind “The Value Isn’t the Utility” by O.G. Rose).⁷¹⁸ It would seem only “what we value” can make us angry like what Dr. Callard describes, while if I fall and scrape my knee on a road, I might get mad and frustrated, but not “angry” in the same way Dr. Callard means. “Anger” in this way, which seems to be at the heart of all “problems of (un)forgiveness,” seems to require an Interior and Otherness. There are no “values” without Interiority, and “creating values” is ultimately what Children are capable of and exercise. To “spread Childhood” is to spread the capacity to value, which means it is to the spread the condition of anger and hurt. Are we fools? Well, we are nonrational. Life must be able to bleed.

A reason we have avoided “Value Ethics” and/or “Virtue Ethics” and sought “Bestow Centrism” is perhaps to avoid “the problem of anger” — as we might be forced to do if we have no address for Thymos (for once anger and Thymos arise, we can do nothing about them — “there is always reason to be angry”). If we value, we make ourselves vulnerable to something occurring that we then always have reason to “care” about, which is to say we could always have reason to be angry and hurt. Perhaps to always be stuck with something that gives us reason for anger is to suffer Lovecraft, and so we Drift and isolate to assure no such weight ever falls upon us. It’s rational. (It’s a Nash Equilibria.) Furthermore, if we have been “disabled” (to allude to Ivan Illich) from being able to “make values for ourselves” (it’s just too existentially overwhelming), then we might also Drift simply because we don’t know what else to do. Many times, we can find ourselves in friendships “just because they happen,” not because we so much directly choose them. For this kind of relationship, we don’t need to be able to “make values” for ourselves so much, but once something that hurts us happens, then suddenly the relationship must be more so chosen. It would seem all relationships have to face “the problem of forgiveness” to avoid being fragile and in order to gain deeper meaning, and perhaps relationships that never face this problem are not even deep relationships at all (or at least not to the depth which the pain requires suffering, and please note that suffering such pain makes us vulnerable to being seen as “passive” and perhaps “enabling evil” — a cost). Perhaps they are only “contingently deep relationships,” which is to say they “might” be relationships (in a Hegelian sense), but we will not know until the first time there is pain and hurt. Are “not deep relationships” even relationships though? I’m not ready to go that far, but perhaps a relationship which breaks is a relationship we can say is “no more” (and nothing more). As “On Trust” by O.G. Rose argued that trust is not something we earn, but something either given or withdrawn (by more radical choice), so the same might apply to forgiveness, which by extension is “the choice of relating.” The fates of “trust” and “forgiveness” seem profoundly connected (and suggest choices which might be “the choice to relate”), and figuring out how the notions relate seems critical in a world where “trust as given” is increasingly lost (which might suggest a reality of “relation as given” is also gone). Both seem to be things maintained or withdrawn, not things earned (for this would risk a power dynamic that proved pathological), but when should we choose to extend them and when shouldn’t we? A good question, one which will soon bring us to The Sunflower by Simon Wiesenthal.

If all this is so (to some degree), then perhaps it is only through “the problem of (un)forgiveness” that we might deeply identify with Otherness (and so “I/Other,” to allude to Hegel, which is necessary for Absolute Spirit, A/B), which isn’t to say we can’t enjoy relationships until drama (a common mistake), but that it is at pain that we find out if a relationship was “always already” not a deep relationship or if it was “always already” a deep relationship. (a “flip moment”). Until “the problem of (un)forgiveness,” perhaps we cannot know if Absolute Spirit was “always already” (not) present in a deep sense. This isn’t to say we can’t have a relationship at all without facing pain, but it is to say the “depth” and even Antifragility of the relationship is questionable until we face “the problem of (un)forgiveness” (and how much of it we can handle might be relative to a process similar to Dante’s gradual exposure to grace, which corresponded to how much he could handle at a time without being reduced to ash, which suggests a need for “guides,” training, and education — topics all discussed later in Belonging Again (Part II)). To the degree relationships are “deep” as such is to the degree Absolute Spirit is likely sustainable in light of AI, but at the same time arguably few if any relationships are “noncontingently deep,” which is to say that people will keep relating under any and all circumstances of (utterly unimaginable) hurt and pain. This would suggest that Absolute Spirit is never invincible (the future is never given in Hegel), so Land is always watching. At the same time, perhaps there is nothing that humans can’t forgive, no matter how bad it might be (though if they “should” forgive or not is a different question). If this is so, then perhaps there is no “possible circumstance” in which humans are incapable of a “nonrational choice,” which is required for avoiding Nash Equilibria. If so, no matter what happens, there is always the possibility of Absolute Spirit. A miracle? But what if we forgive Nazis? Would not Absolute Spirit then be a testament to grave immorality? Perhaps.

Anger is something that can only be addressed nonrationally, and it is also a revelation that “living together” is something we cannot sustain without nonrationality. It’s simply improbable, especially under Pluralism with “the loss of givens,” which is the time when “the problem of (un)forgiveness” seems most pronounced and yet we might be most “disabled” from proving able to handle it (either due to anxiety, a loss of “timenergy,” etc.). “Givens” for most of history basically concealed us from “the problem of living together and need for nonrationality,” but the time has now arisen due to the Causer of AI when this problem can no longer be avoided. We either live together, or we will be effaced. Absolute Spirit either arises and moves into Hegel’s Religion, or we undergo “The End of (True) History.”⁷¹⁹ Ultimately, Dr. Callard tries to argue that ‘the shared nature of the valuational vulnerability characteristic of anger helps us resolve the eternality-practicality dilemma,’ which is to say the fact anger emerges from relationship is why we might be able to find a way out of this problem.⁷²⁰ Where there are relationships, there are realities and facticity to which we can act and respond, which alone means there is hope. Dr. Callard writes:

‘We can put the dilemma as follows: If your reason for ceasing to be angry is going to escape eternality, it must be such as to be able to be addressed by whatever subsequent action or event would constitute a response to it. And this means that you must be angry about something practicable, which is to say, something that allows for there to be conditions under which your anger is ‘satisfied.’ Your anger must have terms for resolution so that those terms can be met. Otherwise, it is eternal.’⁷²¹

Fair enough, and this basically means that if there is no way to “address” anger, it must be constant (deterministic), and so it is rational to avoid relationships at all cost lest we risk ending up with a weight and pain we will always have reason to feel. And perhaps there is no way to in a sense “satisfy” anger, but does that mean anger cannot be “addressed?” Those are different questions, though they might seem the same, and in them we might find an “opening” by which “the problem of anger and (un)forgiveness” can be addressed, hence making possible Absolute Spirit (as we’ll discuss). What is that “opening?” The possibility of “looking away from” anger, which is a “nonrational address” versus “rational response” (which would be to seek “satisfaction” — an impossibility). Alright, but what is the “mode” by which we can so “look away?” For Dr. Callard, it requires a “genuine seeking” for what is needed to regain “the valued relationship,” and Dr. Callard compares this to asking “a real question.”⁷²² She writes:

‘In what are not my proudest moments as a teacher, I ask my students a question expecting a specific answer, for which I proceed to fish until I find the person who will say what I was looking to hear. Why, the students seem to be wondering, am I performing this elaborate act of ventriloquism, having them say my thoughts? (Indeed.) Those are not real questions. Real questions do not ‘test’ a person. Instead, they hand over to the answerer the job of providing the content of the answer. They cannot be satisfied precisely because the asker takes himself or herself to be in some way defective — the asker doesn’t know what he or she wants the interlocutor to say, which is precisely why he or she is asking a question.’⁷²³

A gorgeous paragraph, and this captures the disposition which is supposed to characterize philosophy, and furthermore suggests the mode by which Children engage with the world and one another. Dr. Callard suggests with this that “looking away from hurt” requires us to engage in a real and genuine act of seeking in the Other who hurt us for the relationship and that we valued that make it possible for us to suffer a hurt we cared about feeling to the point where it felt like a deep “wrong” (versus just scraping our knee on pavement) (all of which might suggests that only those who related with Nazis could forgive them, while the rest can’t versus “don’t” — a subtle but critical difference, as we’ll expound on). This “genuine mode” assumed, Dr. Callard then describes how “the possibility of forgiveness” arises where there is “a two-way street”:

‘Like sadness and anger, being sorry is a way of caring about an evil. When I express contrition, I am telling you not only that you are right to feel the way you do but that, in a certain sense, I feel it too. Just as my action made its mark on you, devolving your love into anger, so too it made its mark on me: My disvaluation of our relationship is something that matters to me. In order to become angry with me, you must have cared about our relationship; in order to feel sorry, I must likewise have cared. If I am sincere, then my expression of contrition springs from the same place as your anger: value. This is why my contrition puts me in a position to reach out my hand in a suggestion of renewed co-valuation.’⁷²⁴ ⁷²⁵

We would not be sorry if we did not care, and the act of “being sorry” is the act of “genuinely seeking” how to regain the relationship. I would not “genuinely seek” what I did not value, and so it is an act of which can provide reason to think forgiveness should be chosen. But if we have been taught that we don’t forgive what we don’t forget, we may overlook this “genuine seeking” as we wait to forget the pain and hurt — which might never happen. Thus, in the naming of waiting on “forgiving as forgetting,” we might overlook the possibility of “choosing forgiveness,” and so ignore the genuine sign of friendship and value evident in the act of “genuinely seeking” the Other.

But this “genuine seeking” is required by both parties, those who did the wrong and who were wronged, and for the wrong it will require a cost and pain, for ‘the angry person can’t straightforwardly value the relationship [or] feel motivated to return to it.’⁷²⁶ But if all parties can muster the (nonrational) strength to engage in this “genuine and costly seeking,” then we can ‘combine [our] feelings into one common activity of valuing,’ which is for us to ‘both shift our focus in a positive direction’ (emphasis added to the word “shift”).⁷²⁷ There is something miraculous about this precisely because it escapes rational calculus, and perhaps this is why it might prove a soil from which Absolute Spirit might grow. Fine, but does this mean we should forgive Nazis (an extreme case worth considering to help us find general implications)? If we answer “no,” how can we ever hope to fully realize Absolute Spirit (and ‘The Liminal Web” will always be fragile, perhaps doomed), for are there not always “Nazis?” Indeed — let us consider The Sunflower.

V.6E: How Sunflowers Grow

Simon Wiesenthal was a Jew who, while in a concentration camp, was asked by a dying Nazi for forgiveness. After the Nazi confessed his sin, torn by guilt, Simon stood up and left. ‘You, who have just read this sad and tragic episode in [Simon’s] life, can mentally change places with [him] and ask yourself the crucial question, ‘What would I have done?’ ’⁷²⁸ Indeed, was Simone right or wrong? Please note that the possibility of a sustainable Absolute History that isn’t evil might ride on this question. ‘[Stand] up and look[] […] at his folded hands.’⁷²⁹

If not troubled, Simon is uncertain of his decision to not forgive the Nazi, but for other Jews the matter is simpler. ‘It follows that what he has done to other people you are in no position to forgive,’ Simon is told.⁷³⁰ The Nazi confessed to murdering Jews and burning them alive, and it is suggested that Simon felt that forgiving the Nazi could represent Jews in general forgiving the Nazis. Would that not possibly encourage evil in the future? Forgiveness seemed immoral, and Simon is even told ‘[i]f you had forgiven him, you would never have forgiven yourself all your life.’⁷³¹ And yet Simon arguably seems unable to forgive himself because he didn’t forgive the Nazi — was Simon just doomed the moment he sat with the Nazi and listened to the Nazi’s story? Was Simon just unfortunately “penned down?” Isn’t this why it’s a good idea to isolate and avoid people? To assure we never end up in a situation like this? Indeed, that seems rational.

Since Simon was not the one who the Nazi hurt, Simon could perhaps not forgive the Nazi, and since those the Nazi hurt were dead, the Nazi could not be forgiven. Perhaps God could forgive the Nazi, but no human could. Simple. In response to Simon’s situation, Dennis Prager wrote, ‘God presumably can forgive a murderer, but as far as people are concerned, murder is unforgivable. Even parents can’t forgive the murderer of their children (to assume that parents can forgive their child’s murderer is to render children property rather than autonomous human beings).’⁷³² Might Simon have been tempted to treat Jews like property of the Nazis, and in denying that forgiveness, Simon morally denied the Nazi claim on Jews? It seems that way, but might we ask if parents could forgive a murderer not so much for murdering their child, but for the pain the parents suffer in having their child murdered? Is that a valid distinction? If so, on what grounds should or could parents forgive their child’s murderer (“could” is not the same as “should,” please note)? Likewise, though Simon might not be able to forgive the Nazi for murder, could Simon forgive the Nazi for the uncertainty Simon felt in being confessed to by the Nazi seeking forgiveness? Might that be an angle by which Simon could forgive? And is forgiveness a choice, something said — or something else?⁷³³

Dennis Prager recounted in his response to The Sunflower an incident when ‘a woman jogger’ was raped and beaten ‘by a gang of young men,’ and ‘a cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church visited the boys at prison to tell them only one thing: ‘God loves you.’ ’⁷³⁴ This infuriated Prager, and he came to wonder if his fury was ‘a personal or a Jewish response.’⁷³⁵ Prager noted that there seemed to be a difference between the Jewish and Christian notion of forgiveness, and that he ‘never heard a Jew say that God love[d] an evil person,’ leading Prager to conclude that ‘Christians and Jews [had] differing views of evil and what to do about it’ (Christian forgiveness could seemingly be evil).⁷³⁶ Prager’s overall point was ‘only meant to explain why to Jews it is so patently obvious that it is morally wrong to forgive a man who has burned families alive, and to Christian it is equally obvious that one ought to.’⁷³⁷ Might all the problems of Pluralism ultimately come down to this difference? Is the (im)possibility of Absolute History found here? ‘Without forgiveness, there is no future,’ Desmund Tutu wrote, also claiming, ‘It is practical politics.’⁷³⁸ (Hence why we need to know what “forgiveness” is…) Have we all run from this question into ‘[our] own little nests’ as long as we could, until “The End of (True) History?”⁷³⁹ (Even then?) AI climbs our ‘mounting blocks’…⁷⁴⁰

After he escapes the concentration camp, Simon later visits the mother of the Nazi Simon did not forgive, and he listens to the mother speak of the goodness of her son. Simon chooses not to tell the mother what her son had done. He does not remove ‘the poor woman’s last surviving consolation — faith in the goodness of her son.’⁷⁴¹ He later wonders if this was a mistake, and there seems to be no way for Simon to stop wondering and supposing. He tells us that he ‘sometimes think[s] of the young SS man.’ Entering a hospital. Seeing a nurse. ‘Or when I see a sunflower…’⁷⁴² Is this fair? Why should Simon have to live with these memories? It seems wrong. It seems rational to avoid people, to assure we never end up stuck with questions we never asked to have to ask. It’s too much. ‘Mankind is ostensibly striving to avert catastrophes; medical progress gives us hope that one day disease [could] be conquered, but will we ever be able to prevent the creation of mass murderers?’⁷⁴³ No, we will always prove capable of ‘tak[ing] down [our potential] SS uniforms from the wardrobe and replac[ing] them with [our] consciouses as well as with [our] civilian clothes.’⁷⁴⁴ Discourse will always possibly arise among us (there must always be a Lovecraft through which we can handle Dante and Discourse without being “reduced to ash”). Choose. Land waits.

There will always be those who ‘appreciate [Simon’s] dilemma,’ and there will always be those ‘ready to condemn [him],’ and Simon must always live knowing this because he lived around others.⁷⁴⁵ A world in which we interacted through screens might help us avoiding ending up like this, screens we could turn off and on at will. Through screens we could reach the world but avoid it when it threatened us with a Nazi. Is this not rational? It is, yes, and perhaps all of us have experienced something akin to Simon’s conundrum, even if not to the same extreme. Wouldn’t Simon have been better off if he interacted with the Nazi through a screen? Wouldn’t it have been easier to “log out” before hearing the whole story or faking “a failed Zoom connection?” Wouldn’t Simon have had better methods of escape with technological meditation before hearing the Nazi’s full story and being forced to live with the confession for the rest of his life? Indeed, this is the kind of situation we might have to live with in being humans. (If Gendo Ikari was wrong, he was not a fool, as isn’t Nick Land.)

In the Nazi asking Simon for forgiveness, Alan L. Berger sees a Nazi instrumentalizing a Jew yet again for his own ends and gains. ‘Bring me a Jew, was the dying Nazi’s request. Any Jew will do. Karl [had] learned nothing. His desire [was] to ‘cleanse’ his own soul at the expense of the Jew.’⁷⁴⁶ Berger suggests something important here, I think, as does Robert Brown when he tells us ‘[t]o forgive the Nazis who threw children on the fire and locked them in houses to be incinerated is to become one with the Nazis, endorsing evil deeds rather than combatting evil deeds, and thereby becoming complicit in their actions.’⁷⁴⁷ ⁷⁴⁸ But if Brown is right, doesn’t this suggest that the Dalali Lama “becomes one with the Nazis” when the Lama tells us that he ‘believe[s] one should forgive the person or persons who have committed atrocities against oneself and mankind?’⁷⁴⁹ Perhaps, and yet I can’t help but think the Dalai Lama is also not wrong. Something is missing from our consideration, I think, something which David Hume might help us gain.

The very fact we end up in all these quandaries might suggest that our understanding of forgiveness is off. I would note how the inability of Simon to cease thinking parallels the quality of “philosophical thinking” and “autonomous rationality” which David Hume warned could never exhaust itself, ultimately proving self-effacing. There seems to be something about how we can approach forgiveness that makes it similar to what Hume identified, which described thought that cannot “ground” itself in something actual and concrete. “Autonomous rationality” becomes autocannibalistic, and is the problem that we are seeking an “autonomously rational” reason to forgive someone when it becomes confusing and hard to understand? I think so, for “autonomous rationality” is impossible, and perhaps it is in “the problem of (un)forgiveness” that it becomes notably clear that “autonomous rationality” is impossible and self-effacing, for we can never find a clear rational basis by which to forgive or not to forgive. At the end of the day, it just seems to be a “raw choice,” fundamentally nonrational.

There is no rational reason to forgive, for there is “always reason to be angry” (as we learn from Dr. Callard), and furthermore there is no such thing as “autonomous rationality,” and it would seem that a reason to forgive someone would have to ultimately be “autonomous,” precisely because reason cannot find a “grounding” for forgiveness in the world or in what occurred. For what really happened was that we were mistreated, and nothing can ever remove the facticity of that mistreatment from history or the world. And so though we might be able to find “a reason based on something that happened” to be angry, it doesn’t seem like we could find “a reason based on something that happened” to be forgiving (anger has the advantage of facticity). But this would mean that “a reason to forgive” would have to be a reason which could only relate with itself, which means it is self-relating and autonomous (A/A) — which is ultimately impossible (as argued throughout O.G. Rose). And so what we can find, in the very effort to find “a reason to forgive,” is the impossibility of reason without reference to something outside of itself (something nonrational). For us to be hurt is to be denied a happening on which to base a reason for forgiveness: it is to force us to make a choice which we cannot approach “as if” “autonomous rationality” was possible. In this way, if we don’t realize “autonomous rationality” is impossible, we might find ourselves stuck in “an endless loop” because of the pain that was caused to us, which suggests that a hurt can traumatize both in the original hurt and in the “endless loop” we can then find ourselves in. And yet at the time pain could be a gift, for it could be an opportunity for us to realize “autonomous rationality” is impossible (and so move from A/A to A/B). Hurt could lead us into wondering about forgiveness which could make us realize “a reason to forgive” is impossible, and in this we could be Caused into an Absolute Choice: keep trying to find a reason (forever), or realize that no reason is possible because “rationality is not what we think it is.” And so “the problem of (un)forgiveness” could lead us into an Absolute Choice and possibility of a start of Absolute History. Religion becomes possible.

“Can forgiveness be immoral?” — that seems to be the hanging question. If so, we have to determine when and how, and who then gets to decide those parameters? We seem to leave a possible opening for rationalization and even totalitarianism, which suggests another reason why “the problem of (un)forgiveness” might uniquely be aided by David Hume. For Hume, philosophy leads to a questioning of “common life” that can then never provide us reason for us to reinvest in, leaving us “detached” and unsure what to commit to, and in response to the resulting anxiety we can turn to power and tyranny to force “common lives” to conform more to our philosophical notions and vision. Hume admonishes strongly about the dangers of philosophy in causing “philosophical melancholia,” and perhaps for similar reasons we might discuss “(un)forgiveness melancholia,” which is to speak on the sadness, anxiety, and confusion that can arise when we try to “find a reason to forgive” someone. As the philosopher may only ever find reasons to critique and doubt for Hume, so the person looking for a reason to forgive (which may make the person like a philosopher without realizing it) can only ever find reasons not to forgive (which again speaks to Dr. Collard’s argument). As philosophy must transition into something nonrational to avoid self-effacement, so too must forgiveness, and ultimately I would say both must make a choice (perhaps in response to a Causer).

Forgiveness is a reflective act, as is philosophy, so it makes sense why both are prone to fall into the problems Hume identified. As philosophy self-effaces that seeks a “transcendental grounding,” so too can forgiveness cause pathology and confusion if we “seek a reason to forgive” (which must be transcendent, given that the facticity is precisely that we were hurt, hence why “the problem of (un)forgiveness” besieges us). We’ll often discuss “philosophy as self-defense” in light of Hume at O.G Rose, and perhaps “the problem of (un)forgiveness” is a main reason why we need “philosophy as self-defense,” precisely because when we are hurt we almost must eventually face the question of if we will forgive or not, and without philosophy to help us know that “autonomous rationality” is impossible, we could easily end up forever searching for “a reason to forgive” which cannot exist; this in mind, philosophy could help us “defend ourselves” from the thought that we need to search for “a reason to forgive” versus just decide on choosing it. We need philosophy to defend ourselves from our own thoughts that might arise when we consider philosophy or forgiveness (as we “practically must” in our Globalized and Pluralistic world); otherwise, we could be set down a path searching for an “autonomous reason” which cannot exist. And so we can end up self-effaced (perhaps because we wanted to do the right thing…).

If someone hurts us, without philosophy and the realization that “autonomous rationality is impossible,” the person might in a way hurt us twice, for they in a sense can hurt us again through the same act if we fall into “an endless loop” searching for an “autonomous reason” for forgiveness that cannot exist. There’s a sense in which someone who hurts us can manipulate us into autocannibalism if we are then convinced by that hurt to ask if we should forgive it or not (hence a reason why hurt can lead to mental illness and pathology, just like philosophy). And this suggests why hurting others can be so terrible, both in that hurt is terrible, but also because it can lead others into self-effacement and pathology by setting them up to possibly look for “answers in autonomous rationality” which do not exist (forever). Hurt can “throw” people into the situations David Hume warned about, without people ever realizing they are in such situations, or without us even realizing we have done such to others. And so we can all “throw” one another into situations where we attempt “autonomous rationality” and always ultimately fail, ever-undergoing autocannibalism, tempting us to avoid Others, the Absolute.⁷⁵⁰

Belonging Again discussed how the fact brilliant people struggle with madness suggests that rationality is a source of madness versus it’s opposite, and perhaps the same occurs with forgiveness (and so programs of ethics seeking “rational justification” versus empower a “raw choice’ might make our situation worse). As rationality seeking its own “grounding” ends up autocannibalistic, so perhaps forgiveness which seeks a reason also ends up self-effacing. Might we say that we should forgive based on the reality of our own pain and suffering which unforgiveness might cause us? Perhaps, but is that a “good” reason to forgive? Just because we hurt doesn’t necessarily mean we “ought” to forgive: is it morally acceptable for a Jew to forgive a Nazi just because it would make the Jew feel better? Or is that selfish and egotistical?⁷⁵¹ And on this point we might see our next problem: even if we understand that forgiveness is a perhaps uniquely “easy to see”-revelation that “autonomous rationality is impossible,” that still doesn’t tell us on what we should base a (nonrational) choice to forgive or not. It does seem as if it is possible for “forgiveness to be immoral,” and so it is paramount that we properly understand the basis for the nonrational choice, and so far we have not clarified that, only said forgiveness based on an “autonomous reason” is impossible. It is clear that considering forgiveness outside some “concrete” circumstance leads to trouble, but what is the “concrete” something on which forgiveness should be anchored. Well, Dr. Callard provided an answer: the presence or lack of a “genuine seeking” for relationship, an act of value.

Dr. Agnes Callard argued that a “genuine seeking” to regain a relationship is basically the grounds upon which forgiveness can be extended (by choice), which means we could see “genuine seeking” as the “concrete reality” (like Hume’s “common life”) which could keep abstract reflection from being autonomous and pathological. Is the Other “genuinely seeking” to regain the relationship? If the answer is “no,” then actually we can’t “extend forgiveness,” which is not the same as saying that “we choose to be unforgiving” (so we shouldn’t be hard on ourselves). “Forgiveness” in a meaningful sense is not something we can “just choose to do” and be done with it (no more than we can choose to have “faith” in such a propositional way), and if the Other is not providing “the opening” or “common space” in which forgiveness can lead into the actions of a relationship, then there is nothing more we can do; hence, we are justified to “move on.”⁷⁵² This is not “unforgiving,” but an acknowledgment that a “common space of relationship” is not possible; “unforgiveness” would require us to choose not to make possible such a space ourselves (which there may or may not be times to do — that’s up to us, but at least knowing that difference can help us discern what we should choose).

Now, there is still the question of what constitutes “genuine seeking,” and here the anxiety and need for Childhood comes into play, for each of us have to discern for ourselves when we believe “genuine seeking” is present (suggesting “Dialectical Ethics” by O.G. Rose). The paper “On Love,” found in Second Thoughts by O.G. Rose, might prove helpful to discern this, which ends suggesting that to say, “I love you,” is to say:

‘I am committed to being patient and kind to you when you aren’t likeable, and I am committed to always endeavoring to move my idea of who you are toward who you actually are, though I know, ultimately, I will never fully succeed. I promise to do all this while helping you, the one I long for, realize your true self, which, by pursuing, you will become harder to reach. I will hope in struggle: I will believe in what I cannot achieve. I will forgive and be forgiven: I will be made perfect in failure. I will love until my love dies. Beloved, I won’t be afraid.’

The paper lays out the whole argument, but are we seeing in the Other a willingness to do something like this? Perhaps not to the same intensity or degree as between spouses, but do we see any willingness for something akin to what is described? Hopefully many of the works of O.G. Rose contribute to helping us discern when someone is “genuinely seeking,” which suggests that what is ultimately an Absolute Choice doesn’t have to be totally uninformed. Yes, we are always at risk of letting what informs our choice make our choice, which is for us to fail to make an Absolute Choice, but there is also something to seeking wisdom (to the degree though we realize the final choice rests with us and requires courage).

We’ll all make mistakes, but if at least on “The Liminal Web” if we know that “forgiveness isn’t forgetting,” there’s a better chance we’ll make good choices then bad ones, and furthermore we won’t slow down our development “waiting to forget/forgive” (which we have no control over, and of which ultimately seems to make a virtue of a vice). We’ll know to look for “the seeking of a genuine relationship,” and to really only worry about that (versus various “autonomously rational” questions regarding forgiveness which could lead to self-effacement) — and then we’ll make our Absolute Choice (without any guarantees). Simon had no relation with the Nazi, and the Nazi was not trying to start a relationship, and on these grounds Simon seems justified not to have forgiven. Furthermore, the Nazi was going to die, meaning it was too late to start a relationship and hence for forgiveness, which please note would suggest that none of us should wait until death to seek forgiveness. It’s too late, which in one way sounds terrible, but in another way can create imperative for us to address our hurts and wounds immediately. If there is a sense in which forgiveness can be granted on a deathbed, it would only be to the degree a relationship could be participated in, which wouldn’t be very long, so at best the forgiveness could be minimum. In this way, we could say that the degree we forgive someone is to the degree we relate to them from the point of granting the forgiveness, which again suggests that forgiveness is not merely a choice, one and done. A person’s forgiveness which leads to a ten-year relationship is in this way “more forgiveness” than forgiveness which leads to a relationship which lasts minutes. Sure, perhaps the quality is identical, but the quantity of forgiveness parallels the scope of the relationship. Does this mean “forgiveness” and “relationship” are similes? So it seems: “trust,” “forgiveness,” and “relationship” are basically similes or at least indivisible.

When we “relate” to someone versus “just be in their proximity,” the difference is Interior, something which cannot be quantified and of which is more metaphysical. What else is the difference between “proximity” and “relationship” (between Others) than the presence of trust, for is not trust the act of “openness?” And what else is forgiveness but a restoring of trust (assuming forgiveness and trust are not used for power dynamics, as warned about in “On Trust”)? We relate to Others to the degree we trust them, which is to the degree we are “open” to them, and forgiveness is the act of choosing to maintain or (re)extend trust/relationship. And it must be a “pure choice if it is not to prove problematic, not something which we “earn” after x, y, or z is done. There is grace or there is nothing, for good and for bad (“semi-trust” and “middle spaces” are where pathology seem its worst, and perhaps we can sometimes see in “earning trust” or “earning forgiveness” the dynamics of a sadist and masochist, as described by René Girard).

In all this, I hope is clear my desire to move away from “one and done choices” or “propositional claims” in favor of “continual action” (which is in what Blondel primarily located metaphysical possibilities, which can be Interior- and “Other”-possibilities), which is to say that as I want Christian “faith” to be not a single choice but a continual faithfulness to God, so too I think “forgiveness” and “trust” are not things we choose once to extend and that’s that, but instead continual activities which we perpetuate in the act of relationship. We trust and forgive Others to the degree we continue relating to them, not so much if we once said to ourselves, “I forgive them” or “I trust them” (as if a claim of confession) (and then perhaps just so happen to never interact with them again — Drifting). This mistake is like the Christian error of believing that saying, “I believe in Christ” once (a claim of confession), is what is needed for faith, when a Christian’s faith requires a continual and daily activity of faithfulness; likewise, forgiveness and trust are continual and daily activities of relationship. To not see the close and indivisible connection between “trust,” “forgiveness,” and “relationship” is likely to fate our relationships to be fragile (or we’ll fall into “power dynamics” which we will dislike, making relationships connections to Interiors from which Lovecraft emerges, with little hope of Dante).

To not see “trust,” “forgiveness” (necessary to avoid fragility and for sustainability, especially under Pluralism), and “relationship” as practically identical is to set ourselves up for confusion and pathology, and if relationships are essential for us to address “The End of (True) History” in favor of a negation/sublation to Absolute History, then such a mistake is dire. The choice to relate against pain is the choice of forgiveness, and it’s as if we could say that forgiveness is the question of if a relationship was “always already” (non)existent. Without it, all relationships are likely tentative, and in what sense are they relationships then versus temporary associations? Hard to say, but the point is that we should take the Absolute Choice to relate very seriously. It is a deep connection with an Other with an Interior from which Lovecraft and Dante can arise. Are “sunflowers” monstrous? What do they symbolize? Unable to stop thinking about the Nazi, Simon considered ‘the dying SS man with his bandaged head […] he would get his sunflower. For [Simon], tomorrow or perhaps the day after tomorrow, perhaps a mass grave waited.’⁷⁵³ Is a “sunflower” a symbol of this injustice, or is it a testament to the possibility of humans “Absolutely Choosing” to relate despite such injustice? Sunflowers are questions of Dante or Lovecraft. Growing. Beauty. Horror. Absolute Question of Absolute Spirit.


AI has a “black box” (a way of operating that we don’t fully understand), but this is not the same as an emotional Interiority like humans (for good and for bad). Never before in history have we seen the possibility of human-like intelligence which operates thanks to a “black box” versus an Interior, but that is now possible (making it possible for an evolutionary optimization of “disembodied intelligence” over “embodied intelligence,” suggesting “a victory for dolphins” — but more on that later, in addition to “The Net (76)”). And so we can now deal with “the problem of (un)forgiveness” by avoiding it, and basically the choice to avoid this problem is to accept “The End of (True) History,” while the Absolute Choice to face this problem is to attempt a negation/sublation into Absolute History. Is AI ultimately just a product of a subconscious hope of our collective consciousness to finally forever avoid the pain of Others? To avoid that pain we are yet to figure out how to face? Perhaps, and it would seem that we have put off facing the problem as long as (possible) “plausible deniability” has run. The Absolute Choice seems like now or never.

The existence of the Interior requires a body, for the mind requires a brain (and a brain requires a skeleton, a stomach, etc.). Where there are bodies, there can be “the problem of (un)forgiveness”; where there are no bodies, that problem is “practically gone.” Arguably, the main problem of the body is indeed the Other, which is to say the Interior of Others (which Neon Genesis Evangelion discussed in terms of “AT Fields,” an invaluable metaphor, with “Third Impact” being about the final erasure of individuated AT Fields, saving us from all the pain we cause one another. If there were no bodies, there would be no Others, even if there was an externality. The earth could no longer be the same kind of world. There could be difference, but not really Otherness. From the pain of Otherness, would not AI be an address? No, it would be an avoidance. “Avoidance” and “address” are not simile, as perhaps everything within us might wish (for how difficult is libido).

The body, the Interior of the Other, is why “the problem of (un)forgiveness” is perhaps the problem regarding the possibility of the Absolute Choice, which is ultimately the question of if a “spread of Childhood” is sustainable. If we cannot prove capable of choosing to forgive, we cannot be proven capable of making an Absolute Choice for anything longer than a time. If we don’t understand forgiveness, this won’t be possible, hence a hope of this work, and since forgiveness requires us to face Interiority, it might take training and time for us to prove able to handle forgiveness in its deepest sense (similar to how Dante must ascend gradually toward God or be reduced to ash). Forgiveness is likely an art that requires a lifetime of training, corresponding with our own Interior and the Interior of those with whom we interact. But there is always some Interior we are interacting with, and so there is always some degree of forgiveness that we will need to prove capable of exercising. If not, no Absolute History seems possible.

What does it mean to forgive? It means to suffer. The address of anxiety entails suffering. We must suffer the risk of being seen as passive, of holding back a pain that nobody ever knows we are holding back. We have to suffer the knowledge that we might be misunderstood and that people can hurt us and we never let them know. That is possible, and knowing that is possible, but also knowing there might be times when we should speak, but never being sure when — this is all a reality of life we accept and suffer in accepting. Reality becomes a different place. That difference is hard to live with. It is confusing. Confusion is suffering. And all this might happen Interiorly and nobody know it. Like God might bear a cross we never see behind the blinding light. This is us or perhaps there is no us, only AI.

Forgiveness is not a matter of law but culture (Written vs Oral), and so no system can save us from its tension without erasing it. Law cannot solve “the problem of (un)forgiveness.” We must, either through addressing or avoiding it. To forgive is to nonrationally choose to be in the place of the Other, which is the Mystery from which either Lovecraft or Dante might emerge — and if we have already been hurt, there is every reason to think Lovecraft will emerge. Are we fools? Like lovers perhaps, yes. And we remember the pain, yet choose not use that memory as a weapon against others for “what they’ve done to us.” We know that people hurt one another, as we know we can hurt ourselves, and perhaps a reason we struggle to forgive Others is because we hardly know how to forgive ourselves. We can’t forget what we have done. But there is hope in realizing that forgiveness isn’t forgetting. It is acting in light of what we cannot forget. If we have made mistakes, forgiveness is to choose to act in ways that could prove as testaments to what we are capable of being. We have failed; to “forgive ourselves” would be for us to act to succeed. Forgiveness is a choice. Let us not worry of the feelings. The feeling which addresses pain is beauty. Let us seek beauty. To forgive ourselves is to give ourselves the chance to see beauty, but seeing Dante requires us facing a fear of Lovecraft. The fate of beauty is the fate of us.

We are friends with those to whom we are committed to “choose forgiveness,” and perhaps it is with our spouse that this commitment is most pronounced and powerful. Perhaps we are only capable of the deepest sense of this commitment with one other person, but to some degree we need to extend the willingness to forgive to many. It is necessary for Childhood to spread and be sustainable, for Absolute History to have a chance. Much comes down to trust, and trust and forgiveness are indivisible. Where there is no forgiveness, trust cannot last: when the first misunderstanding occurs, as “practically inevitable” in Pluralism, it will likely break. Trust is a problem which arises with Interiority and Otherness. It is our openness and willing vulnerability to the Other. It is needed with forgiveness in a world of Writing where what we feel and what we do are divisible, which is to say in a world where there is a divide between the desire to hurt someone and the act of hurting. Literacy gives us an Interior, but it doesn’t leave us helpless with that Interior. We can fight.

A message of Christianity seems to be that “forgiveness” is hard to define from “(enabling) injustice” when no cost is paid. Indeed, a cost is paid when we “nonrationally forgive”: we must pay the cost of living with the anxiety of knowing that we might possibly be seen as “enabling evil” or “being passive.”⁷⁵⁴ To not act or show ourselves paying this cost seems necessary for “the choice of forgiveness,” and this seems to have only been possible after literacy. Again, if literacy trained us in the possibility of feeling something we don’t show or act on, then perhaps humanity required literacy to be capable of “forgiveness?” This would suggest we had to run the risk of AI and “disembodied intelligence” so that we might learn how to live together as Others, and it will be up to us if this risk was worth it. Pluralism seems to lead to inevitable conflict and pain, and so Pluralism seems doomed unless we might prove capable of forgiveness. But forgiveness is to accept a pain that we are unjust to suffer and that Others might view us as fools and even “part of the problem” to be willing to suffer. And there is also no guarantee that if we forgive the Other the Other won’t hurt us again. There are no guarantees. If there are, we don’t (nonrationally) forgive. We respond rationally to what’s given. To overcome Nash Equilibria (“mentidivergent,” like Simone Weil), we must act without guarantee. This is terrifying. This is cost.

“The Absolute Choice” can be aligned with the movement from Self-Consciousness to Reason in Hegel, where the “I” identifies with “Other” as “I/Other.” This is very difficult, and this is only possible with and through forgiveness. Derrida saw forgiveness at play when we “forgive the unforgivable” (as Javier Rivera has spoken on), and this makes sense in the sense that someone who is forgivable is someone who is rational to forgive. Is “rational forgiveness” really forgiveness? No, not at least in the way necessary for us to avoid self-effacement. “The Absolute Choice” is the move from A/A to A/B, and we cannot stay in A/B though unless we prove capable of forgiveness (our stay will be tentative and fragile, for the Other will inevitably hurt us). Hegel describes “forgiveness” in the Spirit chapter of Phenomenology of Spirit, and it’s as if Spirit is born by the act of forgiveness, both in that forgiveness is what we need to forgive ourselves for failing and encountering limits (which are essential in Hegel), and in that we require forgiveness to maintain the I/Other we have chosen to identify with. Forgiveness is nonrational action which seems impossible to maintain, impossible in the same way Spirit seems impossible. But if Spirit lives, Absolute History begins as if it was “always already” unfolding.

Forgiveness of the unforgivable is an act of impossibility which brings to mind Shestov and Fondane, and perhaps only “The Impossible” can save us in this life (that which the human can choose but perhaps not AI as only True). And in a very real sense, Others are unforgivable, for I can never fully know them — ‘reality is a plurality of circumstances which breaks up and spreads out endlessly in all directions, backwards into their conditions, sideways into their connections, forwards in their consequences’ — and so how can I forgive Others?⁷⁵⁵ In a way, I cannot, so to forgive is to do the impossible, a testament that humans are not bound by the possible. And this “act of the impossible” is perhaps the most meaningful “act of impossibility” precisely because it proves so hard and costs us so much. But it is the cost we must pay when faced with the tragedy and irony of life. Sunflowers grow.

It is not by chance that Hegel ends the Spirit chapter on the topic of forgiveness before moving into Religion, for no “Religion” is possible without forgiveness (and if a problem with many ideologies and/or political projects is that they did not sublate into themselves Religion, as Cadell Last has spoke on, then perhaps the problem with many ideologies is that they never dealt with “the problem of (un)forgiveness,” and, frustrated with it, we might hope that AI could help us avoid it). As Religion is not possible without forgiveness, so likewise no “commons” or Liminal Web outside of “wage labor” will prove sustainable in which Rhetoric might be incubated and spread. Furthermore, there is no possibility of a sustainable, fundamental (meta)physical shift in socioeconomics without forgiveness, for it is “practically inevitable” that we will hurt one another and the shift hence reverse and fail. Rhetoric might arise, but Discourse will prevail.

To stress, if we will only forgive those for whom we have reason to forgive, we never will. The reasons for anger are timeless, but that doesn’t mean a “nonrational address” is impossible. We can “turn and shift” into a new direction. Yes, ‘[w]hat I did will always be wrong; it will always constitute a violation of the norms of our relationship and therefore a disvaluation of that relationship. But that may not always matter.’⁷⁵⁶ That’s up to us. We are free. ‘The problem is our problem, not your[s] [or my] problem; the solution is our return to valuing, not yours [or mine] alone.’⁷⁵⁷ But that means we must confront “negative speech,” a central concern of Lacan and psychoanalysis. We must approach “lack” together, and it’s hard enough to approach on our own, for it requires facing “The Real” (Lovecraft is the way to Dante). If we are to “spread Childhood,” we must approach “lack” together, at scale, hence creating a “river-hole of negentropy.” “True History” can be negated/sublated into “Absolute History” no other way. Absolute Spirit is miraculous.

As Dr. Callard writes:

‘When I apologize and you forgive me, we solve a problem, repairing our damaged relationship. But anger, considered by itself, is not an attempt to repair a damaged relationship. In order to be motivated to repair it, one would need to value it, and valuing our relationship is something we do together. But this shared activity is exactly what my action has impeded.

‘Confrontation is a rational response to anger, because it is a cry for the help that the angry person really does need. When I have wronged you, I am the one who can free you from what is, in the solitary throes of your anger, bound to look to you like a reason to be angry with me forever.’⁷⁵⁸

The one who is (“always”) wrong to us is the one who can free us from our endless anger. Is that not horrible? In a way, and so we are “rational” to isolate and let AI prevail. But if we both value the relationship, then in the confrontation this dynamic can be worked out. If there is to be any hope for “spreading Childhood,” we must have a commitment to “choose to forgive” anyone who still genuinely values a relationship in which Childhood might be realized and entertained. If they are not so willing, we simply withdraw the relationship, which there is a place for, but we must never forget that every withdrawal might aid the victory of AI and Discourse over “embodied intelligence” and Rhetoric. Perhaps such “withdrawal” is ultimately for the best, but there is indeed a risk in favor of AI.

If we are to survive in a “commons” where our relations are not readily meditated through social hierarchies, institutions, titles, status, etc. (all ways by which humans can try to shield themselves from one another, efforts Tocqueville warned were likely to occur under democracy, causing its failure), we will require forgiveness. Those outside institutions will likely be mocked, and if those outsiders can’t forgive, anger may destroy them and lead to rivalries between “inner” and “outer” spaces which lead to the failures of both. Institutions might become bitter toward the internet which has created alternatives from universities; if they declare war on new spaces and technologies, the cultivation of Rhetoric over Discourse might prove impossible. No new “Great Enrichment” will prove possible. There is plenty of pain and hurt for everyone, all of which we have “good reason” to react against. But if we do, we have little claim on why AI shouldn’t replace us. It doesn’t forgive either, and it’s actually better at doing so, for it simply can’t forgive. Morally, doesn’t AI have a claim to superiority? No Absolute History will hence begin, for there is no Absolute Spirit where there is no forgiveness. And where it doesn’t begin on a basis of hurt, there is good reason for it never to begin.

“Friendship” is a key concern of Belonging Again (Part II), and we will discuss it more later (for our age of a “Cypher Tradition” or Wordspread might be uniquely positioned to think it). Here, we should note the difficulty of thinking friendship when we are stuck thinking about “value” in terms of just Discourse, which for us today basically means in terms of “Capitalism” and/or “Capital,” as Marx discusses. Forgiveness is “a choice to value,” and it is perhaps the greatest training ground for proving capable of “nonrational value” which is not “captured” by Discourse. It is perhaps one of the greatest acts of Rhetoric, for it suggests the presence of a subject capable of sustainable Rhetoric under perhaps any condition. But can we even think the possibility of “Rhetorical Forgiveness” while under Capital and lacking timenergy? Land waits…





⁷¹²Allusion to “The Reason to Be Angry Forever” by Agnes Callard, as can be found here:

⁷¹³Allusion to “The Reason to Be Angry Forever” by Agnes Callard, as can be found here:

⁷¹⁴Allusion to “The Reason to Be Angry Forever” by Agnes Callard, as can be found here:

⁷¹⁵Allusion to “The Reason to Be Angry Forever” by Agnes Callard, as can be found here:

⁷¹⁶Allusion to “The Reason to Be Angry Forever” by Agnes Callard, as can be found here:

⁷¹⁷Allusion to “The Reason to Be Angry Forever” by Agnes Callard, as can be found here:

⁷¹⁸Allusion to “The Reason to Be Angry Forever” by Agnes Callard, as can be found here:

⁷¹⁹We are angry when a “norm” is violated, and when those “norms” are “given,” the anger might be less than when a “norm” is violated that we create and choose (like Children). This is a great problem we might now have: when “givens” are violated, I might not be as invested in them (seeing as I just “found myself in them”), while if I try to create “values” and new ways of doing things, if those are violated, something in which I am personally invested is infringed upon. This could hurt more, and thus my anger might be greater. Perhaps not, because perhaps what I create might feel “more arbitrary,” but this possibility should be noted, at least.

⁷²⁰Allusion to “The Reason to Be Angry Forever” by Agnes Callard, as can be found here:

⁷²¹¹Allusion to “The Reason to Be Angry Forever” by Agnes Callard, as can be found here:

⁷²²Dr. Callard notes that where there is anger, it is not so much that a relationship is “damaged” so much as it is gone, meaning that seeking a remedy is an act more of “regaining” versus “fixing,” which sounds like an unnecessary distinction, but it’s as consequential as the difference between “earning/unearning trust” and “giving/withdrawing trust,” as discussed in “On Trust” by O.G. Rose. Relationships are either present or not: they are gone or they are present, just like trust, or else we risk a power dynamic with pathology.

⁷²³Allusion to “The Reason to Be Angry Forever” by Agnes Callard, as can be found here:

⁷²⁴Allusion to “The Reason to Be Angry Forever” by Agnes Callard, as can be found here:

⁷²⁵Please note that if friendship is not possible without valuation, then Utilitarianism might train us into a friendless world, or a world where friendships are at least fragile.

⁷²⁶Allusion to “The Reason to Be Angry Forever” by Agnes Callard, as can be found here:

⁷²⁷Allusion to “The Reason to Be Angry Forever” by Agnes Callard, as can be found here:

⁷²⁸Wiesenthal, Simon. The Sunflower. New York, NY: Schocken Books Inc., 1998: 98.

⁷²⁹Wiesenthal, Simon. The Sunflower. New York, NY: Schocken Books Inc., 1998: 55.

⁷³⁰Wiesenthal, Simon. The Sunflower. New York, NY: Schocken Books Inc., 1998: 65.

⁷³¹Wiesenthal, Simon. The Sunflower. New York, NY: Schocken Books Inc., 1998: 66.

⁷³²Wiesenthal, Simon. The Sunflower. New York, NY: Schocken Books Inc., 1998: 226.

⁷³³Perhaps we are confused by “forgiveness” for we align it with a notion of “faith” as a confessional statement of belief? Perhaps thinking of “faith as an action and way of life” can help us adjust our thinking.

⁷³⁴Wiesenthal, Simon. The Sunflower. New York, NY: Schocken Books Inc., 1998: 228.

⁷³⁵Wiesenthal, Simon. The Sunflower. New York, NY: Schocken Books Inc., 1998: 228.

⁷³⁶Wiesenthal, Simon. The Sunflower. New York, NY: Schocken Books Inc., 1998: 229.

⁷³⁷Wiesenthal, Simon. The Sunflower. New York, NY: Schocken Books Inc., 1998: 230.

⁷³⁸Wiesenthal, Simon. The Sunflower. New York, NY: Schocken Books Inc., 1998: 268.

⁷³⁹Wiesenthal, Simon. The Sunflower. New York, NY: Schocken Books Inc., 1998: 91.

⁷⁴⁰Wiesenthal, Simon. The Sunflower. New York, NY: Schocken Books Inc., 1998: 91.

⁷⁴¹Wiesenthal, Simon. The Sunflower. New York, NY: Schocken Books Inc., 1998: 94.

⁷⁴²Wiesenthal, Simon. The Sunflower. New York, NY: Schocken Books Inc., 1998: 95.

⁷⁴³Wiesenthal, Simon. The Sunflower. New York, NY: Schocken Books Inc., 1998: 95.

⁷⁴⁴Wiesenthal, Simon. The Sunflower. New York, NY: Schocken Books Inc., 1998: 96.

⁷⁴⁵Wiesenthal, Simon. The Sunflower. New York, NY: Schocken Books Inc., 1998: 97.

⁷⁴⁶Wiesenthal, Simon. The Sunflower. New York, NY: Schocken Books Inc., 1998: 119.

⁷⁴⁷⁷Wiesenthal, Simon. The Sunflower. New York, NY: Schocken Books Inc., 1998: 122.

⁷⁴⁸Please note that if there is a Hell, there would be reason to think that not even God forgives everyone, so why should we expect Jews to forgive Nazis? Perhaps that is heresy, an act that suggests we are better than God. Hell. But what if Hell is a result of people hating God more than God not forgiving them? Then perhaps we should always be “open” to receive others, no matter what? Is that “openness” forgiveness? Is it an act more than a choice (a confusion which has also hurt our notion of faith)?

⁷⁴⁹Wiesenthal, Simon. The Sunflower. New York, NY: Schocken Books Inc., 1998: 129.

⁷⁵⁰This in mind, might we speak of immorality in terms of acts which “throw” others into “autonomous rationality” and possible self-effacement? And the reason this is “wrong” is because “autonomous rationality” doesn’t actually exist (and so is “false” and hence “wrong”)? Perhaps, and perhaps we might say that acts which contribute to people not wanting Absolute History are also “in-human” and thus unethical.

⁷⁵¹Similarly, perhaps for us to forgive would be for us to do what only God can do, which is heresy. Perhaps the Christian can forgive others insomuch as he or she can “let God decide on forgiveness,” which is to say that all the Christian can do is “accept God’s judgment” (a right God has perhaps earned in suffering at Calvary). Is “refusing forgiveness” necessarily the same as “unforgiveness?” Countless questions arise — as is always the case with “autonomous rationality.”

⁷⁵²In Christianity, God is always willing to relate with us (via Christ), so we don’t have to worry about “the choice to act in faith” finding itself lacking “the common space” in which that faith can be meaningfully lived out. But when dealing with finite Others, the denial of the existence of that “common space” is indeed possible, which is a difference that should not be overlooked. We should also note that God forgives us of our sin (perhaps through and in Christ), and this is why “faithfulness” (which is ultimately a relationship) is possible: humans relationships can share in this “image and likeness.”

⁷⁵³Wiesenthal, Simon. The Sunflower. New York, NY: Schocken Books Inc., 1998: 58.




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O.G. Rose

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