Knowledge has always fascinated me. How do we know, what do we know, how are belief patterns established? What I am primarily interested in is knowledge (and the production of knowledge), not so much belief. And so, in the spirit of the Christian Liturgical season of Advent (where there is a focus on hope, anticipation, and remembering that God was born of Mary), I say on this early Advent morning: I just don’t know. I don’t know that God was born. I am not in anticipation, nor do I hope. I don’t hope in this current system. I am not a believer in this current system, whether religious or justice oriented. What I see on the streets confirms my own disavowal with institutionalized systems and the over-militarization of the police. I just don’t know how to believe in something other (a new world) when I see the rampant racism, classism, homophobia, and the maddening reality that the lives that are being threatened are the very lives that are not counted as fully human. And so, this advent, when we are all waiting for the radical inbreaking of God, born of Mary, I just don’t know! While I recognize this inbreaking is a radical disruption to the stasis and normalization of reality, I remain uncertain. I remain in the luminous darkness of it all, uncertain. Will you give birth with me? To ourselves?
Whether or not it is true or my belief (otherwise situated as a practice) of not knowing can be justified by ontological claims, I find myself on this Sunday morning sitting with a hot cup of coffee and I just don’t know! These moments are the most quiet for me where I dig deep into myself, reaching for the buried knowledge that is waiting to irrupt in my body. I don’t know that (or what) I should hope. I have not a clue for what I should anticipate, especially during this season of Advent. But, what of being born? Can I locate ways in which I am being born in this luminous darkness? For this liturgical season of Advent, there is an acute attention to birth. And, there is knowledge produced as a result of the birth, or at least there is tradition that is established from the birth narrative. But, it is an unnatural birth, an unbelievable birth, or is it? In the spirit of birthing and anticipating birthing (or knowing, as I prefer it), I offer you the following: I feel it calling, it pulses. My body is contorted and it is opening in ways unimaginable. Will you help give birth with me? To ourselves
I would like to open myself, and I am already opened , to the opening and exposed body that in birth is calling me beyond myself, against myself and, perhaps, for myself. It is the contradiction of flesh that occurs in birth that interrogates me due, I assume, to the fact that one can not always avoid facing his or her own condition, one can not say infinitely Noli me tangere (Do not touch me). Now birth is almost on me, with me, within me. It is touching me, but remains invisible; in this moment I feel I am born, but suddenly the only thing that I can hear is the calling of the open and exposed body that I am starting to smell; and it smells like many nights in a distant/past place. Those nights I was not expecting, like now, a thread (filo) that could help me find the unexpected. I want to feel my birth but I should first attend to the call of the ambiguous body that, since before I was born, has been calling me. I want to follow this invitation but it is attached to my flesh and I do not know how to be rigorous with myself. My truth is outside me and not in the totality of my synthetic capacities; I presume it is this call itself but it is not enough just to follow it. One should ask why, in this specific moment, is it possible to hear it? Why now and not before or later? What happens to us when we hear this call? The calling maintains its intensity and I can realize that its persistence, its strength, does not depend on me. I could ignore it and continue; but the call seduces me irremediably. I think this call is the inauguration of a time on time – kairos – that comes and passes through us and we can just receive its posterity, but that is sufficient to remove us and bring us into a search without foundation. This time was not yesterday, it is not today and will not be tomorrow but it is always hidden or inscribed on that body that does not cease to call, or on those tortured lives that are not considered life anymore. We should, I suggest, look forward to caress that call, let our bodies and let our birth be, let us be taken for its elusiveness and its bloody multiple presence.
As the eve of Christmas is almost upon us, and we move into the position of birth, I proclaim not Angels We Have Heard on High, but I long to deliver myself in birth, to interrogate this knowing and anticipation, I long to give birth to myself, with myself, with you, as you are also giving birth to yourself, and I long to know this deep in my body. I hope, with anticipation, and with the limits of knowledge. I ask you to touch me in this birthing process, to evoke the already / not yet moment of (be)coming alive. It is a moment of radical (un)becoming. I am now open to you, to us, and to the becoming that is birthing between us. Advent now looks differently. Advent now is about the destabilization of all systems, even those that seek to solidify us.
Let us give birth together.
We are alive in this space of not knowing.