I just finished a class on sacraments and the earth and this was my final blessings to my students.
A Blessing to you all
Inspired by “Thesis for an Atomic Era,” Günther Anders
A life better lived is a life where blessings, that is, forms of wishes, hopes, desires and modes of life circulate around people as care, challenge and sustenance. You have blessed me during this course, so I now bless you with these blessings.
I bless you with all that is sacred, the sacred that flows in energies, mutations, symbiosis and transformations.
I bless you with the God of life that keeps changing and moving, dying and living, recreating itself in thousand flows, and unexpected possibilities.
At the end of our time on earth, I bless with an anti-apocalyptic blessing, against all apocapipsysms created by “men,” and the blessing that refuses to assume the end of times. Thus, I bless you with the end of times that is always unending.
I bless you with a faith that can be easily called stubbornness, which is the positionality of standing with those whose lives are constantly taken away, opening yourselves up to be affected by them, pledging your allegiance with them, and not giving up on the possibilities of transformations and healing.
I bless you with the recurring awareness that we are earth, humus! In other words I bless you with what St Augustine said of the sacraments: “Receive what you are.”
I bless you with the immanent grace of bodies alive to keep us ready to disarm bombs in the midst of minefields where bombs are ticking and already exploding.
I bless with a certain form of sustenance that you can stay standing in the presence of enemies while dismantling the atomic bombs they are igniting.
I bless you with the awareness of standing on your ground as atomic bombs of racisms, extractivisms, colonization of the earth and of the moon are extinguishing what took millennia to come to life.
I bless you with the loss of the transcendent as a new way of finding new forms of freedom and discoveries, seeing how fascinating it is to live amidst so many beings/agents all around us.
I bless you with the expansion of your horizons as you start to see God more in the immanent life rather than in a transcendent one, more in the symbiosis of life than in stagnated creeds.
I bless you with the abdication of hoping to live better after this life and living fully in this life. Even if you can’t.
I bless you with the sense that we are all too close to each other and that proximity can either be used as something to fear or it can help us make kin to all the species and agents of life near us. May this closeness help us see that our interaction with vast forms of life is a witness to the fact that we are never alone and that we can always produce life and death.
I bless you with the healing leaves of trees and the force of every root.
As we live in this society of surpluses and endless developments and desires, I bless you with the ability to stay beyond the effects of products so we can change these forms of creation and make substitutions for other forms of being in this world.
I bless you with the death of our age and time! May your mourning be both a devastating one but also a glorious one as we mourn that which constituted us once, and we move to find the cracks opened to think/imagine/act news worlds of life and modes of being.
I bless you with determination as you lose the signs of this time, the ones created and circulated by capitalism and its metaphysics of the now. May we lose our grip into that which kill us.
And since the future has already happened and we are creating it every day, I bless you with horizons of destitutions: the destitution of the machinery that rips the earth apart, the end of massive fishing, excessive meat for meals, accumulation of anything, the end of all jails and police around the world, and the destitution now of all of those who rule the financial market and the politic arena from any political party. And I bless you with horizons of newness: a world of small farming, shortage of energy for all, basic salary for all, less hours of work for all, health systems for every single human and non-human being, and a democracy from below, starting with those who where always destitute from any democratic life: the poor, the trees, the rivers, the soil, the animals. May they tell us what we need to do to live collectively.
I bless you with a “Productive Frustration: All too often, our efforts to fulfill the imperative Expand your capacity to be afraid and make it commensurable with the immensity of the effects of your actions” will be frustrated. It is even possible that our efforts are unsuccessful. But even this failure should not intimidate us; the repeated frustration does not refute the need to reiterate the effort. On the contrary, every new failure bears fruit, for it alerts us to initiate other actions whose effects transcend our ability to be afraid.”
Since we are incapable of measuring the disasters and catastrophes that are continuing to come and will continue to come, I bless you with the ability to see ourselves not as special beings or kings and queens of nature or anything but nothing more than a spec of life filled with luminosity just like an ameba, the singing of a bird, the yawning of a bear or the ruffling of wings of fishes within the water.
I bless you with the thought that we are “incapable to imagine what we are in fact producing” and that alienation will continue to take us to places of extinction and death.
More, I bless you with a new binarism: our ability to “produce in opposition to our power to imagine… since not only is imagination no longer up to production, but feeling is no longer up to responsibility. Moreover, we live in a world where the stimulus is too large to produce any reaction or activate any brake mechanism.” So I bless you with forms of imagination and sacred abilities to produce forms of brakes in consumption, limits of accumulation and strong halts in processes of development.
I bless you with strength as you go live with debts that the system of oppression and colonization imposed on you and now they say it is all your fault!
I bless you not with hope but courage.
I bless you as you muster the courage to know that we are the only ones taking care of ourselves, nobody else: not politicians, not democratic systems, not companies, no priests, no religion, no authorities.
I bless you with communities that will relearn how to sustain a whole village and care for those who are sick and provide for the unemployed and for those who are unable.
I bless you with the awareness of all those who died for we must fight for them! Every day remembered those who died and go into the fight for them!
I bless you not with the insistence of resistance which can be a mode of weakness but the courage to know limits, to say we are lost, and to encounter the strength within ourselves and within those who have seen the world end so many times before. May we know that nothing can destitute us because we have already destitute ourselves even of ourselves, hopefully. Now we are free from grasping any hope or wait for anyone. We will have now the courage to cultivate what is worth living for, honoring and fighting for.
I bless you with perceptions of reality that comes from communities from the bottom, those forgotten, named as thugs, garbage, escoria do mundo. Our senses are all distorted by forms of perception of what is sacred that is deeply wrapped up in official theologies, political hopes of democratic processes and guidances under the law. We need new senses of perception so we will make our allegiances with those communities who are outside of the system and be with them and listen to them. Not in order to include them in the system, but to implode the very forms of power that constitutes them and ourselves in this in and out system. I bless you with the ability to move away from forms of perception that are pre-ordained under the control of coloniality and massive forms of ideologization of necro-powers that only work against the vast majority of the people.
I bless you with a fearless fear, or in other words, with a fear that is part of our struggle against forces of death but “not to fear those who may scoff at us as cowards;” I bless you with a “stimulating fear, since it should propel us to the streets and not to shelters;” and also I bless you with a “loving fear, not of dangers but of generations to come.”
I bless with you the urge to say this mantra: “I don’t need this, I don’t need that either.”
I bless you with the demand to continue the mantra: “Who am I responsible for today? And tomorrow? And after?”
I bless you with the ability to live in truth and don’t lose the difference between truth and lie. For we are living under a “Deceptive Form of Current Lie: The examples of camouflage teach us something about the contemporary type of lying. For today, lying no longer needs to be affirmed by affirmation; ideologies are no longer needed. The type of victorious lie today is one that prevents us from even suspecting that it could be a lie; and this victory became possible because, today, to lie it is not necessary to hide behind affirmations. Until now, in honest hypocrisy, the lies pretended to be true, they are now camouflaged with a completely different costume.”
I bless you with the truth that every lie is a form of giving up responsibility.
I bless you with sanity to live in a world where the repression of forms of evil and perversion have now gotten free from the gates of our un/conscious, and are now flooding the world with the ugly parts of ourselves and taking the shape of politics, means of relation, moral and religious feelings and forms of the law.
I bless you with a shift of questions. If the basic moral question of previous times was “How should we live”, we must now ask “Will we live?”
I bless you with the blessing of the lawyer from Dark Waters movie: The most important thing I learned in my life came from a small farmer without much education: that nobody will take care of us: not politicians, governs, churches, and so on. We will take care of ourselves. May your most important sacramental allegiances be with those who have been crushed by this colonial system. So I bless you with the sacredness of small farmers, of collectives of women, of peasants and landless people, of people in jail, homeless, enslaved, abused, destroyed.
I bless you with courage to let go of this human centered, human alone world and even the end of such world! And I bless you with the exciting joy of a new world of so many beings and agents living in full reciprocity and mutual care.
I bless you with the belief only in the impossible for the possible is not worth fighting for. And for that, I bless you with the strength to work that will give body to the impossible.
As we finish this class evolving and revolving around things perhaps sacred and non sacred and everything in between, I pledge my allegiance to you. I will be here for you with you. Together we will go, together we will take care of each other. I will be responsible for your well-being and you will be responsible for mine.
Knowing that all the blessings I send you is mostly the things I need to be blessed by. May these blessings be what Jewish thinker Marc Ellis calls a “dystopic solidarity” with you.
Finally, as you go, I bless you with “God (that) is all the stuff that makes the world.” (Mary Jane Rubenstein).
Dr. Cláudio Carvalhaes
- Günther Anders was Jewish thinker, Stern being his original last name, first marriage to Hannah Arendt, fleeing Germany in 1933 to France and the US, then after the war, living in Vienna).