Christian is nothing more than bourgeois

«…the bolt of an engine becomes easily the symbol of a serious question. (…)

The Leader, is the one that reveals a possible world, in which for example the workman would no longer work for masters. (…) The Leader is the one that offers a friendship, not love, a friendship within a team [équipe]. Out of friendship, the team consists in realizing the possible outside world that the chief revealed. Technical friendship, if you wish. (…)

The revolution should not be made within us, but on the outside—and if we make it within ourselves, it is only a way of not doing it on the outside.1 This does not prevent, for that matter, that revolutionary friendship is primarily self-sacrifice. But the sacrifice here does not tend towards an interior transformation; it is the possible price that must be paid for the replacement of worlds. The team always rebels against someone, against something. We speak of a revolution in action [en acte]. (…)

“In vain would we seek the caresses and fondlings of our intimate selves, like Amiel, or like a child who kisses his own shoulder, since everything is finally outside, everything, even ourselves: outside, in the world, among others. It is not in some hiding-place that we will discover ourselves; it is on the road, in the town, in the midst of the crowd, a thing among things, a man among men.”2 Is there for some people a new notion? (…)

“Do not think that I have come to bring peace, but a sword. And whoever does not take up his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever keeps his life will lose it.”3 These words refer to an exterior world. Christ is the Leader who reveals to us a possible exterior world, and offers us a friendship. Its presence hatches less in the intimacy of hearts than that it makes itself felt on the main road, in the bend of a street, in the fields, by the abrupt revelation of a possible world. Man in his intimacy is powerless to find his interior relation with God. But this is the dangerous word. Christ reveals us an outside world, but this outside world is not a social, historical, localised world; it is our own interior life. The paradox of the Gospel is, in abstract terms, the exteriority of an interiority. (…)

There was once a union of Nature and Spirit, and this union formed an outside world. Nature was spirit, and spirit, nature; the subject did not intervene, other than as a margin of error. Christianity subjectivised [a subjectivé] nature in the form of the body and of natural life where the sin bites, and on the other hand it subjectivised spirit in the form of spiritual ‘life’. But Christian consciousness [la conscience chrétienne] is so torn that it cannot grasp in itself the relation of natural life to spiritual life. (…)

At first sight, the Christian opposition between Nature and Spirit seems to be very different from the bourgeois opposition between the private life and the State. And yet, it is not. (…)

Nature, in becoming private life, was spiritualised in the form of family and good nature [bonne nature]; and Spirit, in becoming the State, was naturalised in the form of homeland; without contradiction, for that matter, with bourgeois liberalism and pacifism. But the important thing is that the bourgeoisie is defined above all by interior life and the primacy of the subject. (…)

There is bourgeoisie as soon as there is submission of the exterior to an interior order, to a ceremony. The fable has it that the bourgeois, whatever the time, does not leave without hard collar and bowler hat. (…)

(It would be interesting to show, for example, how much the classical theory of the perception of the 19th century is bourgeois: one perceives only what one knows, and any perception is an interpretation, etc.) (…)

The bourgeoisie is essentially interior life internalised, that is to say, mediation of private life and the State. But of these two extremes, it is equally frightened. It is the famous struggle between two opposites. (…)

The domain of the bourgeoisie is that of humanism, apparently quiet, of Human Rights. (…)

The bourgeois Person is substantialised mediation; defined formally by equality and reciprocity, materially by interior life. That the formal equality is contradicted materially is no contradiction, in the eyes of the bourgeois, nor reason for a revolution. The bourgeois remains coherent. One sees here all that the bourgeois “crew” can put up against a revolutionary crew. For if the second is really a team, the first is at bottom a contract. (…)

When the Physiocrats spoke about nature, they spoke about having. Property is a natural right. The XVIII century believed readily that the man is nothing, but he has; he has impressions, and by these he acquires: everything is received. And if the bourgeois has the desire to have, he remains on the contrary insensitive to the desire to be, where, with his skilful eye, he easily sees the traces of romanticism and that awkward age [l’âge ingrat]. (That awkward age, his great concern; because the bourgeois has a family; he lives on his property. From interior life [la vie intérieure] to indoor life [la vie d’intérieur], is only a small step, a letter.) (…)

Whereas in property the two extremes (private life and State) were in the shade, money on the other hand establishes between them a contact by which the State dissipates and spreads into the hands of private wealthy persons, and these private subjects rise to power. Hence the threat and the danger. The merchant class [bourgeoisie d’affaires] replaced the landed gentry [bourgeoisie de propriété]. This is the well-known capitalism. Money denies its own essence, solidifies by giving power to the capitalists, by restoring a form of personal power, in short by giving up its role of mediation, its reference to interior life and indoor life. And if the communists negate the bourgeoisie, if they want a truly impersonal power, where for example there are no more owners, it is above all because the bourgeoisie negates itself. It is natural since, when the communists speak about the bourgeoisie, and they often speak about it, they do not know exactly about what they speak. (…)

It is well known that the bourgeois is enormously fraudulent. (…)

One could say that fraud is the opposite of war.

The State lets the private subject be caught up in a centrifugal movement, in the form of family and association; but through war, it is able to bring him back to itself, to remind him that he is primarily citizen without private life. Conversely, the bourgeois had let the social spiritual Order be caught up in a centrifugal movement, which manifests itself to him from the outside in the form of entrance, exit, of crossings, that is to say which comes back to hit you flat in the face as nature.

And fraud is only the reaction of the bourgeois to make sure that the State, as impersonal subject “is not so far that it…” To ensure, reassure himself, to see what happens… One does not take fraud seriously, deep down one is in agreement with the law, it is to see what happens. But above all it is to take the rest more seriously, to adhere more quietly to the social and national order, to make sure that this order indeed concerns the family, and is projected by the subject. If the bourgeois cheats, it is to make sure that he is free, and that the State is “each of him”. And the reassured bourgeois will thus go to war, because there are things about which one does not make fun. One thus sees in what sense cheating is still a mediation between the private life and the State. It is what for the Christian is the proof, the observable appearances [manifestation sensible] that Pascal claimed. Neither reform, nor revolt, on the contrary, it is extermination of doubt.

No less than cheating, and in the same way, the bourgeois interprets a great deal. Not completely in the same way however. Cheating is negative, and through it the bourgeois pulls the State toward him. In interpretation, positive on the contrary, he raises himself towards the State. The bourgeois has a taste for secrecy, for insinuation, for allusion, he likes to ‘go beyond appearances’; because the interpreted object becomes divided, or rather sublimates itself and rises above itself, at the same time as it rises above appearances, and, in the same way, the subject which interprets seems to also go beyond, to sublimate himself, to reach a superhuman clarity. (…)

Insofar as the bourgeoisie internalises interior life and Christ alike, they do it in the form of property, of money, of having; all of which Christ hated, and that he had come to fight, to substitute it for being. It is thus the paradox of the Gospel, as exteriority of an interiority, which continues.

But can we already draw this conclusion? Because we have by no means shown how the Christian opposition between Nature and Spirit was transformed into the bourgeois opposition between the private life and the State.

In relation to the bourgeois opposition we talked about interpretation.

There also seems to be an interpretation of a completely different kind, a religious interpretation. The interpreter then is called the prophet. Christ said: “They told you that… And I tell you…”, “In truth I tell it to you.”

Lastly, a third interpretation, science, replies to a new opposition, this time between reality and truth. Reality of observable qualities and truth of the objects of thought: heat is movement.

So we here are confronted with a triple opposition:
– first the scientific opposition, between the real, observable object and the object of thought, an exterior opposition;
– second the interior religious opposition, between the corporeal subject and sinner and the spiritual subject;
– third the political opposition, between the private subject and the impersonal subject or State.

And if in the first opposition nothing is personal, and if in the second everything is personal, the third is the irreducible difference between the personal and the impersonal.

Therefore, the private subject will be determined by the State, determined hollow, negatively, as what escapes the State and which the State, nevertheless, rules.

Consequently, installed in the mediating field, the individual of Human Rights is interchangeable; and within this very field, one will find the opposition of form and matter.

Moreover, political mediation is all the more unstable as it is based on a unilinear and progressive development of private life, of the family and associations, and of the State. This is absolutely false. But the other interpretations are not able to reduce the corresponding oppositions.

Under the religious opposition, one will recognize the duality of Devil and God. Undoubtedly, Christ was made man to save us from Devil. But we saw that this salvation through interior life was always on the outside of us, on the exterior.

The same is the case, finally, for the scientific opposition “in reality – in truth”; one will shift the terms in vain (“in appearance – in reality” one will say) what one will not explain, is appearance as such.

How to pass from the scientific opposition to the religious opposition?

The whole philosophy of Malebranche is an answer to this question, in the sense where it substitutes for the order of the relations of greatness [rapports de grandeur] the order of the relations of perfection, and moreover for the apparent disorder of things, the disorder of heart and sin.

This leaves us to show the identity of the religious opposition and political opposition.

Or at least the transformation of the couple natural life – spiritual life, into the couple private life – State.

Yet it seems that there is a certain rupture between spiritual life of God and the State, one that is essentially spiritual and temporal. Give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar.

The religious Truth is of another kind. “From the Gospel, one could say, one will never draw a technology; the Gospel has not come to save the world, it comes to save us from the world.” Admittedly, Christ is the mediation of Nature and Spirit, and this mediation, this revelation by Christ is established between the two terms; but the good news that it brings us is not about the world, it concerns that part of the world called human nature, where the sin bites. The Gospel does not deal with politics and the social, in the sense that the social would pose specific problems; it brings everything back to the possibility of sin, and the possibility of saving man from sin. The Christian interior life is entirely tended towards an interior spiritual life; it is in this very particular sense that one can speak about Christian ‘indifference’.

But, conversely,the State claims to own man fully, to reduce man entirely to citizen. Between the will to power of the State over the interior man, and the will to indifference of the interior man with regard to the State, opposition is born. And the State will persecute.

But the Christian will greet the persecutions with mildness. (He will be martyr, and will receive the suffering like an extermination of sin.) With mildness? But the evil is done. Man will be able to be atheistic, but he will nonetheless still be Christian, we no longer have the choice; he will oppose the private man to the State. The interior man, the indifferent and gentle martyr, which is surely the worst revolt, will become the private man, aggressive, worried about his rights, and only in his worry wants to call upon Reason.

“These days man dehumanizes himself quickly, because he ceases to believe in irrational and immediate rights against the State. The direction of the revolt is lost, it is sublimated, o irony, in grumbling… it manifests itself in bad temper.”6

It is a secularization of the church.

But let us not be mislead here, this secularization is double:

1st. Christian interior life revealed by Christ, was what propelled mankind out of nature, to rush towards Spirit. But it loses its traction towards spiritual life with God, to the very extent that it loses its irrational and immediate “indifference” towards the State; and in the sense that it no longer exceeds itself, it evolves from Christian humility to the opposition contained in itself. It is thus that Christian spiritual life is nothing more than bourgeois nature. But this new nature kept something of its contact with Spirit; and if when talking about the bourgeoisie we pointed out that nature was spiritualised as private life and was made good nature, we understand now, this is because Christian Spirit was naturalised.

2nd. But which place did vacant Spirit occupy and abandon? Spirit becomes that which it was indifferent about. That which it regarded as the world, and in which it was only interested because it indirectly brings back the possibility of sin. That very thing that could exercise force over him. The Spirit becomes the State. God becomes the impersonal subject; and in the Social Contract, a magisterial attempt to reduce interior man to citizen, the general will has all the characteristics of Divinity.

It is not a contingent connection that binds Christianity and the Bourgeoisie

(6) M. de Rougemont, “Journal d’un intellectuel en chômage”.

– Gilles Deleuze, “From Christ to the Bourgeoisie


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