This must be a commonplace flip, but in the way people ask “where was God in Auschwitz” we can also ask “where is Auschwitz in God?” – implying that just as the baseness of Auschwitz is so absolute as to make God invisible, so may one consider that so absolute is the goodness of god that Auschwitz becomes the dream, the construction – something in which we put our faith as a way of comforting ourselves, of describing reality in our own terms – anthro-centrically. And just as we can insist that we not be specious or profane, that we not diminish the memory of historical fact (the fact of the camps), we can also insist that we not diminish the memory of the spiritual (and historical) facts of God (or moral imperative, or scientific elegance and indifference, or – the absolute-in-argument). In the context of what does genocide appear as a feature of an ecology (what we do, what we’ve figured out to do, as a people, to stay alive on certain terms, with certain inequities, with useful poverties)? And tehn in what state of interrogation does ecology disappear – how do we se beyond the casue and effect within the system, and look at the place of the system itself? Within what scale does scale disappear?
How do we tell a story without shorthand? We are prone to advantage reductive judgment in building stories, as if moral clarity improved our aerodynamics, and made dramatic action more efficient. But dramatic action is not essentially action forward – it is action among, towards the making of a shape (a map rather than a route). We fall into the paradox of saying that this thing to which I’m pointing is the absolute determinant of meaning (this hero, this value, this evil). But if the thing to which I point is absolute, than I wouldn’t be able to point to it – it would be behind me and below me and pointing at me as well.
If genocide is an absolute, then it has to include everything, incuding God. If it isn’t absolute, then what includes it?
“Words like devastation, rape, slaughter, carnage, starvation are lock and key words to keep the pain at bay. Words about war that are easy on the eye… I’m telling you stories. Trust me.” Jeanette Winterson, The Passion – from the preface to The Name of War by Jill Lepore