Tikkun Winter 2019 (34.1) - Page 88

Post-oppositionality emerges from a metaphys- this approach post-oppositional. After all, there ics of radical interconnectedness. Although are already so many “post-” movements and Western intellectual traditions typically associ- theories: Post-structuralism, post-modernism, ate “metaphysics” with abstraction, transcen- post-secularism, post-humanism, post-femi- dence, or escape from the material, physical nism, post-colonialism, post-positivism, and world, I use the term differently, to indicate the “posts” go on and on and on. Previously, I spirit’s embodied presence—its immanence in used the term “non-oppositional;” however, I materiality. Expressing itself concretely in the realized that this word remains trapped in the dailiness of our lives and our surroundings, oppositional logic it attempts to refute: To be a metaphysics of radical interconnectedness non-oppositional is to refuse oppositionality. I situates us in the existing physical-material don’t entirely reject oppositional thought, and world and the present moment. In a metaphys- the term “post-oppositional” enables me to de- ics of radical interconnectedness matter/spirit, velop a nuanced, selective relationship to oppo- mind/nature, body/soul, sitionality, even as I in- “inner”/“outer” are inter- vite us to move through Language has causal power; it twined layers of a single, and (sometimes) beyond complex, interwoven real- (re)shapes reality on multiple it. With this term I can ity—not separate spheres acknowledge opposition- levels, including the material. of existence. I describe ality’s limitations, draw this interconnectedness from its insights, and (at as “radical” to underscore least sometimes) avoid its poisonous effects. the foundational inter-relatedness of every- Post-oppositionality does not entirely reject thing (visible, invisible, semi-visible; tangible, oppositional consciousness but instead moves intangible; physical, nonphysical, etc.) that through it, taking what’s useful and transform- exists. Or, as Marilou Awiakta puts it, drawing ing (rather than negating or denying) the rest. on teachings from her Cherokee Appalachian Post-oppositionality stays in relationship with upbringing and from nuclear physics, “Stars, oppositionality. trees, oceans, creatures, humans, stones: we And so, I use the word “post-oppositional” both are all related. One family.” to avoid the dichotomies I’m trying to trans- According to a metaphysics of radical intercon- form and to acknowledge the vital work that nectedness all reality emerges from some type oppositional consciousness and actions have of shared ontological ground that embodies performed. Moreover, as Indigenous philoso- itself throughout—and as—all existence. This phies remind us, the words we use matter and fluid cosmic spirit/energy/consciousness (call it can assist us in bringing about change. Lan- what you will) is both the source and the sub- guage has causal power; it (re)shapes reality on stance of being; it’s the framework and creative multiple levels, including the material. Manu- force underlying, infusing, and shaping all that lani Aluli Meyer explores this transformational exists. In a metaphysics of radical intercon- power, or what she calls “causality in language,” nectedness, oppositionality is connection by in her discussion of Hawaiian epistemology: refusal. Although overtly denied, connection “Words cause something. For Elders and our still functions because that which we oppose ancient people we had terms that allowed you has shaped our opposition. to enter a forest or show your good manners But perhaps you’re wondering why I’ve named beside the ocean. We even had people who “ 88 W W W .T I K K U N . O R G ” WINTER 2019