Jesus in the Desert:

Jesus in the Desert:

Jesus in the Desert:

This story is not really about two separate figures, the devil and Jesus, at all. Rather, what is actually one single process of self-reflection and self-clarification, acquiring a clearer, deeper understanding of himself and his project, in the loneliness of the wilderness is merely NARRATIVELY played out as the interaction or rather dialogue between two figures. We should not take literally this substantiating or personifying, which is only due to the needs of the narrative genre.

What does the figure represent that Jesus encounters in the desert, the land of the spirit? Part II.
The second point to be noted is that according to this story, Christ did by no means sever himself from the figure he encountered at the beginning of his career. No cutting-off. Jesus’s behavior is an absolutely exemplary mode of how to deal with this figure. He allows him to surface, he lets him state his case and show what he has to offer, he calmly and open-mindedly listens to him and even lets himself be guided by him to that high mountain. He lets him become fully conscious and faces him directly. And rather that splitting him off, suppressing him, fighting him, he merely ANSWERS him, openly contradicts him, says “no” to him. The encounter happens as a true dialogue, on the level of SPEAKING. Both put their cards on the table and so KNOW now where they stand with respect to each other.
Jesus’s knowledge gained about „his shadow“ (at least the one that appeared here) is neither repressed nor gets lost for Jesus in the times to come. Because inasmuch as his own goal is the determinate negation of what the devil offered him and is the result of Jesus’s pushing off from it, he always carries with him what he pushed off from, the same way, the alchemist who aims for “HIS”gold always stays aware of the gold in the ordinary literal sense. One might even surmise that the devil’s spelling out his offers was indispensable for Jesus to clearly become aware of and define the totally other dimension of logical negativity (“spirit”) that was to be his own specialty. Without getting the literal option clearly spelled out, he could not have clearly pushed off to the figurative sense of kingdom that was his own goal. A negation presupposes the position. So the devil, rather than being his shadow in the usual sense of the word, was, as a literal devil’s advocate, his maieutic psychopomp.
This story is not really about two separate figures, the devil and Jesus, at all. Rather, what is actually one single process of self-reflection and self-clarification, acquiring a clearer, deeper understanding of himself and his project, in the loneliness of the wilderness is merely NARRATIVELY played out as the interaction or rather dialogue between two figures. We should not take literally this substantiating or personifying, which is only due to the needs of the narrative genre.
A negation presupposes the position. However, in the sphere of the soul’s logic the “position” is not an ontic fact, entity, or situation, nothing naturally existing and a presupposition not a literal PRE-existing starting-point. Instead, the negation POSITS WITHIN ITSELF the presupposition from which it “then” pushes off. This underlines our insight that the devil in this story must not be seen as an externally existing being, nor as a projection or split-off and denied part of the whole personality. He is precisely internal to the whole operation, namely as the soul’s or mind’s instrument for taking a radical step forward to a new status of itself.

 

 

 

inen Tod hinaus. – Übers.

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