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Angels and Demons

The speeches that we hear so often today about the end of history and the beginning of a posthuman and posthistorical era forget the simple fact that man is always in the act of becoming human and therefore also of ceasing to be so and so to speak. to die to the human.

The claim of an achieved animality or completed humanity of man at the end of history does not account for this constitutive incompleteness of the human being.

Similar considerations also apply to the discourses on the death of God.

Just as man is always in the act of becoming human and ceasing to be, so too the divine becoming of God is always ongoing and never completed once and for all.

In this sense, Pascal’s phrase about Christ in agony until the end of time must be understood. In agony – that is, according to the etymology, in struggle or in conflict with his own divinity, for this reason he never died, but always, so to speak, to himself dying.

The only meaning of human history is in this incessant agony and the gossip about the end of history seems to ignore the fact – also evident – that history is always in the act of ending.

Hence the insistence of the last Hölderlin on demigods and almost divine or more than human figures.

History is made up of beings already and not yet divine, already and not yet human: there is, that is, a “semi-history” just as there are demigods and almost men.

  • For this reason, the only keys to interpreting history are angelology and demonology, which see in it – as the Fathers and Paul himself did when he calls angels (or demons) the powers and governments of this world – a relentless struggle. between less than gods and more – or less – than men.

And if we can say anything about our present condition it is that in the last two years we have seen with unprecedented clarity the demons at work in history and the possessed blindly following them in their vain attempt to drive away the angels forever – those angels who, after all , before their infinite fall into history, they themselves were.

August 4, 2022
Giorgio Agamben

Source: Giorgio Agamben – QUODLIBET