Mysticism and Trash

Trash is what can no longer be submitted to the productive process but can only be eliminated, incinerated, buried, and so on. Trash can be viewed as a metaphor for the ‘uselessness’ of religious/spiritual knowledge as it stands from the prospective of capitalism and its logic of objects and value; and as a metaphor for the devaluing of mysticism as it stands from the perspective of our scientific, ‘enlightened’ times.

In most cases trash continues materially to exist, only out of sight. This ‘invisibility’ effects in no way the consequences its continued existence may have. Such may be the case for mysticism as well, one could surmise, and perhaps even with as much ‘omnipresence’ as trash.

An interest in mysticism is then aligned with the rejection of submission to the productive process or dominant economy. It is a useless activity – whether by reinvesting the register of taboo pleasure as Bataille seems to – or if it rejects the premise of consumption and attachment to productivity, namely, desire. This includes the desire to durate, to ‘last’ in social time as an individual self with past, present, and future. The living corpse of the mystic as garbage bag.

The mystic, as one whose happiness is found in union with God alone, could be positioned as the extreme of a negation of the commerce of ‘goods’, the circulation of mundane values, and so on. Being essentially indifferent to time, the mystic is like a plastic sac blowing in the wind, or an old cigarette butt discarded in the street. Retaining the mark of having been produced by human labor, as a disposable ‘by-product’ of civilizational advance, it has arrived at an odd, almost ‘post-human’ point. Returned to nature, yet as potential contaminant of all cosmic and cosmetic order, not natural; yet also not participating, particularly, in culture and history; and so only non-consumable refuse, a stand-in perhaps for God’s refusal of all the designs of man, a mirror of eternal dust. Silence: the wasteland of a breath that won’t sell…

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