While the book is too expensive for me to purchase, my own imagination was stirred by this nice summing up of the central theme in Bachelard’s fascinating book, Resurrection and Moral Imagination. The summing up (below) is from an online review by Phillip McCosker, published in The Tablet last June (emphasis, mine).
- Transcendence in ethics;
- Resurrection and transcendence;
- Resurrection, imagination and ethics;
- Living beyond death and judgement;
- Mortality and moral meaning;
- The practice of resurrection ethics: secularization, contemplation and the Church;
“…Bachelard’s game-changing vision is quite different from that of her fellow Anglican moral theologian Oliver O’Donovan’s earlier Resurrection and Moral Order. For O’Donovan, ethics must be founded on the Resurrection because it vindicates the created order and its morality; for Bachelard, the Resurrection gives a new world from which to act, and that world can be perceived even without explicit religious belonging…
… Crucial here is Murdoch’s conviction, which Bachelard makes central, that moral differences between us are not the result of making different moral choices within a shared world – choosing different items from the same menu – but rather because we perceive different worlds. We’re in very different eateries: the suicide bomber and the vegan live in different moral universes. Building on Wittgenstein, Bachelard emphasises how our unconscious background pictures of reality filter and unwittingly influence our every thought and action. The task of the moral life is to reveal the world as it really is and attend to it, avoiding the false consolations of attractive but illusory and facile views.
Our regular and predictable celebrations of Easter can deaden our sense of the utter strangeness of the Resurrection. Liturgical familiarity breeds not contempt exactly, but apathy or cosiness, a sense of “same old, same old”. We are now bored by the events that filled the early Christians with dumbstruck fear and awe, turning their conceptual universes inside out and upside down. Nothing was the same again, all re-constellated around the risen Jesus…
… By complete contrast, in the bizarre new world revealed by the Resurrection, we live a life after the pattern of Jesus. This is what the Spirit brings about. Not a life of prescriptions and proscriptions but a life shaped by a person, a person whose identity is constituted, not over against others, but by constant trust and dependence on the Father: an outward-looking life in which death is revealed to be a penultimate reality; a life sourced in God’s boundless generosity and grace, lived from and into the open and uncontrollable future.
If we receive our real identities from the risen Jesus who is always ahead of us as he calls us, this fundamentally alters our relations with each other. We cannot control our identities: we receive them as gifts. Likewise we do not possess goodness: we participate in it as it transcends us. For Bachelard, a moral life sourced in the Resurrection reveals the true depth of reality; it is always vulnerable because it lives from the unknown future and under God’s judgement alone, and it is therefore always compassionate, producing a moral discourse which doesn’t trade in easy certainties or wishy-washy niceness but is messy, unsystematic and painful…”
Bachelard spoke to The Melbourne Anglican’s Roland Ashby about Resurrection and Moral Imagination and her journey from “dis-integration to healing” (September 2014) – sadly I couldn’t locate a PDF of the issue of the The Melbourne Anglican magazine (online copy here – see pg. 22).
Here’s a couple of quotes from it:
“…If the resurrection is the horizon of our lives and we become open to God as infinitely loving and merciful, that’s going to make a difference to how we live and see others and ourselves,” she said.
“…It’s about letting go of the false self, the ego, with its endless schemes, agendas, judgments and self-justifications, and letting in the Self that somehow comes to us from God.”
But this is no easy or comfortable process. “…We are called to go beyond the consolations of religion into the fierce presence of the living God. We have to experience a ‘dis-integration’ and a wounding before we can experience healing and integration.”