Confusion

In the German language there exists a promising, meaningful word for a state of disorder: the Durcheinander, which means confusion. Composed of the preposition durch and the reciprocal pronoun einander, its literal translation into English would be „through one another.” Usually, Durcheinander is written as one word. People who hear this word often have a feeling of uncertainty, a wish to clean it up. In the following, we will use the English word „confusion” which stems directly from the Latin word confusio and stands, since the Middle Ages, for „a mingling, mixing, blending,” „disorder,” and also for „mental perplexity, a state of having indistinct ideas.”

In post-patriarchal thinking it becomes clear that the collapse of the dualistic symbolic order which at first creates disorientation, is no lamentable event at all. Rather it opens up spaces for new modes of speaking and organizing that have been systematically concealed by the declining order.

Actually the characteristic post-patriarchal feelings of vertigo can initially be perceived as threatening. However, as soon as we understand that we have come into the world through one another, these feelings reveal themselves as the necessary beginning of the new. Through one other, not through power or violence or a rigid uniform method, we are also capable of creating a liveable order for our common life.

The confusion of human relatedness and relationships can be seen as an integral part of the complicated processes of exchange in the cosmos and in nature: soil, shit, water, eating, animals, plants, and so on. Much more than the hierarchical, dichotomous symbolic order, confusion is apt to fit into this chaotically structured abundance.

Since natals remain vulnerable and dependent, also in their freedom to create a new order through one another, an additional, third meaning of the German Durcheinander is important: If we see it composed of the preposition durch, the indefinite article ein, and the shortened indefinite pronoun ander, it could be translated literally into English to through an other. Through an other something new comes into being. Our ancestors called the other who/which is necessary in order to enable the new to come into the world „God,” for example: the great all-around-us, the tirelessly giving abundance, the matrix, the inter-est, from Latin inter (between) and esse (be) which means the in-between. Having confidence in this intangible„Other” that outlasts individual lifespans has always driven people to take risks, that is to create something new, knowing that they weren’t able and did not have to be able to control the result, to keep on top or to save the world through their personal effort.

Being of great presence of mind happens – contrary to a flash of inspiration – in the in-between, among me and the world, among me and others.

Ina Praetorius, Transforming God-Talk, in: Verena Naegeli, Josée Ngalula, Ina Praetorius, Brigitte Rabarijaona (eds.), There is Something We Long For – Nous avons un désir, Kinshasa (Edition Tsena Malalaka) 2015, 89-102

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