Revisiting the Body since #MetGala2018: The NewYorker Queered “Heavenly Body” and The Catholic-Christian Body

FeaturedRevisiting the Body since #MetGala2018: The NewYorker Queered “Heavenly Body” and The Catholic-Christian Body

In case you don’t know, Rihanna landing on the Met Gala red carpet with a stunningly ravishing Pope dress has been what went viral recently in social media since Monday, 7 May 2018. Fundraising for the Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC, the annual Met Gala event was also meant to celebrate the exhibition this year charismatically themed “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination”. Responding to the Catholic reference, Matthew Schmitz, the senior editor of First Things, an American Catholic journal, wrote a web-exclusive article critically reflecting on the theme of the event. On the surface, the event crowning itself with fashionista and sacramentality is a daring but failing juxtaposition which amounts only to the stark incompatibility between the Catholic conception of the body and the NewYorker’s perceived “Heavenly Body”. Indeed, the two kinds of body mark their aesthetic differences when the latter seeks the artistic liberation of a heteronormative body from the institution of the former by prioritizing it over an established semiotic treatment of the Papal garment. Yet, this aesthetic return of the body back to a precognitive, holistic sensational level where the body claims the centre of the anthropological existence actually completes the circle of an evolution of the conception of the body in the West. Now it is high time we paid a revisit and dove into an exposition of the body again after my last post on the body.

Roman Catholicism before and after the 1054 East-West Schism as a consciousness has been rooted in, first and foremost, the monotheistic sense and sentiments fundamental to religious experience preserved in the Hebrew Bible and the Jewish tradition and, next, the Greco-Roman philosophical conceptualization and later doctrinal formulation of such this-worldly existential experience with the other-worldly giver of every given of this reality, including the body. I am not here to trace the etymological development of the body the concept but the positioning of the body in our human existential-experiential dynamics which consists of three levels (i.e. the sensational, the cognitive and the perceptual) and five stages (i.e. the three levels in chronological order and then with two returns, one epistemic and another aesthetic, back to the cognitive and the sensational level respectively). The body in the Catholic-Christian perception as understood in the Resurrection of the Body lies only after (S1) the so-called primitive body as (or as if) in the flux of reality in action has been through (S2) an initial conception distinguishing it from other things in reality, (S3) a rightful essentialization and identification in such perception and (S4) a cognitive return characteristic of reconceptualizating whatever the body is given or presented to the perceiving self in perception. And, at last, (S5) it goes through an aesthetic return back to the rightful and just treatment of the body as the body itself on the sensation level in action. This body in the postcognitive level of sensation is what is distinguished as the body we can typify, to which we can ascribe a name as the Catholic-Christian body. The body as seen from a NewYorker’s pair of voguish goggles (and also from a non-Western perspective) is vastly different, but it is still within the abovementioned experiential dynamic circle or cycle. It is the body not yet conceptualized before experience and experimentation, as in (S1). It is that which on the first sensational level.

Here I must outline the epistemological and epistemic consequences of the dynamics of this dynamic circle/cycle for the sake of a clearer comparison of the two bodies as conceived. Skip this paragraph if you find that the language here is getting too technical. (Don’t say I didn’t warn you!) Here we go: The experiential cycle is tantamount in structure to the smaller hermeneutic circle on the cognitive level within it. This circle in circle is what is important to recognize when one is speaking of an interpretative horizon in Continental epistemological terminology in philosophy. Phenomenologically speaking, the horizon is greater, when, information-theoretically speaking, more information is gained after possibilities (in propositional terms) with very low or zero probabilities have been cancelled in the face of evidence resourced from data or the lack thereof (with probabilities assigned by intuition, confidence and various other epistemic virtues), generating more truth claims sufficient for knowledge when those information items are prima facie (i.e. at the first place) justified and warranted until a defeater defeats the claims. The epistemological practice (as described above in a predominantly Western philosophical discourse prone to a problem of de-sensationalization specific to the West) is always restricted to the two cognitive levels and the perceptual levels, theoretically de-sensationalized if the sensational level is excluded. A completely rightful and just epistemic practice will have to satisfy this phenomenological necessary condition operative with sensation as a whole: following the way of letting-be (i.e. letting the others be themselves so the self can be) amounting to primary, existential, justice, which includes seeing the perceived other as a sovereign subject sui generis but not an object of perception. So, in order to understand the NewYorker conception of the body, a Catholic-Christian must not be ethnocentric in perceiving it and forcing one’s consciousness in deciphering this other, but one should adopt an attitude respecting cultural relativity and diversity (without necessarily endorsing moral relativism, which is different, because normativity rules over descriptivity in an attitude of moral relativism, while descriptivity is the goal or epistemic and praxeological virtue in an attitude of the kind of cultural relativism here). In this manner, a Catholic-Christian in the face of the NewYorker has to figure out the internal logic in the NewYorker (queering) consciousness, perhaps by mapping and engaging with his or her discourse; vice versa. (i.e. A cultural NewYorker should do the same to a Catholic-Christian understanding of the body if one really aims at dialoguing with this other.)

Of course the Met Gala fashion pope is just a crystallized copy of Catholic consciousness, but it celebrates its own NewYorker queering consciousness in antagonism towards “the original”. This consciousness is queering precisely because it is othering —— or treating as the other —— the body as conceived by the Catholics and the Catholic Church. It embraces the body in its precognitive form in sensation at least as much as the Catholics would uphold the body in its postcognitive form in the Bodily Resurrection of the faithful and the righteous. At the same time, it completes a hermeneutic circle of an evolution of the concept of the body as experienced by us all within the greater circle representing the actual placement of the body (as in the circle-in-circle situation in the last paragraph), because however anachronistically, it reconceptualized the body as in the Victorian-Christian sense, and transformed it into a rather deconstructive sense by an aesthetic return (symbolically into an art museum in the Met Gala event, yeah, sarcastically). People in New York wth such queering consciousness can meet their mating other in whatever urban settings, have a session of physio-biological union and see if this other can proceed to the next step towards the end of the hermeneutic or performative cycle/circle of dating and romance, where a point of exit for this other would be to become the significant other of that NewYorker’s hyper-individualist self. After all, the problematic of the juxtaposition of the two bodies from different stages is that whether each of the community, the Catholic or the queering/othering NewYorker, opens to a sufficient extent of horizons to the other (with the Absolute Other, however interpreted) for its conjoining the self (with appropriate extent of concealment for the sake of existential justice). Both logics of the two bodies can basically be sensational, sensible and sensical. The NewYorker queering consciousness can possibly (but not necessarily of course) rightfully uphold a precognitive sensational union of the body (i.e. “the Heavenly Body”) as in one night stands, for example (I mean, given the logical dynamics of the self and the other definitional of ethics, why not?), which is as legitimate as the Catholic (which today must be modern and nationalistic, however religious) consciousness, which can possibly (but not necessarily of course) allow the performance of postcognitive sensational union of the body as in sex within sacramental marriages (And still, given the logical dynamics of the self and the other here definitional of morality, why not?). None of the two parties should degrade the other’s logic of its consciousness, because they cannot but be of the same civilizational root in a sociocultural universalist manner.

Finished writing on 9 May 2018 at 23:36. Finished editing on 10 May 2018 at 03:53.


On the Future of the Hong Kong Way of Being Chinese, with Notes on Macau and Taiwan 背靠中國,暫論香港前境:本是同根生,還是道異不相謀?

FeaturedOn the Future of the Hong Kong Way of Being Chinese, with Notes on Macau and Taiwan 背靠中國,暫論香港前境:本是同根生,還是道異不相謀?

If the one-party rule in China is eventually politically and legally binding, then there is more reason to think that the Chinese government does not want Hong Kong people to be and become Chinese in a Hong Kong way, and thus this will give much more justification for the possible sociopolitical, if not economical, self-determination or even independence of Hong Kong people, generating more and more momentum for such a movement.

It becomes less and less manageable for the Communist Party of China to homogenize the sociocultural consciousnesses of the Chinese population based on one single sociopolitical entity called “the People’s Republic of China”, especially after a series of voices for independence following the Umbrella Movement in Hong Kong, from a perspective of a HongKonger. Since the Chinese government dominated by the Communist Party does not treat the Hong Kong people embodying liberal-nationalistic consciousness as part of the Chinese renmin or people, the Chinese government would become the main motivator for Hong Kong (or a part thereof) as conceived in its liberal-democratic histo-political and sociocultural character to gain its own independence however possible. As the US had a global-right turn towards the Chinese left, Hong Kong is shifting global-left away from its cultural motherland, because the Chinese renmin or people, having its consciousness dominated by the Party’s ideological endeavour, wants to push other non-renmin Chinese to its own way, from which the Hong Kong people largely shaped by the British colonial nationalistic consciousness in their youth approaching cognitive maturity would want to turn away. Of course, broadly speaking, we all are nationalistic in some ways or another, and not a single sociopolitical entity now is inheriting the premodern, non-nationalistic Chinese civilization, but then before post-nationalistic universalism can find its own way through our minds, the Chinese peoples would have to self-determine their own ways of being nations/peoples. As far as we all agree, the Hong Kong way is essentializable and distinguishable from the Taiwanese way and the Mainland ways, it might be high time one cut sociopolitical ties with one another without trading off economic inter- (but not intra-) dependence. Part of the population from Macau would then have to join our forces or develop their own ways of sociocultural existence, as the Taiwan people has been doing for decades.

Sometimes I would see that nationhood is sometimes tied to generational factors and thus histo-developmental factors of the people living in more-or-less the same territory. For example, more of the older generations in Hong Kong cannot abandon the treasured peace brought by a pro-establishment political stance in practice, so with such developmental discrepancies in the growth and development of a people, they would divert with the younger generations having experiences of the Umbrella Movement in their national consciousness. Should we then leave our grandparents and parents in our families for our nationhood? Not repeating the mistakes of the Cultural Revolution in modern Chinese history and some Middle Eastern nations, I don’t think so, so nationalism is ultimately not our way of sociocultural existence. We must turn to universalism for a future.

Finished writing at 15:21 on 18 Mar 2018, posted on the same date as a Facebook post.

A Traveller’s Six-Year Exploration of Who God Is 六年旅人神貌百感

FeaturedA Traveller’s Six-Year Exploration of Who God Is 六年旅人神貌百感

This explorative piece fulfills my public promise to be honest about my faith to God and portrays who God is in a simple way after a six-year search for answers.

I am writing this explorative piece also because I can no longer withstand the state of directionlessness in which I am here and now. Only by clearing all the clouds blurring my vision can I continue my journey as a forward-heading traveller in the world.

When I have to name the ultimate foundation on which my life-till-now has been grounded and should have been grounding, my identity as a Christian is always my answer. Without question. To some it is already too old-fashioned to resort to religion but not to the trending and supposedly agreed philosophy or cultural norm when it comes to ultimate values, but I refuse to give in to their (perhaps) reasonably biased views against religious or faithful establishments like churches, doctrines and dogmas and Scripture(s). Indeed, more accurately, I tend to always dislike what is popular in academia and in mainstream society in favour of a view that is to my best knowledge true and right, for theirs and mine often seem incompatible, or at least with great tension. This attitude might be what we call counter-cultural. Plus, following my fellow human beings, I cannot but by nature search for truth and righteousness even when and due to the fact that I embody none [1], so I cannot but by nature be non-relativistic and consciously or sub-consciously demand the absolution of an understanding of reality. When I discern what this means, I see that this is not actually the objectivity of reality that I am focusing on, but it is the sense of certainty which can be my frame of reference of every activities or happenings in my life that I am craving for. Christianity, or the Christian worldview, as the only easy, helpful frame of reference given to me, became my only choice. The cognitive consonance arose from this ideational infrastructure about faith thus safeguarded me from all of my psychological insecurities in my early years. And since I have not developed a conscious need for a deeper faith (or a faith at all) beyond the cognitive level, such condition of belief was stable and sufficient for the moment. So it did not come to my reflection or consciousness that the Christian worldview did not relate to me in practice until my undergraduate period. However, still, my faithful or theological reflection was minimal, for I was thinking simplistically, not cognitively complex enough to generate a sense of trouble in the face of all the unnamable imperfections in the world. Simply put, I would not recognize such a need. I very often just treated Christianity as a resource bank of convenient reference and also of last resort, sometimes leading the direction for my easy answering to an otherwise cognitively challenging question, other times as Christianity-of-the-gaps being subsumed under and complementing my creative thoughts and ideas new to me or new permutations and combinations of my old, learnt, ones. For example, I unconsciously started to follow the path of pre-Socratic philosophers seeking after elements of the comos and derived the ten Elements of Life six years ago for categorizing the nature of the activities of my life, unaware that the Christian God should have reigned over those pragmatic life aspects.

As for whether this separation of faith and life is normal, speaking of its developmental psychology, although children of such ages have predispositions for later faith, they generally could not faith and be accordingly saved, unless given by the environment, the faith is the only viable or the obviously best option, and as such they are said to be baptized by the culture (i.e. the culture embodied by the agents able to interact with the environment such as their parents who can interact with the family environment to introduce the children to sense the presence of God etc.) by being the extensions of their parents before their bio-social maturity and independence. It is therefore commonsensical for me to have the capability of complex thinking developed only in later stages. But well, it does not mean it is fine. Just that I have no solution towards my (and our) (once) unfaithfulness.

My first clearer attempts to re-establish what faith and God, supposedly the target of faith, mean to us (or just me) were not here but scattered among my memories. To recollect these fragments from the multitudinous layers of stormy clouds in front of me, here I am to begin the reminiscence of my senses of God and find out who God is. In the four years of my undergraduate philosophical education, one skill I have acquired for my philosophical toolbox is how to do conceptual analysis, by which now I am approaching God as conceptualized. If something or some being is recognized as God, what condition has it fulfilled, and what characteristic does it necessarily or sufficiently possess in order to have been recognized as so? Please note that the sensation, feeling and experience of God in action and interaction with God is always prior to and giving the foundation for the cognition, reflection and conceptualization of God, so any ungrounded conceptualization, such as God of the philosophers, who is always posited to be omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent and omnibenevolent before any sensational experience of such a God, is out of my concern here.

Whoever is God, sensed from my experience and then understood by my intuition, will always be transcendent. There always accompanies a sense of givenness when I sense whoever that is God and whatever that is from God. That is, whenever I feel the presence of God, I will feel that something is given to me from what is external to my current self. To properly name this sense, it is good that we call it grace. Grace to a person is by nature the quality of something given to this person from his or her externality even though he or she does not have it in the first place, and God is always understood by me as someone embodying this quality, who is therefore transcendent. During my exchange period in the third undergraduate year of mine, one day in Billund, Denmark, I was walking alone on an extensive road near the airport on my way to Legoland. I looked up from the greens along the road to the clear blue sky, and I felt the presence of God. Everything seemed to be slow and gentle, and it was good. Although this sense of God present there and then cannot be reduced to the sense of givenness, but one vocal point of this sense to focus on for contemplation, reflection and analysis is the grace that is given to me and surrounds me. The key that unlocks who God is in this case is that I felt that God is given to me as He surrounds and infiltrates me from within and without. The giver, the gift and the givenness are all together, holistically and simultaneously, present to me as reality, and they cannot be separated by sense but only by cognitive distinction, so I discern to have the origin of these senses ascribed to God, and let these be the demonstration of God giving and being transcendent to me, and hopefully also to us.

Also, whoever is God experienced by me was saturating every point of time and space in the whole experience. Beyond there and then as I move along the road, my self was felt to be connected to and growing to the size of the whole environment until its spatial and temporal limits. As God was giving me this supernatural experience of nature, He was sensed to be at the same time in and out of this timed and spaced reality, because the origin of this whole experience was felt to have come from beyond the happening of this experience itself, yet the occurrence of the whole sensation was internal to the experience, without which there would be no possibility of the sense of givenness and the reception of grace. God is hence omnipresent in a sense that He embodies and is both in and out of the space and time where I am and of which I can possibly take notice in the moment.

He was felt to be in control of the whole sensational experience during my walk. I saw that from our human point of view He is wholly independent from us in a sense that although He can interact with and be affected by my will, His mental activities totally transcend my best understanding of Him. So God was thought to be absolutely free and sovereign, reigning over the whole walk as I proceeded with His presence, and for He was sensed to be powerful over and keeping track of my journey (and all of my other experiences of God), it is natural to see how He was conceived as omnipotent and (thus) omniscient.

If something is to be identified with God by me, it will be immanently related to me. In the trekking experience, God was sensed to be with me there and then. If He is not related to me in any way, wholly unknowable to my knowledge, it can never be recognized as existent and Godly to me. So a deistic conception of God is no God of lived experience at all. That said, immanence is only a necessary but not a sufficient condition of being God. To be God is most importantly to be felt as loving and salvific. In that sensational encounter with God, through the long saunter, I gradually had my tiredness and other burdens worn off from me. A sense of restoration filled the whole of my body up to my psyche. And it was saving me. The love I felt from God was emerging from every step I took forward. The word, love, here is to signify the sole and inclusive way (i.e. the way incorporating or common to all ways) of goodness and righteousness by which I treated the earth I stepped on as a good, friendly support of my weight. There and then the pavement was my friend, the other of mine who embraced and shaped my existence in the whole experience which in turn was given, developed and sustained by God. This way of goodness and, finally, righteousness, is to treat the other as I would treat myself or would have it treating myself. This Golden Rule generalizes the normative underpinnings of ethics and morality we humans live by. This attitude in the face of the other persons, peoples or objects of mine gives way not only to their beings (i.e. their being those other persons, peoples or objects) but also to my being (i.e. my being my-self). Thus, this way of letting others be also let myself be my-self at the end of and in the process of giving, which first initiated by God’s giving me this experience which is first and foremost of existence or existential. Such gift from God presented through and by me to the other and the self is what I felt as love. As I walked on the road, I participated both in the salvation of mine and the road’s, because the being of the road was presented in its use by the pedestrian, and the erect existence of the traveller was buttressed by the road, both sensed to be held in sustenance in God’s hands. God is hence not just giving but also loving and salvific. He is who we can see as the Absolute Other on which we can rely internally to complete our-selves and our beings. Such intrinsic reliance for taking the next step, also namable as faith, is contrary to external authority over us just because it becomes part of our own authority as we allow our-selves to connect to it as the necessary link to fulfill our existences. With this Absolute Other, we can be hopeful for the future in the midst of suffering, such as the weariness of the backpacker on his never-ending lonely journey, because there and then God had him. And by this hope, he, there and then, and I, here and now, have cast away the gloomy clouds, greeting the sunshine and the breeze of the new day.

Finished writing at 23:59 on 31 August 2017.

[1] For if I have truth and righteousness (which some alone is sufficient for happiness or other states of existential adequacy), why do I have to search for more?

宸開四志(五/外篇)恆指令我無朋友 5th Solar Eclipse on the Outside: Hang Seng Index: I am My Only Friend

Featured宸開四志(五/外篇)恆指令我無朋友 5th Solar Eclipse on the Outside: Hang Seng Index: I am My Only Friend





Paris, France.



Dining with friends in Paris, France.



Kristianstad, Sweden.








進階聆聽材料:Alan Walker. (2015). Faded.


  1. 宸開四志(一/後篇)海德格的孤等 1st Solar Eclipse at the Back: Heideggerian Wait
  2. 宸開四志(二/左篇)格林喝摩登咖啡 2nd Solar Eclipse on the Left: Greenfeld Drinks Modern Coffee
  3. 宸開四志(三/右篇)百年孤寂閒軼事 3rd Solar Eclipse on the Right: Some Hundred Ordinary Years of Solitude
  4. 宸開四志(四/前篇)沉默不是金色的再見 4th Solar Eclipse at the Front: Silence is not a Golden Farewell

宸開四志(四/前篇)沉默不是金色的再見 4th Solar Eclipse at the Front: Silence is not a Golden Farewell

Featured宸開四志(四/前篇)沉默不是金色的再見 4th Solar Eclipse at the Front: Silence is not a Golden Farewell


寫了三年同志文學,我還是找不到受保護的感覺,只好計劃到北歐散散心。從前對異性的絶望,如今竟又在他身上窺察到片影。每次在遠離校園的大街,拖着那個正在我身旁駕着車的他,也不由自主地反問自己︰我真的要牽着他發冷的右手,繼續走往後的窄路嗎?我不期望向他取暖,只是不知為何,與兩季前情竇初開之時相比, 今天的我愈來愈介意他手心的溫度。




Temppeliaukion Kirkko, Helsinki, Finland.




Helsinki, Finland.



Aarhus, Denmark.









Dublin, Republic of Ireland.




曾以〈前後左右︰當我們望著不同的方向〉為題,刊載於《靈心 • 當我們望著不同的方向》(嶺南大學基督徒團契靈心文字事工小組二零一五至一六年度於一六年三月三十一日出版)。