EXPERIENCES OF TOLERANCE: IMMANENCE, TRANSCENDENCE, HILARITAS
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The objective of this study is to think the intersection of tolerance and toleration. By tolerance I mean the disposition of embodied agents to endure circuits of pain and suffering. By toleration I mean the institutional framework by which a government, in the name of neutrality or reasonableness, seeks to accommodate minority groups. Most liberal political theorists either overlook or deface the distinction and relation between these practices. This study takes issue with this lopsidedness. It tends to eviscerate the nature of tolerance as the endurance of pain and suffering. And it may foreclose sustained engagement with the embodiment of this endurance. Invoking a minor tradition in political theory that includes thinkers such as Spinoza and Merleau-Ponty, this study poses two sets of questions: What defines the circumstances from which tolerance arises? What sensibility nurtures these circumstances in the most effective way? The study considers these questions along six points. First, that it is possible to identify two circuits of pain and suffering—one related to affect, another related to perception—that, because they define the body in both its individual and collective modes of appearance, expose the subsistent character of tolerance. Second, that this subsistence allows us to think of bodies as potential carriers of tolerance, that is, as carriers of a predisposition to tolerance in private and public. Third, that although bodies contain this predisposition, there are counter forces at work that can easily inhibit it. Fourth, that the sensibility of hilaritas provides resources to inspire people to enact an ethos of tolerance. Fifth, that part of this ethos is an appreciation of the contestable relationship between doctrines of immanence and transcendence. Sixth, that another part of the ethos is a politics of tolerance and toleration that appreciates the separation of church and state as an uncertain and ongoing project, one in which the separation itself is open to experimentation.