It wouldn’t be possible to delve into the extended meaning of the various symbols inscribed into the coins. Only after spending a lot of time in the theory and practice of pyrotheology will it begin to become clear. Indeed, that is part of the intention. At a time when we seek theories that offer immediate clarity and technologies that make life simpler, we have to be reminded that some journeys require great effort. I have however given a small introduction to each of the elements.
The Lack of the Secret / The Secret of the Lack
This text expresses the essence of a journey from the sense of lacking the secret to life, to discovering the secret of the Lack. In other words, it is a journey toward breaking us free from attachment to the fantasy of a non-divided Other (the Guru) and from attachment to the fantasy of a non-antagonistic way of being (the Utopia). In other words, pyrotheology is a theory and technology designed to help people acknowledge and subjectivize the central antagonism that constitutes reality.
The fundamental move - or trick - of pyrotheology is one of misrecognition/misdirection: People enter into the process, believing that it will help them escape the contingent deadlocks that beset their life, and gradually find themselves confronting a Fundamental Deadlock. A confrontation that opens up a new way of being (Salvation).
Paradoxically (or, rather Dialectically), one enters pyrotheology to escape their lack through discovering the Secret, only to discover that the secret involves a confrontation with the Secret of Lack.
An insight that retroactively undermines the project of pyrotheology itself.
This latin phrase is reworking of the famous Credo quia absurdum (I believe because it is absurd). While the original phrase is an incorrect reworking of a sentence from Tertullian’s De Carne Christi, and almost universally read in a critical way, the misreading is a cornerstone to pyrotheology, which argues that there is an absurdist dimension of Christianity that touches on the truth-event of a religionless faith.
In order to help free us from the mechanism of transference that binds us to the twin dangers of the Guru and the Utopia, pyrotheology employs transference to occupy these spaces. Exploding them from the inside so that the individual is not simply disillusioned in relation to one rendering of the Guru, or the Uptopia, but from any manifestation of them. In this way, commitment to the theory and technology of pyrotheology involves being freed from any transferential relationship to them. It involves a type of membership to a group that undermines the very idea of being a member. It originally appears to be a type of Religious Order, yet begins to reveal itself as a path towards freedom from any Religious Order. Pointing in the direction of a form of Religionless (Dis)Order.
And, of course, if you're ever accused of being a pyrotheology groupie, you have the non-membership coin to prove that you're not.
The idea of the Absurd Cross is that offers a visual representation of how the central event of Christianity is a type of embedded impossibility that binds together opposites (finite/infinite, eternal/temporal, universal/particular, obstacle/goal) in a radically dialectic manner. As we identify with this event, we find a way of escaping the sacred and secular religions of hedonism and nihilism, into a type of faith built from the absurd.
As one experiences the event of the absurd through identification with the self contradiction of the Crucifixion, the curtain that separates us from the Sacred Object that promises fulfillment is torn asunder, and we are see that the Sacred Object doesn’t exist. The lies at the heart of the true conversion. Not a conversion that moves us from orbiting around one sacred object, to orbiting around another, but rather the conversion from the pursuit of any Sacred Object.
The point is not that nothing lies behind the curtain, but rather a type of felt nothingness, or nothing as something. This is represented by the Happy Reaper, a memento mori that acts as a positive signifier of the Lack. This is a symbol of the idea that our felt experience of lack at an ontic level actually reflects the reality of an ontological Lack. The is a fracture running across the reaper to symbolize the rupture at the heart of reality. This fracture has many names, for instance, it is called symptom in psychoanalysis, evolution in biology, uncertainty in mathematics and undecidability in physics). The reaper is happy to signal that we should not fear this lack, but actually find a way of integrating it into our lives, for it is as we integrate our lack into this Lack that we can find joy, experience grace, know forgiveness and build a world freed from ideology (traversing the fantasy).