I’ve been writing my own thematic index of Latour’s latest magnum opus (the 4th of his career, by my count), An Inquiry Into Modes of Existence (or AIME). One of the most interesting of these themes is Transcendence.
Latour repeatedly points out a distinction between “mini-transcendences” that occur across all continuities and “maxi-transcendences” that stand unified above or behind reality, causing and unifying all things. For Latour, any unity is the hard-won result of numerous mini-transcendences, not the cause of some hidden, pre-existent, transcendent force orchestrating from another plane of being.
By making this distinction, and then expounding it by distinguishing fifteen different kinds of mini-transcendence, each with its own kind of trajectory and way of leaping (and many with their own version of maxi-transcendent, space-filling ghostly entity that usurps the role of causer and unifier), Latour is helping me sharpen and refine my own religious understanding, which sees the best ascetic denial in renunciation of big billowy grand gods, to better embrace the infinite God who approaches us in much smaller, less glamorous and more challenging ways every minute of the day.