I don’t yet have an electronic version of my closing chapter, “Religious (Re)Turns in the Wake of Global Nature,” but I’d be happy to share a pre-publication version of it upon request. An excerpt of it can be found here.
The other 99% have apparently gone extinct. (The estimate is actually closer to 100% than 99%.) This I just learned form Joshua Schuster’s talk on “Digital extinction.”
The earth’s biological diversity is also the highest it’s ever been. We are living between the achievement (of speciation to tremendous levels of flourishing) and the projection (that up to half of species will go extinct in the next hundred years, massive extinction being underway). Celebrate the moment.
Appropriate thoughts for Cinco de Mayo (and belatedly for May Day and Beltane).
In a comment to my last post on triads and divinities, my frequent commenter/interlocutor “dmf” points out a nice essay by Robert Gall called “From Daimonion to the ‘Last’ God: Socrates, Heidegger, and the God of the Thinker,” which Mark Fullmer has made available beyond the restricted-access community.
Gall distinguishes between the god of the religious believer, the god of the philosopher (“all those abstract ‘ultimate realities’ that have accumulated throughout the history of Western philosophy that complete some comprehensive, intellectual view of all that is”), and the “god of the theologian,” including those theological “knockoffs,” as Rorty calls them — like Tillich’s of Heidegger, Mark Taylor’s of Derrida, Richard Kearney’s of both (among others), process theologians’ of Whitehead, and, earlier, Aquinas’s of Aristotle — that appropriate philosophy for theology.
To these three Gall adds a fourth: the “god of the thinker.”
Heard about this last night. She died peacefully at her home in Massachusetts yesterday evening, surrounded by family.
(We had just seen her son Dorion Sagan, son of Carl, give a great talk at the anthropology conference last Friday, after which he and his partner had to speed back to Toronto to get their passports to fly to Boston.)
She was one of most important biologists of the past century, and the female face of the Gaia hypothesis, the radical implications of which have yet to be recognized. (They go beyond the popular interpretations and involve the importance of understanding symbiosis and the role of bacteria in life on Earth.)
The Speculative Realist blogosphere has recently been alight with debates over the role of religion, God, theism versus nihilism, the secular and the “post-secular,” and other such things. Since these are topics I’m naturally interested, and somewhat invested, in, I ought to participate, but time constraints have made that all but impossible for me recently.
Time magazine’s Healthland supplement summarizes a recent clinical study of 18 healthy, spiritually inclined adults who were administered a certain drug over 5 eight-hour sessions. Among the results:
Fourteen months after participating in the study, 94% of those who received the drug said the experiment was one of the top five most meaningful experiences of their lives; 39% said it was the single most meaningful experience.
Critically, however, the participants themselves were not the only ones who saw the benefit from the insights they gained: their friends, family member and colleagues also reported that [X] had made the participants calmer, happier and kinder.
The news that self-help guru James Arthur Ray has been found guilty of three counts of negligent homicide brings to an end (of sorts) a saga that began with three deaths and numerous injuries at an October, 2009, sweat lodge ceremony outside Sedona, Arizona. Since I’ve written a handful of articles and half a book about Sedona, and some of the people I wrote about have been indirectly affected by the event, I thought it fitting to comment on it here.
In its “Best places to celebrate the solstice,” Salon.com urges us to “embrace your inner pagan” — at places like Glastonbury Festival (natch), the Hill of Tara in Ireland, Cusco in Peru, and the desert site of Nancy Holt’s Sun Tunnels in Utah (pictured above).