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Posts Tagged ‘paganism’

  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 […]

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  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).

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Just as the Haitian earthquake was followed by a welter of religious interpretations (fundamentalist Christians blaming sinful Haitians for it, Vodoun practitioners weighing in on the events, etc.), so the Japanese quake-tsunami-meltdown trilogy is offering evidence of humanity’s interpretive propensities. You may have already seen the YouTube troll video satirizing right-wing Christian responses, which scandalized […]

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As occasionally happens, I was invited to speak last week at a local Unitarian Universalist service (in Stowe, Vermont). Since today/night is Hallowe’en/Samhain and that’s part of what I spoke about, I thought I would share a brief summary of the talk, which was called “Hallowed Ground, Sacred Space, and the Space Between the Worlds.”

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If there’s a musical demonstration of relationalism, and by extension (as Skholiast points out) of ecology, it’s the kind of improvised music that the Dead are supposed to have excelled at (and occasionally did). The universe gives rise to many wondrous entities in its long history of spontaneity, relational responsiveness, habit-formation, and form-building. The habits start as rhythms, melodic chirps that turn into territorial refrains and calls, and that gradually maneuvre their way into verse patterns, melodies, harmonies, polyrhythms. Distinct songs develop for particular purposes and gradually get freed from those purposes, taken up into improvisational routines and performances, some of which crystallize into larger-scale architectonics, but only ever temporarily.

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Isis takes Hadot

Pierre Hadot died yesterday. An important influence on the later Foucault, a classicist whose readings of ancient Greco-Roman philosophers made them seem relevant once again, and an astute defender of the Orphic (as opposed to the Promethean) approach to Nature, Hadot’s influence was felt by many for whom philosophy is more than just a conceptual […]

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It’s been fascinating to watch the unfolding public conversation about Avatar (much of which, come to think of it, my early review had anticipated): environmentalist celebrations of how it portrays the Earth rising up against the megamachine of capitalism and patriarchy; critiques of how the film perpetuates the stereotyping of indigenous people and reiterates tropes of their salvation by white male messiah figures; the Vatican’s and religious right’s denunciations of its pantheism; the film’s advance of technological wizardry into the domain of a virtual hyperreality, like The Matrix but replacing that film’s gnosticism with a pantheistic new age science of networks and neural systems; and debates over the balance struck in the film between good spectacle (the high-tech stuff) and bad narrative (poor writing, flat characterization, stereotypes all over), or between bad spectacle (Spielbergian gee-whiz stuff) and good narrative (such as the film’s allegorization of global capitalism’s destruction of indigenous communities). Film Studies for Free has usefully summarized the various allegorical readings of the film proposed so far, many of which get articulated in conversations and comments by viewers in various blogs, op-ed commentaries, and social networking sites. [more]

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What do we do in the aftermath of such a disaster, except to express profound sadness, shock, and sympathy, and to send donations to aid and relief organizations working in the affected areas? How do we even portray it in a way that respects the victims? Citizen media, according to Media Nation blogger Dan Kennedy, […]

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New York Times op-ed columnist Ross Douthat has it partly right: with its tree/Goddess-worshipping, tribal-shamanic-indigenous-hunter-gatherer-Daoist-pagan New-Age all-is-One-ism, Avatar is an expression of the longstanding American tradition of pantheist nature spirituality. Douthat thinks that that’s mainstream and that Hollywood is fully behind it, but it’s really still the insurgent religion to muscular Christianity and militarist nationalism. This is one of the rare films in which the Goddess (Mother Nature & the Natives) takes on the Capitalist War Machine and… well, you’ll have to see who wins.

But behind it all is the Spielberg factor, i.e., that the overt message (‘Man vs. Nature’, or rather high-modernist techno-capitalism vs. Body-Shop-nature-tech) is undercut by the implicit message that it is science, technology, and Hollywood magic — the Image Industry, the Spectacle — that enchants us and brings us what we really want. And they bring us new life, maybe eternal life [...]

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Speaking here at the University of Vermont last Friday, Slavoj Žižek responded to a student query about where to study Lacanianism by lauding our Film and Television Studies Program as the only one anywhere at which Lacanians are actually “in power” — the current chair, former chair, and at least one other faculty member, plus […]

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