Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘pantheism’

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. […]

Read Full Post »

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 […]

Read Full Post »

or, Carl Sagan rides again, and again… Prometheus Unbound raises questions about the atheist spirituality of Symphony of Science‘s star-scientist-studded videos (pun only slightly intended — they are mostly men, yes, but drumming on djembes (!), and it’s well worth waiting to see Jane Goodall tell us about the “wuzzy” line between humans and the […]

Read Full Post »

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]

Read Full Post »

Gilles Deleuze’s cinema books make for difficult reading, and if one is to make headway into them, it helps not only to know something about Bergsonian philosophy, Piercian semiotics, and the history of film, but also to have clips at hand of the films Deleuze discusses. Fortunately, Corry Shores has been very helpfully compiling such clips, with excerpts from the books, at his Deleuze Cinema Project 1 blog site. [. . .]

As an art form of time, cinema can help us arrive at a more adequate understanding of the nature of time. If Deleuze is correct and the production and dissemination of a “direct” image of time within cinema expands our capacity to conceive of our own and the world’s temporality — or, rather, expands our capacities for ethically inhabiting time, for thinking, feeling, and affectively being with others, for generating productive syntheses in the differential fabric of the world, for becoming — then moving-image media hold great potential for our ability to understand and visualize the relationship between the world and ourselves in our common nature as time, duration, becoming, and change. [. . .]

Read Full Post »

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 [...]

Read Full Post »

Before Ken Burns’ 6-part, 12-hour series on the national parks was aired, a perceptive article by the LA Times’ Scott Timberg warned that it might be greeted by “sharp knives.” Ten years in the making, The National Parks: America’s Best Idea, finally came to our television screens last week, and so far no sharp knives […]

Read Full Post »

I know it’s just that they’ve touched my inner goth, but these graveyard photographs really do express something of what I find most appealing about the idea of immanence — that death is in the midst of life, the two entwined like the dying branches encircling the face of living stone in Onkel Wart’s photograph: […]

Read Full Post »

On the surface, “immanence” would appear to favor certain religiosities (paganisms, pantheisms, animisms, earth spiritualities) over others (transcendentalist monotheisms, rigid dualisms, Buddhist “extinctionism,” et al). But its resonance works within traditions as well: towards panentheistic strains of Christianity, where the Christ is seen as in-dwelling, where Easter is the rebirth of nature and life as […]

Read Full Post »