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Archive for the ‘SpiritMatter’ Category

In part 1 of this article, I compared two recent books, each of which proclaims a “new paradigm” in the scientific study of emotions and affect: Lisa Feldman Barrett’s “constructivist” How Emotions Are Made: The Secret Life of the Brain and Stephen Asma’s and Rami Gabriel’s “basic emotions”-rooted The Emotional Mind: The Affective Roots of Culture and Cognition. In […]

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The study of emotions, particularly within the field of affective neuroscience, is a complex field riven by paradigmatic division. In my book Shadowing the Anthropocene, I proposed a way to engage with one’s experience, including one’s emotional or affective experience, within an “eco-ethico-aesthetic” (or “logo-ethico-aesthetic”) practice that could help us deal with the “Anthropocene predicament.” […]

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I’ve long been receptive to the idea that we need a spiritual, or even a religious, movement to address the climate crisis. Of course, I define both “spiritual” and “religious” quite broadly, and am well aware of how both terms have been shaped within histories that are Eurocentric and dominated by monotheistic, Christian, and more […]

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Some people believe you’re born from nothing; you live, which is something; and then you’re gone again, back to nothing. (Here’s a poignantly compressed version of that, a life in under 6 minutes.) Others believe you’re part of a much larger thing, which keeps recycling itself (including you). Maybe there’s progress or development over the […]

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One of the most frustrating things about losing a family member during this pandemic has been the mandatory self-quarantine — the one that’s been imposed on me for crossing a national border to get here (to the Toronto area where my father was living up until a few days ago), and on my sister who […]

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An article of mine by that title has appeared in a special issue of the Journal for the Study of Religion, Nature, and Culture on “Popular Culture, Religion, and the Anthropocene.” The article contains the theoretical core of the book I’m currently writing on image regimes. It builds on my work in cinema and media […]

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Part Two of my book Shadowing the Anthropocene (open access to all) outlines a system of “bodymindfulness” practice rooted in the mindfulness meditation system of Shinzen Young, but extended triadically to account for the active nature of living. Here are a couple of comments on and tweaks to that system, which I’ll refer to as […]

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The following is a short essay I wrote for the Peder Sather/Reassembling Democracy workshop on “Environmental Change and Ritualized Relationships with the Other-than-Human World,” held at UC Berkeley this past December. There are physical boundaries between humans and specific nonhumans—fences, walls, windows (of homes, gardens, kennels, zoos, abbatoirs, safari vehicles, camera lenses, guns); and there […]

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Here’s a hypothesis: If the human community exists in some more or less unified form in 880 years (in the year 3000 by our calendar), that feat will have been accomplished, at least in part, in and through the emergence of an ecological religion. What does this mean, and how could we test it? Religion, […]

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Wow, what a reaction the article described here has gotten… This version includes a follow-up comment below. Jonathan Franzen’s “What If We Stopped Pretending?” articulates an important point about hope and hopelessness in the face of climate change. Franzen suggests that an “all-out war on climate change” no longer makes sense because the scenario for […]

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A Guardian article making the rounds on social media argues that the mindfulness movement has become “the new capitalist spirituality” — “magical thinking on steroids,” which instead of overturning the “neoliberal order,” now “only serves to reinforce its destructive logic.” This “McMindfulness,” as Ronald Purser calls it, has been “stripped of the teachings on ethics […]

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Okay, so I watched Harry and Meghan’s royal wedding (not so much intentionally as to enjoy the loving company of my co-habitants) and was impressed by the tension between Bishop Michael Curry’s sermonizing on love and the dour and perplexed faces of many of the royal-loving Brits in the audience. Diana Evans’ Guardian piece gets […]

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