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01 January 2008 @ 04:21 am
politically motivated religiosity  

is, historically speaking (which is to say, in my opinion of things), just a very barbaric and primitive form of what military strategists have in this century called '
psy-ops', rather than calling it propaganda and mind-control, which is to say, psychic warfare, whose remnants still persist today for similar reasons as they may have been used back then, namely for the stockpiling of wealth and empire.  Surely I'm not the first to say this, but I'm adding weight to the number of persons fervently entertaining this notion, such that perhaps very soon these numbers will begin to have a massive effect.

For instance, it says, in Ephesians 6:12

"For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places"

in other words, perhaps this is an allusion to a battle between proto-ideologies, world-views on the rise and in conflict; spiritual manifestos, for instance that of a cyclical universe of antiquity versus the linear, progressive model, which took reign and still purports to rule today, incessantly crying, marching: 'progress, evolution, industry, utility, a universal happiness only for those who believe...'  (but perhaps the time is nigh we renounce all happiness that is purportedly universal?... heaven knows)

(the swastika, many know, far precedes its use by the Third Reich; it's a pagan symbol, exemplifying the circular path of all things, the eternal recurrence of all natures, returning to the same, and a vindication of all life, and all death, in perpetual re-synthesis.  its opposition, in the Nazi regime, to the Judaic tradition, is particularly revealing, since many Jewish scholars claim, as a token of cultural pride, that the very notion of Progress itself which we today take for granted--the very concept of linear time--is an invention of the Jews.  Christianity purports to fulfil the linear progress implied in such a belief in the messianic legacy bequeathed by them, but as we know, the Judaic tradition strongly disagrees.  Nietzsche's opposition of the doctrine of the Eternal Recurrence, against Christianity's Final Judgment could be interpreted as a sort of renaissance of the notion of cyclical time in the West, and nothing less than a literary declaration of war against the linear model of time, adapted by the generation following him, but this remains to be shown. 

Everything goes, everything comes back; eternally rolls the wheel of being. Everything dies, everything blossoms again; eternally runs the year of being. Everything breaks, everything is joined anew; eternally the same house of being is built. Everything parts, everything greets every other thing again; eternally the ring of being remains faithful to itself. In every Now, being begins; round every Here rolls the sphere There. The center is everywhere. Bent is the path of eternity. - Nietzsche

There is a Great Year, whose winter is a great flood and whose summer is a world conflagration.  In these alternating periods the world is now going up in flames, now turning to water.  This cycle consists of 10,800 years. - Attributed to Heraclitus)

contemporary politically motivated religiosity, I argue, is barbaric because it villainizes every notion of civic virtue not reliant on their peculiar and vacantly authoritative frame of mind.  and it is primitive because its fundamental beliefs, structures, tactics, and assumptions, have not evolved with the progress of scientific knowledge (which, vindicating Socrates, has shown in recent years, we don't know with certainty regarding much at all about the deepest and most fundamental natures of the universe, actually).  these beliefs, whether forced by shame, guilt, threats, or  police brutality, are on par with a Stone Age-grasp of nature and our supposed place in it, which thrived in the darkest, superstitious, and most psychotic eras in the history of what is often shamelessly still referred to as 'humanity.'  its message is 'progress' but its means are clearly antithetical to such ends.

according to the late historian of Neo-Platonism Pierre Hadot, the genealogy of a peculiar form of magic as a way to persuade the masses, originates in mechanics,  which etymologically refers to trickery (mekhanika).  the dreaded dramatic phrase Deus ex machina still carries this connotation of forgery or travesty as a cheap remedy to a genuine problem.

the "indian rope trick" is a good example of this, a trick that relies on bright torches placed in front of the audience to blind their range of sight, or the pulleys and levers attached to the doors of pagan temples in antiquity which, upon opening, were connected by clever engineers to sound trumpets, create fire, smoke and other divine spectacles, to amaze the followers into believing in their purportedly divinely sanctioned power (and as the cult of Hollywood still shows today).  as the author Arthur C. Clark put it, "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."  and Aleister Crowley, the self-described "beast 666" defined "magick" as "the Science and Art of causing Change to occur in conformity with Will."  fair enough, I say, but is there a chance he might have confused the art of science (the inquiry into knowledge, for knowledge's sake) with the art of technology (the concern with effect, appearance, and utility)?  I propose this tangent could be pursued at another time.  yet the poetry of Goethe is prophetic.

You instruments, you mock me, I can see,
With wheel and pulley, cylinder and cords:
I faced the gate, you were to be the key,
But cannot lift the bolts, however shrewd your wards.
Mysterious in broad daylight, never
Will Nature be defrauded of her veil.
What to your spirit she reveal not, that you fail
to torture out of her with screw or lever.

Goethe - Faust

to return to the issue, the pervasive connection between miracles and divinity is moreover clear in the Gospels, and strangely, also the use of miracles as 'proof' for belief, despite their insistence on 'blind faith' for anyone clearly born unfortunately after such purportedly miraculous events.  (i.e. 'doubting Thomas', who believes in the resurrection only after poking the spear wound in Jesus' side with his finger tips)

yet we ought not to forget how the supposed modern 'greatest magician of all time', Harry Houdini, revolted by the manner in which local practicianers of magic fraudulently robbed the bereaved by using such deceitful means to purportedly communicate with their dead loved ones, made it his life's work to expose the fraud of practical magic in his own time, knowing very well the trickery involved in such shameless, shady, business.

what is reasonable to decide for the moment is that yes, we ought not to rule out magic in the universe, as a rare event, a prodigious happening on earth which can eternally shatter belief (and how many beliefs must be shattered, if not every last one?).  but whoever depends on miracles would seem a pathetic soul, for any reasonable being, like the poor factory worker who gambles away all his hard-earned savings, or spends it on the lottery.  whoever preaches magic, the uncanny, the unlikely, and the seemingly impossible, by principle, we ought to treat with caution and skepticism, which only means the capacity for inquiry--there may be magical beings in the world, yes sometimes even I entertain there truly may be... but history shows thus far it has only been through nothing less than a kind of baptism by fire, suffering, torture, insufferable anguish, and mayhem--against infinite odds--that such magic ever was revealed, to be hidden forever again.  magic comes at a high cost it seems and it has always been the task of humanity--its only birthright one is tempted even to say--to resist its precariously delicate advent by every means it can conjure, until the day that humanity itself is shattered and broken in the very attempt, at long last to clear the way for something unarguably and truly great standing in its demise.  then it should all probably happen again, in undue course as always been, and perhaps
even ought to be.
TarePandaaerodrome1 on January 1st, 2008 05:15 pm (UTC)
No society can maintain itself without the Roman pietas, a proper regard for tradition and the past. The traditions are valuable as such, without regard for "utility".
Shadow Playpolyvocity on January 1st, 2008 09:16 pm (UTC)
I find myself agreeing with you on this. Christianity is beautiful to me, and Judaism too, as aesthetic events, as events in themselves... but not so much in the supposed usefulness they have provided. I watched some of the film "Zeitgeist" last night (which is, admittedly very poorly documented--but it is a documentary after all... haha), and this anti-religious sentiment in me just swelled up and broke in this.
TarePandaaerodrome1 on January 1st, 2008 10:35 pm (UTC)
I love the forms of Christianity-- the language of the Authorised Version, the rituals and pageantry of Latin Catholicism, without any shred of belief. I find myself attracted to Judaic history as well. And...well...the Roman numina and Shinto have a wonderful emotional appeal. Performance art--- I suppose I see, say, the Roman Catholic church as a source of performance art and architecture and art.

"Zeitgeist"--- I must look for this at Netflix.
Shadow Playpolyvocity on January 1st, 2008 11:40 pm (UTC)
Just finished watching Zeitgeist. I'd love to hear your thoughts on it!
Shadow Playpolyvocity on January 1st, 2008 11:40 pm (UTC)
Moreover, rituals of all kinds hypnotize me
TarePandaaerodrome1 on January 2nd, 2008 02:04 am (UTC)
Is this "American Zeitgeist"? I looked at the imdb write-up and find myself somewhat...suspicious...of it.
Shadow Playpolyvocity on January 2nd, 2008 05:00 am (UTC)
No, not at all.

I'm suspicious about Zeitgeist as well, but I do find it a good corrective to the prevailing views of our time. (at least in North America)

This is the movie URL : http://zeitgeistmovie.com/

And a Wikipedia entry: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zeitgeist_movie

TarePandaaerodrome1 on January 2nd, 2008 02:03 pm (UTC)
I always enjoy wacka-wacka and conspiracy-theory stuff, but I think this would just leave me exasperated and annoyed. I'm happier with David Ickes and his lizards from space.
Shadow Playpolyvocity on January 8th, 2008 05:44 pm (UTC)

haha :)

Well, I once ran from the David Icke fanatics, then I ran into this.
A lot of what was covered in this flick, I could easily entertain (and moreover have entertained--although this documentary is rather dogmatic in its approach, as you have already guessed.
Shadow Playpolyvocity on February 19th, 2008 09:37 am (UTC)
terribly rushed for time, but I'm heading off to my 'motherland', South Korea, where I left when I was seven. will be there for a year at least. making money for grad school in Europe, also working on some writing and music. 3 hours 'til I leave, I'd better finish packing and such. until soon!

TarePandaaerodrome1 on February 19th, 2008 04:13 pm (UTC)
Re: ps
Good luck!

I've never been to SK, but I did teach a course on American culture/history once for SK architectural students here...

Which school in Europe?
Shadow Playpolyvocity on February 20th, 2008 01:31 pm (UTC)
Re: ps
EGS. do you know that one? in Switzerland.
Alain Badiou teaches there, and Slavoz Zizek.
I'm stranded at the Vancouver airport, with a 12 hour delay until my flight transfer. impossible to sleep between midnight and noon here. especially on these benches, I'm paranoid of thieves
TarePandaaerodrome1 on February 20th, 2008 02:32 pm (UTC)
Re: ps
EGS? I must look it up...

Airports always seem scarier than train stations--- designed less to human scale, flooded with too many people.