Religion


Our cultures are facing the shock of science! I hate test tubes and microscopes for the most part with the exception of when they are used as props in science fiction movies.
Can’t you see what this modern era of the last six hundred years has been doing to us?! Its getting harder and harder to get a spirit possession properly diagnosed and your village’s well protected from various vampiric creatures including Biting Blankets and Wooly Mammoth Wooly Socks.
We are undergoing a paradigm shift.
But not everyone and everything need be vulnerable to the seemingly inexorable march of science’s influence!
Yes, my brothers and sisters our minds are the last great fortress against those evil forces of Reason.
Our old gods can take respite in the hold-out of your mind and I encourage each of you to hold fast in the face of facts and objectivity.
What we have always held dear is our human capacity to instill fear and give explanation and meaning through off-the-cuff story telling and no amount of Education can rip that instinct from our primitive minds!

Take for example the Wind Wolf. Hear that noise outside? You know what that is. It is the Werewolf’s inbred cousin who visits children during windy nights and howls among the alleys and parking lots. The Wind Wolf smells the sin of lust and Self Pleasure. That howling is a warning Little Ones! Beware and repent!
You may hear from younger generations who have been indoctrinated with the ‘new worldview’ that Wind Wolves have never been proven to truly punish children who incite their lustful longings with exploratory hands and shower nozzles but remind them: sometimes Wind Wolves exact their punishment in the afterlife!
Take heed before it’s too late!

And who hasn’t noticed that the religion of the Floorafe has diminished in recent years?
Yes, the tale of the Floorafe has largely been pushed aside in favor of “evolution” and “common sense,” both of which are purely tools of the Cloven Hoofed Old Scratch.
We can all recall the story of the Floorafe:
In the beginning a giant giraffe filled the whole of the cosmos. Its wisdom and neck were limitless.
It created humanity and was pleased with the way humans groveled underfoot.
Over many millenia humans learned to walk upright and started to see themselves as equals to the Great Giraffe in The Sky.
Given that the Great Spotted Lanky One was Eternally Humble, She said to Herself,
“Okay, you humans think you’re so great…I’ll allow myself to shrink and not stand in your way of development and growth.”
So She shrunk and allowed humans to have more and more control and understanding of Her universe.
Soon humans were exploring space and manipulating DNA….And more did She shrink.
Before long humans were feeling pretty good about themselves–they were healing diseases, predicting storms, and those aspects of the universe that had once been mysteries to them opened up before the human species and they found less and less need for astral powers and spiritual beings.
The Great Giraffe shrunk even further until Her neck was touching Her shoulders and She looked no different than a humble horse. As humanity’s strength grew, She shrunk even more until she was two dimensional and as flat as a string of nanomolecules.
Now, The Great Giraffe hides in the floorboards of Her True Believers and is known among the initiated as the Floorafe.
She is only seen in the ‘heart of faith’ or sometimes makes Herself known under the feet of Her devotees when She makes a slight creaking noise.
“Oh, that’s just a loose floorboard.” some skeptics will say.
Ha!
We know the Truth.

Yes, there are many extinct Gods and Goddesses but with the proper upkeep of our mindscapes, we can hold on to the last remaining ghouls of our ancestors.

I do not agree with much of Paul’s stances, but I love this video on foreign policy!

your hair like raven’s nest
braided about you,
will never warm you.
spears like talon
tearing within you,
eyes of vultures
vying to hold you.
lift your death stare
skyward, Absalom.
mimic the sparrow
sing, Absalom.

 

yesterday I walked into a labyrinth
it was daylight and there weren’t any walls
so I could see where I was going

some Christians (or some pagans they’d contracted)
had painted the serpentine lines in the shadows
of brownstones and stained glass

I stumbled, imbroglio bunions breaking loose
from their meditative lap track
if my concentration was NASCAR I’d have made the highlights

where I was and the ‘was’ where I’d been and the where
I was to be going churned into fairground funnelcake:
adrift and threadless

event horizon/center met
sacred heart and Ground
alchemical chemistry set
the whole and hole
forgotten goal
this too shall pass
all void regret
round and round
the widening gyre
everything alight
in unconsuming fire

and then I went home and slept

 May 19th, 2011

Pope Benedict XVI, or “Benny Ten Six” as I like to call him, spoke a bit about Technology in his Palm Sunday Homily.

As a proud Irish Catholic (Irish by birth, Catholic by choice–and childhood prodding!) and lover of technology (I loved ‘Perfect Dark’ for Nintendo 64) I feel I have to make a brief comment on his Holiness’ comments.

The Pope said that technology can threaten humanity’s relationship with God–for it presents dangers both immediately tangible and dangers to our spiritual standing.

Sure, technology can be used to hurt and dehumanize.
But a person doesn’t need much more technology than a hefty rock to achieve that.
Even less! Look at all the damnable abuse done with bare hands–with only the threat of ‘shame’ to silence and bind a victim’s defenses.
Advances in technology do cause the immediate dangers of massive death and destruction. This is true.
Look at Fat Man and Little Boy.
But surely technology’s advance saves lives: innoculations and medicines of all types, agricultural advances to provide cheaper and more abundant food…

The Pope Said:
“…From the beginning men and women have been filled — and this is as true today as ever — with a desire to ‘be like God’, to attain the heights of God by their own powers…”
I say:
What beginning? It sounds like The Pope is talking about Adam and Eve with the allusion to being ‘like God’–a la eating the fruit of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Did that have to do with technology? Maybe an allusion to Babel would have been more appropriate. Was Babel about technology? Was the cause of the Flood? Was technology a matter of concern to the Prophets or…what was that guy’s name….Jesus?

The Pope Said:
“Mankind has managed to accomplish so many things: we can fly! We can see, hear and speak to one another from the farthest ends of the earth. And yet the force of gravity which draws us down is powerful…”
I say:
Ahhh, I have heard God compared to beauty, light, love, a Vine, peace–but I don’t know if I’ve ever heard God compared to gravity pulling a person down to the ground. It is a lovely image though.
Maybe this is along the lines of the story of Icarus. But I think that had to do with following wisdom and keeping a ‘Golden Mean’ more than a “flying is dangerous” fable.
Should we be ‘humble before God?’
Sure. 
But I would say that we should be humble before everyone. Like Icarus, we can listen to the great wisdom of our previous generations. We can listen to the perennial truths of the world’s religions. Those who are powerful and privileged can listen to the marginalized, the hurting, the oppressed.  

The Pope said that natural disasters remind us that we aren’t all-powerful.
Yup. That’s why we need technology to improve our alerting systems, our evacuation and rescue robotics and transports, our architecture so that it doesn’t fall on us, and our communications to streamline recovery and rescue operations.

The Pope Said
that if humanity wishes to have a closer relationship to God, humanity should “abandon the pride of wanting to become God…”
I say:
Does advancing technology have anything to do with ‘being like God?’
No.
Even if one had great powers–equivalent of Tony Stark or Reed Richards–that does not at all encroach on the area of the ‘divine!’

Check it out. Who is close to the heart of God as depicted by Jesus? The poor. The destitute. The marginalized and politically voiceless. It seems that they would be “the least likely to own an iPhone!”

God is not about ‘ability.’
If God was ‘all-powerful’ and a petty jerk, that wouldn’t make God much of a God would it?
God is about love, goodness, beauty, truth, mercy, sacrifice, community, humility, service, justice…

Besides, it isn’t just technology that ‘enables’ and ’empowers’ folks.
Money does a bit of that too.
And I think there was once a poor Jew from Nazareth who spoke pretty fiercely about those who hoarded money, who had greedy hearts, who abused the poor.
But who would want to hear a homily calling the world’s governments, corporations, and rich to accountability for their greed and amassing of wealth? That’d be a bummer.

Happy Holy Week,
Ryan McGivern

One Laptop Per Child:
http://one.laptop.org/

http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/04/17/us-pope-idUSTRE73G0FA20110417?feedType=RSS&ca=samsung
http://www.deseretnews.com/article/700127919/Pope-leads-faithful-in-Palm-Sunday-outdoor-Mass.html?s_cid=rss-5

After thinking about this wonderfully beautiful film for almost two months, I finally (perhaps foolishly) feel ready to mutter a few of my frayed synapses’ most muddled concatenations.

I understand that Trier constructed Antichrist in such a way as to be available to a number of interpretations. He does this through utilizing symbols that nod to a number of possible sources.
So while saying that, I do feel that looking at Trier’s pattern of motifs and statements from his body of work one can make better sense of what he’s doing here.

Most informative to Antichrist are the films where Trier re-imagines Christianity: Breaking the Waves, Dancer in The Dark, Dogville, Manderlay. These films are inventive and challenging presentations which riff on themes of The Leap of Faith, and Saint as Martyr usually with the background of human injustice and cruelty.

Antichrist fits right in with these previous films because it immediately requires the viewer to question themselves:
“What is ‘Christ’?”
“What is it to be ‘Anti-Christ’?”

I was very tempted upon finishing Antichrist to pit it as a ‘counter’ or antithesis of the Christ/Saint/Martyr themes of the other films, as though maybe Antichrist was ‘about humanity’ or ‘a view of the world without God.’
I see that this was wrong.
Why?
Because Trier has always asked of us to see each of us as living Christ events. The potential for each of us to perform ‘impossible leaps of faith’ and the non-rational means and often tragic conclusions of these ‘leaps.’
He asks of us to see Christ’s humanity, and humanity’s potential to enact the divine in the midst of our largely banal, cruel, and chaotic world.

So what or who is the Antichrist implied here?
I believe that it is the ‘Chaos that reigns.’
It is meaninglessness, the force that surrounds us at all times that tempts us to see our lives as without order, meaning, without value.
The position that I believe Antichrist takes is that this force of meaningless chaos is real. It is the real state of things. It is however conquerable through our each making a ‘leap of faith’ as it were.
This triumph of the human spirit is not a synthesis or balance of Reason and Intuition, or Order and Chaos–it is the abnegation of these as opposing poles and transcending them in Pure Resolution or Survival.

Antichrist is the description of the triumph that occurs in one’s affirmation of life through their decision or choice. When one accepts the meaningless chaos and still rises with a ‘yes saying’ to life they pass through death and are recreated and mark a ‘Christ event.’

Here’s how I came to this view:

The film begins with a creative act: the act of making love. In the midst of creation, there is loss–in this case the loss of a young life. Decision is definitive. It says yes and it says no. Future is created and possible futures are cast off. We cannot know all the outcomes or consequences of our choices and we must accept that in our life-creation there will be potentially hurtful and destructive effects. This can be one definition for the ‘state of sin’ in the world.

From this moment of ‘decision’ our characters embark on paths that illustrate ways of trying to contain or control chaos. The husband and wife portray different ways that one may ‘wrap their head’ around this existential burden and we see that rationality and madness, science and magic, are just different paths of coping with or trying to control life.

Ultimately the husband finds that these concepts are not enough–one cannot shirk off or end the power of Antichrist. One only can continue, persevere in the face of it.

Integral to this idea in the film is the appearance of bodies in the forest. At first there are only languishing or lifeless bodies covering the forest floor as the couple make love: the quest is almost fulfilled, concepts of madness and reason are being dissolved–
then in the Epilogue we see the weary and battered husband as triumphant and he is joined by fully formed and living people.
These people are the new future, continued possibility, Life flooding towards the Hero of Faith.

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