Monday, 23 August 2010
Sunday, 22 August 2010
Pharmaceuticalization of Society in Context: Theoretical, Empirical and Health Dimensions
Life, Science, and Biopower
Sunday, 1 August 2010
Moving along, this is not really that surprising, given how science has in some cases clearly mutated from occulture. Consider, for example, alchemy's relationship to the development of modern chemistry, and how figures such as Aleister Crowley were feted by the literati of their day; comprised of theosophists and amateur scientists. Indeed, the occult periodical press came into being to publicize occult ideas, to support emerging occult institutions and settle disputes within a counter-public sphere of occultism, and to legitimate occult knowledge in the dominant public sphere in quasi-scientific terms of validation.
In a similar vein, Darwin's legacy has tended to reinforce Lovecraft's influence on another religion cited by Possamai- namely, the Church of Satan. Like Crowley before him then, Anton LaVey drew on literary and (pseudo) scientific influences.The Church's doctrines are accordingly not theistic, but rooted instead in mechanistic materialism. This emphasis eventually led to a split in the Church, which resulted in the formation of the Temple of Set. The latter attempted to highlight intelligence as a distinctive attribute of human beings, but I can only guess that this stance made them seem a little out of step with the neo-Darwinian sentiments of most Satanists (or perhaps they were simply less opportunistic). This may have been their undoing (in contrast-- tellingly-- LaVey may have died, but the Church of Satan remains an ongoing concern).
I do agree with Possamai though that these religions cannot be dismissed as mere escapism. My point is not that the burden of proof shifts to theism alone, or that relativism is the only option (as implied by the characterization of "hyper real" religions). When assessing the relative merits of any of the belief systems I've discussed here, the important distinction is between:
In any case, Possamai's focus is more on how religion started to openly mesh with popular culture in the 1960s. With him and Dery specifically mentioning Lovecraft, it's also interesting to note (in addition to the i09 article on Lovecraft in Japan) the following:
Tatsumi's book [Full Metal Apache] is useful not only as a guide to works we might otherwise have overlooked but also to works we thought we knew well. He makes us aware, for example, of Yasuo Nagayama's "postcolonialist rereading" of "Godzilla," particularly Nagayama's insight that the monster may have had his genesis not in a nuclear mishap but rather in "a pseudoreligious and pseudoscientific theory championed by 19th-century Shintoist Masumi Ohishigori" -- new information for most readers.
"Deeply influenced by the rise of Darwinism and paleontology, Ohishigori," we learn, "came to invent an amazing theory that located the origin of man in dinosaurs born of Japanese gods." Some of these divine dinosaurs, Ohishigori's followers believed, survive deep in the ocean, and when one recalls that Godzilla seems to have emerged from the sea, one feels certain that the monster's creators had Ohishigori's theory somewhere in the backs of their minds.