June 30, 2016
Perhaps we could democratise not the jobs of authority (let them be done by competent people), but the selection of the sacred texts and objects. I want to vote for the the Ghent Altar. Media and screens as channels of engagement with the objects of veneration could become the sacred objects. People might develop variants of potter’s nod, which would look remarkably like the bobbing found in prayer. Let everyone’s world be real, might be our slogan.
On the outer panels of the altar, there are four figures in one row: the flanks are the patrons, all fleshy, very very real and present. The middle two are saints and they are paintings of statues. Representations of representations. Because they are above mere humans in the neo-Platonic hierarchy, you cannot see them, which would be to be in their presence. You must content yourself thus with a representation.
December 24, 2015
In this quote from the second of his 2012 Gifford Lectures, Bruno Latour laments the notion that one might recognise only a single kind of truth, and a single kind of veridication.
November 27, 2015
The various creeds of the Christian faiths appear to be confused with respect to the subject. In some traditions, the text is “We believe”, in some it is “I believe”. This does not seem to be a bone of significant contention (for once!), as very closely aligned traditions may differ in this small detail. It seems to make sense, though, as the Credo is professed together, in public, and the distinction between “I” and “We” is largely eradicated.
May 30, 2015
587 years before the Gutenberg Bible was printed, the Dunhuang scroll was printed using an already mature woodblock technique. The text printed was the Diamond Sutra. In a surprisingly contemporary manner, the text comes with this attempt to be available:
Reverently made for universal free distribution by Wang Jie on behalf of his two parents on the 15th of the 4th moon of the 9th year of Xiantong [11 May 868].
Perhaps a text such as this would make a good discussion point.
January 27, 2015
Several authors have objected to the notion that thoughts or ideas go on, separate from the words and movements that we see and hear. Here is Wittgenstein (Philosophical Investigations, p. 107):
“When I think in language, there aren’t ‘meanings’ going through my mind in addition to the verbal expression”
“The word and speech must somehow cease to be a way of designating things or thoughts, and become the presence of that thought in the phenomenal world, and, moreover, not its clothing but its token or body” (Phenomenology of Perception, p. 182)
Or, once more, Maxine Sheets-Johnstone:
“Movement is not a medium by which thoughts emerge but rather, the thoughts themselves, significations in the flesh, so to speak” (Thinking in Movement, p. 400)