Participatory Spirituality for the 21st Century
This new, fan-made web series illustrates some basic issues relating to the enfoldment of structural differentials...
Consider the advent of STAR TREK CONTINUES.
This a web-based continuation of the original 1960s Start Trek -- made and starring fans of the show. It picks up the day after the original series ended and uses the same sets, same costumes, lighting, sound effects, ironic acting and slow philosophical plots.
The pilot episode Pilgrim of Eternity (all that has been made at the time of this writing) revisits a character from the original series. The new Kirk and the crew (including, fascinatingly, the actual son of the actor who played Scotty -- reprising the role made famous by his father) re-encounters the Greek god Apollo with whom they wrestled in Who Mourns for Adonis?
In the original series, this encounter requires the human vanguard to subdue, trick & flee from Apollo. His "divine" power feeds upon energy he withdraws from mortals in the form of fear and worship. Now, deprived of food, Apollo (same actor from the original episode) has aged terribly. He has lost the love of his life and asks to be deposited on some world where he will be of no trouble. Of course the crew fears he will start to parasitically feel on human souls again.
After discovering that he cannot his urge to feed, he asks for the “god organ” to be cut from his body. But in a final self-sacrificial act of healing a crew member he does not die but heals. The organ which allowed him to feed of worship and fear was not the gods only source of strength. In the epilogue we see him on a world being a cryptic helper of human beings... remaining strong and eternal through assisting them.
What is the philosophic significance?
Well, the original series presented a very modern opinion... people have been duped, seduced and enslaved by the ancient myths. We can either fall for that old nonsense or use our reason, material savvy & teamwork to escape and stop being preyed upon by “the gods”. This is our liberation. Essentially we have suffered an historical crisis of conscience which leads away from the deities toward a lack of faith.
But the new plotline -- the internet plot line, the postmodern plot line -- is different. Now it is the god himself suffers a crisis of conscience. It leads him to discover that he wants to be a useful servant of human beings. The gap between “believers” and “non-believers” is not incorporated into the belief-symbol itself. The mythic deity no longer believes in himself! But this is precisely what enables him to transform into a force that is productively integrated with humanity rather than being a parasitic throwback.
When the gap between believers and non-believers was moved into the belief-object then the object was revitalized and made useful to human beings.
The gap between "belief" and "non-belief" is inscribed within the belief -- rather than held as a liberating oppositionality. And this turns out to be much more workable for human beings.
Rather than simply having human being believe or doubt, we allowed the god to possess the doubt. Essentially we have divinized doubt. Now the doubt-god is entirely workable again!
Wow, I had no idea about this program. When I first read your post, I thought you were proposing a remake; but today I clicked your link and saw the program is already underway... I watched the first quarter of the the first episode and they've definitely got the ironic cheese factor down! Looking forward to watching the rest...
It is easy to quickly overlook the alternate cast and to rejoice in the P2P construction spirit & the reverence for the ironic dimensions of the original. And relative to this site in particular, there is this interesting "incorporation of the split" relative to human religion... when this new episode is compared to the plot of the original Apollo episode.
A restoration is needed. A restoration which need which overcomes modernity & postmodernity but which sacrifices neither the growth-spirit, the scientific legacy, the machinery of human improvement or the vast context in which proliferating divergences between bodies, languages and realities is maintained. This has been Reconstructionism to indicate that it transcends-but-includes deconstructionism -- both the intellectually conscious and the gregarious, socially implicit forms of deconstruction.
What is the essential pattern which characterizes restoration? It is the gesture that affirms the "gap" without either becoming demoralized or halting before it as if it were the utmost fact. It is the gesture which makes the "short circuit" in the functional machinery of a new device. It is a bold, stark but permeable outline traced upon a zone of fuzzy logic. It is "/" treated as a non-problematic clarification. It is the digestion and assimilation that follows the separative bite.
Let us call it THE SPLICE.
A splice is a voluntarily connective separation. A splice is a break made to function as a non-break. A splice is an alliance of adversaries. It is another name for the constructive function of adjacency. It is the enactive form of proximity.
And let us not kid ourselves... it is also dialectical (if we read Hegel sympathetically). The absorption of the obstruction is the precondition for the new level of the intermingling of Spirit and Culture. The reinscription of the divide into one or more of the divided parties provides a mobilizing influence for the potential new simplexity which waits to reestablish pseudo-classical coherence around the new attractor (which is a principle of selection and interpretation among the accessible active potentials of the bits of things).
This is the moral, thus far, of STAR TREK CONTINUES.
My comfy brown scarf and winter hat were overstuffed and overdressed for the old Victoria bookstore -- Monroe's. I slumped in the corner with the latest Gothic resurrection of metaphysics by the Frenchman, Mr. Badiou.
She approached and handed me a book about Kwan Yin which had caught her fancy.
Of course I approved. It was adorable. But I inquired into the root of her instinct to venerate "compassion". Was it a some sort of sympathy? A contagious pity, a moral angst, a principle of naive self-sacrifice?
Or was it, rather, a principle of neuro-emotional coherence, a means of standing beyond the trivial flux of negative reactions, a scheme for more dextrously enfolding haphazard experiences and persons into a open field of empowering and healthy and meaning-filled life impressions? Was it an instinct in favor of depth tactics?
It was the latter.
Okay. Fine for her. But what about me?
I had now teased the virtue of compassion into two antithetical-but-related principles. I had done what Reich called "dialectics" and for which he praised Marx's evaluation of Capitalism -- a separation into more and less healthy trends within the same signifier.
I had now two compassions... purely from a storage point of view this would not do!
And was I not always growling at those who leave the analysis half-complete in their fascinated contemplation of dynamic plurality?
So I would have to do something which at first felt very risky. I worried I would lose what little intellectual integrity I possessed through a cavalier redefinition of "compassion, per se" -- such that in my world it now meant precisely "the productive postmetaphysical form in contradistinction to the degenerate-idealistic form".
But I was an ass to have worried. When my anxiety died down, I was bathed anew in the supernal richness of my new presumption. Now I was a Tibetan again! Spiritual royalty once more! Compassion was the most natural, sapphire blue jewel in the ancient Buddha Crown -- a glory beheld lucidly by those who have lungs for clear and high alpine atmospheres.
The radiance of my new compassion was not other than the "quotation marks" with which I had been handling it. My the inner contradiction was only the caterpillar and now I delighted in the incandescent butterfly. Its excessive attractiveness and culture-syntonic utility was none other than the very space which previously made me hesitate suspiciously!
A lucky day for everyone!
Just as the God Apollo (in STAR TREK CONTINUES) restores his luster via the assimilation the reality upon which humanity has lost its faith in all gods! Just as AQALs and ITs may rise a splendor that is granted to them only by their incorporation of what appears to be criticism.
And who will do this granting?
A "they"? Or an "us"?