Participatory Spirituality for the 21st Century
"Your religion is based on fiction!!"
I came across the following article today and thought it would be interesting to discuss (both the article itself and the general question of the relationship of religion and fiction): Ten Religions Spawned by Works of Fiction.
It's surprising that Scientology isn't listed. Maybe too obvious? Or maybe too many people with money who wouldn't like their religion to be described in this way? (For an integralist, this wouldn't be an insult...)
Sloterdijk uses the case of Scientology (which eventually was established as a 'religion' rather than an educational/business enterprise on the advice of lawyers, primarily for financial reasons) to argue that religion per se does not exist. He's rejecting religion in the conventional sense, not necessary in the integral sense, or the way Layman defines it. But the term he prefers is anthropotechnics: systems of transformative practice which establish some kind of vertical tension. All "religions" in the past have been systems of anthropotechnics, in his view, but the boundary of anthropotechnics is not confined only to traditionally religious systems and encompasses things like the Olympics, sports, dance/acrobatics, the arts, therapy groups, etc.
An anthropotechnic movement can form just as well around art or a work of fiction as around an historical narrative. "Fiction" is not really a concern -- for fictional forms are nevertheless real (causally efficacious) in the teleotypal role they may play in generative (en)closures (to offer a mashup of my and Layman's terms).
For Latour, his mode [REL] (for religion) does not refer to traditional institutions either, but rather to that special meaning captured by the adverb, "religiously" -- what it means when we say someone does something religiously. For Latour, a statement or act is religious only in the sense that, and only when, it creates anew the person who says or performs it. There is an eschatological sense to it as well: those words and practices which bring about a sense of the completion of time (without implying an actual end to time). His [FIC] (fiction) mode is curiously related to [REL], and the two form a unique crossing. [FIC], like [REL], points to the adverbial form: "fictionally." What he means by this is "everything that folds beings in order to derive from them a new type of alteration, one that generates another world." [FIC] creates a rupture which has the capacity to draw out from beings or materials certain "figures, forms, or small worlds" which cannot be divorced from those beings nor simply reduced to them.