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Has the social replaced the religious?

Discuss philosophical questions regarding theism (and atheism), and discuss religion as it relates to philosophy. This includes any philosophical discussions that happen to be about god, gods, or a 'higher power' or the belief of them. This also generally includes philosophical topics about organized or ritualistic mysticism or about organized, common or ritualistic beliefs in the existence of supernatural phenomenon.
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h_k_s
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Re: Has the social replaced the religious?

Post by h_k_s » July 7th, 2019, 5:26 pm

GaryLouisSmith wrote:
July 3rd, 2019, 7:49 am
In a century as wracked by upheavals as was the nineteenth, the event that in fact summed up all the
others was to pass unobserved: the pseudomorphism between religious and social. It all came together not
so much in Durkheim’s claim that “the religious is the social,” but in the fact that suddenly such a claim
sounded natural. And as the century grew old, it certainly wasn’t religion that was conquering new
territories, beyond liturgy and cult, as Victor Hugo and many who followed him imagined, but the social
that was gradually invading and annexing vast tracts of the religious, first by superimposing itself on it,
then by infiltrating it in an unhealthy amalgamation until finally it had incorporated the whole of the
religious in itself. What was left in the end was naked society, but invested now with all the powers
inherited, or rather burgled, from religion. The twentieth century would see its triumph. The theology of
society severed every tie, renounced all dependence, and flaunted its distinguishing feature: the
tautological, the self-advertising. The power and impact of totalitarian regimes cannot be explained
unless we accept that the very notion of society has appropriated an unprecedented power, one previously
the preserve of religion. The results were not long in coming: the liturgies in the stadiums, the positive
heroes, the fecund women, the massacres. Being antisocial would become the equivalent of sinning
against the Holy Ghost. Whether the pretexts spoke of race or class, the one sufficient reason for killing
your enemies was always the same: these people were harmful to society. Society becomes the subject
above all subjects, for whose sake everything is justified. At first with recourse to a grandiloquent
rhetoric brutally wrenched from religion (the sacrifice for the fatherland), but later in the name of the
mere functioning of society itself, which demands the removal of every obstacle.

Roberto Calasso in Literature and the Gods
And ???

Is there a question buried in there someplace ???

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Felix
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Re: Has the social replaced the religious?

Post by Felix » July 7th, 2019, 5:27 pm

Then again, religion has always been political so perhaps nothing has really changed, the emperor just has new clothes.
"We do not see things as they are; we see things as we are." - Anaïs Nin

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h_k_s
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Re: Has the social replaced the religious?

Post by h_k_s » July 7th, 2019, 5:30 pm

Greta wrote:
July 6th, 2019, 7:39 pm
More that the individual is being subsumed by the collective. That's how things grow in nature - they collect, subsume and integrate.

I only woke up to this in retirement when I was finally able to be an individual living in the world rather than a personality living in a sea of human opinion. I was almost blind to the non-human for decades. If it wasn't human or relational, it didn't matter. The world largely consisted of just two things - people and stuff that people used or avoided.

This insanity appears to be necessary to survive in the demanding situations that people concoct for each other. It's only when I stepped off the treadmill that I noticed the blinkers that I, and almost everyone else, wears.

In summary, "the religious" refers to just one more self-interested group, albeit often fetishised.

"The religious" are akin to what was once called "company men" - who would dedicate their lives to their company (and the company would look after them in turn, until the bargain was broken by economic rationalist competition). Like any closed group, from the Mafia to Exxon, the religious tend to make great friends and bad enemies. You are either with us or against us.

Religions are a perversion of at least my interpretation of spirituality. Their exclusivity is a distortion of the relationship we as individuals have with the world (or as much as we can access). To take our relationships with animals, plants, skies, the land, and so on as seriously as we take our relations with people.

When I lived only in the human jungle, the idea of taking animals, plants or anything non-human as seriously as people was laughable, loony. Tree huggers and whale whisperers. (Unless those things add to our wealth, status or comfort, of course). Egotism.

This dynamic changes for many when they are dying and become increasingly inaccessible to others. Finally alone with the world they start to experience a more raw and profound spirituality that they had been conditioned to ignore during life. Then they speak ruefully about all the awesomeness of life and nature that they dismissed and, thus, missed. What is meditation but taking a break from human BS?

Ideally we would learn lessons from those on their deathbeds rather than wait for it to happen to us but, alas, learning from people who know more than we do is less popular than maintaining (blissful?) ignorance.
The original founders of religions (Siddhartha Gautama, Moses (Moshe), Jesus (Jeshua), Muhammad, etc.) all seemed sincere enough.

But their successors have corporatized their organizations.

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Re: Has the social replaced the religious?

Post by GaryLouisSmith » July 8th, 2019, 2:29 am

Felix wrote:
July 7th, 2019, 5:27 pm
Then again, religion has always been political so perhaps nothing has really changed, the emperor just has new clothes.
Why do you say that religion has always been political? Even now, when I go to a village here in Nepal and I watch animal sacrifice to the goddess Durga and I see shamans perform their trembling rituals before spirits, I see no politics. The people are dealing with the gods and goddesses, trying to avert danger and get help. Where's the politics?

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Re: Has the social replaced the religious?

Post by Belindi » July 8th, 2019, 4:21 am

Felix wrote:
July 7th, 2019, 5:27 pm
Then again, religion has always been political so perhaps nothing has really changed, the emperor just has new clothes.


At one time religion and politics were the same. There is evidence for this in the Old Testament where in Leviticus can be read detailed laws and punishments. By the time of Jesus who proclaimed "Let Caesar get what is Caesars's and God what is God's" politics and religion were separating.

Islam has never entirely separated politics and religion and with ISIS has politicised Islam entirely.

Emperor Constantine began the politicisation of Xity I.e. Xity became an adjunct to political power.

The history of art is similar to the history of religion. Once art was part of life. Then it became split into popular art, and high art which only the rich could afford. Avant garde art is the bearer of pure art and will probably perform that service for religion and ethics too.

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Re: Has the social replaced the religious?

Post by Belindi » July 8th, 2019, 4:27 am

GaryLouisSmith wrote:
July 8th, 2019, 2:29 am
Felix wrote:
July 7th, 2019, 5:27 pm
Then again, religion has always been political so perhaps nothing has really changed, the emperor just has new clothes.
Why do you say that religion has always been political? Even now, when I go to a village here in Nepal and I watch animal sacrifice to the goddess Durga and I see shamans perform their trembling rituals before spirits, I see no politics. The people are dealing with the gods and goddesses, trying to avert danger and get help. Where's the politics?
What GLS describes is popular art/religion. The popular, where it is not commercialised, always was a rebel against the political establishment and that being so popular art is a wellspring of creativity. The RC establishment knew the power of the popular undercurrent and wisely alllowed it controlled outlets.

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Re: Has the social replaced the religious?

Post by GaryLouisSmith » July 8th, 2019, 7:21 am

Belindi wrote:
July 8th, 2019, 4:27 am
GaryLouisSmith wrote:
July 8th, 2019, 2:29 am


Why do you say that religion has always been political? Even now, when I go to a village here in Nepal and I watch animal sacrifice to the goddess Durga and I see shamans perform their trembling rituals before spirits, I see no politics. The people are dealing with the gods and goddesses, trying to avert danger and get help. Where's the politics?
What GLS describes is popular art/religion. The popular, where it is not commercialised, always was a rebel against the political establishment and that being so popular art is a wellspring of creativity. The RC establishment knew the power of the popular undercurrent and wisely alllowed it controlled outlets.
Yes, there are the educated, Urban elite who have science and truth and look down their high nose at the village people who have magic, who understand deception and have the ability to scare the hell out of you. It's quite a show. Who will win? I put my money on the village people every time. All over the world the higher echelons of people are trembling with feat that those dark-skinned people are going to crash well-fortified borders and overwhelm the good people. Of course they will.

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Re: Has the social replaced the religious?

Post by chewybrian » July 8th, 2019, 11:11 am

GaryLouisSmith wrote:
July 8th, 2019, 7:21 am
I put my money on the village people every time.
Image

I much prefer the Electric Light Orchestra, but to each their own.
"If determinism holds, then past events have conspired to cause me to hold this view--it is out of my control. Either I am right about free will, or it is not my fault that I am wrong."

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Re: Has the social replaced the religious?

Post by Belindi » July 8th, 2019, 1:48 pm

GaryLouisSmith wrote:
July 8th, 2019, 7:21 am
Belindi wrote:
July 8th, 2019, 4:27 am


What GLS describes is popular art/religion. The popular, where it is not commercialised, always was a rebel against the political establishment and that being so popular art is a wellspring of creativity. The RC establishment knew the power of the popular undercurrent and wisely alllowed it controlled outlets.
Yes, there are the educated, Urban elite who have science and truth and look down their high nose at the village people who have magic, who understand deception and have the ability to scare the hell out of you. It's quite a show. Who will win? I put my money on the village people every time. All over the world the higher echelons of people are trembling with feat that those dark-skinned people are going to crash well-fortified borders and overwhelm the good people. Of course they will.
Is there a bit of noble savage bias with you?

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Re: Has the social replaced the religious?

Post by Felix » July 8th, 2019, 2:12 pm

GaryLouisSmith: The people are dealing with the gods and goddesses, trying to avert danger and get help. Where's the politics?
Prayers, alms, sacrifices; these are hardly apolitical.
"We do not see things as they are; we see things as we are." - Anaïs Nin

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Re: Has the social replaced the religious?

Post by GaryLouisSmith » July 8th, 2019, 6:40 pm

Belindi wrote:
July 8th, 2019, 1:48 pm
GaryLouisSmith wrote:
July 8th, 2019, 7:21 am


Yes, there are the educated, Urban elite who have science and truth and look down their high nose at the village people who have magic, who understand deception and have the ability to scare the hell out of you. It's quite a show. Who will win? I put my money on the village people every time. All over the world the higher echelons of people are trembling with feat that those dark-skinned people are going to crash well-fortified borders and overwhelm the good people. Of course they will.
Is there a bit of noble savage bias with you?
I think it is interesting that you are trying to find a place for me to sit among your invited guests. I really don't think Rousseau would want me sitting next to him. How about the Marquis de Sade? Probably not. Oh well, I think you should put me among the Dadaists. Put me for a time with the Conceptual Poets. My writing and my philosophy is to "real" philosophy what conceptual poetry is to "real" poetry. Here's another of Kenneth Goldsmith's videos. Maybe you can get an inkling of what I am up to from that. An inkling sounds like something a plumber should fix. Whatever - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FEhMR0U6oz8 If you don't mind, I could sit on the floor. But I would prefer on the front steps.

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Re: Has the social replaced the religious?

Post by GaryLouisSmith » July 8th, 2019, 6:48 pm

chewybrian wrote:
July 8th, 2019, 11:11 am
GaryLouisSmith wrote:
July 8th, 2019, 7:21 am
I put my money on the village people every time.
Image

I much prefer the Electric Light Orchestra, but to each their own.
Yes, I was thinking of the Village People when I wrote that. They are one of my favorite groups, The Electric Light Orchestra not so much. As for determinism, I believe that everything that happens in the world, down to the tiniest little happening is because it is the Will of God. If God predestines you to be a beer-drinking atheist then there is no getting around that. If not, then you will be something else. Humans have zero freedom.

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Re: Has the social replaced the religious?

Post by GaryLouisSmith » July 8th, 2019, 7:31 pm

Felix wrote:
July 8th, 2019, 2:12 pm
GaryLouisSmith: The people are dealing with the gods and goddesses, trying to avert danger and get help. Where's the politics?
Prayers, alms, sacrifices; these are hardly apolitical.
Whoa, you certainly do have a definition of "political" that is different from mine. That makes conversation nearly impossible.

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Re: Has the social replaced the religious?

Post by Felix » July 8th, 2019, 8:41 pm

GaryLouisSmith: "Whoa, you certainly do have a definition of "political" that is different from mine. That makes conversation nearly impossible."

Actually, that quip was designed to elicit conversation.... I was thinking of politics in the general sense: "any activity concerned with the acquisition of power, gaining one's own ends," which would be what Chogyam Rinpoche called spiritual materialism. But who am I to question anyone's intentions?

Let me ask you, do you see no political maneuvering in the religious practices you mentioned? Do shamans ever play politics?
"We do not see things as they are; we see things as we are." - Anaïs Nin

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Re: Has the social replaced the religious?

Post by GaryLouisSmith » July 8th, 2019, 8:56 pm

Felix wrote:
July 8th, 2019, 8:41 pm
GaryLouisSmith: "Whoa, you certainly do have a definition of "political" that is different from mine. That makes conversation nearly impossible."

Actually, that quip was designed to elicit conversation.... I was thinking of politics in the general sense: "any activity concerned with the acquisition of power, gaining one's own ends," which would be what Chogyam Rinpoche called spiritual materialism. But who am I to question anyone's intentions?

Let me ask you, do you see no political maneuvering in the religious practices you mentioned? Do shamans ever play politics?
Maybe they do, but I am so focused on the religious aspect of it all that I never see that. I'm just not interested in politics. I lived here during the time of the Maoist uprising and I, as an American, learned to keep my mouth closed. That wan't hard for me. I don't know Chogyam Rinpoche or anything about spiritual materialism. The word "power" can of course be used in a religious context, but that's usually about gaining such things as being able to leave your body and enter another and other things like that. What do you have in mind?

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