[iDC] reading list // religious mediated spaces

Simon Biggs simon at babar.demon.co.uk
Fri Sep 8 10:31:02 EDT 2006

On 08.09.06 06:33, "Gere, Charlie" <c.gere at lancaster.ac.uk> wrote:

"as a marxist atheist, he proclaims the need to preserve the christian

Ah, that is what Zizek is doing! That's why I was so confused.

I would have thought the Jewish and Arab rationalist legacies would be of
relevance here too. It could be argued that Modernity and its predecessor
forms, during the Rennaisance and Enlightenment, takes much from Arab
culture in the mid-first millenium and, of course most strikingly, the Greek
and Roman culture that the Arab's had been keeping alive all those
centuries. In this respect I think I agree with Zizek about new age stuff
but would extend that to quite a chunk of Christian thought as well (with a
few interesting exceptions, such as the Scholastics). Zizek just isn't
enough of an atheist for my taste.

Where Charlie talks about technology coming out of gnostic tradition I would
agree to some degree. This has been pretty well discussed elsewhere (Erik
Davis, for starters, but in many other contexts as well). Technological
processes have their methodological origins in alchemical traditions, which
in turn relate to Jewish mysticism and gnostic practices. The relation of
technology/knowledge to power is also dominated by this same logic, which
Foucault, for one, so brilliantly analysed.

However, a duality can be identified here between two traditions informing
Modernist rationalist thought - on the one hand Greco-Roman materialism and
on the other medieval mysticism and alchemical practices. Science is founded
on both of these traditions. Therefore this would suggest Marxism is also
similarly dualistic.

Mmmm? It's not just Zizek that's confused then. That's a relief.



Simon Biggs

simon at littlepig.org.uk
AIM: simonbiggsuk

Research Professor, Edinburgh College of Art

s.biggs at eca.ac.uk

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