In this podcast we address once more the superficiality of intellectual content mediated on Internet and aptness of this medium for rejecting the depth of knowledge, while providing an illusion of its presence – something we, some time ago, expressed in Plato’s term of “shadow drawing” or skiagraphia. Hereby we up an ante a notch, going into some details of how this comes to pass in terms of confusing the metaphysics with system and the soul with consciousness. We focus on an example of faux, yet sometimes quite erudite, religious debates occurring on Internet.
Skiagraphia: Internet and the Art of the Shadow Weaving
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From the angle from which I view the whole problem, one sign of maturing and of the spiritual seed penetrating the earth and beginning to germinate is the putting aside of purely theoretical questions and grounding one’s self in what is truly fundamental and essential.
That’s why the Fathers put the meditation on death to the forefront. Once the acknowledgement of one’s personal mortality becomes existential and not just mental/abstract, the focus must shift from curiosities and unending debates about every single dot and coma to one’s actual concrete situation, to the very place where one finds himself in the present moment and the possibilities at his disposal to overcome and transcend this predicament.
From here onward, questions of dogma, tradition, mysticism and personal experience are viewed organically, as existential necessities, not word or mind games with which to have fun around dinner tables.
In this regard, the words of St Maximos the Confessor should be taken as a measuring stick:
“The truly wise person seeks to know what is truly of benefit to him, but the one who is wise only in appearance seeks after curiosities” (somewhere in the 400 Centuries on Love).
The people living in a 2d plane, who do not understand or refuse to accept the existence of a third dimension, would be hurt by being shown an image which demonstrates its projection on a flat surface. Eventually some of them will come through to understand, while others will be mesmerized by it, but still hold it within the confines of a 2d cosmology, that is to say the illusion of depth taken to mean to be the reality of depth itself.
I believe Vladimir Lossky said that “you can’t do theology on a full stomach”. Trying to get a spiritually dead audience to lend you an ear, however, can be harrowing experience. I have a certain level of respect for those who attempt it, even if they do so in a spirit of American entrepreneurialism. Thus my attitude towards them is not as negative. This is a work, as I said before, that needs to be done in the Western world, however flawed its approaches may be. We can’t just stay silent and hope that like minded people will be drawn to us by law of affinity. This would lead to the dwindling and eventual death of any truly spiritual community remaining in the world. If I may speak on a personal level, I went through a path which led to Christ through and via far darker and more dangerous influences than you speak of here.
Dark and dangerous was what quite many saints started with, I wouldn’t worry about that. I just wrote about St. Augustine after all and he never concealed the extremities, both sensual and intellectual, he indulged until well into his thirties – and by the standards of his age that knew nothing about adolescence its quite an advanced age. Yet the love of his mother and a touch of providence working on his own stubborn resolve have turned him into saint.
Shallowness,on the other hand, doesn’t lead nowhere.
I don’t really think anything good can come from this, because I don’t think there’s really any religiousnes behind the phenomenon. Its just a form of system building in theological form, which, when bereft of real content, provides the most complete systemic form imaginable.
But a lot of people truly convert everywhere, only you won’t see them trying to reform the milenia old body they are newly incorporated into via youtube.
Anyway, as everything we’re dealing with here, it is only something we’re getting glimpses of as it is a new social phenomenon.
True religious life is going on in paralel with and despite it.
Being is so wrapped up and buried in (rational?)thought that there must naturally occur this phenomenon.
I think therefore I am isn’t far from
What i think is what i am
Did not Socrates mention that to have thought and not “go with it” is something most rare?
A sacrifice is not sacrifice if it isn’t painful.
Fasting isn’t fun.
Charity is a virtue because the “I” is most covetous.
Do your pennance and you activate centres of energy beyond direct experience.
If all that’s real is rational and the I is the centre of thought, what else is there?
there are centres of consciousness which may just vaguely relate to the I or not at all but which nonetheless can inform experience.
So they speak of other worlds, from other worlds.
a change of consciousness is always going to be against my will. I can have no idea what it is going to be.
Philosophy isn’t born of wonder but despair and the discovery of the collective unconscious is by far the greatest in our time.
Although it seems every age rediscovers it.