17 September 2013

Esse est Percipi


I witnessed the aftermath of a head-on collision, a car with an overpass buttress. The car & driver were in flame. I couldn't take my eyes from inside deep orange flames framed by jet-black smoke; heat pulsed through my open window, wrapped around my face. Miley Cyrus’ MTV spectacle, flacked by media enablers, reminded me of this. Miley is, esse est percipi; she behaves as if she exists only if she’s perceived. Camille Paglia writes Miley’s exhibition was done so poorly, “She was clumsy, flat-footed and cringingly unsexy, an effect heightened by her manic grin.” Sounds Episcopalian to me.
Miley Cyrus is educated by and manipulates commercial mass media. She makes big money; that’s the culture she cares about. I say her exhibition was cold, crass and calculating, to say nothing of visually ugly. She seems spiritually empty.
Camille Paglia’s diffuse and technology saturated era observationbe sure to read the review, is spot-on. There is no high-culture artistic establishment now. It's just pandering cash-is-king carnival midway. “High culture” is market culture driving people, via clicks, into balkanized big-data social, political, cultural, medical, scientific, economic and spiritual data defined percentage numbers. American market culture seeks affirmation via desire and impulse to consume stuff.
In much of American religious culture there’s focused homogenous exclusivity; I think the Pharisees were focused; they knew their mission. I think of religion as conscientious truth seeking about ultimate sources of meaning and value. Money is just one tool. It’s not the source of meaning and value; what we do for it and with it has the potential to transform into one embodiment of value. Truth seeking for ultimate sources of meaning and value is a crucial dimension for humanity’s well being and fulfillment. Market culture devalues spirituality religious well being and human fulfillment; it’s an unintended consequence of unconscious thoughtlessness; it’s a “negative externality.” It’s our market's unknown and unidentified carbon footprint. There’s no cost for reverence so to use our resources so that no one... no one… suffers from our abuse of our resources. Our result is consumptive market culture.
Paglia’s criticism applies to neo-seekers trying on mainstream western religious Christian traditions too. The pen and paper was the original hand held device. The printing press came along. Young adults, nurtured with small-screen AV on demand links, rarely have 1st person contact with ancient western european AV traditions based upon the old, old, observant religious practices. The result is a na├»ve, cringe inducing, flat-footed sensibility. Living into cultivated practice, practice, practice of religious community growing out of the white western European campus-dei tradition is distant. It’s this ancient western European observant religious campus-dei tradition that’s rebellious; it confers real value; it’s hot, Miley’s not.

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