Jean Baudrillard, Postmodernism and The Wiz

baudrilaardwizWherein reading the postmodern philosopher Jean Baudrillard causes recall the sage words of The Wiz:

“Disneyland is presented as imaginary in order to make us believe that the rest is real, whereas all of Los Angeles and the America that surrounds it are no longer real, but belong to the hyperreal order and to the order of simulation. It is no longer a question of a false representation of reality (ideology) but of concealing the fact that the real is no longer real, and thus of saving the reality principle.” — Jean Baudrillard, Simulacra and Simulation

‘Living here, in this brand new world
Might be a fantasy
But it taught me to love
So it’s real, real to me”

— “Home” from The Wiz

Note: Stephanie Mills is preferred over Diana Ross

Brokeback Families…

family treeI‘ve heard several comments by conservatives, seemingly unable to directly criticize the love story that exists in the movie Brokeback Mountain, railing about the injustice of how these two men treat their undeserving wives. The pain caused to Michelle William’s character (Alma) is unmistakable, and many conservatives point the finger at Heath Ledger’s character (Ennis), and by inference, indict the entire gay community for the harm they’ve caused to the broken families they leave behind.

This, as I read between the lines, is another attempt to demonize the gay community, to blame them for the problems that exist when their relationships fall apart. The criticism isn’t without some merit, and therefore, can’t easily be dismissed. The irony, however, is that equal criticism should be aimed directly at the conservative community which has worked to demonize and dehumanize gay individuals, making it difficult for them to understand their own sexuality, and ignorantly promoting the idea that if you just act straight, you will be straight. Read more

Religion and Meaning

As science continues to erode the viable realm of religion, apologists for religion seem to cling to the life-vest of “meaning” as the last stand for the value of religion.

In other words, religionists claim that science is unable to answer the “why’s” of an issue (which, I think is a tenuous claim, but which I’ll put on hold for now), and that these questions are best left in the hands of religion.

OK. If this is the case, then let’s discuss it directly. This posting is meant to solicit responses and ideas.

Can anyone give me some examples of “why” answers that religion does well? If this is the realm in which religion excels, then let’s have a listing of those answers it provides.

Anyone?

On Determinism…

The majority of humans will get caught into basic routines of social expectations; the brave may escape the monotony of scripted existence, the worship of the status quo.

My Articles of Faith

NOTE: This is an old version of my values. There are two newer versions published here:

Life’s Purpose:

The primary purpose of my life is the pursuit of Joy.

Secondary to that is the pursuit of truth, by which I have faith that I’ll be better able to control the environment of my life, affording me greater opportunity to achieve my primary purpose.

My faith:

I have great faith in humanity. In sum, I see the world as a positive place, and am happy that I am a part of it. I believe that humanity is a positive force in this world.

It is my belief that all great human achievements are rooted entirely in the greatness of humankind. I do not look to sources external to humanity to explain or understand its value.

I have faith that humankind will continue to gain increased knowledge relative to the nature of our existence, the nature of nature, and the means by which we will gain increased power over nature to improve our lives. Science is generally the object of this faith.

I have faith in my ability to shape the contours of my life, as well as to contribute to the makeup of the communities of which I am a part.

I have faith in the ability of pluralistic democracies to provide the greatest foundation for the pursuit of joy. My faith is that through continued work and human capital, we can build a more perfect union. To this end, I am faithfully involved in the political process.

I have faith in the equality of humanity, that all should be equal and that all deserve rights which are endowed upon them naturally. All should have equal opportunity to create the shape and contour of their lives.

I don’t believe that the ends or goals of humanity are guaranteed; I believe in the real possibility of failure. I believe that we are in a race against time to avoid failure, and this motivates my faith.

My communities:
Individuals preside over communities, which are created to serve the needs of individuals. Though symbiotic, we must never elevate “community” to the ontological status of “individual;” they are fundamentally different things.

My first and most important communal tie is to my wife, Mary, and to my two children, Cien and Aris.

I am a member of the entire human family, whom I consider to be brothers and sisters.

Additional communities of which I am a part: family, friends, neighborhood, City, County, State, and Country.

I identify with the struggles of specific communities, such as the gay-lesbian community. I identify with the struggle for equality waged by women. I identify with the struggle for equality waged by the minority communities.

I don’t consider myself detached from the struggles faced by these communities, as I feel that fundamentally, the struggle for equality is a struggle faced by all of us. That my current demographic is at the top of the hill does not mean that it will always be so, and to that end, I work hard to ensure equality for all.