Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

The "Enlightenment" and Academic Mysticism


Often the Renaissance is painted/taught to be a time of flowering of humanism, casting off of yokes of oppressive religious constraints, the dawn of science, etc. It was also a really bloody time filled with war, crime, the rise of colonialism, the dawn of NEW societal constraints, and ape-ing of "Classical" civilisation and adoption of it's intellectual blinders. We're taught in school that the period from 600-1600 is the "middle ages", because the Classical era and the Renaissance are more worthy of 'study' ('study' is often an academic code word for simple emulating, MORE ape-ing, or on the other end, 'study' can mean pilloring, torturing, revising to fit current perspectives), etc. I'll bitch about the renaissance and such later, but I want to pontificate on the "man-as-measure/er" now.

The conception of the world existing under the constraints of Divine measure, and scriptural revelation as being the axial knowledge, gave way to mans confidence in his ability to measure in accord with his senses, and that knowledge gained from experience, experiment, etc, was the TRUE axial knowledge, the new "revelation". I think "man is the measure of all things" was not just a simple phrase implying a step towards the secular, but an initiatory Doctrine of a mystical nature; the Renaissance saw (via printing), the proliferation of what had previously been considered "secret" knowledge, saw the universality of number, of quantity as a new lingua franca, not bound (as was latin), by the temporal Body of The Church and the Academic elite. works were printed in vernacular that had previously been copied by hand in religious/exclusive settings, skills that had been exclusive provence of craftsman, chemists, etc, could now become "common knowledge". Occult works *disseminated the paradigm* that truth and fact were subtle substance, "secret" and hidden in nature, requiring certain skills, tools, 'foreign' languages and formulas to access.

from here, REALLY in process; not in any structure, just mocked up for my convenience in editing.

leading to the current; academic, 'scholarly' perspective(s) as "new mysticism", privileged "objective" perspective on [role of defining] "the way things really are", of [defining what are] the "facts" behind the veil of ignorant faith communities/others who are "clueless" as to the "true" significance of their lifeways, scriptures, arts, etc (Jon Levenson's essays on academic study of bible/interp of scriptures in faith communities, the book "Being Changed"); the colonial nature of mass education, higher education, peer review, "Talented and Gifted" programs, standing oneself 'outside' the 'bounds' of [what is painted to be] convention, beyond the horizons of tradition-bound societies/systems (convincing themselves that they escape the definitions they use for other systems), the pop-culture celebration of the "heretic", heretical, 'renegade' scientist, the 'Expert' and the ignorant masses (despite their central role in the Military Industrial Intelligence Complex). Neil Postman, John Gatto, etc. rise of uncertainty in physics, in the fundamentals, and they way it is applied to everything BUT uncertainties within this Academic Mystical perspective; if the stock Relativist "foundations" were applied to their field - why should we show up for their classes? Why should they risk their losing their tenure (threatening their easy access to student-lovers...)?

reigning paradigms creep into academia from certain Western views into("Eastern") wisdom traditions that don't rely on the "historical", on empirical events, that deemphasize material world, emphasize the value of personal 'transformation' mystical experience, to access "the facts" of life, etc. the hegemony of these DISPLACED paradigms in Comparative Religion, Anthropology, other social 'sciences'. "Second-Semester Atheist" syndrome (Donna Schaper "me first spirituality" essay), the exploitable personal transformation/ initiatory nature of college, the "life staging" of accessing certain ways of knowing, making foolish the earlier knowings, etc.

thursby essay, privileged pomo "unbound by language games" position of discerning "privilege"; a quasimystical state?


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