Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Non-evental Truth

From Henreckson posting about Hauerwas writing about Neuhaus:
Drawing on Alasdair MacIntyre’s, After Virtue, he argues that many, having lost faith in the attempt to ground morality in the Enlightenment’s understanding of reason, now believe that truth is but the imposition of our arbitrary will on the world. Such a view assumes truth is not discovered or discerned, but rather a mere name we give to the illusion we choose to live by.

This neatly summarises my view of non-evental truth. It's a truth that is purely internal, but not internalised from the transcendent. This view is a poor mis-reading of the notion that truth is only true when it is true for the subject. A better reading of it is "(transcendent) truth is only subjectively valid when it is internalised by the subject." Such a reading avoids the trap of "a truth" being "true" for one subject and not the other (see my earlier post about this).

However, it leaves us with a different problem: what is transcendent truth, and how can we discern the difference between truth-claims as genuine Event or mere illusion? Or is that even possible?

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Robot Model

The female form has long been the subject of art and admiration. The objectification and hyperrealisation of that form are also critiqued, setting unrealistic standards for women. Barbie dolls have unrealistic proportions; magazine photos are unrealistically air-brushed, etc.

But the latest is the actual formation of the robot woman. Behold.


This robot (model number HRP-4C) is soon to appear in a fashion show in Japan.

Now, rather than cutting and slicing the flesh of living women in order to create catwalk perfection, a mechanical version can be set as the standard model for women's clothing. In the first show, HRP-4C won't be wearing clothes (how apt). Nevertheless, the very placement of this robot on the catwalk is a statement about artificial perfection.

As an engineer with a degree in mechatronics, I'm in awe of the technology. The potential to use robots for dirty, dangerous and demeaning work is good to see. Using them to standardise human form is Marx' prediction: the human is objectivised (production line workers, pornstars, etc.) as much as the object has become humanised.

Monday, 16 March 2009

The dark side of Wesley

For all those who love Wesley's hymns, here is a reminder that he - as are we all - was influenced by the culture of his time and place.

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Faith and Prayer

I read this article about rape in the Democratic Republic of Congo and was reminded of some of my deeply held beliefs.

1. Faith does not protect people from harm.
Any version of Christianity that indicates otherwise is little more than pagan superstition. From my days in the AOG, I've lost count of the number of times I heard someone say (not suggest, not imply) that some personally beneficial thing would happen (promotion at work, new car, meet the girl of my dreams, etc.), because they had faith. This kind of pseudo-Christianity has no strength for Christians in the DRC.

2. The church is the incarnation of God
If it is true that we pray for God's will to be done in our lives, then it is true that we pray for God's will to be done through our lives. We are the hands and feet of God, to make manifest the divine in this world. "Deliver us from evil" and "your will be done" are the kinds of prayers that demand obedience to the one who would answer them. Even worse... how dare we pray for something trivial (a convenient car park, anyone?) when this kind of evil still prevails?

Faith and prayer are important, but mean nothing without the actions to answer those prayers through faithful obedience.

Kung Fu Panda as Dangerous Ideology

I heard him say it in an interview, but have just been reminded of it now. Zizek's quote about Kung-fu Panda.
If you ask me for really dangerous ideological films, for ideology at its purest, I’d say Kung Fu Panda. I saw it five times because my son likes it. The movie is extremely cynical in that you know they make fun of all this ideology, of Buddhism and these things, but the message is even though we know it is not true and we make fun, you have to believe in it. It’s this split of you know it’s not true but just make like you believe in it.

(emphasis mine)

Friday, 6 March 2009

I am a hack

I enjoy reading and thinking about philosophy and theology, even when I vehemently disagree with it. Despite all the enjoyment in the world, my ability to write it is amateur at best.

And today I've been reminded of that fact. However, it was a beautiful, eloquent reminder.

(It's worth following the link to the failed gospel tract too).