As a human, I am surrounded by the pessimism of other humans, the doubt in our survival and the belief that we are turning into ourselves and away from others with every year that propels us further into a new age. Nature doesn’t share in this despondency. Nature creates, and recreates with every tide a glow of optimism. Billions of plankton, 250 million sperm cells, 20,000 known species of bees; this is natures assurance.
We think of ourselves as somehow removed from the interwoven structure of life, and have cast ourselves as in the role of “above all that”, forgetting the commonality we share with the most simplistic life forms. The inside of the human ear looks exactly like a seashell. The word cochlear comes from the greek word “kokhlos” meaning “spiral shell”. The human heart has cockles, its ventricles resemble concentric shells and the word “valve” is also used to talk about the halves of a hinged shell. Our parts contain nature’s imprint so closely that our language reflects it. Sometimes I feel insane because I live so far from all the mountains I haven’t climbed yet and because my asthma is getting worse and worse as each season gets hotter, but I am living as a part of a whole, and I am finding my sanity in nature’s grace.
12:19 am • 20 May 2013
Greenpoint, Brooklyn. $400.00
11:05 pm • 13 May 2013 • 251 notes
El Shaddai and Technoculture
The media plays a large role in the fostering of a collective conscious in the Evangelical Phillipines-based religious movement of El Shaddai. Because there was no literal place of worship where the followers of El Shaddai can come together until the 2009 creation of the House of Prayer, television and radio create a virtual place of worship. Wigele refers to El Shaddai as a “mass mediated movement”(2004:41), one where the media is the liaison between all members. El Shaddai is a transcendent and imagined space, whether in living rooms, small prayer meetings or mass rallies, the principals of El Shaddai are taught and circulated best through use of the media.
In Charles Hirshkind’s(2001) essay The Ethics of Listening: Cassette-Sermon Audition in Contemporary Egypt, he focuses on the practice of listening to tape-recorded sermons among Muslims in Egypt. Listening to recorded sermons that elucidate the moral tenants of Islam on headphones serves as a constant reminder to uphold religious practice among the possessor of these tapes. The intimacy fostered by listening with an open heart, as if the listener is being addressed individually by the sermon stands in similarity to the listening practices of those of El Shaddai. Listening to the radio is a historically individualist activity, typically done when driving or in the privacy of ones home. Additionally, T.V. viewing is an at-home, private activity that reaches the viewer on a personal level when their vulnerabilities are stripped-down. The combination of a perceived intimate relationship with God and the evangelical intentions of El Shaddai preachers have led to a mass following.
Having an individualist relationship with El Shaddai preacher through T.V. and radio renders these leaders particularly convincing when educating the viewer on practices like tithing. The notion that financial offerings to the El Shaddai movement will produce a miracle for the donor is successful because it centers on the language of healing and is a principal indoctrinated through individualist forms of media. Radio and TV are also the first point of exposure for many El Shaddai followers, further promoting the intimacy between the movement and its constituents. I think part of the appeal of El Shaddai must be the guise of anti-authoritarian leadership. While followers are being given clear directives, without the four walls of a church and what they perceive as Catholic rituals divorced from true Christian experiences (2004:41), they feel a sense of autonomy in their organically derived connection to God.
You can find out more about El Shaddai and Charles Hirshkind’s work here:
5:34 pm • 12 May 2013
Chalet Borovo in Slovakia.
Contributed by Miroslav.
2:50 pm • 12 May 2013 • 659 notes