Prospects for Religion

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  • Book: Preliminaires a une prospective des religions. Thierry Gaudin.



Michel Bauwens, 2003:

The 'siecles de l'esprit' (centuries of spirit ?) are characterized by the simultaneous emergence, in different geographic regions, of mutations in human thought.

For example, in the 6th cy BC, we see the emergence of

- China: Taoism and Confucianism

- India: Buddhism

- Greece: Pythagoras, Heraclitus, Parmenides + the emergence of democracy

- Middle East: birth of the synagogue

Gaudin mentions a new attitude to power, for example:

- in Greece, on Samos, the new appointed tyrant refuses his job and democracy is born

- in India, Buddha, a prince, renounces power

In discussing the issue of power and violence, Gaudin mentions the progress of Rome, an abstract idea, and not the expression of the power of one man, as before in previous empires. And discussing feudalism, he explains how the Crusades were a technique to export violence away from Europe. With many Nobles gone, the Church starts lacking money and launches the Cistercian reform -- monks have to work -- which reintroduces technology.

Gaudin develops an interesting thesis about the link between communication technology and the larger culture it modifies: "plus le texte est malleable, fongible, plus le doute s'installe et plus la deliberation s'active"

For example, stone tablet and 'permanent manuscript' civilizations were spiritually monocultural as compared to the splintering caused by the advent of print. In this sense the total virtualisation of text and media by the digital is even stronger in that regard. For example, see the difference in nature betweena 'Sacred Book', seen as an expression of the immutable divine, and the provisional nature of a scientific truth.

Gaudin puts a lot of emphasis on the notion of 'reconnaissance' (recognition ?) from the basic realities of the immune system to cultural recognition.

Gaudin puts a lot of emphasis on the notion of 'reconnaissance' (recognition ?) from the basic realities of the immune system to cultural recognition:

- "Il faut chercher dans la reconnaissance la cef du fonctionnement et du devenir des religions et du pouvoir temporel.:

Let's take an example:

- "dans le judaisme l'essentiel n'est pas le texte ecrit lui-meme, mais le relation que le peuple entretient avec le texte, c.a.d. la 'Torah orale', le commentaire, renouvele a chaque generation par le biais de la synagogue, espace relativement isonomique, cree et stabilisee en meme temps que la democratie grecque"

Today, we are in an era of relativity, our truths are not only provisional (Kuhn) , but no formal system can adepuately describe reality (Godel); in terms of human relationships, our social structures used to be absolute, as in a tribe, which determined the whole of social life; now we are only part of 'relative' organisations.