Monthly Archives: September 2012

Dualism: Living in a Material World

Because I can’t reference Lady Gaga all the time; and Madonna was the Lady Gaga of the 80’s (or have I got that backward?).

I’ve talked about dualism a lot here; but it’s been in a more general vein.  That is, I’ve talked about dualistic tendencies in historical Christianity and the backlash against these in modern times.  I haven’t looked in detail at the different flavors of dualism:  ethical, metaphysical, and so on.  Since what I’m looking at in this series is the relationship of orthodox Christianity to Gnosticism, especially any common grounds they may share; since my contention is that there’s more such common ground that is generally assumed; and since Gnosticism posits a spirit/matter duality; for all these reasons, as I continue my quest for a Gnostic orthodoxy, I want to examine the issue of matter and the spirit in this post.

I take the dichotomy as real, of course.  Philosophical materialism–the view that nothing but matter and energy exists–would deny the existence of “spirit”; but I do not subscribe to a materialist worldview.  Almost all forms of Christianity accept the existence of spirit as well as matter, though attitudes towards the two may differ.  For the purposes of discussion here, the material universe is understood to mean the physical universe, made of matter and energy (which are, after all, different forms of the same thing)  which interact according to the four fundamental forces (electromagnetic, weak nuclear, strong nuclear, and gravity), and which is observable by scientific methods.

Spirit, on the other hand, is neither matter nor energy (though it’s often thought of in terms much like the latter); it is not “present” in the material universe, since location is a property of material objects; it can interact with matter and energy, though; and finally, in accordance with traditional theology, it is immortal and indestructible, and it is simple (that is, non-composite; not made up of constituent parts, like material objects are).  God and the angels are pure spirits, and our souls are spirits which are “attached” to–or, better, “associated with”–our bodies. Read the rest of this entry

Omar Khayyám–the Movie!


From 1957, in the old-fashioned style of Hollywood sword-and-sandal (or turban) epics of the day.  Let’s say that its portrayal of our Patron is–loose–but it’s still fun in the way only big Technicolor epics can be.  Despite the lettering around the edges, it is in English, by the way!  Enjoy!

Quote for the Week

Renew your character with nature and with art.  They say that one’s condition changes every seven years:  let this change improve and heighten your taste.  After the first seven years of life, we reach the age of reason; let a new perfection follow every seven years thereafter.  Observe this natural variety and help it along, and expect others to improve also.  This is why many changed their behavior or their estate, or their employment, and at times one does not notice until one sees how great the change has been.  When you are twenty years old, you will be a peacock; at forty, a camel; at fifty, a serpent; at sixty, a dog; at seventy, a monkey; and at eighty, nothing at all.

Baltasar Gracián, Aphorism 276, The Art of Worldly Wisdom, translated by Christopher Maurer

Rubá’í of the Day

The Ball no Question makes of Ayes and Noes,
But Right or Left as strikes the Player goes;
And He that toss’d Thee down into the Field,
He knows about it all—HE knows—HE knows!

Movie Night: Tajnata Kniga (“The Secret Book”)

In Macedonian (a Slavic language related to Bulgarian) with subtitles.  It’s about the search for a supposed “lost book” of the Bible.

Weird Al Live for Saturday Night!

Saturday Matinee


This was a series pilot by Gene Roddenberry, from 1974.  Most of his post-Star Trek attempts were awful, but this one wasn’t too bad.  Enjoy!

Rubá’í of the Day

’Tis all a Chequer-board of Nights and Days
Where Destiny with Men for Pieces plays:
Hither and thither moves, and mates, and slays,
And one by one back in the Closet lays.

For Michelmas


Today is the Feast of St. Michael and All the Angels, better known as Michelmas.

Movie Night: Quatermass and the Pit (Original BBC Version), Parts 17-21 (Finale)