Category Archives: videos

A Song from Sting

(Slightly Belated) REM for the Weekend

Some Nik Kershaw for the Weekend

He’s in the top ten of my favorite 80’s singers (though IMO he’s had a lot of good stuff since then, too; e.g. the video here).

Some Late-Night Psychedelia

 

“Only a Northern Song”–my favorite trippy sequence from Yellow Submarine (“Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds” is a very close second).

An Interesting Genesis Cover

An 80’s Song to End the Weekend

 

One of my favorite songs from that decade.

Insights, Gnostic and Otherwise: I Don’t Wanna Live in This Place (or do I?)

In my “Towards a Gnostic Orthodoxy” series I’ve been exploring similarities and commonalities between Gnostic and orthodox Christianity.  Here I want to talk about a major difference–a difference that in my view is actually more fundamental than the various differences of Scripture, practice, doctrine, and so on.  This difference is a difference in outlook; or, to put it better, a difference of experience or perception of the world.

The first experience is the experience of being at home.  Sometimes we appreciate the beauty of nature; we perceive the miracle of being an intelligent being on a planet full of intelligent beings; we enjoy good food and good friends.  The sun shines, we love others, things seem to be going well, all is right with the world.  Sure, life isn’t perfect; but how wonderful it is to be alive.  In short, we sometimes feel very  much at home in the universe.  For all its flaws and faults, there’s nowhere else we’d rather be.  This is what I will call the experience or intuition of belonging.  This is the fundamental orthodox insight.

On the other hand, sometimes things don’t seem so rosy.  Things are screwed up; we get ill; the stock market dives; wars erupt in distant lands; our finances bottom out.  We look around and it seems that everything is timed to have the greatest possible bad effects.  We see the faults and failings of even those closest to us, and even the things we take greatest pleasure in seem to loose their savor.  We feel, to quote an old Sting song, that “roses have thorns, and shining waters mud, and cancer lurks deep in the sweetest bud”.  To put it as David Byrne did, we look around and think “This is not my beautiful house!  This is not my beautiful wife!”  In short we feel like refugees washed up on the shore of some foreign land, adrift, far from home, not even sure where home is.    This is what I’ll call the intuition of alienation.  This is the fundamental Gnostic insight.   This is what the video above expresses, albeit in an 80’s, Euro-pop kind of way.  Read the rest of this entry

Some John Lennon for the Evening

 

One of my favorite songs of his.  His posthumously released stuff isn’t generally critically well-liked, and my wife doesn’t like this one; but I do and this is my blog. So there!  Enjoy!

Celebrating the end of Hump Day

Wednesday’s over and it’s downhill to the weekend.  Thus, one of the few Loverboy songs I ever could stand.  Enjoy!

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