In criticizing the woke, social justice true-believers trying to impose their ideas of ‘cultural appropriation’ upon fiction writers like Lionel Shriver (You can’t write black characters. We will colonize language! We will colonize the imagination!), a reader points out the following:
First, I wrote, in shared criticism of such people:
‘If you’re looking to art for moral instruction, or for canned lines to solidify group membership, political affiliation and/or ideological identification, you’re probably doing dirt on the arts and life.’
Anonymous wrote back:
‘Check out Kanye:’
Dear Reader, can you tell the dancer from the dance?
Going to church is probably as much about scents and sounds, chanted words and ritual performace as much it is about doctrine for a lot of people, a lot of the time. Here, a lot of hearts and minds can be changed.
Maybe the church and its doctrines proscribe limits which also harm the creative artist, just as do so many social justice ideologues, intersectionalists and radicals colonizing many university studies and HR departments.
Given other failures in American civic culture lately, including the more obvious ones within the entertainment and popular music industries, it’s not surprising the same channels are now used for religious conversion.
In fact, I’ve kind been waiting for the other shoe to drop.
There’s something very funny to me about the Quakers trying to stay hip with social-justice appeal:
It’d be nice if many secularists and political liberals said something like the following: If we continue to secularize society, we will entrench many postmoderns, activists, radicals, people steeped in resentment, and narrow socialist ideologues, but the gains in liberty will be worth it.
We might even inspire a return to old-timey religion. If this happens, we will freak-out about this turn of events.
Recently, British popular thinker Alain De Botton floated the idea of building an ‘atheist temple’ in the heart of London. He recommends combing through religious practices for useful organizing principles in response to the New Atheists. You can read more about it here, which includes a radio interview/podcast.
Did the Unitarian Universalists get there first, with a mishmash of faith and secular humanism?
Towards a theme: Perhaps you’ve also heard of the Rothko chapel, in Houston, Texas:
‘The Rothko Chapel, founded by Houston philanthropists John and Dominique de Menil, was dedicated in 1971 as an intimate sanctuary available to people of every belief. A tranquil meditative environment inspired by the mural canvases of Russian born American painter Mark Rothko (1903-1970), the Chapel welcomes over 60,000 visitors each year, people of every faith and from all parts of the world.’
There’s even a suite of music by Morton Feldman, entitled ‘Rothko Chapel’
Related: A definition of humanism:
“‘…a morally concerned style of intellectual atheism openly avowed by only a small minority of individuals (for example, those who are members of the British Humanist Association) but tacitly accepted by a wide spectrum of educated people in all parts of the Western world.”
Steven Pinker somewhat focused on the idea of freedom from violence, which tends to be libertarian. Yet, he’s also skeptical of the more liberal human rights and also religious natural rights. What about a World Leviathan?: At Bloggingheads Steven Pinker Discusses War And Thomas Hobbes…From Reason.TV Via YouTube: ‘Steven Pinker on The Decline of Violence & “The Better Angels of Our Nature”‘…Simon Blackburn Reviews Steven Pinker’s “The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial Of Human Nature” Via the University Of Cambridge Philosophy Department
Evolutionary psychology and moral thinking: Franz De Waal At The NY Times 10/17/10: ‘Morals Without God?’…