Eric recently commented on the way the forthcoming Battlestar Galactica prequel, Caprica, reflects the 20th Century Western shift from otherworldly to this-wordly spirituality:
“… The relentless drive for ‘self-improvement’ or ‘self-realisation’ that is part and parcel of so much of contemporary religious thought and practice, is necessarily a this-worldly matter…”
(Dr Eric Repphun)
In response, I wondered if the transhumanists might be the ones today who have reincorporated the infinite into this dominant strand of this-worldly spirituality. For, in the transhumanist body, both the finite-material and the infinite defeat of death are combined. Much like the Christ.
And as a spooky synchronicity (religiously speaking), Slavoj Žižek recently gave a lecture (with the same title as the book he co-wrote with John Millbank, The Monstrosity of Christ, 2009), in which he says this:
“Did you notice how, in contrast to previous centuries, especially the Nineteenth Century – when the topic of finitude was, as it were, reserved for materialism, and spiritualists, idealists were talking about (and I simplify very much, but nonetheless) the infinite, the spiritual dimension is our contact with the infinite, and so on – all of a sudden (it started with Heidegger, taken over by others) in the Twentieth Century, it’s the very finitude which becomes the ultimate support of spiritualization. The idea is that – precisely insofar as we are finite beings, that is to say, irreducibly thrown into a world that we cannot ever dominate, rooted in this world, unable to withdraw from our concrete place in historical reality to gain a kind of a neutral position, above the run of, outside the run of things – precisely because of this, we cannot ever think of dominating technologically, or in any other way, reality. So we have to remain open for an unfathomable transcendent otherness.
So again, no wonder that even with cinema-makers, I noticed – like, who is the most materialist cinema-maker, arguably, probably, over the Twentieth Century? My choice would have been Andrei Tarkovsky – the Russian guy. But he is also the most spiritualist. You see this idea that, precisely because of this idea that we are stuck into our bodies, our place, this gives to our existence an unfathomable abyss that sustains it, which is the proper place of spirituality.
And on the other hand, the only ones who are ready to take over – in a way that I don’t accept, but nonetheless – the old topics of immortality, infinity, in the sense of getting out of one’s body, are some (usually, even the more vulgar ones) Darwinists, brain scientists or cognitive scientists who claim, you know this idea that that the ultimate, especially in the so-called tech-gnosis movement, where the idea is that the ultimate goal of recent digital, bio-genetic development is to transform our very personal identity into – to cut a long story short – into software; into a virtual program which can then be downloaded from one to another hardware, so that we can indefinitely reproduce ourselves. So that’s an interesting reversal.
Where I am, along with Alan Badiou, is on the side of infinity here – not this vulgar materialist infinity, but nonetheless an infinity, if nothing else the Freudian infinity, even immortality.”