The working assumption in development of this model is that the rejection of violence, whether the direct violence of the sword or the systemic violen
The working assumption in development of this model is that the rejection of violence, whether the direct violence of the sword or the systemic violence of racism or sexism, should be visible in expressions of Christology and atonement. Developing an understanding shaped by nonviolence then lays bare the extent to which satisfaction atonement is founded on violent assumptions. Thus proposing narrative Christus Victor as a nonviolent atonement motif also poses a fundamental challenge to and ultimately a rejection of satisfaction atonement. (7)
While it is not necessary to adopt my specific suggestion for understanding the historical political connotations of the text of the seven seals [of Revelation], it is important to locate Revelation in the first-century world. With the first-century context in mind, it is clear that the symbolism of conflict and victory in the reign of God over the rule of Satan is a way of ascribing cosmic significance to the church's confrontation of the Roman empire in the first century....It is the imagery itself and not a particular historical interpretation that presents the Christus Victor motif. Most importantly, the theological message that in the resurrection of Jesus the reign of God is victorious over evil remains true even if the sequence of evils and destruction symbolized in seals one to six is interpreted only in terms of general references to war, famine, pestilence, earthquake, and other natural disasters. (27)
The resurrection as the victory of the reign of God over the forces of evil constitutes an invitation to salvation, an invitation to submit to the rule of God. It is an invitation to enter a new life, a life transformed by the rule of God and no longer in bondage to the powers of evil that killed Jesus. For those who perceive the resurrection, the only option that makes sense is to submit to the reign of God. Christians, Christ-identified people, participate in the victory of the resurrection and demonstrate their freedom from bondage to the powers by living under the rule of God rather than continuing to live in the power of the evil that killed Jesus. Salvation is present when allegiances change and new life is lived "in Christ" under the rule of God....
The resurrection reveals the true balance of power in the universe whether sinners perceive it or not. Sinner can ignore the resurrection and continue in opposition to the reign of God, but the reign of God is still victorious. It is this revelation of the true balance of power, whether or not acknowledged by sinful humankind, that distinguishes narrative Christus Victor from moral influence theory. (45)
Jesus' confrontation of evil and his eventual victory through resurrection thus do not appear as completely novel events in the history of God's people. It is rather the continuation and culmination of a mission that began with the call of Abraham. (67)
This book actually threatened my enjoyment of Armed Forces, not because of any its "revelations," but out of sheer tedium. I'm glad I finished, so I cThis book actually threatened my enjoyment of Armed Forces, not because of any its "revelations," but out of sheer tedium. I'm glad I finished, so I can go back to listening to the album rather than reading about it....more
Roberts, while attempting to be comprehensive in his treatment of the coming end of the oil age, omits several crucial points in his attempts at "balaRoberts, while attempting to be comprehensive in his treatment of the coming end of the oil age, omits several crucial points in his attempts at "balanced" reporting.
The author discusses the centrality of the politically volatile (and at times uncooperative) OPEC nations to the oil economy, and notes that the lion's share of geopolitical strategy and military adventurism is over energy supplies. The impending peak in oil production is as much a danger to our energy economy as are geopolitical machinations, but he downplays the consequences of peak oil after a cursory review of the literature, concluding rather tepidly that, "the picture for long-term oil is not encouraging." Given that the developing nations, specifically China and India, are expanding their energy consumption, this picture is definitely not encouraging.
Roberts also discusses the technological options that we may use to extend the oil economy as well as to transition into the next energy economy. He presents the strengths and weaknesses of the proposed hydrogen economy, of increased energy efficiency, and of combinations of different energy sources, yet he does not also note that many alternative sources of energy presuppose an underlying petroleum economy. This latter idea, connected to the concept of ERoEI (energy returned/energy invested), would seem to be essential to understanding our energy options, and its omission from Robert's analysis and reporting was conspicuous.
The author is also far too optimistic in his assessment of solutions delivered by the deus ex machina of free market technoscience; the sense of "can-do" that permeates this book is reminiscent of an ostrich with its head in the sand. I agree with Robert Anton Wilson that resources are less about what exists "out there" and more about our creative use of what exists, but I simply cannot imagine approaching this impending crisis creatively solely in the context of the "free market." As Roberts himself notes repeatedly, the free market has little incentive for investing in alternative ideas or marginal technologies when the existing economy is so lucrative. Instead of driving innovation, it seems that petrocapitalism stifles through its preference for the profitable, if catastrophically unsustainable, status quo. Roberts seems to recognize the need for intervention into the free market (like including "externalities" in the prices of the oil economy), yet his reliance on market solutions fills the book.
Thankfully, on the penultimate page, Roberts' facade cracks and he admits, "frankly, though, the thought of any kind of delay, no matter how rationally justified, terrifies me." This recognition of the seriousness of the problem, belated though it was, restored a bit of my confidence in the reporting that had preceded it....more
So what is my reaction after having recently read it a sixth time a decade later? Does its warning to the people of the industrial world still have the same ring of authenticity as it did originally? Absolutely it does. The past decade has brought a progressive worsening of our society's crisis exactly along the lines that Kunstler foretold. On the energy front, we've seen sustained oscillations in oil prices, along with proof-positive evidence that world oil production has peaked and begun declining. We've also watched alternative energy sources continue to disappoint as replacements for cheap oil. In addition, the climate crisis has become ever more manifest, as have other threats about which Kunstler warned, including water scarcity, famine, epidemic disease, decaying infrastructure and international terrorism. Above all, we've seen everyday people continuing to believe as vehemently as ever, in a tour de force of collective delusional thinking, that all this isn't actually happening.
I still remember the first time I saw the McArthur's Universal Corrective Map of the World, the "upside-down" map with Australia at its center. It wasI still remember the first time I saw the McArthur's Universal Corrective Map of the World, the "upside-down" map with Australia at its center. It was 15 or so years ago, in a down-under exhibit at Brookfield Zoo. The experience of seeing "north" and "south" disconnected from their habitual, yet arbitrary, association with "up" and "down" was at once discomfitting and exhilating. I saw THROUGH the map, and grokked one assumption upon which standard Mercator projection was based.
A textbook of sorts, this was apparently written for bright junior high and high school students. The book's ambivalent title, Seeing Through Maps, is apt because the book is about both seeing through (i.e., USING) maps and seeing THROUGH the map itself to the assumptions that frame it. "Understanding that every map is a projection that gives up some aspect of global reality in order to present what it shows---and that is otherwise endlessly selective---should free you to see through the connotations to the denotative maps that support them. And so in turn be able to scrutinize the connotations. Understanding that every map has a point of view and serves a purpose should free you to take the point of view that serves your interest." (p. 79)
Yet for all this talk about maps, the book is not a study in the practice of cartography. Rather, it is an exploration of the practice of representation in general, an exploration which can evoke profound cognitive dissonance. Consequently, the book also exhorts the reader to adapt a sense of "model agnosticism" when it comes to using maps/metaphors/representations, because no single perspective or position can be total or comprehensive, by definition. The authors repeatedly expound on this main theme of the book:
"Each view excludes another. Because each view has its own value, each may be required to serve one purpose or another. But the more points of view that are taken into account, the more comprehensive is the understanding." (p. 22)
"What is wrong with _moving_ from one view to another? First you catch this view. Then you get that. You stand in between for a while. Then you move to an entirely new position. In fact, this is our recommendation. We believe that the best understanding comes from being able to view the world from as many perspectives as possible. We want you to give up the idea that one map, or even one projection, can meet our needs for understanding." (p. 26)
"'[U]pside-down' maps shock viewers into questioning their assumptions about maps in particular and about life in general....Sometimes all we need to do to solve our problems is turn them upside down." (p. 56)
"But we do not have to have just one picture. We can have, we _do_ have, many. There is no reason for maps all to be on the same projection. The ceaseless repetition of a single projection tries to convince people that 'this' is what the earth looks like. But the earth does not look the way any individual projection makes it look." (p. 67)
"The more attached you are to YOUR way being right, the harder a time you'll have with new perspectives." (p. 69)
"Once people get an image of the earth in their heads, it is hard to persuade them of the advantages offered by another point of view. Another name for this reluctance is prejudice. To work against it, keep as many perspectives in play as possible!" (p.76)
"If we make an effort to look at everything, and try to take our eyes to new places, the world we experience will be much richer, more interesting, more useful, more complete, more generous, more _real_." (p. 109)
If you want your adolescent kids to be given a healthy dose of cognitive dissonance, to open their eyes to a deeper structure at work in our usage of symbols and to innoculate them against media illiteracy, this book seems to be a pretty good place to start. Here's my test. Look at these three questions from the book, page 99:
"What assumptions are built into the concept or image I'm presented with?; What other points of view might provide an entirely different 'take' on things?; How might this appear to someone raised in an entirely different culture or country?"
Do you want your kids asking these kinds of questions? If so, this book would be a good resource. (It is also a great introduction to funky, non-traditional maps like the Peters projection, the Fuller Dymaxion map, and the aforementioned McArthur's Universal Corrective Map of the World.)...more
Morris Berman begins his exploration of the "hidden history" of the West with a discussion of the nemo, a word he borrows from John Fowles's AristosMorris Berman begins his exploration of the "hidden history" of the West with a discussion of the nemo, a word he borrows from John Fowles's Aristos which connotes the sense of non-existence at the core of the existential condition. The experience of this nemo, according to Berman, results from a developmental split between the felt sense of embodiment ("somatic awareness") and the mental self image that comes from how others see us ("specular awareness"). Berman uses the history of mirrors and the human relationship to animals to demonstrate how this split has led historically to a de-valuation of somatic, embodied experience, a consequent preference for "cognitively top-heavy" abstraction, and various attempts to heal the breach between the two.
The core of the book is an exploration of four different periods in Western history—the origins of Christianity and Gnosticism, the Cathar/Albigensian heresy in Southern France, the origins of science in the practice of alchemy, and the modern phenomenon of Nazism. Berman investigates how these periods relate to the suppression of the body in favor of the abstracted intellect and to the return of that suppressed somatic experience in different forms (e.g,. Gnostic mysticism, romantic love, scientific abstraction, and Nazi mass murder).
Finally, Berman looks at our prospects for the future. Since the abstraction/experience split and our attempts to smooth it over are still going strong in modern Western societies, Berman fears the potential for a resurgence of fascism. (Given the tenor of the 21st century so far, it would seem that his fears are well founded.) Instead of advocating another mystical or political attempt to heal over the split and to fill in the nemo, Berman discusses the possibility of a "gesture of balance"—learning to accept the split and the feeling of the nemo without being compelled to fill it in or smooth it over. This radical acceptance of the gap might be the key to "resolving" the gap altogether.
In short, this is a book that demands serious attention from students of history, politics, religion, philosophy, psychology, and also for those dedicated to pursuing a spiritual path....more