Beyond the colonization of human imagining and everyday life: crafting mythopoeic lifeworlds as a theological response to hyperreality
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This work takes up urban historian Lewis Mumford’s concern for the phenomena of planned and imposed ordering of human life and societies. Mumford (and others) suggests the problem consists in the use of external plans, technologies (and media) to manipulate, dominate, and even coerce forms of life. It is seen at its worst in war, and even forced systems like Nazism and Stalinism. But these phenomena also take more attractive and seemingly enriching forms. We will focus (along with Daniel Boorstin and Umberto Eco in their own way) on forms which have massively developed in 20th and 21st century society: market and consumer saturation, shaped by dominating mass electronic media. This situation is developed imaginatively, and inventively, yet problematically, in Jean Baudrillard’s theory of Hyperreality – a critique of the Western hyper-consumer and media saturated world. But his methods and pictures are not followed here. We take up a very different approach and diagnosis; This approach has become increasingly multidisciplinary: phenomenological, praxeological, anthropological, and philological. We build it up in a reading of human lifeworlds in philosophers Martin Heidegger and Ludwig Wittgenstein, and anthropologist Tim Ingold. This work does not go in for a picture of language (and cinema) as a system of signification, but as Ludwig Wittgenstein describes it, as tools always already involved in forms of life. We also offer a unique characterization of corporeal imagining and the imaginative creation of lifeworlds, paving the way for what is described as philological resistance: this resistance is seen in the development of a certain praxeological philology and fully realized in the 20th century author J. R. R. Tolkien’s mythopoeic concerns. We focus particularly on what we call the double-transfer: the cyclic structure between human artistry and life-world building, each shaped by the other. We endeavor, along with Mumford and others, to counter colonization and find various less manipulated and un-coerced forms of life, and their informal organizing structures. We examine in detail Tolkien’s literary and philological project; and the 20th and 21st century’s first art form – cinema. Through the philosophical exploration of cinematic craft in Gilles Deleuze, and in the craft of Terrence Malick we see, and are taken up in, the inextricable relationship between how we make, what we make and how we live everyday life.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
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