By Barry Taylor
When Freud published his landmark book Civilisation and it’s Discontents in 1930, it became one of his most important works. The original German title translated more literally as, Uneasiness in Civilisations and perhaps captures the central issue of the book, which was the tension between the human desire and pursuit of individuality and the pressure of social conformity. How we solve this dilemma is central to Freud’s work.
'Life is difficult' was his starting point and as humans we create a number of ways to deal with it. He called these palliatives and named four key ideas by which we attempt to find peace or calm or respite from the challenges of life. Sexual love, art, intoxicants and religion were what he termed the four main palliatives. The book examines how these ideas play out in our lives both positively and negatively. We need relief from life’s challenge, Freud argues, but there are dangers when palliatives become the dominant...
By Maria French
Yesterday on our podcast we had a conversation on all the controversy the Lil Nas X video, “Montero (Call Me By Your Name).” The conservative community, both Christian and Political, have been up in arms about it since it was released on Friday. The satanic panic from the 80’s and 90’s seems to have been resurrected amid Holy Week, Satan Shoes and a lap dance in hell (literally). Not only do we think the narrative Lil Nas X portrayed in his video was profoundly theological, but it was also deeply artful, full of courage and done with a poignant clarity into a culture of purity and anti-LGBTQ sentiment that the conservative church has long claimed.
In any case, Inside Edition picked up on our podcast and some of our commentary on the video and what we think might be happening in the culture it is provoking. Our sentiments are heavily quoted up against some really negative voices in American Christianity and...
By Barry Taylor
Whether it’s Star Wars or Star Trek, Mars Attacks or Minority Report, 2001 A Space Odyssey or Dr. Who, film and television has long been enthralled with a future shaped by science, technology and visions of the future. Using incredible technologies and great stories, imagined worlds are made to look believable and real and have shaped so much of the ways we think the future might unfold. But as the philosopher Slavoj Žižek has noted, even though we know that something is fiction, that it is not real, it still fascinates us because there is something real in the illusion. We choose the things we watch because they trigger our desires even though we aren’t always aware of what we are desiring for when we watch a film or tv show. Žižek also said about cinema, the ‘ultimate perverts art’ because visual media doesn't simply give us what we desire - it tells us how to desire.
What those illusions are, what cinematic desire looks like and...
By Barry Taylor
In 1922 the Swiss artist Paul Klee produced an enigmatic artwork called The Twittering Machine. Against a bluish-purple background, four crudely drawn birds cling to a wire. There is a handle attached to the wire the birds are on and you can work out that it probably represents some kind of mechanism to move the birds up and down when it is cranked. Beneath the birds is what looks like some kind of pit, or bath. What the painting means is hotly debated as Klee was an intuitive artist who liked to explore the role of the subconscious mind in inventing and interpreting the world and then left the interpretation of his work up to the viewer. But over the years consensus has centered around the relationship between humans and technology, and the questioning of the issue of progress.
Are we really progressing with all the technologies we employ or are we being manipulated by an invisible hand cranking the crooked wire upon which we all cling whilst hanging over a pit of?...
By Maria French
“What do you believe, Maria?” is a question I am asked more than you can imagine.
Only the question sounds more like this…
“Do you believe that Jesus Christ literally rose from the dead?”
“Do you believe in hell?”
“Do you think Jesus was kidding when he said, ‘I am the way, the truth
and the life’?
There was a time in my life when I took the bait; hook, line and sinker!
I’ve learned the hard way, more than once, that these are questions I will never answer for people. And I don’t mean theologically. I literally mean that I will not physically open my mouth and attempt to answer them.
In reality, we need to take the...
Here at H&Co we value the mutual benefit that connection and communication offers us. We won’t flood you with emails but we will update you on our ever expanding learning opportunities and keep you abreast of cutting edge theological and cultural events and issues we think you will find informative and helpful to your work so sign up and join our growing network