Metabasis N. 12
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Each essay of this journal is reviewed by two anonymous referees and their comments are sent to the authors .

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Religion, power and social organization

Religion, power and social organization

November 2011 - Year VI - Number 12

Philosophical Horizons

The Technological Imaginary of Power and the Myth of the Saviour

Paolo Bellini

This brief essay intends to examine the technological imaginary of power in light of the fragmented identity that is investing Western civilisation. The most evident expression thereof is the mediatic dramatisation of any kind of narratives and symbols. In particular, this study is aimed to illustrate how the emergence of the myth of the Saviour is a symbolic form consistent with the important cultural and social transformations brought about by the new technologies.

Meditations on Spirit

Claudio Bonvecchio

This brief article offers a reflection on the concepts of Spirit and the spiritual within Western society, both from a historical and a symbolic slant. In particular, it examines how such concepts undergo a substantial transformation due to post-modern mediatic civilization. Also their semantic ambiguity is touched upon, de-pending on how they are expressed in diverse narrative contexts.

The philosophy of penury. Penury of natural resources and theory of human organization in Jean Paul Sartre’s Critic of Dialectic Reason.

Francesco Caddeo

The philosopher Jean Paul Sartre fifty years ago spoke about the global situation of human societies: their history has been always based on problematic relationship with penury of natural resources and these conditions pose questions that need, still today, an answer. Societies have always had to organize their structures to face poorness of material, time, human resources. This is the occasion to think about human activity and its position in the universe.

Immortality or Sacrifice?

Chiara Gianni

The aim of the paper is to questioning the absolute positive value assigned to immortality by Western science and religion. In this frame, Ludwig Klages theory of the Reality of Images (1929-1933) – which main assumption is the criticism of the concept of immortality in the monotheistic religions – is taken into account. With a neo-Romantic and vitalistic approach Klages opposes to the Jewish-Christian faith in individ-ual immortality the pagan myth of life continuity, thus anticipating the latest statements by Jan Assmann (2006).

From the King’s two Bodies to Subjected Body. Kantorowicz, Foucault and the Body Politic

Massimo Mezzanzanica

Referring to the studies of Ernst Kantorowicz and Michel Foucault the paper deals with two aspects of the topic of body politic: the body metaphor as a form of representation of power and the opposition between sovereign body and subjected body. Kantorowicz and Foucault have in common an “archaeological” interest for symbolic and discursive formations as conditions of power. Unlike Kantorowicz, who underlines the au-tonomy of symbolic order, Foucault considers, in his genealogical approach, power as interplay between corporal forces.

The return of god Pan. Desacralization of the body, desecularization of the power: contemporary paradigms

Emma Palese

Totality is sacrality: a subtle balance which does not constitute only the founding principle of the entire world, but also that of the microcosm of the single subject, who properly in the sphere of the holy finds its fullness, the reductio ad unum. As in the relationship between Pan and Selene, where the uncontrolled Pan’s wish melts with the rhythm of Selene’s awareness. But, that harmony seems to get lost in our present age soaked of continuous media, technologic and consumerist fluxes, which reflect on our corporeality. It is a question of a real, authentic desacralization of the body, whose effects are getting more and more evident in our global world. To desacralization of the body is associated desecularization of the power too, meant as decline of the traditional western institutions - Church and State -, characterizing the Secular Age.

On Uncertainty: Thoughts on power at the globalisation time

Gian Mattia Panena

We are in the midst of globalization, a period marked by uncertainty and fear. As citizens we are witnessing the crisis of the State, Modern Age’s greatest political construction, but we do not discern any new political form on the horizon as yet. This situation reflects the crisis of the traditional idea of Politics, based on a separation between politics itself and economy, which was the main trait of the West. The global village is a world dominated by a financial system that rejects any political constraint: this impairs the capacity to reabsorb disorder and violence in a significant political horizon. The new economy represents the return toward a world dominated by the laws of Nature: the new idea of liberalism is the new face of slavery as that of Colonialism. The question is: is there any hope to change such situation without reconstructing the idea of Politics from scratch?

Polytheism and Monotheism: a Problem between Politics and Theology

Roberto Revello

Erik Peterson developed the theological-political problem of monotheism in his famous critic essay (1935) involving Carl Schmitt’s Politiche Teologie. Today, it is possible to reconsider the topic thanks to further close examinations, probably leading to a more complex view of Peterson’s augustinian radicalization. The text refers to Jan Assmann’s hypothesis of historical perspective, or to Henry Corbin’s metaphysical interpretations, tracing some traditions of “composite monotheism”. It’s mainly focused on the opportunity for rejecting certain one-sidedness. Such one-sidedness could allow to blame for intolerance, fanaticism and violence (both religious and political) now polytheism – unable to think unity and equality – now monotheism, as the mask of a particularism to be made universal through violence.

Absence and nostalgia of the human nature

Paola Russo

This paper focuses on the relationship between philosophy and medicine in the post-human era. Section I stresses the question of human beings in the artificial society and the absence of human feeling in a techno-logical-medical context, which increases the lack of humanity. Section II drives attention to the extremes consequences of the medicalization of life, where the health is considered as an industrial product. Section III looks at the contemporary tendencies of such humanity in our society and at the homesickness of nature.

Thematic paths

Scotland: more European than British?

Davide Gianluca Bianchi

In last elections (5th May 2011), Scottish National Party (SNP) won a “working majority” in Scottish Parliament (69 sets on 129). An year before (6th May 2010), Tony Blair’s New Labour lost British general election after has been in office since 1997. In these years Labour Party has introduced Devolution in Wales and, above all, in Scotland to gain votes in “Celtic Fringes”; but instead of weakening Scottish nationalism, this tactics has made it stronger. And now SNP claims a referendum for Scottish self-determination just when the Conservative is in office at Downing Street. In British context, conflict politics on nationalism likely is coming back.

The rising of medical power in the contemporary age

Cristina Cattaneo

Medicine wields a pervasive and increasing power in every aspect of individual’s life. Foucault and Illich argued that this power, sustained (or based on) by the all embracing, multi-leveled organization of modern health care, takes its strength from asserting itself as a legitimate, positive knowledge. Analyzing the evolving paradigm of the medical profession this paper highlights that, after the French revolution, medicine established its present appearance characterized by the exclusion of any subjective element, emotional, or existential consideration implied in the health care.

Religion, Power and Social Organization: The sumerian assyro-babylonian Mesopotamic Pattern

Pietro Mander

In Sumerian and Babylonian mythology gods created Man in order to give him the haevy task of running the universe, thus relieving the minor divinities from it. To attain this result they handed down to humanity the necessary knowledge to erect towns where temples were to be built. Kingship was then “lowered from heaven” to secure a constant connection with human society. To enable the sovereign to know the divine will, divination was also sent by them to mankind. Mythology outlines a metaphysical, as well as cosmological system where the place and the task of Man are neatly figured out: endowed with a divine element in his own constitution, he must bring his behavior into harmony with the Divine and gain the consent to build the temple as a reward.

Of King Arthur’s mythical nature

Geneviève Pigeon

For centuries, King Arthur, an English ruler of the VIth century, has fascinated both historians and fiction authors. Described as a legend, a historic king or a myth, the greatest christian king of all times, as it is referred to by its believers, has been studied extensively throughout the years. In this paper, we will demonstrate how the theory of myth, as applied in the field of religious studies, can be used to shed a new light on this character, and thus further explain its incredible popularity through the Middle Ages, up to our times.

Metabasis N. 12
digital edition

peer review

Each essay of this journal is reviewed by two anonymous referees and their comments are sent to the authors .

Evaluation Form