It Shadows Forth

"...by its indefiniteness it shadows forth the heartless voids and immensities of the universe." (from Moby-Dick)
So, it dawned on me that I could say a lot more--and maybe say it better--if I tried another medium. Maybe I'll continue posting some shady-mysterious lecture-essays for a while. We'll see how it goes.


Dana said...

Even though I'm not Christian, I've always found it strange that so many academics are atheists, as if the intellect and the heart MUST be separated; however, I also wonder about the efficacy of the argument regarding the heart as the seat of religion. Figures like Saint Hildegard of Bingen were both intellects in their time as well as fervent visionaries. They did not separate their intellectual processes from their religion.

However, as a woman in academia, I've also wondered if the dominance of the intellect over the heart in this sphere is influenced by the fact that academia traditionally has been, and still is, a male-dominated sphere. Or perhaps its has something to do, too, with the particular discourse we employ on a daily basis, which seems purposely to squeeze out any references to the spiritual, for fear that we might be giving ourselves up as irrational or subjective human beings.

Casey said...

Good point, Dana. I'm probably overemphasizing "heart" and intuition to such an extent that it sounds like I think we should just chuck all our books and stop learning... I don't mean that. Only, I'd like to see the pendulum swing back in the direction of emotion, etc.

Also, "Christianity" certainly wouldn't have to be (indeed, shouldn't be) the only way of reintroducing authentic emotional/"spiritual" experience. Ultimately, I'm just talking about what most people call "intellectual" experience -- so if we want to talk about reintegrating mind & emotion (leaving "God") out of it, that's fine with me. The terms are less important than the effect.

Thanks for listening in!

Ed said...

Thanks, Casey! I think your vlog format is a fantastic idea. I enjoyed this one and I'm looking forward to the next one.

Monica said...

Good, Casey--this is one of the reasons you and I are such good friends. It's interesting because I always feel like I'm in such a strange/unpopular/precarious position with my love for theory and the French intellectuals and my simultaneous obsession with G-d/spirituality/Judaism. While academia always purports to be about diversity and multiplicity and all that, and while it claims to be tolerant and understanding of complicated ideological positions, it often just reinforces the same old tendency to simply pick a side; ie, you're either on the boat or off the boat. It's hip in academia to be an atheist. It's also hip to be anti-Israel. When you challenge either one of those viewpoints, people get all hot and bothered.

I think, though, that the whole postsecular movement plays into a lot of what you're talking about here. Sol Neely is the one to talk to about this. I've also started reading Martin Matustik's work on the postsecular--in particular his Radical Evil and the Scarcity of Hope. You might check this stuff out...

Nice work, friend.

David Suissa said...

Fascinating lecture.
In the search for "new stuff", there's more than the "heart", there's also the soul. One place to search is Jewish mysticism, specifically Chassidut, which aims to "refine the character" by giving voice to the knowing soul.
The soul bridges the mind and the heart, which might be the new synthesis many of us are looking for.

Casey said...

"Soul" works well for me, though I fear it's one of those touchy words for many in academia... my struggle is to find a language that is not altogether objectionable to those whose sympathies lie with the secular without losing the entire point.