The End of Cinema?: A Medium in Crisis in the Digital Age

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James defined religion as experience, not dogma, and he taught that human beings can change their mental attitudes in such a way that they are able to become architects of their own destiny. Jung emphasized the transcendent character of consciousness and introduced the idea of the collective unconscious, a kind of store for symbols and memories shared with people from various different ages and cultures.

The result was a body of theories which enabled people to talk about God while really meaning their own psyche, and about their own psyche while really meaning the divine.

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A central element in his thought is the cult of the sun, where God is the vital energy libido within a person. The path to the inner universe is through the unconscious. The inner world's correspondence to the outer one is in the collective unconscious. The tendency to interchange psychology and spirituality was firmly embedded in the Human Potential Movement as it developed towards the end of the s at the Esalen Institute in California. Transpersonal psychology, strongly influenced by Eastern religions and by Jung, offers a contemplative journey where science meets mysticism.

To realise one's potential, one had to go beyond one's ego in order to become the god that one is, deep down. The symbol of Aquarius was borrowed from astrological mythology, but later came to signify the desire for a radically new world. The two centres which were the initial power-houses of the New Age, and to a certain extent still are, were the Garden community at Findhorn in North-East Scotland, and the Centre for the development of human potential at Esalen in Big Sur, California, in the United States of America.

What feeds New Age consistently is a growing global consciousness and increasing awareness of a looming ecological crisis. Central themes of the New Age. The essence of New Age is the loose association of the various activities, ideas and people who might validly attract the term. So there is no single articulation of anything like the doctrines of mainstream religions. Despite this, and despite the immense variety within New Age, there are some common points:.


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New Age involves a fundamental belief in the perfectibility of the human person by means of a wide variety of techniques and therapies as opposed to the Christian view of co-operation with divine grace. There is a general accord with Nietzsche's idea that Christianity has prevented the full manifestation of genuine humanity. Perfection, in this context, means achieving self-fulfilment, according to an order of values which we ourselves create and which we achieve by our own strength: hence one can speak of a self- creating self.

On this view, there is more difference between humans as they now are and as they will be when they have fully realised their potential, than there is between humans and anthropoids. It is useful to distinguish between esotericism , a search for knowledge, and magic , or the occult: the latter is a means of obtaining power. Some groups are both esoteric and occult.

At the centre of occultism is a will to power based on the dream of becoming divine. Mind-expanding techniques are meant to reveal to people their divine power; by using this power, people prepare the way for the Age of Enlightenment. This exaltation of humanity overturns the correct relationship between Creator and creature, and one of its extreme forms is Satanism.

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Satan becomes the symbol of a rebellion against conventions and rules, a symbol that often takes aggressive, selfish and violent forms. Some evangelical groups have expressed concern at the subliminal presence of what they claim is Satanic symbolism in some varieties of rock music, which have a powerful influence on young people. This is all far removed from the message of peace and harmony which is to be found in the New Testament; it is often one of the consequences of the exaltation of humanity when that involves the negation of a transcendent God.

But it is not only something which affects young people; the basic themes of esoteric culture are also present in the realms of politics, education and legislation. Deep ecology's emphasis on bio-centrism denies the anthropological vision of the Bible, in which human beings are at the centre of the world, since they are considered to be qualitatively superior to other natural forms. It is very prominent in legislation and education today, despite the fact that it underrates humanity in this way.. The same esoteric cultural matrix can be found in the ideological theory underlying population control policies and experiments in genetic engineering, which seem to express a dream human beings have of creating themselves afresh.

How do people hope to do this? By deciphering the genetic code, altering the natural rules of sexuality, defying the limits of death. In what might be termed a classical New Age account, people are born with a divine spark, in a sense which is reminiscent of ancient gnosticism; this links them into the unity of the Whole. So they are seen as essentially divine, although they participate in this cosmic divinity at different levels of consciousness.

We are co- creators, and we create our own reality. Many New Age authors maintain that we choose the circumstances of our lives even our own illness and health , in a vision where every individual is considered the creative source of the universe. But we need to make a journey in order fully to understand where we fit into the unity of the cosmos. The journey is psychotherapy, and the recognition of universal consciousness is salvation.

There is no sin; there is only imperfect knowledge. The identity of every human being is diluted in the universal being and in the process of successive incarnations. People are subject to the determining influences of the stars, but can be opened to the divinity which lives within them, in their continual search by means of appropriate techniques for an ever greater harmony between the self and divine cosmic energy.

There is no need for Revelation or Salvation which would come to people from outside themselves, but simply a need to experience the salvation hidden within themselves self-salvation , by mastering psycho- physical techniques which lead to definitive enlightenment. Some stages on the way to self-redemption are preparatory meditation, body harmony, releasing self-healing energies.

The destiny of the human person is a series of successive reincarnations of the soul in different bodies. This is understood not as the cycle of samsara, in the sense of purification as punishment, but as a gradual ascent towards the perfect development of one's potential. Yoga, zen, transcendental meditation and tantric exercises lead to an experience of self-fulfilment or enlightenment.

Since there is only one Mind, some people can be channels for higher beings. Every part of this single universal being has contact with every other part. The classic approach in New Age is transpersonal psychology, whose main concepts are the Universal Mind, the Higher Self, the collective and personal unconscious and the individual ego. The Higher Self is our real identity, a bridge between God as divine Mind and humanity.

Spiritual development is contact with the Higher Self, which overcomes all forms of dualism between subject and object, life and death, psyche and soma, the self and the fragmentary aspects of the self. Our limited personality is like a shadow or a dream created by the real self. The Higher Self contains the memories of earlier re- incarnations.

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New Age has a marked preference for Eastern or pre-Christian religions, which are reckoned to be uncontaminated by Judaeo-Christian distorsions. Hence great respect is given to ancient agricultural rites and to fertility cults. There is talk of God, but it is not a personal God; the God of which New Age speaks is neither personal nor transcendent. This unity is monistic, pantheistic or, more precisely, panentheistic. In a sense, everything is God. There is also talk of Christ, but this does not mean Jesus of Nazareth. Every historical realisation of the Christ shows clearly that all human beings are heavenly and divine, and leads them towards this realisation.

The universe is an ocean of energy, which is a single whole or a network of links. There is no alterity between God and the world. The world is uncreated, eternal and self-sufficient The future of the world is based on an inner dynamism which is necessarily positive and leads to the reconciled divine unity of all that exists. God and the world, soul and body, intelligence and feeling, heaven and earth are one immense vibration of energy.

The global brain needs institutions with which to rule, in other words, a world government. Everything in the universe is interelated; in fact every part is in itself an image of the totality; the whole is in every thing and every thing is in the whole. Every human person is a hologram, an image of the whole of creation, in which every thing vibrates on its own frequency.


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Every human being is a neurone in earth's central nervous system, and all individual entities are in a relationship of complementarity with others. In fact, there is an inner complementarity or androgyny in the whole of creation. We are learning to read tendencies, to recognise the early signs of another, more promising, paradigm.

The End of Cinema – A Medium in Crisis in the Digital Age

We create alternative scenarios of the future. The question is whether thought and real change are commensurate, and how effective in the external world an inner transformation can be proved to be. Such reasoning is really gnostic, in the sense of giving too much power to knowledge and consciousness. This is not to deny the fundamental and crucial role of developing consciousness in scientific discovery and creative development, but simply to caution against imposing upon external reality what is as yet still only in the mind.

Whereas traditionalised religiosity, with its hierarchical organization, is well-suited for the community, detraditionalized spirituality is well-suited for the individual. The rejection of tradition in the form of patriarchal, hierarchical social or ecclesial organisation implies the search for an alternative form of society, one that is clearly inspired by the modern notion of the self.

Many New Age writings argue that one can do nothing directly to change the world, but everything to change oneself; changing individual consciousness is understood to be the indirect way to change the world. The most important instrument for social change is personal example. Worldwide recognition of these personal examples will steadily lead to the transformation of the collective mind and such a transformation will be the major achievement of our time.

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This is clearly part of the holistic paradigm, and a re-statement of the classical philosophical question of the one and the many. It is also linked to Jung's espousal of the theory of correspondence and his rejection of causality. Individuals are fragmentary representations of the planetary hologram; by looking within one not only knows the universe, but also changes it.

But the more one looks within, the smaller the political arena becomes. Does this really fit in with the rhetoric of democratic participation in a new planetary order, or is it an unconscious and subtle disempowerment of people, which could leave them open to manipulation?

Does the current preoccupation with planetary problems ecological issues, depletion of resources, over-population, the economic gap between north and south, the huge nuclear arsenal and political instability enable or disable engagement in other, equally real, political and social questions? Some observers of New Age detect a sinister authoritarianism behind apparent indifference to politics. Even though it would hardly be correct to suggest that quietism is universal in New Age attitudes, one of the chief criticisms of the New Age Movement is that its privatistic quest for self-fulfilment may actually work against the possibility of a sound religious culture.

Three points bring this into focus:. The Western universe is seen as a divided one based on monotheism, transcendence, alterity and separateness. This is portrayed as something tragic. The response from New Age is unity through fusion: it claims to reconcile soul and body, female and male, spirit and matter, human and divine, earth and cosmos, transcendent and immanent, religion and science, differences between religions, Yin and Yang.

There is, thus, no more alterity; what is left in human terms is transpersonality.

The New Age world is unproblematic: there is nothing left to achieve. But the metaphysical question of the one and the many remains unanswered, perhaps even unasked, in that there is a great deal of regret at the effects of disunity and division, but the response is a description of how things would appear in another vision.

Furthermore, it is hardly a genuine dialogue; in a context where Graeco-Roman and Judaeo-Christian influences are suspect, oriental influences are used precisely because they are alternatives to Western culture. Traditional science and medicine are felt to be inferior to holistic approaches, as are patriarchal and particular structures in politics and religion.

All of these will be obstacles to the coming of the Age of Aquarius; once again, it is clear that what is implied when people opt for New Age alternatives is a complete break with the tradition that formed them. Is this as mature and liberated as it is often thought or presumed to be?