Search Results for icon
Some Religious Studies scholars talk a lot about the meaning of the iconic image. Several scholarly books have been written on this topic. But for everyday churchgoers, it doesn’t have to be that complicated. For them, an icon or religious image’s purpose is to help focus the mind on that which it represents. Ideally, this helps the viewer to receive divine graces. But in Christianity, graces are never understood to emanate from the icon itself.
If the icon “works” in its assistive capacity, the fact that the icon’s appearance is artistically and culturally influenced is of secondary importance, at best.¹
Some icons of the Virgin Mary allegedly cry and/or bleed. If these miracles are true and not shams, the agency would be God. Again, the Christian icon is not imbued with a special quality of its own, nor is it regarded in this way.
Some fundamentalist Christians, however, criticize Catholic and Orthodox Christians for the use of “graven images.” But the Catholic pamphlet, “Graven Images: Altering the Commandments?” outlines some of the problems with a simplistic, cherry-picked fundamentalist approach:
Now if God simply forbids the making of graven images, then there are problems elsewhere in the Bible. First, in Exodus 25:18-21, God commands Moses to make two statues of angels (cherubim) for the top of the Ark of the Covenant. Later in Numbers 21:8-9, God commands Moses to make a bronze serpent, so that the people who were bitten by snakes could look upon it and be healed (Source: http://users.binary.net/polycarp/graven.html).
In the popular, everyday sense, an icon is a representation of some kind of charismatic cultural figure, such as Elvis Presley. After a pop star’s death, the realities of the real person and the icon may merge, and the new legend becomes a type of mythology. But this isn’t always the case. With Michael Jackson, for instance, the media aired all manner of Jackson’s dirty laundry, which almost eclipsed his artistic legacy.
¹ However, in her Divine Mercy Diary, St. Kowalska says she cried when an artistic rendering fell dramatically short of an actual vision she had of Jesus Christ. This arguably was a special case because St. Faustina apparently saw Jesus on a near-daily basis. So her desire for others to see his great beauty was intensified. Today, several versions of that image are often placed in Catholic churches. Despite the fact that the image falls short of that which it represents, it still helps countless believers feel closer to Christ.
- Why I Disagree With Depictions Of Jesus (translucentheart.wordpress.com)
- About Catholicism: Of Dracula and the Black Sheep Dog (gingerjar2.wordpress.com)
- The Real Origin of the Eastern Orthodox Icon (beyondbelief.wordpress.com)
- Justification (earthpages.wordpress.com)
- Transfiguration (caelumetterra.wordpress.com)
- Meagan Fisher on “Flat, simple icons for interface design” (dccrowley.posterous.com)
- Housecleaning – Idols and Idolatry (raymondjclements.wordpress.com)
The Beatles were a British pop group founded in Liverpool in 1960. The original members were John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Pete Best, replaced by Ringo Starr in 1962 (originally Richard Starkey).
“Love Me Do” was their first UK hit. This was followed by a string of hits, creating the international phenomenon of Beatlemania in 1964.
Most of the Beatles’ repertoire was officially penned by Lennon and McCartney, although their respective influence on individual songs varied considerably.
The band stopped giving public performances in 1966, turning its energy to the studio–specifically to the rock and roll classic, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Heart’s Club Band. Their producer at the time, George Martin, says he had a significant impact on the outcome of this record.
The group split, bitterly, around 1970. Their last studio album, Abbey Road, was recorded with separate sessions being held for each member of the band. This was unprecedented and, to fans, seemed to indicate growing tensions among band members. George Harrison once said that McCartney told him how to play his guitar, which the guitarist resented. And issues over the growing presence of Yoko Ono were splashed over the tabloids and rock media, as was Lennon and McCartney’s growing acrimony.
The Beatles were no doubt fantastic musicians. But was there more to their success? The Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung developed a psychological classification system based on four main types. For Jung, the whole and healthy mind strove to integrate the four types of thinking, feeling, sensation and intuition. Could part of the Beatles’ unparalleled popularity be a result their collectively representing Jung’s four archetypal types? Following this idea, Lennon would be the thinking type, Paul McCartney the feeling type, George Harrison the intuition type and Ringo Starr the sensation type.
The Beatles’ contribution to music will be forever etched in the history of mankind. The so-called Fab Four combined Rock and Roll, simple blues and complex jazz, as well as ‘lounge lizard,’ orchestral and international music forms. Even begrudging or, perhaps, sarcastically tinged respect is implied, for instance, in “Afraid” from David Bowie’s record Heathen (2002):
I believe in Beatles
I believe my little soul has grown
And I’m still so afraid…
After the Beatles’ breakup, Lennon released several records while residing in New York with his wife Yoko Ono. He continued to enjoy commercial success with songs like “Imagine,” “Mind Games,” “Whatever Gets you Through the Night,” “Give Peace a Chance,” “So this is Christmas,” and “Just Like Starting Over.” But Lennon became more than a mere rock star; he became an icon representing worldwide harmony and peace.
McCartney released a critically acclaimed solo album (where he played all the instruments) and formed the highly successful band Wings, continuing to be a prominent musical force in the 1970′s.
Harrison released the commercially successful All Things Must Pass in 1970 (including “My Sweet Lord” and “Isn’t it a Pity”) followed by several other albums. “Isn’t it a Pity” epitomizes the sense of loss over Beatles’ breakup and laments the end of an era. Sadly, pity turned into acrimony, as witnessed in Harrison’s 1973 tune, “Sue Me, Sue You Blues.” Starr has been in films and recorded singles and albums. His 1974 cover of the Sherman Brothers’ “You’re Sixteen” hit number one in the charts.
In 1995 the single “Free as a Bird” was released. This song was written and hastily recorded by Lennon in 1977. After Lennon’s passing McCartney asked Ono if the remaining Beatles could collectively add to any of Lennon’s unreleased material. Ono gave permission for this single but it arguably isn’t a true Beatles song because Lennon, himself, didn’t agree to its release.
More recently, many Beatles songs have been remixed and re-released, with debatable results. Myself, I prefer the original analog mixes sent to CD (AAD), although others might prefer the digital remixes (ADD).
- The break-up of The Beatles: An event that called a halt to an epoch (woodstockremains.wordpress.com)
- Interview: Historian says there was no Brando link to naming of the Beatles (examiner.com)
- Ringo Starr To Finally Get That Museum Exhibit We’ve All Been Waiting For (beatcrave.com)
- 12 Questions Google Assumes You Have About The Beatles (wxrt.cbslocal.com)
- John Lennon (chasepage.net)
- 12 Questions Google Assumes You Have About The Beatles (wzlx.cbslocal.com)
- Songs by John Lennon and Yoko Ono go Downtown to new publisher (examiner.com)
- 12 Questions Google Assumes You Have About The Beatles (wcbsfm.cbslocal.com)
- Life of Beatle becomes subject of comic (bigpondnews.com)
- Former Beatles Frontman Dies At 72 (huffingtonpost.com)
Bruce Cockburn (1945 – ) is a Canadian, Ottawa-born folk and rock musician. He sang about Christianity through natural metaphors well before it was considered cool to do so. Despite this, Cockburn managed to survive and even thrive in the Canadian record industry.
In one interview¹, he said that it’s fine to sing about God, but if the music’s not happening, then the message doesn’t really connect. This was probably an oblique reference to the contemporary Christian pop of the time, so much of it being formulaic and arguably not too original, musically speaking.
At cockburnproject.net he’s quoted as saying:
I am a Christian songwriter. I just don’t fit the Christian music scene.
As the years went by, Cockburn became increasingly critical of what he saw as hypocritical political and religious practices. In “The Gospel of Bondage” (1988) he denounces the selective use of Biblical quotations to justify questionable acts:
God won’t be reduced to an ideology…God must be on the side of right, not the side that justifies itself in terms of might.
Perhaps due to music’s unique ability to move the body and arouse passion, his “Rocket Launcher” (1984) single was sharply criticized:
If I had a rocket launcher… Some son of a bitch would die.
Cockburn responded to his critics by saying there’s a difference between (a) the artistic representation of anger and (b) advocating angry practices (see sublimation).
With regard to “Rocket Launcher” he claimed to merely represent his outrage in response to the bloodshed of innocents in South America.
Signing with the SONY label, Cockburn’s sound became bigger but he never really cracked the American market as, perhaps, anticipated.
Back with his former True North label, however, his electronically enhanced acoustic sound has returned, along with some noteworthy retro-style experimentation.
Like Joni Mitchell, Leonard Cohen, Neil Young, Bryan Adams, Alanis Morisette, Celine Dione, Glenn Gould and Justin Bieber, Cockburn is something of a culture hero in a country that is finally growing out of its national identify crisis.²
The following tune, “Wondering Where the Lions Are” is a reference to the Old Testament story of Daniel in the Lions Den and, according to Wikipedia, is his most popular single to date on the US but not the Canadian charts.³
¹ From a magazine article. Source cannot be located. Probably somewhere between the late 80s and the new millennium. In recent decades, Christian pop has undergone a serious reboot, some of which is arguably just as “cool” or “good” as anything else out there.
² This was especially prevalent in the 1980s, when entire university departments in the Humanities spent countless hours (and taxpayers dollars) looking at how Canada differed from the US and beyond.
- Michael Buble, Deadmau5 And Bruce Cockburn Honoured For Songwriting (contactmusic.com)
- Ottawa’s Bruce Cockburn to receive SOCAN lifetime achievement award (o.canada.com)
- Bruce Cockburn…a creativity to help us see (thewearypilgrim.typepad.com)
- Ottawa’s Bruce Cockburn to receive SOCAN lifetime achievement award (vancouversun.com)
- Mary Had A Baby by Bruce Cockburn – Christmas Songs 2012 Day 21 (garyware.me)
- Bruce Cockburn, deadmau5 feted at SOCAN gala (cbc.ca)
- “People see through you” Bruce Cockburn (jeffrozier.wordpress.com)
Clairvoyance (French clair = “clear” and voyance = “vision”)
Just as the nineteenth-century medium is now called the channeler, and the former New Thought movement has been recast as the New Age, clairvoyance is a slightly antiquated term that’s been updated with the more specific ideas of psi, PK, and remote viewing.
The term clairvoyance seems to be making a bit of a comeback, however. It’s still being used as an umbrella term for practically every type of alleged paranormal perception—i.e. perception beyond the range of the normal senses.
Critics of the idea say that there’s no real hard scientific evidence to support clairvoyance. Sympathizers say that successful clairvoyance hinges on delicate factors, making scientific replication impractical.
Believers in God who are not hostile to clairvoyance (as some devilish trick) add that successful inner vision is entirely dependent on God’s will. That is, God permits clairvoyance to happen in specific situations for some good reason. If this is true, then it is ludicrous for science to expect God to always bend to the demands of scientific investigators. Skeptics like James Randi seem totally oblivious to this possibility. For them, if something cannot be replicated in a controlled experiment, it never happened.
Suburbanclairvoyant nicely sums up how many clairvoyants (and those sympathetic to the idea) would likely see skeptics and scientists who overreach the inherent limitations of science:
…the words “controlled experiment” are an oxymoron in the Clair world, and make me laugh. There’s no pinning this down. It just is what it is…¹
- Excerpts from “Seership! The Magnetic Mirror!” (1874) (vonfaustus.blogspot.com)
- Connecticut School Shooting – and a day that sucked to be psychic (ifyoucouldseewhatihear.wordpress.com)
- Free Jazz Saxophonist IVO PERELMAN Releases Three Albums: “Living Jelly,” “The Clairvoyant,” and “The Gift,” Available November 13 on Leo Records (theurbanflux.com)
- Logo for Nostradamus site (clairvoyance, tarot reading, prophecies) (99designs.co.uk)
Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite (c. 500 CE) was a Syrian believed to be the author of a series of works synthesizing Christian and Platonic thought. Also called Pseudo Dionysus,¹ he’s best known for his Celestial Hierarchies, which classifies angels into three hierarchies, each consisting of three thrones.
According to this schema, the Seraphim, Cherubim and Thrones are closest to God. The next set of beings, not quite as close to God, are the Dominations, Virtues and Powers. The third set are furthest from God. They are the Principalities, Archangels, and Angels. The highest beings are entirely rapt in God’s glory, continually singing His praises, while the lower two levels interact with mankind.
Dionysius is also known for his distinction between the “affirmative” (kataphatic) and “negative” (apophatic) approaches to theology. The negative approach argues that God is above and beyond worldly, conceptual attempts to affirm or deny the existence of the divine.
Adherents of negative theology believe that God exists in God’s own light and may be approached only through “pure and spotless spirit and prayer.”² This entails getting rid of the worldly dross and hollow intellectualism that apparently obstructs true union between self and the divine.
Because negative theology depends on personal experience to subjectively know God, it can only conceptually say what God is not. Positive theology, however, claims that definite statements can be made about what God is.
Related Posts » Mysticism
¹ He’s sometimes confused with Dionysius the Areopagite, the New Testament figure converted by St. Paul and who later became the second bishop of Athens. The confusion arises over a series of works on mysticism, Corpus Areopagiticum, apparently signed by the author as “Dionysius.”
² Everett Feruson, ed. Encyclopedia of Early Christianity. New York: Garland Publishing Inc. 1990, p. 633.
- The Blessed Silence Icon and Lots of Noisy Talk About It (russianicons.wordpress.com)
- Spiritual Hierachy of the Angelic Kingdom (wed-gie.com)
- Full moon over Athens (travelangeling.com)
As the Princess of Wales, Lady Diana Spencer (1961-1997) arguably became an enduring type of mythological figure. While critical media hype discredited her public persona as a mere chimera, another perspective sees her as an inspirational role model for human kindness, honesty and noble humility.
Diana took an active interest in AIDS victims and worked with the International Red Cross. Early in the Royal marriage, Lady Diana quickly overshadowed Prince Charles in the public eye. Charles’ princely decorum was eclipsed by her straight from the heart charm.
Apart from all the media attention surrounding Diana’s untimely death by car accident, one scholar claims she is a mere “footnote” in human history.
Sir Elton John was a close friend of Lady Diana. He and Bernie Taupin recast their song Candle in the Wind (formerly written for Marilyn Monroe on the 1973 lp Goodbye Yellow Brick Road) with new lyrics appropriate for Lady Diana’s televised funeral. The reimagined single is the best selling single record of all time. Sir Elton John has vowed never to play the song in public again, unless requested by Diana’s children.
- Earl Spencer names his new daughter Charlotte Diana after his beloved sister (standard.co.uk)
- Diana Princess Of Wales – Diana, Princess Of Wales’ Brother Names Daughter After Late Sister (contactmusic.com)
- One for every day of the week: Earl Spencer celebrates the birth of SEVENTH child and names William and Harry’s new cousin after their mother Princess Diana (dailymail.co.uk)
- Lady Gaga – Lady Gaga Causes Controversy With New Song About Princess Diana (contactmusic.com)
- Princess Diana Remembered: Earl Spencer Names New Baby After His Late Sister (celebuzz.com)
- Earl Spencer names daughter for Princess Diana (cbsnews.com)
- Prince Charles’ wedding toast for $350 (bigpondnews.com)
- Diana, Princess Of Wales’ brother names daughter after late sister (hollywood.com)
- Concorde picks up German rights to Naomi Watts’ “Diana” Lady Di biopic (panarmenian.net)
Daniel Dennett (1942-) is an American philosopher and atheist who argues that the mind operates like a computer. For Dennett, the sum total of our experiences shape and prod us from day-one of our existence.
Does this include space for individual free-will? Dennett argues that, although some activities may seem intentionally planned and chosen by an agent or agents, behind that lies an original intention not derived from any individual agent or collection of agents—i.e. Nature has endowed us with an original intention to protect our genes, and everything follows from that.
For Dennett the conscious aspect of the self that expresses a particular viewpoint arises from the act of expressing that viewpoint, much like electricity is generated by the spinning of a rotor within a coil.
He usually refuses to debate with other thinkers because he is so thoroughly convinced that his terminology is right and theirs is riddled with errors.
My refusal to play ball with my colleagues is deliberate, of course, since I view the standard philosophical terminology as worse than useless — a major obstacle to progress since it consists of so many errors.¹
He also implies that his view is more comprehensive than other philosophical views because, being more abstract, it can account for differences among philosophers.
But theologians could use the same type of argument to account for differences between Dennett and other philosophers who, themselves, believe that their views are closer to the truth than Dennett’s. Indeed, theologians could maintain that theirs is the more comprehensive view, one which proves incorrect Dennett’s initial assumptions about original intentionality and its relation to consciousness. Specifically, the theologian could say that Dennett overlooks the two essential agencies of human free-will and divine inspiration.
Dennett’s views have sparked much debate, most likely because he employs technological metaphors to explain consciousness. He has also opened the door to speculation among those who believe that encoding human brain patterns within a computer’s memory might be a plausible ticket to immortality within the not-too-distant future. In this case, eternal life would reside – or, perhaps, be trapped – in a silicon chip or its technological successor.
¹ Daniel Dennett, The Message is: There is no Medium, cited at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daniel_Dennett
- A Conversation Between Richard Dawkins and Daniel Dennett (patheos.com)
- Is the Internet the End of Religion? (religiondispatches.org)
- Philosophy of Mind – “Zombies Within” – Chalmers, Dennett, Noë (zombielaw.wordpress.com)
- Daniel Dennett sorta zombies (zombielaw.wordpress.com)
- Dennett on atheism denial (whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com)
- The Magic of Consciousness (popalx.wordpress.com)
- Full Length Talk – ‘How To Tell You’re An Atheist’ – Dan Dennett – YouTube – TheClergyProject (richarddawkins.net)
- William Lane Craig vs atheist Daniel Dennett on cosmology and fine-tuning (winteryknight.wordpress.com)
- Darwin & Turing: The Evolution of Artificial Intelligence (bigthink.com)
Commander Data is an android science officer played by actor Brent Spiner aboard the starship Enterprise in the science fiction television series Star Trek: The Next Generation.
Data’s character evolves during the course of the series. At first he’s mostly an amusing and capable robot, much like C3PO in the original Star Wars film. As the story cycle evolves, however, we see Data wondering who he is, what it’s like to have feelings, parents, children and if he would enjoy sex.
Through various tricks and turns Data eventually experiences human emotions and activities, to become a sort of mythic representative for the idea of AI rights, a theme followed up by the holographic doctor in Star Trek: Voyager.
This might seem fanciful today but as computer technology advances at warp speed, in the not-too-distant future ethical concerns about AI could be headline news. We see this possibility in the science-fiction classic 2001: A Space Odyssey, which illustrates the potential dangers of an intelligent machine (the HAL 9000 computer) gone wrong.
- Why Star Trek’s Vision of the Future is Out of Date [Star Trek] (io9.com)
- No Need for Phasers, Stun your friends with Star Trek Email Skins (prweb.com)
- Commander Data … Are You Awake? (aeriscto.wordpress.com)
- Warehouse 13 Returns with Sci-Fi Icon, Brent Spiner (lezgetreal.com)
- Star Trek: The Next Generation Season One Blu-ray beams down July 24th (engadget.com)
- Star Trek The Next Generation Comes to Blu-Ray this July (geeksyndicate.wordpress.com)
- A Million Dollar Experiment: Star Trek? (gamingpa1985.com)
- SyFy’s ‘Warehouse 13′ Will Add Some Mysterious Data this Season With Guest Star Brent Spiner of ‘Star Trek: The Next Generation’ (tvbythenumbers.zap2it.com)
- Warehouse 13 Returns with Sci-Fi Icon, Brent Spiner (pinkbananaworld.com)
- ‘Star Trek’ Brent Spiner joins ‘Warehouse 13′ (digitalspy.co.uk)
Salvador Dali (Felipe Jacinto) (1904-89) was a Spanish painter and sculptor, born in Figueras. In his prime he was something of a pop figure, famous for his flamboyance and eccentricity. Influenced by the Surrealists in Paris (1928), notably de Chirico and Max Ernst, Dali became the leading figure of the Surrealism movement.
His studies of life on the edge and the inner world of dream imagery led him to represent fantastical subjects, often situated in landscapes called up from his boyhood memories of Spain.
In 1940 he moved to the USA and converted to Catholicism. His work took a turn to religion, offering a somewhat conceptual, in contrast to devotional, interpretation of ancient religious motifs.
He wrote The Secret Life of Salvador Dali (1942) and worked with Luis Buñuel in surrealist films such as Un Chien Andalou (An Andalusian Dog, 1928) and L’Age d’Or (The Golden Age, 1930).
Among his more popular paintings are The Persistence of Memory (or ‘Limp Watches’, 1931), Christ of St. John of the Cross (1951) and The Sacrament of the Last Supper (1955). He’s buried under a crystal dome in a museum dedicated to his work, located near his place of birth.
- Hello, Dali (bellasugar.com)
- Today’s Birthday: SALVADOR DALÍ (1904) (euzicasa.wordpress.com)
- Happy Birthday to a Cultural Icon (A History Lesson About Salvador Dali) (lezgetreal.com)
- Dalí, “the hallucinogenic” (mcfsantos.wordpress.com)
- Salvador Dali, Logo Designer? (mossandfog.com)
- When Alice Cooper met Salvador Dali (superradnow.wordpress.com)
- Distorted Time(piece) (wereallmadinhere.wordpress.com)
- The Pursuit of Perfection & Salvador Dali (lifesbestgift.wordpress.com)
- Biography Salvador Dalì (hidrosexytronico.wordpress.com)
- Salvador Dalí- More pics and… quotations! (mcfsantos.wordpress.com)