Part 6 – did modern lifestyles replaced religion?

Oleg Matveychev:  Today is postmodern. All universals, all ideologies as either meta-ideologies or atheistic versions. All lifestyles look like religions. Take consumer culture  – instead of afterlife and saving one’s soul, we have eternal youth and saving one’s body, instead of going to a temple on Sunday – megamall, instead of communion – shopping, instead of icons and Bible – magazines and posters, instead of saints – celebrities, instead of a morning prayer – make-up and affirmations  “I am happy and beautiful”, instead of priests – fashion designers, instead of Lent – diets and so on. We can find an analogy for absolutely every phenomenon. Or let’s take sport for example. Same thing. Instead of saints – sport stars, instead of prayer – training and fitness, instead of church services,  it’s sporting competitions, matches and the Olympics; instead of priests – coaches, and so on… Every lifestyle is a universal religion. Quasi-religion. And it arouses a special hatred  from the traditional religions. The devil is God’s monkey.

The postmodern answer, soft European atheism (as opposed to a brutal one like Trotskyists’ destruction of churches), tries to present all religious universals as “private ideologies’. So, “you guys can believe in anything you like, but scale your ambitions, don’t tell us you have absolute truth, because there is only one known absolute  truth and that’s there is no absolute truths.” This already happened in the Hellenic epoch. Christ told Pilatus the same thing: “What is the truth, you arrogant fanatic? If you proclaimed yourself the Judaic king, you would be a political criminal, and if you claim that you are Truth and God. You are mad… I am a civilised educated man, I have seen many universal truths, one better than another, but all of them eradicate each other simply because there are so many of them”. The opposite of being is not the negation of being, but doubling and multiplying it, and the mutual negation happen, like Baudrillard said.

There is also one more tendency in the world of universals. There is a dumb postmodernism with its political correctness, such as “don’t behave defiantly, wear a cross or hijab in full view and insult the religious feelings of others”. Even Christmas trees were banned in Europe, because these unfortunate plants have caused allergic reaction for some Muslims. But what the Christmas tree has to do with Christ? It even became a Christmas symbol only in the XVIII century…

Instead of rejecting universals it’s better on the basis of universality create the inter-penetration of the ideologies. But not in a dumb way, such as “you know, Turkish and Moslems are people too, or the invalids with their limited capabilities, or gays…” Further, “paedophiles will be people too”, just like “murderers”. Breivik, who murdered a lot of people, complains that his TV screen is too small for him there in prison.

Anatoly Belyakov:  You are late with your predictions. I do not know about the murderers, but pedophiles are already “people”. Five years ago, the Hague court declined a claim about the interdiction, in Holland, of the party “Mercy, freedom and variety”, which appeals for free sex with children. They say that we are tolerant in the western world, and we can profess any views. And in Canada during parliamentary sessions, the question was seriously debated of whether or not it is necessary to recognise pedophilia an aspect of sexual orientation. Probably, its adepts are already called “juvenile-oriented persons”, like thieves and robbers would be “persons with an alternative views of property rights”…

There is more to come, while democracy is understood not as the power of the people, but rather societal structure that prevents stigmatisation of any minority, up to an individual person.

O.M. I am not talking about acceptance of universal political rights for every little minority and even an individual people. I am talking about cultural interaction – not on the level of national dishes and cuisines that already became a common legacy in Europe, but on the level of literature, music, philosophy. This is something that once upon a time the theologians called “Perichoresis”, when they tried to explain communication and the intercoupling of the three persons in the Trinity, in their divine substance. The divine substance of the Trinity is the same for each person of the triune God, and is absolute foundation and stage for all interaction between them. No wonder, Sloterdijk used the Greek word perichoresis for what’s happening right now in postmodern culture. By the way, it’s the same thing that happened in the multinational and multi-denominationals empires earlier (for example, the Byzantine, Mongolian, Austrian-Hungarian empires and especially in the Russian empire and the USSR). Universality of universals as common ground for communication, and not as reason  for war and ambition. One should note that it’s neophytes that don’t know the culture and religion that they are “defending” that fight with each other. Mullas and priests won’t fight. They will get into theological disputes that will enrich both sides, but two youngsters who never read Koran or Bible will blow up each other with the words “God be with us!”.

A.B. So, is there a way to divide all universals, to guard them against conflict

O.M. Yes, there is. It’s virtual worlds. Every universal can have it’s own world where everything is according to its desires. Somebody, for example, a Muslim, connects to the matrix, enters a virtual space where everyone is wearing hijab, where there are only sharia laws and the ideal Islamic order. Leaving the matrix he will come back to universally sterile, non-religious technocratic world.

Also it’s possible to make a world for the pleasure of not only Christians, Mormons and Zionists, but even for paedophiles and passive necrophiliacs, should they want to. Everyone will get their own toy, the virtual world will provide it.

I think a lot of young people would be hopping from one virtual reality to another to to try out living  in the ideal worlds of different religions, different minorities and fetishes. Their slogan would be “you should try everything in your life”. Too bad that this phrase usually means filming a porno or trying drugs and not studies of quantum mechanics and molecular chemistry. However, there will be worlds for scientists-fetishists too, who will completely immerse into scientific subjects. Generally speaking, even now we live like bees flying from one flower to another, from one lifestyle to another. In the future, these styles will be clearer, cleaner,  more precise and separate from each other, a person’s life would be longer and the division between virtual reality and so called “reality” will be fainter and more and more indistinguishable.  So the winning meta-ideology is  ideology of technology which is a true universal and that will allow all universals, even the techno-phobe universals their universality within the borders of their universal virtual world. That’s what Heidegger meant when he wrote about technology as the destiny of our way of being-in-the-world.