Samizdat











Flight From the Absolute, volume 1















Author: Paul Gosselin
Publisher: Samizdat
ix - 412 pages with Foreword, Index, Bibliography and Notes
ISBN: 978-2-9807774-3-1
Publication date: 2012
Size: 5.5 X 8.5 inches
Sold through: Amazon.com

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Paul Gosselin - auteur












Paul Gosselin is an independent researcher specializing in ideologies, belief systems and religions. He holds a Masters in Social Anthropology and is the author of Hors du ghetto (on culture and the arts), has done years of investigation into postmodernism and is also the Webmaster of Samizdat. He has lived in Nova Scotia, California, Vancouver Island and currently resides in Quebec.


Flight From the Absolute

Cynical Observations on the Postmodern West.
Volume I



Press Gallery

An excerpt: Foreword (PDF format)

Overview Poster (PDF,12X18" format)

Why? Poster (PDF,12X18" format)

Flight From the Absolute: Volume 2


If one were to go back 100 or 200 years in the West, the Judeo-Christian worldview dominated, or at least had great influence over, many social institutions such as education, law, health care, science, the arts and culture. But times have certainly changed. Over the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, secularization in the West has marginalized traditional religions. But has the West has actually become "secular", going beyond religion? Some might think so, but if one looks beyond the facade, one may find that the search for meaning has not ceased to haunt postmodern man and, even if the cultural context has changed, ultimate questions remain as relevant in the twenty-first century as they were in Antiquity or the Middle Ages. Science has not eliminated religion, but in actual fact, now participates, willingly or unwillingly, to provide answers in the search for meaning.

The postmodern world and its technology is rapidly advancing, but going where? Could it be that our obsession with technology and the latest gadgets is fed by a subliminal hope that perhaps we can find some form of “salvation” in a technological utopia? In a world where truth is no longer tolerated, the only thing that still seems true is the maddening awareness that we haven’t found what we were looking for... Deconstruction and meta-narrative analysis have become our postmodern elites’ preferred playthings, but if we use these tools, targeting postmodern discourse itself, perhaps such an initiative may be worth the effort. This book therefore offers a cold analysis and hard-hitting deconstruction of the dominant orthodoxy of our generation, exposing its core beliefs.

Modern or postmodern elites view man as little more than an object, devoid of any special status, existing in time and space, in a world where, in many ways, nothing, in itself, has any meaning or significance. It is important to realize that cultural creativity itself is always expressed in a particular framework. And in the West, this is provided in a very large extent by the materialist worldview derived from the theory of evolution. Now if evolutionism is true, as Jacques Monod, Richard Dawkins, Stephen Jay Gould or Carl Sagan claim, then man is actually nothing but one natural phenomenon among many others. He has no meaning except that which he forges for himself in fleeting moments. At most, man is a handful of rather pompous molecules. Modern man’s self-awareness must find it’s way in a disenchanted world, a world devoid of meaning, where human organisms fight for survival and where the deities are indifferent.

Writing in the 1970s, American sociologist Thomas Luckmann's considered it a basic fact that all societies have an ideologico-religious belief system, a worldview. And when this is denied, Luckmann asserted one should then look for an invisible religion. Furthermore, Luckmann claimed that the development of personal and social identity always has a religious dimension. Religion then is inevitable. If an ideologico-religious system then provides the basic foundation for civilizations, what then this raises further questions : What is the postmodern West’s religion? What are its institutions, rituals, origins myths, its apostles, its devotees or its initiation rites? This book will attempt to examine these awkward, and somewhat taboo, questions and look at the heart of our generation. What shall we find there? The author relies on advances in the field of anthropology and sociology of religion, advances that typically social scientists have not applied to the West in a consistent fashion.

The basic premise of Flight From the Absolute volume 1 is that all societies and civilisations are based on a world-view or religion. This leads inevitably to the issue of religion in the postmodern West where the elites commonly assume they can "do without religion”. This essay tackles the matter using a definition of religion developed in the Social Sciences (i.e. a belief system, providing meaning) as opposed to outdated definitions commonly used in the media and the courts equating religion with belief in the supernatural. That said the old definition of religion still has its uses as it conveniently allows the Western elites own belief system to escape notice (and criticism).

If one changes the working definition of religion, then this dramatically changes the way one looks at the issue of religion in the West. Here are a few issues examined in Flight volume 1:

  • Does secularisation really involve the "disappearance" or "elimination" of religion or might it involve religion in a new, more implicit form?
  • Are Western elites in denial about religion, preferring to ignore evidence contradicting their secular self-image?
  • If we face a new form of religion, what then are its presuppositions/dogmas?
  • Which groups/institutions promote this religion?
  • How does it recruit new adherents? Why is it an invisible religion?
  • What is the media's ideological role in the postmodern West?
  • What are some of the ethical implications of this belief system?

In the course of this study we will come across diverse characters such as Albert Camus, Friedrich Nietzsche, Galileo, Jacques Derrida, U2, Charles Darwin, David Porush, Denis Diderot, Kurt Vonnegut, Katherine Hayles, Blaise Pascal, Alan Sokal, Stephen Jay Gould, Dostoevsky, the marquis de Sade, Michel Foucault, Jean-Paul Sartre, Noam Chomsky, T.S. Eliot, Philip K. Dick and many others.

 


Table of Contents

Foreword

1 / Worldviews
Religion, Reincarnated
Ideological Schizophrenia
The Invisible Church
Getting a Hearing

2 / Vivisecting the Patient
Total Science
Media Mirages
The Decline of the Materialist Empire
New Religious Elites

3 / The Phantom Creed
What Use is a Cosmology?
Instruments of Power
Media Behavioural Patterns
The Structure of Scientific Monopolies
Re-examined Fetishes

4 / Rites of Passage
How the Game is Played
Medical Protocols and Fatal Distinctions
Relativity and Relativism
Freedom and the Conversion Process
Intellectual Matters
Groping for an Anchor
Postmodern Ghettos

5 / Cannibals
The Disposable Soul
Beyond Self
The Ghost in the Machine
The Ultimate Test
Managing the Human Herd
Dysfunctional Complementarities
Biotech Man
Homo Sapiens and Its Ecological Niches
Hunger

Postface
Bibliography
Index

Technical Considerations
Acknowledgements