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Sunday, December 02, 2007

Sacred and Profane

Do you believe in his sweet sensation?
Do you believe in a second chance?

Do you believe in rapture, babe?

This juxtaposition flashed into my mind during Thomas Sokolowski's Andy Warhol: Camouflage Man lecture the other day. Sokolowski is director of the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, and when he put up the still from the Warhol film it was like seeing Bernini's St. Theresa peeking out from behind Bookwalter's eyes.

For religious man, his life was sanctified because it corresponded to paradigms established by the gods in the time of origins. Eliade suggests that in the very distant past, absolutely every aspect of life, even the most basic bodily function, had a religious significance. He sees this reflected in the case of an Australian people called the Karadjeri, whose mythology provided them with a paradigm on the position to take up for urinating.

Clearly, this immersion of life in sacred values is total contrast with the experience of non-religious man, whose life has become desacralised.

As well as acquiring religious value from divine paradigms, particular aspects of the life of religious man could also take on a sacramental value. Thus in Indian tantrism, sexual union became a religious ritual.

-"Understanding the Sacred"

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