Thursday, September 21, 2023

#264 / Eisenstein's Film


Maybe Charles Eisenstein (who is pictured above) should be called "New Age." I am not really sure. Those not familiar with Eisenstein can click the links to get some background. Here is what the website, "Ions" has to say about him. I guess they want to use the label "counter-cultural."

Charles Eisenstein
Speaker, Counter-Cultural Intellectual, Author
Charles Eisenstein is a public speaker, counter-cultural intellectual, and the author of several books including The Ascent of Humanity, Sacred Economics, The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know Is Possible, and Climate: A New Story.
His on-line writings have generated a vast following; he speaks frequently at conferences and other events, and gives numerous interviews on radio and podcasts.
Eisenstein graduated from Yale University in 1989 with a degree in Mathematics and Philosophy, and spent the next ten years as a Chinese-English translator.

I have signed up to get periodic bulletins from Eisenstein, who promises "essays on civilization. myth, politics, [and] ecology." He currently has over 68,000 subscribers, and you can sign up for free. Eisenstein, incidentally, is now officially part of the presidential campaign team for Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. 
In late June, I got a rather disturbing bulletin from Eisenstein (or, at least, I found it disturbing). His bulletin linked to what Eisenstein described as "the first film that I have written and directed myself." As he told those who got his email, "it's only three minutes long." Here it is: 

As anyone who has read many of my blog postings knows, I want to be sure that we all appreciate the difference between being an "observer" and being an "actor." 

Observers look at the world and describe it. Actors change the world.

Eisenstein's film is his "observation" about the nature of our existence. Presenting this "observation" within a "New Age" or "Counter-Cultural" framework, as Eisenstein's film does, has the effect, I fear, of amplifying the "is" fallacy. This is the fallacy that suggests that an accurate and powerful observation of what "is," is a statement about the essential "reality" of what the observation describes. 

In fact, the world we most immediately inhabit, the "Human World," the "Political World," is a world that we have created ourselves, and that world is a world we can change. In our human world, what "is" is not inevitable, and does not, by any means, define or delimit reality. Thus, any compelling presentation about our reality (like Eisenstein's film) needs to be careful about what message it will send. Unless our ability to do something new, and different, is clear, a compelling presentation about what is "happening" may be disempowering (whether that is intended, or not).

Eisenstein calls his first film, "The Fall," and as depicted in the video, "The Fall" is sending all that is good and pure, and even "holy," into a "black hole" of hatred, violence, and despair. Actually, in the way Eisenstein understands his film, the good and the pure are being sent into Hell (for a redemptive purpose, of course, with our world to be "reborn" in the end). 
Eisenstein says that he intends this message to "help you stay sane in a crazy world." 

Wouldn't that be nice!  Ojal√°!

But that's not the way I read this film. I read the film as Eisenstein's presentation of his description of "reality," and the "reality" he presents says that we're all going to Hell. Eisenstein's film, in other words, helps advance the "doom loop" perspective.

If my reading is correct, we should "not be enticed" into such a "doom loop" brand of thinking - not any more than we should let ourselves be enticed, the way I see it, by the campaign of Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., which has a similar "downbeat" vision of where we find ourselves today.

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