Sunday, May 21, 2006

Religion, Spirituality, Sex, Power and Law

Blogmandu has it all this week, all in one nice neat little scandal. Seems that an Israeli Jewish Renewal teacher was accused of sexual misconduct, removed from his position by his board of directors, and fled the country. There's now a substantial debate about what this means with regard to both the role of people with emotional problems -- the teacher in question identified himself has having "a pathology" -- in spiritual teachings, as well as the role of governing bodies in defining codes of ethics for the supposedly limitless and highly personal kind of guru-relationships which go on in Buddhist and Jewish Renewal (among others) circles.

That roundup also introduced me to a new term: MGM or "mean green meme"
The mean green meme ("mgm") is a thinking pattern that is attached to explaining the world as filled with all-good victims pounced upon by completely evil victimizers.
Speaking of problems of ethics and self-definition, Orac pointed to a sex slave cult based on patriarchal SF/F: it's odd, but as long as it's actually voluntary and S/M is legal, it's no more harmful than Civil War reenactments or Shakesperean drama.

Via Ralph Luker, I found this bloggerly celebration of John Stuart Mills' natal bicentennial, including a link to a full text version of one of my favorite works of political philosophy ever: On Liberty. If it weren't for Mill, I wouldn't hardly take libertarians seriously at all.... Speaking of taking libertarians seriously, Balko's Cory Maye Update looks promising.

Finally, for an antidote to the lowbrow hand-wringing going on over Da Vinci Code (a ponderous movie, by all accounts, which was to be expected because the book itself is pseudo-pedantic and authentically ponderous, with moments of absurd terror) try Farangi's well-informed discussion of Templar and Masonic legends and their memetic power in three parts.

And if, by some miracle, all the Da Vinci Code talk has raised your interest in ancient and medieval history, or if you were actually interested in the subject already, Brandon Watson's edition of Carnivalesque has your fix. Hardcore, dude.

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