Friday, September 01, 2006

"En Það Besta Sem Guð Hefur Skapað..."

It seems like we have a hunger for "newness", or death and rebirth. In Christianity, we have the death of the "misdeeds of the body" (Romans 8:13) and rebirth in Christ (and in Judaism, the Jubilee year). In Buddhism, the total death of self and recreation (or perhaps "realization") of oneness with everything. Academia is colored religous by its semester-oriented structure; any student can explain the "fresh" feeling of a new semester. Sartre takes this to an extreme, saying that we are new creations every moment (which, oddly enough, causes angst). Total permanence, reminiscent of Parmenides, traps us. Total impermanence, a la Heraclitus ("Everything flows, nothing stands still."), frightens us and causes angst.

Perhaps the love of shopping that so characterizes our American society thrives on this dichotomy? Materialism is a continual recreation through addition, coupled with an eventual eradication of the old. (Being the only sort of "recreation" people know, it's not suprising that Christian speakers spend so much time discouraging this attitude in the context of Christianity.) Materialism provides a sense of newness without forcing us to identify with a purely permanent or impermanent nature.

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