Michaelwclark.com

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One thing leads to another

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A Netgear DG632 ADSL modem with an 8 pin JTAG ...

A Netgear DG632 ADSL modem with an 8 pin JTAG header at location “5”. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s a holiday here in Canada, so I was taking it slow this morning. Every now and then our internet connection needs to be reset by restarting the modem. That happened today, so I got up out of my comfy chair and went down to the basement where the modem sits.

I also have a personal reference library in the basement, so while waiting for the necessary 10 second “off time” before restarting the modem, glanced at some of my books. A dictionary of anthropology caught my eye. Browsing its pages while waiting for the internet to return, I found some interesting material on the idea of liminality.

You’d think I’d know all about this concept; it’s right up my alley. But as things go, I’ve only made note of it until now.

Some quick research on Wiki produced these two links. I highly recommend them to anyone interested in religion and the related idea of numinosity. Of particular interest is the distinction anthropologist Victor Turner makes between the liminal and the liminoid. The one is structured and expected by society, and more like work (e.g. going to Church); the other is free and playful (e.g. going to a rock concert). But both apparently have similar effects. They transport you somewhere out of the ordinary.

For me, going to Church is a lot more than just a “trip.” And I only go when I feel called to do so (not via social pressure). But that’s something I’ll elaborate on at earthpages.ca. In the meantime, I just wanted to link to these two exciting finds.

This second link is an interview with Talal Asad. I was pleasantly surprised to discover his views on postmodernism and religion. I’ve been thinking about this for a long time. And it’s always great to find an “established” thinker who’s saying things that you’ve already thought about. It gives you a sense of reinforcement and encouragement. After all, a single innovative thinker is often ignored or marginalized (as has been my experience). More than one, however, and people start to take notice.

Apart from my personal story, I really believe that humanity would benefit from using all of the intellectual tools we have at our disposal… especially with regard to religion and society.

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Author: Michael Clark

I'm the administrator of Earthpages.org | Earthpages.ca with a Joint Honours B.A. in Psychology/Sociology at York and Trent U, an M.A. in Philosophy and Religion at Visva-Bharati, India, and a Ph.D. in Religious Studies at UOttawa.

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