A friend tipped me off to a social justice theater/museum thing in Vermont called Bread and Puppet. Sufficiently intrigued, I decided to visit the website. There, I came across this phrase, "the radicalization of leisure." Awesome phrase if I ever heard one. So, I am now obsessed with the phrase and the idea. But I figure before I go googling or researching it I wanted to take a stab at what I think it means.
Leisure, I would contrast with work. It is the time we have for ourselves when we are not busied with work. I suppose work is whatever we necessarily have to do to survive. So going to work where I get paid or cooking for my family both qualify. However, for the proletariat, leisure would mean something vastly different than it would for the capitalists or the bourgeoisie. The craftsman, the sheetmetal worker, the builder, the seller, etc., need leisure as a time to recuperate. Sustaining a working life necessitates recovery time. Leisure time as such then becomes work in that it is dictated by necessity. Thus, one's "work" and one's leisure are both determined by necessity, the difference being who dictates the necessity and for whom the products of such work benefit. In the workplace, the fruit of labor is taken by the capitalist and in work-leisure, the benefits accrue to the individual.
Now, for those in a higher social location, leisure is free from the connotations of necessity. Recovery is less the issue, rather emotional rejuvenation is the focus. Free time is not bound by the necessity of bodily recovery but defined by the emphasis on freedom--this is my time to free myself from any requirements. Here is where we would see the development of a whole range of activities in which the bourgeoisie, in generating moments of freedom and satisfaction, create an entire new layer of work for the proletariat thus robbing them of their of their time.
. . .
How much of this is BS . . . I would say 85%. But it was a good attempt. Now, I will go research the phrase and find out what exactly it means.
In my current work in progress, Children of Clay, I use the word "euthanasia" a few times. A few critiquers have noted that I am using the word incorrectly. Euthanasia refers to "the practice of intentionally ending one's life to relieve suffering and pain" (Wiki).
I haven't researched the use of the word over the centuries but I did come across its use in the 19th century. John Henry Newman, a Catholic thinker, used the word "euthanasia" in its primary Greek form. In ancient Greek, "eu" means "well/sweet" and "thanatos" means "death." So euthanasia in its basic meaning is a "beautiful death." Newman described the death of one of dear friends this way, as a way to express that her death was saintly. He also was horrified that the word was being adopted to suicidal uses, closer to what we use today.
In Children of Clay, which features an alternate world, I use the word to capture the idea of a beautiful death. A death in which one is not passive, i.e., death does not choose you, but you choose death in order to ascend to the supreme deity.
"I have done unbelievable things in the name of a faith that was never my own."
This is the most powerful scene of the film for me.
The purifier is caught between his original identity and his faith, which is an assumed identity. No one is born a Necromonger, everyone is a forced convert, but a convert nonetheless, in the true sense. They are converted to belief in the Underverse. There is no sense we get in the film that the adherents were anything less than faithful to their faith.
But something happens to this purifier and he is burdened by all the atrocities he has committed in the name of his assumed faith. And, in a bid for redemption (as I see it), he allows Riddick the opportunity to kill the Lord Marshall and commits suicide by walking out into the atmosphere of the planet to atone for all the terrible things he has done.
So what is a "faith that was never my own"? Is it that he wasn't born into it? Perhaps, but I see it differently.
Conversion is the end process of education. After we encounter a new set of ideas or facts about existence, we make choices about the degree to which we adopt these ideas. However, whatever you choose to believe has to be continuous with what you already believe. When a convert hears a message, she recognizes something in that message that resonates and then adopts it because it makes sense at some level. If something makes sense then you can think of it as a lego piece being added to a structure already created.
Thus, if someone claims conversion, but the new propositions are not co-extensive with his prior set of beliefs, the dissonance will eventually manifest itself and the conversion or lack of it, is exposed/revealed. True conversion is a process of building continuity.
So the purifier has come to terms with his inability to juxtapose his faith in the Underverse, the eschatological hope of the Necros, and his need to for self-justification. In the end, the Underverse is not worth the dissonance. The desire for self-peace or wholeness ultimately wins out.
Not exactly highbrow here, but this scene is what caught my attention and made the Chronicles of Roddick one of my favorite movies of all time. The scene is so bad and cheesy and I thought to myself, there has to be art to it and I was determined to find that art . . . and I did.
The movie is a great study in the nature of religion and I want to explore that over the next few months. But in the meantime, this scene requires that you check your intellect at the door and enjoy the pure artistry. It's elusive and only the initiated may see the truth of it. Are you worthy?
Currently working on a literary fiction piece, Children of Clay. Check in for more updates soon.