Friday, July 15, 2011
Ridiculing Mariology: Despite its name, Mariology is not the rational study of Mario from the Mario Bros. video game franchise. In fact, Mariology constitutes a theological examination of Mary as the Mother of Christ. For Catholics, Mariology symbolizes the logical extension of Christology, especially since it offers a fuller understanding of Jesus' life as a man in the world. Protestant theologians, however, generally claim that although Mary's role in Christ's life is significant, having a theology of her beliefs and teachings venerates her as a kind of goddess. In this sense, Mary's role can be seen as somewhat diluted when studying the historicity and ministry of Jesus. But the Catholic counterclaim to Protestant reservations about Mariology entails the idea that Mary's Immaculate Conception and Assumption into Heaven are two primordial pillars unto which Christians should morally ascribe. In effect, Mary represents a model of virtue that pertains to a level of Christian mysticism beyond the scope of Trinitarian theology. Mary ultimately resides just below the Trinity on Christianity's hierarchy of importance, as she is clearly the most important female figure in the entire religion.
Friday, July 1, 2011
On Surrealism: Although labeled a cultural movement in early twentieth-century Europe, surrealism mainly pertained to the visual arts. Its core tenets were largely philosophical insofar as surrealist artists encouraged observers to think through the confusion and unexpectedness in their works. Artists such as René Magritte (whose work Not to be Reproduced - 1937 - is on display in the above picture) and Max Ernst fit the surrealist mold by featuring the element of unconscious surprise in their paintings. The twisting of reality was certainly avant-garde at the time, especially since it signified a new barrier of consciousness for the mind to overcome. In Magritte's Not to be Reproduced, the man expects to see his face properly reflected in the mirror, as the book on the mantelpiece is accurately reflected. But the man only sees the back of his head, which either complicates or resolves the primordial pain of vanity for him. If there ever was a painting that captured the dysfunctional nature of existential anxiety, this was it.