2012-10-28

Honour your Father

Magic and science, rather than being one the opposite of the other, share a fundamental purpose: to dominate, or at least influence as much as possible, the nature (Claude Lévi-Strauss, The Savage Mind, 1962). In this sense, science is inseparable from technology, for, in the same way that magic rituals, they act towards nature in order to force it to respond to the human desires. In other words, modern technology is not only calculation and optimization, but also a form of ritual and symbolism.

Given this common intention of magic, science and technology, we can observe what have in common phenomena apparently as remote as are primitive earth fertility cults and modern technology. In the framework of fertility rites, the collective orgy, the liberation of the desires repressed during the profane time, should propitiate a corresponding unleashing of the earth promiscuity, the plethora, the waste of life. In a similar way, the recycling that the
Western nations made from Egyptian ​​solar obelisks, can be interpreted as the technological erection of phallic symbols. Or, at the other end of the scientific field, that of pharmaceutics, the latest remedies to improve human fertility as Viagra could be also interpreted as new forms of apotropaic rituals.

Image after Carlo Fontana/Alessandro Specchi's Erecting the Ancient Egyptian Obelisk in St. Peter's Square, Rome [pd], Giovanni Paolo Panini's Departure of the Duc de Choiseul from the Piazza di San Pietro (1754) [pd] and others [ua-fu/fd].