subversive sacred
May 5, 2008, 1:19 am
Filed under: unseen world | Tags: , , , , ,

Here is an exquisite subversive definition of the sacred as seen in the work of the great Italian film maker Pasolini.  He describes the sacred in terms of what it is not:  the profane, namely the techniques and apparatus used to prop up the middle class.  Somehow for him stability, security, conservatism, the status quo, its trappings, pragmatism are not merely the machinations of the acquisitive lifestyle.  He has taken what we may typically see as neutral and necessary and spurned it, marked it damned.

The sacred that impassions Pasolini corresponds to an anthropological concept of religiosity as studied by such authorities as Mircea Eliade, Rudolf Otto, Georges Bataille, or Roger Caillois. The holy is a phenomenon necessarily defined by remotion, that is to say negatively, in opposition to what it is not. If the profane is the world of security, conservation and useful and pragmatic behaviors designed to maintain the status quo, the sacred is the domain of an incomprehensible and vital force that holds the secret of Being itself. For this reason, the deepest human desire is to be empowered by the sacred, through sacrificial behaviors performed to gain favor (the sacred of respect) or through illicit behaviors designed to reach the limits of selfhood and the threshold of the cosmogonic realm (the sacred of transgression).

~Pasolini’s tecnica sacrale in Accatone, Kathryin St. Ours, Goucher College