By Jeff Lewis (auth.)
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Additional info for Crisis in the Global Mediasphere: Desire, Displeasure and Cultural Transformation
Indeed, within the pre-eminent cultural fantasy of inﬁnite pleasure, these expert systems continue to jostle for primacy and the social privileges that are attached to its deliverance. In this context, agriculture represents a genealogical conduit through pre-industrial, industrial and contemporary, media-based societies. The crisis conditions that emerged through the Holocene have not been erased through these phasal innovations, but perpetuated, if not accelerated. Moreover, the psycho-cultural patterns and knowledge systems that have been borne through these material conditions have also continued, forming the basis of a more recent incarnation of crisis consciousness.
Of course these religions and their constituent narratives are many things, including mechanisms for social management, law and validations of hierarchical systems and dynastical hierarchy; however, many of the religions share an imagery of vengeful and violent deities who control the cosmos and who impose their will over subjects and nature. Whether by cyclical renewal or eternal transformations in bliss or damnation, these major agricultural religions present a vision of ‘the end’ which frequently warns humankind against the excesses of carnality or unrestrained pleasure.
In its literal sense, ‘modern’ means most recent, and so the Maya regarded themselves as a modern civilization that had the right, indeed, the cosmological duty, to govern ruthlessly. The Maya’s civil mass and reliance on agriculture rendered them vulnerable to the vicissitudes of climatic, human and natural disasters. In order to appease cosmological forces and wrathful gods, the Maya performed various forms of fertility rites, including human sacriﬁce. While the historical accuracy of these rites has been questioned, it is nevertheless clear that Gibson narrative identiﬁes these practices with a fundamental human brutality that is itself borne from fear and profound anxieties about human vulnerability.