#perennialphilosophy #mysticism #extremism

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“One cannot reject an exotericism in the name of an esotericism which one does not posess.” –Seyyed Hossein Nasr

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A visual collage of religious extremism is layered with audio comparing major world religions at their most mystical levels, perennial philosophy. This short video juxtaposes audio of harmoniously aligned religious esoterism, an expression of one’s intimate personal experience of Oneness within a given tradition, with not just religious exoterism, but rather religiosity distorted in practice. This serves as a lens to interrogate the difference between being at the metaphysical center of a tradition versus being at its fracture periphery.

The Quran, set aflame by three German Christians who later appear tearing out its pages while wearing tinfoil masks, frames a Buddhist Monk who sets himself ablaze in the gaze of the ‘media’. This Sri Lankan monk declared this was an act of protest against the slaughtering of cows and in favor of laws restricting Christians from converting Buddhists in the county; Buddhists being the majority. Glowing patterns of burning crosses intercut this cultural collision to highlight fire as a symbol of purification and wisdom, and also a metaphor of the the dangers of misguided religious exotericism. A 2003 recording of a lecture by Islamic studies scholar, Sayyed Hossein Nasr, floats in the sounds of quartz crystal singing bowls.

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*created with found footage*

Editing/Sound Design: Wendell Cooper

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