Friday, April 13, 2007

Calling all Godless Heathens

Got an email from Paul Vermeersch the other day with a call for submissions of essays on "atheism and the arts." This is a topic near and dear to my heart and I agree with Paul that there seems to be a lag or a lack when it comes to artists of various types defending the values of secular humanism. A lot of poets, at any rate, seem more than happy to wallow in a mystical sty, happily ignoring recent (and not-so-recent) discoveries in various scientific domains that make their points of view seem silly, if not downright stupid. I pointed out one example of this in my review of a book of essays on memory, a topic which, while still full of unsolved mysteries, has been explored extensively by neuroscientists--work which, to me at least, does nothing to diminish my awe at the inner workings of the mind, but actually enhances it. Critical understanding and wonder are not necessarily mutually exclusive phenomena. The work of many contemporary poets seems to me little better than the romaniticisation of willful ignorance. So yeah, I'm starting to cook up a submission for Paul's anthology.

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