talks | Day 1

  • How to Save the World

  • The Pledge: Oedipus and the Garden of Eden

  • The Turn: Losing the Loss of the Lost Object

  • The Prestige: A Community Unplugged

  • Redoubled Kenosis: Alienation and Separation

talks | Day 2

  • Transformance Art: The Theory

  • Transformance Art: The Technology

  • Decentering Practices: The Theory

  • Decentering Practices: The Technology

Everything will be recorded and made available to participants in the immediate aftermath of the event.

The Cosmological Vision of Pyrotheology

In a manner reminiscent of Sherlock Holmes’ Curious Case of the Dog in the Night, cosmologists are confronted with what might be called the Curious Case of Extraterrestrial Life. Each curious case revolves around a lack. The lack of a noisy dog, and the lack of a noisy Galaxy. 

If our Galaxy is so vast, then why have we not discovered the kind of noise that we’d expect to find emanating from an intelligent civilization? 

There are a number of possible reasons, but one is strikingly simple: for an advanced civilization to develop, a number of thresholds have to be passed that are inconceivably difficult to reach. 

For example, for life to evolve, it must start on a planet that offers a very precise constellation of environmental factors - the Goldilocks Zone . In addition to this, it requires a relatively stable environment - over millions of years - so that it can evolve. 

Each threshold - passing from being to life, life to consciousness, consciousness to self-consciousness - is so difficult and fraught with danger that it is conceivable that no other technologically advanced civilization currently resides in our Galaxy.

From a psychoanalytically informed philosophical perspective, it could be argued that there is a particularly interesting threshold that self-conscious life would have to pass in order to evolve to the next stage: namely overcoming the sting of Death Drive. 

If self-conscious life involves internalizing/subjectivising the antagonism of evolution, then it would need to find a way to manage that antagonism so as not to be snuffed out by war, environmental devastation or resource elimination. Tragedies that would occur long before solving the issue of biological death and expanding beyond a single planet.

In this two day course, I’ll be exploring the theory and technology of Pyrotheology in a systematic manner. I’ll be looking at the need for Future Church to be dedicated to cultivating a mode of being that is directly related to addressing this threshold. One that is dedicated to forming counter-cultural communities freed from the negative dimension of Death Drive. 

I’ll be showing how a pyrotheological reading of Christianity is aimed squarely at helping us rob Death Drive of its sting - subtracting our libidinal investment in the Lost Object. Something that is not only vital in the personal and political field, but to the very future of self-conscious life.

This Building on Fire event thus has a decidedly cosmological dimension as we explore a vision for Future Church that operates beyond the tired division between theism and atheism, sacred and secular, science and supernatural.