Abstract: A meditation on the death of the author’s Sicilian grandmother that explores how a child copes with loss by transforming the grandmother’s vast collection of plastic and porcelain female saints into imaginary friends.
Abstract: We ward off loss as best we can, but rarely are we so lucky. We attach significance to our rituals and collected items. This theme of warding off loss and searching for ways to cope with it is woven through the linked stories of Marisa Labozzetta’s Thieves Never Steal in the Rain, especially in the stories about Joanna and Barbara. Barbara’s ritualistic collecting links her directly to the past. Through these objects, the past and present become fluid for Barbara, and she believes that they can even affect her future. Because of this, she gathers objects in an attempt to preserve her luckiness as she has been since she was a child. This idea of actively working against or shielding oneself and loved ones from loss is also apparent in Labozetta’s stories that feature Joanna. Joanna’s daughter, Jill, died in a terrible accident, and Joanna blames herself because she thinks she should have been able to prevent Jill’s death. Joanna also emphasizes the importance of things in a way that is similar to Barbara’s. When she thinks she has lost her artistic eye, Joanna reclaims the things from her childhood desk. Unfortunately, and despite their best efforts, neither Joanna nor Barbara is able to stave off loss forever: Barbara’s house burns down and Jill cannot be resurrected. However, Barbara feels liberated after her house burns, and Joanna rediscovers her artistic eye. Perhaps what we need to remember, and what the stories in Marisa Labozzetta’s Thieves Never Steal in the Rain remind us, is that we can’t prevent loss and somehow we have to cope with it. In coping with the loss, we can rediscover our best selves.
Abstract: This study set out to conceptualise and measure Charismatic orientation (openness to charismatic experience) and traditional Catholic orientation (Catholic identity) among a sample of 670 Catholic churchgoers in order to test whether attachment to Catholic Charismatic Renewal strengthened or weakened the sense of traditional Catholic identity among churchgoing Catholics. This research question was set within the broader consideration of the location of Charismatic orientation and Catholic orientation within Eysenck’s three dimensional model of personality. The data revealed a strong positive association between Charismatic experience and Catholic identity. Higher scores on the index of Charismatic orientation were associated with higher extraversion scores, with higher neuroticism scores, and with higher levels of mass attendance and personal prayer. Higher scores on the index of Catholic orientation were associated with being female, being older, higher neuroticism scores, and higher levels of mass attendance and personal prayer.
Abstract: The Batek are a forest and forest-fringe dwelling population numbering around 1,500 located in Peninsular Malaysia. Most Batek groups were mobile forest-dwelling foragers and collectors until the recent past. The Batek imbue the forest with religious significance that they inscribe onto the landscape through movement, everyday activities, storytelling, trancing and shamanic journeying. However, as processes of globalization transform Malaysian landscapes, many Batek groups have been deterritorialized and relocated to the forest fringes where they are often pressured into converting to world religions, particularly Islam. Batek religious beliefs and practices have been re-shaped by their increasing encounters with global flows of ideologies, technologies, objects, capital and people, as landscapes are opened up to development. This article analyzes the ways these encounters are incorporated into the fabric of the Batek’s religious world and how new objects and ideas have been figuratively and literally assimilated into their taboo systems and cosmology. Particular attention is paid to the impacts of globalization as expressed through tropes of fear.
Abstract: Chögyal Namkhai Norbu is one of the last great masters of Dzogchen to have been born and fully educated in Tibet, before the Chinese takeover. He was soon recognized as a great reincarnated lama. This short biography is divided in two parts: the first retraces his steps from his birth in the Tibetan region of Kham until his flight from Tibet to Sikkim, reporting also teachings and initiations he received from his Masters. The second part starts when he arrived in Italy in 1960, invited by Professor Giuseppe Tucci, the greatest Italian Orientalist of his time, to work at the IsMeO, now the Italian Institute for Africa and the Orient (IsIAO). In the 70s Chögyal Namkhai Norbu began to teach Dzogchen to his first students. Interest soon became widespread and having received invitations from all continents, he began to travel and teach throughout the world, founding the worldwide Dzogchen Community, whose main objective is to preserve and develop an understanding of Dzogchen, as well as preserving Tibet's extraordinary cultural patrimony.
Abstract: Charisma is morally problematic insofar as it replaces followers’ capacity to engage in genuine moral reasoning. When followers defer to charismatic leaders and act in ways that are morally wrong they are not only blameworthy for wrongdoing but for failing in their deliberative obligations. Even when followers defer to charismatic leaders and do the right thing, their action is less praiseworthy to the extent that it was the result of charisma rather than moral deliberation. Therefore, effective charismatic leadership reliably undermines the praiseworthiness and amplifies the blameworthiness of follower’s actions.