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Old 04-19-2001, 07:31 AM   #1
ohwilleke
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Post Popular Culture.

Most of us easily pick up on Christian references in popular culture. Yet, certainly, there are non-Abrahamic religious influences as well.

The Matrix and Star Wars are both clearly influenced by Eastern religion.

Phenomenon had strong Scientology themes in it.

Some are more explicit, of course, Raising the Red Lantern, Anna and the King, Crouching Tiger, etc.

Similarly in the world of books, there is Herman Hess, Siddartha and Zen and the Art of Motorcylce Maintenance and Tao of Pooh as popular efforts. Yet, these are only explicit references. Surely others are more subtle.

What other non-Abrahamic religiously influenced movies or other popular culture is out there?
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Old 04-19-2001, 11:28 AM   #2
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I’m a huge fan of the Red Hot Chili Peppers. On their ‘95 album, One Hot Minute, they’ve got a song called Shallow Be Thy Game, which denounces Christianity, preceded by Falling Into Grace, which mentions “falling into guru mukh”. Can anybody define “guru mukh” for me? Search engines don’t seem to want to help me too much right now.
 
Old 04-19-2001, 01:17 PM   #3
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Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by ohwilleke:

The Matrix and Star Wars are both clearly influenced by Eastern religion.
</font>
Clearly? I don't think so.

Here is what I have heard from intelligent and educated people about The Matrix:

It reflects Plato's Cave.
It reflects Berkeley's Ontological theory.
It reflects Descarte's evil deceiver hypothesis.
It reflects Buddhism.
It reflects Taoism.
It reflects Christianity.
It reflects a Course in Miracles.
It reflects anti-governemnt libertarian undercurrents.
and more I can't remember right now.

The funny thing is that most of the people's take on it reflected their general philosophical views and they were convinced that the plays to their viewpoint were obvious insertions by the moviemakers.

Star Wars was more general because the characters were archtypes. I've heard convincing desriptions that Star Wars was purely Greek in nature.

I don't buy your analysis of these two.

DC
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Old 04-19-2001, 03:47 PM   #4
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Lucas was heavily influenced by Kurosawa, so it should be no suprise that Star Wars has Eastern themes. Watch The Seven Samurai and The Hidden Fortress and you will see that characters and scenes are picked up out of feudal Japan and dropped into a science fiction setting.
 
Old 04-19-2001, 04:39 PM   #5
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The influences in the Matrix that I saw, was the portrayal of an apparent reality that is not in fact real, a point fleshed out in the scene where a mystic has several children performing traditional acts of Eastern magic.

The Star War idea that I am picking up on is the notion of "the Force" and its non-theistic Jedi religion -- with good and evil opposed to each other as abstract forces as much as personified things. Also its focus on meditation, and on the importance of continuity. I think that it may well have elements of Greek tragedy as well as Eastern religion. But, I'm trying to elicit other, perhaps non-explicit pickups on non-Abrahamaic religious ideas in popular culture.

The Matrix and Star Wars also make a big deal out of the "in the zone" idea that many in these forums have discussed in the context of non-Abrahamic religion. Indeed, Taoism, were I to point a finger, seems like the biggest influence on each (neither, for example, seems very Confucian or to have the theistic elements of Hinduism).

In neither case do I think that there aren't other influences as well. It is just that those kinds of influences are apparent.
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Old 04-19-2001, 07:49 PM   #6
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Well you had a tv show in the early seventies called Kung Fu which was all about eastern ideas with David carradine and a recent film with Bill Murray(a remake of an early one)called The Razor's Edge from a Maugham novel about a man in Chicago society who goes in search of himself in the late twenties and finds eastern truths in India.
You can also find a lot of eastern ideas in Babylon 5 the tv show. There are also numerous novels starting with Hesse's Siddhartha and others like Illusions by Bach.
 
Old 04-19-2001, 07:58 PM   #7
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Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Hoffma:
I’m a huge fan of the Red Hot Chili Peppers. On their ‘95 album, One Hot Minute, they’ve got a song called Shallow Be Thy Game, which denounces Christianity, preceded by Falling Into Grace, which mentions “falling into guru mukh”. Can anybody define “guru mukh” for me? Search engines don’t seem to want to help me too much right now. </font>
Well, it appears that the Chili Peppers were using artistic license. A short news article can be used to extract some of the key facts, so I'll quote it here:
Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">30 minute silence for ‘mukh vak’

ANANDPUR SAHIB, April 9 (PTI) — All activity at the Khalsa tercentenary celebrations venue here will come to a standstill for 30 minutes next Wednesday when the only voice heard will be from Takht Kesgarh Sahib, the seat of the creation of Khalsa 300 years ago.

Instructions were issued to assure that no programme would be allowed from any stage between 10.08 am and 10.38 am on Wednesday when the "hukumnama" will be read from the Guru Granth Sahib, SGPC president Jagir Kaur told PTI here today.

The "hukumnama" will be pronounced from Takht Kesgarh Sahib at 10.08 am to 10.15 am, but it could not be ascertained who would pronounce the hukumnama, commonly known as "mukh vak".

The Guru’s "mukh vak" should resound clearly in this "guru ki nagri" on the day when the Sikh community is joined by the entire country in celebrating the spirit of Khalsa", Ms Jagir Kaur said. </font>
So, from the above we ascertain that the "guru" is apparently "Guru Granth Sahib" and one of his famous (and apparently quite popular) utterances is known in the vernacular as the "mukh vak" {or, in another text, as "Mukh Wak"}. So, my interpretation of "guru mukh" would be the recitation of the "hukumnama" as composed by said guru, which is supposed to be a beautiful and moving (artistic) recitation.

Of course, the word "mukh" appears to translate something like "side" or "portion"
as is made clear by a Sikh vocabulary table, in which the following entries appear:
  • Gurmukh In tune with the Guru
  • mukh mouth, face, word
  • manmukh self-willed, (opp. of Gurmukh)
The above vocabulary list thus can give us great insight into the meaning of "guru mukh" (or "Gurmukh" as a single word).

In any case, we have the following quote from The Gorakhbodh:
Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">The young person (bala) enters Samadhi through the mind; he gets rid of the disturbances through the vital breath (pavan); he acquires the fourth state (Turiya) through attention (surat) or realisation (Gyana) and through obeying, turning to, the Guru (Guru mukh) he attains to immortality. </font>
This would appear to treat the teachings of the guru as a guide to immortality (not unlike Christ ).

In any case, the meaning of "guru mukh" ought to be fairly clear from the above.

== Bill
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Old 04-20-2001, 02:01 PM   #8
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off the top of my head, no...

But The Matrix seemed to me to be more of a text on Lucid Dreaming than on any one religion...

About CTHD, Chuck Colson's view...
 
Old 04-20-2001, 02:38 PM   #9
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Bill,

You rock.



Thanks a bunch!
 
 

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