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Volume 18, 2017

Jonathan Weidenbaum
Pages 95-102

Incarnating the Resolution to the Unhappy Consciousness
Hegel, Dewey, and the Relevance of Film for Healing the Spiritual Self

Many forms of the religious life are shaped by a painful duality, whether that between the soul and God, the conditioned and the unconditioned, or the individual and the Absolute. But there exist philosophies and spiritual disciplines in which such dualities are deemed illusory and are to be dispelled in the quest for a more primordial or inclusive unity. In his Phenomenology of Spirit for instance, Hegel outlines both the origin of the apparent split between the finite self and the eternal, along with its resolution. Heavily informed by Hegel, the thought of John Dewey is also preoccupied with overcoming several longstanding philosophical dualities. The mission of this essay is to explore Dewey’s insights on art and religion in order to heal the divisions which so often accompany the spiritual life. I aim to both unpack and illustrate the relevance of Dewey’s mature thought by employing the one artistic medium he ignored: film.

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