Religion, Theology, and the Human Sciences

By Richard H. Roberts | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 10
Time, virtuality and the Goddess:
transmutations of the religious field1

Today the future has caught up with the present, but time, individually and collectively, has remained limited. New resources of time are in demand. They are opening up through the extension of time in the present and through the availability at all times which technologies make possible. But the latter in their turn demand the temporal availability of human beings. So where is the time to be found?2


INTRODUCTION

At first sight the theme of 'time, virtuality and the Goddess' looks abstruse in the extreme, yet exploration of this constellation of factors draws the reader into fuller, cross-disciplinary understanding of the contemporary transmutations of time and value and of distinctive aspects of the modern/postmodern problematic. Analysis of changes in the categories of time (and space) throws light upon transformations in contemporary sensibility,3 not least, as will become apparent, those changes affecting

____________________
1
The first explorations underlying this chapter appeared in a paper entitled 'Religion and Virtual Reality' delivered at the annual conference of the British Association for the Study of Religion, entitled Religion and the Media, and as a lecture entitled 'The Chthonic Imperative: Religion, Gender and the Battle for the Earth', given at the conference Nature Religion Today, both held in 1996. This material was then developed separately in two chapters, 'Time, Virtuality and the Goddess', in Scott Lash, Andrew Quick and Richard Roberts (eds.), Time and Value (Oxford: Blackwell, 1998), pp. 112–29, and 'The Chthonic Imperative: Religion, Gender and the Battle for the Earth', in Joanne Pearson, Richard H. Roberts and Geoffrey Samuel (eds.), Nature Religion Today: Paganism in the Modern World (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1998), pp. 57–73, respectively. I intend to develop the latter in a separate project.
2
Helga Nowotny, Time: The Modern and Postmodern Experience (Cambridge: Polity, 1994), p. 15. Originally published in 1984 under the title Eigenzeit Entstehung und Strukturierung eines Zeitgef Ühls, this work has attained wide reconition.
3
See, for example, David Harvey, The Condition of Postmodernity: An Enquiry into the Origins of Cultural Change (Oxford: Blackwell, 1989), 'The Experience of Space and Time', Part III. This covers much the same ground as Nowotny but with an emphasis upon the visual arts, geography and architecture.

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