Religion

I’m not really sure where this fits but has anyone else noticed the mentioning of religion in almost every section of the book? It is normally used in the sense of what one believes.

For example Danielewski specifically mentions that Anwar does not believe in a God, but that Dov did.

He describes things that are not church related as religion, too.

For example, on page 407 traffic is mentioned as a religion. He uses it as a adjective to describe how Shnorhk feels about traffic.

I might be making something out of nothing but I do not think that the use of religion both dealing with and without the church is purely accidental. If Danielewski is remediating television then this could be another theme of sorts to think about. Most television shows these days have the characters that have a strong belief in something. It gives their character another depth so that people can relate better.

I’ve taken fiction classes at school and one thing that my professors stress is developing the characters in a way that does not give everything away but still makes you relate to them.

I think that characters having strong beliefs in something or nothing is a way for us to relate back to the characters without necessarily giving too much away in what is to come.

There might even be a deeper meaning to the use of religion that I have yet to work out in my mind and I will not understand until I reach the end of the book but this is what I have for now.

 

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2 responses to “Religion”

  1. dlevy33 says :

    I think that this is something that is extremely important/good of you to notice! What I took from it was that it was the juxtaposition between the mystical and the technological. For example, the narcons, as we find out, essentially narrate and perhaps control the characters that we read about as emotionless, purely mathematical narrators. Yet, they almost mockingly similar to human beings in that they have no true higher awareness that could have an omnipresence equal to that of God. They have the facts and they can narrate every detail, but they are ultimately limited because they cannot represent the (TOTAL) picture.It is too overwhelming and impossible for them to do this, just as it is for humans.
    They also have limitations that are directly stated in their different rules, such as their inability to interact with other narcons or non-narcons. A rule I thought worth noticing was the absence of a meta narcon. Do they wonder about a meta narcon? Our meta human, I think, would be God. However, that also begs us to ask who is censoring the narcon’s language, especially considering that there is supposedly no meta narcon? (As seen in the long black bars)

    In a similar sense, humans use religion as an explanation of the unexplainable that we cannot account for. While the narcons simply exist to exist, so far as we can minimally tell, human’s strive for that greater understanding that goes beyond fact. The narcons don’t seem to notice that they are being censored, and they also have knowledge of other narcons yet do not seem to question why they cannot talk to them. Religion or mysticism provides an explanation that is above that of technology, above the narcons, despite the fact that religion can be seen as primitive or less ‘modern’ than the narcons. In a way, it is ironic that the more primitive religion seems to surpass the narcon, atleast in explanation. The characters who wonder about religion accomplish more, when considering ability of the mind, than the narcons, who can only record fact and spit it back out. The narcons do take on a more emotional sensibility later in their chapter, but I wonder if that emotion is also a mechanical sensation?

    I find it most interesting to consider that humans have the capability to desire mysticism while technology lacks the consciousness to do so. If technology did have those aspirations, if that artificial intelligence did exist, what would that mean? Stephen Hawking recently talked about AI, something that you should check out as another thought provoker/explanation of Danielewski’s methods. Artificial intelligence is the true means of differentiating the way we do, and after considering the narcons in the context of religion, I find that they are far from achieving a true AI.

    There are probably a million ways to approach this, yet Im hoping this explanation helped with perhaps one!

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/05/05/stephen-hawking-artificial-intelligence_n_5267481.html

  2. Lauren Craig says :

    I noticed this too. And in Luther’s section that ends on 608, he talks about God too. Hopi prays to God to save him and it makes Luther snap a little bit. Instead of shooting him, he decides to let him drown.

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