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Philosophy of E.T.

Janet Hocker Rushing refers to a yearning for wholeness in our time, something that all cultures have longed for in some degree. Our own age is seen as one of fragmentation, secularization, and an absence of unity, leaving us with a modern need for transcendence such as has been noted by a number of writers. Rushing finds that we seek this sense of the transcendent in our entertainment and our art, and she refers to the fact that our modern audiences find transcendence addressed in movies, notably science fiction films that make a cosmic connection in mythic form. She cites E.T. as one particular representative of this genre, and she applies what she calls the "perennial philosophy" to this film, as will be done here with reference to another science fiction film of an earlier era and one of the first to make this mythic connection most directly,m 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Rushing says there are rudiments of perennial philosophy in the mythic lore of all cultures. The perennial culture, a term coined by Leibniz, refers to a philosophical framework which sets forth clearly the evolutionary place of myth in the cosmological scheme of things. Rushing finds that while we may yearn for the transcendent, we also have a fear of it that we control by attempting to perpetuate our own egos as surrogate gods. The collective ego of Jung has now become an entity separate from the cosmos. Today we feel a disconnection from both roots and future, and this is expressed as fear that the extensions of consciousness will overwhelm preconsciousness and deny the potential of transconsciousness:

It results in warnings that technology overshadows spirituality, that science denigrates emotion and intuition, and worst of all, that nuclear weapons may end history. However it is expressed, this conviction of urgent need underlies all the discourses alluded to above, which collectively comprise a formidable plea for action (Rushing 34).

Rushing ...

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Philosophy of E.T.. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 17:06, December 07, 2021, from