In his work Da Religiosidade [On Religiosity] (1967), a collection of short essays first published in the newspaper O Estado de São Paulo in the 1960s, Vilém Flusser details his understanding of religiousness. He says that for him religiousness is essential for us to give meaning to our lives and to the world we live in; according to Flusser religiousness is “our ability to appreciate the world’s sacred dimension” (Da Religiosidade, 2002, p. 16; translated from the Portuguese). By relating religiousness to the inner experiences of the human spirit, Flusser claims that religiousness adds depth to the world, as opposed to superficiality. In contrast to concepts associated with the Enlightenment tradition, this sense of depth moves religiousness closer to the realm of shadows. Flusser then lauds the obscurantism of religious people and emphasizes the necessity to acknowledge the dark dimension of reality, thereby criticizing the state of lucidity, which is the satanic radicalism of humans who deny the world’s sacred dimension.
The text also includes a critique of the traditional Christian religiousness in theWest; Flusser says that “our religiousness is limited to the achievement of one single project: the one that was inspired, in illo tempore, by the people of Israel” (ibid., p. 18; translated from the Portuguese), which attributes a sacred quality only to God. This idea can be found in Flusser’s fundamental ideas on the process of the disenchantment of the world (the desacralization of the world), on which the concepts of the functionary and the project – essential to his work – are based. According to Flusser, epochs that suppress religiousness bring forth deformations, whereby they promote the development of grotesque and monstrous forms of religion, such as sects, or the transfer of religious practices to ideologies. Flusser mentions the worship of money as a concrete example of this phenomenon.
Original article by Malena Contrera