HOMO DOMESTICUS: Theological Implications


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HOMO DOMESTICUS: Theological Implications

  1. 1. 4. CHAPTER FOURHOMO DOMESTICUS AND CHRISTIAN THEOLOGYThis section considers some of the implications human domestication represents for Christiantheology. The Christian study of domination has focused on the critique of ideologies ofdomination. I was unable to fulfil my initial intention to go beyond identifying the influence ofthe notion of human domestication on theology and elaborate on a theology of domination viahuman domestication. I was hoping to identify some elements in Christian theology to addresshuman domestication in itself, unsuccessfully.This reflection on theology reflects on my conclusion, namely, that there are two mainaspects in the process of human domestication: one is human domestication in general; the otheris the intensification of human domestication in particular. Human domestication in generalrefers to the condition imposed by the built environment onto the entire human species. Theintensification of domestication in particular refers to the formation and maintenance ofparticular domesticating features, e.g., empires, traditions, schools, confessions, orders, etc.Seeking to address human domestication from a theological perspective drove me to frustrationbecause I could not find elements in the Christian tradition that addresses human domesticationper se. My conclusion is, first, that theology emerged within human domestication in general.And second, that theology responds to the shortcomings of sophisticated human domestication orto the intensification of human domestication in particular.The critique of domination in Christian theology is incomplete without treating humandomestication. Architecture or the built environment reveals marks of social and ecological
  2. 2. domination. Christian theology, in its endeavour to discern the godly and challenge the ungodly,must pay attention to the domesticating role of the built environment. An understanding ofdomestication—human domestication, in particular—assists Christian theology to betterunderstand the underlying dynamics of anthropological, cosmological, social, and ecologicaldomination on Earth.4.1. HUMAN EMERGENCE IN THEOLOGICAL NARRATIVEThe Christian theological narrative takes human domestication as a starting point andlocates the human in the context of human domestication. The notion of human domesticationprompts a re-lecture of the biblical and theological account. Without pretending an exhaustiveexegesis of the biblical narrative, and acknowledging the need for a deeper biblical treatmentwhich would go beyond the aim of this thesis, what follows is a consideration of the implicationof the notion of human domestication in the interpretation of the Christian scriptures.The Genesis account of the human emergence and experience is framed by the Garden ofEden. This metaphor interprets the transition into the period of domestication in the Neolithic.The Beginnings, according to the Judeo-Christian tradition, portrays humans as food collectorsand hunters, resembling common anthropological descriptions of nomadic peoples. Humansfeed themselves picking crops from the trees in the Eden. After sin or human-fall, humanspractice plant and animal domestication, toiling the soil and having dominion over the earth(Genesis 4:1). The latter reference is of particular importance because it explicitly evokes thenotion of domination (Genesis 1:28-30).Eve and Adam‟s offspring come into view within the context of domestication. Cain isportrayed as plant domesticator (farmer or horticulturist) and Abel as animal domesticator(shepherd). However, making a step backward, we need to remind ourselves that it was God
  3. 3. who planted the Eden and put the human in it. This assertion presupposes the existence ofagriculture (planting) previous to the human experience. Biblically, humans emerge in thecontext of agriculture or domestication.Appealing to traditional methods in theology, one would be tempted to assumedomestication as human sin. Toiling the earth would represent God‟s punishment for human sin(Genesis 3:17-19). The scriptural account presents God, in consequence to human disobedience,throwing the humans out of the Garden. Adopting a domestication viewpoint, this movementtakes another dynamic. God‟s action in the context of human fall presents an interpretation ofhuman evolution: from collecting and hunting to domesticating. Instead of being thrown “outof” the Garden, as traditionally understood, abandoning food collection and hunting, humansseem rather getting “into” the house, continuing to develop incipient practices of animal andplant domestication and becoming themselves domesticated.When read from a secular perspective, human domestication emerges in the process ofhuman survival. This situation of humans opting for domestication in the process of survivalstrategy leaves theology bounded by domestication. Theologically speaking in the Christiantradition, humans come into being in the age of domestication. Despite the Christian notion ofeternity, the secular account reveals a much larger perspective regarding the emergence ofhuman life on earth. While in the Christian version humans appear domesticated, in the secularversion humans appear in stages that include primate and nomadic experience. Since humandomestication is the condition of the built environment on humans, the solution to humandomestication would imply to eliminate the condition of the built environment, which would leadto the elimination of the built environment per se. Theology emerges limited by domestication.
  4. 4. There are no scriptural-theological indications neither of recognition of humandomestication nor of a radical critique to the conditioning influence of the built environment.Theology takes domestication for granted. Theology begs for categories to deal with humandomestication. Theology assumes that humans build and live surrounded by buildings.Christians have affirmed that God is eternal, omnipresent, and omniscient, meaning, God‟spresence, love, and power reaches the wild and the domestic. This approach does not address thedomesticated condition in itself. It does not challenge the very human domesticated condition.Whether the divine is present in the wild and/or in the domestic realm alleviates but does notresolve the domesticating condition. I could not find theological elements to qualify humandomestication as sinful or salvific.From my domesticated viewpoint, beyond the comforts buildings represent fordomesticated humans, domestication degrades social and ecological life on earth. However, thisunderstanding differs from affirming that domestication equals evil or sin. It goes beyondspeculation that the response to human domestication resides in any particular Christian doctrine.Not to reject notions like divine grace, revelation, and salvation, but to argue that their inefficacyis evident when facing human domestication.4.2. RELIGION AND CHRISTIANITY WITHIN HUMAN DOMESTICATIONThe religious Christian theology emerges within a much larger religious context: humanreligion. This account does not pretend to render an exhaustive analysis of the role of humandomestication in the origins and development of religion and Christian theology. My intention isto explore the impact of human domestication on Christian religious and theological affairs.World religions both reflect and respond to domestication. Human domestication represents away to understand religion. For Pavlov, a methodically conditioned stimulus achieves a
  5. 5. conditioned reflex. Shelters stimulate and produce domesticating conditioning on human beings.Neither religion nor Christianity represents the exception to domestication. Great religions andtheology, in general, and Christian religion and Christian theology, in particular, find theirorigins in the Paleolithic-Neolithic transition, when nomadic spirituality transformed intoinstitutionalized religion and theology. That the religious and theological modes emerged in thedomestication phase presents various implications for Christian theology.Religion is believed to have emerged among humans with genetic inclination for thesurreal and supernatural. Additionally socially advantaged leaders profited from ancestralsuccess and traditional succession. (The English words success and succession etymologicallydevelop from the same linguistic root). Such human inclination and practice developed intoshamanic spirituality among nomadic societies. Religion as we know it evolved as anelaboration in line with shamanic spirituality. With the advent of domestication in thePalaeolithic-Neolithic transition, shamanic spirituality became formalized as religious traditions.Shamanism can be considered a proto-religious form of spirituality. Religion properlyappears in the age of domestication. This transition was possible by the institutionalizationmediated by the built environment. With the emergence of funerary rituals, the construction oftombs, palaces, and temples, human leaders increased their claims to special mediating abilitiesbetween the gods and the earthly. The role of the ancestors was crucial increasing the prestige ofheredity, leadership through heredity. The hereditary king and priest took over and from the ageof shamanic mystic spirituality in the Paleolithic developed more formally structured andinstitutionalized religion in the Neolithic. The wider Christian tradition, the biblical, refers toabout 4,000 years of history. Domestication refers to about 10,000 years of being established.
  6. 6. When the biblical tradition emerged human domestication was well developed. Religion refersto a domesticated expression of spirituality.Early human domesticated civilizations, like the Mesopotamian people, were ruled byoverlords. These overlords were initially denominated gods. These overlords were at firsthumans occupying special social functions. The figure of the overlords mutated into mediatorsof divine powers. Along these socio-philosophical mutations, the notion of gods was graduallytransformed into notions of divine entities acting beyond the human. Jewish spirituality furtherrefined the polytheistic version of the divine pantheon into the monotheistic version of the onlytrue God of Abraham. The modern notion of god had been born and with it religious andpolitical systems of precepts and doctrines. Such incipient religious and political versions ofhuman spirituality embodied philosophical constructions conforming sophisticated and refinedreligious and political believes and legal systems that claimed the precedence of the divine overthe mundane. The construction of temples was crucial in this religious movement.The Christian religion embodies a domesticated religious mode rooted in the biblicalJudeo tradition, which developed along the secular history of political and religious evolution.The Jewish mode of religion emerged as a monotheist critical expression among predominantpolytheistic religious systems in the ancient Middle East. It seems apparent that the Jewishevolved from tribal peoples who were characteristically shepherds. Abraham, the earliest Jewishpatriarch, came out of Ur, a town in the Mesopotamian crescent, according to a promise byYahweh. God‟s promise represents the blessing that brings the Jewish human expression intobeing. Abraham was promised to become the father of a multitude of people. An importantbranch of his descendents became to be known as the people of Israel. They were mainlywandering tribes until they became slaves in Egypt. As their Lord God liberated them from
  7. 7. Egypt, they wandered in the desert for several decades. Finally, Israel established itself in theregion of modern Palestine and became an important nation among the nations of the world. Itsreligion has expended to the consciousness of a good portion of humanity.In the process of settling, Israel conquered and destroyed kingdoms and took landaccording to and fulfilling their divine promise. It is more likely that the Jewish versionregarding their settling was developed afterwards to settling. In any event, and despitecontroversy, according to the biblical scriptures, one of the key institutions among this settledJewish nation was the kingship tradition. The king headed the political and religious system ofIsrael. Along the kingship tradition developed a priestly tradition, which fundamentallysupported the kingship tradition. This twin religious-political structure was established on thebasis of the divine precept of having dominion over the earth and all its subsystems, according tothe Jewish sacred writings about the beginnings of the human civilization. The precept regardingdominion was also interpreted sociologically. Priests and kings developed ideologicaldomesticating and taming apparatuses to legitimate the domination of their shared subjects andtheir eco-surroundings. It comes in no surprise that the temple was a major building projectbeside the palace. Priests and kings represented elaborated and pre-eminent institutions of Israel.They symbolized and represented a typical civilization or domesticated human society wherepriests administered the temple as kings administered the palace.In sharp contrast, the biblical prophetic tradition counteracted the biblical kingship andpriestly tradition. The prophetic tradition characteristically insisted on a call from thewilderness. The notion of the wilderness is recurrent in the biblical account. The Torahdeveloped out of Israel‟s transitory tribal experience in the wilderness. God calls Abraham outof Ur pretty much into the wilderness. God self-reveals to Moses in the wilderness. God sends
  8. 8. Moses to call the Israelites out of Egypt to meet their “I Am Who I Am” in the wilderness. Theprophets incarnated a kind of shamanic experience. They acted as mediums to communicatewith the divine. They were considered sages with special understanding and power. They werethought to have the ability to see the future and acted as clairvoyant. The Jewish prophetsfunctioned as seers that many times put forward a contrasting vision of the present, past, andfuture to those portrayed by the official institutions of Israel.Despite the strong resistance maintained by the prophets, the theme of wild andwilderness was never intended to eliminate the domesticating condition imposed by the builtenvironment. On the contrary, as typified by the prophet Natan and Nehemiah, the divine callwas mainly interpreted as to build. The call from the wild was aimed at ameliorating theexcesses of domesticated human life among the Jewish. The people was often brought out of thetown or city to follow the prophet but eventually intended to return after taught and continue tolive in the city. The city represents the cutting edge domestic laboratory, an elaboration orintensification of domestication. Similarly, the Prophet Jeremiah encouraged Israel to buildhouses, settle down, and pray for and seek the good of the city, “because if it prospers, you toowill prosper.”1After this history of domestic religion and Christian theology, the Judeo-Christian prophetic project does not yet quite succeed in correcting the kingly and priestlyconspiracy for domination.Religion at large and theology in particular, including Christian theology, has developedin the process of the domestication of humans. Theology emerges both under the condition ofdomestication and in response to the shortcomings of domestication. Religion referscharacteristically to a practice of domesticated humans. Hence religion can be understood aspart of the problem as well as part of the solution regarding domination via domestication.1Jeremiah 29:7, New International Version (NIV).
  9. 9. While Christian theology and religion in general has developed elements to counteractdeficiencies identified in the age of domestication, its doctrines are bounded by the establishedcontext of domestication. Christianity, inspired on the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesusof Nazarene has grown to become one of the dominant modern religious modes of expressions.Christianity emerged both as a domesticated version of spirituality and as a critique todomestication. Christianity typically seeks to correct the domestic with initiatives surging fromthe wild.Beside appealing to general philosophical axioms that claim intermediacy, allegingaccess to divine revelation from beyond the mundane and finite through notions of illuminationand the like, religion and theology exhibits no elements to deal with the problem ofdomestication per se. Notions of heavenly preceding and afterlife are plagued with domesticatedpro-visions like mansions with rooms and heavenly homes. Theology takes domestication forgranted. In the theological arena, domestication refers to a normal way of life on earth.Theology offers no intention to challenge the legitimacy of domestication. Theology emergesamong domesticated humans interested in challenging the shortcomings of domestication but notto eliminate domestication in itself. The Prophet Nathan declares to the Israeli kingshiptradition: “the LORD will build a house for you.”2The house, the people of Israel, and thekingdom of David were promised forever. The Prophet Samuel‟s words had been forgotten bythen: “they have rejected me as their king… [They] will cry out for relief from the king [they]have chosen.”3The biblical scriptures challenge the intensification of human domestication,21 Chronicles 17:10, NIV.32 Samuel 8:7 and 18, NIV.
  10. 10. e.g., empire, but leave general domestication untouched. Nehemiah puts the biblical buildingenterprise rather succinctly: “Let us start rebuilding.”44.3. HUMAN DOMESTICATION AND BIBLICAL THEOLOGYSome biblical topics explicitly related to the notion of human domestication includenotions like God‟s house (Genesis 28:17; Exodus 23:19 and 34:26, 1 Chronicles 6:48, Luke 6:4),the door into salvation (Luke 13:24; Revelation 3:20 and 4:1), the old city (Isaiah 23:7) and thenew city (Isaiah 1:26; Revelation 3:12 and 21:2), the city of refuge (Numbers 35:25-32; Joshua21:13-38; Joshua 21:21-38; 1 Chronicles 6:57 and 67), praying for the city (1 Kings 8:44 and 48;1 Kings 8:48; 2 Chronicles 6:34 and 38, Jeremiah 29:7), heavenly places (2 Corinthians 5:1;John 14:2), to built on the rock and not on the sand (Matthew 7:24; Luke 6:48), and the kingdomof God as a vineyard (Isaiah 5:1-7; Isaiah 27:2; Isaiah 27:3; Jeremiah 12:10; Matthew 20:1).Possessing the land, agriculture, and husbandry were taken for granted, even as a sign of blessingin the Jewish tradition (Deuteronomy 28:11 and 30:9). Success in the domestication of plantsand animals was considered a divine gift (2 Chronicles 26:10; Job 1:10).5John the Baptist represents one of the most radical anti-domesticating claims in theChristian gospel calling from the wilderness. The Baptist is believed to have been raised in thewilderness, eating food from the wild, and wearing clothing made out of the skin of wildanimals. His message appears radical, particularly against a generation of snakes he foundamong his listeners. The Baptist, however, shows no intention to eradicate the domesticatedhuman mode of living in the first century of the western Christian age. While he confronts thereligious and political institutions of his time, there are no claims in his message indicating4Nehemiah 2:18, NIV.5Mark E. Graham, Sustainable Agriculture: A Christian Ethic of Gratitude (Cleveland: Pilgrim Press,2005); and Charles P. Lutz, ed., Farming the Lord’s Land: Christian Perspectives on American Agriculture(Minneapolis: Augsburg Pub. House, 1980).
  11. 11. acceptance or repudiation of the built environment. There is no indication of a critique of thecondition imposed by the built environment. There is no identification of the relationshipbetween social and ecological domination and the built environment by the ministry of John theBaptist. He does not qualify the built environment. His life style portraits a radical identificationwith the wild. But John the Baptist shows no intention to eliminate the domesticating condition.Jesus of Nazarene initiated, similarly to John the Baptist, and greatly developed hisministry in the wilderness. The beginning of Jesus‟ ministry represents a direct attack to themain institutions of intensified domestication. As the Spirit takes Jesus to the wilderness in orderto be tempted, Jesus is confronted with the political and religious powers of the world. Jesus isboth taken to the temple and he is shown the palaces of the world. Jesus rejects the temple andthe palace. This account somehow follows the account of his birth in a manger. While themanger continues general domestication (the general condition imposed by the built environmenton organisms), the manger represents a critique and rejection of the intensification ofdomestication. Jesus was also the little child displaced from his home land, who escaped toEgypt as he was persecuted by the kingly and religious institutions of his domesticated time.Jesus is reported as no having even a place where to recline his head. However, there is noindication in Jesus‟ ministry regarding the critique of general domestication and no intention onabolishing it.Jesus is reported in the Johanine account regarding the destruction of the temple stating:“„Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.‟”6Jesus refers to the temple ashimself, his own body. This gospel version, which presumably appeared after the destruction ofthe Temple of Jerusalen in the 70 D.E.C., extends the notion of temple to all believers, templesof the Holy Ghost. The Temple in Jerusalem represents the Jewish religious and political center.6John 2:19, NIV.
  12. 12. This approach coincides with most religious traditions in the sense of relating the temple and thebody. They are believed to replicate each other. The account indicates that Jesus self-proclaimed as the Temple. Jesus advocates an anti-domesticating kingdom, an anti-domesticating religion. By having Jesus claiming his own-self as his own-temple-kingdom,Jesus makes perhaps his most radical claim against empires: the no-king without temple-palace,rebuilding his body-temple with his own resurrection. Construction and destruction parallelsdomestication and assassination, respectively, revealing the methodology of the domesticatedand domesticating kingdoms of this world.The Apostle Paul offers one of the closest biblical references to anti-domestication. Paulargues that the earth cries out of bondage. The reference implicitly refers to the extremes ofdomestication. Since Paul opposes institutional slavery but criticizes neither social economicsystems based on sheep labour nor human food systems based on agriculture and husbandry perse. His concern regards excesses of agriculture. Nevertheless, he provides a remarkable criticalinsight into the human practice of taming the land and plants. Agriculture as an aspect of tamingreflecting domestication makes the land to cry. Remarkably for his time, Paul was able to hearthat crying of the earth.4.4. A HISTORY OF CHRISTIANITY AND HOMO DOMESTICUSChristian theology lost very soon the insights from John the Baptist, Jesus of Nazarene,and the Apostle Paul, former Saul of Damascus. Christianity remarried the kingship tradition,becoming the official religion of the Roman Empire. Constantine, the Roman emperor, assumedthe head of the Church as Christianity entered into one of its most crude domesticating phases.In the name of Jesus, heralding a crowned cross, Constantine led Christians to expand theimperial border and consolidate the order of one of the cruelest religious and military empires
  13. 13. humans have ever seen. Under the Roman siege, peoples were conquered, cities were destroyed,rebuilt, and renamed, cultures were shaped, and power was displayed. Among the greatestbuildings humans have created were built and Christian architecture took over the social andecological landscapes. Over the centuries of the classical historical period of the middleEuropean ages, Christendom became synonym to society. During the centuries ofindustrialization, competing kingdoms continued to develop slightly different but similartheological versions matching their regional location, architectural, and political preferences.Imperial Christianity had taken over a key portion of the earth.With the cross and the sword, inspired by theological ideas of a gospel reaching the entirehumanity, Christians gave themselves to reach the end of the earth. They embarked across theoceans. The Atlantic and the Pacific became routinely navigated as Christians explored theconfines of the earth and discovered lands on other sides of the earth. They realized the earthhad no end. It was rounded. Anyway they continued around and around, delivering missionseven in the most remote and recondite places, where humans were found at or brought to.Despite the caring impulses and inspirations of sincere men and women, in the name of a crossand a crown, Christians built schools, hospitals, houses, statues, monuments, roads, entirearchitectural infrastructures, but over all temples. After all, the temple was the most importanthouse in town. The temple was the house where presumably the divine lived, the house wherethe people met the divine, but most importantly, the house where the mediators of divine powerusually lived. Of course, they were not built by great men and mighty people but by simplepeople, women, slaves, labourers, servants, children, animals, plants, a mixture of them and otherstrangers to a land that never belonged to them, where they never belonged to her. Without
  14. 14. home and native land, they built the architecture of the greatest religious traditions of a “new”world.From the simplest and plain meeting house and chapel to the most elaborated, massive,and sophisticated basilica, Christian temples marked and shaped the ecological and socialpanorama, mirroring similar dominating religious imperialistic traditions around the world. Thetemple became the central geographical, religious, and political architectural structure of everytown, every city, and every Christianized country. This architectural ecological and socialdomination was not only stimulated and sanctioned but made possible by Christian theology.Many attempts have been made to reform such architecturally domesticating Christian practices,but until the built environment is not eliminated at all human Christian domestication willcontinue for centuries to come. As the temple stands theological domestication stands.Anything short from eradicating the built environment will just amount for cosmetic touches todomestication.Christian theology leans toward replicating significant social developments andmovements that challenge key human taming ideologies of domination. Unfortunately, thechallenge to domestication and particularly human domestication remains unresolved. Hopefullysomebody will be able to find a solution.4.5. HUMAN DOMESTICATION AND THEOLOGICAL METHODThe notion of human domestication influences the Christian theological method. LatinAmerican liberation theologies challenged the theological method arguing the importance ofboth praxis as the departing point and context in the hermeneutical reading and reflection whendoing theology. This correction was realized after a long history of doing theology that gavepre-eminence to theology as an intellectual activity primordially both constructed in the academy
  15. 15. and concerned with defending the divine dogmas handed down since the beginnings of theChristian tradition. Theology had grown up as an intellectual activity closely and in many wayssecretly held by academic circles.Such theologians had institutional privileged access to the scholarly apparatuses and toolsthat made it possible to do professional theology, at least in an influential manner. Theology hadbeen confiscated from the daily experience of the regular believer and was sheltered in theconfines of the theological faculties in academic settings. Besides consecrating themselves andbeing commissioned by their own traditions to preserve the strict content constructed duringgenerations within specific traditional understandings and explanations, theologians werecommitted to perpetuate the academicist and doctrinarian technicalities of such particulartraditions. Professional theologians became the guardians of content and form in doing theology.They were in charge of designing and enforcing theological procedures and protocols.Dissidents were quickly isolated and silenced. No rebels and troublemakers were allowed.Theology was supposed to be able to remain holy, separated from worldly philosophicalcontamination.Theology had been understood as the queen of science. Science had followed a similarpath with its pillars strongly cemented in experimentation in the laboratory and theoreticalresearch in the library. Science had closely gone along the foundations and parametersestablished by domestication typified with the laboratory. Scientific writings had been takensystematized in libraries. These buildings were architecturally arranged for the purpose ofnurturing domesticated science. Knowledge was centralized in the library and the academicscientific tools and methods had gained one of the highest values in the world of the constructionof domesticated knowledge. Libraries made it possible to continue building knowledge on the
  16. 16. basis of previous theories. Scientists had become experts with regards to the system ofcompiling theories. Theology had also enthroned the library as a main laboratory to developphilosophical ideas. The built environment was sheltering and shaping the theologicalenterprise. Liberation theologies challenged that structure of knowledge with emphasis on praxisand context.4.5.1. Praxis-reflection and human domesticationTheology, like science, had fallen into the hands of experts. It was then the privilege andthe obligation of the theologian to defend, explain, and create theology. From theirobservatories, many times just plain research cubicles or school offices, such influentialtheologians were able to diagnostic the misery and glory of the world and prescribe theirtheological remedies and endorsement. Latin American theologians challenged that dominantacademicism in theology and argued that the practice of theology was not only important but thatit was primary to reflection. These Latin American theologians had adopted that insight fromacademic and popular sources, including materialist readings of history that advocated theformation of vanguards to advance the cause of the proletariat as opposed to that of the burgessesand owners of the means of production. The most fundamental function of such vanguards wasthe praxis of the proletariat struggle. Through praxis, the vanguards advanced the cause of theproletariat in the history of the struggle between classes. They were to lead the struggle throughpracticing it.Latin American theologians argued that theology had a similar component of praxis.Reflection, if any, was possible only after theological practice had been incarnated by thetheologian. Speculation as a theological manoeuvre was limited to refer to previous theologicalpraxis. Personal involvement was then a prerequisite to theological reflection. The notion of
  17. 17. commitment regained plateau in the plethora of theology. Theology was intended to comebackto its roots among the people, in particular among the poor, whom they argued represented thetheological locus. Given its experience and first hand knowledge in domination and oppression,the poor was considered in a position of privilege to read history and scriptures. Latin Americantheologians considered the poor in a position of privilege to maintain the dialogue between thetwo stories: the scriptural narrative and that of their present domination.The notion of human domestication makes yet another contribution. Highlighting thepreponderant value of practicing belief, Latin American theologies had become relevantprotagonists of one of the most important confrontations in recent theology by challengingdominant theology to displace the pre-eminence of academicism in theology. However, thedichotomy between praxis and reflection had remained untouched. This dualist approach totheology is symptomatic of the condition established by the built environment. Architecturemakes it possible to have one life inside and another outside the building. But practice andreflection are one single theological momentum. Theology belongs to the human enterprise thatought to be a wholistic life expression.Theological traditions also differ from each other by being sheltered in particular builtenvironments. Theology itself has been sheltered and disintegrated by the built environment.The architectural constructions that house the different currents in theology embody specifictheological theories and understandings. Walls, pillars, entrances, doors, halls, ceilings, altars,windows, roofs, shrines, locations, directions, statuses, monuments, naves, sanctuaries, domes,frescos, mosaics, paintings, tombs, icons, cupolas, ovals, stain glasses, plaques, inscriptions, belltowers, crescents, anchors, pews, galleries, chapels, kneelers, baptisteries, catechumens, gates,porches, narthexes, floors, etc. embody and represent distinctive theological theories reflecting
  18. 18. diverse versions of domesticated spirituality. Theology has been done mainly in sucharchitectural places like modern complex temples, monasteries, and faculties of theology. Thenotion of human domestication alerts about the inadequacy of differing theological currents andcompartmentalized theology.Modern theology, like any other modern human domesticated enterprise, reflects andreinforces domestication, which characterizes by compartmentalizing life, whetheranthropologically, cosmologically, socially, or ecologically. The built environment divides byerecting separators and creating closed environments that alienate organisms from each other.The most typical rational to support such approach to doing science and theology alleges thebenefits of specializing in narrow areas, given the argued inability of humans to embrace thewhole body of scientific and theological knowledge. This rational maintains that it is moreaccurate and practical to focus in specific matters than to address the whole theologicalendeavour.Theology, often proud itself of looking at the big picture, reflects the compartmentalizedontology of domesticated humans. Thanks to the built environment, the human grew upalienated from the larger ecological environment. Further intensification in the building ofhousing and other socially institutionalized constructions breed the human up alienated fromeach other. Human cosmology became a domesticated cosmology reflecting and interpreting theworld through the lenses of the built environment. Humans were no longer able to perceive thecosmos directly but through the instruments interposed by the built environment. Theologydeveloped both as a sectarian practice and as a human disintegrated enterprise. In any event,theology has fallen into this human domesticated deceiving cycle.
  19. 19. Theologies like traditions replicate the house. Houses constitute an alternative reality. Itconsists of a modified reality. This reality manifests modified human reality. It may seem real,however it is artificial; but then it becomes real, it becomes the norm. Feminists have identifieda similar issue of deception in patriarchal ideology. The deceptive threat the house posesrepresents a natural universe; however it constitutes a human device. It presents nature in humanterms, yet when confronted with the outside of the house that presentation is revealed deceivingthe interpreter. The house constitutes a virtual reality. As the house hijacks and hides humansfrom nature and society at large, the house establishes misleading structures and functions forhumans. Such conditions replicate at the anthropological, social, ecological, and cosmologicallevels.Compared to the outside, the house enforces a fictitious environment, supporting virtuallives disengaged from natural dynamics. Theology as a domesticated version of spiritualityreflects and reinforces the disintegrated condition of the domesticated human. The human itselfgrew up compartmentalized internally, anthropologically. In sharp contrast, the wild human wasable to experience life in a more wholistic way than the domesticated human does. Thedomesticated human was able to separate and specialise its ontology, subdividing it in differentaspects and dimensions. The domesticated human was then able to do and think in separatemoments and places. Theology as a human domesticated commodity reflects and reinforces thisdualistic and disjunctive characteristic of domesticated human ontology. Domesticated theologyis able to do and then reflect theologically or vice versa.Non-domesticated human theology would be done by non-domesticated humans.Undomesticated theology would reflect a wholistic human ontology. Theology ought to be donein one single continuous movement of time-space. Non-domesticated theology is action and
  20. 20. reflection at the same time-space. Every localized-momentum reflecting theologically asseparate localized-momentum acting theologically represents wasted localized-momentums tolive spiritually. Every wasted momentum represents dysphasic or inapprehensive living lapsusbetween action and reflection. This lapsus is, first, an unrecoverable lapse of life required forsurvival and the fulfilment of life, and second, a luxury that the average un-domesticated humancould not and would not be interested to afford. Non-domesticated humans would be too busyliving.Such lapsus worsens with the advent of written theology. The idea of spending timewriting and reading theology makes sense in a society with low appreciation of interaction.There is neither academicism nor activism in non-domesticated theology. A wild theologicalhuman lives with its whole being every instant and everywhere. This idea obviously blows upthe domesticated mind. Theology as we know it reflects the domesticated human condition andcharacterizes by the impossibility to reflect undomesticated. Un-domesticated theology wouldnot require architectural constructions to be done; actually, it would consider the builtenvironment an impediment to spirituality. The dichotomy action-reflection is possible in thedomesticated built human reality.4.5.2. Context and human domesticationChristian theology should take into account—as it has been articulated by many scholars,including theologians—the context in which it emerges. Latin American theologies, along othertheologies, also embraced the idea that texts emerge within larger texts which have beendenominated contexts. Christian theology emerges in the context of human domestication and inresponse to the human domesticating enterprise.
  21. 21. Reflecting theological readings from other religions, particularly Hinduism, LatinAmerican theologians argued that the poor represents the theological locus. The poor not onlyholds the hermeneutical key to unwrap the theological content historically accumulated in thescriptures but to understand the living context of modern humans. Theology is thencommissioned to enhance the dialogue between the scriptural and the living experiential contextsby reading them through the eyes of the poor.These theologies understood both the historically accumulated scriptural and theexperiential present contexts as describing conditions of domination and oppression andprescribing a Christian notion of salvation interpreted as liberation. As contextual theologiesrealized the different ramifications or expressions of such liberation, different focuses weredeveloped along the dominant domains of race, economics, gender, and ecology. Ultimately thetheological method was influenced to incorporate the value of context in the theologicalequation.Theology was challenged to deal with a context that was interpreted both as socially andecologically oppressive. Theology was challenged to face direct accusations. Marxist scholarspoignantly criticized the religious tradition as embodying the superstructural ideological opiumof the people. Lynn White, Jr., issued a successful accusation against the Judeo-Christiantradition as the root cause of the ecological crisis. The context was moved beyond the social tothe ecological.Early Christians, like Saint Francis of Assisi, had addressed ecological concerns in linewith the Pauline preoccupation with the crying of the earth subjected to bondage. Theseexpressions had been raised among other religions, e.g., Jainism, who took their deeply radicalecological call to the point of sweeping the floor avoiding to step on insects. Many Christian
  22. 22. theories and projects ranging from superficial to deep ecologies have emerged in recent eco-theological revivals intending to respond to Marx and White.The notion of human domestication suggests a further refinement to the notion of contextin the theological method. The theological context is also a context of domestication. Theologymust take into account the influence of the built environment which refers to domestication. Theliberation argued by contextual theologies involves the emancipation from the condition ofdomination imposed by the built environment on humans and ecological environments at large.Liberation fails incomplete neglectig the domesticating conditioning of the built environment.As a chief expression of domination on earth, theology ought to address domestication. Thedomestication context involves social and ecological domination. The built environmentsegregates and establishes social human strata. The built environment penetrates, controls, anddestroys the larger ecological environment. To abolish domestication in its general expressionwould imply the elimination of the built environment at all. Domesticated humans disconnectand disengage from the larger social and ecological environments.4.6. THEOLOGY AND INTENSIFIED HUMAN DOMESTICATIONNo Christian theological or scriptural insight challenges domination via domestication,but there are insights that address the intensification of domestication and its most scandalousextremes, e.g., slavery, poverty, misogyny, and extinction. The religious mode emerges as adomesticated corrective to the elaborated domestic. It seems symptomatic that the Judeo-Christian mode deals with the deficiencies represented by the central institutions of the domesticcondition.The Christian version of the Jewish mode of spirituality emerged both in continuity anddiscontinuity with its ancestral Jewish religion. Christianity disputes the scandal of
  23. 23. domestication. Some Christian scriptural and theological topics that explicitly relate to humandomestication address the intensification of domination via the built environment.4.6.1. Loving the neighborThe notion of loving the neighbor is perhaps one of the most recurrent elements withrespect to human domestication in the Christian scriptures (Zechariah 8:17; Matthew 19:19;Mark 12:33; Luke 10:27; Romans 13:9). The neighbor as we know it is only possible in thecontext of human domestication. In fact, the neighbor is one of the first products of the builtenvironment. While the ordinary house and the ordinary human reflect the palace and the king,the house functions as a kingly fortress beside other fortresses. Ordinary kings and queens findthemselves at the midst of the kingship arena.This dialectic separate-closeness feature introduced by buildings facilitates theemergence of competing interests, the formation of different ideological views and personalcharacters, and the intricacies of constant social interaction and intervention. The Jewishtradition elaborated a religious-legal system addressing disputes and rivalries among neighbors.The Jewish were taught no to covet the possessions of the neighbor (Exodus 20:17).Accumulation of possessions was not discouraged and there was no limit to possessions, both ofhumans and of things in general. If any limit it would be the amount of land or the size of thehouse where the possessions were stored. The people coveted the possessions of the king. Thisis implied in the context of worrying about food and clothing. The gospel mentions that“Solomon in all his splendour” was not dressed like one of the lilies in the field (Matthew 6:28-2). King David coveted Bathsheba, Uriah‟s wife (2 Samuel 11-12). Of course, the king covetedsome other things: lands, animals, treasures, slaves, kingdoms, etc.
  24. 24. The two main features of a domesticated society are monopoly and to follow the leader.The ever expanding border, ever accumulation, constant reaching out to include, characterizesdomesticity. The domesticated domesticating leader is easy to follow. The extravagant grandeurof the built environment makes the leader imposingly visible and present everywhere, all thetime. What would be of a domestic leader without buildings? Would be like an official withoutuniform. Ultimately, domesticated leaders compete to monopolize leadership, power. Unable todethrone it, the rest follow the leader.Attention to the neighbor carries the dialectic character of religion in general andChristianity in particular, namely, to hold together the reality of the neighbor and to address theextremes of that reality. The Christian way to deal with possessions is to accumulate them inheaven (Matthew 6:19-20). This will avoid rust and thieves. Eventually, in order do not storetreasures on earth would include possessing neither of both: the store itself, best symbolized bythe house, and the treasures.Disputes are everyday features of domestic neighbors. The Jewish were taught to avoidrevenge (Leviticus 19:18). A society that endorses revenge would eventually exterminate itself.In order to maintain the order established by the leader, it is the leader who names the truth. Theleader exemplifies compassion. The leader administers justice. The leader establishes peace.Christian even loves the enemy (Luke 6:27-36). Rarely a person hates a remote enemy.Neighbors get along well, even though they may hold reservations against each other. As friendsdo, whether compromised or liberally, neighbors support each other. Loving the neighbor maycome along rather easily. But good typical neighbors entrench in their refuges and from theirhouse-fortress they spay, provoke, and envy each other. As things escalate, good typical
  25. 25. neighbors may eventually become enemies. Loving the neighboring enemy is rather difficult.Christianity makes perhaps the most challenging call to domesticated societies loving the enemy.4.6.2. Loving the strangerThe built environment, the house in particular, instantly produces the stranger. Ashumans close themselves in their private houses, the rest becomes stranger. Jewish and theChristians encourage domestic hospitality or hosting the stranger. Strangers are usually aliensfrom distant places, different cities, or visitors from remote regions. The great Jewish legend Jobis praised for hosting the stranger (Job 31:32). The biblical narrative sees the condition of thestranger as a non-desirable social disadvantages (Jeremiah 14:8). The Christian gospelcharacterizes divine judgment in terms of taking care of the stranger (Matthew 25:35).According to Christians, blessed are those who welcome and protect the stranger of domesticatedhumanity. Among the Christian community of believers the stranger as a notion disappears:“you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God‟s people and members ofGod‟s household.”7The Christian community prefers to become a whole social body ofstrangers to the world.To love both the neighbor and the stranger is a Christian cornerstone. Thinking ofneighbor is only possible in the context of human domestication. That the Judeo-Christian moderefers to human relationships regarding the neighbor, property, privacy, enemy, ideology,animals, plants, the land and its borders indicates the domestication mode as the context ofreference where the Judeo-Christian narrative and practice emerge. Jesus cleanses the temple ofvendors, saying, “„My house will be a house of prayer‟; but you have made it „a den of robbers‟”(Luke 19:46; Mark 11:17). The “house” (domestic) juxtaposed the “den,” synonym of “cave”(nomad). The revealed heaven as a city characterized by houses and streets seems possible only7Ephesians 2:19, NIV.
  26. 26. within a context of the human domestication via the human built environment. Onlydomesticated humans could imagine it. Arguably, a divinely revealed conception of the heavenfor nomads would not be characterized by houses and streets. This implies, as sustained bymany theologians, the biblical revelation as contextual. One of the specifics of such a contextrefers to human domestication.4.7. MYSTIC SPIRITUALITYThe discussion in this section does not usurp an analysis on mystic spirituality. It calls attentionto mystic spirituality and how it relates to the influence human domestication presents toChristian theology. Mystic spirituality represents a concrete response to domesticated religion.Theology suffers from a generalized neglect of mystic spirituality.8This neglect permeatesdogmatic and confessional Christian theologies, clearer in recent contextual Christian theologies.To face human and planetary realities seems so shocking that most Christian theologians“rightly” focus acutely on the physical realm. This preoccupation is nurtured by the strongscientific and materialist critiques, as well as by the insidious and pervasive inability Christianityexhibits coping with critique.The mystic represents a sense of the wild to the present domesticated world. Since recentChristian theological concern focuses on life “here and now,” input from other realms, such asthe mystic, are often neglected. But they are not necessarily mutually exclusive. The temptationconsists in mutually neglect them in a debate of immanent and transcendent divinity. Someapologetic tendencies preconceive transcendence as something needing and having to be proved.The tradition “faith seeking understanding” (Fides quaerens intellectum) often turns out to be8Lee identifies a similar neglect in “the cosmic dimension” (186). Lee points out, based on Berry‟snotions, and speaks of “spiritual code,” “cultural code,” and “genetic code” (191). Jai-Don Lee, Towards an AsianEcotheology in the Context of Thomas Berry’s Cosmology: A Critical Inquiry (Th.D. diss., University of St.Michael‟s College and the University of Toronto, 2004).
  27. 27. “belief giving explanation.”9Indoctrination often means domination. Preconception frequentlyoverpowers revelation. It is understandable that new cosmologists seek to depart from a fixationon divine transcendence as an independent ontology to follow a more heuristic comprehension ofuniversal realities. A recovery of the mystic may be one of Thomas Berry‟s main purposes.10Pseudo-mysticism compromises with political understandings of transcendence.Christian theology inherited an obscure aspect of philosophy that feeds on mental disparities andbusily attests to what structuralists refer to as increasing complexities of abstract intellectualdynamics. The here-and-now focus mutually enrich with metaphysical mysticism, increasinglyrecognized by scientific empiricism. Empirical mysticism challenges notions of mystery limitedto pure speculation arising from human ignorance and fear. It distinguishes from mysticismsemerging from mystery, epistemological intuition, or materialistic human incantation mingledwith physical and esthetical arrangement. A worldly mysticism emerging from experience orpersonal knowledge, metaphysical yet scientifically assessable in character, a kind ofmetaphysical empirical mysticism, presents a meaningful alternative to human domestication,indeed to human extinction.11Donald D. Evans speaks of spiritual awareness by resonance.12He learned to resonatewith spiritual presences (beings). He considers empirical research on spiritual resonance. Heacknowledges other forms of spiritual insight, but self-understands, recognized by Native and9Medieval philosopher, theologian, and Archbishop of Canterbury, founder of Scholasticism, Saint AnselmCantuariensis (of Canterbury) (1033/4-1109) promoted the notion “faith seeking understanding” through hisProslogium (A Discourse). It refers to demonstrating the existence of God via ontological argumentation based onsensibility (sensibilis). Vitruvius Pollio, 1st cent. BCE. De Architectura: Vitruvio Ferrarese: La Prima VersioneIllustrata (Modena: F. C. Panini, 2004); and Indra Kagis McEwen, Vitruvius: Writing the Body of Architecture(Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 2003);10Berry, The Dream of the Earth, Ibid, 211.11In his Emeritus speech, referring to his mystical transformative experiences, Evans claims, “I have nodoubt whatsoever that there is life after death, for every day I experience the presence of people who have passedon.” Don Evans, Life After Death: Reflections on Experiences (the Fifth Annual Edith Bruce Lecture; 23 October2003, sponsored by the Department of Philosophy and the Centre for the Study of Religion, University of Toronto).12Donald D. Evans is emeritus professor of philosophy at the University of Toronto.
  28. 28. other spiritual leaders claiming similar experiences and abilities, a healer or shaman. This kindof mystical claim is supported by an increasingly growing research on near-death experiencesand paranormal extra-sensorial practice, largely neglected by scientific research until recently.Shamans alike Jewish prophets exhibit the ability to perceive beyond the social conventions, andwhen having the courage, they deliver messages to deal with the wrong doings of humans.Evans has been researching this mystical spirituality for about three decades. Though sometraditions may have emerged from similar kinds of mysticisms or spiritual awareness,institutionalized humans domesticate such mystical experiences.Mystic illumination relates to the call from the wildness in Christian theology.13It assistsus to appreciate what “giants of faith” invoke, while the “prophetic spirit” may gain renewedvalue. The dynamics of life reveal the futility of mere Christian theological argumentation andactivism. Compared to religious spirituality and sceptic scientific materialism, empiricalmysticism represents a wild religious expression as opposed to domestic religion. Empiricalmysticism interprets a religious tendency which practices spirituality unbounded by the builtenvironment. Mystical empirical spirituality is self evident where humans simply participate aswitness. It represents a metaphysical spiritual approach in the face of Homo domesticus.4.8. HOMO DOMESTIC THEOLOGICAL ETHICSMy main interest was to explore the influence of the notion of human domestication tothe general Christian critique of domination, but here I would like to offer some ideas regardingethics. Two key elements in order to address the notion of ethics in the context of humandomestication: the city as a political enterprise and society as resulting from leadership. Towns,13The Christian mystic movement of the middle ages and the so-called Renaissance movement of sixteen-century Europe were particularly stimulated by the Christian philosopher and theologian Aurelius Augustinus,Augustine of Hippo, or Saint Augustine (354-430). His idea of “illumination” is of particular importance.Augustine affirmed “Christ is the teacher within us.” William E. Mann, ed., Augustine’s Confessions: CriticalEssays (Lanham, Md.: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2006), xii and 240.
  29. 29. cities, and countries are the product of domesticated leaders. They take the land, bring and breedthe people, and put the society together. Leaders settle their subject followers charge them tobuilt homes and keep charging them for using the land. It was clearer with the Europeaninvasion of the Americas. Led by their royal families, so-called explorers took the land,dominated, exterminated, and expelled the Natives, brought peoples from other regions, and builtimperial extensions across the oceans. Kingship traditions classically define domestication.Countries that proud themselves to lead the world politically, socially, militarily, technologically,and economically continue to tribute and vow their submission to royal family traditionsconsidered obsolete in many parts of the world. No surprisingly, commonly, people are ofparticular cities. It is not the city that belongs to the people but the people who belongs to thecity. Cities have owners, the city of… Last names and names often identify the city‟s owner.After all they built it. It belongs to them, including its people.Leaders continue to build cities. Large corporations built mega-plants and built entirepopulations around them. They build hotels and stadiums captivating the domesticated humanlove for leisure. They build convention centers to centralize and disseminate humandomesticated knowledge. They build subdivisions and create domesticated neighborhoods.Domestication indelibly contributes to cement social relationships via leadership in the city.Domestication makes it possible to speak of pastors and flocks.Human herding has been practiced since ancient times. For Plato, “no two people areborn exactly alike. There are innate differences which fit them for different occupations.”14Heapplies the notions of superiority and inferiority to humans: “good men are unwilling to rule.”1514Republic of Plato, Francis McDonald Cornford, trans. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1941), 56.15Ibid, 29.
  30. 30. Good (divine16) humans opt for ruling when facing the possibility of being ruled by inferiorhumans. Appealing to molding the character and physique of the young,17Plato expands on hisstrategy to rise up the “really noble Guardian of our commonwealth.”18Gloucon…you keep sporting dogs and a great many game birds at your house; and thereis something about their mating and breeding that you must have noticed…though they[animals] may all be of good stock, are there not some that turn out to be better than therest?... Are you not careful to breed from the best so far as you can [rather than allindiscriminately]? Yes. And from those in their prime, rather than very young or thevery old? Yes. Otherwise, the stock of your birds or dogs would deteriorate very much,wouldn‟t it? It would…we shall need consummate skill in our Rulers, if it is also true ofthe human race.19If we are to keep our flock at the highest pitch of excellence, there should be asmany unions of the best sexes, and as few of the inferior, as possible, and…only theoffspring of the better unions should be kept…no one but the Rulers must know how allthis is being effected; otherwise our herd of Guardians may become rebellious.20Plato‟s dream is particularly fulfilled in the city. The modern pastor and its flock live inthe city. The city breeds Plato‟s Guardians and its most precious subjects.Aristotle speaks of the naturalness of master and slave:21“For the slave by nature issomeone who has the power of belonging to another (which is why in fact he does belong toanother) and who shares reason sufficiently to perceive it but not to have it.”22Likewise, smallsettlements are fulfilled in the city: “For the city is the goal of those communities and nature is agoal.”23Aristotle inverts the equation: the city is nature, not artificial. The city is then the dreamof nature. City is political, like humans, but for Aristotle, they are better tamed: “For neitheramong the other animals nor among the nations do we see courage accompanying those of them16Ibid, 71.17Ibid, 68.18Ibid, 66.19Ibid, 158.20Ibis, 160.21The Politics of Aristotle, Peter L. Phillips Simpson, trans. (Chapel Hill and London: The University ofNorth Carolina Press, 1997), 9.22Ibid, 16.23Ibid, 11.
  31. 31. that are wildest but rather those of them that are tamer and more lion like in character.”24Henceculture perfects nature: “For all art and education aim to fill up what nature has left wanting.”25Ideological conditioning superimposes on the already domesticated humans, right from theirbeginning, from birth, as Aristotle explains: “For in the case of anything capable of habituation,it is better to get it habituated, though gradually, right from the start.”26For nature, as we say, makes nothing in vain, and humans are the only animals whopossess reasoned speech.27A possession is a tool for the purposes of life, property is a multitude of suchtools, and the slave is a living possession. Also, every assistant is, as it were, a tool fortools.28The tame animals are better in nature than the wild ones, and it is better for theformer all to be ruled by humans because thus they are preserved. In addition, therelation of the male to the female is by nature that of better to worse and ruler to ruled.29Politics happens in the city, the conglomerate of domesticated humans who follow theirleader framed by the massive built environment. Urban humans would rightly feel living andbehaving in a mega-zoo.Livingston questions the extent to which “leader” and “follower” represent culturalinventions. Domestication (taming) became the archetypal pattern for social subordination.Herd management of domestic animals mirrored interventionist and manipulative politics.Loyalty, docility, and obedience to a considerate master became exemplary for employees,epitomized by the paternal model headed by the good shepherd ruler, like the bishop carrying hispastoral staff. Given the history of ruling techniques, legitimated by philosophicalargumentation, as domestication advances methodologies of domination, discourses, ideologies,and technologies of leadership become sophisticated.24Ibid, 158.25Ibid, 152.26Ibid, 150.27Ibid, 11.28Ibid, 14.29Ibid, 16.
  32. 32. Further sophistication in methodologies of leadership surfaces as technology develops.Intensification in domesticating methodology can be perceived in the current level of chemical,biological, and physical modification of humans according to certain human-designed features.Cultural methodologies condition humans to certain ethnologies. Chirurgical procedures moldhumans to fit particular physiologies. Ideologies and academic faculties enforce particularpsychologies. The in-vitro revolution mature artificially conceived embryos. Geneticengineering designs embryos. Spatial expeditions explore the domestication of outer space.Cryonics clients seek immortality by preserving their corpses frozen while science finds cures totheir sickness in the future. While the media and the Internet enforce a virtual life within privatehomes, within just decades, artificial intelligence may par human intelligence. Such trendscontinue to expand and change rapidly; all made possible by human domestication.Recognizing human domestication implies a profound revision of human interpretationsof histories, present realities, and future visions; a revision compared to that issued by post-modernists and post-structuralists regarding language, ideology, and discourse.30Such revisionavoids constructive and reconstructive intents for they suffer a crucial impasse, given the humandomesticated condition. Post-modernist and post-structuralist efforts actually represent re-modernist and re-structuralist movements.31Post-modernist and post-structuralist critiques30Hughes insists, “The important thing about consciousness raising and the process leading up to Freire‟sconscientization is that they are a means to social change” [Kate Pritchard Hughes, “Liberation? Domestication?Freire and Feminism in the University,” Convergence 31, no. 1-2 (1998): 137].31Jewish-American historian and philosopher of science Thomas Samuel Kuhn (1922-1996) developed thenotion of “paradigm shift”: the periodic revolutions undergone by science toward truth, as opposed to its normalperiods or “normal science” (day-to-day science), rather than the notion of science as evolving gradually. Adifference of Algerian Marxist philosopher Louis Pierre Althuser (1918-1990), who conceived science ascumulative, though discontinuous, and developed the notion of “epistemological break,” Kuhn considered theincommensurability of various paradigms. Kuhn substituted “exemplars” for “paradigm” to refer to the foundationalproblem-solutions examples a scientist is expected to know in his/her discipline. Thomas S. Kuhn, The Structure ofScientific Revolutions, 2nded. 1sted. 1962 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1970); and Louis Althuser,“Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses” in Lenin and Philosophy and Other Essays (New York: MonthlyReview Press, 1971).
  33. 33. recreate notions of collage or mixing perspectives, what structuralist Claude Lévi-Straussdenominated “bricolage”:Like science…the game produces events by means of a structure… Rites andmyths…like „bricolage‟…take to pieces and reconstruct sets of events…and use them asso many indestructible pieces for structural patterns in which they serve alternatively asends or means.32Like bricolage, the quest for a new human being, as many theorists argue, fails in greatpart because every such quest starts with a conditioned domesticated human being. Even Berry‟scorrection, recovering the earth and the universe as the primary teachers, finds itself truncated inthe face of the domesticated human who processes and domesticates the teaching. Advocatingfor imagination, for artistic and transcendentalist solutions, seems insufficient. The arts andimaginations of humans refer to arts and imaginations of domesticated beings. Human arts referto domesticated arts and imagination. The situation certainly concerns human ontology.Ethics reflects architecture conditioning human ontology. Whether as individual or asspecies, domestication exercises influence on humans at the foundational level of the humanexperience: ontology. Unlike taming and ideology, awareness does not constitutesundomestication. Domesticated humans characterize by a distorted ability of being thatundermines their ability to imagine, perceive and intuit, identified at the sensorial, intellectual,and spiritual dimensions. Such a distortion is projected in the social and ecological humanenterprise. What domesticated humans may appreciate in any sense, under the influence ofarchitecture, it may certainly refer to the contrary. Architecture shapes the distorted humansearch for origin by domesticated ontology. Undertaking this architectural search assumesrecognizing being influenced by the distorted condition of domesticated human ontology.Architectural enterprise obscures human ontology promoting a distorted domesticated human32Claude Lévi-Strauss, The Savage Mind (Paris: Librairie Plon, 1962), 33.
  34. 34. search for origin. A distorted search informs the human ability to value in its decision makingprocess. Domesticated human ethical decisions are informed by the built environment in searchfor origin.The human search for origin shadows the history of architecture. Florentine Renaissancehumanist (Gian Francesco) Poggio Bracciolini (1380-1459) rediscovered in 1414 the earliestsurviving work on architecture by Roman architect Marcus Vitruvius Pollio (80/70-25 B.C.E.?),De Architectura (The Ten Books of Architecture). Vitruvius in Rome, the Kaogongji in China,and Vaastu Shastra in India wrote some of the most ancient known canons in architecture. ForVitruvius, architecture must exhibit firmitas (strength, structure), utilitas (usefulness, function),venustas (beauty, aesthetic). Ancient architectural orders (Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian) saw toperfect the understanding of proportions. The Vitruvian Man, made famous by a drawing byItalian Renaissance Roman Catholic Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci (1452-1519), refers to theproportions of the human body, the greatest work of art, inscribed in the geometric patterns ofthe cosmic order: the circle and the square. Vitruvius, proposing the Sacred Geometry ofPythagoras, designed architectural projects, particularly temples, using the proportions of thebody as pattern. Pythagorian tradition maintains that the circle refers to the spiritual realm, whilethe square to the material one. Vitruvius considered these body proportions to be perfect, sincethe extended limbs of a perfectly proportioned human by fitting both within a circle and a square,perfectly combined in one body both the spiritual and material realms. Like other species thatbuilt shelters (e.g., bird‟s nests), hence, for Vitruvius, architecture imitates nature.3333Vitruvius Pollio, 1stcentury B.C.E., De Architectura: Vitruvio Ferrarese: La Prima Versione Illustrata(Modena: F. C. Panini, 2004); Vitruvius Pollio, De Architectura (Vitruvius: Ten Books on Architecture), trans.Ingrid D. Rowland (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1999); and Indra Kagis McEwen, Vitruvius: Writingthe Body of Architecture (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 2003).
  35. 35. Human ontology is architectural human artificial construction that imitates nature.Domesticated human ontology is designed and built by artificial humans. Human domesticatedethics belongs to human domesticated ontology. Domesticated humans deal with the recovery oftheir lost “natural” human ontology. They pursue a search for their original state, whichsubstantially refers to a pre-domesticated state. This search involves explorations into theirsocial arrangement and ecological functioning. Domestic human longing is a yearning of diverseexpressions and characteristics. Human domesticated ethics happens in the city, where politicalleadership leads its flock on the pastures of further domestication.Politics refers to the ethics of the polis, the domestic or domesticated realm. In the polis,human herding occurs at grand scale. Current planning of urbanization represents the mostambitious project of rapidly expanding human domestication in history. Present urbanization,the birth of metro-polis, mega-cities, refers to increasing sophistication and intensification ofhuman domestication. Human domesticated ethics is the product of domesticated humansprimarily herded in the city. Politics as the ethics of the polis embodies the ethics of the moderndomesticated human being. The polis as a social body embodies a living organism that feels,thinks, believes, and hopes. Cities follow life cycles; they are born, grew up, decline, and die.One can identify the hearth of the city, its lungs, mind, circulatory and respiratory systems, butparticularly it skeletal structure: the built environment. The built polis behaves ethically.Plato conceived a political philosophy pregnant of a complex class structure. Hedescribed the constitution of democracy observing a series of degradations starting by the top(monarchical) class until reaching the bottom (common people) class. Berry identifies other twolevels of base societies: the earthly ecological society, and the universal cosmological society.
  36. 36. He advocates a geocracy or geocentrism and biocentrism: a biocracy:34“I consider democracy aconspiracy of humans against the natural world… We need a North American constitution thatwould include all the components of the North American continent.” It holds on “a spiritualdiscipline that involves a change from our anthropocentrism to a biocentrism and ageocentrism.”35Instead of humans accommodating to their natural environments, housedhumans accommodate it to themselves; the main point of anti-anthropocentrism, and indeed ofany anti-centrism. In essence, invocations to biocentrisim and geocentrism, eloquent andappealing as they might seem may fall in a similar trap.36But they search for decentralizedsocieties or at least take a larger and grounded context into view.37The architectural domestication of humans represents a reversal rather than a progressivedimension in human emergence. This reversal is also an ethical regression. To borrow MichaelCremo‟s category, domestication presents a phase of devolution in human emergence. The builtenvironment is often interpreted and celebrated as a momentum of greatness in humancivilization. But the Paleolithic-Neolithic transition represents a period on human emergenceaccentuating how human things went wrong.The ethical interpretation of Christian love to the neighbor, the enemy, and the strangercan be considered in four dimensions, namely, true, mercy, justice, and peace. Christians arecalled to be truthful believers who practice mercy, do justice, and strive for peace. Historically,34Thomas Berry, Befriending the Earth: A Theology of Reconciliation Between Humans and the Earth /Thomas Berry in Dialogue With Thomas Clarke (Mystic, Conn.: Twenty-Third Publications, 1991), 39, 42, and 149.35Ibid, 42.36From another perspective, will geocentrism imply a kind of anti-Copernican revolution?37Lee tends to arrive to a similar conclusion. Lee notes three historical Christian theological shifts:theocentric in the Middle Ages, anthropocentric in the modern age, and cosmo-centric in the twenty-first century.Lee cautions, from a notion of balance as opposed to exaggeration, “But overemphasis [noted in Berry‟s writing] onthe cosmic will leave other aspects unattended” (168). Lee naively believes that balance avoids exaggeration,distortion, and critical misunderstandings (169). Balance represents in itself an exaggeration. Reality seems tobehave more as a dynamic change. At the end Lee advocates a “change from anthropocentrism to eco-centrism”(183). Jai-Don Lee, “Towards an Asian Ecotheology in the Context of Thomas Berry‟s Cosmology: A CriticalInquiry” (Th.D. diss., University of St. Michael‟s College and the University of Toronto, 2004).
  37. 37. diverse traditions have diversified along the lines of these loving dimensions. Traditions haveoften focused on one or two dimensions neglecting the others. Some traditions have emphasizedthe dimension of truth. This acute focusing have often developed into emphasis of personalaffairs that characterizes the true believer. This kind of personal theology has neglected issues ofjustice and peace. Similarly, other traditions have interpreted love as being merciful andcompassionate. They have established different kinds of charities seeking to address human andeven ecological miseries. Their emphasis consists in alleviating pain. Other Christian traditionshave taken the herald of justice. They have seen to expose the powers of this world, denouncingthe injustice against humans, plants, animals, and the earth in general. Traditions following thesetendencies have often opted for violent means in their intents to establish justice on earth. Othertraditions have followed the path of peace as their key way to interpret the Christian love. Intheir intent for bringing reconciliation among humans and between humans and their ecologicalenvironment, they advocate for the use of dialogue and other peaceful means to pursue a blessedand tranquil life. In this process they have neglected to address the root causes of injustice.Each tradition in its own way has advanced the ethical dimensions of interpreting theChristian love. Unfortunately, because of their narrow compartmentalized approach and focusthey have ended up distorting the love theoretically advocated by Christianity. Architecturecaptures and reinforces each one of these emphases. A non-domesticated approach wouldpresent a more wholistic approach to love. Nomad societies, for instance, would not preoccupythemselves about the intricacies of theological argumentation or ethical practice. They wouldsimply be ethical. They love.The most preponderant marker of human domesticated ethics is the imitation of naturewithin a social world far from constituting a natural entity made up of artificiality, where value
  38. 38. decisions are made based on leadership and followership. The leader defines love. It names thetruth, institutes compassion, administers justice, and enforces peace. Domesticated humansfollow their loving (truthful, merciful, just, and peaceful) leader. One extreme of thedomesticated human condition surfaces as city dwellers feel natural.The notion of the “good shepherd” (Psalms 23; John 10:11-14) acquires its mostmessianic and challenging connotation in the resigning king who endures torture and is publiclyexposed as a religious-political criminal hanging assassinated on a cross outside the city(Hebrews 13:12; 1 Kings 21:13), where poli-tics, the ethics of the polis (city-state), refers to theethics of urban domesticated humans.4.8. REMARKS ON THEOLOGY AND HOMO DOMESTICUSChristian theology enhances aware that domestication plays an important role in thedevelopment of domination. Humanity, including its affairs, is domesticated through the builtenvironment. Theology is part of the problem and of the solution. A consideration of humandomestication via the built environment is clearly absent in Christian theology. The worksexplored in this thesis critique domination based on ideology. Dominated beings, particularlyhumans, internalize racism (ethnocentrism), patriarchy (androcentrism or sexism), classism(elitism), and anthropocentrism (egocentrism). Such internalizations represent centrist tamingideologies. While ideology replicates and reinforces domestication, domestication primarilyrelates to the influence of architecture or the built environment.Ideology represents a taming technique. Racism victimizes Blacks via social systems(e.g., slavery and apartheid). Elites have marginalized and exploited the poor since earliesttimes. Women suffer patriarchal victimization. Eco-systems undergo industrial exploitation tothe point of extinction. All these mechanisms or methods of domination rely on the power of
  39. 39. ideology to condition (tame), which mutually replicates and reinforces the domesticatingcondition established through the built environment. Theology both replicates domestication andcritiques its scandalous extremes.The notion of human domestication advances the Christian theological critique ofdomination by exploring the influence of architecture, housing, and the built environment onhumans. Humans undergo similar conditioning to that suffered by animals and plants, submittedvia domestication. While humans have devised ideologies to self deceive referring todomesticated plants and animals as opposed to domestic humans, they all share the samecondition. Aware of reducing overwhelmingly complex and ever-unfolding realities to a singlemethod, uncovering human domestication renders “centrism” as incompatible to planet earth.Along diverse models, epistemologies, and hermeneutics, it offers an angle to study the conditionof human cosmology, anthropology, sociology, and ecology. Humans are domesticated. Humanun-domestication seems unviable, impossible. To produce un-domesticated methods, readings,and conclusions would be a fallacy. Christian theologians and Christian theology, including thisthesis, represent but the exception to domestication.Human domestication embodoies the different structures and functions in which humansare forced to live. Thomas Robert Malthus (1766-1834) focused on reproduction and predictedthat human population would outrun food supply, implying a decrease in food per capita. KarlHeinrich Marx (1818-1883) focused on production and observed the main characteristics ofhuman history in terms of class struggle, the opposition between the bourgeoisie and theproletariat.38While Malthus saw increasing human struggle for food, Marx thought that38Hribal argues about the contribution animals have made to the agricultural and industrial revolutions. Hecontends that the working class has been treated as domestic animals and animals as workers: “By the beginning ofthe 19th century, the majority of the English commons had been enclosed and privatized” [Jason Hribal, “„AnimalsAre Part of the Working Class”: A Challenge to Labor History,” Labor History 44, no. 4 (November 2003): 435].
  40. 40. capitalism would eventually naturally face the point of decay where proletarians will rise andestablish socialism.Sheltering normally fulfills a basic human living need. It represents, however, a createdneed. Architecture is often seen more as a fulfilled need than as a historical development. Thehouse is a historical human elaboration. Architect Amos Rapoport, discussing the determinantinfluence of culture and society on the house, asserts: “In general, one could argue that modernsymbols related to the house are as strong as those of the past, and still take precedence overphysical aspects—they are only different.”39Present society enjoys reduced physical constraints(low criticality), which means more possibilities or choices: “We can do much more than waspossible in the past… However, we act as though criticality were high and close fit to physical„function‟ were essential.”40Such is the overwhelming domesticating power. Domesticationapparently makes life easier, but ends up complicating survival. Berry makes a similar point:“There exists in our tradition a hidden rage against those inner as well as outer forces that createlimits on our activities.”41Housing, rather than fulfilling, complicates human needs.The greatest contribution of theology regarding the critique of domination refers tochallenging ideologies of domination mainly based on race, gender, class, and ecological biases.Theology addresses the intensification of human domestication which reveals the anti-social andanti-ecological excesses resulting from the domesticating influence of the built environment.Theology until now neither acknowledges nor addresses human domestication per se. Toeliminate domestication would imply eliminating the built environment at all. Otherwisehumans are Homo domesticus.39Amos Rapoport, House Form and Culture (Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1969), 133.40Rapoport, Ibid, 135.41Berry, The Great Work, Ibid, 67.