6 05 2008







contextualizing my thesis

11 02 2008


Provocating reactions?

21 11 2007

I got a very strong reaction from one scientist who was asked by my “supporter” in a well- known university in the Netherlands to let me film one of his experiment.


#   Here I report the original version in dutch and the translation into English: 

Professor to me (it means to my “supporter” who has been contacting professors in the University to ask for my permission to film.  My “supporter”  received this e- mail) :

Zoals je zult begrijpen respecteer ik zijn beslissing. Dat betekent dat wij geen medewerking zullen verlenen aan het projectvoorstel van Paula Boffi.



Technician to the professor:

Ik ben er echt niet weg van dit project; ik wil niet meewerken aan enige vergelijkingen tussen een katholieke mis en het uitvoeren van celkweek. Ik heb dit (italiaanse!!!) meisje helemaal door, het is een pure provocatie en ik heb geen zin om hierin mee te werken (en ik zou het ook absoluut niet op prijs stellen als een van onze medewerkers dit zou doen). Celkweek en wetenschappelijk onderzoek hebben niets te maken met rituelen (gelukkig).

Dit project kan alleen maar negatief uitpakken voor onze Faculteit. Jammer dus!

#   Translation into English

Professor to me (it means to my “supporter” who has been contacting professors in the University to ask for my permission to film.  My “supporter”  received this e- mail) :

As you will understand I respect his decision. This means we cannot give any cooperation to the project-proposition of Paula Boffi.



Technician to the professor:

I’m really not fond of this project; I do not want to cooperate on any comparisons that are made between a catholic mess and cell-reproduction.
I know what this (Italian!!!) girl is up to, this is pure provocation and I don’t feel like cooperating on this (and I don’t appreciate it at all if one of our fellow-colleagues would). Cell-reproduction and scientific investigation have nothing to do with rituals (fortunately).

This project can only have a negative influence on our Faculty.
Too bad!


My “supporter” was so shocked from this reaction that she phoned me. And she also started to say to me that this email is a good point for my thesis. It means I’m provoking a debate since the beginning and that I’m quite right raising the issue of the black box and the action of scientists. It means it is true that between science and people there is a kind of gap that makes scientific research and human feelings far away and not understandable each other.

My helper is now getting fond of my research and trying to find another scientist interested in my research. I may have an appointment with him in the next week.

Research proposal

19 11 2007

This is the link to access my research proposal:

#   research-proposal_laura-boffi.pdf

Biotechnogiosity religion features

13 11 2007

Here there is a list of key words/features related to Biotechnogiosity as religion:

#   it gives stability to Man and Society

#   it rules over the individual rights

#   it gathers together the collectivity

#   its content shows a moral imperative

#   it generates rituals

#   the collective aspect is more important than the individual ones

#   its aim is to find the truth

#   love as the beginning

#   order as the structure

#   progress as the end

#   it creates taboos

#   it has sacred objects which are forbidden, separated from the common life

#   the sacred object is the sistematic rapresentation of the world

#   it has object that inspires respect

#   it has object that inspires wordship

#   it has object that inspires fear

According to this list, I create one of the task that my recruited scientists are required to do in my cultural probes.

I associated to the sentences above a picture that explain the concept, but on the other hand not related to religion in order to reduce the influence on the testers. On the back of each postcards I asked to write a sentence or shoot a picture in the lab that rapresented the tester personal idea on the concept I wrote.

Durkheim:religion and science

12 11 2007

I got in contact with the professor Massimo Rosati, who is the curator of the italian translation of “The elementary forms of religion” by Durkheim, Meltemi editor. He is a sociologist and he works at the University of Salerno, in Italy.

I asked him to explain one concept I found in the Conclusion of Durkheim work:

“…the main notions of scientific logics are of religious origin…”

This is a summery of what he answered to me.

“Durkheim thinks that between us and the primitives there is not such a big gap. The evidence of it is the scientific and logic way of thinking. The use of logic categories of thinking, for example, space, time, cause and force are at the basis of the scientific thinking and they originate from religion. Nowadays religion has lost its cognitive function, since we try to explain the origin of the world not through Genesis, but through evolution theory. But not because of this religion has no longer any function in society.

Religion as a pragmatic, dynamic function that Science doesn’t at all. Religion can move the individuals and the collectivity, Science cannot because it requires time. Opposite to Comte, Durkheim doesn’t think that science could be sacralized and become religion. In Durkheim opinion, rituals cannot be originated from Science. He believes instead in a complementary relationship between Faith and Reason, Religion and Science. And this is particularly important in the age we live nowadays.”

The discovery of the Sacred in Eliade

12 11 2007

The discovery of meaning in the world is related to the Sacred. The human imitation of the Sacred is the basis of religious life. Life as imitation could have meaning.

But man itself is religious since he is dealing from the beginning with feeding himself, sexual life and working. Growing up, becomind a man means “being religious”. The world is genetically and structurally religious.

The way the Sacred shows itself for the first time to somebody is called hierophania by Eliade. Man relizes the existence of th Sacred because it is completely different from the profane. The hierophania consists of something that belongs to a totally different order, a reality that isn’t from our world but that shows itself in objects of our daily, profane life. From a tree or a stone to the incarnation of God in Jesus Christ.

Each time man discovers the Sacred through a hierophania, he somehow draws a center in the world where he can build a meaningful environment.

Also time has different meaning according to the time of the Sacred and the time of profane reality. Through rituals, religious collective celebrations, man can pass from ordinary time to sacred time. The time of the Sacred is reversible and each time we celebrate an vent in the religious liturgy we skip from ordinary time and we get into the mythical time. The time of the Sacred is a circular time, it consists of an ethernal mytical present that gets rehiterations through rituals.

The myth on the other side tells the strong introduction of the Sacred into the world: it tells about a Sacred history happened in the time of the origins. Usually the myth tells how one part of the reality was created in a strong, even dramatic way. The myth is the justification of a ritual, one particular one and each time we perform that ritual we re-focus on that mith. It is not an act of remembering, but an act of repetition. In this way man always has in his mind that his origin deals with the Sacred.