Introduction to Orthodox Philosophy: The Icon Documentary

I am often asked for a basic approach to my philosophy and worldview: Given our immersion in an image-dominated culture which is rapidly moving away from the necessary skills of reading and comprehension, the irony of the loss of literacy will likely lead to something akin to older iconographic importance for mass audiences.  We already see this trend with the popularity of Instagram and memes – another version of pale attempts at icons.  This documentary, while focusing the the theology of the icon itself, also forms a powerful bridge into understanding the basics of Orthodox theology, which rests on our life in this world pointing us constantly – in math, thought, concepts, logic, aesthetics, to a realm higher and eternal that is soon to come (since death comes to all in this life).   The documentary is 3 hours, but it is worth watching and learning for those who are seriously interested in our philosophy and theology.

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JaysAnalysis has grown to become one of the premier film and philosophy sites on the net, showcasing the talents of Jay Dyer, whose graduate work focused on the interplay of film, geopolitics, espionage and psychological warfare.  Jay is a public speaker, lecturer, comedian and author of the popular title Esoteric Hollywood: Sex, Cults and Symbols in Film, which made it to Amazon’s No. 1 spot in its first month of release in the Film and Hollywood Category:


Known for his in-depth commentary, satire and celebrity impressions, Jay is the host of the JaysAnalysis Podcast and Esoteric Hollywood. He is also a regular contributor to 21stCenturyWire, Soul of the East and the Espionage History Archive, as well as appearing on numerous nationally syndicated radio shows, such as Ground Zero and Coast to Coast AM, as well as TV shows like Buzzsaw with Sean Stone. 

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9 Comments on Introduction to Orthodox Philosophy: The Icon Documentary

  1. I’ve just begun watching the documentary. I’ve come a quarter in and it’s a real eye-opener. It’s fascinating how much aesthetics tells us about worldviews. The documentary makes Orthodox theology easier to understand, but also makes insightful distinctions between Orthodox iconography and Western iconography and the worldview behind them.

    And come to think about it, something that really condemns the history of the Papacy is Michaelangelo’s frescoes in the Sistine Chapel. In the Last Judgment f.e. nude women abound. Someone who looks like Socrates is beating some dude into a literal pulp, while the Dalai Lama tries to stop him. On the far left three guys are staring intensely into the dude-who’s-helping-someone-climb-up-onto-the-heavens’ butthole instead of joining in to help. Worst of all, when I first saw the Theotokos in the painting, I thought she was doing a coy, modelesque pose, which was bad enough… but then I saw she was actually just checking out some dude’s junk.

    I don’t know if any pope has ever spoken up against it, although they should have been very familiar with the painting and its content. If it offends my senses it surely should have offended the senses of the many Vicars of Christ in Rome. This isn’t limited to the Vatican either. Catholicism and Western Christianity in general has a weird fetishist aesthetic as you have talked about with James Kelley.

  2. bill scott // March 2, 2018 at 1:00 pm // Reply

    Having been a subscriber of Jay’s Analysis for quite while now, I’ve gradually become more and more fascinated by Orthodox theology. It started with me wondering how you managed to integrate so many different aspects of your work with such a profound spiritual path and then I became drawn to the icons. Your link to this video (or rather series of videos) has come at an excellent time. I had quite a long background with regard to a wide range of New Age activities (although I did reject quite powerfully a few years ago the meetings that I used to organise, after realising how many shysters I had been involved with!) so I also greatly appreciate your efforts to educate people about the pitfalls of New Age indoctrination. Your recent video The Aquarian Conspiracy was of great help to me with regards to flushing out the memories of many of the things I’d been involved with. Unfortunately, in the UK, there are very few Orthodox Christian churches.

    Speaking of which, have you come across the book SHAM: how the self-help movement made America helpless (2005) by Steve Salerno? Given your capacity for reading everything ever printed, I guess you probably have! Although it was written a while back, I found it quite useful for making sense of multibillion-dollar self-help industry. One of the reviews on the back of the dust jacket notes “In an age of self-help, why are so Americans helpless? Why do so many self-help gurus, from Dr. Phil down, create followers rather than independent souls? Steve Salerno exposes the SHAM [Self Help and Actualization Movement] with ruthless honesrt destined to make more than a few people angry” Dr. Michael Hurd

    Another interesting turn up has been Doreen Virtue’s rejection of the New Age movement (and I guess all her books, talks and other merchandise!) to become a Christian!

    I look forward to hearing what you have to say at AV9.

    • Orthodoxy in the UK // March 9, 2018 at 2:42 pm // Reply

      There’s around 200 parishes spread around the UK, depending on your location, you’re generally never more than 45 minutes to an hour away. Parish listing can be found here for the main jurisdictions: Greek Archdiocese Moscow Patriarchate Antiochian Diocese ROCOR

      Have a look and you’ll probably find something close. Taste and see that the Lord is good!

      • bill scott // March 9, 2018 at 4:37 pm //

        Thanks Jay, I really appreciate those links, I’ll check them out right now.

        I hope that you are making a good recovery from your bronchitis experience. As you will have seen, Jean-Francois, your opponent over at Warski, made some hilarious and witty (albeit not too compassionate) comments about your absence!

      • That wasn’t me

      • bill scott // March 9, 2018 at 10:28 pm //

        Thanks for letting me know Orthodoxy In the UK. I owe you an apology, I thought it was Jay who had sent me the links and the Warski comments were meant for him!

        I really appreciated the links you gave because I have found some Orthodox churches not too far from where I live. Thanks again.

  3. From the Second Part… This POWERFUL statement…… “The Icon testifies to the existence of God with love; not evidence”.

  4. bill scott // March 9, 2018 at 10:30 pm // Reply

    I think it must be getting late in the UK Jay, it looks like I have replied to both you and Orthodoxy in a very confusing way! Sorry about that!

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