Video Games and Contemporary Esotericism: A study of eco-spirituality and the Grand Polemical Narrative in Final Fantasy VII

University essay from Göteborgs universitet/Institutionen för litteratur, idéhistoria och religion

Abstract: The concern of this essay is how religious change can be understood through the way that conceptions of religiosity and spirituality are represented in popular culture. The success of works of popular culture are due to the ability of these works to resonate with a large number of people, which suggests that popular culture reflects the hopes, desires, fears and anxieties of these people. The object of study for the essay was the video game Final Fantasy VII, released in the late 1990's. An analysis of the religious content of the game was made, which in turn was put in relation to the “Superstory”; an analytical framework proposed by Jeffery Kripal that deals with popular culture from the early- to mid twentieth century. The result of the comparison was that in Final Fantasy VII, sacrality is oriented towards a cosmotheistic world view of a spiritualized nature, and not towards the transcendent monotheistic world view of the Superstory. Likewise, where in the Superstory technology and scientific progress was sacralized, Final Fantasy portrayed these in a more sinister, negative light. This likely reflects the diminishing faith in science that characterizes the late-modern society, as well as the growing concern for environmental issues, concerns that are expressed through fantastic stories in popular culture.

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