Here is the English abstract of Dr. Mohammad Javad Ostadi's (pilgrimage researcher) speech at the second series of scientific lectures of the international conference on Theology of Pilgrimage titled "Theology of Pilgrimage and Social Sciences" which was held online on July 15, 2023.
Art and the Social Extension of Pilgrimage
Pilgrimage is one of the concepts that has been subjected to various reductions. These reductions separate the pilgrimage from its present life and ultimately lead to social weakness in the field of pilgrimage. According to ritualistic reduction, the role of pilgrimage in life is overlooked. Based on economic reduction, the pilgrimage is an instrument for materialistic and capitalistic goals. As a matter of fact, pilgrimage is a secondary source of knowledge and an intermediary in giving meaning to various aspects of life. It directs the different parts of life and consolidates numerous elements toward the final goal. Pilgrimage is a turning point in the advancement of society's knowledge, and if it can be publicized in the tangible areas of life as a central and meaning-giver component, it will provide a foundation for the advancement of the social system towards ideals. The processing of pilgrimage's conceptual and ideological backgrounds for their presentation in the contemporary everyday life system, which should be indirect and not-imperative, is considered a fundamental strategy in this field. Art, due to its inherent characteristics, is the best tool for this process. The use of indirect language, universality in communication, compatibility with contemporary conditions, profound influence, and a wide range of audiences are the most important inherent characteristics of art that provide a platform for the flow of pilgrimage in the social realm. Throughout history, art has always served for the dissemination of religious teachings. In order for art to play a role in the popularization of pilgrimage effects, it is necessary to clearly define the roles of policymakers and supervisors of pilgrimage, theorists, and artists, and regulate the relationships and variables between them. Furthermore, the process of transforming abstract concepts into artistic forms should also be studied in order to strengthen the discourse of pilgrimage and make it a dominant one.
Translator: Mahdi Qasemi