DOOYEWEERD: Form-Matter: Superheroes & Zombies

Dooyeweerd’s ground-motive analysis applied to movie culture.

The following are extracts from the book ‘In The Twilight of Western Thought’ by Herman Dooyeweerd, Paideia Press, 2012


The central motive of Greek philosophy, which we have designated as the form-matter motive in line with the Aristotelian terminology, originated from the meeting of the pre-Homeric religion of life and death, with the younger, cultural religion of the Olympian gods.”


SUPERHEROES – deified cultural powers of American society.

The ancient Greeks, whose conception of human nature had such a predominant influence upon the traditional theological view of man, worshipped their Olympian gods who were merely deified cultural powers of Greek society. These gods were represented as invisible and immortal beings endowed with a splendid beauty and a supra-human power. But these splendid gods had no [ultimate?] power over the fate of death to which mortals are subjected…”


ZOMBIES – the life of the one is the death of the other.

The pre-Olympian religion of life and death deified the ever-flowing stream of organic life which originates from mother earth and cannot be fixed or restricted by any corporeal form. It is from this formless stream of life that, in the order of time, the generations of beings separate themselves and appear in an individual bodily shape. This corporeal form can only be maintained at the cost of other living beings, so that the life of the one is the death of the other. So there is an injustice in any fixed form of life which for this reason must be repaid to the horrible fate of death…”

(Extracts from: Herman Dooyeweerd, ‘In The Twilight of Western Thought’, Paideia Press, 2012, pp. 29, 111, 129).

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DOOYEWEERD: Form-Matter ground-motive | Superheroes and Zombies