August 13, 2006

The Atlantic and the Pacific way

Postmodern spirituality A dialogue in five parts Part IV: The positive Core Concept atthe Center of late Postmodern Philosophy: Inspiration Roland Benedikter
In fact, there is an interesting book from a certain Harold G. Coward from the Centre for Studies in Religion and Society of the University of Victoria, Canada. He wrote, very early and much ahead of his times, a book about “Derrida and Indian philosophy(SUNY – State University of New York Press 1990). This is a very good and deep going book, which has not been fully accepted by academics so far, and that is a considerable disadvantage for academic research I think. Coward's book offers some comparisons of the affinities and differences between Postmodern-Western and Eastern concepts of “the void” on the one hand and “nothingness” on the other hand. Coward shows how there are similarities between certain nominalistic aspects of postmodernity in the West and in the Indian traditions, but only certain. Of course they are similar in parts, but very different as a whole. He shows more or less what I said regarding the similarities of method and the difference of consciousness in doing the “destruction” of the “I”. It will be necessary to intensify the research on these topics in the coming years, if we want to create a new, genuine East-West philosophy for the age of globalization...
Wilber's thought, as exposed especially in “Sex, Ecology and Spirituality” and in “A Theory of Everything”, can give a tremendous impulse of forward movement to current postmodern culture. But it has to reflect the proto-spiritual tendiencies of late postmodernity and to integrate them in its concepts of a last goal: of “nothingess”. The Atlantic (postmodern) way of approaching that goal is not the same as the Pacific (Asian) way. Exactly at this point, there seems to exist a lot of potential for further development of the integral system of thought. As well as, more generally speaking, a high potential for cultural encounter between the East, Europe (the “In-Between”, according to Rudolf Steiner; cf. Rudolf Steiner: Europe Between East and West, Collected Works No. 174a, Dornach 2002) and the West (or the Anglo-American world) with their different concepts of the similar...
As especially Rudolf Steiner showed us in his “essential ontology” of modern individuality and its core potentials of rational evolution of consciousness, the state of mind of inspiration is characterized by the following facts:
1. That consciousness discovers itself as pre-conceptual and pre-formal “beingness”. Steiner describes this “pre-egoistic” “beingness” in very similar words as Jean Francois Lyotard described the “altered aesthetic” state of “intensity, sublimity and occurrence” which can have a kathartic effect on the subject.
2. Inspiration is characterized by the absence of an object, at which the still pre-conceptual, “living attention” of consciousness usually is immediately directed, with which it usually identifies pre-critically, and from which it is literally “absorbed” in daily life - so that pre-conceptual and pre-objective consciousness forgets about itself.
3. Instead of an object of attention, in the state of inspiration there is a strenghtend awareness of the own creative attention process which constructs every object and every content of thought in every instant here and now (cf. Rudolf Steiner: The Levels Of Higher Cognition: Imagination – Inspiration – Intuition. Collected Works No. 12, Dornach 1986).

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