The Buddhist Peril by longsword on Sat 07 Mar 2009 11:14 AM CST Permanent Link Cosmos
Although I am not a Buddhist per se (or leastwise as men understand the name "Buddhist") I am intrigued by the possibilities of Buddhism as a social critique and theory. I am also intrigued by the possibilities of Islam, particularly its Sufi branch, for the same reason. I can also say the same for Nietzsche's philosophy and for the intriguing possibilities of the "shamanism" described by Carlos Castaneda and his confederates, Taisha Abelar and Florinda Donner-Grau. So, while I am none of these things really, there is also a sense in which I feel I am also all of them and more besides. I am also attracted by "the Eastern Nietzsche" Sri Aurobindo's "Integral Yoga".
Simultaneous with the lysis of the Modern Era and the modern type, which lysis we call "nihilism", has arisen a challenge, not just to the human type shaped through the last 500 years, but through the last 10,000 years (Jean Gebser), or the last 6,000 years (William Blake), or the last 5,000 years (David Korten), or the last 2,000 or more years (Nietzsche). One might add to these names that of Sri Aurobindo and his "Integral Yoga". What is being challenged in all these formulations is what Nietzsche called "the all-too-human" -- man's psycho-historical development as merely egoic or appetitive being which reached its climax in Descartes' cogito, ergo sum, and in the absurdity of "the self-made man" who bootstraps himself into existence merely by mentating, where the ego or mere self-image becomes its own Alpha and Omega and its own Ground of Being. It is this tautological self that Blake ultimately refers to in the phrase "dark Satanic mill". It is reflected, equally, in Laplace's boast to Napoleon that "God" was an hypothesis he could easily do without. Mind becomes its own first cause. [...]
What evidence is there today that Gebser's entity he calls the "itself", the diaphainon or core being, is now becoming active in history, (even if, for the time being, as Shiva)?
We have already seen some signs of this in the demise of the Newtonian-Cartesian cosmic paradigm, and with that the transformation from the particularism of the point of view self to the "inter-dependency" of the integral field as metaphor for holistic consciousness. We've seen the alarm frequently expressed in some quarters about the emergence of the new awareness, such as Slavoj Zizek's lame essay denouncing the shift from "Western Marxism to Western Buddhism", Ken MacQueen's equally limp and incomprehending "interview" with Eckhart Tolle (discussed earlier) that appeared in Maclean's Magazine, the intuition that we are on the threshold of a "New Age" (even if some of its manifestations are defective and unreasonable).
Tad Homer-Dixon's article, which I linked to in the last post, declaring ecology -- a life science -- the new "master science" of the 21st Century and announcing, really, the demise of the mechanical era of the Clockwork Universe and onset of the Life Era. Clashes between these two paradigms, between past and future, are basically behind the controversialism surrounding "climategate", which has nothing to do really with science or reason, but with confrontations between the "point of view" (now become reactionary) and the integral field -- of the old mechanistic and deterministic certainties of linear cause-effect, either/or logic and the indeterminate field of probabilities and the paradoxical "both/and" logic.
And how else to account for the very strange fact that Rumi is presently the most popular poet in America, (and not the poet of empire and the clash of civilisations, Rudyard Kipling)?
In more general terms, the supersession of the Modern Era by the Planetary Era is the real meaning of the phrase "New Age", which is still groping to a large extent for its authentic voice. Old reactionaries hate it like the devil himself, which they associate with "relativism" and "multi-culturalism" and would prefer, instead, the "clash of civilisations". But the phrase "New Age" is probably better understood by Gebser's term for this -- "Integral Era".
Keywords: Transhumanism, Rumi, postmodernism, Nihilism, Nietzsche, Narcissism, Modernity, Mind, metanoia, Ideology, Gebser, enantiodromia, Consciousness, Buddha, Blake, Aurobindo
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