The Meta-narrative of Awakening

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Reply Wed 25 Nov, 2009 08:51 pm
There are some great ideas in Hegel but he has had a very unfortunate impact on Western phlosophy. In some ways it was the revolt against Hegel first by Marx and then by analytical philosophers which really provided the finishing touches to the philosophical materialism which is still the dominant mainstream outlook. But Hegel's idea of dialectic is very perceptive and dynamic. In fact one of my main ideas in all of what I have studied is that the West is caught in a dialectic between Aristotlean/Scholastic metaphysics (thesis) and anti-religious atheism (antithesis.) And the synthesis will look awfully like the Tao of Physics.
Reply Wed 25 Nov, 2009 08:59 pm
I agree with you that Integration is in order. Have you read Ken Wilbur? He argues well for a fusion of East and West. I think Hesse (who wrote Steppenwolf and Siddhartha) is something special. I also loved the Tao of Physics. Sublime stuff. And quantum mechanics have made the limits of man's imagination manifest. It's as if his equations can visualize what his visual-imagination cannot. It's as if only his mathematical mental-models can manage certain investigations. Fascinating. I think self-consciousness is key, and that man should investigate the investigation. Of course, my favorite thinkers already do this. Which is why I like them.

---------- Post added 11-25-2009 at 10:05 PM ----------

I think the anti-religious atheism you mentioned has a religious root. But then I think that man never escapes his religious root. He can modify his Ideal as much as he likes, but can he escape having an Ideal?

He can make having no ideal his Ideal, and perhaps some do, but this is of course comically self-contradicting. I find Jung very influential on this. Jung plays the role of a sort of Kant, except in regards to motive rather than perception (though the two are ultimately inseparable, of course).

Also I think that monotheism and Hegel's Absolute are already compatible with Eastern thoughts, but I offer this in humility. ( Schopenhauer named his dog Atman.)
Reply Wed 25 Nov, 2009 09:51 pm
I am aware of Wilbur's work but tend to stay clear of him nowadays. I got his very first book Spectrum of Consciousness in 1980 and it still reads pretty well, and I have read some later ones too 'A Sociable God' and 'Quantum Questions'). But I take it all with a grain of salt nowadays. It is too easy to morph, or mash, all of the various ideas from all over the world into a sythesis which is not particularly nutritious (not that I am saying Wilbur has done that). Where I am up to now is trying to concentrate on a few very specific ideas and teachings and understand them properly. It is possible to get a bit carried away with what is happening in the world of ideas in this day and age. There's so many of them.

On one side, I am trying to understand western philosophical idealism and certain themes in medieval philosophy. On the other I am attempting to devote myself to the practise of Buddhist meditation which is not particularly easy (for me anyway). It is all a work in progress.

But anyway, glad to meet you, I like your take on things.
Reply Wed 25 Nov, 2009 11:56 pm
I'm a bit iffy about Wilbur myself. First I felt a positive reaction and then slowly a certain distaste. But I still found A Brief History valuable for its relevance. Integration is a great theme. But there's something glib about him. Something pop star about him.

I feel the same way about Ayn Rand. "Man is an heroic being.." Stop there. Because reason is anything but man's absolute. Heroism is man's absolute, I would counter, in all its apparently contradictory forms.

I sympathize with the intensive study of particular thinkers. You mentioned medieval philosophy. Do you like Nicolas of Cusa? His geometrical analogies for God stay with me. Man's knowledge is a polygon inscribed in a circle. The circle is God. The circle is a polygon with an infinite number of sides. Man's science is conjecture. Negative Theology. Pretty sublime, I thought. I read him thru Coppleston's history.

I'm also glad to meet you. This forum is generally the opposite of small-talk, which is nice.
Reply Thu 26 Nov, 2009 01:16 am
I tried to study Cusa but found him too difficult. However there was a great saying of his, in some strange language, with a translation, in the front of a book called The Unknowable, by a Russian aphophatic philosopher called Simon Frank (I too love all those thinkers and that whole negative theology tradition):

'The unnattainable is attained by non-attainment'.

How very Zen for a medieval bishop. Bodhidharma wouldn't have said it any better.
Reply Thu 26 Nov, 2009 01:50 am
I think you would enjoy Nicolas of Cusa's geometrical analogies, if you can find them. Father Coppleston's History of Philosophy is great, I think. Just gives you the kernel, it seems.

'The unattainable is attained by non-attainment'. I like that. I also like Oscar Wilde and G. B. Shaw, for the same reason. Paradox hints beyond the limits of the rational. I find the Tao to be sublime. At the same time I love a neo-pragmatist like Rorty.

I enjoy philosophy as a strange mixture of Art, Religion, and Science.

Do you like William Blake? At his best he's pure Poetic Genius. Also F. Schlegel offers up this sublime concept of "Transcendental Buffoonery." He seems too little known. He goes against the spirit of the present moment, I think. I suspect his reputation will increase at some point. But I don't read German. I have to dig up translations on the internet.

Well, have a good night. I am finally turning in.

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