Is modernity bad for practice?

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Re: Is modernity bad for practice?

Postby futerko » Mon Dec 03, 2012 9:54 pm

tobes wrote:
futerko wrote:Actually Hegel should've meant the end for German Idealism, but add a couple of hundred years of misinterpretation and you get wikipedia! :woohoo:


= the steady progression to absolute knowledge!

:anjali:


Strange, it is translated as "Absolute Knowing" in my copy, and in the Science of Logic for example,
§ 1783 - Therefore what remains to be considered here is not a content as such, but the universal aspect of its form
§ 1816 - …in the Idea of absolute cognition the Notion has become the Idea's own content.

It seems pretty clear that the use of the term "knowledge" here is quite a distortion.
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Re: Is modernity bad for practice?

Postby viniketa » Mon Dec 03, 2012 11:46 pm

shel wrote:
viniketa wrote:Another marked characteristic of modernity is anthropocentrism. Perhaps we may not move beyond modernity until we move beyond anthropocentric thinking.


Let me take a wild guess. We should be Dharma-centric, right? Coz that's how the universe works.


"Dharma", in itself, may be too broad a term to be useful in this instance. "Biocentric" or, even better, "ecocentric" thinking is the direction pointed-to. See here.

jeeprs wrote:For convenience's sake, I think 'modernity' can be seen as the period between the publication of Newton's Principia Mathematica, in 1687, and the publication of Einstein's four seminal papers in 1905 (including Special Relativity).


That may be a bit too convenient. Even the standard model in physics didn't start to unwind with the theory of general relativity (although it may be at the root the subsequent unwinding). If we are speaking about the prevailing weltanschauung, I would argue we are still in the modern era. As tobes alluded earlier, all the "deconstruction" of modernity is simply another form of constructing modernity. Until we begin to base action in something other than anthropocentric thinking, we will remain in modernity.

As for Hegel's reputation, I don't want to defend him (all my Hegel literature was given away long ago), but once you get into the rhythm of his words, he is much less obscure. One thing to keep in mind, for Hegel (and many other German philosophers), Weltgeist really means germanische Geist.

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Re: Is modernity bad for practice?

Postby jeeprs » Tue Dec 04, 2012 12:04 am

The reason I nominated the discovery of relativity, was because that is where we started to become aware of the inherent limitations of classical Newtonian views. For that period from the beginning of the scientific revolution, until relativity and QM were discovered, there was a conviction in some minds that scientific thought could describe the entire universe. Then the World Wars and the discoveries of 'the mysteries of the quantum' undermined that sense of certainty and confidence. But I think different people and different schools of thought are all still assimilating these ideas. But the characteristically post-modern view, does away with any sense of certainty or the absolutization of knowledge.

viniketa wrote:Until we begin to base action in something other than anthropocentric thinking, we will remain in modernity.


Regarding 'anthropocentric thinking' - what do you make of the status accorded to human birth in Buddhism? I thought Buddhism generally taught that it is only in human form that Nirvana can be realized.
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Re: Is modernity bad for practice?

Postby viniketa » Tue Dec 04, 2012 12:43 am

jeeprs wrote:The reason I nominated the discovery of relativity, was because that is where we started to become aware of the inherent limitations of classical Newtonian views.... ...the characteristically post-modern view, does away with any sense of certainty or the absolutization of knowledge.


When it comes to scientific theorizing, I couldn't agree more. However, humans do not base action in the world on scientific thinking. We can talk about the ways of thinking about the world "in the academy", which are quite different and supposed to be "ahead of the curve", or we can talk about praxis, action in the world. Everyday action is still based in forms of "rationality" that are largely outmoded in academia, particularly the rationality of surplus (money) and its distribution.

Even a well-educated businessman or bureaucrat has little interest in "absolute knowing", except maybe in terms of the stock market and elections.

jeeprs wrote:Regarding 'anthropocentric thinking' - what do you make of the status accorded to human birth in Buddhism? I thought Buddhism generally taught that it is only in human form that Nirvana can be realized.


I think the Buddhist emphasis on the "enlightenment" of humans is appropriate, as humans have the greatest potential for action in the world. We must keep in mind, however, that this enlightenment (in Mahāyāna) is to benefit all beings.

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Re: Is modernity bad for practice?

Postby futerko » Tue Dec 04, 2012 1:01 am

viniketa wrote:
shel wrote:
viniketa wrote:Another marked characteristic of modernity is anthropocentrism. Perhaps we may not move beyond modernity until we move beyond anthropocentric thinking.


Let me take a wild guess. We should be Dharma-centric, right? Coz that's how the universe works.


"Dharma", in itself, may be too broad a term to be useful in this instance. "Biocentric" or, even better, "ecocentric" thinking is the direction pointed-to. See here.

jeeprs wrote:For convenience's sake, I think 'modernity' can be seen as the period between the publication of Newton's Principia Mathematica, in 1687, and the publication of Einstein's four seminal papers in 1905 (including Special Relativity).


That may be a bit too convenient. Even the standard model in physics didn't start to unwind with the theory of general relativity (although it may be at the root the subsequent unwinding). If we are speaking about the prevailing weltanschauung, I would argue we are still in the modern era. As tobes alluded earlier, all the "deconstruction" of modernity is simply another form of constructing modernity. Until we begin to base action in something other than anthropocentric thinking, we will remain in modernity.

As for Hegel's reputation, I don't want to defend him (all my Hegel literature was given away long ago), but once you get into the rhythm of his words, he is much less obscure. One thing to keep in mind, for Hegel (and many other German philosophers), Weltgeist really means germanische Geist.

:namaste:

Indeed, I suspect you are referring to some of his later work, Hegel did seem to take a wrong turn at some point.

As for anthropocentrism, I think it is symptomatic of humanism, which neatly brings us full circle back to the issues with Buddhadharma. Personally, I see attempts to emphasise the humanistic side of Buddhism is what paves the way to atheism and is the reason that engaged Buddhism appeals to the liberal majority at the expense of emancipation.
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Re: Is modernity bad for practice?

Postby shel » Tue Dec 04, 2012 1:05 am

viniketa wrote:
shel wrote:
viniketa wrote:Another marked characteristic of modernity is anthropocentrism. Perhaps we may not move beyond modernity until we move beyond anthropocentric thinking.


Let me take a wild guess. We should be Dharma-centric, right? Coz that's how the universe works.


"Dharma", in itself, may be too broad a term to be useful in this instance. "Biocentric" or, even better, "ecocentric" thinking is the direction pointed-to. See here.


:tongue: When was philosophy ever that useful. But seriously, I didn't realize that ecology was premodern.
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Re: Is modernity bad for practice?

Postby viniketa » Tue Dec 04, 2012 1:21 am

futerko wrote:Indeed, I suspect you are referring to some of his later work, Hegel did seem to take a wrong turn at some point.

As for anthropocentrism, I think it is symptomatic of humanism, which neatly brings us full circle back to the issues with Buddhadharma. Personally, I see attempts to emphasise the humanistic side of Buddhism is what paves the way to atheism and is the reason that engaged Buddhism appeals to the liberal majority at the expense of emancipation.


Hegel took several turns, many of them "wrong", but not for the usual reasons for which he is criticized. But, yes, some of his work is more dense reading.

As for "engaged Buddhism appeals to the liberal majority at the expense of emancipation", I, personally, think that is a false equivalency; one doesn't necessarily have to trade one for the other.

shel wrote:But seriously, I didn't realize that ecology was premodern.


Well, a relatively undisturbed ecology is pre-modern. :tongue: However, we don't have to go back to pre-modern thinking. There is the possibility of moving "forward" into some "non-modern" view of the world.

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Re: Is modernity bad for practice?

Postby futerko » Tue Dec 04, 2012 1:51 am

viniketa wrote:As for "engaged Buddhism appeals to the liberal majority at the expense of emancipation", I, personally, think that is a false equivalency; one doesn't necessarily have to trade one for the other.

Indeed not, the context was about prioritising humanism. In an earlier post I mentioned the issue with humanism in regard to modernity, and I think that attempting to view Buddhism as humanism results in something which loses its potential for emancipation.

viniketa wrote:Even a well-educated businessman or bureaucrat has little interest in "absolute knowing", except maybe in terms of the stock market and elections.

I'm not sure how a direct cognition of a universal lacking all determinate content would really help with that. :tongue:
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Re: Is modernity bad for practice?

Postby viniketa » Tue Dec 04, 2012 2:06 am

futerko wrote:In an earlier post I mentioned the issue with humanism in regard to modernity, and I think that attempting to view Buddhism as humanism results in something which loses its potential for emancipation.


Sorry, I missed that. I will have to go back and look...

futerko wrote:I'm not sure how a direct cognition of a universal lacking all determinate content would really help with that. :tongue:


No, they want the opposite: determinism that they control or at least know in advance is the only knowing they desire.

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Re: Is modernity bad for practice?

Postby futerko » Tue Dec 04, 2012 2:27 am

viniketa wrote:
futerko wrote:I'm not sure how a direct cognition of a universal lacking all determinate content would really help with that. :tongue:


No, they want the opposite: determinism that they control or at least know in advance is the only knowing they desire.

:namaste:

I think we see something very similar happen with questions of the Buddha's omniscience. There are some people who, ignoring the rest of the teachings on subject-object relations, take the idea of omniscience to mean that there is some sudden turnaround which grants access to all forms of knowledge which were previously refuted!
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Re: Is modernity bad for practice?

Postby shel » Tue Dec 04, 2012 6:04 am

viniketa wrote:
shel wrote:But seriously, I didn't realize that ecology was premodern.


Well, a relatively undisturbed ecology is pre-modern. :tongue: However, we don't have to go back to pre-modern thinking. There is the possibility of moving "forward" into some "non-modern" view of the world.


Point was, silly me, that ecology is modern. A child of modernity, if you will. Everyone is familiar with the term, but I grant you all may not care to deconstruct the notion, and render it meaningless. :tongue:
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Re: Is modernity bad for practice?

Postby futerko » Tue Dec 04, 2012 8:26 am

I was googling and came across this essay, http://cosmosandhistory.org/index.php/j ... le/view/81 which I thought made a good argument about Hegel being one step ahead of Derrida.

Then I realised it reminded me of something very similar I'd read on Nagarjuna.

http://www.thezensite.com/ZenEssays/Nag ... hought.pdf

It seems the common denominator is Graham Priest.
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Re: Is modernity bad for practice?

Postby muni » Tue Dec 04, 2012 9:44 am

I learned whatever Dharma means for us and how we interact with modern stuff, to rely on a master is the key to know how to do.
Since we cannot all in the woods, is simple impermanence great teaching for me to decrease desire to stuff, and not to be engaged in too much 'worldy businesses' which is nothing more than laziness for dharma. Less greed, let roll the modern impermanence, cannot harm.
In fact what are 'possessions' other than grasping?

In the street are people who retired and now the man has a huge mercedez. There is room for at least three bodies behind, even four, but the seats are empty. The man drives around alone in that huge car. That little head peeping behind the large window... He gently waves his hand when I pass on my shoes. I wave back for the teaching of impermanence.

Contentment is a nice practice. :anjali:
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Re: Is modernity bad for practice?

Postby Simon E. » Tue Dec 04, 2012 9:50 am

Interesting to see a thread which was posited on Buddhist PRACTICE degenerate into papanca.
Papanca that has been to college is still papanca.
What are people scared of ?
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Re: Is modernity bad for practice?

Postby Simon E. » Tue Dec 04, 2012 9:53 am

Huseng wrote:Some time ago I realized that this last generation of elderly lamas represent something special at the moment because they were born and raised in an environment that was effectively pre-modern and pre-industrial, so they never had to contend with materialism (especially in their education system), political theories, atheism, consumerism and a whole string other things that we modern folks have to live with. When they're gone there really won't be anymore Buddhist teachers that were born and raised in a pre-modern environment. That will be a real loss. These fellows are often thought of as particularly special and very unique.

I've come to think that modernity as a whole is bad for practice. Despite all the science, information, medical care and women's rights we have, a lot of what we're brought up with and have to deal with throughout life is contrary to the path. We're brought up in an education system that teaches materialism as the default worldview. We have to think about capitalism versus socialism. We've got entertainment of all sorts to distract us. We have to function in a cash economy and this means working on a schedule rather than at your own pace most of the time. Modernity is exhausting and the system is setup to have people be productive, which means not having the energy and time to devote oneself to spiritual pursuits. The worst is the amount of doubt most modern people have to contend with when facing questions like rebirth, karma and so on.

So is modernity bad for practice? Of course it is up to the individual, but then I still think on the whole modernity is overall detrimental to liberation rather than conducive to it.

Bump...here is the ( very useful ) OP before the willy waving set in.
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Re: Is modernity bad for practice?

Postby tobes » Tue Dec 04, 2012 10:06 am

futerko wrote:I was googling and came across this essay, which I thought made a good argument about Hegel being one step ahead of Derrida.

Then I realised it reminded me of something very similar I'd read on Nagarjuna.

http://www.thezensite.com/ZenEssays/Nag ... hought.pdf

It seems the common denominator is Graham Priest.


Priest = smartest bloke I've ever met. Paraconsistent logic = very cool.

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Re: Is modernity bad for practice?

Postby tobes » Tue Dec 04, 2012 10:09 am

Simon E. wrote:Interesting to see a thread which was posited on Buddhist PRACTICE degenerate into papanca.
Papanca that has been to college is still papanca.
What are people scared of ?


That's a little unfair - it was an OP which asked about the relation between Buddhist practice **and** the problematic of modernity.

Can we be expected to answer that without conceptually inquiring into what we mean by modernity?

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Re: Is modernity bad for practice?

Postby Simon E. » Tue Dec 04, 2012 10:11 am

I guess your point is made with thunderous eloquence Huseng...
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Re: Is modernity bad for practice?

Postby tobes » Tue Dec 04, 2012 10:12 am

Simon E. wrote:
Huseng wrote:Some time ago I realized that this last generation of elderly lamas represent something special at the moment because they were born and raised in an environment that was effectively pre-modern and pre-industrial, so they never had to contend with materialism (especially in their education system), political theories, atheism, consumerism and a whole string other things that we modern folks have to live with. When they're gone there really won't be anymore Buddhist teachers that were born and raised in a pre-modern environment. That will be a real loss. These fellows are often thought of as particularly special and very unique.

I've come to think that modernity as a whole is bad for practice. Despite all the science, information, medical care and women's rights we have, a lot of what we're brought up with and have to deal with throughout life is contrary to the path. We're brought up in an education system that teaches materialism as the default worldview. We have to think about capitalism versus socialism. We've got entertainment of all sorts to distract us. We have to function in a cash economy and this means working on a schedule rather than at your own pace most of the time. Modernity is exhausting and the system is setup to have people be productive, which means not having the energy and time to devote oneself to spiritual pursuits. The worst is the amount of doubt most modern people have to contend with when facing questions like rebirth, karma and so on.

So is modernity bad for practice? Of course it is up to the individual, but then I still think on the whole modernity is overall detrimental to liberation rather than conducive to it.

Bump...here is the ( very useful ) OP before the willy waving set in.



Why don't you tell us how you understand modernity, and how you think it relates to Buddhist practice?

No will demand any Hegel name dropping off you, if you don't wish to drop his monolithic modernity embracing/generating name.....

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Re: Is modernity bad for practice?

Postby Simon E. » Tue Dec 04, 2012 10:23 am

Supposing I get on with the sadhana which I am committed to this morning instead ?

Instead of defining modernity I am a lot more interested in those practices that get to the root of that and all other forms of mental proliferation..


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