Atman, Aporia, and Atomism (Tom Pepper Critiques Alan Wallace)

He Who Shall Not Be Named shared this essay on FB today.  I've just read the intro so far, but it looks interesting and thought it worthy of sharing here, especially since I recently posted something by Alan Wallace (the subject of the essay) in the video section recently.

Feast, Interrrupted

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Hahaha, I'd bet JC would appreciate being compared to Voldemort. 

(No, not that JC!)

I never understood why Jim left the forum and now requires anonymity. What happened?

I forgot why we started the anonymity game; I think it came from something Kela said awhile back (like a couple years back).  But he left the forum to concentrate on creative writing, not for any negative reason.

Right, this is a double post that I managed to put in the wrong thread the first time round. 

Check outTom Pepper's promised essay here. I imagine its part of his promised resucitation of Althusser. And for those who didn't read the other post - nice clear style Tom! and a good discussion in the comments, too. 

I'm just reading it now but found this particularly prejudicial from the outset:

"What can escape the insistent drive toward relativizing everything, the postmodern attempt to disable all conceptual thought through hyper-contextualizing and over historicizing and remove any means of directing our attempts to act in the world to change things for the better."

That's certainly not the pomo I've explored in this forum and sounds more like a kennilingual criticism.

 Yes, maybe, although, I'd like to think that Pepper has a much more nuanced position on post-modernism than evidenced in that quote. I imagine he's critiquing one predominant aspect rather than dismissing all 'post-modernism'.

Although, I'm not quite on-board with 'non-buddhism' I still always enjoy the site a great deal. And Wallis's descriptions of his method of theorizing is in line with how I imagine a theoretical practice might be aligned with a spiritual practice. He actually attempts to place each inside the other...

...I just spent a good 10 mins searching the site for something I'd read previously about the place his group accords silence and thought in interaction. Couldn't find it, but found out they offer post-grad credits in Applied Buddhism, and Wallis used to be in Philly band Ruin. There you go.

I have this sneaking suspicion that SNB is far more doctrinaire than it imagines itself to be.  Still, I like their work and ambitions. 

I just want to make a brief clarification on the "postmodern" question.  I AM in fact in agreement with Zizek, Badiou, Eagleton, Norris, etc. in their opposition of "postmodernism."  Way back when I was in grad school, we still tried to make a distinction between "post-structuralism" and "postmodernism," and the latter was considered to refer to what Jameson called "the cultural logic of late capitalism."  That is, postmodernism was a cultural/ideological movement in support of global capitalism, while post-structuralism was a loosely defined school of philosophy.  When I use the term now, I usually use it to indicate that particular branch of reactionary ideology that is posing as philosophical thought (eg, Rorty), and not so much to refer to a kind of cultural production (postmodern novel, film, etc).  

I suspect that the way you are using the term postmodern here is a bit different from my use, and more in line with the more common use of the term as interchangeable with post-structuralist--so I just wanted to clarify terms.  I have no idea what "kennilingual" might mean.  

Yes, my definition might be more in line with what you call post-structuralism. One aspect of it being, and in agreement with the thrust of your referenced paper, that there is no transcendental experience of being apart from an "ideology." And your point that while one always needs to operate within an ideology they can at least become aware of so doing, which in effect might to some degree liberate us from the hegemonic behavior without such realization. I find expression of this, as but one example, in Derrida's critique of the metaphysics of presence, while simultaneously realizing that we can never step out of metaphysics per se.

As to the practice of meditation as a means of attaining such an awareness I am in agreement, as well as redefining the Buddhist ideology within which is has taken on aspects of the above mentioned presence. This forum is in fact what we explore here, how to recontextualize such practice within a new paradigm (aka ideology) called postmetaphysics.

As to the meaning of kennlingus and its related variations see this post.

On my definition, I would absolutely not consider Derrida a postmodern thinker.  He is definitely not one of those who "attempt to disable all conceptual thought, etc."  Although, some of those in my field (lit. theory) who consider themselves deconstructionists absolutely would fall into that category.  

I do recall, now, having read this post about the term "kennilingus" before. I'm curious, because I have heard of Ken Wilber but have never read anything he's written, why what I write sounds like I am parroting him?  I understood him to be one of those who sell fad-spiritualism to celebrities by telling them whatever they want to hear, like Deepak Chopra or Trogyam Chungpa--am I missing something?  

Wilber sweeps all pomo, including and especially Derrida, under a reductionist rug which seemed  similar to your referenced statements. It appeared you were doing the same so I made the connection to kennilingus. This charge was to the specific quote in question and not the rest of your paper generally, with which I found much agreement as stated above. Now that you've clarified your meaning from that quote I retract the kennilingus label.

I've tended to use the general rubric of pomo for the whole field, including post structuralism etc., for ease of use. Those that are familiar with me know my distinctions between the various writers and sects. My new neologism though, a bit more specific, is de/re for deconstructive/reconstructive pomo, more in line with Derrida etc. and to distinguish it from the kind of decon you have noted.

Hi, Tom, with a smile on my face at your labeling of Wilber:  Although, as the content of this forum should attest, we do not focus heavily on Wilber's work, this forum was inspired, in its initial creation, by a couple of Wilber's recent writings, where he calls for, and outlines a proposal for, post-metaphysical approaches to spirituality -- and that general orientation still hovers in the background of our discussions here.  So, I would say that, if you write Wilber off as nothing more than a fad-guru who tells celebrities whatever they want to hear, you would be missing something, since his contributions are more substantial than that.

Well, now I'm interested.  I'll have to read some of his writing, and see what he has to say.  Like I said, I don't know anything about him, and just assumed he was in that fad-guru group so I didn't want to waste my time.  Any suggestions on a good place to start?

Balder said:

Hi, Tom, with a smile on my face at your labeling of Wilber:  Although, as the content of this forum should attest, we do not focus heavily on Wilber's work, this forum was inspired, in its initial creation, by a couple of Wilber's recent writings, where he calls for, and outlines a proposal for, post-metaphysical approaches to spirituality -- and that general orientation still hovers in the background of our discussions here.  So, I would say that, if you write Wilber off as nothing more than a fad-guru who tells celebrities whatever they want to hear, you would be missing something, since his contributions are more substantial than that.

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