Participatory Spirituality for the 21st Century
A friend and former colleague of mine (at JFKU) started a conversation recently on Facebook that has been really fruitful and dynamic so far, with lots of people joining in (from Bonnitta Roy to Tom Huston, Joseph Camosy, Jean Trudel, myself, and others). Several of the members here at this forum, I know, do not participate on FB, but I wanted you to be part of the discussion, so I've copied it (as it exists so far) into a Word document, which I've attached below. In the discussion, we touch on a number of themes we have explored here: perennialism, inclusivism, (post)-pluralism, post-metaphysics, Polydoxy, Panikkar, the metaphysics of presence, rangtong vs shentong, etc.
Tom Huston, 2/7/14, 10:43 am (p. 8 of the doc):
"Generally, overlooking a myriad of cultural and semiotic differences, I think the 'nonduality' in both Madhyamaka-inspired Buddhism and Advaita Vedanta is *essentially* resolved by all of the Buddhist traditions that made 'emptiness' into a noninvolved, Atman-like substratum of pure awareness/mind/rigpa/buddha-nature."
I and kela have argued against this for a long, long time. And I've long pointed out that this is in fact the remnant of Vedanta in those branches of Madhyamaka, also supported by Thakchoe's work.
Hal Blacker, 2/7/14, 11:24 am (p. 9) correctly notes that the above is typical of Vedanta, Mahamudra, Dzogchen and Shentong, while those that disagree are 'hard-core' Prasangika and the likes of Batchelor.
Towards the end of the thread, this topic comes up again (starting on p. 30, and specifically in Bonnitta's comments on Hartshorne).
I only got to p. 13 so far and Huston is making the point that there is a universal Reality to ground all of it variegated expressions. Does he or anyone (you?) in this discussion go into speculative realism(s)? Especially as it refutes Huston's apparent conviction that one can experience a state of union with Reality as such? No metaphysics of presence refutation?
Huston: "And since lots of traditions posit an awakening to that deep singularity as a supreme mystical attainment to trounce all other attainments, I refute the charge that 'No one supreme state of mystical awareness exists' toward which many, though yes, not all, traditions strive" (2/9/14, 5:39 pm, p. 13).
Yes - not by name, but in spirit.
Please elaborate (and see my edits above).
Yes, in the section I mentioned above, Bonnitta first critiques such a view as an example of misplaced concreteness and the reification of emptiness. In responding to Bonnitta on p. 33, I mention the metaphysics of presence and draw some connections to other topics I've explored related to this (problematic aspects of Wilber's kosmic addressing of mystical experience, universal versus trope-bundle theories of experience or "quality," Panikkar's postmetaphysical handling of "universality" through the concept of homeomorphic equivalence, etc).
It seems Bonnitta's exegesis on pp. 30 - 34 has changed, where the r-terms are ontogenetically prior to the a-terms. (Fucken' a right man). And the way she applies this to Naggie is similar to how I've been doing so using rangtong over shentong. It seems she used to be an a-first shentong type and has changed? You bring up on 35 the shentong/rangtong meta- and postmeta issue.
I'm also with her that this communal discussion and enaction is the fourth turning, not the Lingam's metaphyics (see this thread).
I'm reminded of this post, Shaviro commenting on Whitehead's eternal objects:
"Eternal objects thus take on something of the role that universals...Platonic forms and ideas played in older metaphysical systems. But we have already seen that, for Whitehead, 'concrete particular fact' cannot simply 'be built up out of universals'; it is more the other way around. Universals...can and must be abstracted from 'things which are temporal.' But they cannot be conceived by themselves, in the absence of the empirical, temporal entities that they inform. Eternal objects, therefore, are neither a priori logical structures, nor Platonic essences, nor constitutive rational ideas" (18).
However in Bonnie's exegesis she didn't mention image schema as that which mediates between the universal and the particular. These basic categories are prerational categorical (differential) structures and thus below or antecedent to rational relative and absolute categories. But they are categorical differentials nonetheless, and this is the onto-genetic universal-particular (or plural-singularity) as differance.
All of which is Whitehead's 'concrete particular' or Hartshorne's 'relative' term if by that we mean that the whole shebang is Deleuze's immanence, with the transcendent as that which is outside time and space, the disembodied abstract, false reason for Lakoff and deficient reason for Gebser.
Good connections, Ed. Shapiro, Deleuze, Keller, Faber, and Hartshorne are all growing these various lines out of Whitehead's work, at least in part.
Earlier in the thread, you had asked whether anyone had brought in speculative realism yet, so I'm copying the two most recent posts to the thread below. (Trish is reading a lot of SR and OOO right now, and John is beginning to explore the Polydoxy authors).
Trish Nowland: Hi Bonnitta, I was following this conversation yesterday and had an intuitive reaction but paused on jumping in, I'm reading so much across the realisms at the moment I was worried about reflecting the reading more than the conversation here (it was 2:30am, too).
There's some curiosity about how we might collaboratively engage a field wider than an analogic one, by entering into the alien of non-human existence, stepping beyond the tight (Heideggerian) bound between thinking and being. For this conversation, my sense is, by so tightly focusing on the nondual and its context *for human consciousness*, we might overlook the possibility for encountering relations between the psychological cultural and religious, encountering mind as relation (ie not a container, which seems to describe its character in this conversation) and the deep nature of what happens to relation at the level of nonduality for nonhuman existence. I'd say its possible that our care for the planet is more enabled when we can step (admittedly, imaginatively) beyond the limits imposed by human consciousness and ask gently about what the conditions are in the places we can't quite hold in mind yet, or feel. There's wonderful possibilities to encounter, I'd sense, about what happens to/with/as/for relations at the level of nonduality. We need greater capacity (in every respect) to witness, these. With peace.
John O'Neill: I noticed this from Catherine Keller, Trish Nowland, "'Listen to the murmur of things... They say it, but say it in secret' Here the nonhumans murmur apophatically, 'in secret,' which is Greek muos, as in mystery, mysticism. What logos do we utter, what theos becomes - apart from them? For the sake of the noisiest and most convivial planetary democracy we can muster, will we listen?" Theopoetic Folds, P. 194.
Both explore the Real outside human understanding. It addresses Huston's concern for grounding our endeavors in the Real, yet unlike his take we can only know the Real via our translative limitations, up to and including nirvikalpa samadhi or non-dual awareness. Also hinted at by Trish but not yet explored is how human translations are deeply affected by non-human realities, like climate, geography, infrastructure, socio-economic systems etc. Recall I started discussing how the English language frames how we posit developmental holarchy, a point Bonnie also makes. Yet we must account for these other realities as shaping our logos and theos. If we but stop, look and listen for that barely audible murmur below the roar of our machinations. And then translate it postmetaphysically!