Participatory Spirituality for the 21st Century
A relatively new book edited by Catherine Keller and Laurel C. Schneider (Taylor and Francis, 2010). See sneak preview at Google Books. From their Introduction:
"In recent years a discernible movement within theology has emerged around a triune intuition: the daunting differences of multiplicity, the evolutionary uncertainty it unfolds, and the relationality that it implies are not problems to be overcome in religious thought. They are starting points for it. Divinity understood in terms of multiplicity, open-endedness, and relationality now forms a matrix of revelation rather than a distortion, or evidence of its lack. The challenges and passions of theological creativity blossoming at the edges of tradition and at the margins of power have show themselves, far from being distractions from doctrinal or doxological integrity, to be indispensable to its life. And this vitality belies at once the dreary prophesies or pure secularism and the hard grip of credulous certainties."
"With a slash between 'de' and 'construction,' I want to emphasize a polar circulation between the 'de-' of 'resolving' a monadic whole and the 'con-' of 'integrating' multiplicities anew into a (now) rhizomatic whole."
This is something the kennilinguists have yet to grasp (see this thread).
And FYI, if you weren't aware Griffin has since become a rabid 9/11 truther.
Oh, yes, I was surprised to discover that awhile back. I saw his name on a truther article and recognized it and then realized this was actually the Griffin of process theology, differential pluralism, and Wilber-debate fame. Interesting.
I've just ordered both Theopoetic Folds and Divine Multiplicity. In the latter, I'm really looking forward to the chapter, "Abhinavagupta's Theogrammatical Topography of the One and the Many." The title alone suggests affinities with my "Sophia Speaks" and "Opening Space for Translineage Practice" papers, so I am hopeful that it will be a good resource for further developing those projects...
I enjoyed the chapter on Abhinavagupta, which (as I noted above) reviews his theogrammatical philosophy; I may have to drop a footnote to it somewhere in my Pronounal philosophy section of Sophia Speaks, since (with Abhinavagupta's work dating to the 10th century, and drawing on the 5th century grammatico-theology of Bhartrhari) the chapter obviously is introducing the work of a venerable exemplar of pronounal metaphysics. I am not aware of Wilber having referenced Abhinavagupta's work in the context of his AQAL model, but A. also builds a philosophy around the three grammatical persons of I, You, and It.
On the FB version of IPS, Joseph Camosy posted the following excerpt from the chapter (which touches on the more general grammatical themes that inform his metaphysics):
"Abhinavagupta's system [...] suggest[s] that not only is the unconscious structured like a language, but also the conscious and all else in between, the world itself modeled on a vision of language, and language itself is the divine generative power of the universe. [...] his panentheism is what allows him [...] to devise a nondualism that can embrace both the One and the Many. [...] The glue in his conceptual framework that girds together the divine as One and us as the Many is the grammatology of a magical linguistic transformation that seeps through and links both One and Many through the Word."
Personally, I no longer feel comfortable or "at home" with the strong subjectivist element of Abhinavagupta's work (the "I" is primary and both the other persons and the world at large unfold out of it, through and as the generative play of "language"), but there are still ideas here that seem relevant to an integral postmetaphysical approach.
For instance, I like Abhinava's distinction between four levels of language: 1) ordinary spoken language (vaikhari); 2) subtle mental or "thought" speech, unvocalized (madhyama); 3) pre-articulated language, as the precondition for conceptuality (pasyanti); 4) and the most subtle level of language (para, or the goddess of speech, Paravak), which is the precondition for all communication and sentience. In a modern framework, we might relate level 3, for instance, to the embodied metaphors or image schemas of Lakoff and Johnson; and level 4 might be related to Bhaskar's formulation of nonduality as the necessary precondition for any communication or contact at all. (Abhinavagupta's claim that "everything has the nature of everything" also seems to be one precursor -- among many -- to Bhaskar's notion of co-presence).
And as is my wont, I see level 4 as my gal Khora. Such differance is an ontic basis where same/differentiation pre-exists our (or any) categorical perception. Which reminds me of Murray's comments on Bhaskar's ontic realm, and how our image schemata and later linguistic categories relate to it. I'm also reminded of Thakchoe's article on semantic nominalism here, with discussion following in the thread on "Sophia Speaks."
There's a chapter which discusses "the abyss of differance." I'll report on that once I've read it...
Several of the Claremont / Polydoxy folks have apparently opened a new interreligious university, with some programs and classes that look right up my alley: http://www.claremontlincoln.org/
Here's a long, but hopefully relevant and engaging, quote from the new book from the Polydox theologians, Divine Multiplicity:
"The spiritual impulse to become multiplicities, then, arises from a transformation of oneness-into-manyness. Its conviviality becomes possible when we let go of any presupposed static and world-capturing sacred totality and its corresponding isolating contextualism of a oneness-without-manyness. In this transformation, we activate the enfolded multiverse that always surpasses itself, that unfolds differences in becoming and asks us always to enfold its community anew. Within and between Wisdom traditions, we risk the adventure of seeking the sacred interactvity in, between, across, and beyond those very traditions. But in invoking process folds of the divine, or of the sacred in multiplicity, we do not envision yet another -- a "better" -- religion. In the light of the war-ridden exclusivities of simple identities that create sibling rivalries between the self-designated "great world religions" and the primordial ways not even recognized as religions, the appeal to become multiplicities within diversity and entanglement takes on an incarnate urgency.
As we envision this embodiment of relational and differential multiplcity, we affirm also that the sacred or divine in multiplicity can never be reduced to only one kind of experience and understanding. This is not just a matter of ecumenical generosity. Rather we may understand the sacred or divine in the Wisdom traditions to reveal itself in an irreducible polydoxy. Because it is the very sacred or divine activity of enfolding, this multiplicity will allow us to discern it not only in multiplicity, but also as sacred or divine multiplicity. With Whitehead, we suggest that, "the actuality of God must also be understood as a multiplicity of components in the process of creation." And with Deleuze, as he muses on Whitehead, we affirm that the sacred interactivity is not that of "being a Being," but that which "becomes Process." Desiring this divine in multiplicity inherently directs our pluralistic gaze toward a trust no longer driven by fear of becoming, difference, and flux, but filled with anticipation of the mutual embodiment, of the inter-carnation, of encounters, conjunctions, and interferences of Wisdoms. Whether we evoke the plurisingularity of Elohim or the manyess-in-oneness of the Christian Trinity or the sacred intertwining of samsara and nirvana in Buddhist "co-origination" (pratitya-samutpada) or th complexity of the trickster of native religions, we prehend the sacred folds of multiplicity. "S/He/It," we might say, not only insists on multiplicity but becomes as its very interactivity -- not as the one, not as the many, but as the sacred or divine (in) multiplcity...
Multiplicity as mutual interdependence, as articulated in the (Buddhist0 upaya, resonates with Whitehead's conviction that any conceptualization of "ultimate realities" demands a creative process of healing by which it "converts the opposition into a contrast." Multiplicity as mutual interdependence of part and part is clearly reflected in Whitehead's profound contention that every happening (as it gathers itself from its relations) "repeats in microcosm what the universe is in macrocosm" such that it, at the same time, "pervades the whole world." Multiplicity as mutual interdependence of part and whole reflects Whitehead's contention that, since there is no absolute context, there are no absolutely separated contexts either. Hence, the very environment of a polydox articulation of the sacred or divine (in) multiplicity must be polyphonic in nature, in order to be healing from occupations and separations. The world as a "whole," as Whithead says, "is a multiplicity." It is, in other words, a "community of actual things" in "an incompletion in process of production," a process that is healing because in it "no two actualities can be torn apart: each is all in all." Such a relational complex meets the heart of the healing process of multiplicity: Polydoxy demands polyphilia and polyphilia releases polydoxy...
As this healing mutuality releases the sacred or divine into the finite processes of becoming, the upaya of the infinitely many buddhas reveal only one truth: Their infinite multiplicity can become healing only when they skillfully direct us toward a polyphonic harmonics of the mutual embodiment of the sacred or divine with and within multiplicity. And enfolding the multiplicity of Wisdom traditions in their respective mystery, we may be surprised by the "one" truth of the Lotus Sutra -- the healing character of the manifold...
The process pluralism we suggest here is an enfolding and unfolding pluralism, a relational and differential pluralism in a process of ever-new constellations of complication and uncertainty -- an uncertainty that is complex because it names a mystery that cannot detect the sacred without an inherent love for the manifold in which it is enfolded. If this process pluralism is not to devolve into the piracy of a mere raid on whatever exotic differences globalization has not yet exhausted, then the emerging complexity remains, always, a work of self-critique -- always a suspension of our presumptions that serves as a constraint on a pluralism that intends to be a healing event. Only in this manner does the value of multiplicity activate an ethics and spirituality of radical interdependence." (Keller and Faber, Polyphilic Pluralism, 2014)
A few points on this quote. There's a lot of en-and un- folding going on. Also an emphasis on interactive prepositions: across, between, beyond. All reminiscent of the fold thread, which weaves in some of these theologians and ideas.
These folks do not seek another, better religion. Same for a better supertheory. Both of which presume that reality can be "reduced to only one kind of experience and understanding." Polydoxy instead refutes an "absolute context" while also acknowledging "there are no absolutely separated contexts either."
I also appreciate the relation of polydoxy to the co-origination of nirvana and samsara, as I too have spent volumes on the topic. And how this relates to the difference between metaphysical and postmetaphysical Buddhism.
Another quote from this text, which I shared on the FB forum as well:
"[W]hen a process theology exceeds the orthodoxies of a massively Euro-Christian tradition, its intent is not to supersede any of these orthodoxies (and so merely mirror their competitive oppositions) but to highlight -- in the light of a connective sacredness -- their own fluency. Cobb's game-changing Christ in a Pluralistic Age, for instance, deconstructed -- with the help of Buddhism -- the unifying substance metaphysics of classical Christianity, yet did so as a way of receiving key features of the Nicene and Chalcedonian logos-Christology. Whitehead himself discerned, in the classically unassimilable logic of the Trinity, the breakthrough of a "doctrine of mutual immanence" in a "multiplicity." Such a gesture need not deploy the promising multiplicity of the Trinity in competition with a stereotype of Jewish and Muslim monotheism. Rather, this relational pluralism of process theologies might let the divine reveal itself, for example, as a variant of the "plurisingularity" of the name Elohim. Similarly, rather than trapping Asian thought within a mere One or a mere Nothing, we discover among the living options of Buddhism the example of the beautiful play of multiplicity in the Lotus Sutra. The many-folded matrix thus may be disclosed as theistic divine and a nontheistic sacred. Indeed "S/He/It" has been acquiring a singular multiplicity of names!
By embracing many elements of many orthodoxies -- along with many of the others they exclude -- such a polyphony certainly eludes any essentialist unity. But it also means to avoid the piracy of an appropriative pluralism. Not content to espouse an oppositional heterodoxy or a defiant heresy, the differential process understanding of a sacred interactivity offers, instead, what we may call a polydoxy -- an inherently multiple teaching of the multiple. It does not take the place of our various traditions of "right teachings" and "right practices," but rather tracks the differences that connect them. Hence, a process pluralism is a sapiential polydoxy from the start: It does not assemble a mere many, nor yet a pirate admiral's exhibition of stolen treasures. On the contrary, as the various chapters of this book demonstrate, it displays the folds of a wisdom that we find enfolded only in multiplicity: The pli, which makes the difference connective and opens connections into difference. A polydoxical multiplicity connects the folds one to another in the very act of valuing the otherness of the engaged Wisdoms. It honors that which interlinks, pleats, or braids the flows of their difference together; it encourages living the intensities that its differentiations release." (Faber & Keller, in Divine Multiplicity)
This forthcoming book by Keller looks interesting: Cloud of the Impossible.
"With this work Catherine Keller has produced a masterpiece on the level of her Face of the Deep: A Theology of Becoming. There is something of James Joyce in these pages. Readers are taken through core Hebrew and Greek debates, the emergence of infinity in Patristic theology, Christian and non-Christian mysticism, quantum physics, contemporary post-structuralist philosophy, the plight of theology today, 19th century poetry, the environmental crisis … And that is only a start. Many critics will say that this is her best book yet."
(Philip Clayton, Ingraham Professor, Claremont School of Theology)