New PDF release: Agents of Uncertainty: Mysticism, Scepticism, Buddhism, Art

By John Danvers

ISBN-10: 9401207879

ISBN-13: 9789401207874

Via an research of many alternative examples, Danvers articulates a brand new frame of mind approximately mysticism and scepticism, now not as contrary poles of the philosophical spectrum, yet as fields of enquiry with overlapping goals and techniques. caused via a deep experience of ask yourself at being alive, many mystics and sceptics, just like the Buddha, perform disciplines of doubt so as to turn into freed from attachment to fastened appearances, essences and viewpoints, and in doing so that they locate peace and equanimity. They enhance methods of residing with impermanence and the unforeseen by means of letting move of adherence to dogmatic ideals and by means of postponing judgement. In universal with many artists and poets they act as brokers of uncertainty, actively traumatic the workouts and conduct of day by day proposal and behavior as a way to reveal easy methods to retain a feeling of stability and spontaneity in the middle of life's problems. themes explored contain: being and self as strategy; mysticism and language; scepticism and dogmatism; Buddhism, interdependence and vacancy; Daoism and impermanence; dialectics of doubt in artwork and poetry. Written in a full of life and available sort, observed by way of drawings and images by means of the writer, this quantity is geared toward students, artists, academics, and an individual attracted to philosophy, faith, artwork, poetry and methods of being.

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Additional info for Agents of Uncertainty: Mysticism, Scepticism, Buddhism, Art and Poetry (Consciousness, Literature and the Arts, Volume 31)

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Ibid) This disciplined attention, focusing on the chosen word, is needed to enable us not to “feed” on the distractions of thoughts, which maintain and manifest the conditional self, however pure of heart or spiritual these thoughts may seem. It is only when we “forget” the self and its images, arguments, rational thoughts and desires that we can enter and pass through the “cloud of unknowing”, that we can blindly grope “for the naked being of God”. (ibid: 64) The references to a “cloud of forgetting” and a “cloud of unknowing” is reminiscent of the idea of “knowing ignorance” (docta ignorantia, in Latin) put forward by Nicholas of Cusa (also known as Cusanus) in the fifteenth century.

In the poem, Against Travel, he writes, “These days are best when one goes nowhere, / The house a reservoir of quiet change”. (Tomlinson 1997: 202) For Tomlinson it is, or it would be, more than enough if we were able to open up to the full spectrum of the phenomenal field in which we find ourselves at any moment. If we could per- 46 Agents of Uncertainty ceive “only half” of the world that is immediately around and within us we would have no need to imagine another transcendent universe and we would have no need to believe in a transcendent being whose intentions determined the shape and direction of the world in which we stand.

I do know how to pay attention”. (Oliver 2004: 54) Jamie’s linking of attention and prayer brings to mind a poem titled, A Journal of the Year of the Ox, by the American poet, Charles Wright, which includes a quote from The Cloud of Unknowing, [see p. 52] whose unknown author notes that “attention is the natural prayer of the soul”. (in Spiegelman 2005: 90) Though I can’t find this statement in my copy of The Cloud – indeed it is more usually ascribed to the fifteenth century French philosopher and theologian, Nicolas Malebranche – it is interesting that a poet like Wright, whose work is so concerned with a precise recording of the whole process of perception and representation, should relate this process to the act of praying.

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Agents of Uncertainty: Mysticism, Scepticism, Buddhism, Art and Poetry (Consciousness, Literature and the Arts, Volume 31) by John Danvers

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