Get Agents of Uncertainty: Mysticism, Scepticism, Buddhism, Art PDF

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, no longer as contrary poles of the philosophical spectrum, yet as fields of enquiry with overlapping goals and strategies. brought on by means of a deep experience of ask yourself at being alive, many mystics and sceptics, just like the Buddha, perform disciplines of doubt so that it will turn into freed from attachment to fastened appearances, essences and viewpoints, and in doing in order that they locate peace and equanimity. They enhance methods of residing with impermanence and the unforeseen by means of letting cross of adherence to dogmatic ideals and by way of postponing judgement. In universal with many artists and poets they act as brokers of uncertainty, actively worrying the workouts and conduct of daily concept and behavior to be able to reveal tips on how to retain a feeling of stability and spontaneity in the course of life's problems. subject matters explored contain: being and self as method; 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 variety, observed by way of drawings and pictures through the writer, this quantity is geared toward students, artists, academics, and someone drawn to philosophy, faith, paintings, poetry and methods of being.

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Example text

Down in the sheltered garden there’s a patch of swiss chard, a file of red cabbages, a few gothic brussel sprouts, beetroot, tomatoes heavy with fruit desperately trying to stay upright against the garage wall. A tiny blonde moth tumbles and turns between the blades of grass, silvery with dew. A few crumpled dandelions sit in the shadows like silent Harpo Marxs. Over the fence a crystalline rainbow arcs through a spray watering the lawn. Every now and again three kids dash into the spray, bursting the rainbow into a multitude of prisms that hang for a moment on their eyelashes and on the tips of their fingers.

The point of this practice is to forestall the compulsive habits of our emotional programming. (ibid: 285) This could have been written by a Buddhist meditation teacher or by an ancient Greek sceptic – who might use the phrase, “suspension of judgement or belief”, epoché, to denote the act of letting go. Keating’s comments combine practical good sense and contemplative insight – two qualities that characterise the writings of many mystics and sceptics. In Buddhist meditation and some forms of Christian contemplative prayer, there is a similar emphasis on a disinterested, un-grasping ob- Mysticism 39 servance of the embodied mind – a letting-go of the flood of thoughts, sensations, images, irritations, hopes and fears, that arise whenever we watch and listen to our unfolding consciousness.

Merton 1968: 7) For Evagrius, as for Merton, this “laying aside” of conceptualising forms of discourse and representational thinking, also involves a laying aside of the conventional ego or self. While this process or state of consciousness is often described as a state of ecstasy (from the Greek, ekstasis, to “stand outside” oneself), for Evagrius, prayer is not about ekstasis, or leaving oneself, but “katastasis, a coming to one’s true state” – a returning to the stream or open field of consciousness, the permeable or porous self.

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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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