EGR/MB: there goes the neighborhood
Sep 25, 2005 19:54 PDT
Just posted a thing called...
title="permanent link">zen and the art of the cultural shell game
Here's a little clip. I hope you didn't just sit a sheshin.
Or eat too much sashimi. Or play hide the salami.
style="font-size: 10pt; line-height: 0.8em;">mystic bourgeoisie
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if someone who grew up knowing only dogs, suddenly encounters a
land of cats. Oh, he thinks, they're just like dogs! They're all furry,
just like dogs. They have two eyes, two ears, four legs, a tail. Why
they're practically the same. And while all those homologies do obtain,
we know there are significant differences between cats and dogs. These
aren't so important in the normal course of things. We don't think --
or care -- about such differences unless and until we conceive some
questionable need to teach our cat to fetch. Then... problems.
D.T. Suzuki and his
Japanese masters conceived just such a
questionable need to make Buddhism look and feel and act like
Christianity. As a result, what was presented to the West as "Zen" is
an animal that never existed. And this bait-and-switch routine has had
consequences that still reverberate in our current cultural
assumptions, not only about who and what those others are, but
about who and what we are -- ultimately, about who and what
human beings are. And are not.
D.T. Suzuki and the
Zen sect he came out of -- it's a longer, more twisted story than I can
tell here (but see <a
target="_blank">Rude Awakenings: Zen, the Kyoto School, & the
Question of Nationalism)
-- had their subagenda. Paul Carus -- who was deep into Theosophy and
Swedenborgian spiritualism -- had his. And as in so many other cases,
we had Dr. Jung to validate the whole weird hybrid melange as utterly
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... more on recursive orientalism(tm) at <a