By David R. Loy
A Buddhist interpretation of Western heritage that indicates civilization formed via the self's wish for groundedness
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Extra info for A Buddhist history of the West : studies in lack
It cannot give us what we seek from it. Part of our resistance to such a conclusion is caused by the difficulty in considering freedom objectively. That ideal is so much a part of us, so deeply involved in the way we understand ourselves, that it is hard to look at it. But this value has a history. Rather than being “natural,” it is the result of a complicated genealogy that needs to be examined. Therefore a comparative approach can help to delineate our situation: Why did the ideal of freedom arise in the West, when and where it did?
Even that extraordinary claim is still too modest. This spiritual revolution led to a bifurcation of the world into the sacred and the secular spheres, whose disengagement led to “a release of energy and creativity analogous to a process of nuclear fission” (Berman 88). ) eras. This way of understanding our past originated in the Renaissance, whose intellectuals were eager to distinguish their times from the dark ages that preceded. 1050), owing to the many extraordinary changes that began to occur late in the eleventh century: a self-generated economic expansion, with the The Lack of Progress 43 formation of craft guilds and a merchant class; the growth of cities and universities; the development of vernacular languages and literatures, chivalry, and new styles of art and architecture.
Internalizing the Greek sociological understanding of freedom and slavery as requiring one aother, Plato came to conceive of reason as the master (hence the free party) with desire and emotion as its slaves. The virtue of freedom was retained by reconceptualizing it in terms of the self-mastery of self-consciousness. 6 Rather than solving the growing problem with civic freedom, however, this aggravated it. 7 “Post-Aristotelian ethical philosophy was marked by a clean break between morality and society, by the location of virtue firmly within the individual soul” (Finley 120).
A Buddhist history of the West : studies in lack by David R. Loy