Tag: Religion

Buddhism

Is Secular Buddhism Possible?

The question whether secular Buddhism is possible might seem absurd at first. Varieties of what has been, or could be called “secular Buddhism” have been around for well over a century, and there is a sizable group of people who consider themselves “secular Buddhists”. So, of course, “secular Buddhism” is possible. So, let’s be a bit more precise. My question is not really whether there are “things” (in a rather broad sense of “thing”) that could be or have been called “secular Buddhism”, but whether there could be something that is genuinely secular and simultaneously genuinely (a variety of) Buddhism....
Philosophy

Mythos, Wisdom, and Scavenger Philosophy

According to Karl Jaspers, philosophy arose in the “Axial Age” as a kind of critical reflection on myth and tradition. Nowadays, there is widespread agreement among historians of ideas that the notion of an “Axial Age” is itself a myth, but I think that the other part of Jaspers’ idea is right, that is, philosophy indeed originates in critical reflection on myth and tradition. This doesn’t mean that this defines the scope and purpose of philosophy, of course – as a “mature” discipline, philosophy mostly reflects on itself – but I believe that reflection on this idea about the origins...
Buddhism

On Secular and Radical Buddhism

In a number of influential books and articles, Stephen Batchelor has proposed, developed, and defended something he has called (among others) “secular Buddhism” and “Buddhism 2.0”. The idea of such a secular or scientific or naturalistic or otherwise not traditionally religious kind of Buddhism isn’t new – it has been especially popular among 20th and 21st Western converts to Buddhism, but there have been Asian precursors as well. Nevertheless, the idea is also somewhat controversial. Adherents of “secular Buddhism” like Batchelor typically consider it a return to the roots of Buddhism and to the original teachings of the Buddha, but...
PhilosophySocial Issues

The (Self-) Corruption of Critique

This is a lightly edited excerpt from my book/pamphlet The Hegemony of Psychopathy. * * * Hegemony is the spread of ideas (such as values and beliefs) that support and maintain the socio-political status quo. Alternative sources of ideas can (at least in principle) undermine hegemony, but if hegemony is effective, then alternative ideas are often not taken seriously, or may even undermine themselves. If hegemony is effective, then the belief that there is no alternative becomes common sense, turning proposed alternatives (i.e. alternatives for common sense) into obvious non-sense. This is how hegemony undermines critique: by making it “irrational.”...