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#4337 - Friday, August 12, 2011 - Editor: Jerry Katz

The Nonduality Highlights -


Nondualism and the Conduct of Sacrifice
T. M. S. Evens

Table of Contents

Anthropology as Ethics is concerned with rethinking anthropology by rethinking the nature of reality. It develops the ontological implications of a defining thesis of the Manchester School: that all social orders exhibit basically conflicting underlying principles. Drawing especially on Continental social thought, including Wittgenstein, Merleau-Ponty, Levinas, Dumont, Bourdieu and others, and on pre-modern sources such as the Hebrew bible, the Nuer, the Dinka, and the Azande, the book mounts a radical study of the ontology of self and other in relation to dualism and nondualism. It demonstrates how the self-other dichotomy disguises fundamental ambiguity or nondualism, thus obscuring the essentially ethical, dilemmatic, and sacrificial nature of all social life. It also proposes a reason other than dualist, nihilist, and instrumental, one in which logic is seen as both inimical to and continuous with value. Without embracing absolutism, the book makes ambiguity and paradox the foundation of an ethical response to the pervasive anti-foundationalism of much postmodern thought.

Organization and Key Usages

Introduction: Nondualism, Ontology, and Anthropology


Chapter 1. Anthropology and the Synthetic a Priori: Wittgenstein and Merleau-Ponty
Chapter 2. Blind Faith and the Binding of Isaac—the Akedah
Chapter 3. Excursus I: Sacrifice as Human Existence
Chapter 4. Counter-Sacrifice and Instrumental Reason—the Holocaust
Chapter 5. Bourdieu’s Anti-dualism and “Generalized Materialism”
Chapter 6. Habermas’s Anti-dualism and “Communicative Rationality”


Chapter 7. Technological Efficacy, Mythic Rationality, and Non-contradiction
Chapter 8. Epistemic Efficacy, Mythic Rationality, and Non-contradiction
Chapter 9. Contradiction and Choice among the Dinka and in Genesis
Chapter 10. Contradiction in Azande Oracular Practice and in Psychotherapeutic Interaction


Chapter 11. Epistemic and Ethical Gain
Chapter 12. Transcending Dualism and Amplifying Choice
Chapter 13. Excursus II: What Good, Ethics?
Chapter 14. Anthropology and the Generative Primacy of Moral Order

Conclusion: Emancipatory Selfhood and Value-Rationality

Notes References

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Brian Haley writes:

Came across a great quote while reading a classic book: Darkness at Noon by Arthur Koestler. It always seems to be on the top 100 must read novels of the 20th century. The book is about a political prisoner in Stalinist era USSR. The story is quite good in and of itself as it questions big topics like: beliefs, morals, freedom, right and wrong, etc.

However, I was quite surprised to find near the end of the book a very wonderful passage that beautifully describes a nondual awakening. I, like you, relish finding nondual references in art, music, and cultural artifacts. The words are the musings of Rubashov, the main character, as he awaits execution in his cell. I was quite excited to find this. It just proves that you never know where these references may show up.

Darkness at Noon – Arthur Koestler

“…there were ways of approach to him. Sometimes he would respond unexpectedly to a tune, or even the memory of a tune, or of the folded hands of the Pieta, or of certain scenes of his childhood. As if a tuning-fork had been struck, there would be answering vibrations, and once this had started a state would be produced which the mystics called ‘ecstasy’ and saints ‘contemplation’; the greatest and soberest of modern psychologists had recognized this state as a fact and called it the ‘oceanic sense’. And, indeed, one’s personality dissolved as a grain of salt in the sea; but at the same time the infinite sea seemed to be contained in the grain of salt. The grain could no longer be localized in time and space. It was a state in which thought lost its direction and started to circle, like the compass needle at the magnetic pole; until finally it cut loose from its axis and travelled freely in space, like a bunch of light in the night; and until it seemed that all thoughts and all sensations, even pain and joy itself, were only the spectrum lines of the same ray of light, disintegrating in the prisma of consciousness.

“Rubashov wandered through his cell. In old days he would have shamefacedly denied himself this sort of childish musing. Now he was not ashamed. In death the metaphysical became real. . .. .The Party disapproved of such states. It called them petit-bourgeois mysticism, refuge in the ivory tower. It called them ‘escape from the task’, ‘desertion of the class struggle’. The ‘oceanic sense’ was counter-revolutionary.” (p255-57)

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Everything Reveals Absolute Reality

by Colin Drake

If viewed in a certain way,

Every thing we perceive may

Directly reveal the Absolute Reality,

Underlying everyday ‘normality’.

For behind every perception there must be

Two principles, easy to see.

Nothingness in which we know it’s there,

And Awareness, so of it we are aware.

Consider a form sculpted from a single block,

Before the chiseling it’s just a rock!

As the stone is removed revealing the space,

The sculpture within gradually takes place.

Or a nightingale singing loud and clear.

If a band is playing we don’t know it’s here.

As soon as they have finished their set,

The song can be heard in the silence that’s met.

Likewise for perception of any sensation,

This must be relative to its negation.

For any perception the mind to know,

In our awareness it must show.

The Absolute is That, consciousness at rest.

In which all things are manifest.

These are energy, ephemeral movements,

In That which brooks no improvements.

For perception of any thing to know,

In Awareness and Nothingness it must show.

These two combined amount to That.

So every thing reveals this fact!

~ ~ ~

Discover Colin Drake's books at

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