Circularity in ‘buddhist decision’

Hi everybody!

What do you think about the idea of discussing some of the key aspects of Wallis’ ‘Nascent Speculative Non-Buddhism’ here in depth for folks that are new? For me it was a tough read and I am not sure if I have caught its meaning properly. I have posted these question over at the non-buddhist discussion group but would like to advertise my proposal and my questions here, too:

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“Money is not our God”: Selling Spirituality


A scholar of Foucault and another of Orientalism combine to expose how deeply the market ideology of the 1980s and 1990s has infiltrated secular and economic contexts. They argue in this clearly conveyed 2004 book a necessary thesis. This “silent takeover of religion,” as British critics Jeremy Carrette and Richard King demonstrate, reveals how business repackages religion, cynically or cleverly supporting the selfish motives which underlie unregulated capitalism.

But this corporate capitalist version does not need to dominate the treatment of spirituality. Anti-capitalist or revolutionary, business ethics or reformist, individualist or consumerist, as well as capitalist spirituality, defines this typological range. The nebulous term “spirituality” expresses the privatization of religion by modern secular societies. The commodification by corporate capitalism of what was religion strips that “ailing competitor” of its assets, in a hostile takeover, while rebranding its “aura of authenticity” to convey the “goodwill” of the company, which sells off the religious models of its trappings and teachings at the marketplace. (15-21) God is dead; long live God as Capital.

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Cruelties of thought

Max-ErnstX buddhism, we often say, must be brought to the ‘feast of knowledge’ and made to take its place beside science, philosophy, and critical thought. It must relinquish its status as the ‘supreme organon of wisdom‘. That we need to make this claim says much about the way Buddhism has developed in the West. It’s not as if critical thought has positioned itself in outer space. Our culture is awash with opportunities to engage. A look at the writers publishing on the Journal of  Buddhist ethics or similar sites, many of whom are practising Buddhists and academics, indicates that x-buddhism, like the ‘hungry ghost’ that it is, forever hovers about the table but refuses to pull up a chair for reasons it cannot itself articulate. Continue reading

The Final Turn

I have had a strange experience. Deciding upon turning away from x-buddhism, away from criticizing it or explaining something to it (what in every case is all still a dependency on this specific point de capiton) puts me into a position in which I have nothing to say at all any more because it all has been said already. Take time for example: I could make the case that the now – the fetish of now – is in fact an illusion. But whether my argument would come from cognitive sciences (the now depending on cognitive functions necessary for integrating diverse experiences which are unfolding in time), or whether it would come from logic (every un\conscious act unfolds in time, therefore there is no now in any sense which implicates timelessness), or whether it would be a psychological argument (every thought anticipates further thought or depends on earlier thought – which can be made quite explicit when one thinks about how an arpeggio works – ), in each and every case I don’t have to say it again because a Buddhist doesn’t want to learn about it anyway and I don’t have to teach anybody about it. No doubt, though, there is something to say and talk about. But definitely not about or with Buddhism, its proponents or adherents. All the latter are minor bubbles and expressions of one major problem: The planetary capitalistic hegemony which is at a point to bring down not only the very culture we are but the whole ecosystem it depends on  – possibly within my lifetime, and certainly within that of my children and my grand children. And not only is this a near certainty, it too seems impossible to find any solution because any solution – which in every case would need to call for the destruction of the system we are – is at once turned by this system into just one more asset.

I look around at the intelligentsia and find nothing. Nada. No answer. Even as I admire Žižek I see in him one of the great failures of our times. With all his vast Hegelian/Lacanian erudition he has stated time and again that he has no answers, that all he has ever had is “questions” and more questions. When will we ever come to an end of questions and begin to build a new sense of purpose and meaning for this fragile realm of planetary existence?

This says Craig Hickman at noir realism in the text “Global Resistance and the Collapse of Civilization: Berardi, Deleuze, and others”. Before anybody accuses me of being a nihilist (and of course narcissistic) lover of the catastrophe take a look at the text. It summarizes in an eloquent and most erudite way the problems we face. And – because we are thinking beings – it raises a stark point.

Non-X Discussion Forum

Check out a new discussion forum called  Non-X Discussion Forum. Here’s a description of the project and what the people involved hope to achieve:

This is a place for people who are inspired or intrigued by the work at Speculative Non-Buddhism, The Faithful Buddhist, The Non-Buddhist, Tutteji Wachtmeister, Der Unbuddhist or similar sites. The aim of the forum is to facilitate collective effort at understanding and wielding these ideas and exploring unmarked territory.

There are no rules as-yet; just keep in mind the things that gave life to SNB.

One project I will start in a few weeks is a group book discussion, starting with Alain Badiou’s Ethics. It’s a fairly accessible work that helps illuminate what Tom was up to at The Faithful Buddhist and gives direction to what we could be doing here.

I also think this could also be a place to facilitate in-person meetups, and if anyone has good ideas on how to make that happen, let me know. The current thought is just to add an area where people can list their cities and see if anyone else is around. It would be neat to get that working with a google map, though.

Apart from all that, make this place what you will. Let me know about any ideas you have for the site (changes of format, discussion sections to add) or if you have a project I can help with in some way (even not-Buddhist projects related to critical theory, marxist critique, queering capitalism, social satire, you-tell-me.)

CT/SP Review at JBE


My review on Cruel Theory/Sublime Practice: Towards a Revaluation of Buddhism has been published at the Journal of Buddhist Ethics 21: 261-271. It is about the same length as my earlier review last autumn at TNB, but as the JBE editors requested, some changes in emphases or deletion have been integrated into the recent review article.

Here it is:

A pdf is available to read via the URL. It corresponds to Vol. 21: 261-271: Cruel Theory/Sublime Practice: Toward a Revaluation of Buddhism. By Glenn Wallis, Tom Pepper, and Matthias Steingass. Roskilde, Denmark: EyeCorner Press, 2013, 211 pages, ISBN 978-87-92633-23-1 (paperback), $29.95.

Reviewed by John L. Murphy [that is, Fionnchú]

The Corporate body: Time is Money


X–buddhist inanities (in lieu of an intro)

Two pervasive reductions are now central to x-buddhist practice. To see this simply ‘google’ the word meditation, click on your mouse button, and presto. Here’s one:

So I brought my awareness into the sensations of my body, and that’s when the funny thing happened. It’s something that’s happened before, but every time it does happen it’s wonderful. Suddenly, my walking meditation practice “clicked.” And I found myself looking into my experience with pure, unconditional love. And then I realized that everything I needed in order to be completely fulfilled was contained within that present moment, and all I had to do was notice and appreciate it. Any thinking that I did was going to take me away from perfection, and why would I want to do that? And so my thinking pretty much ground to a halt.  (1)

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