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Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Hindu-Christian and interreligious dialogue: has it any religious value?

Inter-religious dialogue is surely needed for political and sociological reasons. We prefer to be able to discuss, rather than dislike each other's cloths, food and rules of conduct, at the risk of ending up hating each other. However, is inter-religious dialogue also needed for religious reasons? Christians are used to the idea that they need to learn about Hebraism, since they depend so much on the Old Testament and its Hebrew interpretations. But what about Hindu-Christian or Buddhist-Christian or Muslim-Buddhist, etc., dialogue?

How can one theologically justify inter-religious dialogue? In his Comparative Theology, Francis Xavier Clooney mentions a Vaiṣṇava verse, which, although not understood as such in its own tradition, could be used for this purpose:

Whichever form pleases his people, that is his form;
Whichever name pleases his people, that is his name;
Whichever way pleases his people who meditate without ceasing,
That is his way, the one who holds the discus.

Clooney comments:

As we love God, God adjusts and comes to us accordingly; if someone loves like a bride, God comes as a groom. […]
My hypothesis is that in contemplation we construct a path of religious belonging that suits our own spiritual imagining; we do this according to our traditions but also the possibilities available in our time and place. In all of this, God agrees to meet us there; if our contemplation happens to cross religious boundaries, God agrees to meet us there too (p. 130). 

Do you agree? Has inter-religious dialogue a religious value (and/or justification)? Or is it just a dangerous new-age-like "supermarket of religions"?

On Comparative Theology by F.X. Clooney, see this post.

30 comments:

ombhurbhuva said...

Hardly new age, more old age or should I say age old. ‘Truth is one, sages call it by many names’ (Rig-Veda).

That’s a nice verse quoted by Clooney. It’s only rationalistic logic which contradicts it useful as far as it goes but it falls short when dealing with religious experience.

Anonymous said...

I think we need to have inter-religious dialogue. Would Jesus not have dialogue with others based on the fact that they were of another religion? We become more empathic and understanding when we learn about others, religion included.

elisa freschi said...

Hi Ombhurbhuva, I was hoping to have you engage in this discussion. Could you elaborate further on your last clause? Do you mean that religious experience is inherently subjective and linked to a specific framework? Why should this contradict the idea that God makes Himself (or Herself) present according to the capacity of His/Her worshipper to welcome Him/Her?

elisa freschi said...

@Hi Anonymous reader and welcome to this blog,

as far as I can tell, Jesus would have engaged in dialogue with people of other religions (he did speak with a Samaritan woman and with Roman officers) and so did many other Christians after him. The problem is: did they do it because they wanted to have their partners in discussion convert to Christianity? If so, we could hardly call it an open dialogue. But, is it theologically justifiable to have an open dialogue which does not aim at converting your discussion partner?

ombhurbhuva said...

Elisa:
I would distinguish between the idea of conversion and that of persuasion. The former is a profound turning at the deepest level of consciousness, the latter is a mental acceptance which may be malliable and impermanent. The one is a result of the infusion of grace and the other a rational reordering of the intellectual powers. In a sense we are all in our promotion of different views attempting to persuade others which is why that intellectuals are so sensitive about the rejection of their ideologies. It seems to them to be personal rejection and that hurts their feeling, poor things. The proselytisers merely, in the best way, introduce their hearers to what they see as a truth and leaves the rest to God. Hindus though they claim to be uninterested in gathering converts do at the same time hold open court and welcome enquiries. Their sensitivity to the attempts at conversion of the dalits is as much due to property infringement as a concern for the souls of that caste.

Dialogue is always possible whatever the intent. Catholics with the modern approach to the culturation of the religion within a society recognise this and Clooney would I assume, align himself with this approach. Others may be more wary and in my view many Hindus have very little sense of the variety of Christian denomination and might regard Clooney’s approach as a wily occidental one.

ysv_rao said...

I welcome any type of inter religious gathering but more often that not it seems that most talk past each other instead of TO each other.

This arises from fundamental differences between some religions which cannot be bridged.

Catholics cant get the past of a human considered divine(though paradoxically their entire belief system is predicated on this notion) which is common in Hinduism.

The difference arises where they see Jesus divinity as pre ordained and the result an extra cosmic force/or his agent(Gabriel) onto a mortal woman(Mary).

The Hindu response is that prakriti(nature) can lead to greater consciousness and therefore tantra,mantra and yantra will lead to siddhi and humans approaching the divine rather than vice versa imposition.

The problem is that I think even in these conference ,the Hindu representatives are very confused and wish to their present their religion as acceptable to Western eyes and so they expound on the
Vedanta and Upanishads for its more abstract and intellectual content and ignore the Puranas and epics which they dont understand and see as colorful mythological filled with embarrasing sexual imagery and violence meant to appeal to the common yokels!

When you have such blinders on both sides, nothing good will come from these discussions.It will be like that movie Groundhog Day!

elisa freschi said...

@Ombhurbhuva,
do you mean to say that we cannot speak without aiming at persuading? Could not there be open dialogues, when one discusses with an open perspective, i.e., without knowing where the dialogue will lead them?

Thanks for the distinction conversion/persuasion.

elisa freschi said...

@ysv_rao,
I agree with your first sentence, but I would blame *those* who talk past each other and I am among the ones who would distinguish between what is actually done by many people and what is a "fundamental difference between religions". As for the opportunity of a human becoming divine, have a look at this sentence by Augustine: "God became a man, in order for the man to become God".

ysv_rao said...

but I would blame *those* who talk past each other and I am among the ones who would distinguish between what is actually done by many people and what is a "fundamental difference between religions"

Any religion has its core set of beliefs -something that defines the religion and as it goes forward-different circumstances such as politics,war,science,technology,literature,mysticism,demography,womens rights etc can change the behavior of its adherents for the better or worse.Now take two extreme examples Hinduism and Islam.
Hinduism like an open source software where there is no single prophet,place or book but kings,warriors,saints,sages keep arising to enhance the understanding and acquistion of the gods through penance and scholarship.
Now if Hinduism is Android open source , Islam is the iphone closed source where nothing can be added by the practitioner as Steve Jobs/Mohammed has set it in stone and no developments will be made by these silly consumers/adherents and anyone who challenges this notion is to be stoned as a false prophet!

Even the Sufis which the Western hippie and Indian secularists fawn over do not challenge the basic tenets of Islam but only question its political aspects.
The real heretics among Muslims who nonetheless think of themselves as Muslims(but mostly to ingratiate themselves with their powerful Muslim neighbors) are the Allawi and the Druze.Now they believe that other prophets are Mohammad have been born and will be born.And have other practices such as observing Palm Sunday and ritual observances similar to Orthodox Judaism which makes very heterodox indeed.



As for the opportunity of a human becoming divine, have a look at this sentence by Augustine: "God became a man, in order for the man to become God".

Interesting, in what context did he state this? What did he mean by this?Was he referring just to Jesus or does apply to all making?

Interestingly enough the Mormon sect of Christianity believes that the biblical God was once a human.A concept that is anathema to mainstream Jews,Christians and Muslims.However there are some passages in the Bible that lend credence to this notion .We see in Genesis that God despite his powers wasnt omnipresent and was "walking" through the garden of Eden when he discovered or rather saw that Adam and Eve were covered.
Also you have the Nephilim-the sons of those god(s) (note plural in a supposed monotheistic text) who mated with human women.
Mormonism also believes like Hinduism that humans can become gods.
It was probably due to this controversial belief system that Mormons to some extent are still at the fringe of American society and this most likely cost the 2012 Mormon Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney the election as most evangelicals and Catholics preferred not to pull the lever for either candidate.

elisa freschi said...

I wonder how much of what you say about Islam and Hinduism is due to its core and how much is historically determined. Hinduism has been less "open" and Islam less "close" (although I agree that even in these cases it has often said it was going back to its pristine roots).

As for Augustine's quote, it refers to the possibility of the divinisation of human beings through Jesus Christ. Since God became a Man, human beings can, through incorporation to him, become Him, i.e., God.

I am afraid I know almost nothing about Mormonism (which is due only to my fault: I never found an interesting Mormon theological work).

ysv_rao said...

I wonder how much of what you say about Islam and Hinduism is due to its core and how much is historically determined. Hinduism has been less "open" and Islam less "close" (although I agree that even in these cases it has often said it was going back to its pristine roots)."

It is a combination of both, todays Hinduism I would say is due to a retrograde historical evolution while Islamic is a regression to the fundamental precepts.Note many of these precepts were ignored during Islams Golden age from 800-1200 ad.

As for Augustine's quote, it refers to the possibility of the divinisation of human beings through Jesus Christ. Since God became a Man, human beings can, through incorporation to him, become Him, i.e., God."

Then its not really all as radical as I imagined..its really another way of saying "No one enters heaven but through Me" and this is AFTER death on the day of Judgement.I am talking about becoming a god while in human form.

I am afraid I know almost nothing about Mormonism (which is due only to my fault: I never found an interesting Mormon theological work)."

Heresies" are always interesting particularly heresies of the biblical faith.
While i was studying in college in U.S, many polite and mild mannered Mormon missionaries(a welcome change from the irritating and pushy Jehovahs Witnesses) used to try to convert me to their faith.I declined of course but I did take a look into their religion courtesy of the literature they provided for free.

elisa freschi said...

I am not an expert, but the divinisation of human beings, as conceived in Christian Oriental theology and in Augustine (among others) is a process which surely starts within one's life. I am not sure whether the process can be completed before death.

Jayarava said...

Personally I not sure what inter-religious dialogue might achieve, or what they might have achieved in the past. As far as I can tell, it's only when people set aside their religious convictions that dialogue is possible. The one's who enjoy that kind of thing tend to be fence sitters without any strong convictions; or people whose religious belief is that "all is one" and are engaged in confirmation bias exercises.

The dialogue that interests me is the one with people who, like Thomas Metzinger (philosopher/neuroscientist), seek to explain the phenomena of experience in empirical ways. I'm also interested in dialogue with people who spend a lot of time intensely meditating about how they interpret their experience. I'm interested precisely because of how both groups disrupt my views and make me think.

People keep saying that they think if we only learned more about other religions we'd empathise more. I find the opposite actually. The more I learn about religious beliefs the more difficult I find it to relate to believers. I've gone through the same process with Buddhism. The more I discovered about Buddhism as a religion, the less attractive I found it and people committed to the traditional forms; the less I felt I had in common with them.

More generally I think the dialogue that would be helpful, would be for all religious people to be in dialogue with social historians and social psychologists about where their beliefs come from.

ysv_rao said...

I am not sure whether the process can be completed before death."

Then you are non believer in the Vedic dieties and their effect on the human body.
Im sorry to say you can study all you want, as a non practitioner you will never grasp the essence of Vedic Hinduism.
This is not to disparage your efforts, heck I would say a majority of Hindus would have no idea what Im talking about.

elisa freschi said...

Dear ysv_rao,

1) I was talking about Augustine's interpretation, not about the Vedic religious context.

2) You are right, I lack many important requisites. By contrast, I can offer my expertise on philosophical and theological discussions. And, as you have probably noticed, I firmly believe in team-work. Nothing of what I would like to achieve in Indian philosophy can be achieved by a single person.

elisa freschi said...

Dear Jayarava,

thanks for this interesting and honest comment. I am not sure, though, why you say that you like having your ideas challenged (a feeling I completely share with you, btw) and then open the comment by saying that setting aside one's religious convictions is possible only for people who do not have strong ones. Would it not be possible to have strong convictions and, *therefore* like to have them challenged (in order to prove their strength and possibly emend them from some "impurities", such as the distinction between what is essential and what is sociologically/historically determined)?

Jayarava said...

Hi Elisa

Yes. I myself have fairly strong convictions and yet these have changed over the years. I understand my present views to be conditioned and provisional, however much they appeal to me.

Amongst people I know I am unusual in this; and also in seeking to change my own worldview by exploring new sources of knowledge. Of course I suffer from confirmation bias, but sometimes I escape it's grip and accept that a different view makes more sense: in recent years I experienced this while exploring the work of micro-biologist Lynn Margulis for example (who proposes an alternative to Neo-Darwinism).

One of the main points of religion is to settle on and commit yourself to a particular worldview. Religion is a super-hermeneutic and the text of experience is interpreted according to this hermeneutic.

What might constitute absolute proof of the non-existence of an omnipotent creator for me; is taken as confirming his existence by my Mother (who is a Christian) because we read the text of experience differently.

The last thing most Buddhists want is to change the dogmas of Buddhism, even though the fundamental premise is "everything changes"! Whatever evidence I turn up, some Buddhists refuse to even look at it if it contradicts their views. And the rejection becomes personal - they don't just reject the ideas, the reject me personally and vehemently! Dissent invites rejection from religious people.

The more committed we are, the less we are able to find a middle ground with someone who holds a worldview which excludes our worldview as a possibility.

Scholars on the whole are not committed to the views they study - they hold conviction at arms length. So in a sense ysv_rao is right. Until you abandon yourself to some worldview you won't have the experience that every religious person enjoys - the submersion of their intellect and will in an all encompassing narrative fantasy. Such an approach is deeply incompatible with scholarship. Scholars must be free to ask questions - religieux are not free.

Doubt is the ultimate enemy of religion;
Doubt is often personified as Death.
Doubt is the whole point of scholarship.

And once accepted into a religious community to ask questions (as I do) is often very painful because of the rejection. I would love to just fit in and submerge myself in the Dharma (the Transcendental Dharma) but I can't seem to do that. I always ask "why?" or "how does it work?" and the gestalt is always broken.

elisa freschi said...

Dear Jayarava,

thanks for sharing it. I see that many people see one's choice for a certain religion as a way to stop further problems and, thus, do not want to be disturbed with problems or questions. Personally, instead, I tend to see such a choice as entailing the responsibility to think through one's choice. One is never free from questions and doubts, but one is even less free from them when one "belongs" to a religion. Thinking that belonging to a religion should mean refraining from asking meaningful questions about it would be tantamount to thinking that being married to X should entail refraining from reflecting about him/her (and, thus, ultimately stop to love him/her and just remain with him/her out of habit).

Jayarava said...

Which is exactly what European Christian marriage used to be, eh?

elisa freschi said...

well, in most cases one remained married out of multiple reasons, but not because of love. And one remained in a religion out of social reasons instead of out of conviction.
But the ideal to be aimed at is in both cases quite different (hopefully).

Jayarava said...

There was a man interviewed on BBC Radio yesterday. After careful consideration and research he had concluded that the Bible was literally true, and that all of modern science is simply mistaken.

It's made him an outsider, almost an outcast, amongst his family and friends, but nevertheless he believes it with complete conviction. I thought of this conversation.

He reminded me of the stuff I wrote some time last year about how all decisions are linked with emotions: that we experience the value of information as the somatic sensations of emotion. For our man it just feels so right it can't be wrong, whatever the facts are.

Which is why I'm more interested in why people believe things than what they believe. What people believe is almost arbitrary. And my experience tells me that most people aren't very good at articulating why. The best one can usually expect is "it seems/feels right". And usually it makes sense of some aspect of the world that is particularly important to them. They then fudge all the horrors of saṃsāra because they've already decided what feels important. God is Love despite the horrors. God is omnipotent, but doesn't stop the horrors. God is omniscient, but so often seems to turn a blind eye. God does not even seem to protect the one's who worship him. Religious people become frictionless - nothing sticks to them.

I can sort of understand why people would want to become frictionless in saṃsāra - so all the shit slides off and doesn't stick. But it never seems to work.

elisa freschi said...

I share your interest for psychological biases (but usually because I want to get rid of them as much as possible and I think that being aware of them is the first step towards being free of them).

But I do not think that one's religious beliefs are tantamount to the degree of psychological "biasedness" or to one's lack of insight. What about being sincerely trying to think through one's beliefs? Don't you believe in the possibility of theology (i.e., rational thinking within the framework of some key beliefs)?

Jayarava said...

"But I do not think that one's religious beliefs are tantamount to the degree of psychological "biasedness" or to one's lack of insight. What about being sincerely trying to think through one's beliefs?

Don't you believe in the possibility of theology (i.e., rational thinking within the framework of some key beliefs)?"


The question reminds me of Daniele Cuneo's paper Thinking Literature: Emic and Etic Approaches. - where he argues that "literature" is an emic category for us.

"Rational thinking" is an emic category for us, and it is based on a series of cultural assumptions. There is a lot of work now to show that "rational thinking" is a category error. All thinking is embodied and emotional. I'm thinking particularly of Antonio Damasio's books The Feeling of What Happens and Decartes' Error and Thomas Metzinger's The Ego Tunnel; but also the ouevre of George Lakoff and Mark Johnson and the whole field of Embodied Cognition.

What we think of as "reason" always involves the body. We judge the importance of facts to us by our emotional experience of them. Thus what seems right to us is always a combination of truth judgements and salience evaluations. At any given time we have more truthful facts that we can possibly cope with - and we filter them, using our emotions to represent the value of facts to us. And our truth judgements can be over-ridden by our salience judgements - as the man on the radio shows.

Until we understand the false distinction between "thinking" and "emoting" we will never understand why we believe what we do. We can be as sincere as it is possible to be and fail to understand our beliefs. The man on the radio was absolutely sincere, and believed himself to have worked rationally through all the issues. Richard Dawkins is equally sincere and has thought even more carefully about his beliefs, but his views on evolution are just expressions of cultural bias - as any of Margaret Margulis's books will show. (Microcosmos is a a little dated now, but a good place to start).

The critique of my position is easy. Damasio, Lakoff and Margulis appeal to me because they feel right. I chose to endorse these views rather than others because I felt good when reading them. My first approximation is that they make more sense of the facts I'm aware of. I might go on to say that their approach knowledge in a way that appears to provide a more ordered world - "order = sensible" to me, and this is easy to relate to my disordered upbringing. And here we cross a line into the intensely personal that is disbarred from such a discussion by convention both scholarly and social. Revealing too much about myself would be inappropriate - though I would argue that my views could never wholly make sense to anyone who did not know me intimately. The kind of detached pseudo-objectivity of professional discussions thus never gets at the truth of belief.

So no I don't believe in Theology as you describe it. But it's just a belief, yeah? The "facts" I've presented probably won't appeal to everyone - they may acknowledge them as true, but many will say that other facts are more salient or important. That my selection of true facts doesn't satisfy them. Tat kasya hetoḥ? Because they don't feel right. And around we go again.

elisa freschi said...

Dear Jayarava,

thanks for this thoughtful contribution. I think I will go back to this topic on your blog, but here are some first thoughts:

1. personally speaking, I see your point re. the fact that one either does not really believe (and then the dialogue might become interesting) or one does (and then it is only the juxtaposition of positions). But I am inclined to think that the first case almost always applies. Even if you believe in the reality of a certain religion, you will have to admit that you grasp only a part of it and that, in this sense, you are open to imputs showing you further aspects of it.

2. We have already been disagreeing about similar topics (but I always enjoyed the discussion:-)). Basically, I think that the reality is complex and that there are different levels which are simultaneously true. For instance, it is true to say that certain neurons are being activated in my brain and it is also true to say that I am hearing a great ouverture. The one might be related with the other, but it *is* not the other. As already explained by Kant and Russell, it is not the case that light *is* a wave, but rather that a wave is the cause of a phenomenon which we experience as light. The physicalist description of the world does not explain the way it is experienced.

3. I am sure you would not say that a person X who believes that the circlemakers are UFOs is exactly on the same ground as a researcher Y working on a certain protein. The latter tries as much as she can to accept falsification in case she encounters contrary evidences she cannot make sense of. I can foresee the possible objection that there is no real progress and that Y can only accept what she is ready to accept etc. What I do not agree with is the denial of the phenomenological experience of free will. Once again (as explained in 2.), I am not denying determinism on the physical level (of neurons, etc.). I am just saying that this has little or nothing to do with our experience of being free and, thus *responsible* of thinking rationally.
Everyone will be held responsible in a different way. No one, e.g., will expect the child of X to be immune from X' beliefs. But it is also not the case that X' child can remain all her life in her childhood illusions and be excused for that. You might have had a disordered upbringing, but you are now able to discuss with someone who does not at all shares your views.

Jayarava said...

Hi Elisa

Thanks. You've revived my interest in this subject which had been buried under memorising Sanskrit paradigms - though now my homework is suffering.

1. I don't disagree that there can be a middle ground in theory. But see below.

2. My claim about observing neurons and the way that our minds can break, is that such observations give us certain useful information about how we make decisions and hold beliefs. I did not seek to generalise about empiricism or about all knowledge or all experience. Nor did I suggest that there are no limits to empiricism. By invoking an empirical observation I do not thereby abandon my intellectual faculties.

In stating your beliefs you don't dispute the truth of what I say, indeed you acknowledge that on some level it might be true. Just not on a level that interests you. The ideas have little value or salience; they just get dumped into the "physicalist" basket and you move on to Kant et al. You probably aren't drawn to read the authors I cite, or to update your views on empirical study of the mind. And not because I am presenting false information.

The same goes for your third point.

So why do we disagree? Not because we are stupid. Neither of us is misguided I think. We are not being coerced into believing. And yet we have chosen opposing views. I think we are clearly in possession of different information, but we have been free for some decades to pursue information, and have chosen particular threads to follow - threads that appeared to have value and salience for us. I was trying to outline why I think that might be.

The theory I outlined in very brief, very board strokes provides a good explanation of why people disagree about facts, and why raw facts do not persuade us to change our beliefs, or seek new input. It also makes predictions about the the dynamics of such discussions which in my experience turn out to be right. As a model of discussions about belief, like this one, it seems to work quite well.

What interests me is not the content of such a discussion, but the form of it. Why do we believe what we believe and not the almost infinite other possible beliefs that are open to us? Why is Kant preferable to Metzinger, without having read Metzinger? Or vice versa?

I can begin to articulate to myself why certain types of approaches appeal to me - i.e. what my life history tells me about what I actually value. Not sure I could do it in a blog comment.

elisa freschi said...

Thanks again, Jayarava.
Now, I am sure you read far more in this field than I did. But I did read Metzinger's Being No One (2003), although often it was really very tough for me, and Galen Strawson and Damasio while I was researching for my article on subjectivity. I like being challenged and I think it would be intellectually dishonest not to look for challenges.

I do not mean to say by that that we have to look for the "truth" and that this is one and only one. Rather, that I would not give up discussing with you, and not just for the sake of understanding who you are, but also for the sake of understanding what you are saying. But, once again, this is because I believe in the phenomenological reality of free will…
I will go back to your blog tonight.

Jayarava said...

I'm not sure how "phenomenological reality of free will" comes into play, but I'm intrigued. Does what I say seem to you to imply that I would disagree with you on free will? I don't think I do.

You've read more than I gave you credit for - which shouldn't surprise me.

elisa freschi said...

Well, yes. Would you not say that Metzinger's position entails the refusal of free-will apart from the psychological sensation (ultimately illusory, since it develops ad hoc, and after a decision has been taken out of very different reasons) of free-will we developed as part of our species?

Jayarava said...

Hi Elisa

I missed this response from you

"Well, yes. Would you not say that Metzinger's position entails the refusal of free-will apart from the psychological sensation (ultimately illusory, since it develops ad hoc, and after a decision has been taken out of very different reasons) of free-will we developed as part of our species?"

Metzinger himself says that he takes no position on freewill.

I think recent discoveries about the timing of action and awareness of the decision to act (that the former precedes the latter) is something that we have to consider. This does seem to be what happens in simple acts of will like moving a finger - the areas of the brain concerned with activity light up before the areas associated with conscious awareness of decision making. But it may simply mean that we have misunderstood the workings of will in the brain - what I have said about the Damasio theory of decision making would suggest that we don't really understand that whole area very well yet, but that old models are already out of date. I think our understanding of the will must necessarily change in the face of new evidence.

As Metzinger says: phenomenologically we experience ourselves as able to "initiate new causal chains out of the blue". (126) Once can't simply dismiss this. But he also notes that the phenomenology of willing is not very well defined, so we're not really very clear about what will entails.

His opinion seems to be that it is far too early to say anything definite about the implications for free will of the discoveries made about the brain to date. More research is being carried out that may illuminate the subject. Though there does seem to be a discrepancy between our subjective experience of willing, and the objective observable phenomena.

I'm not aware of the philosophical discourse on this, but surely since Freud proposed the sub-conscious, this must have been a very contentious issue anyway?

Metzinger's discussion on this is quite long and interesting, and I'm just skimming it to get the gist. It seems the period of unknowing must continue for some time to come.

As I think I've said it seems to me that to ask "are we free or not" is to deny the phenomenology of freedom. I am free to some extent. Sometimes my conscious decisions do not translate into action. I can't will myself not to have a cold. I can't make myself young again. I can't become a concert pianist just by willing it. We are never entirely free. So the question, and this is the one that Metzinger also asks, is how free are we? And the answer so far seems to be that we don't know how free we are yet, but maybe not as much as we think. And that answer depends on which axis we are measuring freedom.

Honestly it's not a question that bothers me in the abstract. I constantly push the boundaries of the experience of freedom so that I might feel more free and I succeed in very modest terms, if at all. I know people who seem to have done a lot better than me.

Anonymous said...

[Dear ysv_rao,

1) I was talking about Augustine's interpretation, not about the Vedic religious context.]

Whups-a-daisy! Credo questo si chiami “fare una figura di merda”, cosa che io faccio da volta in volta in queste pagine (rammenti come non sapevo la distinzione fra manah e buddhi!). Sembra che Rao stesso se ne sia accorto, non se ne trova traccia dopo questa tua risposta. Ma è buffo, no, come questo tipo è tanto pronto a dire che gli occidentali non possono mai capire veramente il pensiero indiano, mentre guarda come lui pontificava sfrenatamente sul pensiero cristiano eccetera senza che gli venisse neanche per un attimo il dubbio che forse, secondo lo stesso principio, lui non fosse in grado di capire il pensiero occidentale. Lolissimo.

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