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Beyond the Postmodern Mind: The Place of Meaning in a Global Civilization Paperback – July 25, 2003
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While the chapters on the Perennial Philosophy and the relevance of the great religions are concise and to the point, it is the way that he deconstructs the deconstructionists that is unique and powerful. The way he proceeds to point out the flaws in the basic assumptions of the major modern schools of philosophy is refreshing to say the least. There is really no convincing foundation to the materialist (or naturalist) mindset. The scientism and dualist mindset that has grown to dominate the West since the 17th century has no real justifiable basis. The major thinkers in modern philosophy recognize this and have declared their own discipline as dead- except in the most technical and relatively insignificant technical areas. When they conspired to kill metaphysics they killed the source of all possible meaning in the world.
Still, it is not all an attack on modernity. When the author mentioned his discovery of Schuon's works I knew exactly the excitement that he was talking about. They served to validate conclusions that had been brewing in my mind for some time. In the same way, this book has served as a powerful validation.
One thing that jumped out at me was his discussion of the alienation and atomization that characterizes modern life.Read more ›
I love this book. This is the book I wish I had written. In a sense, this is the book we all write, for even if we come down on the other side (the not-God side), this battlefield, this place, this crevice, this crystal, this light is that on which we all dance.
And - as if that were not enough - Huston also is a master chef of sentences, paragraphs, chapters, and re-delivery of essays and speeches that came before. Packaged here, the reader gets to ride on centuries of man's efforts to understand and get somewhere in Mind and also in the decades that shaped this one man's epic journey to the end - which remains the beginning.
As for the title of this review ("Weep, Cry Out, Laugh"), yes, those events took place in this reader.
As for "the side", his side being God's side - what is the other side? How could there be another side but the great, great strength of illusion.
As he says at the end, "It's all been very interesting."
The good. In this book, Huston Smith a professor of religion presents a series of essays about overcoming the post-modern (or as it's now spelled "postmodern") worldview and re-establishing metaphysics with an emphasis on transcendence. He presents a unique Weltanschauung based upon the world's major religions and a return to traditionalist thought. In this much, I agree with him. His version of perennialism, the primordial philosophy, is far better than the nonsense that passes for philosophy under the guise of post-modernism (postmodernism).
The bad. The problem is that Smith seems to think that all the evils of the West can be attributed to that universal bugbear science, and its growing infiltration into the humanities and philosophy. He is correct in that science is the guiding principle (dare I say, religion) of our times. However, the problem is that he takes this anti-scientism to an absurd extreme. Saying that science (and it's practical application in technology) is the sole cause of the loss of transcendence within our worldview is about as goofy as saying that it can be blamed on "mixing with inferior races". For instance, while the Darwinian theory certainly has problem areas and is ultimately rooted (in perhaps suspect) philosophical assumptions, his dismissal of it strikes me as incredibly facile.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
For those wanting a good book in the tradition of Guenon and company, then this is one of them, though not of the same intensity, it is a good read.Published on July 17, 2006 by Gary L. Edwards