martedì 15 aprile 2014

Tao senza fondamento orientale e occidentale

Jacek Yerka
La ricerca del Sé e della Coscienza nella prospettiva enazionista, considerando mondi di coscienza ed esperienza senza fondamento analizzato secondo la tradizione del Buddhismo Abhidharma, trova in Nishitani Keiji e la Scuola di Kyôto un esempio rilevante di integrazione tra le prospettive orientali e occidentali:


Laying Down a Path in Walking

Nishitani Keiji

In our discussion of the Cartesian anxiety, we saw that there is an oscillation between objectivism and subjectivism that is linked to the concept of representation. Thus representation can be construed either as the "projection" (subjectivism) or "recovery" (objectivism) of the world. (Usually, of course, both aspects of representation are incorporated in accounts of perception and cognition.)
For Nishitani, this oscillation between subjectivism and objectivism arises for any philosophical stance that is based on what he calls "the field of consciousness. With this phrase Nishitani refers to the philosophical construal of the world as an objective or pregiven realm and of the self as a pregiven knowing subject that somehow achieves contact with this pregiven world. Since consciousness is here understood as subjectivity, the problem arises of how to link consciousness with the supposedly objective realm in which it is situated. As we have already discussed, however, the subject cannot step outside of its representations to behold the pregiven world as it really is in itself. Therefore given this basically Cartesian stance, the objective becomes what is represented as such by the subject. In Nishitani's words, "The mode of being which is said to have rid itself of its relationship to the subjective has simply been constituted through a covert inclusion of a relationship to the subjective, and so cannot, after all, escape the charge of constituting a mode of being defined through its appearance to us."
When the notion of objectivity becomes problematic in this way, so too does the notion of subjectivity. If everything is ultimately specified through its appearance to us, then so is the knowing subject. Since the subject can represent itself to itself, it becomes an object for representation but is different from all other objects. Thus in the end the self becomes both an objectified subject and a subjectified object. This predicament discloses the shiftiness, the instability of the entire subjective/objective polarity.
Nishitani's next move, however, displays the deep influence of the Buddhist philosophical tradition and mindfulness/awareness practice on his thinking. He argues that to realize the fundamental instability or groundlessness of the subjective/objective dualism is in a sense to slip out of the "field of consciousness." We do not liovercome" or listep out" of this dualism as if we knew in advance where we are going, but 'we do see the arbitrariness and futility of going back and forth between the poles of a fundamentally groundless opposition. Instead our concern shifts to the very disclosure of this groundlessness. Nishitani then follows the pragmatic intention of mindfulness/awareness by emphasizing the existential role that this disclosure plays. The realization that we do not stand on solid ground, that things incessantly arise and pass away without our being able to pin them down to a stable objective or subjective ground, affects our very life and being. Within this existential context, we can be said to realize groundlessness not only in the sense of understanding but also in the sense of actualization: human life or existence turns into a question, doubt, or uncertainty.
In Zen Buddhism, the Japanese adaptation of mindfulness/awarenessin which Nishitani was raised, this uncertainty is called the "Great Doubt." This doubt is not about any particular matter but is rather the basic uncertainty that arises from the disclosure of groundlessness. Unlike the hyperbolic and hypothetical doubt of Descartes, which is merely entertained by the subject on the field of consciousness, the Great Doubt points to the impermanence of existence itself and so marks an existential transformation within human experience. This transformation consists of a conversion away from the subjective/objective standpoint to what is called in the English translation of Nishitani's work the "field of nihility." Nihility is a term used to refer to groundlessness in relation to the subjective/objective polarity; it is a relative, negative notion of groundlessness that Nishitani wishes to distinguish from the groundlessness of the middle way.
Nishitani distinguishes between these two kinds of groundlessness because his fundamental point is that European thought in its largely successful critique of objectivism has become trapped in nihilism. Here Nishitani's assessment of our situation actually follows Nietzsche's. As we mentioned 6, nihilism arises for Nietzsche when we realize that our most cherished beliefs are untenable and yet we are incapable of living without them. Nietzsche devoted considerable attention to the manifestation of nihilism in our discovery that we do not stand on solid ground, that what we take to be an absolute reference point is really an interpretation foisted on an ever-shifting impersonal process. His famous aphorism announcing "the death of God" is a dramatic statement of this collapse of fixed reference points. Nietzsche also understood nihilism to be rooted in our craving for a ground, in our continual search for some ultimate reference point, even when we realize that none can be found: "What does nihilism mean? That the highest values devaluate themselves. The aim is lacking; 'why' finds no answer." The philosophical challenge that Nietzsche faced, which has come to characterize the task of postmodern thought, is to lay down a path of thinking and practice that gives up foundations without transforming itself into a search for new foundations. Nietzsche's attempt is well known: he tried to undercut nihilism by affirming groundlessness through his notions of eternal return and the will to power.

Friedrich Nietzsche, La volontà di potenza, Bozza autografa per il frontespizio
Nishitani deeply admires Nietzsche's attempt but claims that it actually perpetuates the nihilistic predicament by not letting go of the grasping mind that lies at the souce of both objectivism and nihlism. Nishitani's argument is that nihilism cannot be overcome by assimilating groundlessness to a notion of the will - no matter how decentered and impersonal. Nishitani's diagnosis is even more radical than Nietzsche's, for he claims that the real problem with Western nihilism is that it is halfhearted: it does not consistently follow through its own inner logic and motivation and so stops short of transforming its partial realization of groundlessness into the philosophical and experiential possiblities of sunyata. The reason why Western nihilism stops short is that Western thought in general has no tradition that works with cognition and lived experience in a direct and pragmatic way. (The one possible exception is psychoanalysis, but in most of its current manifestations it has been unable to confront the basic contradictions in our experience of the self or to offer a transformative reembodiment.) Indeed, our scientific culture has only just begun to consider the possibility of pragmatic and progressive approaches to experience that would enable us to learn to transform our deep-seated and emotional grasping after a ground. Without such a pragmatic approach to the transformation of experience in everyday life - especially within our developing scientific culture - human existence will remain confined to the undecidable choice between objectivism and nihilism.
We should note that Nishitani's point when he claims that Western nihilism stops short of the groundlessness of the middle way is not that we should adopt Buddhism in the sense of a particular tradition with various cultural trappings. It is, rather, that we must achieve an understanding of groundlessness as a middle way by working from our own cultural premises. These premises are largely determined by science, for we live in a scientific culture. We have therefore chosen to follow Nishitani's lead by building a bridge between cognitive science and mindfulness/awareness as a specific practice that embodies an open-ended approach to experience. Furthermore, since we cannot embody groundlessness in a scientific culture without reconceptualizing science itself as beyond the need of foundations, we have followed through the inner logic of research in cognitive science to develop the enactive approach. This approach should serve to demonstrate that a commitment to science need not include as a premise a commitment to objectivism or to subjectivism.
Objectivist science, by its very ideals as well as its historical context in our society, has maintained a role of ethical neutrality. This neutrality has been increasingly challenged in the social discourse of our time. The need for planetary thinking behooves us to consider groundlessness, whether evoked by cognitive science or experience, in its full light in the total human context. Is it not the self that has been considered the bearer of moral and ethical potency? If we challenge the idea of such a self, what have we loosed on the world? Such a concern, we feel, is the result of the"failure in Western discourse to analyze the self and its product, self-interest, with experiential acumen. In contrast, the ethical dimension of ego and egolessness are at the very heart of the Buddhist tradition. We tum now to take up, as our final consideration, the issue of what the mindfulness/awareness tradition might have to offer social science for a vision of human action at its best.

venerdì 11 aprile 2014

il Te del Tao: LXXII - AVER CURA DI SÉ

Fractal Yin-Yang, toa267

Quando il popolo non teme la tua autorità
allora sopravviene la grande autorità.
Non trovare angusto ciò che ti dà pace,
non disgustarti di ciò che ti fa vivere,
poiché solo chi non se ne disgusta
non disgusta.
Per questo il santo
di sé conosce ma di sé non fa mostra,
di sé ha cura ma di sé non fa pregio.
Perciò respinge l'uno e preferisce l'altro.

risveglio del Tao

giovedì 10 aprile 2014

Aggrapparsi al passato (5 di Coppe)

La figura di questa carta è così occupata a tener stretta la scatola dei suoi ricordi che ha voltato le spalle al bicchiere effervescente di champagne, simbolo delle beatitudini disponibili nel presente, qui e ora. La sua nostalgia del passato, la rende una vera testa di legno, e una mendicante, come si può vedere dagli abiti rattoppati e malridotti. Ovviamente, essere una mendicante non è una condizione necessaria; il fatto è che non è disponibile ad assaporare i piaceri che si presentano spontaneamente nel presente. È tempo di riconoscere che il passato è sparito, e qualsiasi sforzo di ripeterlo è un modo sicuro per restare bloccato in vecchi modelli che avresti già superato se non fossi stato così impegnato ad aggrapparti a ciò che hai già vissuto. Fai un respiro profondo, metti giù la scatola dei ricordi; se proprio devi, legala con un nastro elegante, e dalle un sentito e rispettoso addio per sempre. La vita ti sta passando accanto, e sei in pericolo di diventare un vecchio fossile prima del tempo!

Questi tempi - passato, presente e futuro - non sono fasi del tempo, bensì della mente. Ciò che non si trova più di fronte alla mente, diventa il passato. Ciò che si trova di fronte alla mente, è il presente. E ciò che sarà di fronte alla mente, è il futuro. Il passato è ciò che non è più di fronte a te; il futuro è ciò che non lo è ancora. E il presente è ciò che hai di fronte e che sta scivolando fuori dalla tua vista. Presto sarà passato. Se non ti aggrappi al passato... Aggrapparsi al passato è stupido. Non c'è più, per cui è come piangere per il latte versato. Ciò che è andato, è andato! Né devi aggrapparti al presente, perché anch'esso ben presto sarà passato. Né devi aggrapparti al futuro - speranze, immaginazioni, strategie per il domani - perché il domani diverrà oggi, diventerà ieri. Ogni cosa diventerà ieri, inevitabilmente. Ogni cosa sfuggirà dalle tue mani. Aggrapparsi creerà soltanto infelicità. Dovrai lasciar andare.

mercoledì 9 aprile 2014

effetto Tao

Nel 1988 i risultati di un progetto denominato “International Peace Project in the Middle East”, realizzato per un periodo di due mesi nel 1983 durante la guerra in Libano, furono pubblicati dal Journal of Conflict Resolution. Durante la guerra fra Israele e Libano verificatasi all'inizio degli anni '80 alcuni praticanti furono istruiti sull'uso di tecniche specifiche di TM - Meditazione Trascendentale secondo le pratiche di Maharishi Mahesh, per “sentire” la pace dentro di sé a livello fisico, anziché pensare alla pace coinvolgendo solo la mente, o limitarsi a pregare per la pace, determinando in modo attivo il cosidetto effetto Maharishi.
L'effetto della pratica di singoli individui sulla società è spiegato come un'inflenza della coscienza collettiva:

Just as the consciousness of an individual determines the quality of his thought and behavior, so also there exists another type of consciousness for society as a whole: a collective consciousness for each family, city, state, or nation, having its own reality and the possibility of growth. The quality of collective consciousness of a society is a direct and sensitive reflection of the level of consciousness of its individual members.


All occurrences of violence, negativity and conflict, crises, or problems in any society are just the expression of growth of stress in collective consciousness. When the level of stress becomes sufficiently great, it bursts out into large-scale violence, war, and civil uprising necessitating military action.

Whatever may seem to be the cause of the outbursts of terrorism, whatever little excuses there are, these excuses arise on the surface of the human race only from the stress in world consciousness, and stress is not seen until it bursts out.

The basis of stress in world consciousness is the violation of natural law by the people. The basis of the violation of natural law is the fact that the educational systems do not educate the people to spontaneously think and act according to natural law.
Maharishi Mahesh Yogi

Ogni mese, in determinati giorni e ore, le persone partecipanti al progetto agivano secondo le tecniche di TM a Gerusalemme. Durante la finestra temporale in cui i partecipanti evocavano interiormente la pace, le attività terroristiche, i crimini contro le persone, i ricoveri al pronto soccorso e il numero di incidenti stradali venivano monitorati e con un confronto ed una elaborazione statistica si trovò che si riducevano. Quando interrompevano la pratica, le statistiche si invertivano. Le ricerche indicavano che quando una piccola percentuale della popolazione praticava e sperimentava individualmente la pace interiore, quella sensazione si rifletteva sul mondo circostante.
I risultati tennero conto dei giorni feriali e festivi e perfino dei cicli lunari, rivelando dati sufficientemente coerenti da permettere di stabilire quante persone sono necessarie per agire in modo positivo sul mondo circostante, la radice quadrata dell'uno per cento della popolazione presa in considerazione:1 % popolazione. Questo è solo il numero di base necessario a far iniziare l'effetto - più persone partecipano, maggiore e più concreto è il risultato.

Numero persone TM
città piccole dimensioni
città medie dimensioni
1 milione
città grandi dimensioni
10 milioni
100 milioni
1 miliardo
popolazione mondiale
6 miliardi

International Peace Project in the Middle East

The Effects of the Maharishi Technology of the Unified Field

    David W. Orme-Johnson, John L. Davies, Howard M. Chandler
    Department of Psychology, Maharishi International University
    Charles N. Alexander
    Department of Psychology and Social Relations, Harvard University
    Wallace E. Larimore
    Computational Engineering, Inc., Woburn, Massachusetts
This prospective social experiment tests a new theory and technology for alleviating violent conflict through reducing societal stress in an underlying field of “collective consciousness.” It was predicted that group practice of the Maharishi Technology of the Unified Field (the Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi program) during August and September, 1983, in Jerusalem, would reduce stress in the collective consciousness and behavior of Israel and Lebanon. Box-Jenkins Arima impact assessment, cross-correlation, and transfer function analyses were used to study the effects of changes in the size of the group on several variables and composite indices reflecting (a) the quality of life in Jerusalem (automobile accidents, fires, and crime), (b) the quality of life in Israel (crime, stock market, and national mood, derived from news content analysis), and (c) the war in Lebanon (war deaths of all factions and war intensity, derived from news content analysis). Increases in the size of the group had a statistically significant effect in the predicted direction on the individual variables and on all composite quality-of-life indices. The effects of holidays, temperature, weekends, and other forms of seasonality were explicitly controlled and could not account for these results. Cross-correlations and transfer functions indicated that the group had a leading relationship to change on the quality-of-life indicators, supporting a causal interpretation.

Journal of Conflict Resolution, December 1988 32: 776-812

lunedì 7 aprile 2014

meta-Tao webs

photo by Luc Viatour
La successiva metastruttura discussa da Tyler Volk e Jeff Bloom sono i webs - ragnatele, intese come reti di relazione a diverso livello - fisiche, biologiche, sociali, virtuali:


Webs are physical, biological, social, psychological, and virtual networks of relationships. Where spheres can represent a context, webs describe complex sets of interrelationships of a particular context. A complex lattice of tubes, like a sheet, can involve capture, support, or multi-directional movement. In sheets, such movement is within a plane, whereas movement in webs can become 3-dimensional. Webs also involve a sense of complex organization.


  • In science: spider webs, food webs, lattice-like structures in biological and physical forms, retae (network of blood vessels), endoplasmic reticulum, lattice structures of crystals, etc.
  • In architecture and design: beam structures in buildings, safety nets, etc.
  • In the arts: patterns, sculpture design, etc.
  • In social sciences: semantic webs, concept and context maps, hegemony, street layout in cities, social and political contexts, relationships in social and institutional organizations, matrices, etc.


The Pattern Underground