See storify here: https://storify.com/TerenceBlake/religiosus-invictus-or-deconvertus-interruptus-bru
neither the Pope or the Dalai Lama have much to do with the faith commitments of the majority of believers in their own traditions let alone the vast numbers of hindus, muslims, protestants, etc that populate and dominate the world, that’s to not even get into the strains of capitalism and all..
Like Dewey’s Common Faith this vision of religion strips away all of what makes ‘it’ powerful and moving for most actual believers and is a dead end that can only feed more conferences and other merely academic follies, like the rest of folks these people can’t seem to change their behavioral patterns in the face of climate collapse…
Latour claimed that with the AIMEproject set up he would be able to register the inadequation of his formulations compared to the experience of the practitioners of each mode treated in the book. We have yet to see any public sign of this, and confidential seminars with the team and selected friends don’t live up to that aim.
indeed, he long ago abandoned what made his work worthwhile which was the attention to actual goings-on in the field/lab/etc and has wandered into merely academic doodling:
As you say Zizek critiques the Western Buddhist mode which, for many, offers a more acceptable form of “religion without spirituality” that tries to reconcile Buddhism, rationalism and science. One could describe it as a fertile crossing between the modes which might see Buddhism overcome its political quietism , for good or ill, much as Catholicism has done in the form of liberation theology (even if its radical postulates have been sidelined in recent times).
The distinction you make between Madayamaka and contemporary western Buddhism is important, especially in relation to Laruelle’s non-philosophy. The Madayamaka, or philosophy of the middle way, especially as formulated by Nargarjuna and Candrakirti and later by the Tibetan Tsongkapha , is an instance of a systematic philosophical stance that does not fit with Laruelle’s idea of a universal decisional structure, since it contains an explicit negation of its own postulates in the form of the concept “ emptiness of emptiness” This auto-negation returns its adherents to the relative world, since the emptiness postulated is identical with a concept of the dependent origination of philosophical postulates –- dependence on the five skandhas or network of sense organs, nervous system, mind continuum, social formation, and philosophical/logical/semantic conventions.
The result is a philosophical system which undermines decision and sufficiency by positing the porosity of philosophical or ideological formations by way of their dependent origination and their evolution as real world entities, precluding their containment within a synchronic structure of thought. In other words such systems are suffused by an aporia which just is the absent world in which even the philosopher “finds” his being as a relative, empirically accessible, biological/ social entity.
Thus a certain form of Buddhism, critically taken, offers a better understanding of the emergence and evolution of philosophical systems than Laruelle’s idea of universal decisional structure or absolute sufficiency. Even better this Buddhism puts us, as unique “individuated” beings, squarely within the “real” as just this relative, evolving biological/social world.
That said, Laruelle, Latour and the Madayamaka offer fertile ground for ploughing up and cultivation!
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Latour, Laruelle, and Zizek are very interesting thinkers, who stimulate thought through their problematic and critical paths even when their positive suggestions are unsatisfying. In all three cases they exhibit nostalgia for the Christian model despite their attempts to go beyond. In all three cases they adopt an esoteric approach to Christian semiotics and an exoteric approach to the many other spiritual and religious practices of our modern societies. The comparison is thus biased, and a certain number of conservative or regressive moves are wrongly billed as progressive.
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