(logo) Natural Genesis (logo text)
A Sourcebook for the Worldwide Discovery of a Creative Organic Universe
Table of Contents
Genesis Vision
Learning Planet
Organic Universe
Earth Life Emerge
Genesis Future
Recent Additions

VII. Our Earthuman Ascent: A Major Evolutionary Transition in Individuality

5. Bicameral World Religions

Lee, Hyo-Dong. Spirit, Qi, and the Multitude: A Comparative Theology for the Democracy of Creation. New York: Fordham University Press, 2013. As the publisher and quotes convey, a Korean-American, Drew University, theologian astride the continents and centuries draws a luminous synthesis of bicameral world wisdom as “A Meeting of Two Stories” of “Eastern and Western Learning.” Once again, from every portal, a complementarity of archetypal gender principles, in their infinite iteration, distinguish each global hemispherical mode. In regard, an Asian “pre-Axial” mode is seen as a double domain of energy and emanation, more “indigenous and contextual” in kind and contrast. In closing, a “pneumatocentric and panentheistic” conception is advanced based on this mutual nature, along with a 21st century familial spirituality. See also Panentheism Across the World’s Traditions edited by Loriliai Biernacki and Philip Clayton (Oxford, 2013) with a chapter by Hyo-Dong Lee.

As befits a world so interconnected, this book presents a comparative theological and philosophical attempt to construct new underpinnings for the idea of democracy by bringing the Western concept of spirit into dialogue with the East Asian nondualistic and nonhierarchical notion of qi. The book follows the historical adventures of the idea of qi through some of its Confucian and Daoist textual histories in East Asia, mainly Laozi, Zhu Xi, Toegye, Nongmun, and Su-un, and compares them with analogous conceptualizations of the ultimate creative and spiritual power found in the intellectual constellations of Western and/or Christian thought namely, Whitehead's Creativity, Hegel's Geist, Deleuze's chaosmos, and Catherine Keller's Tehom. The book provides a model of Asian contextual theology that draws on the religious and philosophical resources of East Asia to offer a vision of pluralism and democracy. A reader interested in the conversation between the East and West in light of the global reality of political oppression, economic exploitation, and cultural marginalization will find this book informative, engaging, and enlightening. (Publisher)

Psychophysical energy is the primordial energy of the universe that constitutes whatever exists – visible and invisible, with form and without form, nonliving and living, and material and ideal. The entities that appear to be solid and unchanging are in fact temporary coalescences or harmonies of psychological energy’s own bifurcated and mutually complementary modalities of the receptive force (yin) and the active force (yang), which are themselves in a constant process of following and turning into each other. The creatively harmonizing operations of the two modalities of psychophysical energy is captured by the symbol of the Great Ultimate (Tao) that depicts a ceaseless dynamic union of complementary opposites. (42)

Furthermore, this relation of mutually dependent coming into being has a “fractal” structure in which each pole of the binary reproduces within itself the polarity of the whole. The receptive force always carries within itself the seed of the active force, which always carries within itself the seed of the receptive force, which always carries within itself the seed of the active force. In other words, the Great Ultimate has a dynamically fractal structure of constantly self-differentiated opposites that come into being and cease to be in through an unending process of one differentiating itself from itself by having the other within to negate itself. (43)

McGilchrist, Iain. God, Metaphor, and the Language of the Hemispheres. Chilton, Paul and Monika Kopytowska, eds. Religion, Language, and the Human Mind. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018. In this chapter, the British psychiatrist and author of the 2009 epic treatise The Master and His Emissary (search) continues his lucid exposition of this incredible cerebral complementarity. We include extended quotes because they provide a clearest citation of and contrast between these cosmic archetypal halves. We have, one could say, a microcosmic bicameral universe in our own double brain (a hemi in our head). As noted in his book review above, these attributes, or lack thereof, can well be applied to scientific, political, national, herewith to religious domains, and onto an imperiled global ecosphere presently bereft any phenomenal identity, image and common purpose.

Birds and other animals have to solve a conundrum on which their survival depends, namely how to eat and to stay alive at the same time. Each must pay attention to something that is already prioritized – a seed, one’s prey – at the same time as being open to whatever it is that might come along – be it predator or conspecific. For the first of these, one needs a narrow-beam, sharply focused attention to something; for the latter, just the opposite – a broad, open, vigilant, sustained attention. Paying two kinds of attention in one consciousness is an almost intractable problem. The solution appears to have been the bihemispheric brain. The left hemisphere provides narrow focus in order to get food, a twig for a nest, and to manipulate the world; the right hemisphere sees a wide view to watch for predation and bond with mates, and in general to understand oneself in relation to the world at large. (137)

The left hemisphere’s world requires precision rather than breadth, and aims to close things down as much as possible to a certainty, where the right hemisphere views the broad picture and opens things up to possibility. In focusing on its object, the left side renders it explicit, and abstracts it from its context; the right side is aware of, and able to deal appropriately with all those things that are required to remain implicit, and are denatured once removed from their context. The left hemisphere conceives of its object as static, fixed, and atomistic, rather than, as the right hemisphere does, fluid, evolving, and interconnected with the rest of the world. Where the left hemisphere sees disconnected fragments from which the whole scene might be constructed, the right sees the whole, the Gestalt, which is more than the sum of the parts. If the left is concerned with what can be counted, the quantitative and measurable aspect of experience, the right hemisphere is concerned with the qualitative. One could say the right hemisphere’s world is living, where the left’s is mechanical and inanimate. (140)

Murata, Sachiko. The Tao of Islam. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1992. This important synthesis of Taosim and Islam by a professor of religious studies at the State University of New York at Stony Brook and the wife of William Chittick was first noted in A Rosetta Cosmos.

Nasr, Seyyed Hossein. Sufi Essays. Chicago: ABC International Group, 1991. The author is Iranian University Professor of Islamic Studies at George Washington University and foremost scholar for the true prism of Islam, Sufi wisdom, and their relation to modern science (search). Born and raised in Tehran, he moved to the United States at age 12 and went on to earn degrees from MIT and Harvard. We note this certain work because its chapter Ecological Wisdom in the Light of Sufism advises that while western mechanist, particulate worldviews struggle with ways to heal the environment, “eastern sciences” with their emphasis on a complementary interrelatedness of things within a whole milieu could offer much guidance.

Panikkar, Raimundo. The Unknown Christ of Hinduism. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 1981. Riamundo comes from a Spanish Catholic family on one side and a Hindu family on the other to make him especially astute in relating these traditions.

The differences between the two religions, however, are very often complementary. To put it succinctly, if Hinduism claims to be the religion of truth, Christianity claims to be the truth of religion. Hinduism is ready to absorb any authentic religious truth; Christianity is ready to embrace any authentic religious value.

Paranjpe, Anand. Self and Identity in Modern Psychology and Indian Thought. New York: Plenum, 1998. The West is occupied with a self-actualization of Becoming while for Eastern, Hindu wisdom, self-realization of Being is preferred. An obvious middle path respecting both traditions can join these complements.

Patt-Shamir, Galia. To Broaden the Way: A Confucian-Jewish Dialogue. Latham, MD: Lexington Books, 2006. Presently at Tel-Aviv University, the author took her doctorate with Tu Weiming at Harvard. A novel and lucidly accomplished comparison of east and west via Abrahamic Judaism and Chinese Confucianism. By so doing their affinities of quest and test, encounter with mystery, a learning path, imbued tasks of self and society, and our human exemplar can be discerned. Again a complementarity of autonomy and togetherness, diaspora and presence, search and rescue abides. Our western way can be glimpsed via Franz Kafka and Jorge Borges as a labyrinthine journey to find an elusive code and message, a definitive principle that likewise resides at the heart of Asian wisdom.

In her attempt to animate the old in order to attain the new, she identifies Dao and Halakah both as ways of dynamic unfolding and of creative transformation. (x) Yet, the forms of life they envision are radically different. In the Judaic tradition, “the ultimate, community, and person are separation, disharmony, and being tested,” whereas in the Confucian tradition, “the ultimate, community, and person are unification, harmony, and self-reflexivity.” (xi) (Tu Weiming)

Patton, Kimberly and Benjamin Ray, eds. A Magic Still Dwells. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2000. Cogent essays make the case that comparative studies of religion are still possible even for our postmodern relativist mindset.

Puett, Michael. To Become a God: Cosmology, Sacrifice, and Self-Divinization in Early China. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2004. A scholarly study and illumination by the Harvard University professor of Chinese history of the traditional essences of Asian wisdom. In regard, we cited in Cosmic Code a scientific instance where Yi Lin, et al, Systems Science (2012), notes how well these theories affirm the correlative Yin/Yang dynamics. As one reads along a “spontaneous, self-generating system, of organismic process” deeply imbues this original vision. The perennial Chinese cosmos is a teleological, self-creating organic process with theomorphic human persons. Human beings, in their filial and familial milieu are thus in some way engaged in a numinous genesis.

Qingjie, J. W. Genealogical Self and a Confucian Way of Self-Making. International Philosophical Quarterly. 42/1, 2002. A comparison of universal, organic, relational and familial modes of individuality and numinous context in Chinese wisdom. Altogether these attain a complementarity of distinct person within an organically developing creation.

Saroglou, Vassilis, et al. Believing, Bonding, Behaving, and Belonging: The Cognitive, Emotional, Moral, and Social Dimensions of Religiousness across Cultures. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology. 51/7-8, 2020. By way of more advanced, extensive studies to date, seventeen coauthors from Belgium, the USA, Slovenia, Switzerland, Turkey, Taiwan, Italy, Greece, Spain, Germany, France and Costa Rica again find broad tendencies between Eastern and Western societies which generally favor and hold to either individualist or communitarian religious preferences and behaviors.

Based on the four prime dimensions of religiousness, Believing, Bonding, Behaving, and Belonging, and their cognitive, emotional, moral, and social motives and functions, we investigated cross-cultural consistencies as well as inter-individual variability. We studied Catholicism, Protestantism, Orthodox Christianity, Judaism, Islam, and Buddhism/Taoism across 14 countries. Beyond high interrelation and common personality correlates of agreeableness and conscientiousness, the four modes were less interrelated in Eastern Asia compared to the West and characterized by distinct features. Believing and bonding were preferred in Western secular societies. Behaving and belonging were related to fundamentalism, authoritarianism, and lower openness. Bonding and behaving were respectively evident in Israel and Turkey. (Abstract excerpt)

Schaab, Gloria, SSJ. A Procreative Paradigm of the Creative Suffering of the Triune God. Theological Studies. 67/3, 2006. A professor of systematic theology at Barry University, Florida, expands on the panentheistic evolution of biochemist Arthur Peacocke to propose that an appropriate way to fathom life's evolutionary struggles and travail is as female procreative experience. This fecund vision is considered from three perspectives – feminist theology, ecological action as midwifery, and pastoral ministry. Along the way we encounter She Who Is, the Matrix of all being; Shekhinah, an indwelling Kabbalist Divinity; and Sophia as creative spiritual wisdom. A luminous articulation of a genesis cosmos from a woman’s sense of carrying and birthing sacred life and new being.

And Dr. Schaab has emailed to me this preferred definition of panentheism: the belief that the Being of God includes and penetrates the whole of creation, so that every part of creation exists in God, its Creator,but that God's Being is more than, and is not exhausted by creation. See also her Teilhard Study: The Divine Welling Up and Showing Through (Fall 2007).

As evolutionary processes demonstrate, however, the being and becoming of all things in the cosmos is inevitably attended by suffering and death in the movement toward emergent existence. The cosmic child of this Mother’s womb endures these pangs of suffering and death that life may be birthed anew. (551)

Previous   1 | 2 | 3 | 4  Next