Spirituality, Diversion, and Decadence: The Contemporary Predicament

Spirituality, Diversion, and Decadence: The Contemporary Predicament

by Peter H. Van Ness
     
 

ISBN-10: 0791412067

ISBN-13: 9780791412060

Pub. Date: 10/01/1992

Publisher: State University of New York Press

This book presents a philosophical rethinking of the meaning and nature of spiritual discipline. It offers a new way of describing and justifying practices like praying, meditating, fasting, and yoga, and it provides an innovative case for their contemporary importance.

Spiritual discipline is especially effective at combatting Pascalian diversion, the pursuit of

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Overview

This book presents a philosophical rethinking of the meaning and nature of spiritual discipline. It offers a new way of describing and justifying practices like praying, meditating, fasting, and yoga, and it provides an innovative case for their contemporary importance.

Spiritual discipline is especially effective at combatting Pascalian diversion, the pursuit of activities that occupy the mind just enough to avoid thinking about important things; and Nietzschean decadence, the proclivity for extirpating instinctive drives instead of satisfying or sublimating them. In addition to overcoming diversion and decadence in contemporary consumerist culture, VanNess recommends spiritual discipline as a means of political resistance to powerful institutions which seek to exercise social control in democratic societies by promulgating addictive patterns of consumption.

Finally, he argues that regimens of spiritual discipline can serve healthful and liberating purposes, and generally promote fullness of life, only insofar as they are shaped by an ethos of intellectual criticism and aesthetic experimentation.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780791412060
Publisher:
State University of New York Press
Publication date:
10/01/1992
Series:
SUNY Series in Religious Studies
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
364
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.81(d)

Table of Contents

Preface
Introduction: On Praxis and Pleroma1
IThe Philosophical Problem
1A Historical Perspective19
2A Contemporary Evaluation47
IICategoreal Themes and their Practical Applications
3Semiotic Self-Reference95
4Physical Symmetry125
5Biological Equilibration159
IIIRethinking the Nature of Spiritual Discipline
6Nietzsche's Negation203
7A Novel Response233
Conclusion: Beyond Diversion and Decadence273
Notes281
Select Bibliography311
Index335

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