ISBN-10:
0791412067
ISBN-13:
9780791412060
Pub. Date:
10/22/1992
Publisher:
State University of New York Press
Spirituality, Diversion, and Decadence: The Contemporary Predicament

Spirituality, Diversion, and Decadence: The Contemporary Predicament

by Peter H. Van NessPeter H. Van Ness

Paperback

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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.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

This is a more interesting and insightful approach to the topic of spiritual discipline than I have previously encountered.

“The major problem with contemporary religion (especially Western) is its lack of effective spiritual disciplines—witness the fascination with the disciplines of the East. Add to that the fact that as religion in the traditional sense decreases in popularity, spirituality increases.” — Harold Coward, University of Calgary

“The book shows tremendous erudition, depth, and perception, and carries its argument through in a most impressive and systematic manner. It is very rich in detail and provides valuable information on the subject with which it deals. It also is provocative, original, and profound. It is one of those books one would like to discuss with its author.” —Klaus K. Klostermaier, University of Manitoba

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780791412060
Publisher: State University of New York Press
Publication date: 10/22/1992
Series: SUNY series in Religious Studies
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 350
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.00(d)

Customer Reviews