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By Huston Smith

This new version of acclaimed essays explores sea adjustments within the courting among faith and technological know-how over the process Western tradition and recommend attainable breakthroughs towards achieving an enlightened consciousness.

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Extra info for Beyond the Postmodern Mind: The Place of Meaning in a Global Civilization

Sample text

There is no possibility of direct knowledge of suprasensible realities, or, for that matter, of nature as constituted of things-in-themselves. All we can directly know are phenomena: things as they present themselves to us; things as they appear to us, not things as they are. The world in its own right, the noumenal world, can only be inferred. I cite the Critique that argues this epistemic posture as the most influential work in modern philosophy, and nothing so supports that judgment as Kant’s lingering hold on the Modern Mind, despite the fact that there are no card-carrying Kantians anymore!

The essays here assembled attempt a move like the one just envisioned: they invite us to step outside our current Western outlook to see it in perspective. The limitations of earlier outlooks are so obvious that we forget that ours, too, is built on premises history will smile on. Science and the historical record we now possess may seem to exempt us from the perspectival character of human vision, but we know, of course, that they do not. Like those who have lived before us, we too have fished certain objectives from the sea of human possibilities.

These shadings tie in with the third pivotal word in our definition, namely, orientation, or a sense of the lay of the land, for if we are on the move (as life always is), a sense of the lay of the land suggests promising directions in which to move and pitfalls to avoid. The analogy with sight—worldview—also underscores metaphysics’ importance. If it is difficult to walk blindfolded in the physical world, it is equally difficult to walk through life if “the eye of the soul” is closed. “Continued observations in clinical practice,” William Sheldon tells us, “lead almost inevitably to the conclusion that deeper and more fundamental than sexuality, deeper than the craving for social power, deeper even than the desire for possessions, there is a still more generalized and universal craving in the human makeup.

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