Not to be confused with pantheism-the ancient Greek notion that God is everywhere, an animistic force in rocks and trees-the concept of panentheism suggests that God is both in the world, immanent, and also beyond the confines of mere matter, transcendent.One of the fundamental premises of this groundbreaking collection of essays is that panentheism, despite being unlabeled until the nineteenth century, is not merely a modern Western invention. The contributors examine a number of the world's established and ancient religious traditions-Christianity, (...) Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, and others-to draw out the panentheistic dimensions of these traditions and the possibilities they suggest. Panentheism is not only an esoteric, potentially heretical, and deeply mystical vision of the world's great religious pasts; it is also a key feature of contemporary global spirituality. As this volume demonstrates, the metaphors and practices associated with modern panentheism speak powerfully to the realities of our evolving species and our evolving technological world. Panentheism's enticingly heretical vision of the relationship between the divine and matter has historically been denied a serious place in scholarship. As Panentheism across the World's Traditions shows, the dynamism between matter and spirit that panentheism offers has had a profound influence in the modern world. (shrink)
In Beyond Physicalism, an interdisciplinary group of physical scientists, behavioral and social scientists, and humanists from the Esalen Institute’s Center for Theory and Research argue that physicalism must be replaced by an expanded scientific naturalism that accommodates something spiritual at the heart of nature.
The current discourse of New Materialism seeks to chart a way of addressing our contemporary predicament around environmental destruction through reassessing our relationship and attitudes to matter. This book argues that the panentheism of the 11th century Indian Hindu thinker Abhinavagupta offers a cogent philosophical model that gives us new ways of thinking about matter, which can help a contemporary New Materialist thought. What makes panentheism an attractive model for Abhinavagupta's philosophy is its Tantric impetus towards both the materiality of (...) the world and the transcendence of divinity, proposing a philosophy that finds consciousness-a subjectivity as, and at the very core of matter. With this, Abhinavagupta's articulation of a foundational and encompassing subjectivity proposes a panentheist solution to a familiar conundrum, one we still grapple with today-that is: how does consciousness, which is so unlike matter, how does it actually connect to the materiality of our world? In familar 21st century terms, how does mind connect to body? This book brings this question to bear in comparative fashion on contemporary issues: our current concerns around what is sentient-animals? viruses? artificial intelligence?-set in relation to Abhinavagupta's articulation of what gives rise to sentience via his use of the term vimarśa; our current conceptions of information as data-articulated in juxtaposition to Abhinavagupta's theology of mantra, mystic sound; examining Abhinavagupta's use of wonder (camatkāra) as as a philosophical concept, and how his cosmological system (tattva) underwrites his understanding of a foundational subjectivity. (shrink)