"Fearlessness is the first requirement of spirituality. Cowards can never be moral." -- Mahatma Gandhi

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Non-Duality in Western Civilization

The West has always been influenced by the East. Even the West's principal religious tradition, Christianity, arose in Palestine, and has as its at root a fundamental non-dualistic perspective. See, for example, the following biblical passages: "Hear, O Israel: the LORD thy God is One." (Deut. 6:4); "I am in the Father, and the Father in me." (John 14:11); "I and the Father are one." (John 4:24).

This non-duality is no mere coincidence of wording, says philosopher and best-selling author, Peter Kingsley. The sense of 'One-ness' was already there at the birth of pre-Christian Western civilization and was then merged into the arising Eastern Christian tradition.

"Its fine what's going on in terms of coming together, and bringing different traditions, together, and this idea of a new global 'One-ness' (or) global harmony. But to me it's very important actually to be able to say, "Well that's been there since the beginning, and we here are looking towards bringing a greater reality or sense of 'One-ness' into these tatters of Western civilization."

"To me,"" Kingsley notes, it is very very important to say, "Yes, but that sense of 'One-ness,' not only did it happen to be there when Western civilization was born, but that it was out of that sense of 'One-ness' that Western civilization was very deliberately created."

While strains of the non-duality from the East permeates both the Old and New Testament, and indeed all of Greek thought, perhaps the great neo-Platonist Roman Emperor, Marcus Aurelius, put it best in the second book of his famous "Meditations," when he observed:
"This thou must always bear in mind, what is the nature of the whole, and what is my nature, and how this is related to that, and what kind of a part it is of what kind of a whole; and that there is no one who hinders thee from always doing and saying the things which are according to the nature of which thou art a part."


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