Spiritual Guides: Pathfinders in the Desert

University of Notre Dame Pess
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In Spiritual Guides: Pathfinders in the Desert, Fred Dallmayr challenges the "desert character" of modern culture. Political and economic corruption, incessant warmongering, spoliation of natural resources, and, above all, mindless consumerism and greedy self-satisfaction are all symptoms of what he contends is an expanding wasteland or desert where everything creative and nourishing decays and withers. Through an alternative interpretation of Nietzsche's saying "the desert grows," this book calls for spiritual renewal, invoking in particular four prominent guides or pathfinders in the desert: Paul Tillich, Raimon Panikkar, Thomas Merton, and Pope Francis. What links all four guides together is the view of spiritual life as an itinerarium, a pathway along difficult and often uncharted roads.

Dallmayr begins by drawing a connection between Nietzsche's characterization of the desert in Thus Spoke Zarathustra and the present culture of consumerism, in which a nearly-exclusive emphasis on productivity, efficiency, profitability, and the transformation of everything valuable into a useful resource prevails over all other goals. He also draws attention to another sense of "desert," namely, as a place of solitude, meditation, and retreat from affliction. Aptly defined, it becomes a place where spirituality arises from a painful "turning-about": a wrenching effort to extricate human life from the decay of late modernity. Spirituality is not a possession or property but rather the contemplation and radical mindfulness that we develop through engaged practices as we search for pathways to recovery. Spirituality becomes critical in the dominant political and cultural wasteland because it provides a bond linking humanity together. In the spirit of global ecumenism, Spiritual Guides also includes a discussion of Muslim, Hindu, and Buddhist forms of spirituality. This book will interest students and scholars of philosophy, political theory, and religion.

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About the author

Fred Dallmayr is Packey J. Dee Professor Emeritus in philosophy and political science at the University of Notre Dame. He is the author of Peace Talks—Who will Listen? (University of Notre Dame Press, 2005), In Search of the Good Life (2007), and Mindfulness and Letting Be (2014).

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Additional Information

Publisher
University of Notre Dame Pess
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Published on
Dec 15, 2017
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Pages
176
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ISBN
9780268102609
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Language
English
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Genres
Philosophy / Ethics & Moral Philosophy
Political Science / History & Theory
Religion / Spirituality
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Marcus Aurelius
Fred Dallmayr
In this book Fred Dallmayr lays the groundwork for a new understanding of democracy. He argues that democracy is not a stable system anchored in a manifest authority (like monarchy), but is sustained by the recessed and purely potential rule of the "people". Hence, democracy has to constantly reinvent itself, resembling theologically a creatio continua. Like one of Calder's mobiles, democracy for him involves three basic elements that must be balanced constantly: the people, political leaders, and policy goals. Where this balance is disrupted, democracy derails into populism, Bonapartism, or messianism. Given this need for balance, democratic politics is basically a "relational praxis." In our globalizing age, democracy cannot be confined domestically. Dallmayr rejects the idea that it can be autocratically imposed abroad through forced regime change, or that the dominant Western model can simply be transferred elsewhere. In this respect, he challenges the equation of democracy with the pursuit of individual or collective self-interest, insisting that other, more ethical conceptions are possible and that different societies should nurture democracy with their own cultural resources. Providing examples, he discusses efforts to build democracy in the Middle East, China, and India (respectively with Islamic, Confucian and Hindu resources). In the end, Dallmayr's hope is for a "democracy to come", that is, a cosmopolitan community governed not by hegemonic force but by the spirit of equality and mutual respect.
Fred Dallmayr
In this book Fred Dallmayr lays the groundwork for a new understanding of democracy. He argues that democracy is not a stable system anchored in a manifest authority (like monarchy), but is sustained by the recessed and purely potential rule of the "people". Hence, democracy has to constantly reinvent itself, resembling theologically a creatio continua. Like one of Calder's mobiles, democracy for him involves three basic elements that must be balanced constantly: the people, political leaders, and policy goals. Where this balance is disrupted, democracy derails into populism, Bonapartism, or messianism. Given this need for balance, democratic politics is basically a "relational praxis." In our globalizing age, democracy cannot be confined domestically. Dallmayr rejects the idea that it can be autocratically imposed abroad through forced regime change, or that the dominant Western model can simply be transferred elsewhere. In this respect, he challenges the equation of democracy with the pursuit of individual or collective self-interest, insisting that other, more ethical conceptions are possible and that different societies should nurture democracy with their own cultural resources. Providing examples, he discusses efforts to build democracy in the Middle East, China, and India (respectively with Islamic, Confucian and Hindu resources). In the end, Dallmayr's hope is for a "democracy to come", that is, a cosmopolitan community governed not by hegemonic force but by the spirit of equality and mutual respect.
Fred Dallmayr
In this book Fred Dallmayr lays the groundwork for a new understanding of democracy. He argues that democracy is not a stable system anchored in a manifest authority (like monarchy), but is sustained by the recessed and purely potential rule of the "people". Hence, democracy has to constantly reinvent itself, resembling theologically a creatio continua. Like one of Calder's mobiles, democracy for him involves three basic elements that must be balanced constantly: the people, political leaders, and policy goals. Where this balance is disrupted, democracy derails into populism, Bonapartism, or messianism. Given this need for balance, democratic politics is basically a "relational praxis." In our globalizing age, democracy cannot be confined domestically. Dallmayr rejects the idea that it can be autocratically imposed abroad through forced regime change, or that the dominant Western model can simply be transferred elsewhere. In this respect, he challenges the equation of democracy with the pursuit of individual or collective self-interest, insisting that other, more ethical conceptions are possible and that different societies should nurture democracy with their own cultural resources. Providing examples, he discusses efforts to build democracy in the Middle East, China, and India (respectively with Islamic, Confucian and Hindu resources). In the end, Dallmayr's hope is for a "democracy to come", that is, a cosmopolitan community governed not by hegemonic force but by the spirit of equality and mutual respect.
Fred Dallmayr
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