By John Danvers

Via an research of many various examples, Danvers articulates a brand new mind set approximately mysticism and scepticism, now not as contrary poles of the philosophical spectrum, yet as fields of enquiry with overlapping goals and strategies. triggered by way of a deep experience of ask yourself at being alive, many mystics and sceptics, just like the Buddha, perform disciplines of doubt in an effort to turn into freed from attachment to mounted appearances, essences and viewpoints, and in doing so that they locate peace and equanimity. They advance methods of residing with impermanence and the unforeseen via letting cross of adherence to dogmatic ideals and by way of postponing judgement. In universal with many artists and poets they act as brokers of uncertainty, actively worrying the workouts and conduct of day by day idea and behavior that allows you to display how one can retain a feeling of stability and spontaneity in the middle of life's problems. issues explored contain: being and self as strategy; mysticism and language; scepticism and dogmatism; Buddhism, interdependence and vacancy; Daoism and impermanence; dialectics of doubt in paintings and poetry. Written in a full of life and available type, followed by way of drawings and images by means of the writer, this quantity is aimed toward students, artists, lecturers, and a person drawn to philosophy, faith, paintings, poetry and methods of being.

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Special Abbreviations, Symbols, and first Sources

Festival Prayers (1Q34 + 1Q34bis, 4Q507, 4Q508, 4Q509 + 4Q505)
4QBerakhot (4Q286-90, 4Q280? )
Songs of the Sabbath Sacrifice (4Q400-407, 11Q17, Mas1K)
Times for Praising God (4Q409)
Grace after nutrition (4Q434a)
A Lamentation (4Q501)
A marriage ceremony? (4Q502)
Daily Prayers (4Q503)
The phrases of the Luminaries (4Q504, 4Q506)
Purification Liturgies (4Q512, 4Q414)

Modern Authors
Scripture References
Dead Sea Scrolls
Other historic Writings

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Additional resources for Agents of Uncertainty: Mysticism, Scepticism, Buddhism, Art and Poetry (Consciousness, Literature and the Arts, Volume 31)

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I do know how to pay attention”. (Oliver 2004: 54) Jamie’s linking of attention and prayer brings to mind a poem titled, A Journal of the Year of the Ox, by the American poet, Charles Wright, which includes a quote from The Cloud of Unknowing, [see p. 52] whose unknown author notes that “attention is the natural prayer of the soul”. (in Spiegelman 2005: 90) Though I can’t find this statement in my copy of The Cloud – indeed it is more usually ascribed to the fifteenth century French philosopher and theologian, Nicolas Malebranche – it is interesting that a poet like Wright, whose work is so concerned with a precise recording of the whole process of perception and representation, should relate this process to the act of praying.

Ibid: 25) In articulating these ideas Merton is drawing upon his readings of Meister Eckhart, who argues that in order to realise and experience the ground of openness, a person has to give up the conventional self – “our special, separate cultural and religious identity”, as Merton puts it. (ibid: 12) This act of letting go is, in a very profound sense, what is meant by poverty of spirit in the Christian mystical tradition. We have seen how indebted Merton is to some of the ideas and terminology of Martin Heidegger – particularly Heidegger’s use of the term, Gelassenheit, “letting be”, which Heidegger borrowed from Eckhart.

The end of human life is not to attain some static ideal state and stop growing. The only end of living is to be found in a way of living”. (ibid: 229) Rockefeller argues that Dewey is more concerned with becoming than with being. This is a reasonable claim. But for me (and probably for Dewey) becoming implies a goal, a direction, a leading towards something, and this can be seen as, paradoxically, a marginalisation of the process of becoming in favour of the intention or goal. For this reason I’m tending to use the terms being and living instead of becoming, while emphasising that being alive is a process, a state of change – hence my use of the phrase, “the flux of being or living”.

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Agents of Uncertainty: Mysticism, Scepticism, Buddhism, Art by John Danvers
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