Download PDF by Joel S. Kahn: Asia, Modernity, and the Pursuit of the Sacred: Gnostics,
By Joel S. Kahn
Asia, Modernity, and the Pursuit of the Sacred examines lots of Europeans who, disenchanted with western tradition and faith after international struggle I, and looking ahead to the non secular seekers of the counterculture, became to the spiritual traditions of Asia for suggestion.
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Additional resources for Asia, Modernity, and the Pursuit of the Sacred: Gnostics, Scholars, Mystics, and Reformers
This almost always comes down to the contention that such manifestations of the Eastern turn are inauthentic, because they inevitably involve distorting Asian realities and “misreading” Asia through the grid of largely Western concerns and presuppositions that are at best phantasmagorical and, at worst, racist and colonial. To be sure, there have been different versions of this critique in recent times, ranging from the critique of Orientalism articulated in the early writings of Edward Said to the rather more nuanced criticisms of anthropologists, Asian studies academics, and postcolonial theorists more recently.
Fetish is effectively a kind of envers (sic) of the symptom. (Žižek 2001) Natural and social scientists, religious studies scholars and many others have been quick to denounce the Eastern turn as irrational, contrary to the laws of science, inauthentic, Orientalist, colonial, and overly subjectivist, while Western Buddhists, Hindus, Taoists, and Sufis have been found guilty of cultural appropriation and political quietism (if not “fascism”). Their religious practices have been denounced as typical of those leading an individualistic and commodified, middle-class lifestyle and their beliefs ridiculed for their naïve universalism.
Whatever the reasons, around the beginning of the second decade of the new century, Guénon “emerged from the rather subterranean world of the occultists and now moved freely in an intensely Catholic milieu,” becoming a follower of the Catholic philosopher Jacques Maritain (1882–1973) (Oldmeadow 2005: 185). But at the same time he also embarked on a serious study of Hinduism, reading much of the available scholarly literature on the subject available in Europe at the time. The period from around 1905 to 1930, when he moved to Cairo (and where he spent the rest of his life) was, according to Oldmeadow, the most public phase of Guénon’s career, and it is therefore no accident that his most important published work began appearing in the 1920s.
Asia, Modernity, and the Pursuit of the Sacred: Gnostics, Scholars, Mystics, and Reformers by Joel S. Kahn