By Gay Watson
Hearing a functionality of John Cage’s 4'33", you listen, initially, not anything. because the composition maintains you listen, once more, not anything. but on listening extra heavily, whatever is heard: the coughs of the viewers, the shuffling of paper, mild muttering. What had vacancy is as an alternative anything extra major, a meditation at the sounds current even inside silence. In A Philosophy of vacancy, homosexual Watson reclaims vacancy as a good, empowering nation, an antidote to the obsession with substance and origin.
Via a travel of early and non-Western philosophy homosexual Watson uncovers the wealthy historical past of vacancy, taking us from Buddhism, Taoism and non secular mysticism to the modern international of philosophy, technological know-how and artwork perform. Watson exhibits that the 20 th century has noticeable the resurgence of vacancy, and she or he bargains explanation why such an it sounds as if unappealing suggestion may have attracted sleek musicians, artists and scientists, in addition to pre-eminent thinkers during the ages.
The booklet probes the belief of ways a existence with out transcendence may be lived, and why one may well pick out this. It hyperlinks those thoughts to trendy principles of the brain, and gives an exciting tackle vacancy that would attract all people with an curiosity within the historical past of suggestion.
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Additional info for A Philosophy of Emptiness
8 Such destruction of desire, hatred and delusion is liberation. There are two sutras in the Pali cannon that, unusually for the Early Buddhist texts, use the word emptiness in their titles – the Shorter and Longer Discourses on Emptiness, but the term is used in a somewhat distinct manner from the way it is used later in the Mahayana. Here it is speciﬁcally related to meditation; emptiness is seen not as a philosophical idea but as an undisturbed physical space in which attention can be nurtured.
Lao Tzu is perhaps an even shadowier and more mythic ﬁgure than the Buddha. It is argued that perhaps he was not a single person but, like Homer, a compilation of several voices. At the end of the ﬁrst chapter of his exploration of the Silk Road, Colin Thubron relates a story of how Lao Tzu, leaving China sickened by the corruption of court life, was persuaded to stay one last night in the Pass to the West, a night in which he transmitted the teachings that comprise the Tao-teChing. 1 There are even accounts 50 in China suggesting that Lao Tzu travelled west to India, where he was the teacher of the Buddha.
It is not my intention here to relay the arguments as to which way the inﬂuence worked and when, but only to express the intriguing overlap of content. This returns us to a theme expressed in chapter One concerning philosophy as a way of life. The philosophies that resonate with teachings of emptiness, in distinction from philosophies of presence, are those most concerned with supporting a way of life; they are concerned with eudaemonia and with therapeutic intent and actual practice rather than with theory.
A Philosophy of Emptiness by Gay Watson