Friday, 12 February 2016

The Highest Synthesis

Indian Philosophy
Karma is action.

Yoga is meditation.

Karma yoga synthesizes action with meditation.

The Buddha
Dhyana/Ch'an/Zen is meditation.
Buddhist "no soul" teaching is a middle way between materialism and soul pluralism.
Buddhist "emptiness" teaching is dialectical.
Buddhist precepts are a middle way between hedonism and asceticism.
Buddhist "working meditation" is karma yoga.
Ch'an Buddhism synthesizes Buddhism with Taoism.
Zen Buddhism synthesizes Ch'an Buddhism with Shinto nature mysticism.

Dialectics is interaction between opposites;
                   thesis, antithesis and synthesis.

Scientific socialism synthesizes economics with socialism.
Dialectical materialism synthesizes dialectics with materialism.
Marxism synthesizes scientific socialism with dialectical materialism.
It is neither mechanical materialism nor utopian socialism.

Zen Marxism is:
karma yoga;
a modernized middle way;
a higher philosophical synthesis than Hegelian dialectical idealism.


  1. ... came here through Anderson and Blish, surprised to encounter entries about Marx and Zen. Which I really shouldn't be, taking your perspective on mentioned writers into consideration. Nevertheless -
    The late Stephen Jay Gould coined the abbreviation NOMA, standing for "non-overlapping magistrates", adressing the fact that religion and science are forever distinctly seperate issues - jesuits, notwithstanding. And presumably NOMA was directed directly (scusi) at "creationists", who seems to be a real threat in the USofA.
    I'm very well aware that buddhism, or zen - in the actual case - isn't (or is it aren't? - I'm danish, bear with me) religion as such. It's a way of living, acting, percepting. And to that extent, I agree with the model you've established in your article. But - a very large BUT - marxism isn't a "higher" philosophical synthesis than Hegelian idealism (dialectic or not), simply because marxism is materialistic (in the philosophical sense). You can - therefore - not expect a "middle way", all the time, since dialectic materialism operates with the concept of accumulation of quantity emerging as quality. Not over time, but instantly. This - however - reflects zen and the art of bow and arrow (could be dart, bowling or billard), in the way that tools, mind and goal becomes one, when the arrow hits the black spot (bullseye, strike, kingpin).
    I certaintly agree that it all depends of a state of mind - focusing, concentration - but one can't meditate the change of the world. One can visualize a change - even visualize ways to make that change happen. But marxism and karma yoga don't quite mix, since karma has to do with the concept of leaving the wheel of reincarnation. That - I tell you for free - is not a marxian term, and I hear Frederick Engels turning in his shallow grave.
    OTOH - who am I to criticize! And really, frankly, honestly, that is not my intention, at all, since I very much agree with your analysises of various items in various works, presented on your blog. And I'm really into zen, as a way of meditation. In the meantime I'm also smitten by NOMA, and my philosophical worldview is forever "tainted" by dialectic materialism - a marxist, for short. Or rather: - an engelsian :-)
    I'll recommend your blog elsewhere. Thanks for your patience. Gode hilsner Henning

    1. Thank you. I might respond but it will take a while.

    2. Henning,
      You and I seem to share interests in Zen, Marxism and sf. This is good.
      Zen is not theistic but is, I think, a religion because it is a response to transcendence.
      I distinguish between "karma," meaning "action," and reincarnation or rebirth. We can see that actions have consequences in this life. I practice zazen but do not accept rebirth.

    3. Hello Paul
      and thank you for your swift answer. In a way it is a pity, that we seem to agree - because this conversation will come to it's end. A few remarks, though.
      I believe I practice zazen, myself, although I wasn't aware that it was called that. Primarily it is for the sake of some personal calm and "inner peace", when sleep is not adequate. It's not escape, as much as a way of doing the laundry and usimng the vacuum-cleaner in the mind-castle. Not a cleansing of my "sinful soul".
      I therefore appreciate your definition of karma, meaning action, with respect to "religio", meaning "think again", "do it again". Not in "the afterlife", but now, here. That's a comforting view, because only through action will we experience development and change. Anything else is fluffy lint.
      Thus, transcendence accumulates to a firmer grip on reality, and not on wishful thinking about ideal spheres of completeness and perfection.
      In the realm of science fiction, though, a certain yearning for becoming seems abundant. "Childhood's End" is an early example, but what about the term "singularity"? Or ideas of uploading consciousness (despite the fact that really no-body can define the concept - though, try Frank Herbert: "Destination: Void")?
      Paul - it has been a pleasure, and it seems that we agree, at least on certain issues. I do apologize for my rather lengthy writing, but I'm not into the idea that "brief is best". I do not write aphorisms - unless I do. Bedste hilsner Henning

    4. Henning,
      Please comment whenever the spirit moves you.