On the “Spiritual Type”

On the “Spiritual Type”

We are picking up the pace on developing a non-buddhist practice. I hope you’ll come by sometime and see what’s happening. We meet on Mondays, every other week, from 7-9 PM ET. The next meeting is December 21.


Here is a description from the Incite Seminars group page:

The (Non)Buddhist Practice Posse involves two main activities.

  1.  The Great Feast of Knowledge. We offer a lively reading and discussion group on topics related to “practice” from various fields, such as ethics, ritual, philosophy, psychoanalysis, and beyond. Our dialogue is along the lines of “non-buddhism.” Here is a brief description of that concept. Here is a description of the Feast concept.
  2. Toward a non-buddhist practice. This involves a collective reconceptualization of buddhist/contemplative/anthropotechnical practice along materialist (i.e., non-idealist), socially-responsible lines. The current “root text” is Stranger Sutra. As a group member, a link will be provided that enables you to participate in the ongoing editing of this text. You will also be able to edit the protocol.

The aim of non-buddhism is to “wrest the vital potentialities” that Buddhist theory and practice hold for the person, but to disable certain problematic tendencies associated with religions. We will explore, in practice and in theory, for example, how we might understand and benefit from the concept of “no-self” subtracted from the numerous over-determining Buddhist ideas that accompany this concept. The assumption is that the concept will then, and perhaps only then, become valuable material in our current situation.

For basic orientation, we recommend reviewing the following:


Included in this practice is what is generally called “contemplation.” With this term we are treading dangerously close to the hoary cliff of “spirituality.” Eventually, the term “performativity” will be more useful. But let’s not be too quick to replace the age-old term. After all, it is brimming with, well, spirit, and emits an awful lot of soul, don’t you think? This statement by Laruelle should be illuminating. (I am re-writing the first paragraph to mark certain differences between non-buddhism and non-philosophy.)

[I see non-buddhists in several different ways. Often, they will be subjects of the university, as is required by worldly life, but above all as related to three fundamental human types. They are related to the analyst and the political militant, obviously, since non-buddhism is close to psychoanalysis and anarchism—non-buddhism transforms the subject by transforming instances of buddhism.]

But they are also related to what I would call the “spiritual′ type”—which it is imperative not to confuse with ‘spiritualist′. The spiritual are not spiritualists. They are the great destroyers of the forces of philosophy and the state, which band together in the name of order and conformity. The spiritual haunt the margins of philosophy, Gnosticism, mysticism, and even of institutional religion and politics. The spiritual are not just abstract, quietist mystics; they are for the world. This is why a quiet discipline is not sufficient, because the human is implicated in the world as the presupposed that determines it. Thus, non-philosophy is also related to Gnosticism and science-fiction; it answers their fundamental question—which is not at all philosophy’s primary concern—“Should humanity be saved? And how?” And it is also close to spiritual revolutionaries such as Thomas Müntzer and certain mystics who skirted heresy. When all is said and done, is non-philosophy anything other than the chance for an effective utopia?


More on performativity later…


Image by Carlos Cavalie.

One response to “On the “Spiritual Type””

  1. Robert J. Bullock Avatar
    Robert J. Bullock

    I think you’re brilliant and doing important work. So glad I discovered you.

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