DC Atheists Meetup Message Board › Sam Harris: Selfless Consciousness Without Faith
Sam Harris: Selfless Consciousness Without Faith
Harris is much more reasonable in many of his subsequent statements than he was in The End of Faith. I have little to complain about in this piece, except to say that Harris is behind the curve.
There are two other books worth reading that plow through much more ground in sorting out the rational from obscurantist elements of the beliefs and practices imported from South and East Asia.
Bharati, Swami Agehananda. The Light at the Center: Context and Pretext of Modern Mysticism. Santa Barbara, CA: Ross-Erikson, 1976.
Swami Agehananda Bharati (1923?1991)
Horgan, John. Rational Mysticism: Dispatches from the Border Between Science and Spirituality. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2003.
Meditation is fine but pretty useless as the basis for a world view, and so is selflessness.
I just finished reading:
Danto, Arthur C. Mysticism and Morality: Oriental Thought and Moral Philosophy. New York: Columbia University Press, 1987. Orig. 1972.
Danto concisely picks out the problems with the world views of Hinduism, Buddhism, and Taoism, as illustrations of a general problem. If I had known about this book in 1972, maybe I could have saved myself a lot of grief in the 1970s.
Harris is still a babe in the woods.
Reading the reader's comments is a more unsettling experience. Harrassment by religious people aside, the readers who treat Harris as a revelation to them must also be fairly new at the game. You can't blame people for being novices, of course, but their enthusiasm shows just how restricted public discourse in the USA is. This is all old, old stuff.