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Dialogue and Universalism

Volume 25, Issue 1, 2015
The Human Being. Its Nature and Function

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1. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 25 > Issue: 1
Małgorzata Czarnocka, Charles Brown, Emily Tajsin D&U Editors’ Note
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2. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 25 > Issue: 1
Christopher Vasillopulos, Panos Eliopoulos Prologue
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human nature and spirituality
3. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 25 > Issue: 1
Basarab Nicolescu How Can We Enter in Dialogue? Transdisciplinary Methodology of the Dialogue between People, Cultures, and Spiritualities
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When two people try to communicate there is inevitably a confrontation: a representation against a representation, subconscious against subconscious. As this confrontation is subconscious, it often degenerates into conflict. A new model of civilization is necessary, the keystone is dialogue between human beings, nations, cultures and religions for the survival of humanity. In forming a new model of civilization a methodology of transdisciplinarity can be helpful. In 1985 I proposed the inclusion in the word “trans-disciplinarity,” introduced by Jean Piaget in 1972, the meaning “beyond disciplines,” and I developed this idea over the years. Interdisciplinarity has a different goal than multidisciplinarity. The latter concerns a transfer of methods from one discipline to another, whereas the former overflows disciplines, but its goal still remains within the framework of disciplinary research. Interdisciplinarity has even the capacity of generating new disciplines.
4. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 25 > Issue: 1
Georgia Xanthaki-Karamanou Moral and Social Values from Ancient Greek Tragedy
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The paper deals globally with the history of human and social values from Homer and Hesiod to the end of the fifth century. Special emphasis is given on the moral and social concepts expressed in some fundamental texts of the three major tragic poets (Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides). The paper is particularly focused on the significant discrimination between the competitive values, such as wealth and noble origin, and the cooperative ones, expressed in the concepts of justice, wisdom, temperance, modesty, and nobility of character, as well as the respect for the law and the human and political rights, which shaped the development of democracy.
5. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 25 > Issue: 1
Panos Eliopoulos The Epicurean Views on the Human Soul in Lucretius’ De Rerum Natura
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Epicurean physics elaborates on a system of universal kinetics as regards the creation of the world. One of the main principles is that there is no genesis without motion. The human being, as all other beings, is the product of the motion of atoms within the cosmic void. Due to a sudden swerve in the motion of some atoms, it can be upheld, according to the Epicureans and Lucretius, that there is no determinism in the universe and the human being is capable of free will. The atomic motions and the swerves also take place in the space of the human soul. Lucretius, in the De Rerum Natura, follows with precision the content of the Epicurean dogmas, and divides the soul into an irrational part, which he calls anima, and a rational one, animus, according to the distinction between ψυχή and διάνοια.
6. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 25 > Issue: 1
Raghunath Ghosh The Advaita Concept of Contentless Cognition: Some Problems
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The present paper shows whether there is cognition without any content (avişayaka-jňāna). Generally, “cognition” means “cognition of something.” But in the Advaita Vedanta system of philosophy there is pure knowledge having no content called contentless cognition (avişayaka-jňāna) leading to certain philosophical problems.
7. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 25 > Issue: 1
Adriana Neacşu Between Heaven and Earth: the Human Being in Porphyry’s Conception
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For Porphyry, the human being is a compound of soul, its divine and immortal part, which represents the essence of man, and body, its perishable part, that is only the image of the soul, its headquarters and sensitive instrument. Man can achieve happiness only by a spiritual life, according to its nature, a life free of physical needs as much as it is possible. The methods used in this sense imply the weakening of the link between mind and body. In this way the soul of man returns to the sky, meaning the sphere of God, which is its native country.
8. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 25 > Issue: 1
Amita Valmiki The Path of Theistic Mysticism: the Only Hope for the Future?
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Religion and diversified religious experiences are always held suspect and not spared from apprehensions regarding its value, its ethics, its revelatory claims and its approaches. Time immemorial religion and religious experiences have played a pivotal role in building up society for betterment and also for deterioration. Man’s intellectual activity throughout the history was on the line of religion. The sacred in religion has always empowered man in many paths of his life, say, to bring social reformation, be it environmental concern or women empowerment. The sacred in religion have brought wonders in human life.
9. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 25 > Issue: 1
Andrey I. Matsyna The Archaic Perception of Death—an Integrated Model
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Studies of ancient funerary rituals lead to the philosophical problem of the opposition of life and death. Ancient cultural forms that remove this opposition are based on the specifically irrational and correlate with irrational ideas about the soul and its destination after death. The modern rational mind eliminates these forms. Based on an ontologically balanced paradigmatic synthetic approach, considering the features of ontology and myth, a dynamic model of the archaic perception of death—metaphysics of overcoming—was formed. This integrated model most accurately reflects the pre-philosophical way of the transcendence of the being. The metaphysics of overcoming can be the core of the ancient ritual comprehension theory.
10. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 25 > Issue: 1
Claudiu Mesaroș Concordia Doctrinarum or the Concept of Cosmic Harmony in Gerard of Cenad
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Gerard of Cenad, the first Christian Bishop (1030–1046) in the region known today as Banat, authored the Deliberatio supra Hymnum Trium Puerorum, a hermeneutical treatise of great importance for the 11th-century philosophy. The concept of concordia doctrinarum has been commented in several ways as the universal theology of the Catholic Church. Our study discusses this concept in relation with another Gerardian concept, that of divine procession. We argue that there is an idea of cosmic harmony in Gerard, strictly linked to more than one preceding doctrines. First, it is linked to the Areopagitic notion of processus, meaning. Second, Gerard links the same concept with the idea of cosmic hierarchy. The cosmic hierarchy in Gerard of Cenad offers a valuable perspective of a holistic kind, within the Christian so-called Platonic orientation of the 11th-century Latin tradition.
11. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 25 > Issue: 1
Lorena-Valeria Stuparu The Religious Dimension of Aesthetic Experience
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In this paper I intend to show that the differences between the aesthetic experience and the religious experience do not “close” the dialogue between the aesthetic man (the modern one) and the religious man (the premodern one). Although these two types of experience are distinguished by “the way in which everyone understands its object” (while aesthetic perception implies a kind of “moderate” emotional identification with the aesthetic object, authentic religious feeling involves renunciation to self and total dedication)—there is a similarity between aesthetic experience and religious experience which resides in the fact that “towards their object, both are in an attitude of contemplation” (Paul Evdochimov).
12. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 25 > Issue: 1
Adrian Boldişor Myth in the Thought of Mircea Eliade
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The definition and the aspects of myth, regardless of the time in which they appeared and the religion in which they were known, is present in Eliade’s thought throughout his life and work. The myth talks about the outbreak and manifestation of the sacred in the world, underlying realities as we know them. The myth explains human existence. The man, imitating the divine model, is able to transcend the profane time, returning to the mythical time. The sacred is equivalent with the reality. It is central for understanding in the hermeneutical effort to define homo religiosus.
13. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 25 > Issue: 1
Ana Nolasco Art, Mythology and Cyborgs
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We aim to understand how different conceptions of the world coexisted, were created and maintained, and to understand the differences between classical and contemporary mythology in the art context. Are we living in post-mythological times? Is there a pattern or a semblance of structure in both classical mythology and contemporary myths such as the cyborg? Can we stretch the definition of mythology so that it encompasses everything that in some way tries to imbue a sense of order in the chaos of human life?
14. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 25 > Issue: 1
Earnest N. Bracey The Political and Spiritual Interconnection of Running, Death, and Reincarnation
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In this paper I will attempt to provide a fundamentally theoretical, political and experimental way for understanding “running” and the idea or notions of death and reincarnation, especially in terms of human development. More importantly, I will try to answer and explain how the physical exercise of running (or human movement) can play a key part in the transmigration of human souls. Furthermore, I will explain how running, death, and reincarnation are interconnected in some profound ways. It should be pointed out that humans have been running since walking up-right—for survival and transportation. Although the human, two-footed transit system is not the fastest or most efficient way of getting around, running ultimately allows us to get to where we want to go—even in life. As human beings, we also have souls and physically die, or cease living, which is inevitable, and should always be considered an integral part of our existence.
15. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 25 > Issue: 1
Sandeep Gupta The Option before Modernity: Change or Perish
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We simultaneously live in two worlds—our internal world of thoughts, values, desires, and experiences; and our external world in which we are born, and perform actions. Modernity, despite successfully developing our external world, has failed to develop our internal world. This has resulted in our lower nature being unleashed and a crisis of morals and values taking over society. This paper, drawing from the “science of consciousness” as detailed in the Indian tradition, looks at the nature of modernity and how we can address the challenges being posed by it, by training our consciousness to higher levels.
16. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 25 > Issue: 1
Bruce Little What Is a Human Being: Does It Matter?
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In this paper I will argue that man as defined, at least in part, by the concept of human nature within an essentialist understanding remains a philosophically and anthropologically defensible way for understanding what it means to be a human being (person). That is, an understanding of human being includes, but is not limited to, the actuality of the non-material or non-extended substance commonly referred to as soul. The argument turns on the notion that persons are essentially persons. It seems intuitive to say that I cannot imagine myself as a “not-a-person” while it is quite easy to imagine myself as “not-a-professor.” To say I am a person seems not identical to saying I am a profesor—the former seems impossible while the latter possible. Although it might be argued that I could not verbalize I am a person without having a body it seems that would not permit one to conclude the two are identical.
17. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 25 > Issue: 1
Martha Catherine Beck “All Human Beings, by Nature, Seek Understanding.” Creating a Global Noosphere in Today’s Era of Globalization
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This paper describes many connections between the wisdom literature of the Ancient Greeks and the work of contemporary scholars, intellectuals and professionals in many fields. Whether or not they use the word nous to refer to the highest power of the human soul, I show that their views converge on the existence of such a power. The paper begins with a brief summary of Greek educational texts, including Greek mythology, Homer, tragedy, and Plato’s dialogues, showing that they are designed to educate the power of mind (nous). Usually without realizing it, many later schools of thought can be shown to come to conclusions that are consistent with the insights of one school of thought or cultural practice among the Ancient Greeks. Many other ancient cultures also had a holistic view of the cosmos, the human soul, and the best human life.
18. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 25 > Issue: 1
James E. Block Human Nature in the Post-modern Era: toward a Theory of Instinctual Flourishing
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The question of human nature has not been effectively addressed in our time because of great skepticism in the academic and philosophical discourses about the idea of social progress and the validity of a common humanity. As a result the question has been reduced by neoliberalism, biopsychology, and social psychology to demonstrating the malleability of humans in response to hierarchical, biological, or social-conformist pressures. To recover the concept of human nature it will be necessary to reconceptualize the dynamic of human development as a feature of the modern and late modern achievements of a more evolved vision of individuality and community.
19. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 25 > Issue: 1
Sergey Nizhnikov Spiritual Cognition and Morality
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Morality, besides being a form of regulation of human behavior, is also a form of spiritual cognition, having its specific features in each spiritual tradition, either philosophical or religious. Nowadays the humankind tends to forget about the Plato spiritual archetype of Goodness, Truth, and Beauty, united by the eidos of “χάρις” or “αγαθόν,” which in Russian orthodox culture long ago has been turned into the triad Truth, Virtue and Beauty united by Love. Recently, the person tends to lose his humaneness; the current spiritual crisis is of menacing scale and depth. It is necessary to reveal mutual universal values in order to stop any kind of violence. To realize this task, the author tries to investigate common features of spiritual cognition in different cultures and to suggest a universal dimension of the spiritual phenomenon of faith, founding the ethics of “openness to Being.”
20. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 25 > Issue: 1
Ramezan Mahdavi Azadboni The Quranic Perspective on Human Dignity: an Existential Interpretation
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In the Quran, mankind is mentioned in many verses with honours and dignity regarding its creation and position. The human being in some verses is honoured and respected: man is superior to angels as they bowed for Adam as the first man. Meanwhile the human being in other verses is dishonoured and devalued; being described like animals or lower beings. The aim of this paper is to deal with the Quranic perspective regarding the human being’s dignity and honour. The nature of human dignity and honour in existential interpretation is seen in self—realization and self—making destination. In this regard everything in the world is in the service of man in making his destination and identification.