COMPARATIVE CULTURE STUDIES IN PHILOSOPHY AND AESTHETICS
We have the pleasure to present a broad collection of deeply elaborated and original-minded texts entitled Comparative Culture Studies in Philosophy and Aesthetics. The material in this issue of Dialogue and Universalism, guest-edited by the academician Antanas Andrijauskas, includes the findings of culture-focused comparative research in philosophy and aesthetics. The authors investigate various aspects, fragments and spheres of culture in different historical eras and geographical locations and compare mutually distant cultures, frequently finding amazing similarities between them. Studies on Chinese culture and its relations to other cultures are the most numerous in the collection. The term “culture” (as well as its plural “cultures”) is used here in three meanings: culture in the narrowest sense (art, rituals, specific ethnic views), culture in the broadest sense (the entirety of the lifeworld, i.e. all the non-biological spheres of human existence), and, situated above these two meanings, culture in the philosophical sense, where the aim of inquiry is not the scope of culture but its essential properties.
By their very nature, comparative culture studies are impressive in their scope: They demand the ability to investigate from diverse cultural perspectives at once and to switch from one cultural consciousness to another. Such transitions are often considered impossible as many theories claim humans are en-closed in their respective worldviews which are incomparable. Culture studies also require reference to various philosophical disciplines and various spheres of the humanities and social sciences. It must be noted here that in this issue of Dialogue and Universalism the philosophical perspective is the dominant one. In these culture researches, philosophy oversees all other spheres of knowledge, organises inquiries and gives them a philosophical character. Philosophy is also an object of study in the culture research here provided: For the authors it is an important, even leading component of culture, not separated in any distinct way from cultural consciousness.
It would be stating the obvious to say that studies which compare cultures and seek out their differences and common points are of fundamental importance and far more than only an intellectual challenge. Investigating the essence of cultures and the relations between them is important not just for closed scholarly circles and non-academic enthusiasts, and not only for purely theoretical reasons or because culture scholars are curious about worlds different from their own. Culture studies, especially comparative research, are of extreme importance for the human world, also today. Understanding and cataloguing the specific features of the cultures that developed in various parts of the world, their evolution over history, the relations between them and their common areas is one of the sine qua non conditions of understanding between human individuals, social groups, peoples and civilisations. Knowledge about cultures, the discovery and study of their differences underlies perceptive social communication. And most important in such comparative studies is axiological neutrality (which is generally a necessary research criterion). Putting it somewhat perversely, comparative culture research involves a kind of rational empathy, or the rational investigation of what initially appears as exotic, totally unknown and alien, and therefore, as human history teaches us, can easily be perceived as hostile.
Mutual understanding—or at least a comparison of cultural differences with-out their full comprehension but with their positive acceptance as the legacy of Others—enables conflicts to be disarmed already in their emergence phase, or simply prevented. It opens the door to the conciliatory resolution of misunderstandings and helps overcome hostility.
Another banality which must be brought to the fore here is that true human coexistence on a global scale must rest on mutual understanding in which one of the main carriers is the approving, or axiologically neutral admission of cultural difference. Alongside other reasons, misunderstanding, conflict and aggression are also rooted in the human biological sphere. However, in the modern world the biological determinants of intraspecial aggression have become secondary to those provided by culture (in the broadest sense of the term).
Comparative culture studies transform the incomprehensible Other who is usually seen as Alien (an alien individual, social group, people or culture) into a component of our own world, and help annihilate the hostility that often stems from lacking knowledge. It is, among others, for this reason that knowledge about the Other is so crucial for the condition of today’s world and its future. The aim is for the Other not to become Alien and, in consequence, hostile. Therefore—as professor Antanas Andrijauskas has stated in his private correspondence—comparative culture research is of strategic importance for the condition and future of contemporary humanity. It is an unalienable component of an enlightened strategy serving the further evolution of the human world towards reducing intraspecial aggression—which, let me repeat, is today mainly cultural. Consequently, and in line with its mission, the studies conducted by the Lithuanian Cultural Research Institute are/should be of importance for contemporary geopolitics.
We are living in times of the most intensive global-scale human interaction in history—mainly in the economic and political sphere. However, these largely self-interested ties, pursued in a variety of political and economic manoeuvres, rarely base on a common social and cultural foundation. In effect, they are superficial, illusory and limited to ad-hoc interests. Thus, despite our developed communication networks, we live, as Jürgen Habermas says, in different life-worlds and our global world stands far from a true unity which is, in fact, often seen as an illusion, a falsehood propounded by propaganda or the most naïve prophets.
The material in this Dialogue and Universalism issue comes from one source—the authors are all scholars from or cooperate with the Lithuanian Cultural Research Institute (located in Vilnius), a state scientific research institution. It is very impressive to see that one, not overly large research institute (65 research staff), has been able to produce such a valuable and broad legacy in such a short time. The institute was founded in 1990 as the Institute of Culture and Art with the mission of researching national culture, something that had heretofore not been pursued in Lithuania at the state level and reflected the changes in science policy after the country regained independence. In 2002, after its merger with the philosophy departments of the Lithuanian Institute of Philosophy and Sociology, it became the Institute of Culture, Philosophy and Art, and since 2010 is the Lithuanian Cultural Research Institute. The institute has considerably broadened its research since 2002, and today studies culture in general, and all cultures. From 2002 to 2020 only its Department of Comparative Culture Studies, under professor Antanas Andrijauskas, which employs 12 research fellows and cooperates with others (among them are professors Vladimir V. Maliavin from Russia and Hidemichi Tanaka from Japan) has published 45 monographs, 72 collective editions, 79 studies, and over 1100 academic articles. Chapeau bas!
The Dialogue and Universalism editorial team wishes to extend its thanks to this issue’s authors for their efficient and friendly cooperation. Our special thanks go to the guest editor, professor Andrijauskas, for his work on this publishing project. I hope our readers receive it with the interest and appreciation it deserves.
Dialogue and Universalism Editor-in-Chief
professor of philosophy,
Institute of Philosophy and Sociology
of the Polish Academy of Sciences
THE AESTHETICS OF THE INTELLECTUAL (WENRENHUA) SCHOOL IN THE MILIEU OF CHINESE RENAISSANCE IDEAS
This article mainly focuses on one of the most refined movements in world aesthetics and fine art—one that spread when Chinese Renaissance ideas arose during the Song Epoch and that was called the Intellectual (Wenrenhua) Movement. The ideological sources of intellectual aesthetics are discussed—as well as the distinctive nature of its fundamental theoretical views and of its creative principles in relation to a changing historical, cultural, and ideological contexts. The greatest attention is devoted to a complex analysis of the attitudes toward the artistic creation of the most typical intellectuals, Su Shi and Mi Fu; the close interaction between the principles of painting, calligraphy, and poetry is emphasized; a special attention is paid to the landscape genre and to conveying the beauty of nature. This article discusses in detail the most important components of artist’s creative potential, the opportunities to employ them during the creative act, and the influence of Confucian, Daoist, and Chan aesthetic ideas. The various external and internal factors influencing the intellectual creative process are analyzed; artist’s psychological preparation before creating is discussed along with the characteristics of his entrance into the creative process. This article highlights the meditational nature of artistic creation typical of representatives of this movement, the freedom of the spontaneous creative act, and the quest for the inner harmony of the artist’s soul with expressions of beauty in the natural world.
Keywords: Chinese aesthetics, Intellectual School, Chinese theory of art, Su Shi, Mi Fu, Daoist aesthetics, Chinese Renaissance, creative process.
Affiliation: Lithuanian Academy of Sciences.
PSYCHOANALYTICAL THEORY IN POSTCOLONIAL DISCOURSE: COMPARING OCTAVE MANNONI, FRANTZ FANON AND HOMI K. BHABA
This article deals with some earlier applications of psychology for the analysis of the colonial condition offered by three thinkers—Octave Mannoni, Frantz Fanon and recent applications of Freudian psychoanalytical theory in the poststructuralist approach of Homi K. Bhaba. An attempt is made to compare their standpoints and reflect more broadly on what their implications mean for the future of psychoanalysis’ place in postcolonial critique. Also to answer a vital question in the theoretical project of postcolonial studies: Is psychoanalysis a universally applicable theory for psychic disruption in the colonial context? What are differences in the application of psychological theory for studies of colonial discourse? The conclusion of the paper is: Despite the problematic inheritance of racializing thinking psychoanalysis has proved to be an important and reoccurring methodology in colonial critique and postcolonial theory. Nevertheless, it is necessary to recognize that psychoanalysis itself is a colonial discipline and must become an object of colonial discourse analysis.
Keywords: Postcolonial theory, psychoanalysis, racism, anti-colonialism, post-structuralism, Sigmund Freud, Octave Mannoni, Frantz Fanon, Homi K. Bhaba.
Affiliation: Institute of Asian and Trans-cultural Studies, Vilnius University, Universiteto g. 5, Vilnius 01122.
Zhang Bin (张斌), Julius Vaitkevičius (杨居柳)
THE ORGANIZING POWER OF HARMONY IN THE CHINESE TRADITION OF THOUGHT
Early and later Confucians, known in Chinese as the “ruists” school of ancient origins, perceived the idea of “harmony” as a fundamental concept that lies at the basis of self-cultivation, society and governance. In modern times this idea still plays in one or another form a dominant note in Chinese politics and social life. The article attempts to search for causes of the significance of “harmony” by focusing on analyzing two pivotal Confucian texts compiled in the Han dynasty, namely, Records of Music [Yue ji 樂記] and Divination of Music [Yue wei 樂緯]. The analysis shows that ruists belonging to Zhou dynasty’s imperial class of music officials, gradually developed the aesthetics of music into a complex idea of „harmony” that contains the highest aesthetical way—“Dao”—which guides both the whole universe as well as the evolution of human society.
Keywords: harmony, music, Chinese tradition, social organizing.
Zhang Bin — Institute for International Students at Nanjing University (Gulou, Nanjing, Jiangsu, China)
Julius Vaitkevičius — Nanjing University, Gulou, Nanjing, Jiangsu, China.
ANDRÉ MALRAUX’S COMPARATIVE THEORY OF ART
The article deals with André Malraux’s (1901–1976) comparative theory of art. He, a French intellectual, novelist, and philosopher developed an original philosophical approach to art works and their transformations in time which has still a significant impact to contemporary comparative studies of art. The idea of metamorphosis expresses Malraux’s radical turn from classical academic aesthetics and his closeness to existential philosophical and aesthetical thinking. It reinforces the concept of the imaginary museum and provides a more philosophical background. Each culture perceives and accepts the art of other cultures according to its own viewpoints in a process which is defined by Malraux as metamorphosis. The full significance of metamorphosis appeared in modern civilisation—the first which collected art forms from any period and place. The work of art lives its own life deliberated from history and its consequential postulation of human permanence. The metamorphosis is the key to Malraux’s humanist metaphysics of art.
Keywords: André Malraux, orientalism, comparativism, art theory, imaginary museum, metamorphosis of art.
Affiliation: Department of Comparative Cultural Studies at the Lithuanian Culture Research Institute; Saltoniskiu p. 58. LT-08105, Vilnius, Lithuania.
BRIDGING THE GAP BETWEEN CIVILIZATIONS: SWAMI VIVEKANANDA
The article analyses Swami Vivekananda’s views on differences between civilisations and how they can be overcome. It focuses on the role of religion in the process of the coming together of the civilisations of the East and West. Vivekananda treats various religions as a manifestation of one universal religion and considered the morality of the individual as the main criterion of religion. Depending on the moral requirements, Vivekananda distinguishes three basic religious steps. The simplest and most common form of religion is the fulfilment of the historically-formed religious moral requirements. Individuals with a higher need for improvement can practice meditation. People at the highest stage of moral evolution perceive their lives as a constant and tireless service to others. Vivekananda’s life and creative work is the theoretical and practical basis for these fundamental claims of universal religion.
Keywords: Swami Vivekananda, East and West, civilizations, universal religion, spirituality.
Affiliation: Department of Comparative Cultural Studies, the Lithuanian Culture Research Institute, Saltoniškių g. 58, LT–08105, Vilnius, Lithuania.
A COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS OF PLOTINUS’ CONCEPTION OF ETERNITY AS THE LIFE OF BEING AND THE IMAGE OF AION IN CHALDEAN ORACLES
The article presents an interpretation of Plotinius’ concept of eternity, which is defined in his treatise On Eternity and Time III.7  as the “life of being.” The textual and philosophical analysis of a number of related passages from Plotinus’ Enneads concludes that the description of eternity as the life of being is neither metaphorical nor analogical. It should be understood in a technical philosophical sense, which contains direct metaphysical and phenomenological implications. Life is not an effect of intelligible reality but an ontological condition, the limit, source of activity, background for the identity of Intellect. The life of being is not identical with partial aspects of the intelligible universe, but is implied and covered by them. In the context of the Plotinian noetics, the notion of life expresses the wholeness of being in its totality—this is applicable not only to the life of intelligible being, but also true for the life of Soul, which assumes the totality of Soul’s time. Life is recognizable and experienced by living and existing beings on the basis of common liveliness and their common ontological status, so life establishes, develops and intensifies the connection of our own being with eternity via eternal in us. There are notable functional similarities between the Plotinian concept of eternity as the life of being and the image of Aion as reconstructed from fragments of Chaldean oracles—a mystical philosophical text widely read by later Neoplatonic philosophers, albeit never openly referred to by Plotinus. The comparative analysis and philosophical interpretation of the Plotinian and Chaldean concepts and images related to eternity suggest that both the sources maintain similar metaphysical roles of mediation, the transfer of unifying and animating light, causing the motion of reality. It is also significant that the Plotinian parallelism of eternity and “eternal in us” is comparable to the Chaldean image of “flower of the mind,” which is described both as a metaphysical attribute of Aion and as a specific power of Soul, which could be used by a person to acquire knowledge of divine reality.
Keywords: History of philosophy, Neoplatonism, Plotinus, noetics, eternity, life, being, Chaldean oracles, Aion.
Affiliation: Lithuanian Culture Research Institute (Saltoniškių g. 58, LT–08105, Vilnius, Lithuania).
Vladimir V. Maliavin
HARMONY AND BEYOND: SOME GLOBAL PERSPECTIVES OF CHINESE THOUGHT
The paper explores the significance of the Chinese concept of harmony (he, xiehe) for establishing a stable and efficient global governance. The author assumes that to meet demands of the emerging global community this concept should be assessed in the context of two other important notions: “commonality” (yong) and “similarity” or “sharing” (tong). The merging of these concepts has been a real basis of the Chinese tradition and it can serve as a foundation of a new global order based on the principle of synergy.
Keywords: Harmony, commonality, similarity, globalism, synergy.
Affiliation: National Research University Higher School of Economics, Moscow, Russia.
A COMPARATIVE STUDY OF CULTURAL IDENTITIES AND UNIVERSAL NOMAD
The essay provides arguments and the disclosure of principles which are at the base of the modern Western understanding of the world and the human role in it. The principles are ontological, i.e., the conception of nature as a sum of material, atomic parts, and metaphysical, i.e., mathematics as a basis of scientific theories and methods. The conjunction of these principles constitutes what is known as “instrumental reason,” resulting in the universal technological globalization and nomadic civilization. The latter is composed of detached, technical experts, capable of residing anywhere without any cultural or ethnic commitments. The results of their activities are a global network of technical means both for global nomadic tourism and anonymous associations without personal involvement.
Keywords: Ontology, metaphysics, progress, instrumental reason, technocracy, universal nomad.
Affiliation: Ohio University (USA).
EVERYDAY AESTHETICS IN THE DIALOGUE OF CHINESE AND WESTERN AESTHETIC SENSIBILITIES
The paper examines the intercultural dimension of everyday aesthetics which was promoted by one of its most important Chinese proponents Liu Yuedi as a search for dialogue between various aesthetic traditions, in particular, those from the East and West. The aim of the paper is to explore some parallels between the traditional Chinese and contemporary Western aesthetic sensibilities, by looking for their common values and concepts which are gaining prominence in the discourse of everyday aesthetics. It begins with a survey of the contributions of Chinese and Western scholars; the survey concerns the relevance of Chinese (Confucian and Daoist) traditional aesthetics for everyday aesthetics, and examines particular features of the nature of perception in everyday aesthetics which is common to Chinese and Western artistic activities, aesthetic discourses and their conceptualizations. In the second section I discuss the “intercultural” concept of atmosphere as the de-personalized or “transpersonal”/intersubjective, vague and all-inclusive experience of the situational mood and environmental wholeness. I explore and compare the reflection of its characteristics in Western scholarship and Chinese aesthetics, especially in regard to the aural perception and sonic sensibility. The final section provides a comparative analysis of few examples of the integration of music into the environmental or everyday surrounding—in Daoist philosophy and Chinese everyday aesthetics, and Western avant-garde art (precisely, musical composition by John Cage 4’33). The analysis is concentrated on the perception of music in relation to the experience of atmosphere and everyday aesthetics, as they were defined in the previous sections. The paper challenges the “newness” of everyday aesthetics, especially if it is viewed from the intercultural perspective, and proposes the separation of its discourses into the investigation of its past and present.
Keywords: Everyday aesthetics, art, intercultural, music, atmosphere, spatiotemporality, situationality.
Affiliation: Lithuanian Institute of Cultural Studies, Saltoniškių g. 58, LT–08105, Vilnius, Lithuania.
THE IMPORTANCE OF CIVILIZATIONAL IMAGINATION IN CONTEMPORARY GEOPOLITICS
The heritage of civilizations in geopolitics is progressively used to consolidate the vision of a multipolar world and, thereby, to establish its important place in the arena of international affairs. Civilizational heritage and civilizational imagination become increasingly important geopolitical factors which begin to shape the relations between China, Russia, Turkey, the United States and the European Union. In global politics during the last decades, in one way or another, Samuel Huntington’s ideas of the interactions between civilizations and their development externalised with the stress on the increase of civilizational conflicts. These ideas made great impact on political elites of main world powers. The author of this article—drawing attention to the importance of cultural and especially religious factors for civilizational processes and the interactions between civilizations, which were also raised by Huntington—examines the peculiarities of the Russian and Turkish civilizational and geopolitical discourses, and connects to those discourses the current geopolitics pursued by the political elites of these countries. The promotion of the current role of the civilization and its geopolitical legacy highlights the uniqueness of civilizations and creates an effort to strengthen the civilizational imagination and to use the civilizational imperial experience and its cultural heritage in current political events. The Russian discourse is characterised by the historical anti-Western and anti-European attitude of Eurasian Messianic civilizational distinctiveness, while the Turkish rhetoric is characterised by the elevation of the imperial Ottoman Islamic cultural and political heritage. Both the discourses are linked by an imperial mentality, orientation towards a multi-civilizational and multi-polar world as well as the demand to create a new world order in line with such an emerging worldview. The article also discusses some of the ideas prevailing in the European Union that underpin the policy of creating a post-national European cosmopolitan community. However, such discourse lacks a cultural, civilizational as well as religious heritage, which brings people together and can form a long-lasting sense of civilizational community.
Keywords: Civilization, civilizational imagination, cosmopolitanism, discourse, empire, Europe, geopolitics, multi-polar world, Russia, Turkey.
Affiliation: Institute of Lithuanian Culture Research, Saltoniškių g. 58, LT–08105, Vilnius, Lithuania.
INDIAN PHILOSOPHY IN CHINA: WAS DAŚAPADĀRTHĪ 勝宗十句義論 AUTHORED BY A VAIŚEṣIKA?
Daśapadārthī is a text of Indian philosophy and the Vaiśeṣika school only preserved in the Chinese translation made by Xuánzàng 玄奘 in 648 BC. The translation was included in the catalogs of East Asian Buddhist texts and subsequently in the East Asian Buddhist Canons (Dàzàngjīng 大藏經) despite clearly being not a Buddhist text. Daśapadārthī is almost unquestionably assumed to be written by a Vaiśeṣika 勝者 Huiyue 慧月 in Sanskrit reconstructed as Candramati or Maticandra. But is that the case? The author argues that the original Sanskrit text was compiled by the Buddhists based on previously existing Vaiśeṣika texts for an exclusively Buddhist purpose and was not used by the followers of Vaiśeṣika. That would explain Xuanzang’s choice for the translation as well as the non-circulation of the text among Vaiśeṣikas.
Keywords: Vaiśeṣika 勝論, Daśapadārthī 勝宗十句義論, Maticandra-Candramati 慧月, Xuánzàng 玄奘, Kuijī 窺基, Chéngwéishílùn 成唯識論, Yogācāra 瑜伽行派.
Affiliation: Department of Comparative Cultural Studies at the Lithuanian Culture Research Institute, Culture Research, Saltoniškių g. 58, LT–08105, Vilnius, Lithuania.
MARTIN HEIDEGGER’S PHENOMENOLOGY OF BOREDOM AND ZEN PRACTICE
In this article, Martin Heidegger’s phenomenology of boredom is compared with some aspects of Zen practice. Heidegger is primarily interested in boredom as a “fundamental mood,” which takes us beyond the opposition of the subject and object. Thus, boredom reveals the existence more initially than those forms of cognition that are the basis of classical philosophy and special sciences. As an essential feature of the experience of boredom, Heidegger singles out that being in this state we feel that our attention is held by something in which we find nothing but emptiness. In the article, this emptiness is compared with the Buddhist concept of shunyata, and various forms of experiencing boredom are paralleled with the different types of concentration achieved in Zen practice (samadhi). Besides, the question is discussed how the Buddhist perception of emptiness corresponds to Heidegger’s “openness.”
Keywords: Heidegger, Zen, boredom, phenomenology, emptiness, openness.
Affiliation: Institute of Philosophy, Vilnius University, Universiteto g. 9, Vilnius 01122, Lithuania.
IN SEARCH OF CULTURALLY-INFORMED UNIVERSALISM: A BRIEF RECAPITULATION OF THE EARLY STAGES OF THE HONOLULU MOVEMENT OF COMPARATIVE PHILOSOPHY
Humanity is moving towards a new world order, a “meta-civilization” with common values, processes, and organization, where cultural, national, and religious conflicts based on cultural differences are so easy to ignite and difficult to put out. In a world like this it is necessary to trace the origins of such differences (similarities as well), and study the conditions of their appearance. It is important to raise the awareness of the representatives of diverse civilizations and to encourage them to look for common grounds to foster intercultural understanding. With regard to the newly emerging world, philosophers do not keep aloof, they do rise from their cozy armchairs and confront the factual world where it is most problematic. “Innovative” ideas put forward today by the experts of international relations who emphasize the role of different civilizations in the global world, in fact were generated by the Honolulu movement of comparative philosophy much earlier. The members of the movement were already aware of the vital need to bring together foreign, often conflicting, civilizations and search for common intellectual footage between them. As a response to the problem they proposed the idea of a “world philosophy.” The article presents a typology of six distinguishable meanings of a “world philosophy” that were developed and circulated by the Honolulu movement of comparative philosophy, with a brief critique of each meaning.
Keywords: comparative philosophy, intercultural philosophy, world philosophy, philosophical syntheticism, philosophical universalism, philosophical cosmopolitanism, comparative historiography of ideas, Honolulu movement of comparative philosophy, East–West Philosophers’ Conference.
Affiliation: Lithuanian Institute for Cultural Studies, Vilnius, Saltoniškių g. 58, LT-08105 Vilnius, Lithuania.
PHENOMENOLOGY OF EMPTINESS: MARTIN HEIDEGGER AND SHINICHI HISAMATSU
The living world is expanding thanks to the rapid and massive expansion of new technological capabilities. At the same time, paradoxically, it has been narrowed as thinking itself has become narrower and impoverished. Thinking has been pushed away by knowledge in almost all areas of the living world. Instead of thinking, modern man is becoming more and more curious. The acquisition of massively produced knowledge has become a form of consumption or even of entertainment. New theories that appear every day and reveal the failures of the previous ones only emphasize the limitations and fragmentation of the attitude itself. Although such knowledge is useful in solving practical local tasks, its universal validity is unfounded. What is needed is a more open consciousness which is able to reconcile different modes of experience. The rejection of ancient spiritual contemplating traditions and desacralization have impoverished the ability to express reality. This paper presents—as an attempt to recreate contemplative thinking—the conceptions of Martin Heidegger and Shinichi Hisamatsu, two thinkers living in different cultures. The paper pays a special attention to the way of being. The articulation of the state and the posture of the thinker and his/her attitudes uses concepts, that are often ambiguous, multidimensional, but already capable of articulating phenomena that could not otherwise be named. Such a stance paves the way for creative thinking capable of extending and overstepping the limits of the strict causal Western way of thinking.
Keywords: Comparative philosophy, creative thinking, Martin Heidegger, phenomenology, Dasein, being, states of being, befindlichkeit, emptiness, rest and change, Shinichi Hisamatsu, Zen, seven characteristics of Zen.
Affiliation: Vilnius University.
SHINTO AS AN INTRINSIC JAPANESE RELIGION
Motoori (1730–1801) often criticized China, saying “Adashi Michi (alien way)” or “Kara Gokoro (Chinese mind).”“In China, they often say heaven’s way, heaven’s order or heaven’s reason and regard them as the most reverential and awesome things … firstly heaven is … not a thing with the mind, there cannot be such a thing as heaven’s order …” He concludes that there is no “way of nature” in China. He also mentions in his essay Tamakatsuma [Beautiful Bamboo Basket]: “We think that heaven and earth grow all things, but this is not true. It is the deed of Kami that all things grow. Heaven and earth is only the place where Kami grows all things. It is not heaven and earth that grow them.” Kami in this case seems to be different from heaven and earth, but this Kami is one with “nature” and he does not mean that Kami is above “nature.” I think that Motori resumes the essence of Shinto, comparing the thoughts of China.
Keywords: Shinto, the way of the Nature, Motoojri Norinaga, Kami, Ando Shokei, Shizen.
Affiliation: Tohoku University, 41 Kawauchi, Aoba-ku, Sendai, 980-8576 Japan.
KARL JASPERS’ CONCEPTION OF THE AXIAL AGE AND THE IDEA OF PARADIGMATIC INDIVIDUALS
This essay analyzes Karl Jaspers’ conception of the Axial Age and the comparative idea of paradigmatic individuals (Socrates, Buddha, Confucius, Jesus) among other relevant ideas (philosophical faith, biblical religion) in the light of post-secularity. The special focus is laid on the post-war situation in Western Europe which was one of the main factors of the formation of the aforementioned conceptions and ideas. The disaster which was brought by uncontrolled nationalism in Germany forced Jaspers to rethink the crisis of humanism after World War II. Using a comparative method Jaspers seeks a unity of human spirit and with this gesture his thinking appears to be a desire to have a foundation for the common being of contemporary society. Jaspers’ interpretation of paradigmatic individuals stimulated future research on comparative civilizational philosophies.
Keywords: Myth, comparativism, religion, communication, post-secularity.
Affiliation: Vilnius University.
COMPARATIVE HISTORY OF IMAGES AND TRANSCULTURAL IMAGINARY: JURGIS BALTRUŠAITIS’ LEGACY
This essay examines Jurgis Baltušaitis’ writings and shows its connections with the works of Henri Focillon, Aby Warburg and Athanasius Kircher. Baltušaitis oriented his interdisciplinary analyses in art history and cultural studies. The essay aims to demonstrate the complexity and importance of Baltrušaitis’ ideas that are developed in the comparative research of medieval art history, depraved perspectives, aberrations and illusions. Those works are linked by the philosophy of image and imagination that stand at the crossroads between abstractness and concreteness, myth and history, reality and illusion, rational and irrational forces, the East and West. This article tries to shape Baltrušaitis’ legacy by offering an insight into his thinking which unites various research topics, typically excluded from positivistic studies. It reveals the underlying structures of cultural imaginary in which cross-cultural interactions take place. It argues for the revaluation of his oeuvre by attending to the theoretical concerns behind his historical research program.
Keywords: Jurgis Baltrušaitis, comparative research, East-West exchange, imagination, imaginary, aberration, anamorphosis, Henri Focillon, Aby Warburg, Athanasius Kircher.
Affiliation: Lithuanian Culture Research Institute, Saltoniškių g. 58, LT–08105, Vilnius, Lithuania.