By Huston Smith
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Additional resources for Beyond the Postmodern Mind: The Place of Meaning in a Global Civilization
It is not. I used an invitation from The Saturday Evening Post to contribute to its “Adventures of the Mind” series as occasion to trace the intellectual odyssey that has this empty center. 1 On Living without Order: The Revolution in Western Thought Quietly, irrevocably, something enormous has happened to Western humanity. Its outlook on life and the world has changed so radically that in the perspective of history the twentieth century and now the twenty-first are likely to rank—with the fourth century, which witnessed the triumph of Christianity, and the seventeenth, which signaled the dawn of modern science—as one of the very few that have instigated genuinely new epochs in human thought.
Granted that life needs orientation and that in Homo sapiens the mind figures in effecting it, isn’t it better that the mind effect it concretely, through stories instead of abstractions? ) The answer is: yes, up to a point. The vividness, immediacy, and drama of stories, all made possible by their concreteness, give them the edge in every respect save one. When one foundational story collides with another that differs from it—which is to say: when one tribe or civilization encounters another, or when within a given civilization a story arises to challenge its original, founding one, producing thereby a crisis in the body politic—stories provide no court of appeal.
The Humanities: Flakes of Fire, Handfuls of Light 6. Philosophy: The Contemporary Crisis 7. Theology: The Unstable Détente with Science 8. Science: The Dispute over Evolution 9. Society: The Relevance of the Great Religions for the Modern World Part Four: THE WAY OUT 10. Beyond the Modern Western Mind-set 11. Beyond Postmodernism 12. The Sacred Unconscious 13. The Incredible Assumption Epilogue: Exploring Religious Frontiers Notes Preface to the Third Edition “If, by some strange device, a man of our century could step backwards in time and mix with the people of a distant age,” Gai Eaton wrote in The King of the Castle, “he would have good cause to doubt either their sanity or his own” (p.