On the Duality of culture and Nature

By David R. Loy

Vol. 55 (January 1995)
pp. 9-35



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Much of the Western tradition can be understood in terms of increasing self-consciousness about the difference between culture and nature. The problems that anthropology has recently discovered about culture parallel what Buddhism claims about the problem of the individual self. We alternate between the promise of technological progress (freedom through self-grounding) and yearning for a return to nature (security through regrounding). Since both are impossible for us, is there is any third alternative?

It is very remarkable that we should be inclined to think of civilization -- houses, trees, cars, etc. -- as separating man from his origins, from what is lofty and eternal, etc. Our civilized environment, along with its trees and plants, strikes us then as though it were cheaply wrapped in cellophane and isolated from everything great, from God, as it were. That is a remarkable picture that intrudes upon us. (Wittgenstein) [1]

Wittgenstein's ignorance of the history of philosophy was not always an advantage, yet sometimes it helped him to see what the rest of us tend to see through. Although the epigraph may be taken in different ways, for me it brings into question a distinction so fundamental that it is extremely difficult to think about -- because we almost inevitably find ourselves thinking with it: the dualism between nature and culture. This is a bifurcation which has taken and continues to take many different forms, but which may be traced back to the Greek distinction between phusis and nomos, nature and convention. Was this conceptual antinomy a liberating discovery, because it deprived social and ideological structures of their



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necessary and 'natural' character, or was it a thought-construction that we today find ourselves constrained by? Or both? Such questions reveal how inescapable the dualism has become for us: even the attempt to understand it becomes expressed in terms of it.

    Much of the Western tradition can be understood in terms of increasing self- consciousness about the difference between nature and convention/culture, and the dialectic whereby each alternately becomes preferred to the other. Hesiod (8th C. BCE?), who stands not far inside the threshold of literacy, already distinguishes between the traditional agricultural life he praises -- in the Golden Age of the past -- and the technological innovations that Protagoras and Anaxagoras would later praise -- which may lead to a golden age in the future. These temporal orientations became enshrined as part of the fixed pattern: those who yearn for nature evoke the past, while those who privilege culture have high hopes for the future. Then as today, nobody is satisfied with the present.

    The fifth century brought not only the democratic and imperialistic aspirations of Periclean Athens but also the first plans for reorganizing society along more rational lines. As Democritus expressed it, nature is not simply inborn but may be implanted with education and training. The most enthusiastic proclamation of human ability to control and transform the natural is found in Sophocles' Antigone lines 332-375, although these verses close with the warning -- the first of many since -- that this possibility is a mixed blessing. Like so many other conceptual tensions, that between phusis and nomos was addressed and not quite resolved by Plato: the simpler life of earlier pastoral society was more conducive to goodness and happiness, yet it lacked philosophy (Laws 679e) -- itself a product of the growing alienation between social custom and natural order.

    The Cynics may be viewed as a radical reaction to this split: in response to the unsatisfactory nomos that their reconstructing Greek society offered, they preferred to live naturally, dog-like (Gr., kunikos). Unfortunately for them, the attraction of such a lifestyle was at the same time its impossibility. Once convention has been recognized as convention, you cannot go home again, for the essential condition of someone truly "close to nature" is that one does not know one is close to nature. The paradox has dogged us ever since.

    Closer to our time, but no less determined by this dualism, such figures as Diderot, Rousseau, Herder, the Romantics, and later Spengler



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(to mention only a few) contrasted the organic and genuine with the artificiality and superficiality of conventionality, seeking spontaneity and sincerity in place of sterile rationality. On the other side, Kant, Hegel, Marx, Condorcet and Comte (to mention only a few) expressed almost unbounded optimism in the progressive capacity of human beings to understand and control the laws of their own development. Even closer to home, because still largely determining the ways we think about our own "nature" Freud emphasizes the importance of the socially-constructed ego and superego controlling the anomic urges of libido instinct; Marcuse and Norman Brown celebrate eros unbound.

    Is the Internet liberatory or alienating? Are humans the rightful stewards of nature, or is it better to "let things be" and allow each species its own intrinsic value? Should economic policy minimize government control of the "free market," or does the marketplace need to be carefully regulated? Should liberal education instill an appreciative awareness of the long and rich tradition that has made us what we are, or should it train us to think critically -- more often than not, to uncover the multifarious ways that tradition disguises itself as natural and inevitable? The tropes shift, and what is culture in one context becomes nature in another, yet consciously or unconsciously we continue to line up on both sides of issues that are none the less important for reconstituting the same fundamental dialectic.

    Inescapable for us, perhaps, but not universal. In fact, it seems to me that the significance we have come to place upon the duality between phusis and nomos is distinctively Western, because almost uniquely Greek in origin. [2] Historically, the distinction became important due to the sophists, whose privileged position in Greek society allowed for the development of a new transcendental vision radically different from those that arose in other ancient civilizations. In most premodern societies the sociopolitical order is validated by sacralizing it. Rulers are gods or empowered by them; to revolt against secular authority, therefore, is to challenge divine power as well. Occasionally, however, contrary transcendental visions have succeeded in distinguishing a sacred dimension from the political. What social conditions encouraged the development of such alternative perspectives?

"Transcendence," whether it takes the form of divine revelation or of theoretical cosmology, implies a search for authority outside the



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institutionalized offices and structures of the seeker's society. Even its most concrete form, the law code, implies a transfer of authority from the holders of office to the written rule. Transcendental impulses therefore constitute, by definition, an implicit challenge to traditional authority and indicate some dissatisfaction with it... [N]ew transcendental visions are ... likely to be presented by persons in a precariously independent, interstitial -- or at least exposed and somewhat solitary -- position in society; they are therefore particularly likely to occur in societies sufficiently differentiated to have specialized social roles with distinct bases of authority, but not complex enough to have integrated these roles into functionally differentiated structures. [3]

This fits the main examples of transcendence that come to mind. In the case of Hebrew monotheism, "interstitial" prophets such as Amos, Isaiah and Jeremiah developed the ethical transcendentalism established by the Mosaic covenant; Max Weber drew attention to how their precarious independence was supported by their ability to prophesize in towns and then withdraw into the hills. In the case of India, Louis Dumont has pointed out a two-stage process: Vedic rituals became so complicated that the role of specialist priests became exalted; then later there appeared "a full-fledged and peculiar social role outside society proper: the renouncer, as an individual-outside-the-world, inventor or adept of a 'discipline of salvation' and of its social concomitant, best called the Indian sect." [4]

    The case of axial-age Greece differs decisively from both the above. Humphreys finds the necessary precondition for a transcendental perspective on society in the privileged and relatively independent position of its intellectuals, especially the sophists, whose special linguistic skills provided "the ability to recreate social relationships and manipulate them in thought." [5] In this instance, however, what Greek intellectuals offered was less a new vision of the divine than a new vision of the secular -- in other words, they discovered or created what became our distinction between the sacred and the secular. Instead of reforming the Homeric pantheon, with its unsatisfactory vision of life and the afterlife, they sought to displace it by distinguishing logos from mythos. Thought liberated itself from myth and superstition, thereby establishing another ambivalent duality whose consequences we still benefit from and struggle against. Or, more precisely, another aspect of the same phusis-nomos



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dialectic, since nomos and logos both serve to demystify and subordinate what had previously been taken for granted as "natural" Thales founded philosophy when he did not use the gods to explain the world. Solon did not get his new laws from them. Pericles did not even mention them in his funeral oration. Greek drama reduced their role by emphasizing human motivation and responsibility. Socrates cited the gods only to justify a quest for wisdom that did not otherwise depend on them.

    One does not escape the gods so easily, however. Psychologically they serve a crucial function. We ground ourselves in a mythological worldview because it organizes the cosmos for us: it explains who we are, why we are here, and what our role is in the larger order of things. Even if that vision is in some ways inadequate -- as Homeric religion certainly was -- its disappearance is likely to make things worse, because the liberation of logos also liberates the anxiety of freedom, from the realization that there is no "natural" transcendental order sacralizing our way of life.

    The psychoanalyst Otto Rank divided our anxiety into two complementary fears. "Whereas the life fear is anxiety at going forward, becoming an individual, the death fear is anxiety at going backward, losing individuality. Between these two fear possibilities the individual is thrown back and forth all his life." [6] This can be expressed just as well in terms of freedom: we feel the need to be free, but becoming free makes us more anxious and therefore more inclined to sacrifice that freedom for security, at which time we again feel a need to be free... In short, our two great needs, freedom and security, conflict. With regard to the relationship between nature and culture, this issue is primarily a problem of meaning: to accept one's culture as natural implies that the meaning of my life is decided for me, while the freedom to discover or construct my own meaning is to embrace a vertigo resulting from the lack of an external -- i.e., a "natural" -- foundation.

    If this dialectic can also be true for whole societies, it is consistent with what we now know about the "harmonious Greeks" and helps to explain why Athenian democracy collapsed. Since Burckhardt and Nietzsche it has become obvious that the Greeks were not Apollonian but profoundly anxious and troubled, "an unusually energetic, restless, turbulent people, given to excess," who idealized harmony and balance because it was a virtue they rarely achieved. As Thucydides put it, they "were born into the world to take no rest themselves, and to give none



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to others." [7]

    The cultural flowering that continues to awe us is easier to appreciate in retrospect. Because it so fundamentally challenged the old ways, such an explosion of creativity was profoundly disturbing to most people at the time. Many progressive thinkers were tried for heresy: Anaxagoras, Diagoras, Socrates, probably Protagoras and Euripides; Plato and Aristotle wisely absented themselves. As Euripides realized, "the gain which has accrued to man from his newly-found independence" is that "he has no firm ground to stand on, and is helplessly exposed to the hazards of life." [8] Unsurprisingly, there was "an undeniable growth of anxiety and dread in the evolution of Greek religion." [9] This anxiety was also projected externally. When Athens became democratic, it became not less but more imperialistic and genocidal, as the Peloponnesian War demonstrates, which is to say that collectively the Athenians' impulses towards greed and domination may actually have been increased by the fact that they had evolved a new mode of self-governance. [10]

    The fourth century (which began with Socrates' execution) increasingly came to emphasize personal freedom and "self-indulgence" as the integrity of the polis declined in favor of the individual advancement which came to preoccupy those who controlled economic life and many of those who controlled political affairs. Plato's Republic and Laws present a reaction to this: the increasingly jaundiced view of an old man who has observed the development and the failures of personal liberty, for without self-control freedom had become libertinism. Aristotle is almost as critical of the new polities in which he lived, for "in these extreme democracies, each man lives as he likes -- or, as Euripides says, "For any end he chances to desire." [11] The democratic experiment in self-government had not worked to resolve the increased anxiety that the increased individualism of the "democratic personality" generated, for the self-governance of the demos clearly did not entail the self-governance of the self.

    The consequences of this for Greek thought were profound. Philosophical discourse on freedom took a radically new turn as a critical distinction was made between outer and inner freedom. The Republic makes a momentous analogy between harmony in the state and harmony in the soul. Plato came to conceive of reason as the master with desire and emotion as its slaves. The virtue of freedom was retained by reconceptualizing it in terms of the self-mastery of self-consciousness. In contrast



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to the incoherent life of the democrat, the psychic tendencies of the spiritually developed individual are harmonized with each other because they are governed by reason. [12]

    Just as the sophists had realized that the state is nomos, a construction which can be reconstructed, so those after Socrates realized that the psyche is a construction which can be reconstructed, with reason as the master. And the aggravated anxiety that shadowed increased individualism required such psychic reconstruction. Rather than solving the growing problem with civic freedom, however, this aggravated it: like the merchants and politicians who retreated into the more private world of their own self-advancement, those who succeeded Plato retreated from commitment to the polis into the more private world of abstract thought, which for them became the only method by which true freedom might be gained.

    This encouraged or aggravated a third dualism (or a third aspect to the phusis/nomos, mythos/logos dualism): the split between soma and psyche, body and soul. In becoming more self-conscious, the mind became more aware of itself as other than the body yet nonetheless subject to it, and in particular subject to the same fate. In this way an anxiety for freedom showed itself. "Nature" is from the Latin natus, "born," but what is born also dies. The discovery of the psyche was or soon became an attempt to reach the eternal and incorruptible, to escape the cycle of nature whereby whatever attains form is doomed to decay and death. As Santayana puts it somewhere, repetition is the only form of permanence that nature can achieve. For some cultures this seems to have been enough, but psyche offered (and greater self-consciousness perhaps required) the possibility of personal survival, even as nomos offered the possibility of symbolic survival: the continuation of cultural constructs including one's name and personal influence.

    The parallel is too suggestive to ignore. Is the duality of nature and culture that of body and soul writ large? Soul and society both seek to escape the physical constraints of the natural world, yet all they can achieve is increasing alienation from that which they are, from the other perspective, manifestations of. The result is that kind of marriage where the couple are not happy together but cannot live apart. The alienated mind uses logos to try to subdue and/or escape its physical ground; civilization uses logos-technology to pursue the same ambivalent goal by transforming the natural world into its own image -- until everything



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natural is turned into "resources" to be consumed. In both cases the anxiety generated by this alienation generates projects that only increase the alienation (and thus the anxiety).



I have gone on at such length about the classical Greek situation because the seeds that sprouted then grew to become trees still luxuriant in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. That brings us to Christopher Herbert's Culture and Anomie: Ethnographic Imagination in the Nineteenth Century, [13] which traces the now problematic culture concept back to anthropology's reaction against Christian evangelism. For Wesley and other eighteenth-century evangelists, the doctrine of original sin describes the dangerous state of ungoverned (anomic) desire. According to this version of the nature vs. culture dualism, society is 'in artificial restraint imposed by necessity upon volatile, uncontrollably self-multiplying individual impulses and desires which in a state of unimpaired freedom, could any such state exist, would act without limit.' [14] Herbert claims that the anthropological doctrine of culture (and of 'cultural wholeness' in particular) evolved as a scientific rebuttal of this myth, although a refutation that has never succeeded in fully dispelling it, since in other guises it remains a leading paradigm of modern (usually conservative) social thought.

    In response, Herbert, following Itard and Pritchard, argues that culture is less a (dualistic) system of controls imposed upon desire than a system of desire. Anomic desire freed from its "cultural script " becomes insane not because it violates prohibitions but because it contradicts and frustrates itself:

[T]he function of culture is not to restrain bestial drives, but to consolidate and articulate energies that become garbled and wholly ineffectual when left to find their own track by themselves. By its uncontrollable fragmentation and multiplication of objects, modern desire, desire, that is, conditioned by the post-Rousseauistic cult of personal freedom from conventionality, dooms itself to frustration. [15]

Anomie, originally understood as a social condition in which norms have



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ceased acting effectively as restraining influences, is less a manifestation of unbounded innate desires than a sociological phenomenon created by structural incoherences within a society.

    All of which is helpful for understanding what happened in fifth and fourth century Greece. Because his argument is confined to the last two hundred years or so, Herbert does not notice that the dualism he addresses is only part of a more fundamental nature/culture dualism which has been constitutive of Western civilization and its burgeoning self-consciousness. The parallel between Greek and Victorian times is rooted in similar declines of belief in religious transcendence -- the Olympian pantheon as much as the Christian God -- which maintained and validated social norms. As we can see more readily (in retrospect) than Plato or Aristotle could, the problem that arose in the fourth century BCE was not a liberation of anomic desire but the collapse of a nomic system of desire previously maintained by the belief that such a system was 'natural,' i.e., created and perpetuated by the gods. When social nomos could no longer be understood as phusis, society destabilized. Having lost their unquestioned belief in such a sacralizing ground, the Greek city-states tried to restructure themselves, as we too continue to try to do, yet self-consciousness of the difference between nature and culture can never recover the unselfconscious groundedness that, for better and worse, has been lost. The freedom that was gained to determine the course of their own lives, collectively and individually, was equaled by a tragic loss of security due to the disappearance of a transcendental ground.

    From my Buddhist perspective, what is most striking about the above social problem is how much it resembles the central problem for the individual self, which according to Buddhism is the sense-of-self's anxiety due to dimly-intuited awareness that it is not self-existing or "natural" but a mental construct. Classical Greece demonstrates the similar collective anxiety that arose when a society became aware of itself as a construct. In order to develop this parallel, however, it is first necessary to adumbrate the Buddhist approach as I understand it.

    Central to Buddhist teachings is a denial of the self (an-atman). Contemporary psychology makes such a doctrine seem somewhat less perverse to us today, by providing some homegrown handles on what remains a very counterintuitive claim. I think Buddhism anticipated the reluctant conclusions of psychoanalysis: that guilt and anxiety are not adventitious but intrinsic to the ego. This is because our dissatisfaction



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with life (duhkha) derives from a repression even more immediate than death-fear: the suspicion that "I" am not real. For Buddhism, the ego is not a self-existing consciousness but a mental construction, a fragile sense-of-self suspecting and dreading its own no-thing-ness. Our problem arises because this conditioned consciousness wants to ground itself -- i.e., to make itself real. If the sense-of-self is a construct, however, it can real-ize itself only by objectifying itself in the world. The ego-self is this never-ending project to objectify oneself in some way, something consciousness can no more do than a hand can grasp itself or an eye see itself.

    The consequence of this perpetual failure is that the sense-of-self has, as its inescapable shadow, a sense-of-lack, which it always tries to escape. In deconstructive terms, the ineluctable trace of nothingness in our non-self-present being is a feeling of lack. What Freud called" the return of the repressed "in the distorted form of a symptom shows us how to link this basic yet hopeless project with the symbolic ways we try to make ourselves real in the world. We experience this deep sense of lack as the feeling that "there is something wrong with me," yet that feeling manifests, and we respond to it, in many different ways: I'm not rich enough, not published enough, not loved enough, etc. Such anxiety is eager to objectify into fear of something, because we have particular ways to defend ourselves against particular feared things. The problem with objectifications, however, is that no object can ever satisfy if it's not really an object we want.

    In this way Buddhism shifts our focus from sexual wishes (Freud) and the terror of future annihilation (existential psychology) to the anguish of a groundlessness experienced here and now. The Buddhist solution to the sense-of-self's sense-of-lack is simple although not easy. If it is no-thing-ness I am afraid of (i.e., the repressed suspicion that, rather than being autonomous and self-existent, the "I" is a construct), the best way to resolve that fear is to confront what has been denied: to accept my no-thing-ness by becoming no-thing. Meditation is learning how to become nothing by learning to forget one's self, which happens when I become absorbed into my meditation-exercise. Consciousness unlearns trying to grasp itself, objectify itself, real-ize itself. For Buddhism, then, the only genuine solution is a "spiritual" one -- that is, one which addresses the root problem by my "letting go" of myself in order to realize my interconnectedness with all things. [16]



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Whether or not one is inclined to accept such a Buddhist perspective, it would be farfetched to try to generalize that approach from the psyche of individuals to the culture of entire societies -- if recent anthropological theory had not already done so on its own. There seems to be deep resonance between the traditional Buddhist deconstruction of the self, as outlined above, and current anthropological critiques of the culture concept, and I think the parallels are too striking to be coincidental. Here are some of the more obvious examples:

1. The assumption of cultural wholeness, taken for granted in much social theory for generations, is today so questionable that cultures are more likely to be perceived as masses of "shreds and patches," [17] composites made up of traits borrowed and adapted from the other cultures they have encountered, elements which may or may not be well integrated with other aspects. A well-known passage from Kroeber's Anthropology illustrates this:

We do not think of our American civilization as something that is particularly discordant or ill-assembled. Yet we speak an Anglo-Saxon form of a Germanic language that contains more original Latin than English words. Our religion is Palestinian, with its specific formulations into denominations made chiefly in Rome, Germany, England, Scotland, and Holland. Our Bible is translated partly from Hebrew, partly from Greek. We drink coffee first grown in Ethiopia and adopted in Arabia, tea discovered in China, beer first brewed in ancient Mesopotamia or Egypt, hard liquor invented in mediaevel Europe. Our bread, beef, and other meats are from plants and animals first domesticated in Asia; our potatoes, corn, tomatoes and beans were first used by the American Indians; likewise tobacco. We write an Etruscan-Roman variant of a Greek form of an alphabet invented in or near Phoenicia by a Semitic people on the basis of nonalphabetic writing in still more ancient cultures; its first printing took place in Germany, on paper devised in China. It is needless to extend the catalog. We no longer feel these things of foreign origin as being foreign; they have become an integral part of our culture... This is not because modern American civilization is particularly



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polyglot, but because so far as we can tell such a condition is typical of all cultures. [18]

This passage also reminds us of the importance of cultural change. Insofar as it emphasizes field work, the anthropological study of exotic tribal societies has a tendency to view them diachronically, yet cultures constantly interact with old and new environmental influences, adapt to other cultures, and experience "cultural drift" as they transform according to internal developments. [19]

    Everything above applies just as much to the sense-of-self, according to Buddhism, which also emphasizes impermanence (anitya) due to incessant transformation of the self as much as all other things. Compare Kroeber's passage with the following one from Thich Nhat Hanh, a well-known contemporary Vietnamese Zen teacher:

If you are a poet, you will see clearly that there is a cloud floating in this sheet of paper. Without a cloud, there will be no rain; without rain, the trees cannot grow, and without trees we cannot make paper. The cloud is essential for the paper to exist. If the cloud is not here, the sheet of paper cannot be here either...
    If we look into this sheet of paper even more deeply, we can see the sunshine in it. If the sunshine is not there, the tree cannot grow. In fact, nothing can grow. Even we cannot grow without sunshine. And so, we know that the sunshine is also in this sheet of paper. The paper and the sunshine inter-are. And if we continue to look, we can see the logger who cut the tree and brought it to the mill to be transformed into paper. And we see the wheat. We know that the logger cannot exist without his daily bread, and therefore the wheat that became his bread is also in this sheet of paper. And the logger's father and mother are in it too... You cannot point out one thing that is not here -- time, space, the earth, the rain, the minerals in the soil, the sunshine, the cloud, the river, the heat. Everything co-exists with this sheet of paper...
    As thin as this sheet of paper is, it contains everything in the universe in it. [20]

Needless to say, what is true for every sheet of paper is even more true for each of us. So far from being an integral, self-contained whole, both



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the self and the culture which it both forms and forms part of are due to the incorporation (and interaction) of innumerable elements usually understood to be "outside". Notice, however, a difference between the two passages: Kroeber discusses cultural traits, while Thich Nhat Hanh makes no distinction between natural and cultural aspects: the first (clouds, the sun) elides "naturally" into the other (sawmill, paper). There will be more to say about this later.

2. Early Pali Buddhism deconstructs the sense-of-self in two ways: diachronically into the five skandhas (form, sensation, perception, volitional tendencies, conditioned consciousness) whose interaction maintains the illusion of self, and synchronically with the doctrine of pratitya-samutpada "dependent origination", which Sakyamuni Buddha himself called the most important of his teachings. Dependent origination explains our experience not in terms of a self perceiving an other, but by locating all phenomena within a set of twelve factors (ignorance, volitional tendencies, conditioned consciousness, the fetus, sense-organs, contact, sensation, craving, grasping, becoming, rebirth, suffering and death), each conditioned by and conditioning all the others. There is no reference to something else outside (e.g., transcendent to) this cycle, or to some originary time before this cycle began operating. In response to the question of how rebirth can occur without a permanent soul or self that is reborn, rebirth is explained as part of this series of impersonal processes which occur without any self that is doing or experiencing them.

    In Mahayana Buddhism the interdependence of these phenomena is carried one step further. If things (e.g., this piece of paper) are so completely dependent upon each other, how can the world be understood as a collection of discrete things? Each is in effect deconstructed by all the others; none is self-present because each is always infected with the traces of the others. This denial of self-existence is the meaning of sunyata, a notoriously problematic term usually translated as "emptiness". We are left with a series of interlinked "empty" phenomena each of which does no more than signify all the others and be signified by them. This process never yields any self-presence, and insofar as Buddhist nirvana has been understood to reveal such a transcendental signified it has been misunderstood.

    This may be compared with the theoretical difficulties that Christopher Herbert identifies in the cultural analyses of anthropologists such



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as Benedict and Geertz. The problem is with the symbolic character of the supposed complex whole, which is believed to reside "in a ramified chain of signifiers binding into a single scheme of expression all the disparate features of the life of a society. " If we no longer take this ramified whole for granted, however, there arises "the disconcerting possibility that all the interlinked signifiers of a given culture signify nothing but one another in an eternal circular labyrinthine traffic of "meaning" which never attains an authentic signified." [21]

    Herbert gives as an example Malinowski's attempt (in Argonauts of the Western Pacific) to grasp the cultural significance of the Trobriand kula exchange-system in which symbolically-charged trinkets migrate forever, "doomed to perpetual displacement". Anthropological efforts to extract the meaning of such cultural symbols are always inconclusive because open to the charge of subjectively imposing one's own preferences or presuppositions. The attempt to establish hierarchies of significance for such symbol systems is like asking to whom belong, and for whom occur, the phenomena described in pratitya-samutpada. Sakyamuni rejected that question as misguided: from each factor arises another; that's all there is. The karmic results of action are experienced without their being anyone who created the karma or who receives its fruit, although there is a connection between the action and its result. Just as there is no master cultural symbol which subordinates all the others, that we can therefore employ to understand all the others, so there is no master atman/psyche/ consciousness "within" the person, only a constant displacement and circulation of mental and physical factors which imply each other.

3. Are the connections among those factors causal? There seems to be a contradiction in the way that Madhyamika philosophy uses causality to demonstrate the self-existence of things, yet also denies causation. Despite denying that there is any specifiable difference between the everyday world and nirvana, Nagarjuna distinguishes them: our usual, ordinary world of birth and death is due to perceiving the world in terms of causal relations; nirvana is the world perceived non-causally, without interdependence. [22] The paradox is that, if there is no self-existing thing to cause/be effected, the world will not be experienced in terms of cause and effect either. If things originate (and change, cease to exist, etc.), there are no self-existing things; but if there are no such things then there



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is nothing to originate and thus no origination. Nagarjuna points out the aporia within cause-and-effect: the effect cannot be the same as the cause (for then nothing has been caused), but neither can it be different from it (in which case any cause should be able to produce any effect; MMK 10: 19, 22). Therefore pratitya-samutpada is not really a doctrine of dependent origination but an account of non-dependent non-origination. Origination, duration and causation are 'like an illusion, a dream, or an imaginary city in the sky.' (MMK 7: 34). In short, if we do not see "things", we will not observe their causal relationships either.

    Herbert identifies a remarkably similar problem infecting cultural anthropology insofar as culture is understood as the composite of relationships among various social phenomena. Any theory of their systematic interrelationship creates

a galling dilemma for a rigorously empirical science of the kind that classical anthropology and sociology aspired to be, a science of "concrete, observable facts", for relationships are not observable phenomena. In some fashion they inhabit the empty space between observable phenomena, or, putting the problem in temporal rather than spatial terms, can be mentally constructed by the observer only after empirical observation has been done. [23]

This gives culture "a distinctly hypothetical or conjectural character", something which "can never be demonstrated, only posited ahead of time as a device for organizing one's data." [24]

    As one would expect, this problem becomes further complicated for structuralist anthropology (in the broad sense) preoccupied with the doubly abstract notion of the relationships among relationships. Insofar as it is concerned "to transcend empirical observation and to reach deeper realities (Levi-Strauss), it ends up positing metaphysical substances which bypass empirical data and can be "perceived" only by a kind of extrasensory perception. Herbert points out that the literature describing this supposed faculty is full of transcendentalist overtones and that "the subject matter of these inspired field researchers is conceived to be not ordinary empirical fact but "deeper realities," ... something essentially occult," [25] such as Spencer's ghosts-who-demand-propitiation and Durkheim's metaphysical view of the social collectivity.

    And such as our commonsense notion of the self, according to Bud-



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dhism. In the same way, no one has ever seen an Indian atman or a Greek psyche or our supposed Cartesian-like consciousness. We project such occult entities to explain the integrity of a person's behavior -- or, more correctly from a Buddhist point of view, we posit the integrity of that behavior (despite much contrary evidence, which we ignore or are surprised by) in order to understand people (including ourselves) as simple self-consciousnesses that generate such behavior out of themselves.

4. The failure of the structuralist project to discover a "unified field theory" for the social sciences has led to a new conception of what theory is and what it can do, well summarized by David Scott:

By "theory" (at least what I have been able to make of it) is meant that diverse combination of textual or interpretive (or "reading") strategies -- among them, deconstruction, feminism, genealogy, psychoanalysis, post-marxism -- that, from about the early 1970s or so had initiated a challenge to the protocols of a general hermeneutics…
    Theory, in this sense, offered itself as de-disciplinary, as in fact anti-disciplinary, the virtual undoer of disciplinary self-identities. It offered itself as a mobile and nomadic field of critical operations without a proper name, and therefore without a distinctive domain of objects. Indeed what theory went after was precisely the assumption (common to the disciplines and their rage for "method") of the authentic self-authoring presence of things, of histories, of cultures, of selves, the assumption of stable essences, in short, that could be made to speak themselves once and for all through the transparency of an unequivocal and analytical language. On theory's account there could be no final description, no end to re-description, no ultimate perspective which could terminate once and for all the possibility of another word on the matter. [26]

Since such critical theory cannot pretend to mirror the objective nature of society in categories that reveal without distorting, its own truth becomes an inextricable part of the phenomena it seeks to explain:

A full-scale social theory... will form part of its own object-domain. That is, a social theory is a theory about (among other things) a-



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gents' beliefs about their society, but it is itself such a belief. So if a theory of society is to give an exhaustive account of the beliefs agents in the society have, it will have to give an account of itself as one such belief. [27]

It is unnecessary to point out how discomforting this nomadic conception of theory continues to be for many social scientists. Less known is that a very similar conception of theory as self-reflexive and self-negating has been essential to Buddhist philosophy since at least the time of Nagarjuna (second century CE). Since it emphasized the need to empty oneself of concepts, Buddhism could not avoid self-consciousness about its own employment of theoretical constructs. Sakyamuni compared his own teachings to a raft that may be used to ferry us across the river of birth and death to the "other shore" of nirvana, and then to be abandoned, not carried about on one's back. Nagarjuna went further by declining to present any view of his own; his chapter on the nature of nirvana concludes that "ultimate serenity is the coming to rest of all ways of taking things, the repose of named things; no truth has been taught by a Buddha for anyone, anywhere" (MMK 25: 24). This applies also to the crucial concept of sunyata, which Nagarjuna used to deconstruct the self-existence of things: sunyata too is relative to those supposed things; it is nothing more than "the exhaustion of all theories and views" and those who make sunyata into a theory about the nature of things are "incurable"(MMK 13: 8).

    Nagarjuna's self-negating conception of conception reverberated through subsequent Buddhism. The sixth Ch'an patriarch Hui-neng, revered as the greatest of all Ch'an (Zen) masters, also refused to make Buddhism into a transparent, mirror-like teaching about reality: "If I tell you that I have a system of Dharma [teaching] to transmit to others, I am cheating you. What I do to my disciples is to liberate them from their own bondage with such devices as the case may need."

Only those who do not possess a single system of law can formulate all systems of law... It makes no difference to those who have realized the essence of mind whether they formulate all systems of law or dispense with all of them. They are at liberty to come or to go. They are free from obstacles or impediments. They take appropriate actions as circumstances require. They give suitable answers accor-



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ding to the temperament of the inquirer. [28]

Insofar as truth is a matter of grasping the categories that accurately reflect some objective reality, all truth is error on the Buddhist path.

    The crucial issue is whether or not our search for truth -- be it the personal truth about my own "nature" or the scientific truth about social systems -- is an attempt to ground ourselves by fixating on certain concepts. When there is this compulsion, certain ideas can become seductive: i.e., ideologies. The difference between samsara and nirvana is that samsara is this world experienced as a sticky web of attachments which attract us because they seem to offer something we feel the lack of: a grounding for our groundless sense-of-self. Intellectually, that seductive quality manifests as a battleground of conflicting ideologies (including social theories) competing for our allegiance. Ideologies purport to provide the mind with a sure grasp on the world: now we know how the world is meaningful and (usually) what our role in that meaning is.

    In other words, ideology is the attempt to objectify ourselves by understanding ourselves objectively. On this account, the need for theory, and the problem many have with unanchored critique, is the intellectual's version of the dialectic noticed earlier between security and freedom. The Buddhist alternative, as Hui-neng makes clear, is not to rid oneself of all thought but to be able to think without needing to ground oneself thereby. The result is a "non-abiding" wisdom that can wander freely among truths without needing to fixate on any of them, which could also be called a mobile, nomadic play that works to undo the supposed self- identities of those who are anxious because they feel a need to ground their constructed (and therefore groundless) selves.

    Such a teaching is reflexively aware that it always "forms part of its own object-domain", yet this does not become a problem because such teachings are designed to self-negate. Since Buddhist conceptual systems form only part of a religious path that emphasizes meditation -- during which one lets-go of all conceptualizing -- Buddhism works to free one from all ideology including itself.

    Derrida speaks of the necessity to lodge oneself within traditional conceptuality in order to destroy it, which expresses nicely why Nagarjuna insists that the everyday world must be accepted in order to point to the higher truth that negates it (MMK 24: 8-10). According to Madhyamika, sunyata is like a poison-antidote that expels the poison



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from our bodies and then expels itself, for if the antidote stays inside to poison us we are no better off than before.

    This applies most of all to the version of dualistic thinking that motivates the Buddhist path: the distinction between nirvana and samsara, enlightenment and delusion:" Those who delight in maintaining "without the grasping I will realize nirvana; nirvana is in me" are the ones with the greatest grasping. When nirvana is not [subject to] establishment and samsara not [subject to] disengagement, how will there be any concept of nirvana and samsara?" (MMK 16: 9-10) Rather than refuting the whole enterprise, however, this realization is essential to the enterprise.

5. Denying the duality between delusion and enlightenment is not meant to make us complacent in our delusions. A particular kind of personal transformation is nonetheless necessary, which dissolves the dualistic sense of a stable, self-existent "I" inside observing an objective world outside. The importance of this for Buddhism is so familiar that it does not need to be elaborated; more interesting is that anthropology has arrived at a similar conclusion. According to Herbert, the earliest ethnographers of the South Pacific "were engaged collectively in a project amounting to the invention of a new subjectivity, the basis of which appears to be an impulse to experience a state of radical instability of value -- or even the instability of selfhood itself." [29] They and their successors could not help but become more self-conscious about the constructed nature of their own culture -- and therefore about the constructed nature of their own selves. A hundred years later, Leach would begin Rethinking Anthropology by emphasizing the necessity for the cultural anthropologist to undergo "an extremely personal traumatic kind of experience" in order to escape the prejudices of one's own culture and be able to enter into another. [30] Roy Wagner's version of this reproduces what countless Buddhist teachers have said about realizing Buddhism: "The anthropologist cannot simply learn the new culture, but must rather 'take it on' so as to experience a transformation of his own world." [31]

    Herbert sees this as reproducing the Wesleyan salvation narrative "in which an influx of awareness of sin is imagined to be the prerequisite of the shedding of egoistic selfhood and of the new spiritual birth which follows." [32] In addition to the many Buddhist references one could point to in reply, there are numerous other instances of such transformations, described in virtually the same words, in the earlier mystic and pietistic



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traditions of European Christianity. His narrow reading here exemplifies the restricted domain of his study, which seldom reaches back before the nineteenth century and therefore is oblivious of the larger context within which his culture problematic is situated. This misses the opportunity to ask what is perhaps the most important question of all, about the larger meaning of what anthropology has discovered about the constructed nature of all cultures and selves.



What is the significance, if any, of these parallels between what Buddhism has discovered about the problem of self and what anthropology has discovered about the nature of culture?

    According to my explication of Buddhism, the basic problem for the self derives from its quite valid suspicion that it is not self-existing but a mental construction: a fragile sense-of-self dreading its own no-thing-ness, its groundlessness. This no- thing-ness is experienced as a sense-of-lack that motivates me to try to ground myself, to try to make myself real. This leads to various attempts to objectify myself... Does modern culture experience a similar collective problem?

Technology is not applied science. It is the expression of a deep longing, an original longing that is present in modern science from its beginning. This is the desire of the self to seek its own truth through the mastery of the object... The power of technique is not to connect thought effectively to nature; it alters nature to its own purpose. Its aim is to master its being; to own it. (Verene) [33]

Like the profit motive that generates our economic system, today we tend to think of scientific and technological progress as natural, which in this case means: something that does not need to be explained. But in what sense is it natural to "progress" from the first biplane of the Wright brothers to a moon-landing during one lifetime? [34] For Heidegger, the self-assertion of technological objectification is the main way Being discloses itself to contemporary man; the essence of modernity is the technological tendency to reorganize everything into Bestand, a "standing-reserve." [35] In contrast, Buddhism, which does not refer or defer to any transcenden-



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tal Being, can understand the self-assertion of technological objectification as our constant attempt to negate our collective no-thing-ness. On this account, technology is our group effort to create the ultimate security for our self-constructed (and therefore ungrounded) civilization by transforming the entire world into our own self-ground. In response to our anxious alienation from nature, we try to make ourselves real by reorganizing the whole environment (into "resources") until we can see our own image reflected in everything "natural". This is why people today can dispense with the consolations of religion (or how we cope with the fact that those consolations have been wrested from us): now we have other ways to control our fate, or to try to. If the world isn't yet "developed" enough to quell our anxiety (and it never will be), then it will have to be developed more...

    Another way to put it is that technology has become our attempt to own the universe, an attempt that is always frustrated because, for reasons we do not quite understand, we never possess it fully enough to feel secure in our ownership. Is that because the only genuine salvation is in being owned by it? "We now use the word Nature very much as our fathers used the word God," John Burroughs noticed at the turn of the century, "and, I suppose, back of it all we mean the power that is everywhere present and active, and in whose lap the visible universe is held and nourished." [36] Nature can take the place of God because both fulfill our need to be grounded in something greater than we are; technology cannot because it is motivated by the opposite response, attempting to banish that mystery by extending our control, as if the security we crave can be attained by transforming nature into something like us. Bill McKibben sums up his sombre elegy on The End of Nature: "We can no longer imagine that we are part of something larger than ourselves -- that is what all this boils down to. We used to be. " Our success in "improving" nature means we can no longer rest peacefully in its bosom. We cannot manipulate the natural world in a collective attempt to self-ground ourselves and also hope to find in it a ground greater than ourselves. That, in a nutshell, is the source of the conflict between nomos and phusis for us. The eschatology of technological progress is based on the promise of the former; those who want a "return to nature" yearn for the latter. One cannot opt for both, since the two proposed solutions to our (individual and collective) anxiety are incompatible.

    On the technological side, it is no exaggeration to say that the extent



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of the environmental crisis signifies the end to any such dream of a collective self-grounding, although it remains to be seen whether we will realize that in time. The supreme irony of our situation today is that our project to secure ourselves is what threatens to destroy us.

    Does that imply a return to nature? But what can that mean for us today? There is no escape from the Cynic's paradox: having alienated ourselves from it so completely, nature is no longer natural. I believe it was Petrarch who first climbed a mountain for the enjoyment of it; up to that time the Alps were perceived mainly as troublesome, often dangerous obstacles to travel in mid-Europe. Simmel noticed that one who lives in more direct contact with nature may enjoy its charms yet "lacks that distance from nature that is the basis for aesthetic contemplation and the root of that quiet sorrow, that feeling of yearning estrangement and of a lost paradise that characterizes the romantic response to nature." [37] The only society that can gratify such an indulgence is one that has little to fear from nature because its technology has largely tamed it. To paraphrase Stanley Diamond's comment about relativism, such a romantic response is "the bad faith of the conqueror, who has become secure enough to become a tourist." [38] Whether or not our technological genie should have been released from his bottle, he cannot be put back inside. Nor would we want to return (even if we could) to a "natural" premodern society such as Tokugawa Japan, where hierarchical and exploitative "political arrangements were presented as perfect in that they conformed to 'the order found in the manifold natural phenomena of heaven and earth.'" [39]

    To summarize: the freedom that technology seems to offer us, to dominate the natural world, has become our compulsive attempt at a collective self-grounding that cannot succeed. Yet neither can we self-conscious citizens of the twenty-first century find security by returning to nature in the usual sense of the term. Apparently our duality between nature and culture is not to be resolved by either term subsuming the other. Is there any other alternative? I conclude with some reflections on that issue.

    Buddhism has much to say about the problem with conceptual bifurcations such as that between nature and culture. The paradox of such dualisms is that each term can be understood only in relation to the other, as its negation. We usually make such distinctions because we want one side rather than the other, yet their interdependence means we cannot



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avoid getting both. If it is important for me to live a pure life, I must be preoccupied with avoiding impurity; my hope for success is equalled by my fear of failure; my desire to live is also my terror of death. And insofar as the nature/culture dualism reflects our need for a ground, we have learned that to love one of them is to confront the other. In so doing, however, have we also learned to overlook the continuity between them?

    Whitehead somewhere calls the duality between man and nature a false dichotomy: mankind is that factor in nature which exhibits in its most intense form the plasticity in nature. This plasticity -- lack of fixed form -- is another way to understand the sunyata of phenomena, for their lack of self-essence is what enables constant transformation of one thing into another. Whitehead's point is that this is most true of homo sapiens, which of all species is capable of the widest diversity of experiences. He refers to our "most intense" plasticity -- a difference in degree, not in kind. But if the ego-sense is constructed -- if its need for security is what resists this extraordinary plasticity, by identifying with a more limited range of possibilities -- then precisely what is it that exhibits this plasticity? In other words, who or what is having all these different experiences? If dogs and trees are also "empty" of a fixed essence, on what basis do we bifurcate between humans and nonhuman creatures? Perhaps what is unique about humans, from such a perspective, is simply that we are the species which constructs such a difference; that conceptual construction is one of the ways we express our plasticity. If that is the case, however, the distinction is not only dangerous but delusive. To see the "natural world" thus is to project our way of thinking in a way that alienates ourselves from it, with all the anxiety that entails.

    This issue may be raised another way. Does phusis have more of a self-organizing, self-developing aspect than we have acknowledged? In contrast to the strong form/matter and mind/body dualisms of the Western tradition, for example, the Chinese concept of ch'i does not distinguish physical matter from awareness or from energy. Recent attempts to wed Buddhism with general systems theory [40] raise the possibility of joining natural selection and cultural development into a more unified "grand theory" of evolution.

    Can such abstract theories contribute to solving our very real and intimate problem, the anxiety generated by our awareness of the construc-



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ted nature of our own self/our own society? For Buddhism, as we have seen, theory is useful only insofar as it is based upon transformative experience and helps us to transform our own experience. That brings us back to what Thich Nhat Hanh said about this sheet of paper. His analysis does not distinguish between cultural (paper) and natural (clouds) phenomena. The practical question is how it might possible to experience that interdependence.

    One term used to describe the transformative experience in Buddhism is the Sanskrit pravrtti, which may be understood as a "turning around" from the alienated sense-of-self as something inside the body, to realizing that the mind which experiences is not other than the experienced world. As the thirteenth-century Japanese Zen master Dogen put it: "I came to realize clearly that mind is no other than mountains and rivers and the great wide earth, the sun and the moon and the stars." [41] In terms of the culture/nature dualism, the importance of such an immediate experience of our plasticity is that it would not only free us (from the delusive alienation of an ego-self) but also ground us: not by identifying with some particular thing in the world, nor with something transcendent to the world, but with the whole world itself, its boxy-or-attractive skyscrapers and convenient-but-polluting automobiles as well as its mountains and rivers. If this could occur, then, it should help to obviate both our yearning to return to nature (for regrounding) and our technological need to dominate nature (for self-grounding).

    Whether or not such a transformative experience is actually possible, however, is beyond the scope of this already too-long paper.



1. Ludwig Wittgenstein, Culture and Value, ed. G. H. Von Wright, tran. Peter Winch (University of Chicago Press, 1980), 50e; his emphasis.

2. Almost, because there is an important exception: the Chinese dialectic between Confucian emphasis on social norms and Taoist emphasis on the Tao. If the parallel is significant, however, why did it lead to such different historical consequences? I think the answer is related to Confucius "conservatism. He understood his teachings not as a means to restructure society but as the way to restore the old social order, which allowed them to be



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appropriated as the official ideology of later rulers. Instead of helping to demystify the social order, therefore, Confucianism was used to maintain it. For discussions of the Chinese conception of nature, see J. Baird Callicot and Roger T. Ames, eds., Nature in Asian Traditions of Thought (Albany: State University of New York, 1989).

3. S. C. Humphreys, "'Transcendence' and Intellectual Roles: The Ancient Greek Case" in Daedalus Spring 1975: "Wisdom, Revelation, and Doubt: Perspectives on the First Millennium B. C.," 92, 112.

4. "Louis Dumont, "On the Comparative Understanding of Non-Modern Civilizations" in Daedalus Spring 1975, 162,163.

5. "'Transcendence' and Intellectual Roles," 111.

6. Otto Rank, "Life Fear and Death Fear", quoted in Irvin Yalom, Existential Psychotherapy (New York: Basic Books, 1980), 141-2.

7. History of the Peloponnesian War I. 10.

8. Bruno Snell, The Discovery of the Mind in Greek Philosophy and Literature, trans. T. G. Rosenmeyer (New York: Dover Publications, 1982), 130.

9. E. R. Dodds, The Greeks and the Irrational (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1951), 254.

10. See Eli Sagan, The Honey and the Hemlock: Democracy and Paranoia in Ancient Athens and Modern America (New York: Basic Books, 1991), ch. 11 and passim.

11. Politics 1310a, in Aristotle, Politics, trans. Ernest Barker (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1958).

12. The Republic 431.

13. Christopher Herbert, Culture and Anomie: Ethnographic Imgination in the Nineteenth Century (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1991).

14. Culture and Anomie, 35.

15. Culture and Anomie, 52-53; Herbert's italics here and elsewhere.

16. For more on this, see David Loy, Lack and Transcendence: death and life in psychotherapy, existentialism and Buddhism (Atlantic Highlands, New Jersey: Humanities Press, 1995).

17. Robert H. Lowie, Primitive Society (New York: Boni and Liveright, 1920), 441.

18. A. L. Kroeber, Anthropology (1948), 258.

19. Milton Singer, "On understanding Other Cultures and One's Own," The Journal of General Education, 8.

20. Thich Nhat Hanh, The Heart of Understanding (Berkeley, CA: Parallax Press, 1988), 3-5.

21. Culture and Anomie, p. 19. I think that part of the anthropological difficulty in defining culture is due the fact that what is at issue here is really a dualism: another permutation of phusis versus nomos. The cultural is distin-



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guished from something else, and then anthropologists are surprised that they cannot understand it adequately by itself. So Clifford Geertz distinguishes cultural symbols as "vehicles of thought" from the social structure as "forms of human association", and despite their inevitable interaction he ends up describing the human situation in terms of their dichotomy. Jack Goody questions all such attempts to differentiate the cultural (symbolic) from the social (other forms of human interaction), concluding that the cultural is not something distinct from the social but the social viewed from another perspective ("Culture and its Boundaries: A European View", Cultural Anthropology (?), p. ?. As Eric Wolf points out, describing culture as secondary or derivative "recreates, time and again, the seeming contradiction between earthbound material processes and the free-floating zigzags of the mind" ("Perilous Ideas. Race, Culture, People," Cultural Anthropology 35(1), pp. 13, 30).

22. Nagarjuna's Mulamadhyamikakarikas [hereafter "MMK"] ch. 25: verses 19, 20, 9.

23. Culture and Anomie, p. 10.

24. Culture and Anomie, p. 11.

25. Culture and Anomie, p. 14.

26. David Scott, "Criticism and Culture", Critique of Anthropology 12 (4), 374-375.

27. Raymond Geuss, The Idea of a Critical Theory, 1981, 56.

28. Sutra Spoken by the Sixth Patriarch on the High Seat of "The Treasure of the Law," trans. Wong Mou-lam (Hong Kong Buddhist Book Distributor, n. d.), 95, 96.

29. Culture and Anomie, 156-157.

30. Quoted in Culture and Anomie, 174.

31. Roy Wagner, The Invention of Culture (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1975), 9.

32. Culture and Anomie, 174.

33. Donald Phillip Verene, "Technological Desire, " in Research in Philosophy and Technology 7 (London: JAI Press, 1984), 107.

34. Bertrand Russell (1872-1970) was in his thirties when the Wright brothers flew the first time, and he lived to be able to watch man land on the moon.

35. See, for example, Martin Heidegger, Poetry, Language, Thought, trans. Albert Hofstadter (New York: Harper and Row, 1971), 125.

36. Quoted in Bill McKibben, The End of Nature (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1990), 66 - 67.

37. Georg Simmel, The Philosophy of Money, ed. David Frisby, trans. Tom Bottomore and David Frisby (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1978),



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38. Stanley Diamond, "Anthropology in Question", in In Search of the Primitive (New Brunswick: Transaction Books, 1974), 110.

39. Karel van Wolferen, The Enigma of Japanese Power: People and Politics in a Stateless Nation (London: Macmillan, 1989), 337.

40. See especially Joanna Macy, Mutual Causality in Buddhism and General Systems Theory: The Dharma of Natural Systems (Albany, New York: State University of New York Press, 1991).

41. As quoted in Philip Kapleau, ed., The Three Pillars of Zen (Tokyo: Weatherhill, 1965), 205. The original reference is from the Sokushin-zebutsu fascicle of Dogen's Shobogenzo. The same point is made in other fascicles such as Shinjin-gakudo, Bussho, Sangai-yuishin, etc. For a comparative study of such subject-object nonduality, see David Loy, Nonduality (New Haven, Connecticut: Yale University Press, 1988).