Reinventing the Wheel
A Buddhist Response to the Information Age
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Suggests that certain Buddhist notions may act as an antidote to the adverse effects of high-tech media.
By uniquely using Buddhist teachings, Reinventing the Wheel assesses the personal and communal costs of our global economic and technological commitments. Hershock urges reinvention of the technological "wheel," and, at the same time, acknowledges the need for new forms of practice suited to our rapidly evolving social, political, and economic circumstances. His persuasive presentation urges the skillful spinning of a new "wheel of the dharma. "
Peter D. Hershock is a Fellow of the Asian Studies Development Program at the East-West Center in Honolulu. He is the author of Liberating Intimacy: Enlightenment and Social Virtuosity in Ch'an Buddhism, also published by SUNY Press.
"Hershock clearly brings the root suppositions of western cultural dynamics to our awareness, while contrasting its fundamental values such as independence, individual freedom, and a control of the world, with those of Buddhism. If we continue to accept these western cultural presuppositions, he argues, they will trap us in a 'wheel' of existence, in life's perpetual karmic circle. Although many tend to think that technology is a savior, this is merely an illusion—it colonizes our consciousness. Hence, Hershock argues that we must reinvent the wheel of existence by replacing independence with interdependence, control with appreciation, being with value. In a word, we must free ourselves from ego-based desire through the practice of Zen meditation for the sake of the health and sanity of humanity. He asks the reader to weigh the consequences if we choose to remain oblivious to the karmic bind and its perpetual circle. " — Shigenori Nagatomo, author of Attunement Through the Body
"Reinventing the Wheel demonstrates the necessity to accommodate spirituality within the context of an inexorably technological society. It enjoins, with however light a touch, not simply reflection but practice. We are provided some suggestions as to how we might take back the consciousness from which we have become increasingly alienated by technological media. " — David L. Hall, author of Anticipating China: Thinking through the Narratives of Chinese and Western Culture (with Roger T. Ames)
"On the edge of the third millennium with technologies accelerating the pace of change, this is indeed a timely and exciting piece of scholarship. " — Roger T. Ames, editor of Self as Image in Asian Theory and Practice (with Thomas P. Kasulis and Wimal Dissanayake)