Dialogue Without the Condensation
I do not know why my thoughts turned to Owen Flanagan’s “Buddhism without the Hocus-Pocus” (The Chronicle of Higher Education, 8 January 2012) which I read a couple of days ago. But I have been reflecting on this article throughout the day. Part of it might come from my thoughts on how we treat students.
One of the issues for me is the condescending Flanagan takes toward people who do not share his world view. At one point, he does tell the reader that “For the record, I am not a Buddhist.” However, given the tone he takes toward Buddhism and other religious world views, there was no need for his assertion.
As I read his essay the first time and re-read it again today, I was reminded of when the Buddha Gautama told some monks to listen to people who were criticizing them because those individuals might be right. By listening to Buddhists and other religious people as if they might be right, Flanagan does not need to give stop his efforts “trying to make the world safe for a fully naturalistic view of mind.” Bet he need not be dismissive of the world view held by others.
In my classes, I work hard to build a culture where we do not have to agree with each other. But we can disagree without being disagreeable if we take the respectful position that others might be right.