Curtis White’s “Transcendent: Art and Dharma in a Time of Collapse.”
By LARB Radio HourJanuary 20, 2023
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Curtis White joins Kate Wolf and Eric Newman to speak about his latest essay collection, Transcendent: Art and Dharma in a Time of Collapse. The book offers an incisive critique of the Westernization of Buddhism, from its adoption by tech companies like Amazon and Google into a practice of corporate mindfulness that aids with productivity in the workplace; to its embrace by New Atheists, such as Stephen Batchelor, who argue for Buddhism without beliefs; to its reduction to being solely a matter of neuroscience. White emphasizes the more unruly, unmaterialistic aspects of the dharma—defamiliarization, passion, and metaphysical consciousness—all of which he argues share a deep connection to the work of Western artists, musicians, and poets. Writing with a fiery skepticism about techno-capitalism as the only solution to solving the world’s crises, White advocates for Buddhism’s place as a form of resistance and a way to think against the status quo.
Also, Anand Giridharadas, author of The Persuaders, returns to recommend V.S. Naipaul’s A Million Mutinies Now.
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