World, Nothing, and Globalization in Nishida and Nancy

In Leah Kalmanson James Mark Shields (ed.), Buddhist Responses to Globalization. pp. 107-129 (2014)
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Abstract

The “shrinking” of the globe in the last few centuries has made explicit that the world is a tense unity of many: the many worlds are forced to contend with one another. Nishida Kitarō, the founder of the Kyoto school, once stated that to be is to be implaced. We exist by partaking in “the socio-historical world.” More recently, Jean-luc Nancy has conceived of the world in terms of sense. What is striking in both is that the world emerges out of a nothing, created ex nihilo—the phrase stripped of its theistic connotations. While for Nishida the world is ultimately implaced in the “place of absolute nothing,” Nancy speaks of the nothing that is the basis of the world’s self-creation. I will explore a possible convergence between these and any light it may shed upon our contemporary situation of globalization and its implications for praxis. I look to a sense of the nothing as a chōratic spatiality, an opening that provides space for co-being and serves as the source of creativity. In face of globalization, the project for meaning through mondialisation (in Nancy) and within a multi-cultural world (in Nishida) would imply the appropriation of such an originary spatiality.

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John Krummel
Hobart and William Smith Colleges

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