Skip to 0 minutes and 10 seconds Stepping out of the highly elitist and inflexible world of professional sinology, observers will find a Taoist world that looks much more vibrant and diverse, but also increasingly deregulated and unpredictable. We are talking, of course, about the New Age movement in the West, and the rise of democracy and religious pluralism. Thousands of spiritual leaders emerged in Europe. Some built their own cults. Others split apart and away from the mainstream religions in order to found new sects, start esoteric communities, or establish house-shrines or spiritual retreats for seekers away from their increasingly directionless and empty lives.
Skip to 0 minutes and 57 seconds What they promised was this: enlightenment, soul-healing, and self-bettering. The new spiritual leaders, or gurus, pundits, shifus, senseis, and masters and many more titles could be seen as entrepreneurs shopping in the great marketplace of divine stuff, picking up ingredients from Western and Eastern traditions; whichever suited their personal preferences. Mystics gave old wisdom a new twist, or re-labeled outdated products, or made up fancy word creations, or they repatriated archaic ones, to that their ideas would appear, I don’t know, exotic? magical? Authentic looking yogi from India or Heshang from China, or photos of them, were prominently displayed. Travel literature about the Far East became very popular, especially with a female readership, and so did self-help books. A theme °ÆThe Tao of…’
Skip to 2 minutes and 5 seconds emerged, with hundreds of titles such as The Tao of Ideology, The Tao of Cricket. Rhetoric seminars now debated Caesar, Cicero, and Chuang-tzu in their classrooms. Because °ÆZhuangzi’ apparently is universally acknowledged of having the richest language and the most wonderful stories full of paradoxes and allusions.
Skip to 2 minutes and 32 seconds Two of Europe’s most popular ones being °ÆCook Ding Cuts Up An Ox’ and °ÆButterfly Dream’, if you must know. This idea of °Æmulticulturalism’ was hailed as the ultimate solution in the latter half of 20th century this idea that cultures could co-exist side by side as they allegedly did in America, exchanging and re-combining their originalities at will, and thereby gradually creating one single global Culture with a capital °ÆC’. People would assert they were free and had the right, certainly they did, to switch between religions, between belief and non-belief.
Skip to 3 minutes and 22 seconds Scholars who were active in °ÆChina Studies’ during the 70s, 80s, and even the 90s, would swear it was entirely possible for them to identify as °ÆChristian Confucianist’, °ÆJewish Buddhist’,°ÆAtheist Taoist’, or all of it together.
The Tao of everything
Stepping out of the highly elitist and inflexible world of professional sinology, observers will find a Taoist world that looks much more vibrant and diverse, but also increasingly deregulated and unpredictable. We are talking, of course, about the New Age movement in the West, and the rise of democracy and religious pluralism. With the ideas of enlightenment, soul-healing, and self-bettering being emphasized, hundreds of titles such as The Tao of Ideology and The Tao of Cricket became popular in the West especially in the America.