Song Of Re-enchantment: Nietzschean Zen Optimism
26 psychosomatic practices
by Robert Miller
For years I’ve had students come to me asking how to make philosophy work in practice. Whilst most philosophy books cover how to reach their ideal, they do it only at an intellectual level: this book helps make philosophy effective intellectually and emotionally. To this end, it offers a unique combination of self-helpful wisdom from East and West, e.g., Buddhism, Vedanta, Nietzsche,
Stirner, Shakespeare, Whitman, Existentialism, Postmodernism, and the themes are couched in poetic stanzas from which are derived memorable maxim mantras to use for daily meditations and psychosomatic practice. The aim is to develop the health and wellbeing (eudaemonia) of the body-mind: “putting into practice” and “reading” in an equal balance. It also supplies some backup theory, explanations, and references in its Endnotes/Commentary.
In 1733-1734, Alexander Pope published a major work, An Essay On Man. It expressed his philosophy in a mammoth poem written in iambic pentameter throughout. The stated Christian-Dualist aim was to “vindicate the ways of God to man” and present a persuasive case that “Whatever is, is right.” It became known as Optimist philosophy. This book is a play upon Pope’s
poem: it imitates the mode while aiming to provide an alternative, more modern, non-Dualist, approach to his key theme, “Whatever is, is right.” The accent is on a Nietzschean Zen “amor fati” (love of fate, karma, cyclical becoming): putting ourselves in exuberant harmony (Zen wa) with life
from moment to moment. In a nutshell, the goal is to become fit in body-mind to practise that all is fitting.
The book is a follow-up and companion volume to the author’s previous book, Buddhist Existentialism: from anxiety to authenticity and freedom (Shogam, 2008); but it stands alone and can be read and used independently.