Reading Sedgwick: from Introduction to Touching Feeling (2003)

Here is something/someone I love:

I think [this book] is best described as a project to explore promising tools and techniques for nondualistic thought and pedagogy. . . .

A lot of voices tell us to think nondualistically, and even what to think in that fashion. Fewer are able to transmit how to go about it, the cognitive and even affective habits and practices involved, which are less than amenable to being couched in prescriptive forms. . . . The ideal I’m envisioning here is a mind receptive to thoughts, able to nurture and connect them, and susceptible to happiness in their entertainment.

. . . [O]f course it’s far easier to deprecate the confounding, tendentious effects of binary modes of thinking—and to expose their often stultifying perseveration—than it is to articulate or model other structures of thought. Even to invoke nondualism, as plenty of Buddhist sutras point out, is to tumble right into a dualistic trap. I’ve always assumed that the most useful work of this sort is likeliest to occur near the boundary of what a writer can’t figure out how to say readily, never mind prescribe to others: in the Jacoblike wrestling—or t’ai chi, as it may be—that confounds agency with passivity, the self with the book and the world, the ends of the work with its means, and, maybe most alarmingly, intelligence with stupidity. (pp. 1-2)


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