TRANSCENDENT SELFHOOD: The Loss and Rediscovery of the Inner Life by Louis DuprÉ

TRANSCENDENT SELFHOOD: The Loss and Rediscovery of the Inner Life

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DuprÉ (philosophy of religion, Yale), best known for his mind-jarring The Other Dimension (1972), makes a strong, but quite theoretical, case for the recovery of the inner life as our most urgent contemporary task. He has melded several distinct but related essays so that the book's message is presented more via cumulative variations on a central theme than by a strict development of ideas from chapter to chapter. For DuprÉ, the crisis of our culture--the erosion of transcendence--results from a pervasive objectivism that gives priority to critical doubt, analysis, and control and renders the realm of values and meaning wholly private. But as religion has come to be centered more in the self than in institutions and customs, there is an opportunity to discover transcendence there, in its ultimate ground; and in the experience of the self's own ability to transcend, even in its alienation, a deeper, richer foundation of being can be discovered. The capacity of art to present the ultimately real, of memory to find an interior self that somehow is both immersed in and free from temporality, as well as the experience of a qualitatively different existence expressed in the perennial idea of immortality--all these point to a form of selfhood quite different from ordinary states of modern consciousness, closer to the mystical traditions of various great religions. And DuprÉ argues strongly that in this deeper self there lies the essential solution to the malaise of modernity. Provocative, but somewhat abstruse.

Pub Date: Dec. 1st, 1976
Publisher: Seabury