The Nonduality Movement: Part Two

The Nonduality Movement: Part Two

Read The Nonduality Movement: Part One

The Oxford English Dictionary defines a “movement” as “A course or series of actions and endeavours on the part of a group of people working towards a shared goal.”

I don’t think a movement has to be as intentional and organized as the OED implies. For example, while the anti Vietnam War movement was intentional and organized, the Beat Movement was about freedom and being in the moment, rather than intent and organization. However, the Beat Movement was more of a meta-movement since it informed other movements, including the anti Vietnam War movement. This is from the Wikipedia article on the Beat Generation:

…the Beat Generation phenomenon itself has had a huge influence on Western Culture more broadly. In many ways, the Beats can be taken as the first subculture (here meaning a cultural subdivision on lifestyle/political grounds, rather than on any obvious difference in ethnic or religious backgrounds). During the very conformist post-World War II era they were one of the forces engaged in a questioning of traditional values which produced a break with the mainstream culture that to this day people react to – or against. The Beats produced a great deal of interest in lifestyle experimentation (notably in regards to sex and drugs); and they had a large intellectual effect in encouraging the questioning of authority (a force behind the anti-war movement); and many of them were very active in popularizing interest in Zen Buddhism in the West.

In 1982, Ginsberg published a summary of “the essential effects” of the Beat Generation [35]:

* Spiritual liberation, sexual “revolution” or “liberation,” i.e., gay liberation, somewhat catalyzing women’s liberation, black liberation, Gray Panther activism.

* Liberation of the world from censorship.

* Demystification and/or decriminalization of cannabis and other drugs.

* The evolution of rhythm and blues into rock and roll as a high art form, as evidenced by the Beatles, Bob Dylan, and other popular musicians influenced in the later fifties and sixties by Beat generation poets’ and writers’ works.

* The spread of ecological consciousness, emphasized early on by Gary Snyder and Michael McClure, the notion of a “Fresh Planet.”

* Opposition to the military-industrial machine civilization, as emphasized in writings of Burroughs, Huncke, Ginsberg, and Kerouac.

* Attention to what Kerouac called (after Spengler) a “second religiousness” developing within an advanced civilization.

* Return to an appreciation of idiosyncrasy as against state regimentation.

* Respect for land and indigenous peoples and creatures, as proclaimed by Kerouac in his slogan from On the Road: “The Earth is an Indian thing.”

The Nonduality Movement is associated with promoting those values, though it is beyond promoting any values at all. Therefore, the Nonduality Movement is even more of a meta-movement than the Beat Movement. The Nonduality Movement is also more accessible than the Beat Movement was. It’s not defined by a handful of people, by coolness or being “in,” or by a literature, a music, a political stance, a lifestyle, or by a style of any sort, or by anything I’ve yet to identify. It is admitted not only that nonduality cannot be defined, but that it does not exist. Yet there is a movement founded in nonduality.

Where and how can the Nonduality Movement be identified? I’ll consider that and other questions in future blog entries.

-Jerry Katz

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