Noble Speech/Thunderous Silence: Towards a Buddhist Alter-Politics

  • ShinEn Wong


In this chapter, Wong develops upon Ghassan Hage’s notion of a supplementary ‘alter-politics’, which focuses on envisioning radical ontological alternatives in which oppositional conditions and concerns are, however impermanently, suspended. Normative ‘anti-political’ constructions of speech and silence (e.g. such as in exhortations to ‘speak out’ against injustice or in taboos against ‘keeping silent’ in the face of oppression) are contrasted with Mahayana Buddhist notions of ‘Nobility’ and ‘Ignobility’. By focusing on decolonial struggles, Wong presents a preliminary framework to re-imagine other dignifying possibilities of speech and silence, informed by Buddhist epistemologies on human suffering. Wong argues for an alter-political praxis of ‘Thunderous Silence’, or radical attentiveness, as a supplementary contribution to the work of ethical responsiveness.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • ShinEn Wong
    • 1
  1. 1.Monash UniversityMelbouneAustralia

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