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Peterson vs. Žižek on the Evolution of Consciousness and Happiness: From Pragmatism to Sarkar’s Tantra

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Abstract

Mystics and philosophers across the ages have interrogated ideological systems to reveal truth and the praxes that ensure a good life. The 2019 debate “Happiness: Marxism vs Capitalism” between Jordan B. Peterson and Slavoj Žižek exemplifies the perennial quest to link consciousness with a source of lasting happiness. This essay first deconstructs Peterson’s responses to Žižek regarding the biblical devolution of consciousness and religious belief. The second half addresses Žižek’s appraisal of Indian mysticism per the Nazi regime’s misuse of the Bhagavad Gītā contrasted with P. R. Sarkar’s exegesis of the text’s Tantric philosophy. This essay concludes that as Christianity’s religious narrative denies spiritual transcendence (humanity is irrevocably separated from its perfect cause), it struggles to stand the philosophical test of James’s spiritual pragmatism.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    Sanskrit translations are mine unless referenced.

  2. 2.

    P. R Sarkar also published under Ānandamūrti.

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Correspondence to Justin M. Hewitson .

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Hewitson, J.M. (2021). Peterson vs. Žižek on the Evolution of Consciousness and Happiness: From Pragmatism to Sarkar’s Tantra. In: Giri, A.K. (eds) Pragmatism, Spirituality and Society. Palgrave Macmillan, Singapore. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-15-7114-5_5

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