Creative destruction, Shiva, and praxy

July 18, 2012

I’ve got the concept of creative destruction in the context of capitalism in my head from reading people like David Brooks, and the praxy part from reading people like Richard Rohr on the contrast between orthodoxy and orthopraxy.  Shiva comes in as my go-to shorthand for referencing creative destruction in spiritual matters.

This is my post on gnosis misunderstood through attempts at external transmission, which I said I would put in its own post.

If we take Shiva as pointing to a concept of creative and transformative destruction, a concept we might understand through internal insight, through gnosis, we can wonder what might follow from perceiving the concept through only external and intellectual means.  If we actually internalize the concept, I think we become more open to incorporating it into our own journey.  Journeys include actual experiences and doing things — Father Rohr’s praxis, I believe.  I think the upshot may be our willingness to experience creative destruction in our own lives, to take The Fall.

If we have only heard about or understood the concept behind Shiva and perceived creative destruction through our cognitive apparatus, by which I mean our intellects (I have in mind here, by reading about the concept and thinking about it with our conscious minds alone), then we might only incorporate the idea of it into our lives.  In that case, we probably only talk about it rather than experience it.  That, I think, leads to theories and discussions such the role the role of creative destruction in capitalism.

So what? I guess is a question I should address.

People who insist on never taking the fall inflate on the spiritual plane like a balloon and like an obese person on the physical plane.   They may buy larger clothing but the internal build up within them impedes aspects of their lives.  They also need accommodation from others and in real sense push this onto others.  It’s not that there’s anything “morally” wrong with any of this, it’s just that it shifts around needs and burdens.  (People with other eating disorders, including anorexics, I think do the same.  I have lived with both — obese people and anorexic people.  I also often think the depiction of the Buddha as fat is significant — he may be reflecting back to us our own spiritual condition.)  At the extreme, a person who only uses words and never experiences becomes both an empty shell and toxic dump.  The fall allows a person at a certain stage in their development to engage in osmosis, if I can call it that: an exchange of what’s inside them with what’s outside of them — they become a permeable membrane.  This development allows a person to continue to develop spiritually, is my understanding.

David Brooks once said on the PBS NewsHour that while he didn’t relish the idea of having his wisdom tooth pulled, he knew it was necessary and willingly had it done.  That sort of attitude I think is also necessary in respect to experiencing the fall.

To put it another way, I think we need at some stage in our journeys to dance with Shiva, and willingly.

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3 Responses to “Creative destruction, Shiva, and praxy”

  1. Richard Says:

    One of my favorite phenomena of nature is: after a devastating forest fire, many species of new vegetation sprouts up. Sometime these species have been dormant for hundreds of years. They were edged out of sun and water by larger dominant trees etc. This creative destruction also involves a reincarnation.

    Capitalism and free markets in theory embrace creative destruction, but the leadership lacks the veracity of great spiritual leaders. So, the usual political response is that ”we need creative destruction as long as it’s not us who suffers the destruction” eg. it’s easy to destroy public schools and teacher unions when you have your own kids in private school.

    In Brooks’ case he suffers the wisdom tooth because he already knows the scientific benefit. I think spiritual growth involves surrendering to the destruction or loss with the blind faith that you will be able to reinvent yourself. That’s what I always got out of reading about Shiva, anyway

    • Diana Moses Says:

      I think you hit the nail (or various nails) on the head! Which is to say, I see what you’re saying and I agree with it wholeheartedly. Consonant with what you’re saying is that for me, I find that what I’m struggling with often comes down to the robustness of my faith — can I let go enough to let other forces in, which will in the long run produce a more helpful outcome.

  2. Richard Says:

    I think like any practice, the more you have successful experience or at least non- devastating experience, the more confident you become.

    I started this process 6-8 years ago after a traumatic experience. I was always in charge or in control and I had to stop that as a way of life. It’s a slow process but I find the ability to let others run things is also refreshing.

    I have also found support from other like minded people on a similar path to be very helpful in building this confidence as well.


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