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To Have a Center
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To Have a Center
To Have a Center
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Author(s): 
Subjects(s): 
Comparative Religion
Metaphysics

Price:  $12.00

ISBN:  0-941532-09-7
Book Size:  5 1/2" x 8 1/4"
# of Pages:  177
Language:  English



Description

This collection of essays includes a remarkable variety of subjects,from the order of first principles to a wide range oftheir applications. Of particular interest are several chapters on what the author terms "integral anthropology." Schuon views human nature in the light of man's destiny to transcend himself ina way that is "supernaturally natural"; in otherwords, by realizing his vocation as "image of God." Included are essayson the relation between intelligence andcharacter; on the phenomenon of genius; the spiritual messages of David,Shankara and Honen; a comparison between Ptolemic and Copernican astronomy; a comparison of historical Gnosticism with pure gnosis.

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Detailed Description of To Have a Center

This collection of essays includes a remarkable variety of subjects,from the order of first principles to a wide range oftheir applications. Of particular interest are several chapters on what the author terms "integral anthropology." Schuon views human nature in the light of man's destiny to transcend himself ina way that is "supernaturally natural"; in otherwords, by realizing his vocation as "image of God." Included are essayson the relation between intelligence andcharacter; on the phenomenon of genius; the spiritual messages of David,Shankara and Honen; a comparison between Ptolemic and Copernican astronomy; a comparison of historical Gnosticism with pure gnosis.



About the Author(s)

Frithjof Schuon

Frithjof Schuon (1907-1998) is best known as the foremost spokesman of the “Traditionalist” or “Perennialist” school and as a philosopher in the metaphysical current of Shankara and Plato. He wrote more than two dozen books on metaphysical, spiritual, artistic, and ethnic themes and was a regular contributor to journals on comparative religion in both Europe and America. Schuon’s writings have been consistently featured and reviewed in a wide range of scholarly and philosophical publications around the world, respected by both scholars and spiritual authorities. Besides his prose writings, Schuon was also a prolific poet (see a listing of Schuon's poetry books) and a gifted painter of images that always portrayed the beauty and power of the divine, and the nobility and virtue of primordial humanity.

World Wisdom features a series titled "The Writings of Frithjof Schuon", which includes many new editions of classic books by Schuon in new translations and with additional materials. Our online Library contains many articles and poems written by Frithjof Schuon, allowing readers to see a representative sample of his remarkable body of work.

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Reviews of To Have a Center


“Translated from the French, this collection of essays on the philosophy of religion reflects the author's search for a sense of the spiritual in all of human life. Prolific and scholarly, Schuon has sought to bring certain ‘precisions and illustrations’ and ‘keys’ in his ‘treating of anthropology at all its levels and also…of metaphysics and spiritual life.’ The author does acknowledge that the subjects treated in the 14 essays are ‘very unequal.’ The essays are grouped into four parts: ‘Integral Anthropology,’ ‘Ontology and Cosmology,’ ‘Spiritual Perspectives,’ ‘Various Subjects’ (e.g., translating, vestimentary art, astronomy). These essays are published in the series ‘The Library of Traditional Wisdom’--i.e., the transmission of permanent and universal truths found in the ‘revealed Scriptures as well as the writings of great spiritual masters’ (Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, etc.). This is a very challenging and scholarly work for all seeking the Sophia Perennis, ‘the timeless metaphysical truth underlying the diverse religions…as viewed from within.’ ”
—from a review by T. M. Pucelik, Bradley University, in CHOICE: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries


Table of Contents for To Have a Center

CONTENTS
    Foreword

    Part One: Integral Anthropology
  • To Have a Center
  • Survey of Integral Anthropology
  • Intelligence and Character
  • The Primacy of Intellection
  • Gnosis Is Not Just Anything

    Part Two: Ontology and Cosmology
  • Universal Categories
  • Concerning an Onto-Cosmological Ambiguity

    Part Three: Spiritual Perspectives
  • Degrees and Scope of Theism
  • "Our Father Who Art in Heaven"
  • David, Shankara, Honen
  • Fundamental Keys

    Part Four: Various Subjects
  • On the Art of Translating
  • Message of a Vestimentary Art
  • Concerning a Question of Astronomy


Excerpts from To Have a Center

Foreword

Quite paradoxically, it is sometimes more difficult tofind a title than to write a book; one always knows whatone wishes to say, but one does not always know what tocall it. It is true that the difficulty does not result from thenature of things, for one could follow the example ofRumi and entitle a work A Book Which Contains What ItContains (Kitab fihi ma fihi); but we live in a world which islittle inclined to accept such a defiance of usage and whichobliges us to remain within a relative intelligibility. Thuswe will choose the title of the first chapter: "To Have aCenter," which introduces in its way the subsequent chapters, treating of anthropology at all its levels and also, further on, of metaphysics and spiritual life.

There is the order of principles, which is immutable,and the order of information--traditional or otherwise--of which one can say that it is inexhaustible: on theone hand, not everything in this book will be new for ourusual readers and, on the other hand, they will nonetheless find here precisions and illustrations which may havetheir usefulness. One never has too many keys in view ofthe "one thing needful," even if these points of referencebe indirect and modest.

We acknowledge that this volume contains subjectswhich are very unequal: one will find a chapter on the artof translating, another on vestimentary art and anotherstill on a question of astronomy. But in spirituality everything is related: one always has the right to project thelight of principles onto subjects of lesser importance, andit is a matter of course that one often is obliged to do so.As the Duke of Orleans said: "All that is national is ours"which we paraphrase in recalling that all that is normallyhuman, hence virtually spiritual, enters ipso facto into ourperspective; and "it takes all kinds to make a world."

After what we have just said, the question may be askedwhether the sophia perennis is a "humanism", the answerwould in principle be "yes," but in fact it must be "no"since humanism in the conventional sense of the term defacto exalts fallen man and not man as such. The humanism of the moderns is practically a utilitarianism aimed atfragmentary man; it is the will to make oneself as useful aspossible to a humanity as useless as possible. As to integralanthropology, we intend, precisely, to give an account of itin the present book.


Excerpts from To Have a Center

"Man possesses a soul, and to have a soul means to pray.... The great lesson of prayer is that our relationship with the world depends essentially on our relationship with Heaven." --from "Fundamental Keys"

"What we wish to suggest in most of our considerations on moderngenius is that humanistic culture, insofar as it functions as an ideologyand therefore as a religion, consists essentially in being unaware ofthree things: firstly, of what God is, because it does not grant primacyto Him; secondly, of what man is, because it puts him in the place ofGod; thirdly, of what the meaning of life is, because this culture limitsitself to playing with evanescent things and to plunging into them withcriminal unconsciousness." -- from "To Have a Center"

"When God is removed from the universe, it becomes a desert ofrocks or ice; it is deprived of life and warmth, and every man who stillhas a sense of the integrally real refuses to admit that this should be reality; for if reality were made of rocks, there would be no place in it forflowers or any beauty or sweetness whatsoever." --from "Primacy of Intellection"

"Every human being must, through love of God, strive to 'be what he is'to disengage himself from the artificial superstructures that disfigurehim and which are none other than the traces of the Fall, in order tobecome once again a tree whose root is liberating certitude and whosecrown is beatific serenity. Human nature is predisposed towards theunitive knowledge of its Divine Model." --from "Fundamental Keys"


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