Jack Petranker, ed. A New Kind of Knowledge: Evocations, Exhibitions, Extensions, and Excavations. Berkeley, Calif.: Dharma Publishing, 2004. Paperback, xiv + 305 pages.
This volume is part of the Perspectives in Time Space and Knowledge series, which was launched in 1977 with Tarthang Tulku’s challenging book Time, Space, and Knowledge: A New Vision of Reality. That publication introduced a new style of philosophical inquiry into the important matters of life—one that requires, however, a modicum of intelligence and also a willingness to employ the mind in an innovatively “open” way. In other words, you must be something of a philosopher, a lover of untrammeled wisdom.
The present anthology both follows and exemplifies Tarthang Tulku’s nondogmatic philosophical approach, and it also attempts to make this unusual orientation intelligible and more accessible. It contains twenty contributions—prose and poetry—arranged into four parts, with each part having a separate introduction.
To enter this book in the right spirit, the reader would do well to suspend the certainty of who s/he thinks s/he is as an individual and also to keep the mind radically open, which is a kind of listening. The knowledge applied and taught in this volume and the other volumes in this series is not exactly intuition. Rather it is similar to the kind of elucidating insight that springs from phenomenological inquiry.
This philosophical methodology, it would appear, is at the same time a “spiritual” attitude based in moment-to-moment ego-transcendence. To appreciate the TSK (Time, Space, Knowledge) vision/methodology more readily, the reader might find it helpful to start with Robert Reyerse’s essay (notably his ruminations on pp. 70-74). Reyerse’s exercise in answering the question is a tree just a tree not only will give the reader a quick key to understanding how TSK method is to be applied but also will furnish him/her with a surprising answer (unless s/he happens to be ecologically savvy).
This compilation brims with valuable insights and will undoubtedly will provide the reader with fertile ground for asking philosophical questions the fruitful TSK way.
(See also my review of A New Way of Being.)