Sam Harris’ new ‘Waking up’ meme-construction is a puzzling and strangely timid take on the core of spiritual traditions, and marginally religions themselves. The major religions have often been critiqued because they lacked the element of ‘spirituality’ that many have then touted as the core of religion.
The irony here is the way that Harris cripples spirituality in the same way that religionists tend to cripple mysticism. Harris is called suddenly a buddhist, but he is far from presenting anything truly resembling the core of buddhism. His take is close to the kind of side show mysticism seen in Chritianity’s marginal vestiges of the ‘waking up’ legacies in Jesus’ off hand remarks on the subject. The world of sufism in Islam is similar and far more developed, and a difficult and obscured occult forest of unsavory characters (like Gurdjieff). These hidden operators must be licking their chops at the prospect of so many amateur ‘wake up’ groupies entering the field of demonic figures like Gurdjieff or the shady E.J. Gold.
An entrant with at best half the necessary information is a sitting duck for these vultures.
What is strangely baffling is the way that Harris cannot really confront buddhism, but must adopt the lesser realm of ‘waking up’ thematics, a realm without the clarity of buddhism, with insidious connections to mystical variety without discipline or definition and open to all the occult confusions this rationalist thought he had banished.
This constricted theme is an avenue into obscurity and misinterpretation, where the genuine buddhism is completely out front and clear. Trying to create something so close to buddhism, then trying to banish the ‘path of enlightenment’ is a bizarre tactic for flatlanders.