The Looking-glass God: Shinto, Yin-yang, and a Cosmology for Today by Nahum Stiskin; With Illustrations by Maurice Owen.
New York : Weatherhill, 1972. Revised edition. Hardcover. 156 pages ; illustrations ; 21 cm. In very good condition with price clipped dust jacket, firm binding, clean and unmarked pages.
In the same way that Shinto holds up its sacred mirror to man to reveal the godhead, the present book finds reflected in the ancient philosophies of China and Japan a new cosmology for modern man. The Looking-Glass God presents a startlingly new and all-embracing synthesis of three seemingly irreconcilable elements—Shinto, the dogma-free pantheism of Japan; the timeless Chinese principle of yin and yang; and the highest reaches of Western science. This book is a concrete expression of the growing desire in the West to incorporate Oriental values into a newly evolving life style. It represents the first systematic application of Oriental values to contemporary Occidental problems by a Western writer.
The author sums the matter up in the following words: "The principle of yin and yang is one of asymmetric polarity. It is the implicit principle of Shinto and the Orient, and it can be made the explicit principle of a new physics. Were we to use it this way, we could now, at the close of the twentieth century, merge the analytic prowess of the West with the intuitive heritage of the East."
In this age of specialization and rapid technological and social change, here is an ageless philosophy of living which teaches that the objectivity of science and the subjectivity of religion and art and poetry are perfectly complementary. This modern application of the "way" of Shinto shows that the approach required to recognize and use the energies of change in our daily lives is inherent in the principle of yin and yang and that man's happiness is dependent upon the harmonizing of his mind-body with these energies. From this ancient understanding of man and nature, a common-sense formula is derived for the realization of the individual and society. Grounded in human biological process, the "way" extends on into the highest realms of man's intuitive imagination.
This is strong and original thinking, and it requires of the reader equal strength and originality. Not that the new concepts are so difficult in themselves, but that to understand them we must first free ourselves of old and often outworn habits of thought. In the process we receive much help from the author's lucid prose style and a wealth of graphic illustration.
NAHUM STISKIN was born in Pennsylvania in 1945 and graduated from Brandeis University with a degree in philosophy. His studies in Western thought led to an equally keen interest in its Oriental counterpart. After studying the- principles of yin-yang with a Japanese Orientalist in the United States for two years, he moved to Japan in 1969, where he has been engaged in intensive independent research in the traditional arts and sciences of the East. He now lives in Tokyo with his wife and young son.
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