In the lights of the events of September 11th, we need more than ever to understand the roots of our political and philosophical predicament, in particular the deep divisions between peoples that result from differences in ideologies and beliefs. In his book of essays, Maurice Ash unpicks the fallacy of fragmented and compartmentalized knowledge. Although each essay stands alone, the underlying theme is to unequivocally expose the inherent falsehood of Cartesian dualism. From Ash's perspective, the deep cause that lies at the root of the multiple crises facing Western societies is the split between self and the world, between subject and object, the observer and the observed. With his powerful arrows of Buddhist logic, he hits two targets. First, there is no Self separate from the World. It is the notion of the Self which has given birth to self-centred, self-seeking, selfish and egotistical individualism. Only by moving away from the illusion of Self can we embrace the reality of community. "The world is constituted of the relationships of relationships", says the author. The second target Ash aims to demolish is the notion of metaphysics, which gives birth to idealism, utopianism, communism and all the other isms. For the author, reality is in the here and the now it is in the way we live our everyday life.
Maurice Ash has been Chairman of the Town and Country Planning Association, The Dartington Hall Trust in Devon and The Green Alliance. His books include New Renaissance, Journey into the Eye of a Needle and The Fabric of the World. Satish Kumar is an internationally renowned speaker on ecological and spiritual issues. He lives in England and is Editor-in-chief at Resurgence & Ecologist magazine, co-founder of Schumacher College and founder of the Schumacher Society UK.