Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
Hmm. 'But look at the fruits of our actions'! do they not tell more about who we really are.

That's reasons enough to bring up thoughts about the  "fundamental absurdity of being".
And this applies to so many other contexts. From an eco view point, for instance - so much 'progress', and look what we've done to this world.
Being so careless for so long, and then suddenly waking up to the results of our deeds is doomed to lead to subliminal passive-nihilist feelings.

You're right about the onrush of input from eastern philosophies. I have a hard time calling it religion - at least here in the West it was perceived more like a way of life, with some esoterism to make it go down easier. This shows imo how people need spirituality in their lives, even in absence of established religions. I think in absence of any structure, parachuted on a desert island and left to their own devices, people would still devise a law system (that would limit the 'Positive Freedom' :) ) and a spiritual  one.

Your point about religions being about doing... this might be one of those differences between the western and eastern christianities. I'm no expert in the subject, but being educated in the eastern one, this is  how it feels.

My theory is that productionism and then consumerism are direct consequences of materialism. I don't even hold my friend Marx guilty for that (even though he did put in his brick): the progress of the physical science has been so overwhelming that we were bound to be taken away with the wave.
On the other hand, when we confound the destruction of a rigid, stratified, closed, society, with the dismantling of any moral and spiritual value system, I think we're running grave dangers.
This is why I've always made the connection between the 'positive freedom' dogma and the neoliberalism. Bankers are humans, the financial world is inside the human society, not the other way around, and we'll have to think and see if our society's ruling principles are not the root cause of the destruction we witness.

You mention the generation calling the shots, 40 to 70 yo I imagine; but they are those who were children or young adults in the  '60s and '70s, they were brought up during the sexual liberation, the flowerpower, the hippy and the wars for civic liberties. The old nationalists are long gone by now.
Erasmus and Interrail brought young people out and about in Europe, but most of my own workmates (in the 27-40 yo range) hardly ever travelled outside France.
This is why I wonder if nationalists will ever go away, just like I wondered about religions.
I don't know. I started to stop believing in 'trends'. The society seems to be much more complex than any mind could fathom.

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)

by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot frança) on Sun Jun 14th, 2009 at 10:01:15 PM EST
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