This chapter begins with a discussion of the pursuit of certitude and wealth that lie at the foundations of the growth of human societies, and the institutions created to serve the greater good. It then describes the six lectures that make up this book. These lectures are organized around, and loosely argued in terms of, two ideas: nothingness and desire. They were delivered in March 2011 at London University's School of Oriental and Asian Studies as the Jordan Lectures on Comparative Religion. The discussions will often stress the important of practice, but everything contained in them has to do, one way or another, with a way of seeing the things of life more clearly. These lectures are referred to as “philosophical antiphony” in order to avoid any pretense of harmonizing philosophies East and West into a single chorus.
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