17 mei, 2007

Ulrich Libbrecht, a well kept secret

Since the beginning of this year, I attent the courses at the School for Comparative philosophy. The initiative for the school was taken some 15 years ago by Ulrich Libbrecht.
Over the years, the school has become popular troughout Belgium and the Netherlands.
It's basicly a three year cours on eastern and western philosophy.
Using Libbrecht's Comparative model as a backbone, the intention of the lectures , open for everyone, is, apart from being an excellent introduction to philosophy, to study both eastern and western philosophy in each others light and to highlight differences and similarities.
The lectures take place in a building of the Antwerp University and the lecturers are, apart from Mr.Libbrecht, professors from different Dutch speaking Universities in both Belgium and the Netherlands.

What's so special to the school that I have decided to take part in it? Moreover, why do I bother to post on this subject?

Well, there are several reasons:

First, mainstream media and opinion makers in the west tend to categorise everyone who is interested in eastern culture as being exotists, over idealizing other cultures and under estimating and betraying the own culture.
Well, here is a group of scholars and academics that have enough open mind to take both cultures equally serious. The school gives the opportunity to make up your own mind, while listening to specialists who do not always agree with each other.
Some dwell with boeddism others dwell with classical greek philosophy.

Secondly, I came across the website of the school a year ago, while trying to create counterweight to the atheist, skepticist, scientist (from scientism)and economist (from economism) doctrine.
And I found it as one of the only institutes linked to the academic world to take Ken Wilber serious enough to study him in one of their seminars.
Not suprisingly, Libbrechts Comparative Model carries resemblance to the AQAL-model of Wilber.
But while Wilber continues to emphasise on similarities between different cultures. Libbrecht also values the differences.
In earlier posts, I allready made clear that I value Wilber insights but I casted doubts about his reactions to criticism.
Libbrechts vision is in that repect a lot more open and respectfull and much less absolute in it's pretentions.

Libbrecht makes it clear that intercultural dialog is not only necessary to deal with potential conflict but that it can be healthy, joyfull and interesting for both sides to try to appreciate each other without prejudice.

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