Hallucinating the End of History: Nishida, Zen, and the Psychedelic Eschaton


Cunningham, Eric


Ph.D; Professor of History, Gonzaga University, WA

This monograph explores and describes the historical continuities and relationships between 20th c Zen Buddhism, the postwar psychedelic movement and postmodern eschatology. In general terms (and this is a rich, complex study) the work is a critique of modernization theory as a way of viewing history and suggests the modern epoch (like the Greco-Roman world before it) will only end when the modern world ends. Accordingly, many postmodern movements seek to end modernity through violent action (Germany and Japan in WW11, etc) while others seek to bring to an end modern consciousness, e.g., the psychedelic movement which posed a major historical challenge to bourgeois morality, values, and modes of experiencing space and time. The core of the study is a critique of the historical philosophy of Japan’s greatest modern philosopher Nishida Kitaro and, in particular, his historical eschatology. Cunningham examines the Zen-based metaphysics of Nishida’s thought and links this to historical resonances between the philosopher, 20th c Zen Buddhism—The West’s leading theorist, DT Suzuki, was a friend of Nishida—and the psychedelic/New Age movement which as sought to achieve authentic experience outside of history. History and Ideas Series, No. 2
“This work is a valuable addition to research library collections that focus on Japan, 20th alternative movements, Zen and/or the philosophy of history” Dr.Elizabeth Koda

Intellectual History, History of Ideas, Japanese 20th c history, Zen Buddhism, Nishida
Release Date: 
05/15/2007:in stock
Cloth: 1-933146-28-1
Trim Size: 
6 x 9

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