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Politics needs to mediate between global concerns and local interests. In doing so it touches upon identities on various levels of individual, social and political identity formation. Culture and religion set implicit ways not only of interpreting but also of perceiving reality. This is how basic patterns of identity are shaped. Politics needs to be aware, that there are fundamental differences between religious identities making cultural relations a highly reflective task.
Identity is built up always in contrast to the “other”, this means that the “other” is both a challenge to and a necessary condition for one’s own identity indicating an interrelationship. Such interrelationships of identity formation can become the source for cooperation but also for fierce competition, depending on circumstances and the respectful or disrespectful acknowledgement of this mutuality. Religions set the final frame of reference in most diverse aspects of life due to their basic myths interpreting reality as a wholeness, and even if religion as an institution is rejected these frames are still working on an implicate level, shaping values and ways of perceiving and thinking. Therefore, political action needs to take into account these fundaments of perception in order to be effective, especially under a long-time perspective.
Prof. Dr. Michael von Brück is Professor of Religious Studies and was Head of the Inter-Faculty Program in Religious Studies at the Ludwig Maximilians University in Munich until 2014. He studied Theology, Sanskrit and Indian Philosophy in Rostock, Bangalore and Madras, followed by a five-year lectureship in India. He has held visiting professorships in the United States, Thai-land, Latvia, India and Japan. He is a member of various scientific bodies worldwide and was an Advisor to the Publishing Program of World Religions (Suhrkamp / Insel). He is an Honorary Professor at the Catholic University of Linz since 2014. Numerous publications have appeared on his main topics Buddhism, Hinduism and intercultural dialogue.
The leitmotif of Michael von Brück's work is the connectivity of science, art and spirituality as the basis for a transformation of our lifestyle. This has three aspects: Integrity of consciousness, especially the unity of knowledge and emotion; Intercultural communication, especially between European and Asian religions; Courage and creativity when trying out an ecological life practice.