Taking the I out of Being: Zen Buddhism and Postmodern (Dis)contents in Ruth Ozeki’s A Tale for the Time Being

Mojca Krevel


By internalizing Zen Buddhist teachings, the protagonists of Ruth Ozeki’s A Tale for the Time Being (2013) resolve their conflicts with the world and within themselves. The scenario echoes current theoretical interest in the Buddhist concept of no-self as a model of self that is suited to the postmodern condition. This article argues that since the fundamental Buddhist principles conceptually accommodate the many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics—the key to the novel’s structure—and the metaphysical framework of postmodernity, Ozeki’s novel illuminates the empowering aspects of the fractal nature of postmodern selves, while charting the possibilities for their actualization.

Keywords: Buddhism; digital cultures; empowerment; fractal subject; postmodernity

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