Here’s a weird mashup for you: Dark Buddhism, one man’s attempt to fuse Buddhism with Randian Objectivism. To his credit, he’s quite clear on the flaws in the Cult of Ayn Rand, but it’s still strange to care so much about Rand’s bogus philosophy that you want to rescue it by stitching it up: building a hybrid of selflessness and selfishness is a contradiction sure to spawn deepities.
Buddhism supplied a necessary piece of the puzzle but, as an Objectivist, I simply could not accept the selflessness the Buddha taught. This is selflessness in both senses of the word: first a life of compassion toward others, and second a dissolution of the ego, becoming without self. The latter is the more familiar concept that “we are all one” or “everything in the universe is interconnected.” Buddhism is not supposed to have any particular moral codes or ethics, like a religion, yet the teachings regarding compassionate living seemed to be just that. In Dark Buddhism these are all personal choices, not morality as dictated by others. It slowly dawned on me that I could take what seemed rational and “right” from Zen Buddhism, excise the parts that were inconsistent with my values, and then do the same with Objectivist epistemology and merge the two together. The psychology of self-esteem is the glue that binds the two together, and the result is Dark Buddhism, a logically consistent whole.
I don’t know if I buy that. Redefining fundamental ideas in two philosophies either destroys the concepts in the name of logical consistency, or abandons logical consistency by gluing contradictions together. I don’t think Dark Buddhism is going to be found persuasive by very many people.