Thursday, April 30, 2009

Summer of deliverance

[6th May Sri Aurobindo was acquitted of the charge and delivered. 6th May 1909 - Fabruary 1910. Till Feb. 1910 lived at house of his uncle Krishna Kumar Mitra at 6, College Square, Calcutta. 14th May - A letter at Bengalee, Calcutta. 30th May - Famous speech at Uttarpara. Home Page Some dates of Sri Aurobindo's Life]

Centenary of momentous events in the history of India and the world, next month. Savitri Erans wherever they are must rise to the occasion in aspiration as well as action. The future is ours. [TNM]

If only books went straight like an arrow to their target audience

[I cut my teeth on history with Will Durant’s massive 11 volume History of Civilization. I found a dusty copy of Durkheim’s Division of Labor in Society at a small and foul smelling used bookstore in a town named Zoar. I read everything by Dostoyevsky I could get my hands on, and read a good deal of Kafka as well. Back in those days we did not have mega-bookstores or online bookstores, so you read whatever you happened to find. My first copy of Kant’s Critique was so ancient that I had to cut the pages. Each book I found was like a rare treasure and I assumed that it was this way with all great books… That there were very few of them to be found throughout the world and only a handful of people had read them.
I suppose what I’m trying to say is that from the very beginning I experienced a strong conflict or tension between literature (I originally wanted to be a novelist but lack talent where writing is concerned), the social sciences, and philosophy. At a purely methodological level, how can the claims of the various “human sciences” be reconciled with those of philosophy?
Larval Subjects March 12, 2007 Scattered Thoughts on Dialectical Reason Posted by larvalsubjects here. 9:48 AM 3:09 PM]

[Re: Many Laughs—Humor by Anonymous Mirror of Tomorrow
by RY Deshpande on Wed 29 Apr 2009 09:03 PM IST Profile Permanent Link
One has to feel for oneself if a particular work has power to elevate one’s consciousness, can put one in contact with spiritual verities, bring calm, joy, light, strength, an all-embracing harmony, higher intuition, or else if it makes possible an assured psychic opening, opens the inner domains, leads to the revealing occult depths.

[Re: Many Laughs—Humor by Anonymous Mirror of Tomorrow
by Kepler on Wed 29 Apr 2009 09:28 PM IST Profile Permanent Link
Supriyo, If you are new to Sri Aurobindo, I would personally suggest that none of those biographies are the right place to turn. Sri Aurobindo's own writings are the right source - some of the compilations from his letters on yoga (e.g. Bases of Yoga), and his small book "The Mother" are among the best starting points. The Life Divine is of course the source for his philosophy. For autobiographical info the volume "On Himself" is the gold standard. All biographies are necessarily interpretations and products of the author’s perspectives and biases... Kepler]

[Re: Against the grain and With the Grain: A Short Review of "The Lives of Sri Aurobindo" by J. Kepler Science, Culture and Integral Yoga
by Kepler on Wed 25 Feb 2009 06:08 PM PST Profile Permanent Link
Debashish, Thanks for your comments, they are well taken. You're no doubt correct that considered within the limited context of its particular academic target audience, the book appears much more in focus and generally appropriate in content and style. If only books went straight like an arrow to their target audience and struck no one else! The shifting dynamics of the “intended audience” for an intellectual work sounds like a good candidate for postmodern research.]

Wide and varied reading is a sine qua non for inculcating critical reason. If books were enough why do we track various blogs then? While swabhav is the final veto, sacrificing integrality is not a very admirable trait. [TNM]

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

90-95% of the population is neurotic

[97 pc of emails are spam: Microsoft ABC Online - Thu Apr 9, 2009 Frustrating facts about e-mail in Microsoft security report Seattle Post Intelligencer - ‎Apr 8, 2009‎. Spam overwhelms e-mail messages BBC News
The computer giant Microsoft says 97 per cent of all emails sent in the world are unwanted spam. This includes unsolicited advertisements for products like medicines as well as emails that contain viruses. Microsoft says the rise in spam is due to a trend by criminal groups to target people's emails rather than exploiting vulnerabilities in computer software. -BBC]

[Neurosis is the norm. A few per cent of the population is psychotic or borderline, and 90-95% of the population is neurotic. -Brant Cortright, Integral psychotherapy as existential Vedanta (Infinity Foundation Lecture on Sri Aurobindo’s Work), Consciousness and Its Transformation, Cornelissen, Matthijs (Ed.) (2001) home]

In a similar vein, it may be surmised that 97 per cent of life is sheer stupidity, and the rest is distraction. [TNM]

India, happily, appears to be a confederation of 543 segments, this election

With the local political melting pot assuming upper hand, India, happily, appears to be a confederation of 543 segments, this election. Although derided as a letdown, this should be seen as actual maturity dawning over the firmament of democracy. A political representative sprouting from the grassroots sans external props is perhaps the most desirable aspect of any civil society. That he also subscribes to certain macro-level policies as formulated by some party (which he has the freedom to be unshackled from, if need be) is surely an ideal proposition. Such a scenario can be likened to the concept of “partyless democracy” that JP chose to espouse as a facet of “total revolution.” [TNM 7:30 PM 6:39 PM ]

Hegel-Nietzsche-Sri Aurobindo axis needs to be rewoven

[A famous example of immanent critique would be nearly any movement in Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit. When Hegel critiques, for example, sense-certainty in the opening of the Phenomenology, he doesn’t bring anything from outside the claims of sense-certainty to show that this position is inadequate, but rather shows how the very claims of sense-certainty itself fail to say what it purports to say, thereby generating an internal contradiction with itself. The Question of Time and Meillassoux
from Larval Subjects by larvalsubjects]

Hobbes's "godless, atheistic materialism," argues Mark Lilla, Professor of the Humanities at Columbia University, in The Stillborn God brought about "The Great Separation." Like Charles Taylor in A Secular Age, Habermas also insists upon taking religion seriously, and Terry Eagleton is talking about God too (Reason, Faith, and Revolution: Reflections on the God Debate).

If “The tension between Hegel and Nietzsche is a constant and living dialog in Sri Aurobindo,” as Debashish Banerji, Educational Coordinator for the University of Philosophical Research, Los Angeles has so elegantly put it, then the Hegel-Nietzsche-Sri Aurobindo axis needs to be rewoven to dictate new terms in the world politics. The clinching pertinence could not be more pithily expressed.

Man himself is religion as much as biology or libido. Phobia for religion, for that reason, makes little sense as it must shed the past dross to be future ready. A daring engagement of politics with religion in line with Sri Aurobindian vision, therefore, should be heralded as a valid and viable agenda. [TNM 7:41 PM at 1:16 PM ]

Sunday, April 26, 2009

The tension between Hegel and Nietzsche is a constant and living dialog in Sri Aurobindo

[Larval Subjects March 12, 2007 Scattered Thoughts on Dialectical Reason Posted by larvalsubjects. In Negative Dialectics, Adorno writes, “the most enduring result of Hegelian logic is that the individual is not flatly for himself. In himself, he is his otherness and linked with others” (161). For me, Hegel’s Science of Logic has always been the great white whale, Ulysses, or Finnegans Wake of philosophy. What interests me in Hegel is not what he has to say about Spirit or reconciliation or the formation of a total system where nothing escapes– as absolute knowledge is sometimes thought to be... No, what interests me about Hegelian dialectics– especially as formulated in the Logic –is its capacity to think otherness, relation, and an immanent tension within a system pushing it to the point of auto-critique. Anyone who musters the will to read the Science of Logic with open eyes, free of the invectives that have been levelled against Hegel by figures such as Lacan, Deleuze, and Derrida, will be deeply rewarded with the conceptual clarity he brings to the table and the various conflicts that he unfolds and which repeat again and again in a variety of different structures of thought. Despite its Joycean prose, it is a work worth studying carefully and returning to again and again as an endless source of ideas. One can literally say, “oh there’s Deleuze, there’s Quine, look there’s Badiou”, and so on... This, I think, is the real hope and lesson of Hegel’s dialectical reason, for Hegel does not begin from the stance of this sort of immanence– immanence to consciousness –but rather begins from the split nature of that which posits itself as self-identical. 7:20 PM, April 27, 2009 9:24 AM]

[In my college days I was a great admirer of Hegel, whom I regarded as the greatest philosopher that had ever lived... The influence of Hegel, however, did not last long... I refer, in the first place, to the great sage of Pondicherry, Sri Aurobindo, with whose philosophy I first became acquainted in the winter of 1939-40, when his great work The Life divine, which had already appeared in the pages of the “Arya,” was published in a revised and greatly enlarged form. I regret very much that I had not read this great work when it appeared in the pages of the “Arya,” for if I had done so, it would have saved me a number of years of philosophical wanderings in search of a standpoint. S.K.Maitra Emerging Theory of Values 11:34 PM 12:30 PM]

[The tension between Hegel and Nietzsche, or that between historicism and individual will is a constant and living dialog in Sri Aurobindo and it is this dialog which he is directing us towards. Unfortunately, humankind finds it more convenient to rest in belief systems which they can adulate and have no need to emulate. DB Re: 100 Years of Sri Aurobindo on Evolution: The Illusion of Human Progress and the Ideal of Human Unity (part 5 of 6) by Debashish on Fri 03 Apr 2009 12:19 PM PDT Profile Permanent Link 10:15 PM]

[The posthuman in this sense is the crossing of the barrier of Ignorance into Knowledge, the arrival of the purusha at a freedom which is not only master of cosmos but its creator. The hubris of the post-Enlightenment Nietzschean superman converges here with the Aurobindian superman. Thu 23 Apr 2009 02:52 PM PDT Re: Cybernetics Is An Antihumanism: Advanced Technologies and the Rebellion Against the Human Condition: Metnexus (Global Spiral) Debashish 9:47 AM]

Most of us have been drawn to philosophy through the gateway of Sri Aurobindian thought and that's patently a disadvantage. Prior perusal of a book like, Reading Hegel: The Introductions (edited and introduced by Aakash Singh and Rimina Mohapatra ►re.press 2008) can amplify manifold the appreciation of Sri Aurobindo's relevance in the realm of world philosophy. [TNM] Sunday, April 26, 2009 at 10:15 pm

A grand “Invitation” for fellow humans to follow

[Heaven's wiser love rejects the mortal's prayer;
Unblinded by the breath of his desire,
Unclouded by the mists of fear and hope,
It bends above the strife of love with death;
It keeps for her her privilege of pain.
Book VI The Book of Fate Canto II
The Way of Fate and the Problem of Pain
Page 456]

Sri Aurobindo began his public writing career with political commentary and polemics. Obviously the thrust was to canvass, provoke, and instigate. Upon turning to yoga and spirituality, again the task was almost similar, to persuade and to seduce, so to say. His whole body of writing, in this sense, is a grand “Invitation” for fellow humans to follow.

The poetic creations of Sri Aurobindo too are not entirely free from this compulsions of contingency. A perceptive reader of Sri Aurobindo’s oeuvre, therefore, would always be sensitive to the distinction between the contextual and the perennial. A firm grandstanding at places in his works surprises in view of his polite personal disposition. But the insistence may be seen as that of a benevolent teacher and a prescient communicator. [TNM]

Saturday, April 25, 2009

People vote for identity

[My thesis would be that the money incentive is not the only way nor even historically the most predominant way in which this drive has been met and that the myth of the hard working capitalist “savage” is just that, a myth not reflective of other forms of “economy”, how they are organized, and what has motivated human bodies within these forms of economy. Here I think my observations about upsetting coworkers is particularly salient with respect to incentivization. There we find a motive that is entirely non-economic in nature but which is nonetheless extremely compelling to those within its grip. larvalsubjects Says: March 31, 2009 at 9:41 pm]

[Vikram Muthanna in Black & White
Star of Mysore - Three people have hit the headlines for ushering in change: Mallika Sarabhai, Capt. GR Gopinath and Meera Sanyal. Mallika Sarabhai is a renowned Kuchipudi ...
Global Voices Online
Indian Elections 2009: Reading The Digital Tea Leaves on ‘Who Will ...
Global Voices Online - ‎Apr 24, 2009 - There is Meera Sanyal who is fighting from South Mumbai, Captain CK Gopinath from South Bangalore and Mallika Sarabhai from Gandhinagar in Gujarat. ...
Capt Gopinath launches his low cost poll model
12 Apr 2009, 0140 hrs IST, ET Bureau - Capt Gopinath said that many volunteers have come forward to be part of his election campaign while adding that this represents the face of the new India. He exhorted people to become the change agents as for too long the political parties have making electoral gains based on the divisions in the society be it caste or religion.]

Our good wishes to the hopeful change agents, but people vote for identity. Politics, therefore, is far more complicated and unpredictable than what Capt. Gopinath & Co. would probably appreciate. [TNM]

Aurobindian definition of the human

[Observing the very young child it is difficult to escape the impression– and perhaps here I suffer from an essentialist view of human beings –that by nature we are tinkerers. Children seem to have an innate facility with buttons, levers, blocks, etc., and seem to take an endless delight in building and creating. As Bergson observed during the last century, we are no so much homo rationalis as we are homo fabricans. This delight in fabricating, discovering, making, inventing strikes me as a far greater motive for innovation than any supposed use our creations might have or any financial benefit we might gain from these inventions or discoveries. Other Political Pet Peeves– Accumulation as Our Prime Motive
Mar 31, 2009 from Larval Subjects by larvalsubjects]

[The hubris of cybernetics moving towards the creation of self-organizing systems brings us close to a new definition of man, homo faber in engagement with his own unpredictable freedom, but it is this basis in the unknowable, which yet is the self, the paradox of being a finite representation of the Infinite One, towards which the definition of Nietzsche and his children moves in its posthuman ideal. Thu 23 Apr 2009 01:59 PM PDT Re: Cybernetics Is An Antihumanism: Advanced Technologies and the Rebellion Against the Human Condition: Metnexus (Global Spiral) Debashish]

[That which is free knows the measure of its freedom in mastery; that of which it is not master invites a higher status of freedom. This is the perpetually transitional nature of purusha, what may be called the Aurobindian definition of the human. The posthuman in this sense is the crossing of the barrier of Ignorance into Knowledge, the arrival of the purusha at a freedom which is not only master of cosmos but its creator. The hubris of the post-Enlightenment Nietzschean superman converges here with the Aurobindian superman. Thu 23 Apr 2009 02:52 PM PDT Re: Cybernetics Is An Antihumanism: Advanced Technologies and the Rebellion Against the Human Condition: Metnexus (Global Spiral) Debashish]

[Nonetheless, much to my delight this afternoon I saw, with jaw dropping wonder (why should I have been so surprised), the leaves of spinach, romaine, and cucumbers tentatively beginning to poke up from the earth as if by magic. How is such a thing possible? Why does it fill me with so much surprise? Why do I feel the bizarre desire to now sit beside the garden and watch as these tender young plants grow? As if I could actually see their cells “popping”– pop, pop, pop –as they divide and organize themselves, undergoing their miraculous adventure of emergence and self-organization. The garden does not look like much yet, I know. In weeks to come I hope to surround it with flat, irregularly shaped rocks. I fear that I will never get all of the hardy Texas grass out of it. Nonetheless, this is a strange and simple form of satisfaction. How delightful to deal with something real, with something that isn’t a theory, signifier, or a concept. How wonderful to escape into the dirt and muck and watch life come into being.
Apr 1, 2009
Gardening
from Larval Subjects by larvalsubjects]

[An unshaped consciousness desired light
And a blank prescience yearned towards distant change.
As if a childlike finger laid on a cheek
Reminded of the endless need in things
The heedless Mother of the universe,
An infant longing clutched the sombre Vast.
(
Savitri, by Sri Aurobindo, Book One: The Book of Beginnings.)]

The master creator is also a slave of his own whims and rules, loves to walk blindfolded and falter and stumble. [TNM]

Friday, April 24, 2009

Is everyone apologetic of the crowd? Or, bored of them?

[Devotees throng Aurobindo Ashram marking Mother's arrival Day
A large number of devotees thronged Sri Aurobindo Ashram on the occasion of the Mother's final arrival Day here today. - News Channel from India]

Darshan Day, Puducherry. No one posts a report on how it feels, what makes people converge, who come and leave silently. As if they don’t matter. And now the alleged symptoms of religion. Is everyone apologetic of the crowd? Or, bored of them? What’s the feeling? Just curious. [TNM]

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

One can prove and justify any damn thing

The mélange of arguments that have been advanced and ably defended in course of the Heehs imbroglio proves the resilience of Sri Aurobindian thought. So, the overall impression generated is that it defies definition in exactly the same manner any definite characterization has eluded postmodernism so far. We have been witness to how writer after writer have shifted positions and perspectives in the quicksilver fashion to score brownie points, and all within the compass of the same teaching, Straw man or Scotsman notwithstanding.

This is certainly a great strength in a discursive environment. But the danger is that one can prove and justify any damn thing by employing the same pleading prowess. [TNM]

Paul is rather paradoxically in many ways a stridently secular thinker

[Paul had good reason to confront a law conception of ethics inasmuch as it was a pressing political issue within the early Church. The evangelising that Paul dedicated his attention to was faced with a pressing practical problem, one that required Paul to devise a theoretical, but no less concrete, solution. (Here we can see why Paul’s reputation amongst Marxists as the Lenin of Christianity is well deserved!) The problem concerned the issue of whether new initiates into the Church should be required to hold to the Abrahamic law; a matter that crystallised over whether they ought to be circumcised or not. Paul was torn between placating Jewish Christians who were predominantly in favour of a hardline adherence to the Jewish law and the Gentile Christians who were not eager to adopt a strange new set of legalistic injunctions.
It can be tempting to read this debate as one with a narrow relevance, of a dispute over the merely particularised traditional law of the Jews and so of little relevance to our concerns, those of the moral law in general. However, this would be a mistake. This is because Paul stresses throughout his letters that what is at stake in this conflict is Christian identity as such, that in Christ there is neither Jew nor Gentile.
Condensed in this opposition is not the particular ethnicised law of the Jews against its rejection; rather, it is the opposition between particular law and the universal ‘cosmic’ law. In rejecting the disjunction of Jew or Gentile, in saying neither/nor, Paul thus rejects law in general. Or rather, he asserts the priority of love over law, which it is tempting to read as akin to an assertion of the priority of the good over the right. Paralleling this subsumption of law under love is one that similarly subsumes duty under grace (kharis): one is not redeemed by works, one cannot ‘earn one’s due’ that way. So, rather than the divine acting as a source of legislation as in Anscombe, Paul thus marginalises any legalistic obligatoriness more forcefully than she does. Although all this is articulated in a religious mode, Paul is rather paradoxically in many ways a stridently secular thinker; at least, he has been easily appropriated by some materialists in this spirit. For obvious reasons though, he is not a central figure in moral philosophy, despite his relevance to issues such as the law conception of ethics and although much of his thought is deep and tacitly argumentative enough to merit it.
Ethics and the Moral Law, Part I: Anscombe
from Grundlegung by Tom]

What is at stake in this conflict is Savitri Eran identity. [TNM]

I owe it to Manibhai's razor honed Upon Alan's anvil

[Although Paul has been subject to political and philosophical appropriation, we ought to keep in mind the religious context of his extant writings. His letters are written to fledgling Christian communities, variously intended to counsel, cajole and console their immediate readers on religious affairs and matters of communal conduct that are entwined with these. They are not primarily theoretical treatises but rather practical interventions undergirded by an implicit framework threaded through Paul’s thought that must often be inferred by piecing together the apparent presuppositions of disparate sections of text. This means that in trying to discern a relatively consistent Pauline position we are often confronted with ambiguities to resolve as to the scope of what Paul says—whether and how far it is intended to carry beyond the particularities of the specific context that surrounds it, and if his thought remains viable when so extended. Ethics and the Moral Law, Part II: Saint Paul
from Grundlegung by Tom]

I am pleased and thankful to the chroniclers at the "IYFundamentalism website (iyfundamentalism.info)" for awarding me the honor of delivering the most despicable quote (a la Varun Gandhi) of “Aurobindonian fundamentalism.” But while carrying the trophy off, let it be on record that I owe it to Manibhai's razor honed Upon Alan's anvil. [TNM]

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Philosophy facilitates the wayfarer’s subsistence

[In order to survive their crushing defeat in the Cold War, the remnants of Soviet communism, along with failed Marxist, socialists and communists around the globe had to evolve and mutate into a form that would not be easily recognized; but the fundamental toxicity of their ideology remained as potent as ever. And it is these various mutations that are truly the most dangerous legacy of the Cold War. In postmodern philosophy and rhetoric, they found the perfect epistemological, ethical and political vessel to reassert their poison. And that is why, despite the untold misery and the millions of dead that were the result of the implementation of their political policies, their ideology never quite made it to the garbage dump of history.The politically useful concept of "social justice" is now the dominant philosophy forced down the throats of teachers, who obediently spoon feed it to their students from kindergarden through college; while in academia they use "science" to demonize their enemies. Additionally, it is postmodern philosophy which is at the heart of such irrational concepts as political correctness, multiculturalism and radical environmentalism, three of the four pillars of the socialist/communist--or, more accurately, the neo-Marxist--revival that has been staged in this first decade of the 21st century. Remember that postmodernism eschews truth and those who adhere to its ideas prefer to exercise power to force social change. They live in a world of contradiction and emotion. Their strategy is not to persuade people to accept their ideas, but to confuse them; to distort the truth, propagate lies and smears; and to use whatever rhetoric is necessary to accomplish their purposes. Since rhetorical skill is essential to accomplish their purposes, it is little wonder that a trancendently inexperienced but rhetorically gifted nobody like Barack Obama would rise to the top of the [garbage] heap. His career has been meteoric, and is based entirely on words, not deeds or accomplishments. In truth, he is the quintessential political postmodern demagogue; skilled in the neo-Marxist/fascist talking points and easily able to convince all who hear him of his passionate committment to "social justice," (better understood as the redistribution of wealth) and universal peace and brotherhood (better known as the appeasement and enabling of evil). Nothing that is going on now makes any sense, unless you understand that "sense" is not a useful concept when one is talking about postmodernism. POSTMODERNISM, THE CORRUPTION OF TRUTH, AND THE COMING GLOBAL TRAGEDY
from Dr. Sanity by Dr. Sanity]

[Philosophy suffered a major blow towards the end of the 19th century when natural philosophy became natural science (in Greek, of course, science is one of the words for knowledge), effectively detaching itself from the philosophers, asserting its autonomy, and succeeding remarkably. Philosophers, no doubt, were miffed that this new breed of beasts, the natural scientists, did not seem to place much stock in their questions or epistemological conditions, but had their own “crass” epistemology and rough and ready methodology. From there legions of students that were spawned, birthed on the halycion memory of the golden age where they were “knowledge”, and have been bitter ever since. The phenomenologists, for example, came to code the term “science” as synonymous with “dogmatism”, and consoled themselves in the belief that they knew the “truth behind truth” or the ultimate grounds in consciousness or the transcendental subject and intentional lived experience prior to any empirical investigation. This would lead Husserl to claim that the natural world cannot be a condition for consciousness as consciousness is a condition for nature, thereby revealing his dualistic and idealistic superstitions or his crypto-theology. In the meantime, those descended from Kant, the so-called “Critical Theorists” (who were anything but critical but who were certainly reactionary) would talk endlessly about how concepts precede any investigation of the world, while the rest of us, having learned our lessons well from Husserl who was right about some things, would scratch our heads wondering just what the hell a concept is and how one could possibly arrive at the idea that we think conceptually. In the meantime, being too polite to be argumentative, we would conclude that all this talk of concepts and whatnot was like trying to do neurosurgery with a butter knife, giving us a folk-psychology about as accurate as explaining a tsunami by reference to Poseidon. In other words, “concepts”, “conditions”, the “transcendental”, had become the new Zeus and Dionysius, explaining respectively lightning and the harvest. But it certainly sounded impressive! Epistemology
from Larval Subjects . by larvalsubjects]

[For Badiou, then, the vocation of philosophy is to make what is implicit, explicit, or to accomplish the self-reflexivity, the self-awareness, of these truths. For example, one of the burning questions of Marxist thought is that of how the proletariat can be made aware of its key historical role. Marx’s work can be seen as registering the truth of this role through his analysis of the social structure. However, for Badiou, it is not simply a question of registering the truth of these praxis, but rather of thinking the compossibility of these truths in a historical present. Where for Leibniz compossibility refers to the interdependence of all events in the unity of a universe, for Badiou compossibility refers to the unity of truths in the eternity of the present (shades of Kierkegaard’s notion of the present, here). This compossibility of truths is essentially a fractal concept. A fractal is a geometry that reflects self-similarity at all levels of scale. Thus, for example, a fractal triangle would have triangles along all of its three sides and then triangles along the sides of these sides and then triangles along the sides of these sides of these sides, and so on to infinity. To think the compossibility of truths is to think this fractal pattern within truths across heterogeneous domains of praxis. Thinking the Present– What is Philosophy?
from Larval Subjects . by larvalsubjects]

[Why are the most unlikely people, including myself, suddenly talking about God?
March 27, 2009 / Volume CXXXVI, Number 6 ARTICLE Culture & Barbarism
Metaphysics in a Time of Terrorism Terry Eagleton
Why are the most unlikely people, including myself, suddenly talking about God? Who would have expected theology to rear its head once more in the technocratic twenty-first century, almost as surprisingly as some mass revival of Zoroastrianism?... If Marxism once held out a promise of reconciling culture and civilization, it is partly because its founder was both a Romantic humanist and an heir of Enlightenment rationalism. Marxism is about culture and civilization together-sensuous particularity and universality, worker and citizen of the world, local allegiances and international solidarity, the free self-realization of flesh-and-blood individuals and a global cooperative commonwealth of them. But Marxism has suffered in our time a staggering political rebuff; and one of the places to which those radical impulses have migrated is-of all things-theology. In theology nowadays, one can find some of the most informed and animated discussions of Deleuze and Badiou, Foucault and feminism, Marx and Heidegger. That is not entirely surprising, since theology, however implausible many of its truth claims, is one of the most ambitious theoretical arenas left in an increasingly specialized world-one whose subject is nothing less than the nature and transcendental destiny of humanity itself. These are not issues easily raised in analytic philosophy or political science. Theology’s remoteness from pragmatic questions is an advantage in this respect. We find ourselves, then, in a most curious situation. In a world in which theology is increasingly part of the problem, it is also fostering the kind of critical reflection which might contribute to some of the answers. There are lessons that the secular Left can learn from religion, for all its atrocities and absurdities; and the Left is not so flush with ideas that it can afford to look such a gift horse in the mouth. But will either side listen to the other at present? Commonweal Foundation
6:42 PM]

Philosophy is the other name of Jnana yoga which facilitates the wayfarer’s subsistence and hence the insistence that it beget truth is absurd. Condemning theory because it lends itself to certain political doctrines is also inappropriate as binding it to a particular contingence is violence to it. [TNM]

Needed a constant aspiration for Harmony

[Language (by Russell Roberts) from Cafe Hayek by Russell Roberts
The proprietors request that you keep the language in the comments civilized. Ugly and particularly vulgar language is not appropriate here at the Cafe.]

[Re: The former Incarnations of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother—by Anurag Banerjee
by
Tusar N. Mohapatra on Mon 20 Apr 2009 07:27 PM IST Profile Permanent Link
I object to the epthet, "idiot." [TNM]
Reply by RY Deshpande on Tue 21 Apr 2009 05:56 AM IST
Profile Permanent Link
I uphold your objection. The Mirror expects dignified language and debate. Comments containing offensive wording are likely to be deleted. ~ RYD Reply]

[Savitri - Book VI, Canto II, Page 440
An idiot hour destroys what centuries made,]

[Re: Fundamentalism in Integral Yoga - New Website Announcement
by
Debashish on Tue 21 Apr 2009 11:59 AM PDT Profile Permanent Link
We're sorry the comment train to this article got inadvertently erased during an editorial attempt. Those who submitted comments may do so again. Also, those who wish to comment on the IYFundamentalism website (iyfundamentalism.info) may do so here. Reply
by Tony Clifton on Tue 21 Apr 2009 04:18 PM PDT Profile Permanent Link
well I confess it was my editing decision, in order to keep an elevated tone to the conversation. Man, now when I think about that, its pretty ironic ain't it?! Tony Clifton an arbiter of community standards. What next 4 horsemen of the apocalypse?? Reply
by Debashish on Tue 21 Apr 2009 07:50 PM PDT Profile Permanent Link
OK, now that the ever unpredictable Tony has owned up to the editorial decision, here is another later fragment from the previous train:]

Needed a constant aspiration for Harmony. [TNM]

Monday, April 20, 2009

Skillful braiding of Unity, Mutuality, & Harmony

[Money and power and a limited government
from The Daily Goose by Matthew
The American founders understood how power and monied interests can corrupt, and will corrupt. That is one of the primary reasons our country’s governance structure was originally based on decentralization, that favors local levels of gov’t (individual, family, neighborhood, civic organizations, municipalities), and not the State governments nor the federal. The Revolutionary War was a conservative war, to preserve the ways of order and gov’t present in the American lands for many, many decades, before the British King tried to assert more authority. What Americans today have to figure out is how to reassert Founding principles in the mass media, informational, highly electric age, all of which (cf McLuhan) fight against decentralization and have a bias for, essentially, fascism (i.e., the cult of unity and central management of society).]

When Matthew pithily defines "fascism" as "the cult of unity and central management of society" one feels alarmed. He won't, however, dispute with the central governance of the universe by the Almighty.

Sri Aurobindo's formula in this respect is the skillful braiding of Unity, Mutuality, & Harmony, where one may assume that decentralization is inbuilt. But to say that all virtues ensue from decentralization seems to be a bit far fetched. [TNM]

Update: Another definition. [TNM]

[There is a precise word that political scientists use to describe a State that is hand-in-glove with Big Business. That word is “fascist.” Treat Narayana Murthy With Caution
from ANTIDOTE by Sauvik]

People who know the deeper purpose

[What is Our Aim? People are apt to forget the core teachings of the Theosophical Society, and of Theosophical work, after more than one hundred and thirty years which have passed since the Society was founded… The aims of the Society are lofty, and not easily understood by persons engaged in general social work. Therefore, there are at present a considerable number of members who do not understand what the Society stands for, and what it really intends as a remedy for the world’s ills. They think that they must do something to help, and engage themselves in doing some work of a philanthropic nature, or there are those who feel that their only work is to understand our general intention of improving human life. This is all very good up to a point, and what is meant for members who do not understand much; but there has always to be at heart of the Society people who know it has a deeper purpose. -- Radha Burnier, President, The Theosophical Society, The Theosophist April 2009]

All this also applies to us Savitri Erans in view of the conflicting opinions generated in response to the Heehs imbroglio. No amount of soul-searching can be said to be superfluous in the present crisis. [TNM]

Deception & inflated expectations

[from Jitendra Sharma aurofrance@gmail.com to "Tusar N. Mohapatra" tusarnmohapatra@gmail.com date 20 Apr 2009 10:39 subject Fwd:
Dear Tusar-bhai, I got this information from Srikant-bhai. You can use it in your forum. With regards,
Prof. Jitendra Sharma Calicut --- Forwarded message --- From: Srikant Jivarajani
nagrecha256@yahoo.in Date: Apr 17, 2009 9:20 PM Subject: The Ban on controversial book 'Lives of Sri Aurobindo' - by Peter Heehs - a gazzette notification by Orissa Government. To: My dear Everybody, In my quest to find the Truth, I stumbled upon 3 facts of interest from one of the seniors. One of them relates to the life of Sri Aurobindo and two other two to tamperings. I shall take up only at the moment the 1st :1) Rishbhchand-da was writing the Life of Sri Aurobindo on regular basis in bulletin. He came across a historical fact on the Life of sri Aurobindo that he felt rather unsure. So he put up the matter to the Mother. In itself the fact is of little consequence, and I do not want to do something that Mother did not want either, but the answer that the Mother gave is relevant and of immense value : Mother - You see Sri Aurobindo and myself we are what we are, and it is not going to matter us in the least. Even those of the true disciples of Sri Aurobindo will understand too. But the majority of the mass of the people would misunderstand, and thus it would harm them more than us. Since we have come down to change the fundamental human nature, if something is said whereby the people misunderstand us, they will have further doubt and the change will consequently take longer. This would amount to, that we will be cutting our own legs so to say. Thus I feel it is best not to put this matter in bulletin.
Yours Sincerely, Srikant.]

[Re: Fundamentalism in Integral Yoga - New Website Announcement
by koantum on Sun 19 Apr 2009 04:38 PM PDT Profile Permanent Link
Like many othes I arrived with inflated expectations from people in the Ashram. Typically, I first saw only saints and angels. Sooner or later one is bound to realize the deception, but by then some damage may have been done already. You too, Kepler, seem to entertain certain expectations regarding the comportment of ashramites. By now I can tell you that they are unwarranted. They have no basis in any truth.]

So, it was The Mother who helped create "inflated expectations" through "deception"! [TNM]

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Set up institutionalized mechanism for dialogue

If US and Cuba are ready to talk now, there is no reason why AUM factions can’t thrash out factors of their friction. Everywhere there is a need for setting up of institutionalized mechanisms for dialogue. All this can happen when we recognize unhesitatingly that managing organizations are quasi-political activities and hence need to be backed up by formal paraphernalia for effective functioning. [TNM]

Lest he resurrect

Re: Poetry Time: 18 April 2009: The Death of Angiras—an Obituary
by Tusar N. Mohapatra on Sat 18 Apr 2009 09:22 AM IST Profile Permanent Link

Unsung, his memory shall live on
Orphaned, his essays lie forlorn. [TNM] Reply

by Tusar N. Mohapatra on Sat 18 Apr 2009 06:35 PM IST Profile Permanent Link

Death the victor, nothing to rejoice
Ideal thing: had he had to confess.
Fame, they say, comes only after death
Give the devil* his due, the Bard sayth. [TNM]

(*No pun intended) Reply

by Tusar N. Mohapatra on Sun 19 Apr 2009 11:44 AM IST Profile Permanent Link

A controversy compelled his birth
Conflict, a cause célèbre raged on earth
Epistles, angry, unsavory
Composed in taut prose not so hoary
Were doing the rounds telling disgust
Against an author and no love lost. [TNM] Reply


by Tusar N. Mohapatra on Sun 19 Apr 2009 12:30 PM IST Profile Permanent Link

He wrote their rejoinders brick by brick
Until the harried readers fell sick
Uproar arose to call it a halt
He crafted his own grave by default
Consigned to oblivion, he stands tall
A la Rajkumar in Neelkamal. [TNM] Reply

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Yoga galloped even before the orchids appeared

[Apr 18, 2009 (title unknown) from enowning Terry Eagleton is keen on theology.
If Marxism once held out a promise of reconciling culture and civilization, it is partly because its founder was both a Romantic humanist and an heir of Enlightenment rationalism. Marxism is about culture and civilization together-sensuous particularity and universality, worker and citizen of the world, local allegiances and international solidarity, the free self-realization of flesh-and-blood individuals and a global cooperative commonwealth of them. But Marxism has suffered in our time a staggering political rebuff; and one of the places to which those radical impulses have migrated is-of all things-theology. In theology nowadays, one can find some of the most informed and animated discussions of Deleuze and Badiou, Foucault and feminism, Marx and Heidegger. That is not entirely surprising, since theology, however implausible many of its truth claims, is one of the most ambitious theoretical arenas left in an increasingly specialized world-one whose subject is nothing less than the nature and transcendental destiny of humanity itself. These are not issues easily raised in analytic philosophy or political science. Theology’s remoteness from pragmatic questions is an advantage in this respect.]

[Re: 100 Years of Sri Aurobindo on Evolution: The dialectics of biology and culture; science, ecology & economics (part 6 of 6)
by Tony Clifton on Fri 17 Apr 2009 07:50 PM PDT Profile Permanent Link
Since the article references certain symmetries of thinking about the relationship between society and science in Sri Aurobindo, Dialectical Biology and Marx. I'll post a bit of an updated critique of the global economy and the continued relevance of Marx as a theorist of streamed or virtual capitalism. The first passage is from Arthur Kroker from his book the Will to Technology and the Culture of Nihilism. The next two passages are two excerpts from Debashish articles on techno-capitalism published on SCIY that places the Marx, the new economy and the post-modern subject in more of an Aurobindonian context]

[Savitri coming as an incarnation means she accepting the mortal’s lot, the indignity, the ignominy that is there in the human life. The Immortal has consented to share, the lot, the plight of the suffering soul, all the uncertainties that fill this creature’s daily life. In a way it is as if thus alone could she rise to a yet higher state of immortality...What chance then for techno-capitalism and our ideas of post-human destinies? What chance for the human potential? Perhaps nigh none. The Mortal's Lot became the Immortal's Share
by RY Deshpande on Sat 18 Apr 2009 04:53 AM IST Permanent Link Cosmos]

[Why do human beings often feel such a need to seek support outside themselves in order to give significance to their life? Why must we seek to offload the burden of finding the full meaning of our incarnation onto an outsider, be it a person or an organization? Do we not contain everything within ourselves? The question and its answer? The problem and its solution, like two chicks in the same egg? For a time, it is no doubt easier to leave the matter in someone else’s hands. But this is just putting off the day of reckoning. A time will come when we are alone face to face with ourselves.
Luc Venet on Satprem —Luc Venet]

[For hundreds of years, Dante’s verses have been sung in the poet’s country. And just as love songs prepare boys and girls for love, so the ardent Florentine verses prepared Italian youths for the day of deliverance. From generation to generation, all communed with the soul of the poet and so transformed their slavery into freedom. Zorba the Greek, Kazantzakis, N. (1952, 1981) Translated by Carl Wildman]

[This world's a life-sentence
Nikos Kazantzakis - Zorba the Greek]

[This mire must harbour the orchid and the rose.
Sri Aurobindo's Savitri]

[we are looking for means of persuasion with respect to others so as to form the collective actions we desire. This is one reason Kant, for example, is enamored with the idea of a principle of reason (the categorical imperative) as an ethical ground... universality signifies available to all people. That is, if the categorical imperative is an imperative or rule we all ought to obey, then it must be something available to all of us. To Resume Again– Normativity and Naturalism from Larval Subjects by larvalsubjects]

[Forster's humanistic impulse toward understanding and sympathy may be aptly summed up in the epigraph to his 1910 novel Howards End: "Only connect". Wikipedia]

[Practice does not help. Long-haul airline pilots who are continually flying halfway around the world and back generally feel out of sorts most of the time. Company executives who spend more time in the air than in the office never really adjust. Jet lag comes courtesy of a disruption in your body's internal clocks, a condition known as circadian desynchronisation. Nearly every living creature has a circadian system whose rhythms control the timing of many aspects of biochemistry, physiology and behaviour. What Happens Up There
TOI 18 Apr 2009, 0011 hrs IST,
Leon Kreitzman, NYT News Service]

Sublimation like Regression is a variant of Defence mechanism, and so is yoga. "Something available to all of us" not merely on the "principle of reason" but rather irrationally. Given the existential complexities that we humans are immersed and embedded in, it is humbling to recall how yoga galloped even before the orchids appeared. Be it the rose or the Jet lag, it is yoga that is at work, and it would be impudent to set terms for it or sport a sceptic's cap. How it catches whom and why are matters of perpetual mystery. Poetry has all along been igniting sparks of yoga in young hearts; politics too can. [TNM]

Right to ask

Re: The Mortal's Lot became the Immortal's Share
by Tusar N. Mohapatra on Sat 18 Apr 2009 10:32 AM IST Profile Permanent Link
[“It is too soon to put such a question.” - The Mother (19 February 1969)]

But question we must. [TNM] Reply

Friday, April 17, 2009

The path is being redefined ushering in clarity

from Tusar N. Mohapatra <tusarnmohapatra@gmail.com> date17 April 2009 05:35 subject Re: Comment notification

But I see a silver lining too. A lot of things are being clarified; all are being forced to think, take stand. In a way, the path is being redefined ushering in clarity. [TNM]

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Gandhi is good, Sri Aurobindo better

Tusar N. Mohapatra Says: April 15, 2009 at 3:03 pm

Referencing Gandhi is good, a word about Sri Aurobindo would be better. He is not too far off from Spinoza by the way. [TNM]

In India, we are orphaned of our mother tongues

[“It is shocking that the intellect is so despised in the community of IY sadhaks”... By in large a better phrasing of it might be that reason is seen as "hostile to the yoga" but it is certainly not exaggerated in the case of the book and in many experience I have had with "sadhaks" - I use the term loosely- in the yoga, whom when an intellectual perspective other than Sri Aurobindo's is raised is summarily dismissed, one person actually told me that my fascination with McLuhan was dangerous, another when I raised issues brought up by Derrida, Habermas, Bateson, into a conversation told me I was referencing pre-personal thinkers??? And these are two people -whom I otherwise respect- one a highly cultured businessman, one who writes widely on integral psychology. In fact the major thrust by A in his Mr Objective rap, is that the book its too rational, and the subtext: rational = western, and western = imperialist. (now to despise reason by ordinary folk is one thing, but for reason to be demeaned by one who claims to be a physician is wholly unnerving and ironic) Re: The Core Problem Part II Tony Clifton Tue 14 Apr 2009 01:39 PM PDT]

Evidently, Tony Clifton (Richard Carlson) touches a raw nerve, but the perplexity in focus is multilayered, and hence warrants appropriate diagnosis with perspective. A few pointers:

  • People are dissimilarly endowed and destined, and play their respective roles in the world-play a la Lila.
  • In India, we are orphaned of our mother tongues, and a lot of scholarship goes into grappling with multiple languages (The Mother has added to the woe by co-opting French) which is reflected in our handicap in articulating (that facilitates as well as seen as thinking).
  • Suspicion of western/imperial sentiment is a legacy of recent Indian history that is hard to throw over so easily or early. Outpouring of hegemonistic diatribe during the Heeh's imbroglio has further petrified it.
  • Conflicting reception of various thinkers among the Westerners themselves raises ambivalent attitudes about them, which a student in India finds as an alibi to avoid the trouble of delving into their works. Stagnant college level syllabi too play spoilsport.
  • As a specialist, by definition, knows more and more about less and less, his communicants too become sparse - an unsavory fact which the avant garde must learn to live with. [TNM]

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Savitri Erans are a transcontinental collectivity

[Besides, an Ashram without a guru -- and dynamic and unorthodox gurus like Sri Aurobindo and the Mother at that -- is just another religious institution. Re: The Core Problem Part II ned Mon 13 Apr 2009 02:53 PM PDT]

The Ashram is not an indispensable component for practicing Integral Yoga. Savitri Erans, wherever they are, are part of a collectivity toggled to the love for The Mother & Sri Aurobindo and this minimum sentiment of unity is enough to rank as collaboration. [TNM]

Monday, April 13, 2009

Integral Yoga and the art of hitching your motorcycle to a star

Yoga is akin to hitching your wagon to a star. But that needs a lot many unhinging too. Unhinging from umpteen undesirable influences to make way for activating a purer alchemy. The famed catch-line, ‘Fill it - Shut it - Forget it' is in a way analogical to the triple formula of Integral Yoga, Aspiration, Rejection, & Surrender:

  • Fill yourself with Aspiration,
  • Shut yourself from retarding impulses (Rejection), & finally,
  • Forget yourself (Surrender). [TNM]

Ontological superiority of ancient Indian texts

[Re: 100 Years of Sri Aurobindo on Evolution: The dialectics of biology and culture; science, ecology & economics (part 6 of 6)
by Tony Clifton on Sun 12 Apr 2009 12:19 PM PDT Profile Permanent Link
on closer examination science spirituality and even nature are by in large constructed by our cultural perspective of them. For example Nature was sacramental to the indigenous peoples, but wholly de-sacramentalized by Protestantism. Our perspective on spirituality is also structured by our cultural embededness. Thats why the world has different religious traditions, and the reason Sri Aurobindo vision reflects the perspectives of the Vedas, Upanishads, and Gita.]

By aligning Sri Aurobindo with the Vedas, Upanishads, and Gita, TC inadvertently accuses him of parochialism, while the facts are otherwise. Sri Aurobindo was sufficiently familiar with various streams of Western religion and metaphysics much before he was acquainted with the ancient Indian texts. He, however, chose to base his philosophy upon the latter after being convinced about the ontological superiority they had over their counterparts elsewhere. [TNM]

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Commerce can blur the barrier between creeds

[Opinion - Obliteration of Hinduism in Assam A perspective from Sri Aurobindo By Anirban Ganguly. The Sage had foreseen it all, but our present leaders deliberately look the other way & allow the dangers to unfold for the lure of power. We are thus left-sitting on a lethal powder-keg facing one of the deadliest situation as a country, a situation which questions & endangers our unity & sovereignty as a nation & questions our identity & existence as Hindus. Organiser Home > 2008 Issues > June 08, 2008 more >]

[This proves that the national boundaries are artificial and should be obliterated for all practical purposes. Bangladeshis are a hard-working and enterprising people. Unlike the West Bengalis, a nation of clerks. And quite unlike the Assamese as well. Note that Assamese politics aimed at ousting Bangaladeshis is quite a mirror of the Shiv Sena and Raj Thackeray’s MNS. And thus like the BJP idea too – that there are “outsiders” responsible for our woes. On Inflation, Politics And Bangladeshis
from ANTIDOTE by Sauvik Chakraverti: Libertarian Opinion From Indyeah]

Commerce should be able to blur the barrier between creeds. [TNM]

Emulating the Orissa model

[Activities in Madhya Pradesh: The activities in Madhya Pradesh in Feb.-March included celebrations of Mother's Birthday, Dr. R. B. Srivastava's visit to the Schools in Dauria and Putarya village, and Dr. Suman Kochar's visit to Amravati. The regional coordinators of MP have started working in their respected Regions. Sri Aurobindo Society Newsletter Apr. 2009] 11:11 AM

That Sri Aurobindo Society is gearing up its activities through regional coordinators in various States by emulating the Orissa model is a welcome sign. [TNM]