Monday, November 30, 2009

The path of honesty and morality

[I’m not sure exactly how to define a “perfect city,” but I guess that Auroville in theory, does a decent, if communist, job of it. You hand over your assets to the city upon joining, help your neighbors, are friendly to all, and live off the earth. Still though, the end of the walking tour of Auroville dumped us right into a gift shop with prices on homemade paper, organic tea, and pottery that would raise eyebrows anywhere. Ah, how capital prevails. Posted by Rianna ♥ at 3:55 PM Rianna Starheim, Coimbatore, stargirl2174@aim.com November 29, 2009 7:53 AM]

[Communist Party of India (Marxist) general secretary Prakash Karat said on Sunday the “glorious history” of the party in West Bengal had been tarnished by the greed for power and money of some.
He attributed the decline in the party’s fortunes in Bengal to “bourgeois influence on living standards”.
Greed ruining CPM in Bengal: Karat Hindustan Times Tanmay Chatterjee, Kolkata, November 30, 2009 Karat threatens stern action against 'moral deviations' in CPI-M Sify 'Party leaders and workers should strictly follow the communist values and living standards. If there is any deviation in principles and morals, stern steps must be taken again that,' he added. Bengal CPM wants cadres to stick to 'Communist lifestyle' Indian Express He also warned party members against deviating from the path of honesty and morality and added that it would attract stringent punishment. “All party members will have to strictly adhere to a lifestyle befitting a Communist,” the general secretary said.]

[It is also well known that the best darshan of Ramana was… at 4 in the morning, in the kitchen, cutting vegetables with him! I wish that ashramites and Aurovilians get such type of ‘illusion’, so that they do construction work, clean their house, do their beds, cut their vegetables – instead of hiring workers and servants! Mirror of Tomorrow Re: Sanatana Dharma XXVI—the Four luminous Powers and the Story of Creation
by paulette on Fri 27 Nov 2009 04:03 PM IST
Profile Permanent Link]

[Esalen. The word itself summons up tantalizing visions of adventure, of unexplored frontiers, of human possibilities yet to be realized. Home What is Esalen Massage? learn more The massage continues, seamlessly, wrapping the torso arms, legs, hands, feet, neck, and spirit into a united whole.
The practitioner brings a knowledge of strokes (many have roots in Swedish Massage), of muscles and bones, of movement, of listening to the body as well as the words. Prior to the session, he/she pays attention to his own physical comfort, and quiets down internal chatter to welcome inner guidance, or intuition. As he massages, the practitioner responds to the signs of relaxation: deepened breath, enhanced circulation, a sigh, perhaps flutters of the eyelids. Each session is unique, tailored by personal requests, comfort level, physical tension and release, the felt sense of intuition.
The effects of this intentional touch, loosely categorized as "wellness/stress management massage", range widely. For some, it brings a renewed sense of health and vigor, others may regain a sense of safety with regard to touch. Often old tension patterns break free and old emotions are released. It signals a return to one's nature, a switch from everyday consciousness into a calmer, more colorful space less inhabited by the constraints of time and place. An out-of-ordinary reality.]

All said and done, "the path of honesty and morality" will always remain ambiguous. [TNM]

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Religion and marriage

[Is 'Hindu Atheism' Valid? A Rationalist Critique Of The 'Hindu ... By Ajita Kamal - For example Aurobindo Ghose emphasized that 'all great awakenings in India, all her periods of mightiest and most varied vigour have drawn their vitality from the fountainhead of some deep religious awakening' (Purani 1964: 81). ... Nirmukta Posted on 28 November 2009
Many Indians intellectuals who don’t believe in supernatural gods or powers fail to separate their non-belief from the ‘Hindu’ identity... Hinduism is a meaningless religious label... Religions have always benefited when the facts are ambiguous. One such religion-driven ambiguity is in the definition of the notion of religion itself. This is the first place to start any such discussion on religion. From a scientific point of view, we can define religion as a sub-group within a culture, possessing certain specific traits. The most fundamental of these traits is the strong group identity that religion strives to instill in its followers.]

[“I regret to say,” write Raja Ram Mohan Roy in 1828, “that the present system of religion adhered to by the Hindus are not well calculated to promote thier political interests. The distinction of caste introducing innumerable divisions and sub divisions among them have entirely deprives them of patriotic feeling, and the multitude of religious rites and ceremonies and the laws of purification has totally disqualified from undertaking any difficult enterprise. It is, I think necessary that some change should take place in their religion at least for the sake of thier political advantage and social comfort.” How freedom movement is related to social and religious reform movement in pre independence India: An Analysis Posted by medieval
Medieval Weapons Nov28]

[Frame norms for inter-faith unions, girl requests SC Times of India - ‎Nov 27, 2009‎
"Directions are required and guidelines be given by the apex court in a Muslim or inter-religion marriage, so that peace and tranquility prevails for ...
SC notice to JK Govt on honour killing of youth by cops Expressindia.com]

Welcome to Savitri Era Religion. [TNM]

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Spirituality divides

[The fact that the subjective age - which aside from Sri Aurobindo was conceived in many modernist writings of the late 19th and early 20th century - has not smoothly transitioned into a spiritual age, but rather an age of late Capitalism, post-modernism, post-humanism or whatever one wishes to call it, does not shed light on either the success of failure of the project of Integral Yoga, because as you say the current age in itself is equally an expression the multiple worlds at play within the infinite's self-conception. But this matter brings up an issue concerning a wider dialog of the yoga and culture, in that due to the turn that evolution of consciousness has made the uncritical assertion of a progressive spiritual evolution is problematic when applied to any collectivity.
Therefore, what is more fascinating -at least for myself- is the tension between these Utopian tendencies characteristic of the Modernist period (late 19th early 20th century) and the often dystopian, machinic, computational view of reality that defines much of the writing and art of late Modernism and the post-human period we find ourselves confronted with today. Although I dont see any widespread interest in such a dialog I am a bit heartened by the latest works of those trying to re-construct unifying narratives of hope out of the ashes of the ideological ruins of Modernity. (I especially liked how the Kroker's concluded Virilio in Obama's America) Re: Science, Culture and Integral Yoga :: Xul Solar by Rich on Sun 02 Nov 2008 Permanent Link]

[It seems to me that generally - identity is morphing (or if one would rather call it evolving) in some instances it is becoming more protean, pliable, elastic, - but in other instances it may becoming even more entrenched in its identification with the body and all that signifies, (ethnicity, nationality class,) One could ask I suppose if the forms of spirituality that are culturally co-evolving as part of this whole process of change sufficient or in fact ask: just how relevant words like spirituality are -when assigning them a value as a placeholder for a certain type of experience - when the very articulation of the word inevitably divides the world into that which is spiritual and that which is not? aka. Is there a way to overcome the binary process of languaging a world? Re: LACMA 111909 - Debashish Banerji Tony Clifton]

Richard Carlson (Tony Clifton), very sensitively, disputes the homogenizing propensity of notions like evolution and spirituality. As there can be no perfect answer to his objections within the human condition a la Gödel's theorem, Pascal's Wager seems to be the best bargain in the circumstances. [TNM]

Merits of unity and a common faith

Tusar N Mohapatra has left a new comment on your post "Barin Ghose, Dilip Kumar Roy, and Anna Bogenholm Sloane":

The picture Reddy paints gives an impression that Integral Yoga is Ashram bound and hence leaving it tantamounts to failure. Mercifully, his thesis is not wholly true.

Devine, on the other hand, links dogma with tyranny and that presupposition eliminates the merits of unity and a common faith. [TNM] Posted by Tusar N Mohapatra to Aurora Mirabilis at 8:29 AM, November 28, 2009

Friday, November 27, 2009

Ortega y Gasset does more with authenticity than Heidegger does

[speaking of likes and dislikes
from Object-Oriented Philosophy by doctorzamalek
Speaking of likes and dislikes, I think that the best model of philosophical engagement would not be a neutrally distant critique, whether of the sneering or politely aloof variety.
What I really want to hear from a commentator is this: which aspects of the text commented upon do they most passionately enjoy and detest? This is one reason I’ve always loved Badiou’s book on Deleuze (in fact, it is my favorite Badiou text, and always has been). Badiou comes and lays his cards right on the table, telling us what he likes and dislikes about Deleuze, and how he thinks it differs from his own position. Nice job.] [
some disingenuous claims
from Object-Oriented Philosophy by doctorzamalek
I’ve blogged before about ways in which people use adjectives dishonestly.]

[Education here is based on rote memorisation, with virtually no emphasis on creative thinking. Few schools here even teach the theory of evolution...
In large part because of the emphasis on memorisation over critical thinking, many here say, the quality of the education is poor. While countries in the region often spend as much or more than the world average per pupil, the results are frequently far below average.
Egypt, for example, once considered the intellectual capital of the Arab world, was recently ranked 124th of 133 countries in the quality of its primary education by the World Economic Forum, based in Switzerland. Other global assessments have provided equally dismal results. Harnessing Darwin to push an ancient intellectual centre to evolve Michael Slackman © 2009 The New York Times News Service]

[The secular liberalism of the nation-state has demanded conformity and obedience from Europe’s citizens. Upholding an abstract idea of the individual citizen divested of his religious and ethnic identity, this liberalism has not had an easy relationship with Europe’s ethnic and religious minorities, to put it mildly; the current obsession with Muslims, for instance, betrays a deep unease with expressions of cultural distinctiveness (previously exemplified in Western Europe by Jews). Pankaj Mishra, Beyond boundaries UAE / Friday, November 27, 2009 Abu Dhabi 6:56 AM]

[International Congress in Auroville “Spirituality beyond Religions”, 5-8 January 2010 Mon, 06/15/2009 - 11:42am — International Congress in Auroville, 5-8 January 2010 “Spirituality beyond Religions” A New Path to a Universal Cultural Dialogue]

Graham Harman blogging from Cairo holds a great promise for the East-West reappraisal. [TNM]

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Latin phonics is unambiguous

[The Onion does England
How many centuries would it take for the various versions of English to become mutually unintelligible? It’s still not an everyday occurrence in England that I’m lost by what someone is saying, though it does happen... The newspapers in India sometimes already lose me: there are sometimes stories there in English that I don’t quite understand, for language reasons rather than knowledge reasons. They also display the phenomenon of language that is completely intelligible and correct, but rather archaic by the standards of American English ... I also still don’t understand words like “crore” and “lakh” in India, which you find attached to monetary amounts in news stories. I’ve looked them up before, but always forget how much they are. from Object-Oriented Philosophy - Nov 23, 2009]

[Unlike English, Latin has a one-to-one correspondence between its letters and the sounds the letters represent. (Spanish is also this way.) There is just one sound for the vowels (A, E, I, O, U) and the same for the consonants. And the letter names are in most cases basically identical to the sounds; in the rest, the letter names are very close. The Latin name for “B” is pronounced “beh”. So basically when one learns the letter name, one learns the sound it represents. I like how streamlined this is, and it struck me as potentially very effective for teaching, before I even tried it with my eldest.
The important principle here: Latin phonics is unambiguous.
Using Latin phonics to learn English (as well)
from The Daily Goose by Matthew
Around 18 months ago, my wife and I decided that we were going to home-educate our children.]

Sanskrit, Odia and many other Indian languages too are like Latin. But one is helpless before English. [TNM]

Mediteation

A pleasant afternoon and I reach Delhi Ashram. A magnificent and majestic Meditation hall welcomes me. My heart fills with joy. But the memory of the old building which used to be my weekly haunt in the nineties spurs mixed feelings.

Sri Aurobindo’s symbol within a circle can stand alone as a logo, but juxtaposed to The Mother’s symbol it appeared to be an oddity and avoidable distortion. Inside, my jaw dropped on confronting the photographs of the Masters fixed so wide apart.

Ganesh Vandana on Siddhi Day seemed disconcerting, but, however, was enjoyable in the classical style. Then, she sang another Gajanan Stuti. Irritated, I headed for tea.

On asking for a coupon, the gentleman at the reception informed me that tea is free on Darshan Day. A glass in hand I went to the counter in the Dining hall but the lady refused as only lunch and dinner are free but not tea. Offended, I put the glass back and went to the reception again to buy a coupon. When I had tea and snacks finally, the taste obviously was bitter.

The March Past, the evocative Vande Mataram, and the lighting of lamps ceremony brought cheers. Not even 24 persons were present to witness when the function began. And this city is home to 12 million people, alas.

Fearing that the tea episode will fill my meditation, I left, foregoing the free dinner, perforce. [TNM]

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Weighing in on WWI in 1914

[I wonder what the “late period” of Nietzsche would have been like. And that’s another interesting thought experiment… Nietzsche as a respected commentator in 1914, weighing in on WWI, a celebrated figure and the winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature. He barely missed living long enough to see the end of his obscurity. another thought while reading Schopenhauer
from Object-Oriented Philosophy by doctorzamalek]

Sri Aurobindo embarks upon The Life Divine in 1914. [TNM]

Social Capital & Soft Power

[How to be a cultural superpower Home » Sunday TOI
Hard power can drive people away but soft power almost always brings them closer. This is why nations with big ambitions have always used cultural exports to enhance their clout. Shobhan Saxena November 22, 2009
] ['India is also rock & pop' Shobhan Saxena
Dr Karan Singh has worn many hats - maharaja of Kashmir, governor, ambassador, minister, scholar, writer. Now, as head of the ICCR, the 79-year-old Congress leader is leading India's softpower offensive. He talks culture, politics and pop exports to Shobhan Saxena.] [
Rs 150cr to hardsell India? Pavan K Varma
Only recently is India waking up to the real potential of 'soft power', that curiously Freudian expression coined by Joseph Nye.]

[I also think Schopenhauer’s basic outline of the different periods of life is correct, though I wouldn’t put such a hopelessly pessimistic spin on them as he does. In particular, the idea that each person’s character shines best in one period of life is very strong, and it is perhaps also the case that each nation’s virtues are best suited to one particular historical era. (Like many people, I’m expecting Asian dominance of the world before too long.) more on Schopenhauer
from Object-Oriented Philosophy by doctorzamalek]

International relations are fast altering and the East-West equilibrium is likely to display drastic makeover within a not so distant future. The momentum is said to be propelled by economics at the moment, but a deeper look would point at a range of Social Capital.

An apparent instance is the steadfastness of Japanese work ethic. Korean dexterity and Chinese resilience too have contributed to their respective prosperity. Overall, a resurgent spirit is at work all over Asia. But the challenge is to build on strong foundations of Soft Power.

The Mother and Sri Aurobindo, through their joint venture, have heralded such a blueprint backed by some finest arguments set forth in superb prose (and poetry). No set of proposals – either past or present – can equal the brilliance of their recommendations. The imperative, therefore, is to follow or perish. [TNM]

Saturday, November 21, 2009

The Ascent to Truth grew out of a painting made by The Mother

[The Mother (of Sri Aurobindo Ashram)‎ - Page 108 Prema Nandakumar - Biography & Autobiography - 1977 - 136 pages
As for the playlet, The Ascent to Truth, it grew out of a painting made by the Mother of the Hall of Aspiration. A group of people (the philanthropist, ...]

cf. Jacob's Ladder by William Blake (1757–1827). [TNM]

Sunday, November 15, 2009

An indispensable work

[The lives of Sri Aurobindo - Google Books Result
by Peter Heehs - 2008 - Religion - 496 pages Biographers usually focus solely on Aurobindo's life as a politician or sage, but he was also a scholar, a revolutionary, a poet, a philosopher, a social and ...]

Thanks to Google Books, I read a few pages of the book for the first time this morning. The impression I gathered was it is an indispensable work.

The Many Lives of R.C. Dutt by Meenakshi Mukherjee is also an interesting recent publication as “a prism which refracts the relationships between the West and India, colonialism and nationalism, elite and subaltern Indians, literature and history and much else.” [TNM]

Friday, November 06, 2009

Political nullity

The following offers an apposite backdrop to The Bourgeois and the Samurai by Sri Aurobindo that promptly pricks conscience:
  • "Hegel also offers the first polemically political definition of the bourgeois. The bourgeois is an individual who does not want to leave the apolitical riskless private sphere. He rests in the possession of his private property, and under the justification of his possessive individualism he acts as an individual against the totality. He is a man who finds his compensation for his political nullity in the fruits of freedom and enrichment and above all in the total security of its use. Consequently he wants to be spared bravery and exempted from the danger of a violent death." [The concept of the political - Google Books Result by Carl Schmitt, George Schwab - 2007 - Philosophy - 126 pages]

[TNM]