Monday, July 25, 2011

Ethics and aesthetics in Integral Advaitism

Or else, as I prefer — following Whitehead as I understand him — we can invert the order of the Critiques so that the 3rd critique comes first — becoming, as Whitehead put it, a critique of feeling, which makes the other critiques unnecessary — that is to say, aesthetics precedes cognition — we affect and are affected by other things aesthetically before we cognize those other things, and even (or especially) when we cannot cognize them adequately.
We cannot *know* things in themselves, or things apart from their correlation with us; but we can, as Harman rightly suggests, allude to them, i.e. refer to them metaphorically or indirectly. And we can, as well, be aesthetically *moved* by them — indeed, this is the primordial mode of actual contact among entities (and in saying this, I am espousing a Whiteheadian version of SR which differs from Harman’s object-oriented ontology).]

Sri Aurobindo also assigns the locus of ethics and aesthetics in widely differing regions, but significantly, they are united at the source in his unique Integral Advaitism. Shaviro’s “aesthetics precedes cognition” thesis surely seems to be a perceptive portrayal, but conceiving a too rigid distinction between how the two domains reign over us can be a bit dicey. [TNM]     

Friday, July 22, 2011

Greek translated into Latin entails a fall

[On Blanchot and Writing from Per Caritatem by Cynthia R. Nielsen
It can be argued, perhaps, that it was not until Blanchot, who lived at the junction of phenomenology and poststructuralism, and within the milieu of post-World War II French philosophy, that writing finally could be accorded its inherent ethical essence, that the intrinsic ethical nature of writing could be uncovered. Is it simply that thinkers since Plato never fully examined the phenomenality of written language? Perhaps so. Approaching an answer to such a question is beyond the scope of this project.
Nonetheless, we can most likely agree that Heidegger’s work on language began to set the stage for this rather late development that sought to locate ethics within writing. Heidegger’s verdict—“Die Sprache ist das Haus des Seins.” —begins to reveal not only the ethos (ήθος qua dwelling—das Haus—as well as ethics) of language but also—and equally important to Blanchot’s project—the daof Dasein, the thereness of human being which Blanchot, by way of Lévinas, will come to understand as the terrible il y a of non-relational, neutered ontology.
For both Lévinas and Blanchot, language serves as the only escape from neutered being. Lévinas comes to understand, at least initially, dialog and conversation (interpellation) as the site where relational metaphysics (ethics) can occur. We need to remember, however, that for Lévinas, one’s subjectivity is always already riddled with alterity. That is, I cannot (ever) be myself without the (prior and primordial) dispersion of identity across the differential field of otherness.]

 “The Origin of the Work of Art” make the contentious case that this ontological diminution “begins” when concepts central to the ancient Greek understanding of being get translated into Latin without a full experience of what those concepts originally revealed. Hence the obvious appeal for Heidegger of Meyer's suggestive line: “Veiling itself, this [first basin] overflows / Into a second basin's ground”. What remained of these ontological “riches” in the medieval world was then transposed into and reduced further in the modern epoch which, like the fountain's third basin, stands at the furthest remove from its original source.
It thus seems clear that Heidegger included Meyer's poem because he believed it suggestively illuminated the way the history of being unfolds as a history of decline, a “fall” which results from this history's increasing forgetting of the source from which it ultimately springs—the Ur-sprung or “origin” of Heidegger's essay's title—in a word: “Being” (Sein), Heidegger's famous name for the source from which all historical intelligibility originates (by way of the disclosive “naming-into-being” which Heidegger understands as the “poetic” essence of art). Pp. 68-70]

[Nissim Ezekiel, poet of human balance Harish Raizada - 1992 - 196 pages - He has no hesitation in describing even P. Lal and Pritish Nandy as poetesters. Ezekiel does not spare even old reputed Indian English poets who had earned wild acclaim both in India and abroad. He is highly critical of Sri Aurobindo ...]

The verdict of renowned people like Nissim Ezekiel and P. Lal on Sri Aurobindo’s poetry is well-known, but we treat them as trash. 20th Century Philosophy, similarly, is the crest jewel of human thought and longing, and hence, overlooking stray critical comments pertaining to it would be more rewarding for young learners. [TNM55] 

Monday, July 18, 2011

They are dear to us especially for this nearness

[Unconditional love Times of India, Jul 18, 2011, Dada J P Vaswani defines the relationship between guru and disciple.  
The Mother from Aurobindo Ashram, Pondicherry, had a clear vision of her guru and she set out in search of him. You don't have to choose. The choice lies with God. A disciple is the one who believes, for whom his guru is everything.]

The contribution of The Mother & Sri Aurobindo to the 20th Century theory and practice is complex and wide ranging. Hence it is befitting that diverse layers of their influence would be studied with appropriate academic rigour and diligence through varied lenses catering to multiple interests. Their being the Divine and Supreme Gurus doesn’t invalidate the elaborate human action that they have performed so compassionately. They are dear to us especially for this nearness which conceals the greatest appeal and within the overarching safety of which we may well stare at them form whichever angle we feel like. [TNM55 - Comment Re: Integral Leadership by Anurag Banerjee Permanent Link]

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Smith’s butcher is no longer a lone agent of pastoral vintage

One of the basic rules of investment is: Let your money work for you. Thus Adam Smith’s the butcher, the brewer, & the baker are no longer lone agents of pastoral vintage but rather are multiple actors representing various asset classes of their diversified portfolios. This has contributed immensely to the complexity of modern economy as the normal human sentiments like greed and fear are not the predominant drivers.

Voluntary simplicity, similarly, exerts an unusual influence upon the life of a nation when practiced on a large scale. Thanks to our modern religious teachers, austerity per se has ceased to be seen as a virtue. The Mother & Sri Aurobindo's unequivocal stand on money and economy is a distinct manifesto for the future world to follow. Savitri Era Party endeavours to disabuse people of discredited economic ideas. [TNM55] 

Friday, July 15, 2011

Mistrust permeates the Ashram fraternity

We hope that all the Savitri drafts, particularly in Sri Aurobindo’s hand, are absolutely safe. We also hope that there is no tampering done with them. ~ RYD]

Subhas insists that everything is hunky-dory in the Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Puducherry while we suspect hanky-panky. The comment above is testimony to the mistrust that permeates the Ashram fraternity and how those at the helms have abdicated all obligations of accountability and transparency. “Dignified silence” is proving to be the antithesis of “the universal laws of decent behaviour.”

We can ill afford, at this juncture, to leave things to The Mother & Sri Aurobindo and sit tight. Now is the time for unified collective action and mobilizing public opinion. [TNM55] 

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Wrestling with a ghost is a bewildering proposition

Sri Aurobindo has liberally used imaginary dialogues in prose as well as poetry in his inimitable style.  Sri Aurobindo: A Dream Dialogue with Children by Nirodbaran & Freedom and Future—an Imaginary Dialogue with Sri Aurobindo by Daniel Albuquerque come to the mind in this context.

Wrestling with a ghost is a bewildering proposition and Subhas’ invitation for spinning imaginary dialogues with an imaginary character is undoubtedly an unenviable situation. At any rate, it is gratifying to learn that our quantum of muck is woefully insufficient to move the mandarins and hence we multiply our decibel level. [TNM]