Savitri Era of those who adore, Om Sri Aurobindo and The Mother.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Nikam takes Sri Aurobindo to have successfully refuted māyāvāda

Christian Coseru on 26 July 2014 at 7:01 pm said: 
One thing worth noting about Aurobindo is the close association between him (and his ashram) and many pre-independence academic philosophers active in the Indian Philosophical Congress. As is well-known, the IPC even felt the need to hold a special session (at Almaner in 1950) on whether Aurobindo had refuted māyāvāda by shifting the emphasis from ‘illusion’ (māyā) to ‘play’ (līlā). Opinions seem to have been mixed, but nonetheless they reflect the seriousness accorded to Life Divine even outside Advaita (and neo-Advaita) intellectual circles. Hard to assess to what extent that is still the case today.
Garfield and Bhushan have an informative essay on this topic (‘Bringing Brahman Down to Earth’) that prefaces the papers read at that session of the IPC (by Indra Sen, N.A. Nikam, H Chaudhuri, and G. R. Malkani). Check out their recent anthology on Indian Philosophy in English. Definitely worth a read ( ).

Nikam’s essay, I think, sums it best: “Between the Māyāvāda of Śaṅkara and the Līlāvāda of the Life Divine, there is a Major Premise which is common to both. Māyāvāda says:
The world is a dream
Dreams are unreal
Therefore, the world is unreal.

The Līlāvāda of Life Divine says:
The world is a dream,
dreams are real.
Therefore, the world is real.”

Nikam takes Aurobindo to have successfully refuted māyāvāda, and offers an interesting outline of the new metaphysical theory:
“(i) In sleep, the waking activities are in abeyance, but the “inner consciousness is not suspended but enters into new inner activities.”
(ii) the whole of this inner activity we do not remember, we remember only what is near the surface.
(iii) near the surface there “an obscurer subconscious element which is a builder” (e.g. “dream-builder”).
(iv) but behind it is the “subliminal” self which is the totality of our inner being and consciousness…”

From this analysis, he concludes (by noting, in passing, the regressive nature of the dream argument) that the meaning of ‘dream’ has changed such that one can now even substitute the Cartesian cogito with something like “I dream, therefore, I exist”!
I’m no scholar of Aurobindo either, but it’s creative appropriations like these that served as a vehicle for modernity in India in the early decades of the last century (with, one may add, varying political consequences).
It’s also appropriations like these that got the likes of Matilal and Daya Krishna to build entire careers arguing that rationalism is the de facto core of Indian philosophy, or D. P. Chattopadhyaya to claim that the only living strand of Indian philosophy is in fact materialism!
The goal these days, of course, is a lot more modest as most everybody grapples with an ever wider range of problems (error theory, disjunctivism, the problem of other minds, arguments against physicalism, critiques of foundationalism, etc.). That’s certainly progress, but it’s not the one I articulate in my initial query.

I, for one, am just as baffled by this notion that the best and perhaps only way to do Indian philosophy is to do exegesis of antique positions in that bhāṣya, vṛtti, vārttika, and ṭīkā vein. Or, worse, use the same antiquated vocabulary and stylistic devices of the original thinkers with more than just a hint of nostalgia for the good old ways before the (ill-fated) advent of modernity. We’re not doing Indian philosophy to promote Hinduism (or Buddhism) but to pursue knowledge and understanding. Or are we? Last time I checked Jay Garfield is not Bob Thurman, and Jonardon Ganeri is not T. M. P. Mahadevan.

Amod Lele on 5 August 2014 at 12:09 pm said:
I remain boggled that anyone can try to take this approach. Far as I can tell, if you remove anything that can be described as “religious concerns” from Indian philosophy, there’s nothing of importance left. Sure, there are some technical debates on epistemology, but first you do interpretive violence to them, and second, it’s hard to see why anyone would care.
Though there are moments when I’m tempted to argue the same about Western philosophy. Once people get hostile to “religion”, hostility to philosophy is usually not far behind.
Once one has arrived at a position, presumably one wishes to defend it, whatever position that is. If one does believe that a Buddhist position is the truest one, then one would be intellectually dishonest to pretend otherwise; to acknowledge one’s belief in such a case is surely not to relinquish one’s title as philosopher. It is pretty clear to me that Daniel Dennett and John Rawls have clearly staked out doctrinal positions that they wish to defend. Are we therefore not to call them philosophers?

Friday, May 30, 2014

Emerson's influence on Nietzsche

Casey on May 27, 2014 at 6:11 pm said: 
Its interesting to tie Emerson into the discussion since he had an influence on James, of course, but also a still surprisingly little appreciated influence on Nietzsche. The emphasize on power seems to obviously reflect some of the same language that Emerson liked to use. I think that Emerson is perhaps in fact Nietzsche’s most important influence, not just in something as simple as the ideas that they shared, but in the style of thinking, what Charles Pierce might call the habits of thought that Nietzsche picked up from Emerson.

Here are some recommendations of books to read that in some way or other challenge materialism. This is from Dr. Larry Dossey. Among his recommendations, I would particularly cite 
Smith’s “Beyond the Postmodern Mind”, 
Radin’s “Conscious Universe”, 
van Lommel’s “Consciousness Beyond Life”, 
Carter’s “Parapsychology and the Skeptics”, and 
Tart’s “The End of Materialism.” 
Perhaps the best of all – though a challenging read, heavily researched – is Kelley’s "Irreducible Mind.”

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Pots don't speak how monks live

justinon 10 May 2014 at 3:54 pm said: Thanks for this, Lyone, and my apologies for the late response. My worry with this approach: “The first few centuries of every religious tradition is pretty much the same in this regard: lacking in solid historic data” is that there are sometimes vastly different amounts of solid historical data among religions. So I couldn’t say “All we have is myth, legend, hagiography.” We do have those, but we also have archaeology, historians such as Josephus, linguistic analysis, etc. So I think we can and should do our best to separate out what is strictly claimed within the tradition (especially when the claims just appear much later in the tradition) and ideas and events which can be attested to from multiple sources.

justinon 10 May 2014 at 4:51 pm said: Dear Jayarava – many thanks for all of this. It’s a bit overwhelming in terms of what to try to respond do…
First, I’m not sure claims about “what the Buddha thought” aren’t a priori refutable. The body of texts we have can be used to argue for different interpretations and new texts may still be found to upset the whole thing. As you later stated, Gombrich is definitely a Popperian, so the (also later) point about “what counts as evidence” is really the key problem here. And as you also note, aside from Schopen’s possible contrarianism, the main arguments for distrusting texts come from Postmodernism.
Next, “Schopen in particular has pointed out that were we do have archaeological evidence it contradicts textual evidence –particularly with respect to how monks live and conducted themselves.” I think it’s fairer to say that *some* archaeological evidence contradicts textual evidence, and/or gives us new information. I think we have to be much more circumspect on what evidence Schopen presents and what conclusions he draws from it.
Schopen and others may have upped the game, so to speak, but I hope that in the process they have not also discouraged many great minds from looking at texts and thinking hard about what they mean and meant to Buddhists, past and present.

Tweets @blog_supplement
It is not about whether SSVC had an IndoAryan component or sarasvatI river or date of RV: These are separate even if related problems. Linguistic & philological evidence are superior to archaeological evidence as the latter is way more incomplete & pots don't speak
The core RV & older sections of ancestral AV shows signs of a mobile mixed pastoralist/agricultural society with evidence familiarity with regions closer to the Caspian sea & more northern latitudes than bhArata. The philological+linguistic evidence combined with genetics suggests that IA invasion was not likely product of elite dominance: it was a movement of a sizable population of IA speakers; thus genetic evidence supports not negates AIT hypothesis unlike what is spouted by those unfamiliar with such data in its original form.
Given the population movement & fact that IE appearance in Europe was comparable where autochthons likely overwhelmed, there's nothing wrong calling it an invasion: unlikely that it involved no military aspect at all, especially given that Indoaryans were a mobile warlike people
Willingness of certain Hs to kid themselves without grasp of primary data about autochthonism of original IA is a reflection of a certain intellectual cretinism stemming from the inability to transcend emotionalism while approaching a problem; this could come to bite them in more life-and-death and immediate geo-political issues than the origin of their long dead ancestors

Thursday, March 20, 2014

‘Tradition’ has moved towards less esoteric, intellectual fields

Neevel’s suggestion is that the life-spans of probably already long lives have been prolonged in order to make sure that every important teacher had met the previous one (Nathamuni-Yamuna-Ramanuja…). The life span of Nathamuni has been extended to 300 years in order to put him in touch with the Alvars. It was the way a tradition made its strong belief in their connection into history.

Daniele Cuneo on 19 March 2014 at 11:12 am said:
Hi Elisa, as you might imagine, along lines similar to those you have drawn, I would think of the theoretical developments within Pratyabhijñā (Kaśmīr Śaivism, Trika, paramādvaita or whatever we should call it). Probably very much influenced by Torella’s writings, my take would be that the ‘tradition’ has moved towards a progressive opening up with respect to different, and less esoteric, intellectual fields, social strata, scriptures and the like. Very briefly, and without checking references and stuff, from the world of Somānanda quite close to not only śaiva scripture and crowded with many enemies (famously, Bhartṛhari and the grammarians) and few allies, we move to the much more open intellectual universe of Utpaladeva (in which—for instance—Bhartṛhati has become a powerful ally), carefully constructed in order to debate with all the philosophical schools, in the open, so to say, practically outside the esoteric, only-Tantric circles; then Abhinavagupta systematizes even more the theoretical and scriptural grounds of it all, by coordinating—for instance—the various Tantric strands (Krama, Kaula, etc.) and by further incorporating the dualistic schools in the system; with Kṣemarāja, it seems to me, we witness a further moment of intellectual colonization, with the full inclusion of the Spanda-side of Tantric speculations and the appropriation of dualistic tantras (like the Netra or the Svacchanda) by means of clever commentaries that reinterpret them in a nondualistic framework. So, my general feeling would be that in the span from Yāmuna to Veṅkathanātha something similar was happening, with the gradual conquest of intellectual and social fields to the cause of the new edifice of Viśiṣṭādvaita. But it is just my feeling, very much imbued with my assumption on the social and cultural workings of making philosophy…

Thank you, Daniele. This is also my take on it. I even suggested that the sequence Yāmuna–Rāmānuja–Veṅkaṭanātha resembles the Somānanda–Utpaladeva–Abhinavagupta one (here:

Matthew, thanks for this. I will need more time to assess the value of the book (and will possibly write about it) —which, mea culpa, I did not know. By and large, however, it can be said that the book has a clear thesis (the continuity of the lineage from the Āḻvārs through Yāmuna to Rāmānuja) and that it develops it in an interesting way. Nothing can be said against the solid preparation of its author, although he might be slightly inclined to read the history of Viśiṣṭādvaita ante litteram through the lenses of what came out of it (e.g., by detecting in causal remarks in Yāmuna the seed of later developments). I am, for instance, not in the position to assess the authenticity of the Tamil’s comments embedded in the Divya Prabandham and attributed to Yāmuna, but it strikes me that Narasimhachary does not even address the issue. What do you think?

Sri Krishna Prem on science - This is a letter by Sri Krishnaprem, the unique case of a British professor who became an Indian yogi and eventually a Guru in his own right. He had his as...
I first read this in 1977. Now, 37 years later, I still find it one of the most inspired comments on the limits of modern science. As much as I admire Alan Wallace, whom I consider to be one of the greatest exponents of contemplative science in the world today, I’ve never seen anything in his writings that captures the whole picture as beautifully and as simply as this passage.
I think part of it is that not only was Ronald Nixon (his name before he took sannyas) a brilliant intellectual, but he had a spontaneity of devotion rare among westerners (rare for anybody, I suppose).

There’s a great story about his going to the Mother (of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram) for darshan. When he got to her, She said, “What do you want?” He replied, “To give myself.’
The Mother was known for having the capacity to look into the depths of one’s soul. She looked at Krishna Prem for an unusually long time, and said, “But you have given yourself.”
Without any hesitation, he quietly and sincerely replied, “Not enough.” The Mother later said that those two words impressed Her very deeply.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Maybe we need to ditch the label of “philosophy” altogether

Chris Framarin on 13 March 2014 at 4:19 pm said: Hi Shyam,
I think we should be more open to the possibility that the Yogasūtra (and other seminal Hindu texts) attribute direct moral standing to entities in virtue of their capacity for pleasure and pain (among other reasons). Your argument against this view reads:

One standard account that we find from Hedonic Utilitarians like Peter Singer and Bentham is the idea that someone counts, ethically, if they can suffer (Singer 2012). Animals count because they can suffer. I like the hedonic account, but it has problems. On this account, if I overcome suffering, I would no longer be in the category of things who should be taken seriously. This disincentivises me from overcoming suffering. That’s strange.

Ethan Mills on 14 March 2014 at 5:52 am said:
It seems to me that freedom vs. determinism wasn’t a major issue in the Indian tradition because almost everyone was a compatibilist (or soft determinist). Karma and rebirth simply wouldn’t work without determinism: the whole idea that certain actions inevitably lead to certain consequences seems like some kind of determinism. But it need not be hard determinism, the theory that determinism rules out freedom. A decision to follow the path of a specific school can be free in the sense of being caused by the right sort of desire or mental state, but one need not claim that such a choice must itself be solely caused by an agent (as in libertarian agent causation theories). Compare this with the sort of compatibilism advocated by Hume and Mill.

Now, I’m not saying that any classical Indian philosophers explicitly advocated compatibilism. They didn’t have to. In a tradition driven so heavily by disagreement, there was simply no reason to argue about an issue that almost everyone agreed about. I suspect this has been such a big issue in Western thought because of the religious background: if you can be damned for all eternity for your choices, they damn well better be fully yours. But with karma and rebirth, you simply need to be in a position where you can follow a path to liberation at some point. If it doesn’t happen now, you’ll have plenty more chances in future lifetimes.

andrew ollett on 8 March 2014 at 5:03 pm said:
there is clearly a lot to disagree with here, especially regarding the narrow construal of “philosophy,” which clearly reflects an enlightenment-era ideal of “reasoning without tradition” that is not only western, but even excludes an enormous amount of what had previously counted as philosophy in the west. i will limit my dissent to an obvious point: there may be “theology” and “philosophy” (maybe), but there are not “theologians” and “philosophers.” this is one instance of the myth of the schools, according to which everyone who ever wrote in india was a card-carrying member of one and only one philosophical (or should i say theological?) school. is kumārila incapable of philosophical thought because his primary output was commentaries on a system of scriptural interpretation? instead of kicking every important indian thinker (except for the later naiyāyikas, i guess) out of “philosophy,” we need to change our idea of what “philosophy” is. or maybe we need to ditch the label of “philosophy” altogether, constricting and judgmental as it is, and focus on the history of indian intellectual traditions.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Centenary of Sri Aurobindo's The Life Divine

Tusar Nath Mohapatra on 25 January 2014 at 7:01 am said:
Demarcation between philosophy proper and history of Indian philosophy has been deep since the arrival of Sri Aurobindo in the scene. This year marks the Centenary of his magnum opus “The Life Divine” and other original works like “The Secret of the Veda.” The Evolutionary dialectic of his Integral Ontology seeks to establish a universal template of philosophy that acts as applied psychology as well by suitably incorporating poetic aesthesis. So, not to include him in the list would be an injustice to the future of human civilization and education. [TNM55]

Tusar Nath Mohapatra on 26 January 2014 at 6:16 am said:
Bringing in other names while thinking of Sri Aurobindo is a real problem; so is the period during which he wrote. Most of his books, fortunately, allow us to concentrate on the subject proper and a slim volume like “The Problem of Rebirth” or “Heraclitus” can introduce one elegantly to his philosophical project that dovetails into poetry too.
Though neither germane nor palatable, let me say as a nonspecialist here that it is Sri Aurobindo who has saved the modern day Indians from the tyranny of “Indian Philosophy” by offering an alternative set of literature in English reading which is transformative as well. [TNM55]

Matthew Dasti on 25 January 2014 at 2:37 pm said:
I like how you framed this, Jonathan. In an undergraduate education with some focus on Indian philosophy, there’s only so much time. Given this, I would say you did a pretty good job. I am an Aurobindo fan, but imho, you can be considered literate, on an undergraduate level, in Indian philosophy without ever having read him (or others in his broad category), but not if you haven’t read Nagarjuna, Vatsyayana, or Dignaga, etc.
I would also suggest one more criterion: if a certain school or tradition is deeply important, then one of it’s most important thinkers should be included, to allow for an appropriately wide coverage. On that score, is anybody missing?
Also, you mentioned Vacaspati Mishra, but we don’t read him merely as Vacaspati, but as a commentator on various texts. Which ones were you thinking of? Reply ↓

Amod Lele on 25 January 2014 at 4:07 pm said:
I think lists like this are a marvelous exercise, and I thank Jonathan for posting it. Having said that, I have a lot of problems with the list in its details.
My biggest concern with the list is the relative absence of ethics, especially Buddhist ethics. I think Candrakīrti and Śāntideva need a place here. Which I suppose ties to a related point: that the “enduring impact” of Indian philosophers shouldn’t be judged only on their influence in India, but outside its borders as well. That can mean Tibet, China, Southeast Asia in the premodern period… and it’s another reason to include the likes of Aurobindo in the modern. (Śāntideva never amounted to much in India proper, but he’s among the most important of all philosophers in Tibet.)

Jonathan Edelmann on 25 January 2014 at 7:22 pm said: Hello All, 
Thanks for this interesting and thought-provoking dialogue! Let me first respond to a few points:
1. My knowledge of Jain philosophers is woefully scant, so I appreciate Patrick’s suggestions. My list was only meant to generate discussion. It was partial and surely needs refining. I also appreciate the other names mentioned.
2. I do think there is a rationale for including philosophers like Sri Aurobindo. One might also mention Vivekananda, Ramakrishnan, and Matilal as well. Again, my list was partial. That also brings up another interesting question, however. Does one need to be Indian to be an Indian philosopher? Gerry Larson, for example, has recently published an article ...

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Vico, Weber, and Foucault

Posted by 
Giambattista Vico must be credited with the argument that philosophy, taken in an extremely generic sense as commitment to principled debate, can be construed as a commitment to the authority of rational argumentation rather than the authority of precedent, custom, prestige, personality, or brute force.  The emergence of democracy, Vico argues in The New Science, is best understood, in materialist terms, as the rhetoric of democracy.  On Vico’s view, the masses “invent” philosophy (as Nietzsche also realized when he emphasized Socrates’ status as a “pleb,”) as an appeal for the right to participate in governance on the basis not of any actual but only the formal possibility of equality. 

Posted by Larval Subjects - 
Perhaps Foucault comes closest to analyzing this form of power with respect his final work on biopower, but even there the focus is more on discourses pertaining to life and ways of controlling life, rather than what is going on at the organic level.
What we have here is a form of power that assaults the very fabric of the organism in its organic being– not at the level of the “lived body” of say Merleau-Ponty –and that developmentally forms that body in the ways that define that of which it is capable.  There’s a strange blurring of the nature/culture divide that’s very difficult to think about.  Clearly the milieu in which these bodies develop has strong semiotic or cultural components, but these things are not just signs.

Posted by Amod Lele
Credit for the concept of an ideal type must go to Max Weber, the early twentieth-century German historian who is now retroactively regarded as one of the founders of sociology. Weber identifies the concept in his long and thoughtful piece “‘Objectivity’ in social science and social policy”; its English translation (by Edward Shils and Henry Finch) is easily found in the short collection The Methodology of the Social Sciences, available free online. Weber’s point is to argue for theoretical constructs that – much like Platonic forms – allow us to understand empirical reality even if they are never instantiated in that reality. He takes as an example the abstract mathematical constructs that characterize twentieth-century economic theory:

Friday, February 15, 2013

Fiery intensity may look like fundamentalism

What’s at Stake in Hermetic Reterritorialization? from An und für sich by Jacob Sherman, Assistant Professor of Philosophy and Religion at the California Institute of Integral Studies.
Joshua Ramey’s The Hermetic Deleuze: Philosophy and Spiritual Ordeal is such a rich, provocative, and deliciously inconclusive book that I have had trouble deciding upon the shape of a response. The details of the book – the excavation of Deleuze’s hope for an eschatological community of immanence, the reading of the Deleuzean (and Peircean) sign as a kind of arcanum, the rigorous thematization of the shamanic in Deleuze’s process philosophical wagers, etc. – all demand careful, further engagement. Ramey’s work has the potential, alongside Kerslake’s, to change how many of us read Deleuze – not because the Deleuze he shows us is entirely foreign or monstrous, but because he seems to be a Deleuze we suspected of being there all along but could never quite catch sight of.
I am left with the strangely giddy feeling that I won’t really have finished Ramey’s book until I’ve gone back and reread an entirely nonidentical Deleuze all over again. Until then, however, I can venture an initial response to the book as a whole. The title and subtitle announce two different projects… Why risk this? Why risk Deleuze’s reputation (I am being serious here) and the future possibilities of philosophy as spiritual and transformative practice by tying them to something so spooky, so regularly reviled, so politically ambiguous as hermeticism? It cannot be simply a matter of rectifying a historical oversight in our interpretation of Deleuze… I suspect that Ramey seeks to divine a new shape for philosophy in the hermetic tradition rather than, say, in Hadot’s ancient philosophical schools, because of the degree of creativity that hermeticism not only thematizes but also unleashes… I’m sympathetic to this reading of Deleuzebut I am also not sure how finally to reconcile this with the Deleuze that I have been trying to read for years.  

Elisabeth Ellis (ed.), Kant's Political Theory: Interpretationsand Applications, Penn State University Press, 2012, 256pp., ISBN 9780271053776. Reviewed by Helga Varden, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Although Habermas has increasingly become preoccupied with and inspired by Kant's legal-political philosophy -- and especially Kant's main writing on the issue, the Doctrine of Right in The Metaphysics of Morals -- the same was never true of Rawls. Rawls was clearly inspired by some of Kant's shorter, political essays, primarily in his thinking about global justice in The Law of Peoples, but most of the Kantian ideas developed as part of his theory of "justice as fairness" utilize core ideas in Kant's ethical writings, including some of those captured by the categorical imperative… Ripstein argues that even if we assume away our "crooked timber," or our typical tendencies to act in ignorant, biased, selfish, or vicious ways, we still need justice. And to fully establish justice, we need states (the rule of law). Against much Kant interpretation (including the majority of the other articles in the anthology) and other prominent theories of justice, such as those we find in Hobbes, Locke, and Hume, Ripstein defends the claim that for Kant "neither justice nor the law is remedial." … Hence Kant asserts that a united will provides a means for overcoming or, to use Ripstein's language, "remedying" antagonisms (163). Similarly, contemporary Kantian approaches, like those of Rawls and Habermas, mistakenly search for the construction of some procedures, "rational will formation," or "cosmopolitan institutions that could guarantee peaceful and just relations around the globe." (153) … To understand what Kant really means in his legal-political writings, we need to look elsewhere. In particular, we need to appreciate a particular (also controversial) interpretation of Kant's Religion within the Boundaries of Mere Reason, the plausibility of which is seen as stemming from a particular interpretation of various historical facts that influenced Kant deeply (including in ways Kant himself wasn't aware).

With the advent of the vital life force into the world we see what some have called “the law of the jungle” and others “survival of the fittest” as the basic principle of the life energy. Even for human beings, we start from this basis and only add ethical and moral considerations later as mind-nature begins to develop and make itself felt in transcending the basic instincts of the vital force.
Sri Aurobindo comments on the nature of the vital power in its action in the world… The rule of return on energy is operative here by providing results based on the ability to harness and master the powers of the vital force. There may be an element of self-control, discipline or focus of energy, but these are implementations of the law of vital force and their goal, and their result, is to enhance the success of the vital life nature.

Our growth from "inadequacies and flaws" are not better achieved on the mountaintop; it is through action that we must grow.  5:17 pm on Tue 27 Jan 2009 07:21 PM PST Permanent Link Well said, Mr. Sane! An effort in this direction, to create a culture of dialog and social forums for conducting these, is the need of the hour. But all this presupposes the acknowledgment of personal finitude, the openness to the other and the willingness to aim for integrality, as you point out. 
Re: Yoga, religion, and fundamentalism in the Integral Yoga Community by Lynda Lester by Rick on Sat 24 Jan 2009 10:35 AM PST |  Profile |  Permanent Link
I feel that “Evolution II” is a powerful account, though filtered through Satprem’s sensibility. “The Tragedy of the Earth” is a wonderful book; Aeschylean, Sophoclean. Because a human is fraught and peppered with imperfections need not stop that human from attempting the transformation where others are standing back, commentating and clucking away. I see Satprem a flawed hero. I feel that Sri Aurobindo and Mother must value all the better angels of our nature (for instance, the more successful parts of the recent biography); and feel they value Satprem for his courage that resonates in the very cells of being.
Satprem at his best—is Satprem. Fiery intensity may look like fundamentalism but it was not religion he was founding—it was yoga he was doing and that he is living in its authentic fires. It was not what he was looking behind at; it was what he was always moving towards that interests me. It was no belief to merely warm our pale hands at as we stand, not too close, to the thin little fires of the mind. (I would look more at the mental fundamentalisms that limit the perspectives—of us all.)

The term “outrage industry” seems to have been coined in 2008 by Jeffrey M. Berry and Sarah Sobieraj of Tufts University. They used it to describe the methods of “certain kinds of advocacy organizations and media outlets” who promoted “a highly polarized view of American politics”. Berry and Sobieraj concluded that, for such groups, manufacturing outrage was an effective strategy that was “likely to persist”…
Here I must pause to look at the terms “hurt sentiments” and “hurt feelings”. When I first came to India years ago I was puzzled whenever I read in the newspapers that a riot had been started by a group whose feelings had been hurt by something another group was supposed to have said or done. In the US, at least when I was growing up, “hurt feelings” were something that only little children were likely to be troubled by. 

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Darwinism hardly resembles what Darwin wrote

I would strongly suggest that you consider looking at Joshua Ramey’s new book The Hermetic Deleuze… While a lot of my earlier years were spent reading esotericism, gnosticism, hermeticism and occultism, I have been incrementally distancing my philosophical self from such potential contaminants to reason for twenty years now. And this is despite teaching both philosophy and contemporary incarnations of such esoteric traditions at university. I only started to forcefully question the viability and value of this bracketing quite recently: Posted by Paul Reid-Bowen at 13:38
The Yogi and the Devotee (Routledge Revivals): The Interplay ... - Ninian Smart - 2013 - Preview - More editions Aurobindo, Sri 145–146, 166, 172 Avalokiteshvara 38, 48 Baillie, ... 95, 100–101, 142, 163–165, 167–169 Cicero 20 Darwin, C.143–144 Dayal, H.171 Dutt, S. 171 Eckhart 30, 44 Edgerton,...
Readings in Sri Aurobindo's the Life Divine: Covering Book One, ... - Page 141 - Santosh Krinsky - 2012 - Preview - More editions ... principle in action here brings us beyond the idea of “mutual devouring”, and thus, is the next evolutionary phase beyond a pure darwinian “survival of the fittest. ...reference: Sri Aurobindo, The Life Divine, Chapter 21, The Ascent of Life, pg.
Future of Anthropological Knowledge - Page 259 Henrietta Moore - 2012 - Preview - More editions Sri Aurobindo (1972) Sri Aurobindo Birth Centenary Library, Pondicherry: SriAurobindo Ashram, Vol. ... King and A. Cameron (eds), The Byzantine and Early Islamic Near East H: Land Use and Settlement Patterns, Princeton: Darwin Press.
Biographical Dictionary of Twentieth-Century Philosophers - Page 927 Stuart Brown, Diane Collinson, Robert Wilkinson - 2012 - Preview - More editions ... Feng Youlan Darwin, C.: Abbott; Haeckel; Liang Qichao; Lu Xun; Morgan; Pound; Schiller; Sun Zhongshan; Swabey; ... Valéry Devi, llllahasweta: Spivak Dewey, J.: Aurobindo; Beardsley; Blanshard; Buchler; Brodbeck; Burtt; Cannabrava; ...
Inclusive Humanism: Anthropological Basics for a Realistic ... - Page 253 - Christoph Antweiler - 2012 - Preview - More editions ... 173, 195 Assmann, Aleida 103, 195 Assmann , Jan 126 Atran, Scott 152, 162 Aurobindo, Sri 62 Babha, Homi 70 Barkow, ... Judith 64 Carrithers, Michael 95 Connolly, Bob 31 Cook, James 35 Cronk, Lee 84–86 Darwin, Charles 98 De Waal,...
Evolutionaries: Unlocking the Spiritual and Cultural Potential of ... - Carter Phipps - 2012 - Carter Phipps calls them Evolutionaries. His groundbreaking book provides the first popular guide to these exciting minds who are illuminating the secrets of our past and expanding the vistas of our future.
Evolution, Religion and the Unknown God - Georges Van Vrekhem - 2012 - Besides, what is nowadays generally labelled as Darwinism hardly resembles what Darwin wrote in The Origin of Species, but is the result of scientific developments at times considered anti-Darwinian. This book narrates the relevant events in ...
The Literary Imagination from Erasmus Darwin to H.G. Wells: ... - Page 63 - Michael R. Page - 2012 - Preview - More editions King-Hele here mistakes a restrictive biological evolution, more fitting with the later ideas of Charles Darwin, for the ... the Indian mystic and political leader, Sri Aurobindo, considers the Romantics “the poets of the dawn,” initiating a new ...
Mutants and Mystics: Science Fiction, Superhero Comics, and the ... - Page 359 - Jeffrey J. Kripal - 2011 - Preview - More editions ... W. Y., 242, 251 Everrett, Bill, 139 Evolution (Huxley), 186 evolutionary mysticism: of Aurobindo, 323; of Gerald Heard, 75; ... See also ancient-astronaut theory; Darwinian biology; Mutation mytheme; primate-alien hybrid Exegesis (Dick), 275, ...
Encyclopedia of Creativity, Two-Volume Set: Online Version - 2011 - Preview - More editions The conception of an evolution of consciousness was elaborated by Sri Aurobindo most extensively in his main philosophical work, The Life Divine. Sri Aurobindo starts by pointing out that the gradual evolution of which Darwin had found his proofs...
Science and Religion Around the World - Page 204 John Hedley Brooke, Ronald L. Numbers - 2011 - Preview - More editions One of these was Aurobindo Ghose (1872–1950), an English-educated Bengali nationalist and philosopher, who repudiated the materialism of Darwinian evolution for the “involution” of divine consciousness. Hindu creationists, however ...
Cornelissen R. M. Matthijs - 2011 - Preview ... and Sri Aurobindo's Integral Yoga claims that the goal of liberation can be reached within everyday life (Sri Aurobindo, ... The metatheory might be given a similar status as the (Darwinian) theory of evolution, or its aspect more relevant here ...
How Quantum Activism Can Save Civilization: A Few People Can ... - Page 267 - Amit Goswami - 2011 - Preview Aurobindo, S. (1996). The Life Divine. Pondicherry, India: Sri Aurobindo Ashram. Bache, C. (2000). Dark Night, Early Dawn. Albany, NY: SUNY Press. ... New York: Bantam. Behe, M. J. (1996). Darwin's Black Box. New York: Simon & Schuster.
A More Perfect Union:Holistic Worldviews and the Transformation of ... - Page 179 - Linda Sargent Wood - 2010 - Preview - More editions ... an Episcopal priest, but he discarded Christianity when introduced to Darwinian ideas: “I became an instant atheist at ... 43 In 1949, Spiegelberg traveled to Asia on a Rockefeller grant to meet mystics, including Sri Aurobindo Ghose, who ...
A New Paradigm Of Development : Sumangalam - Page 11 - GuptaBajrang Lal - 2010 - Preview To my mind, the Cartesian and Newtonian theories of duality the philosophy of life built on Darwin's evolution theory has proved more detrimental ... In modern time also, Sri Aurobindo tried to end the isolation of materialism and spirituality.
Inspiration Divine: Your Purpose and Path to Health, Happiness and ... - Page 317 - Darwin Stephenson - 2009 - Full view Aurobindo. After the editing was nearly complete, I began searching for related bodies of work that proposed the same conclusions as the message that I ... Page 144 scholar, poet, mystic, evolutionary philosopher, yogi and guru) Sri Aurobindo wrote that there is taking place a gradual awakening of consciousness over ...
Stones of the New Consciousness: Healing, Awakening and ... - Page 78 - Robert Simmons - 2009 - Preview Elsewhere in this book I have mentioned Sri Aurobindo, the Mother and her confidant Satprem. ... They each explored the possibility that evolution is more than a Darwinian game of adaptation and survival—that it is the playing-out of the ...
Psychology, Religion, and Spirituality - Page 558 - James M. Nelson - 2009 - Preview - More editions Aumann, J. (1980). Spiritual theology. London: Sheed and Ward. Aurobindo, S. (1996). The synthesis of yoga. ... Darwin's devotion: Design without Designer. In R. Russell, W. Stoeger S. J., & F. Ayala (Eds.), Evolutionary and molecular biology ...
The Yoga Party: Philosophical Writings - Page 63 - Douglas E Frame - 2009 - Preview While this may go beyond the methods of Sri Aurobindo let me say that the egoistic being being part of the physical and ... it achieve integrity as a being in seeming competition (in the Darwinian sense) with other organisms in the web of life.
Postcolonial Philosophy of Religion - Page 169 - Purushottama. BilimoriaAndrew B. Irvine - 2009 - Preview - More editions Unlike Darwin, M̈uller does not see human evolution as beginning with the beast, but with the child. In his letter to the Duke of Argyll dated 22 ... Aurobindo, Sri (1971) The Secret of the Veda, Vol. 10. Pondicherry: Sri Aurobindo Ashram.
Evolutionary, Spiritual Conceptions of Life - Sri Aurobindo, ... - Page 36 - Michael Leicht - 2008 - Preview Up to what level is Darwin's theory relevant to Aurobindo's evolutionary theory? –Darwin explains the part from small and simple organism to large and complex organism by ways of evolution, i.e. 'survival of the fittest'. Matter does not play a role...
The Lives of Sri Aurobindo - Page 482 - Peter Heehs - 2008 - Preview - More editions ... 134, 135, 149; Aurobindo visits after his marriage, 54; bomb experiments near, 153 Deshpande, Keshav Ganesh, 60; ... 203, 271, 277; conscious, 274; Darwinian, 6; human being a middle (transitional) term in, 352; of poetry, 304; spiritual, 6, ...
Quantum Shift in the Global Brain: How the New Scientific Reality ... - Page 183 - Ervin Laszlo - 2008 - Preview ... 58 Smolins, Lee, 100 social and political crises, 30 Social Darwinism, 57 social evolution, 23–26, 72 social structures, ... 97 Sri Aurobindo, 122 St. Augustine, 25 steam engine, 36 stimuli-transfer experiment, 105 subsystem, 32, 34 Sumer, ...
Science, Spirituality And The Modernization Of India - Page 162 - Makarand Paranjape - 2008 - Preview The genius of Charles Darwin pervaded the scientific West in the 1890s. Europe was gripped by the theory of evolution during the formative years of Sri Aurobindo's personality. When he returned to India in 1892 to take up his assignment at ...
Dwapara Yuga and Yogananda: Blueprint for a New Age - Page 29 - Poor Richard - 2007 - Preview 1859 Origin of species by means of natural selection (UK) Charles Darwin (1809 - 1882) 1860 End of second Opium War ... 200,000 libraries worldwide 1872 Birth of Swami Aurobindo (India) 1872 Jehovah's Witness Church 29 Poor Richard.
Shades of Truth - Page 281 - J. K. Scott - 2007 - Preview Tyler and Kate's Readings and Selected Books from Crypto's Collection Aurobindo, Sri. Sri Aurobindo or The Adventures of Consciousness. Pondicherry, India: Sri Aurobindo ... Dennett, Daniel C. Darwin's Dangerous Idea: Evolution and ...
Was Darwin Wrong? Yes - B a M DIV Richard PittackRichard B. Pittack - 2007 - Preview Pittack's book entitled "Was Darwin Wrong - YES!" is a counter argument and direct refutation of the principle arguments Quammen has extrapolated from Darwin's writings and which is based on Biogeography, Paleontology, Morphology, and ...
Understanding thoughts of Sri Aurobindo - Page 4 - Indrani SanyalKrishna RoyJadavpur University. Centre for Sri Aurobindo Studies - 2007 - and enriched in Sri Aurobindo's theory of involution and evolution. "Theories of Evolution and Sri Aurobindo" by Kireet Joshi covers the following three themes: (1)Darwin and other proponents of evolutionary theories, (2) The evolution in ...
Philosophy As Life Path - Page 195 - Romano MàderaLuigi Vero Tarca - 2007 - Preview - More editions ... 144 Aurobindo, 25 Augustine, 145, 167 Avicenna, 37 Baal-Shem-Tov, 81 Baha'Ullah, 113 Bergson, 66 Bernhard, 32, ... 82n Dante, 69 Darwin, 75 Debord, 69n Deleuze, 154n Della Rocca, 74n Demetrio, 65n Derrida, 12, 154n Descartes, ...
Esalen: America and the Religion of No Religion - Page 292 - Jeffrey J. Kripal - 2007 - Preview - More editions we like, two bodies, for as Darwin sees in a dream and notes in his secret diaries, even a book may be thought of as a ... involution and evolution that is eerily similar to that of Sri Aurobindo's The Life Divine (with the divine embodying itself as ...

Sunday, February 03, 2013

Transformation of our body and our language

If Ramey is right, then to be true to our vocation as teachers of philosophy we must necessarily incorporate practices of objective indeterminacy and even explicit esotericism into our classroom teaching in order to make room for genuine thought to take place between ourselves and our students as well as among our students themselves.  Philosophy itself is an introduction of indeterminacy into the complex sensible, perceptual and cognitive semiotics of life for a variety of purposes, from the sheer joy of experimentation to personal sanity and healing to political resistance and social transformation.  In light of this, the classroom must for certain ends become an objectively indeterminate zone of risk and attunement to powers that are and cannot by nature be vested in professorial or institutional authority
And the power it conserves supports our right as teachers of philosophy and religion to the creative transformation of how philosophy and religion are propagated and studied in the academy today.  Something esoteric or hermetic may indeed be the true source of our legitimate authority to speak and teach effectively in the name of philosophy.  To quote Ramey quoting Deleuze, “To what are we dedicated if not to those problems which demand the very transformation of our body and our language?” (Difference and Repetition, 192 in The Hermetic Deleuze, 18).

Comment on Developing one’s own spiritual atmosphere (Gita 3:17) by Mark An additional Quotation from The Mother on the topic of ‘Developing a Spiritual Atmosphere’:
“The inner law, the truth of the being is the divine Presence in every human being, which should be the master and guide of our life.
When you acquire the habit of listening to this inner law, when you obey it, follow it, try more and more to let it guide your life, you create around you an atmosphere of truth and peace and harmony which naturally reacts upon circumstances and forms, so to say, the atmosphere in which you live. When you are a being of justice, truth, harmony, compassion, understanding, of perfect goodwill, this inner attitude, the more sincere and total it is, the more it reacts upon the external circumstances; not that it necessarily diminishes the difficulties of life, but it gives these difficulties a new meaning and that allows you to face them with a new strength and a new wisdom; whereas the man, the human being who follows his impulses, who obeys his desires, who has no time for scruples, who comes to live in complete cynicism, not caring for the effect that his life has upon others or for the more or less harmful consequences of his acts, creates for himself an atmosphere of ugliness, selfishness, conflict and bad will which necessarily acts more and more upon his consciousness and gives a bitterness to his life that in the end becomes a perpetual torment.” Collected Works of the Mother 3:279

All existence is a nexus between the individual, the universal and the transcendent. The law of Karma, therefore, in order to be fully understood, must take into account each of these three aspects. Most people look at the law of Karma from a purely individual standpoint. This obviously is too simplistic a view and does not provide much guidance or real understanding. It is just one aspect and not the complete picture. The idea that a person is reborn from life to life with a consistent personality that is subject to some kind of retributive justice is clearly not the meaning of the law of Karma.
We have explored the interaction of the individual and the society and world within which the individual lives and acts and determined that part of the action of Karma is the impact of the individual on the world and the world on the individual. The individual as a manifestation of the universal force of Nature expresses larger forces that are a work generally and which have consequences generally. This too, however, does not present us a complete picture.
In order to complete the view we need to remind ourselves that the ultimate significance of our lives lies in the connection to the transcendent Spirit which is manifesting itself through Time using both the individual and the universal as the field of that manifestation. Sri Aurobindo integrates these three together:

Saturday, February 02, 2013

What was an aesthetic choice has become a survival strategy

Leather, Fur, & Legendary Joy: A Response from Joshua Ramey to Beatrice Marovich’s “‘We Dance These Beasts’: Capitalism, Animism, Believers of the Future” from An und für sich by Joshua Ramey
Deleuze was always, in a typically French way, reticent about being anecdotal, and I think he knew how to be revealing enough without anecdotes.  I’m not quite that refined… At any rate, I have often thought to myself that from the 1960’s to 2013 the spiritual stakes of experimentation have changed:  what was an aesthetic choice, then, has become a survival strategy, now.  For those of us with anything left to experiment with, survival itself has become experimental.  In the context of endless and irremediable debts, of a totally debt-leveraged existence, everything is improvisation, everything is experimentation.  Existence itself is spiritual ordeal, for those who manage to survive the imperative to “invest in oneself” at the cost of everything, and at the cost of everything manage to pretend to be an “entrepreneur of the self,” while in fact this means to take on the weight of the world, the burden of the global, ever-imploding debt. On the Occasion of the Ordeal: A Response from Joshua Ramey to Dan Barber’s “Experimental Life and Ordeal’s Necessity” from An und für sich by Joshua Ramey
But from my perspective, and the perspective that I call “the hermetic Deleuze,” since every ordeal potentially is unlimited, any ordeal can exemplify any other, to the degree that it resonates with any other ordeal. 

In this book, Scott Campbell traces the development of Heidegger's ideas about factical life through his interest in Greek thought and its concern with Being. He contends that Heidegger's existential concerns about human life and his ontological concerns about the meaning of Being crystallize in the notion of Dasein as the Being of factical human life. Emphasizing the positive aspects of everydayness, Campbell explores the contexts of meaning embedded within life; the intensity of average, everyday life; the temporal immediacy of life in early Christianity; the hermeneutic pursuit of life's self-alienation; factical spatiality; the temporalizing of history within life; the richness of the world; and the facticity of speaking in Plato and Aristotle. He shows how Heidegger presents a way of grasping human life as riddled with deception but also charged with meaning and open to revelation and insight.

The meeting of the East and the West in Sri Aurobindo's philosophy - Page 165 - S.K. Maitra - 1956 - This statement we can look upon as containing the essence of Sri Aurobindo's conception of yoga, as, in fact, the text of integral yoga. The first thing which it asserts is that yoga is a birth. It is not a dissolution, nor an absorption, nor a swooning away into the Divine, but it is a birth. That is to say, the human being retains his character as a human being, which means as a being with a body, life, soul and mind, and having a part to ...

Fathoming the Depths of Reality: Savita Singh in Conversation with - Roy BhaskarSavita Singh - 2003 - This book presents the main features of Roy Bhaskar's philosophy in a readily comprehensive form. The result is probably the simplest and clearest statement of the themes and development of his philosophy ever published. Prof Savita Singh is Professor and Director of the School of Gender and Development Studies, IGNOU. She wrote her Ph.D. thesis on 'Discourse of Modernity in India: A Hermeneutical Study', and earned her degree from Delhi University. 6:48 pm

Savitri Era - Spinning mythology - Ashis Nandy had mauled the memory of Sri Aurobindo like a bull in a china shop which Savita Singh has now ably countered by juxtaposing the hermeneutical reading of J.L. MehtaSavitri Era Learning Forum - Meeting of the East and the West in Sri Aurobindo, Bergson, Heidegger, and Deleuze - THERE IS NO SHORTCUT TO HAPPINESS times of india - speaking tree By: Ramesh Bijlani on Feb 01, 2013 What it means is that happiness resides not in the car, ...  kkk

Are we facing an evolutionary crisis? The Hindu February 2, 2013 MANOJ DAS
According to Sri Aurobindo, “At present mankind is undergoing an evolutionary crisis in which is concealed a choice of its destiny; for a stage has been reached in which the human mind has achieved in certain directions an enormous development while in others it stands arrested and bewildered and can no longer find its way.” Sri Aurobindo envisions a future when the mind could be transformed into a Supramental gnosis…
To a professor who was logically convinced of Sri Aurobindo’s vision but wondered if the ugly man of today could really grow into something beautiful, a rustic school teacher told, “If a wonder like the lotus could bloom out of mud with the Sun’s Grace, why cant out of our muddy mind bloom the Supramental with the Divine’s Grace? We may replace Divine’s Grace with Evolutionary thrust, if we please.

Sri Aurobindo Ashram -Delhi Branch founded on 12 Feb 1956. The Mother had once called the Sri Aurobindo Ashram at Pondicherry a veritable laboratory to ...

S A K S I is a Spiritual movement. The aim is to spread the message of Veda and Sri Aurobindo, which imparts awareness to lead a beautiful, harmonious, creative...

We welcome you to the Sri Aurobindo Society, Hyderabad, (Musheerabad X Roads) which was founded in 1972 by ...

(M.P. Pandit 'Yoga in Sri Aurobindo's Epic 'Savitri', published by Dipti... In his dissertation, Chanel goes farther: Sri Aurobindo and the Mother 'may from many ...

And in this passage from The Letters on Yoga , he elucidates on the manner in which the human consciousness navigates the recondite “dream worlds”: Ordinarily when one sleeps a complex phenomenon happens.

Sri Aurobindo Centre for Arts & Communication, New Delhi, India. 1252 likes ·

There he discovered Sri Aurobindo and The Mother and their “new evolution”. He resigned from the civil service, and went in search of adventure in French...
Satprem relates that on 19 May 1973, six months before The Mother’s death he was barred admission to her room, the beginning of a serious falling out between the Ashram leadership and himself. Moreover, Satprem and his followers believe there is evidence in the recorded audiotapes that the Mother did not actually die but rather entered a “cataleptic trance” or state of suspended animation in which there would not even be a detectable heartbeat.