Monday, February 08, 2010

Genetics, Epigenetics, Epipylogenesis in Steigler in terms of Physical, Vital, Mental in Sri Aurobindo

In Part IV-B I examine what Sri Aurobindo referred to as the humankind’s double nature consisting of its animal nature of instincts impulses desires and automatisms and its higher, self-reflective, mental, aesthetic, ethical and spiritual nature. I particulary study humankind in terms of modern western individuals, with their damned-up repressed instincts.

I then study the Evil Persona as defined by Sri Aurobindo, suggesting that it be understood in light of the persona as presented by CG Jung. Sri Aurobindo defined it as a being that is attached to the sadhaks who creates wrong conditions. The persona is the ideal image and mask that one wears to present oneself to the world, either professionally or otherwise. Although the persona serves the purpose of greasing the wheels of life, one is enjoined not to identify with its false wrappings. The Evil Persona, in fact, seems to be a product of both the workings of the persona, and also the shadow. The brighter and more virtuous the persona, then the darker is the shadow, the repressed other side of the coin. If the falseness of the Evil Persona can be relegated to the field of the Asura of Falsehood, then the darkness of the shadow is the realm of the Asura of Ignorance.

I then examine the nature of first the personal shadow and then the archetypal shadow, or the shadow side of the God-image. The personal shadow is not evil per se, but awkward and ill-adapted aspects of the psyche that need to be integrated into consciousness, often to the advantage of gaining a greater range of life and instinctual connectedness. At the archetypal level, the goal is for to suffer the opposites of good and evil, to allow them to come together in the Self as a vessel filled with divine conflict. I end the essay by studying the shadow as positive value and source of vitality, and then indicate how the spiritualization and assimilation of the animal shadow at an individual level enhances the transformation of community. An important goal of the opus is realization of the fourfold quaternity of the mental, vital and physical planes of being organized around the psychic being. This requires coming to terms with the persona and the shadow. 

Another relevant article on Bernard Steigler (and Derrida among others). I'll mention briefly again that although his discourse is separated by both an epistemic rupture and cultural chasm from those of Sri Aurobindo there are some interesting points of convergence from which one could begin a dialog with the future in Sri Aurobindo's. For instance when you see Genetics, Epigenetics, Epipylogenesis in Steigler, roughly think, in terms of Physical, Vital, Mental in Sri Aurobindo. In one of the passages in this article, the author speaks of: "Derrida’s ethical insistence on maintaining a distinction between technical conditions and phenomenological experience" which seems to me to speak to the question of disappearance we have raised on sciy in other places.

I disagree with author in how he assess Steigler here however, in that rather that ascribe a primacy to technicity, Steigler thinks phenomena and prosthesis to be co-determined, in terms of a who and a what. The Journal Tranformations has done an excellent job in putting this sampling of Steiglerian scholarship together. "Whereas Derrida considers the history of the grammē as that of life itself, Stiegler holds that technics (as one of the names of the grammē, or the “trace”) constitutes a break with “pure” life. “The passage from the genetic to the nongenetic is the appearance of a new type of grammē and/or program” (Vol. 1, 138); which Stiegler immediately compares to “cultural codes” (akin to genetic codes—again, we see the uncritical extension of these concepts across the genetic-cultural border). This is a decisive stage in the history of différance, an articulation whereby life exteriorises itself into a foreign deposit. “The grammē structures all levels of the living and beyond, the pursuit of life by means other than life” (137). Stiegler suggests that the grammē “as such” is consciousness (138), a temporal structure of retention/protention, forgetfulness/anticipation that finds its constitutive condition of possibility in the technical trace. Mark Hansen argues that Stiegler, unlike Derrida, posits originary technicity as the proper (or better) name for the trace.

Whereas Derrida believes that arche-writing precedes the history of technics, and cannot be reduced or conflated to it, Stiegler projects technics deep into the heart of life qua gramme itself, thus forgetting “Derrida’s ethical insistence on maintaining a distinction between technical conditions and phenomenological experience …” (15). As a result, Hansen argues, Stiegler’s philosophy falls prey to a “general overvaluation of technics” and a “desire to ground time exclusively in technical inscription or registration” (17). It could be suggested that DNA itself is already a form of technical inscription and registration; a form of organized inorganic memory that accumulates the experience of previous individual existences (and thus learns from experience). Is there not technicity at the heart of life itself, in the very definition of an organism? Isn’t the living always already biotechnical? Stiegler seems to point in this direction at the end of Vol. 3, when he speaks of the relation between the materiality of the recording surface and the conditions of reproducibility.

As we have reviewed the density and opposition of Matter to the action of higher principles of consciousness, and peered into the abyss of pessimism that implies that nothing can change, and that our hope for some higher significance to our lives is merely an illusion, we have sought for some sign or indication that a transformation of life in the world of matter is both possible and, perhaps, inevitable.
If the world of matter is fixed and immovable, then no such transformation can actually take place in this world, and we need to seek our salvation elsewhere and in some other form. This in fact is the root cause of what Sri Aurobindo has termed the “refusal of the ascetic.”
When we begin to recognize however, that all manifested existence, including the world of matter, is made up of energy in vibration, and when we see that behind all energy lies consciousness; and when we find that there is in fact an ascending series of planes with increasingly subtle vibrational patterns, we begin to see the opportunity for a transformation. What is essential is that we can see that the current relationship of Matter to Life and Mind, and even higher vibrational patterns of consciousness, is not the sole possible relationship and that starting from different standpoints, the entire response of nature can change as new principles are brought into play.

Sri Aurobindo expounds “Life and mind may manifest themselves in another relation to substance and work out different physical laws, other and larger habits, even a different substance of body with a freer action of the sense, a freer action of the life, a freer action of the mind. “
It is in no small sense true that we tend to limit our vision and our will to those things that already exist for us. Sri Aurobindo suggests here that other and different viewpoints will lead to other and different results, even here in the world of Matter. reference: Sri Aurobindo, The Life Divine, Chapter 26, The Ascending Series of Substance

No comments:

Post a Comment