Sunday, March 14, 2010

I.A. Richards, the great Hegelian who in my opinion exerted a great influence over Cousins and Sri Aurobindo

English studies, as Raymond Williams (pioneer in Cultural Studies) has shown, arose precisely as a way to reach people who were excluded from the conservative educational programs of the day, working people and women; it was later absorbed into institutional education and made conservative of God-and-Nation values (think I.A. Richards, the great Hegelian who in my opinion exerted a great influence over Cousins and Aurobindo)…
As near as I can tell, Cultural Studies is as integral a project as any other: recall Gramsci's calls for integral history, for starters (I cover some of this stuff here and in the micropolitics essay)… Cultural Studies is hardly a comfortable home for "pomo." It has instead been one of the few spaces in which a rigorous, historically-conscious, and in this sense integral critique of rhetorics of the "postmodern" have been possible. Further, it should be obvious (particularly following Dews) that "pomo" and "Critical Theory" are hardly subsumable under one another or equatable… Further, I submit that if you want a way out of the impasse of post-Wilberian integral theory, you will do well to take Critical Theory seriously as an already-integral project. 

I’m still laid low by my cold, which oddly seems to only be getting worse, so this evening I found myself groping for something to read just to distract myself. There aren’t very many books that I find myself picking up now and then just for the sheer pleasure of reading them, but Kenneth Burke’s A Grammar of Motives definitely falls into that category. It is difficult to describe the pleasure of Burke. His writing is lucid and sparkles with wit and insight, has a deep rigor to it, yet is also strangely exploratory and meandering. 
A Grammar of Motives is one of those rare books that you find yourself flipping through just for the sheer pleasure of following the “grammar” he discovers or uncovers in this or that particular structure. Yet above all, I think, Burke’s works are the sort of things you read to learn how to think. In other words, you don’t really read Burke to understand Burke (at least I don’t), but rather you read Burke because he teaches you how to think and analyze the world about you. Where you might read Badiou, Derrida, Deleuze, Kant, etc., to learn what these thinkers think, Burke, rather, gives you tools for thinking for yourself.

This problem of the left hijacking science was recognized by my favorite philosopher, Michael Polanyi, as early as the mid-1940s. I just started reading another book on him yesterday, and so far it is the best introduction I've found. I can't give it an unqualified endorsement until I finish it, but if it keeps up this pace, it will definitely be a foundational raccoomendation…
Lewis writes that all this modern scientific fraud is "especially weird because the Left claims to be all in favor of science. Marxism itself was a scientific fraud, of course. In 1848 Marx and Engels claimed to have a 'scientific' theory of history…
Polanyi didn't turn full time to philosophy until the 1950s, and his magnum opus, Personal Knowledge: Towards a Post-Critical Philosophy, wasn't published until 1958, by which time he was already 67 years of age… And although Polanyi's writings are free of any overt religiosity, I find that they most adequately support my view of a universe that is both absolute and evolving, as it must be if it is to be separate from the Eternal and situated in time; to be precise, it is evolving toward an Absolute that is orthoparadoxically both its origin and its destiny, alpha and omega (more on which below).
I believe Polanyi provides the best framework for an enthusiastic and unambiguous embrace of both science and traditional religion -- which is why the essence of our approach is what we might call "Integral Neo-Traditionalism," or something along those lines.  

from Posthuman Destinies by debbanerji

We give the name of religion to any concept of the world or the universe which is presented as the exclusive Truth in which one must have an absolute faith, generally because this Truth is declared to be the result of a revelation. Most religions affirm the existence of a God and the rules to be followed to obey Him, but there are some Godless religions, such as socio-political organisations which, in the name of an Ideal or the State, claim the same right to be obeyed. To seek Truth freely and to approach it freely along his own lines is a man's right. But each one should know that his discovery is good for him alone and it is not to be imposed on others. The Mother, 13 May 1970 (CWM 13: 213)

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