Saturday, December 01, 2012

Measuring truth claims and Politics of language

Again, when I pointed out to him how some seekers, not all of them disciples of Sri Aurobindo, had profound spiritual experiences while reading the book, he struggled his shoulders disdainfully with a “may be”… Truth cannot be ascertained by democratic opinion and feeling.  Just because many or even a majority of humanity has a similar feeling does not necessarily mean that it is true. For in our present condition of human evolution only a few can feel or perceive the deeper truth… If truth can be known by democratic feeling, then there is no need of philosophy, science or spirituality and great thinkers, scientists or sages.  A ballot-box is enough to know the truth!]

[Mimicry, mockery or mumukutva? A response to Deepak Sarma, by Jeffery D. Long from Love of All Wisdom I have my white Hindu convert experience.  Sarma has his diasporic Hindu experience. Are one of these experiences authentic and the other somehow fraudulent?  Or are they both simply different experiences and expressions of an ancient, diverse, yet emerging and ever new, religious tradition? 9:52 AM]

[“The metaphysical order of the invisible hand” Chris Allsobrook 29 November, 2012 Thought Leader (Mail & Guardian), South Africa HERE. Three hundred years earlier, when Hobbes argued, “there is no such thing as ‘the people’ ” he, admittedly, supported monarchy. But his enlightened point was we should never forget the faces of real human beings, with artificial, abstract concepts like “we, the People” (or, to emphasise this “they, the Africans”). It’s fine to raise appeals on behalf of “society” but who represents individuals on the ground, if not they themselves, in person or in contract? Thatcher was right, sociologically, there is no “society” in the real world; only the members which make up the set. But her anti-essentialist kudos (also in vogue, at the time, like big hair) was unmatched by naïve faith in economic entities of mythic proportions, like, the “market” and its omniscient, omnipotent author, the “invisible hand”.
There is no invisible hand guiding the market; just the grubby hands of individuals engaged in transactions. Moreover, the “market”, like “society”, is not a category into which each member identically fits. Offending Markets or the Gods? from Adam Smith's Lost Legacy]  

[R November 14, 2012 Permalink But if one speaks of an immanent experience of Divinity why limit the experience to yogis? Doesn’t everyone have experiences of things sublime or beautiful that are incomprehensible? – and I dont mean just the experience of artist or poets – R+ November 16, 2012 Permalink I certainly do not question the magnitude of experience you have personally had, it was obviously profound and in fact perhaps I have had the same experience myself. But, … my point is not that some people may or may not have had any particular experience including a “spiritual” one but rather, the fact that the very act of labeling the spontaneous experience as “spiritual” is itself an act of faith, namely faith in a signifier to describe what is real.
In this instance one has faith that the culturally or systematically determined signifier “spiritual” in fact signifies ones personal experience. The process entails one matching up ones subjective experience (signified) with its objective social definition (signifier). In this instance the signifier is spirituality. But spirituality has in fact meant many different things to many different cultures and systems of beliefs and so the process of signification as relates to spirituality is a complex one…
I am voicing the concern that for the purposes of intersubjective communication, for achieving understanding within a civitas or polity constituted by a population with a multiplicity of beliefs that intersubjective comprehension has to be anchored in a system in which truth claims can be measured by evidence… But some valuations of standards of competing truths claims are needed for that matter even within a particular community such as a community of sadhaks – as evidenced in the Ashram, where conclusions are reached about text without even reading them- here too there maybe a multiplicity of competing interpretations as to what the spiritual life means.] 

[1h - inpondy @PondyTweets - @Back2Vedas Don't know if it offends him. (Does anything?) But standing rule for disciples was abstain from petty politics. 1h If you don't consider yourself one it doesn't matter. Don't know why it struck me today. Btw I am apolitical and dnt care abt it.]

[Difference between religion and spirituality by Sandeep on January 24, 2010 The spiritual approach to such confusions is to neither believe nor disbelieve the problematic assertions in question but to lay them on the side for later resolution… Truth has to be rediscovered. Until then, everything one reads and receives is second-hand knowledge. 12:12 AM ]  

At this moment, I, the writer, and you, the reader, are partaking at a banquet of language that we did not create—a system superimposed on our consciousness. The raw material of our minds is rendered by the symbolic aspect of language, and there is no escaping it; unless one takes psychedelics, descends into madness, attains a heightened non-symbolic spiritual state, or disrupts the historical, psychological superstructure of language.
Breton and the other Surrealists realized that language, its traditional structure (syntax, morphology, semantics and phonology, to varying degrees) and expectations, needed to be destroyed and rebuilt. While the group’s efforts in automatic writing never produced writing as famous as T.S. Elliot “The Wasteland,” for instance, automatism accomplished something far more important: it struck a blow to the politics of language.
By politics of language, it should be taken to mean the inherited system of thought and communication. We are defined by the words we use, yet we had no part in the construction of the system. This word means such and such. This is how one writes a sentence, a paragraph, an essay, a poem, a novel, a letter, etc. What we think is heavily influenced by the signs and signifiers we use in the form of words (to say nothing of visual cues), and when we attempt to express a thought verbally or through the written word, we must again revert to an imposed system to do so. 4:58 AM]