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. 

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