Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Unearthing Indian thought and culture

This is a brilliant – and unfortunately all-too-rare recognition of the extent to which supposedly “neutral” neuroscience is pervaded by underlying assumptions from the Western philosophic position. Though not a philosopher (I’m a clinical psychologist) I attempted to point to some of the limitations and pitfalls in contemporary attempts to integrate Indian philosophic/psychological ideas with contemporary science: -

mike February 2, 2015 at 2:54 am
Hi Don, when it all comes down to greed, then the state of the ‘economy’ probably doesn’t mean much. lf you believe, as l do that the ‘Global Economy’ is controlled by a few rich bankers, then all economic movement will, mostly, be determined by them and their ilk. Politicians are simply their puppets and the distribution of wealth will be syphoned off according to their agenda – which is normally self-serving. There is a book called ‘Sri Aurobindo and Karl Marx which discusses ‘economic growth’ l believe (but l haven’t read much of it). This article below l found interesting, by karen litfin. She’s based it on a comparison of:
"I draw upon the works of G.W.F. Hegel, Sri Aurobindo, Jean Gebser and Ken Wilber to trace the outlines of an alternative metaphysic to secularism. The integral worldview, which understands history as Spirit in the process of becoming, offers such an alternative, one that moves beyond but also includes the secular story within its scope”. 
Also, this was an interesting statement by Dr. Kireet Joshi, Chairman of the Governing Board and International Advisory Council: Full lnterview:

Patrick S. O'Donnellon 2 February 2015 at 1:04 pm said:
It seems I am (and in good company!) a member of the class of those not even “relatively educated,” but that won’t prevent me from arguing that not without ample reason has it been demonstrated that philosophizing in the Jewish tradition was utterly beholden to Islamic philosophy which, in turn, grew out of the encounter with (translation of) and reflection upon Greek philosophical writings. And Christian theology is unthinkable without both the Greek philosophical tradition and Islamic philosophy and theology. 
Indian philosophy of religious provenance, on the other hand, has a predominantly internal philosophical motivation and trajectory, similar to philosophizing in the ancient Greek world, hence one does not find the discrete developments of (or anything quite similar to) “theology” and “philosophy” in the Indic traditions. The embrace of sophisticated philosophizing within Hinduism (and Buddhism and Jainism) lacks its counterpart in the Abrahamic theistic traditions, plain and simple. Hence too, the remarkable findings and discussion in Thomas McEvilley’s The Shape of Ancient Thought: Comparative Studies in Greek and Indian Philosophies (2002). One can’t fault Hinduism for the fact that the scope of its most significant and “foundational” texts is a bit broader than the Rg Veda and far richer and more philosophical than the most comparably positioned (structurally and genetically speaking) important (‘sacred’) religious texts in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.

Thank you for your response. I would like to add one thing about the idea that even *we* are activists of a sort.
I have some worries when the “activism” side dominates the “scholarship” side.
That is, if the idea is “My work is so (fill in the blank: “pious”, “socially just”, “devoted to the workers of the world,” “devoted to the glory of Christ”) that it should be taken seriously, it isn’t really primarily scholarship anymore. It is doing something else, and maybe something worthy, but not what you mean when you say we are “activists” I would think. Frankly, I wonder whether this mixture has led to some problematic trends in the academy–perhaps more on the level of pedagogy than research– I think it runs the danger of producing less critical thinking, not more (again, thinking more about pedagogy than research.).
I think that a way we can be called activists in a way that is apt is simply that through our “pure” scholarship, unearthing Indian thought and culture, along with work illustrating the the power dynamics that perpetuate mistaken ideas of a certain limited notion of Philosophy, we hope to effect a very specific change: that people in the academy and beyond see how much relevant good work was going on in the non-Western–in our case–Indian world.
Before I forget (as I did yesterday), thanks, Patrick for your tireless championing of Indian thought to our colleagues.

Sri Aurobindo’s insights into the topic of mental imbalances are now available in the newly released Volume 4 of the Letters of Yoga. See the section “Accidents, Possession and Madness” (pages 800-813) Click on CWSA Volume 31

Scientists have found that there is not a single type of schizophrenia, but that it consists of a group made up of eight genetically different types of diseases.]

[The Mother and Sri Aurobindo were very sensitive on the matter of compulsory vaccination. Following are references:]

The March to Fulfil India’s Glorious Destiny Begins - My Reflections- in TNIE- @malviyamit @spmrfoundation

A Critique of Whole Foods' "Conscious Capitalism": #Critique #Culture #Consumerism

Thomas Merton on Being an Intellectual, and a Message to the Poets

[much of Enlightenment is not unfinished: it has been ignored, buried or traduced. —   Alberto Toscano, Fanaticism]

@drsbasu2115 That's great but right now some activism is needed to make Sri Aurobindo sliding into general discourse. [TNM55]

@Koenraad_Elst : Hindus are Tribals, Hindus are Pagans cc @ShekharGupta
Liberation is not “selfish” but impersonal, and requires a great deal of self-abnegation, even more than Seva.
5. Only a small percentage of the Hindus even know about Mayavad, the doctrine that the world is a fata morgana created by the magic power of the gods. It is a specific philosophy of Shankara, conditioned by his struggle against Buddhist idealism (Shunyavad, “doctrine of Emptiness”), which in turn is also not the whole of Buddhism (indeed, the Buddha himself would not have recognized it as his own teaching). Shankara is widely appreciated as a great debater and as the founder of the ascetic Dashanami order, but his philosophy has few takers.

For a newly imagined 'historical temper'

The Hindu-To one history, you lift your head up, to the other kind of ... (Janaki Nair teaches historyat the Centre for Historical Studies, JNU.) Keywords: ...

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