Friday, July 24, 2015

Misra, Varma, Sharma, and Verma on Sri Aurobindo

Integral Advaitism of Sri Aurobindo Hardcover – Import, Dec 1998 by Ram Shanker Misra (Author)
This book gives a systematic, thorough and authentic exposition of the thought of Sri Aurobindo. The fundamental and living issues, namely, the concept of the Absolute, the supermind, theory of creation, conception of Ignorance, doctrine of Karma and Rebirth, theory of evolution and destiny of man etc., have been discussed in a systematic and critical way and with great clarity, thoroughness and depth.
Affirmation of the Individual, the Universal and the Transcendental. 23 July 2014 By Love Bliss - Published on 
The Integral Advaitism of Sri Aurobindo provides a condensed summary of the philosophy of Sri Aurobindo. The Advaita foundation of the text affirms that reality is in its essence non-dual Spirit or Oversoul. The integral nature of the text emphasizes that Spirit chooses to express itself in manifestation or duality. The key theme in the text is that true knowledge is not one-sided, but is wholistic, and culminates in the being's realization of itself as simultaneously individual, universal and transcendental. The point of view presented here is a blend of Tantra and Advaita Vedanta.

Political Philosophy of Aurobindo Paperback – 30 Aug 2008 by V.P. Varma (Author) Publisher: Asia Publishing House; First Edition edition (1960)
ASIN: B006VVT16Q Contents
CHAPTER 1 b Spiritual Involution and Evolution 9 c Critique of Darwinism 20
d The State in Idealistic Philosophy 292
Philosophy 377
lism 412
INDEX 473 Copyright

Scholars, philosophers and sociologists in East and West have been exploring the ideal of social development and suggesting ways to attain it in contemporary time. Among those illustrious in this field is Sri Aurobindo. The present work is a faithful attempt to explore Sri Aurobindo’s analysis of philosophical and psychological basis of social development, his attempt to trace its process and his ideas and suggestions concerning determinants and dynamics of social development. Thus this is a valuable book for the students of sociology and social philo¬sophy and an important addition to the growing literature on Sri Aurobindo’s thought. It presents Sri Aurobindo’s solution to overcome the present crisis that mankind is facing. It gives a peep in the future destiny of man. It offers a gospel of optimism and transformation. 
“The work is a faithful and comprehensive study of Sri Aurobindo’s Social Philosophy. The work has been written in a lucid and vigorous style. The author seems to be widely read in several social sciences; he has an admirable command over Sri Aurobindo’s literature.” N.K. Deveraja, Formerly, National Professor and Head of the Dept. of Philosophy, BHU. 
“It is an original contribution to the philosophical literature and makes significant advance on the researches made on social, ethical and spiritual aspects of Sri Aurobindo’s thought. The book is a valuable piece of litera¬ture embodying vision and creativity.” R.S. Srivastava, Retd. Prof, and Head of the Dept. of Philosophy Ranchi University, Bihar

The Indian Imagination focuses on literary developments in English both in the colonial and postcolonial periods of Indian history. Six divergent writers-Aurobindo Ghose (Sri Aurobindo), Mulk Raj Anand, Balachandra Rajan, Nissim Ezekiel, Anita Desai, and Arun Joshi-represent a consciousness that has emerged from the confrontation between tradition and modernity. The colonial fantasy of British India was finally dissolved in the first half of this century, only to be succeeded by another fantasy, that of the reinstituted sovereign nation-state. Aurobindo, Anand, and Rajan have actively participated in these two representations, the colonial and postcolonial India. Ezekiel, Desai, and Joshi are youthful voices of new India. This study argues that the two phases of history-like the two phases of Indian writing in English- together represent the sociohistorical process of colonization and decolonization and the affirmation of identity, and that no interpretation of postcoloniality can be sustained in the larger debate on human freedom without reference to coloniality.

by KD Verma - ‎1990 - ‎Cited by 1 - As a prophet of Indian nationalism, Aurobindo occupies an important place in the history of Indian political thought.1 When we recall the early.

Rama Shanker Srivastava - 1968 - ‎Snippet view - ‎More editions
... Theories of Evolution with Special Reference to Sri Aurobindo's Philosophy of Evolution Rama Shanker Srivastava ... Ever since I introduced Sri Aurobindo as one of the Contemporary Indian Philosophers of world-wide reputation and ...

Title, The "psychic Entity" in Aurobindo's The Life Divine. Author, Roque Ferriols. Publisher, Ateneo de Manila University, 1966. Original from, the University of Michigan. Digitized, Jun 15, 2006. Length, 157 pages .

The Indian Imagination - Critical Essays on Indian Writing in | NA NA ...
Six divergent writers - Aurobindo Ghose (Sri Aurobindo), Mulk Raj Anand, Balachandra Rajan, Nissim Ezekiel, Anita Desai, and Arun Joshi - represent a consciousness that has emerged from the confrontation between tradition and modernity. The colonial fantasy of ... Sri Aurobindo as a Poet: A Reassessment. VermaK. D..

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Theistic and nontheistic ontologies are coeval
Since the transcendental field is superconscious and suprarational, there can be no person and there can be nothing other than the Person.
And both these descriptions can be simultaneously primordial. 
This is why the theistic and nontheistic ontologies are coeval, not one privileged over the other. 
Any exclusive statement (such as there is no such thing as person or there is no such thing as field) promotes the dogmatic image of thought, not the radical infinity of the Real. 
Brahman and Purusha are simultaneous coeval self-presentations of the Unknowable. 
An entirely coherent ontology based on the self-reproduction of the Person can be read into the Vedanta. 
This is the Individuation theory of an autopoeitic cosmos, what the Veda describes in the Purusha Sukta.
The Person sacrifices Himself to his Other, and becomes fragmented, quantized and non-personal. 
These fragments are only self-appearances, a way by which the Infinite Person presents his Infinity over his Unity, while remaining undivided in each of his self-appearances. 
Each of these fragments is therefore nothing other than the Person holding in attention a finite self-conception  and moving in/as Time towards a self-realization as the plural singular Person. 
Infinite such movements towards Person(al) self-realization proceed through a series of quantized appearances and disappearances or variant repetitions known as rebirths. 
The plural field of infinite movements towards person(al) self-realization in relation to each other and to the Absolute Person, produces the evolutionary play of Bliss, lila. 
The Lila signifies the reconstitution in each instance and in the entire cosmos of the sacrificed body of the Person. 
This is one way of describing the self-organizing process.
--Debashish Banerji
December 2014

Wiser Than Our Reason…Wiser Than Our Virtue
Our human intellect sets up an inherent opposition between our weak and ignorant mentality and the perfected, all-knowing and all-powerful consciousness of the Divine. The gulf we create between these two is virtually unbridgeable and leads to attempts to deny, suppress or destroy the human part when we seek to achieve the Divine realisation. We forget, in this attempt, that we and all the forms of the manifested world, are created out of the Divine consciousness, partake of that consciousness and are manifesting through Time for a purpose known to that Divine Consciousness. Where we see imperfection and failure, the Divine consciousness sees process and development of its larger purpose and intention. Therefore, the Divine Consciousness does not work through miraculous conversions or overnight transformations, as that would defeat its larger intention and purpose.
Sri Aurobindo explains the implications of this: “This imperfect nature of ours contains the materials of our perfection, but inchoate, distorted, misplaced, thrown together in disorder or a poor imperfect order. All this material has to be patiently perfected, purified, reorganised, new-moulded and transformed, not hacked and hewn and slain or mutilated, not obliterated by simple coercion and denial. This world and we who live in it are his creation and manifestation, and he deals with it and us in a way our narrow and ignorant mind cannot understand unless it falls silent and opens to a divine knowledge.”
“Our sins are the misdirected steps of a seeking Power that aims, not at sin, but at perfection, at something that we might call a divine virtue.”
“The Master of our works is neither a blunderer nor an indifferent witness nor a dallier with the luxury of unneeded evils. He is wiser than our reason and wiser than our virtue.”
Sri Aurobindo, The Synthesis of Yoga, Part One: The Yoga of Divine Works, Chapter 11, The Master of the Work, pp. 233-234

Quotation of the Day…

by DON BOUDREAUX on JULY 15, 2015
… is from page 155 of Fritz Machlup‘s 1954 essay “The Problem of Verification in Economics,” as it is reprinted in the 1978 collection of some of his essays on scientific method, Methodology of Economics and Other Social Sciences(original emphases):
Where the economist’s prediction is conditional, that is, based upon specified conditions, but where it is not possible to check the fulfillment of all the conditions stipulated, the underlying theory cannot be disconfirmed whatever the outcome observed….
This does not mean complete frustration of all attempts to verify economic theories.  But it does mean that the tests of most of our theories will be more nearly of the character of illustrations than of verifications of the kind possible in relation with repeatable controlled experiments or with recurring fully-identified situations.  And this implies that our tests cannot be convincing enough to compel acceptance, even when a majority of reasonable men in the field should be prepared to accept them as conclusive, and to approve the theories so tested as “not disconfirmed,” that is, as “O.K.”
As Hayek noted, economics and other social sciences deal with complex phenomena.  This reality means that the real-world phenomena studied by economists and other social scientists are influenced by numerous variables that cannot be controlled by the observing scientist, and that are always changing – and changing in ways that are often unobservable even in principle (and, even more often, unobservable in practice).  For this reason alone, sound reasoning – reasoning that is coherent, logical, grounded on plausible foundations, and that gives to those who follow it a genuine sense of being able to better understand observed reality – is especially important.
LOOKING BACK The great ideological split Initiating change: Sri Aurbindo.
The 23rd annual session of the Congress, held in Surat in 1907, firmly entrenched the notion of Swaraj in people’s minds. MANOJ DAS The Hindu Magazine Sunday, Dec 30, 2007
If, of all the ages of recorded history, the 20th century was most prominently characterised by paradox, its first decade was not without its share of this phenomenon. While the British Conservative leader Joseph Chamberlain happily announced, “ ;The day of empire has come!” Madame Cama unfurled the flag of free India at Stuttgart, proclaiming the end of empire!
The Indian National Congress, founded in 1885 consisting of 71 delegates, was “possible under British rule; under British rule only,” announced its first President, W.C. Bonnerjee. Delegates to the second Congress were even entertained by the Viceroy.
However, it was not easy to stomach for an organisation representing the nation to countenance Viceroy (1894-1899) Lord Elgin’s blusters, like “India was conquered by the sword and by the sword it shall be held,” or Viceroy (1899-1905) Lord Curzon’s, “Indeed, truth has never been an Indian ideal,” accompanied by the latter’s pernicious action of partitioning Bengal. Nor did the Muslims feel flattered by East Bengal’s first and last Lt. Governor Fuller’s romantic revelation that he had two wives, one Hindu and one Muslim; the Muslim was his favourite.  

Hey Nate – let’s see what I can get out before the laptop crashes again…
On this: yes, absolutely. Although I tend to veer away from this vocabulary, because I don’t like how it’s been used by, say, folks like Sekine, who argue that Capital is trying to represent ideal capitalism, and who use this reading as an excuse to strip away large sections of the text – so that they end up reading Capital as though it’s simple description of ideal capitalism, and sort of miss how the work operates as a critique. Or, for that matter, the form of systematic dialectics that misses that Marx is putting forward a critique of idealist dialectics when he spoofs dialectical derivations of his categories.
I know this isn’t where you’re coming from at all – just explaining why I might seem to be over-emphasising the historical elements in Marx’s work. I’ll need to think about how to say this better in the book – the historical passages are idealised, in some ways, for the same reason Marx also idealises his theatrical representations of specific forms of practice (see my other comment if this makes no sense!): because it makes it easier for him to illustrate specific implications of complex historical processes. Although to be fair, when he does use the “classic form” terminology, he also does tend to append at least a quick discussion of the other ways things have played out on the ground – say, in the working day chapter, where he provides the “classic form” discussion, but then also includes brief discussions of things that have happened in other parts of the world, some of which directly contradict the trends demonstrated in the “classic form”. I think this demonstration – and the direct claim that things can play out on the ground in such contradictory ways – is also a really important dimension of his argument, and not an afterthought. I think this becomes more explicit toward the end of the book, where the “classic”, geographically bounded, story of the development of capitalism in England is expressly situated in a global context, and Marx says that the truth of capitalist production is exposed clearly in the colonies, etc.
But this doesn’t keep the history from being idealised or abstracted – I think in the service of making more explicit the political implications of our collective practices. It’s a sort of politicised version of Brandom’s point about the possibility of making explicit the tacit commitments we’ve entered into, whether we’re aware of those commitments or not. I don’t think the vocabulary of “commitment” quite works for what Marx is doing – but certainly I think there’s an argument going on here that we’re accidentally showing ourselves, collectively, that better social institutions are possible – and Marx is trying to make explicit how we’re doing this – and also demonstrate a method other people can use for extending this kind of analysis in more concrete ways.
But I better post before the laptop crashes and I lose this. A bit incoherent and associative – apologies…

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Philosophy, aesthetics, and liberation

[a non-anthropocentric approach updating aesthetic understanding with contemporary biosemiotic & evolutionary theory]

Sheehan concluded that Heidegger's philosophy centers not on Being but rather on his early insight that our mortality is the source of all meaning. Sheehan explains, "Humans are characterized by the need to interpret everything they meet, and this need arises from our radical finitude, from what Heidegger called 'temporality.'"
In Sheehan's opinion, Heidegger shows us how to live authentically but then stops short. "Now what do I do?" Sheehan asks. "Do I become a Nazi – or read the pre-Socratics? He hasnothing to say about where one might go next. There's no ethics in Heidegger, and no meaningful political philosophy."             

Friday, July 03, 2015

Wilber changed his heroes several times

In my opinion, The Atman Project is Ken Wilber's best work, even though it is one of his earliest works. Ken did his homework with volumes of cross-cultural research, and came up with some astounding results in terms of how the individual human develops.

This review is from: Up from Eden: A Transpersonal View of Human Evolution
Wilber seems to have changed his main philosophical heroes several times - in "Up from Eden" it's Hegel, in SES it's Plotinus and Schelling, and in both SES and the post-metaphysical works it's Jürgen Habermas (!). On this point, SES seems more logical than "Up from Eden", but its nevertheless fascinating how Wilber uses Hegel to bolster his spiritual case. My guess is that he was deeply moved by Copleston's description of Hegel's philosophy in "History of Philosophy". So was I. Copleston somehow manages to make Hegel sound interesting, relevant and even somewhat spiritual. More problematic are Wilber's references to Da Free John (Adi Da Samraj), the leader of a Tantric sex cult in California, with which Wilber had some kind of association at the time of writing this book.

At the start, Wilber had only a single idea – whether it was the increasingly fragmenting "spectrum of consciousness" of "Wilber I", or the psychological and transpersonal arc and linear evolution of "Wilber II" . While Wilber has totally rejected the former, I find that both of these worldviews are very good, and while neither should be taken literally, either can equally serve as a myth or allegorical story of some aspect or another of Consciousness. In fact, I would say that this very early work was without doubt Wilber's best.

But then Wilber added more and more ideas with each successive iteration of his philosophy. "Wilber II"'s The Atman Project incorporated the Seven Stages of Life from Da Free John, developmental psychology (e.g. Freud, Piaget, etc), and (in Up From Eden) Jean Gebser's concept of history; Wilber III added on Howard Gardner's lines of development to the simple linear pre-trans of II; IV added on quadrants, Truth Claims, and the big Three of Habermas, holons and the holarchy from Koestler, deconstruction from postmodernism, and then later, Spiral Dynamics, and now the nascent Wilber-V has eight perspectives in addition to four quadrants and everything else.[73] Yet with all this increasingly complexity there is no increasing harmony. If anything, the whole system is becoming more unwieldy; for example eight perspectives seems a definite step down from the mandalic elegance of the four quadrants.

However, because Wilber writes so broadly about other thinkers, and his books sell so well, people get the idea that his own intellectual annotations, side-notes, and blind spots really refer to the actual teacher or teaching that he is referring to. This is certainly not the case regarding his interpretation of Sri Aurobindo (see sect. 3-i), and there is a similar pattern of misinterpretation in the way he approaches Plotinus, including in this case, as D. H. Frew points out, deliberate misquoting.[76] Even his tables comparing Plotinus and Aurobindo have a contrived feel about them. Not surprisingly, Wilber also gets Shankara wrong.[77] And while Wilber very often refers to Gebser, as William Irwin Thompson points out[78], there is very little of Gebser in Wilber's work.
David Lane has pointed out that Wilber makes a huge assumption regarding Shabd Yoga.[79] Jeff Meyerhoff has pointed out numerous, across the board flaws in Wilber's thinking and his research claims.[80] And Robert Carroll, Geoff Falk, myself, and Jim Chamberlain have all shown that Wilber, in critiquing Evolutionary science, doesn't even seem to understand what Darwinism really teaches.[81] It seems that everywhere we look, Wilber imposes his own ideas onto the books that he cites. As a result he is not able to put aside his own personal worldview to hear a different, even contrary, one.

by Amod Lele on May.06, 2012
I’ve recently been writing an article on Ken Wilber’s thought, and have come to realize just how much his ideas have changed over the past ten years. His readers, and increasingly he himself, have come to characterize this as a change from a fourth phase of his thought (“Wilber-4″) to a fifth phase (“Wilber-5″). The changes can be hard to spot because the new view is detailed in only one book (Integral Spirituality); the rest of it is found online, in excerpts from a long forthcoming volume. What is most striking in the change from Wilber-4 to Wilber-5 is its post/modernism. Wilber has moved much closer to a postmodern view in which there are only perspectives, which bring worlds into existence rather than discovering them; he has also become more modernist, giving much more prominence to an idea of cultural evolution where the modern age supersedes those that came before.
But as David Harvey has noted, the continuities between modernism and postmodernism can be more significant than their self-proclaimed differences. (In this discussion I will repeatedly use the term “post/modern”, to emphasize the important respects in which the two are the same.) In this case, premoderntraditions play an ever smaller role. Wilber’s earlier thought, in looking at the traditions of the premodern world, had tended to incorporate only mystical experience, but mystical experience still got the trump card – it was able to tell us what ultimate reality is. In Wilber-5, mystical experience needs to be kept in its place, without any sovereignty over other kinds of knowledge. Where Wilber’s earlier thought was all about the relationship between Ascent and Descent, Ascent now takes a smaller role as only one or two perspectives out of many, the rest being Descending and post/modern. Read the whole article. Posted by William Harryman at Thursday, May 10, 2012 

Amod Lele on 23 January 2014 at 9:28 pm said: That’s fair, Patrick. 
I suspect my tone in the comment to Matthew above was too dismissive. I suppose part of it comes out of an article I published last year on Ken Wilber, whose own perennialism is very much like that of the Theosophists and leads him to gross misinterpretations of the traditions he studies – but I say that while being in very close sympathy with the overall aims of Wilber’s project.
Amod Lele on 23 January 2014 at 9:49 pm said: I agree with you that “those who are skilled or expert in a domain of knowledge or inquiry do in fact have a greater qualification in that regard than do other people.” I used “élitist” with respect to the Theosophists’ belief that they were the skilled experts on each tradition out there, as opposed to others well versed in any given tradition who’d spent far longer with it than the Theosophists themselves had. I suspect this may have reflected at least some amount of class prejudice.
It’s fair to say, though, that this kind of attitude is shared by a number of indigenous Indian traditions (especially Advaitins) and by many contemporary social-scientific scholars of religion – not least those who are determinedly anti-perennialist and anti-theosophical. (The common approach that even your fellow scholars, let alone everyday practitioners, are nothing more than “data”.)

The Perennial Quest for a Psychology with a Soul: An Inquiry ... Joseph Vrinte - 2002 - ‎Preview - regarding the nature of human consciousness. Ken Wilber's spectrum psychology does not try to describe the complete spectrum of human experience within one psychological system. He creates an interpretation of human consciousness ...