Friday, July 31, 2009

Chandrabhan Prasad celebrates capitalism, consumption and globalization

[For Indian women, globalisation has generally done good. It has brought them into the workforce, and done so in large numbers. Earlier, working women in India were either the elite or the poor. This picture has now changed with women of many classes choosing to work both before and after marriage. But there is a downside to this. Despite obvious class differences between women working in factories or call centres and in managerial jobs, tensions are perceptible and palpable in most families and in society at large. Men (and in-laws) are happy that daughters, sisters and wives are bringing home incomes but are not fully reconciled to them venturing out of the house. Work and independent incomes enable women to try out new freedoms. On offer are choices and an escape from the stifling confines of parental or marital homes.
TOP ARTICLE Clouded By Confusion - Editorial - Opinion - The Times of India Ravinder Kaur 14 February 2009 The writer is a professor of social anthropology, IIT Delhi. 4:09 PM]

[Flight to Freedom: Travel Through Dalit Villages Posted by: Aditya Nigam June 10, 2008 media politics dissent Kafila
“Do you eat piglets?” he asked as our car moved through the long road from Lucknow, via Barabanki, Faizabad, Akbarpur towards Azamgarh. “We can have roast piglets and whiskey when we end our day’s work” This was our ‘tour sponsor’, Chandra Bhan Prasad, well known now as the maverick intellectual who celebrates capitalism, consumption and globalization and who was the first to advocate a Dalit-Brahmin alliance against the Sudra (OBC) castes. Thus it was to be. We were to spend our first night in the poorvanchal on 4 June 2008, eating and drinking.]

[Economic activity by private individuals is as natural and ancient as the desire to mate. The government has no business stepping in and taking it over. As for "accumulation", I am not sure what Nigam means by that. If by that, he is referring to the profit-maximization motive, then yes, I agree it is central to the idea of capitalism. But then what is point of trading in markets, and engaging in entrepreneurial activities if not making profits? Indeed, it is opportunities to make profit that have led to the relative prosperity that Nigam witnessed in Poorvanchal. I also want to talk about private ownership, or property rights, a pet issue of mine. Although left-liberals rightly champion the cause of the victims of Sardar Sarovar, Nandigram, Singur, etc, I have not heard a single one of them demand that the right to property be restored as a fundamental right in the Indian constitution. That will solve all these land-grabbing problems in one go, and ensure that they are not repeated.]

[The tenable patriot RANJIT HOSKOTE
As we approach the 60th anniversary of our independence, it appears that some Indians can claim to be born citizens by virtue of belonging to the Hindu majority, while others must remain citizens-on-probation all their lives. Despite legal equality, members of minority communities are repeatedly subjected to a cricket-match or a national-song test of loyalty.
The Hindu Sunday, Dec 03, 2006. On this account, some Indians are landlords by birth (Hindus, in M S Golwalkar's constipated and ahistorical definition of that category); other Indians are guests, tenants or squatters, transients on permanent probation, to be tolerated, made to pay exorbitant rents, or evicted by force if necessary, depending on how well they behave (the minorities).]

[It was a birthday party organized by Chandrabhan Prasad, Dalit intellectual and activist, who hails Macaulay as the Father of Indian Modernity, for it was after the introduction of his English system of education in 1854, that Dalits got the right to education, he says.
As sodas popped and the whisky poured (aptly called, Teacher’s Scotch) Prasad led his guests - a motley mix of Dalit poets, singers, academia, a sprinkling of the international media, social scientists Ashish Nandy, Gail Omvedt - to the centrepiece of the party’s action. The unveiling of a portrait, English, the Mother Goddess, painted by Dalit artist Shant Swaroop Baudh.
Happy Birthday Lord Macaulay, thank you for ‘Dalit empowerment’ Vrinda Gopinath Tags : Posted: Thursday , Oct 26, 2006 at 0122 hrs New Delhi, October 25]

If globalization is good for Chandrabhan Prasad, it should be so for the rest of us. [TNM]

People-to-people contact should be our primary concern

Re: India’s Independence and the Spiritual Destiny: Part F
Tusar N. Mohapatra on Fri 31 Jul 2009 10:20 AM IST Profile Permanent Link

Regardless of what The Mother & Sri Aurobindo have said from time to time during the last Century, can we agree on certain policies at present as regards Pakistan?

 That it is a nation apart and we respect its sovereignty,
 We should not be unduly interested in its internal affair; and
 Bilateral trade and people-to-people contact should be our primary concern. [TNM] Reply

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Goods and services could neither be called just nor unjust

[My basic perspective on technology is that it must be understood on many registers... As for Heidegger, I empathize with the idea that we can embrace neither technofetishism nor luddism... Here I find McLuhan's invitation to investigate the properties of specific technologies to be liberating... not to mention a hell of a lot clearer! ... (As a sidenote, McLuhan does take things too far when he insists that the content of media doesn't matter) anotherheideggerblog Tuesday, July 28, 2009 Interview with Ian Bogost//anotherheideggerblog Thursday, July 23, 2009 Interview with Levi R. Bryant (Larval Subjects)...
technology studies have been pushed back a great deal as a result of his moralizing and Luddite attitude towards enframing.
1:26 PM]

[Thus you have right and left Hegelians. You have all sorts of different appropriations of Deleuze. You have hundreds of different versions of Marx. There is something about the style of these thinkers, its gaps, its allusiveness, its suggestiveness, and so on that makes it highly fit for cultural circulation.
Larval Subjects July 28, 2009
Design Ontology Posted by larvalsubjects]

[So is the hope that we can strive towards some higher level in which the fundamental conflicts of culture are resolved a pipe dream? Chris Bloor talks to Charles Taylor, one of the world’s leading living philosophers. Philosophy Now Jul/Aug 2009
Yeah. That’s a pipe dream. It’s a beautiful dream, but it’s not something we can possibly hope for. It’s a pipe dream in the kind of sense that Marxism in its original form contained. This means that Marxism’s a tremendously interesting philosophy to read, because it holds out an important definition of the main cultural contradiction – as opposed to its error of thinking that we can resolve it. It’s just as bad not even to see the contradiction – to have this bland neo-liberal view that there are no major cultural contradictions at all, and things will all go swimmingly, that we’ll all just globalise. This is the absolute nadir of blindness. Those neo-liberals have to be put to read Marx – and if they totally convert to Marxism, then maybe they’ll have to be corrected by a dose of reality!]

[But globalism's outsourcing in India today has produced a large population of cyber-coolies and call center operators who form the standing reserve for the world market. They are richer than Indians before, but their lifestyles are mostly pre-packaged. Their richer cousins are the software engineers whose lifestyles are hardly any less pre-packaged. This is what I meant by saying that modernity offers us liberty in one hand and insignifcance in the other. Re: The Violence of the Global by Jean Baudrillard Science, Culture and Integral Yoga
by Debashish on Mon 27 Jul 2009 11:26 PM PDT Profile Permanent Link //Globalization kneads world humanity into a semblance of unity - but this is the unity of determined proceses, of lowest common conditioning. It claims absolute adherence from each individual in the name of liberty, and sticks the pretense of a name tag and a smiley on each shirt front while injecting with the lethal drug of comfortable anonymity. by Debashish on Tue 28 Jul 2009 06:05 PM PDT Profile Permanent Link]

[The welfare statists, led by Amartya Sen, want “distributive justice.” To them The Market is unjust. They call upon The State to correct these perceived injustices. My point is this: Amartya Sen’s “vision” is an exact replica of Jawaharlal Nehru’s “socialistic pattern of society.” The idea is an economic egalitarianism achieved by State force. This is the very same vision that India has chased for over 60 years – and which lies in tatters. The Hayekian vision is of a Great & Open Society: a society of numberless individuals interacting freely in markets, exchanging goods and services peacefully among themselves. This is a “catallaxy,” not a “community.” The individuals who engage in market exchanges usually do not even know one another – and it doesn’t matter. There cannot be economic equality in such a Great Society. As in a free forest, where there are tall trees, short grasses, bushes and shrubs, and vines, so too with the Great Society. Just as each living creature finds a “niche” in the jungle, so too with The Market – we all find “niches.” This is the “social division of labour.” Rewards are uncertain for all. The socialists and welfare statists want to replace a freely growing forest with a landscape of uniformly trimmed hedges - with their Supreme Leader doing the trimming. Further, the Great Society is one in which there is Competition. There are rewards for those who serve their customers best; and there are punishments for those who do it the worst. Without this “minimum pressure” the catallaxy cannot work. After all, the entire idea is that the Consumer is King. The welfare statists want to eliminate this minimum pressure. Their ideas only create a culture of dependency. They do not encourage enterprise. Amartya Sen has never supported Economic Freedom. Or Free Trade. The Debate On Amartya Sen Continues
from ANTIDOTE by Sauvik
Hayek is indispensable to this debate. And
Chandra has provided the most appropriate quote:
Justice has meaning only as a rule of human conduct, and no conceivable rules for the conduct of individuals supplying each other with goods and services in a market economy would produce a distribution which could be meaningfully described as just or unjust. Individuals might conduct themselves as justly as possible, but as the results for separate individuals would be neither intended nor foreseeable by others, the resulting state of affairs could neither be called just nor unjust.]

[Also keeping in mind :-) that the mind itself is in a process of developmental change, a mind that is continually consulted in its growth, (that is a person who constantly engages and broadens out in self-reflection) would eventually lead one to the plane of the Supermind. Re: Sri Aurobindo's Integral Education in Contemporary Higher Education Science, Culture and Integral Yoga
by Bindu on Wed 29 Jul 2009 11:56 PM PDT Profile Permanent Link]

[Common Sense [1] is a pamphlet written by Thomas Paine. It was first published anonymously on January 10, 1776, during the American Revolution... Paine begins this section by making a distinction between society and government. Society is a “patron,” “produced by our wants”, that promotes happiness. Government is a “punisher,” “produced by wickedness,” that restrains vices. Paine then goes on to consider the relationship between government and society in a state of “natural liberty.” Paine tells a story of a few isolated people living in nature without government. The people find it easier to live together rather than apart and thereby create a society. As the society grows problems arise, so all the people meet to make regulations to mitigate the problems. As the society continues to grow government becomes necessary to enforce the regulations, which over time, turn into laws. Soon there are so many people that they cannot all be gathered in one place to make the laws, so they begin holding elections. This, Paine argues, is the best balance between government and society. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia]

[Secularism is thus a political doctrine and not a social one. It cannot be counterposed against communalism as communalism is a social doctrine. It is not true that a communally tolerant population is automatically secular. Indian secularism - Place of religion in human life - The Statesman S K Chaube 21 January 1997 8:12 PM]

[I think liberty in Smith’s terms is more important than democracy as represented by mere elections which may be held regularly but are often, across the world, well short of being open, transparent, and an accurate reflection of the free choices of independent electors ( see Iran recently, as an example). Liberty expressed by free speech, an independent judiciary, trial by jury, Habeas Corpus, rights of assembly, policing as a service - not a force of the politics of the government, and personal rights codified in law, is rare enough (as it has always been), and when its lack is covered up by farcical elections it is a disappointment for optimists for the human condition and a comfort for cynics and oppressors. Liberty More Important than Democracy
from Adam Smith's Lost Legacy by Gavin Kennedy]

Directing the flux of society while flowing and growing within it is the greatest folly the Leftists are fond of conjuring. [TNM]

Stamping children into religion

[One of the biggest dangers in Integral Yoga/Education as currently practiced (and I have experienced this) is in the realm of vital education: Here, subjective notions of say, Beauty, in our current state of Avidya, are interpreted and privileged by those in power, with unfortunate consequences that greatly restrict the freedom of artists in a community of Integral Yoga practitioners. Re: Sri Aurobindo's Integral Education in Contemporary Higher Education Bindu Wed 29 Jul 2009 11:56 PM PDT]

['Parents impose their belief system on children' Times of India 29 July 2009
As president of the Indian chapter of the Centre for Inquiry, Innaiah Narisetti has come up with the controversial thesis that children's rights should include complete freedom from religious belief or conditioning. He talks about the rationalist movement with Manoj Mitta: Your latest book, Forced into Faith, has a rather provocative subtitle: 'How religion abuses children's rights.' How do you justify that? Child
marriages are prohibited. Voting rights are denied to kids. The same restraint is, however, not observed when it comes to stamping children into religion. Parents treat their children as property and impose their belief system. It's time parents refrained from indoctrinating their children into their religious beliefs so that they have the freedom to adopt or reject religion when they become adults. The conditioning they suffer in their childhood renders them incapable of exercising choice in the matter. Why do you argue for a UN convention on what you describe as the religious abuse of children? The UN convention on children's rights adopted in 1989 is observed more in the breach. Though the UN has come out against child abuses like genital mutilation of girls and deploying children in wars, it is shy of holding religion guilty of polluting the minds of children with retrograde beliefs. Children accept without question whatever the parents dictate. They carry that habit into their adulthood. Leaders practising superstitions set a bad example. It was sad that somebody like Abdul Kalam, when he was president, thought it fit to touch the feet of Sathya Sai Baba. That to my mind was more outrageous than his being frisked at an airport for security reasons despite his former office.]

Without agreeing with all that the rationalist movement stands for, Savitri Era Religion supports Narisetti's "thesis that children's rights should include complete freedom from religious belief or conditioning." [TNM]

Love & Death in desert

[Mike said... September 22, 2007 1:41 PM
As for Hegel, the Introduction (NOT the preface) to the Phenomenology of Spirit is a good place to start, probably after reading his early writing on "Love," which gives you a flavor of what he's working through (you can find the latter in The Hegel Reader). 6:20 PM]

[Jack Reynolds deals with the aporetic ambiguities in Derrida's thought between the irredicible difference of the Other and the raidcal singularity of the Other... I see Derrida's aporetic undecidability between the Other of difference and the Other of singluarity as the Vedantic tension between the Known, the Unknown and the Unknowable... In excavating this conundrum in his late work The Gift of Death, Derrida draws on the fertility of the Judaic story of Abraham's decision regarding the sacrifice of his son to God. Re: The Other of Derridean Deconstruction: Levinas, Phenomenology and the Question of Responsibility by Jack Reynolds Debashish Wed 29 Jul 2009 06:20 AM PDT]

[In this respect, Derrida opened my eyes in ways I will always be grateful for (as I will for the influential American deconstructionists I had the benefit of studying under), but once my eyes were opened, I didn't know what I saw. Nothing. A blank vista. A desert. //philosophy an eternal Easter egg hunt in search of shiny, cubed ovoids to be worshiped over red wine. anotherheideggerblog Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Interview with Ian Bogost]

[My basic perspective on technology is that it must be understood on many registers... As for Heidegger, I empathize with the idea that we can embrace neither technofetishism nor luddism... Here I find McLuhan's invitation to investigate the properties of specific technologies to be liberating... not to mention a hell of a lot clearer! ... (As a sidenote, McLuhan does take things too far when he insists that the content of media doesn't matter) anotherheideggerblog Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Interview with Ian Bogost]

Love & Death in desert! [TNM]

Nice Rice

[Condoleezza Rice (born November 14, 1954) is a professor, diplomat, author, and national security expert. She served as the 66th United States Secretary of State, and the second in the administration of President George W. Bush to hold the office. Rice was the first black woman, second African American (after her predecessor Colin Powell, who served from 2001 to 2005), and the second woman (after Madeleine Albright, who served from 1997 to 2001 in the Clinton Administration) to serve as Secretary of State. Rice was President Bush's National Security Advisor during his first term. Before joining the Bush administration, she was a professor of political science at Stanford University where she served as Provost from 1993 to 1999. During the administration of George H.W. Bush, Rice served as the Soviet and East European Affairs Advisor during the dissolution of the Soviet Union and German reunification.
When beginning as Secretary of State, Rice pioneered a policy of
Transformational Diplomacy, with a focus on democracy in the greater Middle East. Her emphasis on supporting democratically elected governments faced challenges as Hamas captured a popular majority in Palestinian elections yet supported Islamist militants, and influential countries including Saudi Arabia and Egypt maintained authoritarian systems with U.S. support.]

Condoleezza Rice was instrumental in introducing unprecedented trust and parity into the bilateral relationship between the two largest democracies. This was a path-breaking initiative flowing from her sagacity and austere vision. People of India will always remember her contributions in forging an alliance of far reaching impacts. [TNM]

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Nostalgia is now the only industry in Kolkata

[In 19th c. Calcutta, the subjection of Indians under British colonialism spawned the bhadralok population, which did not remain entirely determined by their colonizers but developed their own sophisticated critiques of the Enlightenment, whose potential has still not fully been played out. Sri Aurobindo himself is part of this counter-culture. Re: The Violence of the Global by Jean Baudrillard Debashish Mon 27 Jul 2009 11:26 PM PDT]

[Distance lends enchantment to the bhiew. "Cal' nostalgia is a major industry in this mushy 'Mitra Mandal'. In Kolkata, of course, nostalgia is now the only industry. Home > Nostalgia~ gently simmered By: mid-day Date: 2001-12-23]

Long live nostalgia! [TNM]

Nietzsche and nepotism

[My two major intellectual influences are Sri Aurobindo and Nietzsche. In my opinion Aurobindo’s philosophy is the most holistic of all spiritual worldviews, and encompasses existentialism. At the moment my spiritual goal is to synthesize the Nietzschian goal of high vitality (energy, ‘gravity defiance’, love of life, a movement forward and upward) and the Christian one of becoming a child of God. Commenting on This Blog Monday, Jul 27 2009 Yes and no]

[One central point on the whole subject of envy is how foolish we so often are in envying others when they have their own life and story, and fate. Often we envy someone who we believe to have a better fortune than our own only to learn that they have sufferings and troubles beyond those we imagined. 'Envy' is a seemingly inescapable element of our nature. And this little book may do an enviable job of helping us understand it a bit better. And this said with the minor praise of one who might envy Mr. Epstein's talent and success which is considerable. July 17, 2005 By Shalom Freedman "Shalom Freedman" (Jerusalem,Israel) - See all my reviews
Permalink Envy: The Seven Deadly Sins: Joseph Epstein]

[“Nepotism, like sex, is a powerful human motive that many people are too squeamish to examine. Adam Bellow has made an important contribution to our understanding of the human condition with this sparkling and eye-opening natural history of an underappreciated but eternally fascinating topic.”— Steven Pinker, Peter de Florez Professor, MIT and author of The Blank Slate and How the Mind Works. “Nepotism is widely condemned yet even more widely practiced. Adam Bellow shows why this is so, and he makes a fascinating and well-researched argument that this is not necessarily a bad thing.”— Walter Isaacson, author of Kissinger: A Life and former chairman of CNN and managing editor of Time In Praise of Nepotism: A History of Family Enterprise by Adam Bellow]

Biological drives like envy and nepotism are not easy to handle. The helper/bar dialectic is an essential key to turn them into springboards. [TNM]

Heehs' white man's burden

["Stories let us lie to ourselves. And those lies satisfy our desires. It's the story, not the good or the service you actually sell, that pleases the customer." (excerpted from page 84) Here's a question: What do Aesop, Jesus Christ, the Brothers Grimm, Hans Christian Andersen, Abraham Lincoln, Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (Lewis Carroll), Joel Chandler Harris, and L. Frank Baum have in common? Answer: All were great storytellers who, obviously, can come in all shapes and sizes. One of Godin's most important points is that almost anyone can be a great storyteller IF they (a) have a convincing, indeed compelling story to tell and (b) they tell it to the right audience. June 20, 2005 By Robert Morris (Dallas, Texas) - See all my reviews - All Marketers Are Liars: The Power of Telling Authentic Stories in a Low-Trust World by Seth Godin]

[All Marketers Are Liars
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Background
Godin said the inspiration came to him when he "watched the
Democrats lose the election [in 2004]."[3] He stated that although both candidates told lies, the candidate that won told the more believable lie.[4] In particular, he noticed Karl Rove's ability to tell a story, noting that he's a "very good liar."[3]]

[Bryan Caplan's The Myth of the Rational Voter: Why Democracies Choose Bad Policies (New Edition) challenges the rationality of citizens in their roles as voters. Useful knowledge gleaned from Caplan's book include a sense of how profoundly economists' perceptions of economic events and policies tend to differ from those of members of the general public. June 17, 2009
Ralph - See all my reviews]

[Lies, Lies and More Lies: LAST week brought the guru of deconstruction, Algeria-born French philosopher Jacques Derrida, to India. At one of the lectures he held from Thursday through Monday in Delhi— immaculately dressed, and with a mane of silvery white cerebral frizzle on his head— he held forth on subjects like State of the Lie, Lie of the State. Also on his agenda: Calcutta and a talk on Bengali literature. Twenty years back, Gayatri Spivak Chakrabarty was translating his land-mark book Of Grammatology into English. Now, the traffic seems to have turned back on itself. So what is it, Jacques? Reversal of hierarchies, metaphysics of an overbearing presence, the lie of the state of mind, or all of the above? 05 Feb 1997 - “State of the Lie, Lie of the State”: A conference by Jacques Derrida at Delhi School of Economics, 24 January 1997.]

When Heehs undertook the white man's burden of healing Indians of the hagiography virus, a few lies here and there were part of his occupational hazard. After all, he is telling a (hi)story. [TNM]

The aesthetics of offering prayers or flowers

[Indian secularism - Place of religion in human life - The Statesman S K Chaube, 21 January 1997
In the great debate on secularism in India a number of cultivated myths abound even among well intentioned people bearing no malice against other communities. "Indian society is secular", "Hindu society is secular", "The Indian Constitution is secular" and "The Indian State is secular" are some of them.
The myths are raised to a theoretical plane by asserting that "Our secularism is different from secularism in the West". From this absurdity one moves to the confusing array of "our definitions" of secularism and exchange of abuses like communalism and pseudo-secularism...
Secularism is thus a political doctrine and not a social one. It cannot be counterposed against communalism as communalism is a social doctrine. It is not true that a communally tolerant population is automatically secular... S.K. Chaube is Professor of Indian Politics in the Department of Political Science, University of Delhi. 8:12 PM]

The Mother & Sri Aurobindo expressly refused to be affiliated to any of the past religions and Savitri Era Religion emerged by default. The Sanatan Dharma/Perennial philosophy line of argument, therefore, is alien to a 21st century faith like Savitri Era Religion.

Body and biology being intrinsic part and determinant of man’s religious behavior, it is futile to expect brand new rites and rituals. Savitri Era Religion has internalized a set of rituals over the years which will obviously evolve and refine with time.

The spiritual school promoted by secularists, rationalists, and nihilists privileging meditational practices is basically a recoil from form. The aesthetics of body, though overemphasized in the arena of sport and art, remains underappreciated in the realm of offering prayers or flowers either singly or collectively.

Man is too puny to make sense of his place in the Cosmic merry-go-round and The Mother, therefore, has given us a simple formula: Remember and Offer. Realist philosophies, however, are yet to problemitize this crucial conundrum of consciousness: Who remembers and why. [TNM]

Monday, July 27, 2009

One regrets the passing of the sari

[India’s Independence and the Spiritual Destiny: Part K
RY Deshpande on Mon 27 Jul 2009 03:47 AM IST Permanent Link Cosmos
Not Hindutva but Sanatan Dharma or Integral Spirituality

There is a vociferous and strident lobby of intellectuals, of the self-righteous western brand, who persistently downgrade the traditions of India, not understanding the well-founded principles on which its society and social organization is built... Many of our current terms, particularly nauseatingly misused or distorted Hindutva and cast system and religious rites and rituals, even morality and ethics, are historically laden with heavy ideological overtones and implications, which have no place and which must be replaced to give proper sense acceptable to the modern mind and soul.]

[Re: Towards the Ideal Society: India and Europe: The Lesson of Antiquity and the Middle Ages—by Paulette
by paulette on Mon 27 Jul 2009 09:48 AM IST
Profile Permanent Link
According to the great “psychologist of the depth” C. G. Jung life is to grow into wisdom, materializing the archetypal contents of “the old wise man” and “the old wise woman”. This should turn into the individuals’ main pursuit in the second and last stage of life, after having fulfilled one’s duties towards society during one’s first half of life. Whereas one outcome of disregarding the four stages of life is the grotesque search for a youthful appearance at any cost. Several decades ago Jung had already condemned as a major sign of the malaise of Western society the ridiculous look and make-up of certain ladies unable to accept ageing, in juxtaposition to the dignified appearance of the old Indian women. Jung was greatly appreciative of women wearing sarees; he commented that even the less appealing ladies that way got a chance! But if we scroll the internet, what we get is women dressed up at an old age as if still in their twenties, proudly recalling the many plastic surgeries they had! Society is profoundly sick. If the present civilization is to survive – in India, as in the West – we have to recover what made that ancient civilization unique and thoroughly live by those standards. This demands to re-structure our entire system of values, before we reach the no-return point. Paulette Reply]

[When Doordarshan held the field by itself, there was very little entertainment, and the information was bland and stereotyped. This has changed with the entry of private television channels into the field. Even Doordarshan is now less dull and stodgy than it used to be. Our newsreaders do not have to be grim faced as in China or Russia, and the women among them do not have to cover their heads as in Iran and Pakistan. It is good to see greater variety in dress and deportment although, personally, one regrets the passing of the sari. TOP ARTICLE Lure Of The Small Screen-Editorial-Opinion-The Times of India By Andre Beteille, Thursday, February 19, 2009]

[In constant pursuit of physical beauty-City City Bang Bang-Santosh Desai
Times of India, 29 September 2008.
There is something alarming about the current obsession with physical appearance. Deeply convinced about our imperfection, we spend inordinate effort in patching up our looks the best we can. The idea of perfect bodies holding an ageless face firmly in place is a pervasive one today, setting in motion industries devoted to creating self-doubt bordering on self-hate and offering solutions in terms of cosmetics, grooming, body sculpting and surgical interventions. This is a well-documented argument and one that I personally have a lot of sympathy for... Interestingly, the pursuit of beauty outside our physical selves is deemed perfectly legitimate. We pay mind-numbing prices for objects that have great artistic value and even in our everyday lives, look for beauty in everything from plastic plants in our drawing rooms to futuristic looking dustbins. Then why has the pursuit of physical beauty been so fraught with illegitimacy? Why should any individual’s effort to improve his personal appearance be seen as an act of vanity and not an achievement? Why should we not be encouraged to become as good-looking as we can humanly be, without radical chemical or surgical intervention? ... There is no natural reason why beauty will not be pursued as vigorously as the training of the mind is. Beauty like money and education, is on its way to being democratized. More and more people are likely to see it as a personal achievement rather than an inherited legacy.]

It is only by alighting upon specific issues that the political correctness of one's views can be weighed. Else, sari might make one to say sorry. [TNM]

Sunday, July 26, 2009

The democracy in India is in a bad shape

[Alternatives to politics vs alternative politics
Election 2009 is a small but vital step towards turning our disenchantment with politicians into forging an alternative kind of politics, writes Yogendra Yadav
The Hindu Monday, May 04, 2009. Secondly, there were many organisations that took up the difficult task of making a direct intervention, by putting up candidates. The boldest and best known of these initiatives was that of the Lok Satta party in Andhra Pradesh. Led by former bureaucrat Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan, the energy, the organisational seriousness and public transparency of this party has set an example for future attempts at alternative politics.
Some other attempts did not figure at all in the national and regional media as they were more localised and did not have a media-savvy middle class face. Karnataka Sarvodaya, an extraordinary political party that has emerged from Dalit and farmers’ movements, put up four candidates in Karnataka. The Samajwadi Jan Parishad, a political formation born from the grassroots, fielded seven candidates in Kerala, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Orissa and West Bengal. The performance of its candidate in Bargarh Assembly constituency in Orissa merits close attention. The Tamil Nadu Women’s Front and the Jharkhand Ulgoolan Party have put up two candidates each. Several ‘lok ummeedvar’ (peoples’ candidates) have been fielded by groups in U.P. and M.P. Many of these groups have come together under a national umbrella called the Lok Rajniti Manch.
These parties and candidates may not appear ‘successful’ when votes are counted on May 16. Their success or failure should be measured by the extent to which they succeed in responding to the paradox of political participation.
The growing lack of political choices cannot be countered by celebrity candidates or high-profile media or NGO campaigns. Attempts to look in this direction can only deepen a sense of frustration and helplessness. The real challenge is to turn disenchantment with politics and politicians into a creative force for an alternative kind of politics. Election 2009 is a small but vital step in that direction.
Yogendra Yadav is a Senior Fellow at CSDS and is associated with the Lok Rajniti Manch and the Samajwadi Jan Parishad mentioned in this article]

[Pursuit of justice can be much enhanced by open and well-aimed public discussion
Amartya Sen's story of justice Times of India - 26 July 2009 Rashmee Roshan Lall - ‎In an exclusive interview with The Times of India, the Nobel laureate speaks about his most ambitious book yet. 10:48 AM]

The democracy in India is in a bad shape. Many pitfalls stem from the Constitution but most are perpetuated through bad practices and precedents. These are forgotten after the elections. They must be talked about instead. [TNM]

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Heehs eclipses his links with Sri Aurobindo Ashram

An American Historian in India.
Peter Heehs writes on modern Indian history, and Indian spirituality and religion. Much of his work focuses on the Indian political and spiritual leader Sri Aurobindo... Peter Heehs is an acknowledged expert on Sri Aurobindo and his philosophy, on Indian spiritual traditions, and on the history of modern India... Contact Us: Peter Heehs, 3 Nehru Street, First Floor Pondicherry 605002 India. peterheehs at yahoo dot com]

Strange that Heehs' official website eclipses his links with Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Puducherry. [TNM]

Those acquainted with Ashram politics

[Re: The Mother as an Artist—by Sunayana Panda Mirror of Tomorrow
by Paulette on Thu 11 Jun 2009 10:42 AM IST Profile Permanent Link
And please don’t compare me to Savitra because I am just his opposite in every way. I am in fact much concerned about a certain trend having its stronghold in the USA and about which Savitra is much vocal.]

[I have not yet met anybody here who resembles some of the people in my advanced practice group in the U.S.
God is waking up in us: encountering Michael Murphy - Alan
Michael Murphy is a new member of the International Advisory Council. He has a long association with the yoga and, among other things, was co-founder of Esalen, the centre on the Californian coast which pioneered so much of the ‘human potential' movement.
Auroville Today > April 2007 2:48 PM]

[Introduction Letters Michael Murphy to the Managing Trustee
Letter to the Managing Trustee, from Michael Murphy
Dear Manoj–
And among those of us acquainted with Ashram politics, admiration for you, Manoj, and for the others there who support Peter's work has grown enormously. Many of us are inspired by the courage and wisdom you have shown in the midst of the controversy surrounding the new biography. Your leadership reflects the fearlessness Sri Aurobindo valued. He, after all, went where his work and vision led in spite of the consequences.
For all of this, I salute and thank you. You are one of my new heroes.
With fond regards,
Michael Murphy] 3:47 PM

Foreign hands "acquainted with Ashram politics" are, palpably, a threat. [TNM]

Overcome epistemological fetishism

[In Marx’s labor theory of value the object gets its value from the labor required to produce it, but in commodity fetishism the value of the object manifests itself as a mysterious property of the object itself rather than as a result of the labor process that produced the object. Circulating Reference
from Larval Subjects . by larvalsubjects]

[Marx argues that the factory disciplines the worker and forms a collective organization that affords the possibility of a revolutionary overturning current regime of production. The factory is not simply a site of alienation and exploitation for Marx, but is a milieu of individuation that forms a new type of body and subjectivity that opens the possibility of a new social order. Digital Individuations from Larval Subjects by larvalsubjects 1:26 PM]

[NTR was god for us. He brought this major Telugu movement and spirit. He also started giving 2 rupees per kg rice. He also acted in the real world. He used to dress up as a ochre robed sanyasi to win elections. Its funny. Love his movies even now. I had not seen anyone else act so well in mythological movies. He not only acted as Rama but like Krishna too. What dialogue delivery!!!! Cannot see anything like that in our modern world. Re: Into the Inferno: Hollow Language and Hollow Democracies by Arundhati Roy rakesh Fri 24 Jul 2009 06:11 AM PDT Science, Culture and Integral Yoga]

[ The Myth of the Rational Voter: Why Democracies Choose ...
Drawing extensively from the Survey of Americans and Economists on the Economy, Caplan discusses how rational consumers often make irrational voters, ... And to be blunt, if the average voter holds irrational beliefs that lead him to support bad policies, using political slack to mitigate the ...Are Voters Irrational: An Interview With Economist Bryan Caplan. People across the political spectrum routinely question the senses, intelligence and values ... The bottom-line is that conclude that voters are irrational you have to know what rational is and the fact is that economics is in no way an exact enough ...]

The whole is greater than the sum of its parts. [TNM]

Friday, July 24, 2009

India is the fulcrum now

[Towards a World-Centric Moral Sensibility
from integral praxis by BrightAbyss~
We're at a unique moment in history, says UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown in the TED Talk below. Brown believes that we can use today's interconnectedness to develop our shared global ethic -- and work together to confront the challenges of poverty, security, climate change and the economy.]

[I consider India a global power: Hillary Clinton Times of India - Arnab Goswami - ‎Jul 18, 2009‎
A: I consider India not only a regional power but a global power. I think India has the opportunity to resolve problems regionally and work with other ...
'Obama, Hillary differ in courting India'
Hindu - Washington (IANS): Suggesting a foreign policy rift between President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, a Forbes columnist says her trip to India "is Clinton's way of literally and figuratively distancing herself from Mr. Obama".
"She left the U.S. amid reports of intense infighting with a White House intent on marginalising her role," said Gordon G. Chang, a columnist of the U.S. business magazine.
Experts: Clinton India Visit Very Successful in Style and Substance Voice of America]

India is the fulcrum now. [TNM]

Acknowledged expert on distortion

[Peter Heehs is an American historian based in Pondicherry, India... Peter Heehs is an acknowledged expert on Sri Aurobindo and his philosophy, on Indian spiritual traditions, and on the history of modern India (in particular late-nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century Bengal)... Articles in Professional Journals and Books
2008. “Sri Aurobindo and Hinduism”.
Published online in AntiMatters 2.2 (April).
“The Uses of Sri Aurobindo: Mascot, Whipping-Boy or What?”. Postcolonial Studies 9 (June): 151–64.
2006. “Yoga/Yogi”. Keywords in South Asian Studies.
Published online by Centre of South Asian Studies, School of Oriental and African Studies, London.
Articles in Magazines and Newspapers
2008. “The Bomb that Shook an Empire.” The Pioneer (New Delhi), November 22.
Available online.
2004. “Idea of India.” Life Positive. April–June.
Available online Distorted view...
In contemporary India, political leaders of the past have been turned into tokens that are exchanged by party bosses at election time. It is not surprising that
Sri Aurobindo has been subject to this kind of commerce. One party places out-of-context quotations from his works in its manifesto; a rival party says it plans to base its programme on his ideals. A religio-political pressure group features him prominently on its website; a journalist writes that he was “was second to none” in promoting religion-tainted politics. None of these exploiters or critics of Sri Aurobindo’s legacy show adequate familiarity with his works. A journalist, Jyotirmaya Sharma (in his recent book Hindutva: Exploring the Idea of Hindu Nationalism), draws most of his quotations from edited compilations... See Books by Peter Heehs for more information and links for ordering them online.]

The distortion Heehs himself has introduced in The Lives of Sri Aurobindo ironically takes the cake. [TNM]

If this is she of whom the world has heard

[Mirra Alfassa, later Mirra Morisset and Mirra Richard (February 21, 1878 - November 17, 1973), also known as The Mother, was the spiritual partner of Sri Aurobindo.
She was born in
Paris to Turkish and Egyptian parents and came to Sri Aurobindo's retreat on March 29, 1914 in Pondicherry to collaborate on editing the Arya. Having to leave Pondicherry during the War, she spent most of her time in Japan...
Mirra (or Mira) Alfassa was born in
Paris in 1878, of a Jewish Turkish father (Maurice, a banker), and a Jewish Egyptian mother (Mathilde Ismaloun). She had an elder brother named Matteo. The family had migrated to France the year before she was born.[4] For the first eight years of her life she lived at 62 boulevard Haussmann... In 1897 she married Henri Morisset, a student of Moreau. They lived at Atelier, 15 rue Lemercier, Paris, and Mirra became a part of the Paris artistic circles, befriending the likes of Auguste Rodin and Monet.[10] From Wikipedia
After having many spiritual and occult experiences of her own,
she left for Algeria in 1906 to learn occultism more thoroughly, under the guidance of the little-known adept Max Theon and his wife Alma. Kheper Home]

The unmatched integrality The Mother represents will entice the inhabitants of all continents in a not far off future. [TNM]

Hutchinson should eschew negativism

[Fundamentalism and the Future from Science, Culture and Integral Yoga™ by Rich A two-day conference will be held Friday, September 11 and Saturday September 12 on the topic “Fundamentalism and the Future.” The conference will be at the California Institute of Integral studies in San Francisco, hosted by the Department of Asian and Comparative Religions. Registration is free. For details on the conference, location, and registration, please see Organizers are Debashish Banerji, Rich Carlson, and David Hutchinson.]

[Introduction Bio Data Hutchinson, David
David Hutchinson is a registered nurse at the UC Davis Medical Center, California, where he works in the technology field, implementing a large-scale electronic medical record. He has participated actively in the founding and maintenance of various Integral Yoga online community initiatives, including the Miraura Web site ( and the auroconf discussion group. He served as president of the Sri Aurobindo Association for several years, edited the journal Collaboration, and has hosted two AUM conferences (1998, 2008).]

David Hutchinson, from his deliberations, appears to be a sincere devotee. It is surprising, therefore, why he associates himself with negative activities like organizing this Conference. [TNM]

Motivations and experiences of Western tourists

[Tourism: a sacred journey? The case of ashram tourism, India
Richard Sharpley, Priya Sundaram
University of Hull, Scarborough Campus, Filey Road, Scarborough YO11 3AZ, UK
email: Richard Sharpley ( International Journal of Tourism Research Volume 7 Issue 3, Pages 161 - 171 Published Online: 14 Apr 2005
Based on an exploratory study, it considers the motivations and experiences of Western tourists visiting the Sri Aurobindo Ashram and the nearby utopian township of Auroville in Pondicherry, south east India... Third, the research also suggests that the notion of a continuum of religious or spiritual intent as proposed by (1992a) is valid. Although a variety of motives, from knowledge-driven secular curiosity to more purposeful need satisfaction, were identified in the research, it is evident that, albeit unintentionally, different intensities of spiritual fulfilment were experienced by visitors to the Ashram and Auroville.
Thinking Made Easy: Tourism: a Sacred Journey? The Case of Ashram tourism, India Full Text: PDF (Size: 196K)]

VISIT PUDUCHERRY is yet to catch the fancy of international tour operators. [TNM]

Put one foot in any non-Western tradition, just to make your world larger

[For American students of continental philosophy in particular, it’s also important not to get too sucked into Europhilia. The world is a lot bigger than France and Germany, rich though their intellectual traditions obviously are. It’s a good idea to put one foot in any non-Western tradition, just to make your world larger. Interview with Graham Harman Tuesday, July 21, 2009 anotherheideggerblog 11:59 AM]

[There’s a very real sense in which the possibilities of Continental philosophy have exhausted themselves and the time for something new has arrived. This exhaustion isn’t simply to be located in the dearth of research possibilities in academia afforded by traditional orientations of Continental thought, but more importantly by the situation we face in the world today... We need conceptual tools that will allow us to more effectively think these things... The best philosophical work of the last century has been done outside of philosophy in sociology departments, literature departments, media studies departments, etc. These people are encountering the real in a way that provokes the development of theory. We seldom see philosophical innovation coming from within philosophy departments themselves because these are places where philosophy has been divested of its others and therefore is only able to comment on texts and highly codified problems that have evolved into language games... Blogging is genuinely a new form of writing, thinking, and intellectual engagement when done properly. Interview with Levi R. Bryant Thursday, July 23, 2009 anotherheideggerblog 12:37 PM]

[Jul 21, 2009 (title unknown) from enowning by enowning Critchley, B&T, week 7. The inauthenticity of blogging. "for Heidegger, inauthentic life is characterised by chatter – for example, the ever-ambiguous hubbub of the blogosphere." 6:04 PM]

Let an East-West synthesis emerge from the "hubbub of the blogosphere." [TNM]