Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Sri Aurobindo inverts Alienation to Aspiration

[(title unknown) from enowning by enowning
Eva Brann on how metaphysics got to be
affective.
In modern times the Romantics were certainly preoccupied with diffuse feelings of searching longing and pleasurable reminiscence. But it was only in 1844, when Kierkegaard published The Concept of Anxiety, that the intentionlessness of mood was made explicit and put to philosophical use. This anxiety would in the twentieth century become what might be called its paradigm mood. Kierkegaard, observing that the concept of anxiety is ignored in psychology, says that “it is altogether different from fear and similar concepts that referred to something definite, whereas anxiety is freedom’s actuality as the possibility of a possibility”. “Freedom’s actuality” describes a presentiment of a capability—an as yet unfixed sense of a freedom to be free. This was Adam’s condition before the Fall, a “dreaming” state of innocence, before he knew the difference between good and evil. In that dream state of uneasy repose, Adam has “indeed nothing against which to strive.” At this point Kierkegaard has recourse to the verbal trick that will have great consequences in Existential philosophy: The “nothing” which Adam has to strive against in the mood of dreaming anxiety turns into an intentional object. “But what effect does nothing have?” Kierkegaard asks. “It begets anxiety.” Thus the inherited sinfulness of the human race originating in Adam’s fall is conditioned not, as in the tradition, on the perversion of the will, the rational faculty of desire, but on a mood, an affective sense of the freedom to be possibly bad. ‎
Heidegger adapts for his essay this Kierkegaardian transmutation of the nothing that anxiety “is about” into a meta-physical Nothing. The mood (in German Stimmung, “attunement”) of anxiety opens the human being to Nothing. In their uncanny alienated indifference to existence, beings as a whole distance themselves from us. The human foothold in existence is gone. Anxiety is revealingly about the Nothing that environs existence. Thus anxiety becomes our access to the wonder of beings. We realize, we feel, that they are something and not nothing: Anxiety is the fundamental metaphysical feeling.]

[A Psychoanalytic Defense of Realism from Larval Subjects by larvalsubjects‎
If Bhaskar refers to this form of argument as the “epistemic fallacy”, then this is because, in his view, it renders our actual engagement with the world incoherent... Bhaskar’s thesis is that when epistemology makes this move our practice becomes incoherent... Now what makes Bhaskar’s transcendental argument so delicious is that he inverts the nature of transcendental arguments. Where transcendental arguments tend to trace the transcendental conditions of possibility back to mind or some variant of the social and proceed based on the question “what must our cognition be like for this sort of experience to be possible?” or “what must language be like for this form of experience to be possible?” or “what must society be like for this form of experience to be possible?”, Bhaskar instead asks “what must the world be like for science and our daily practice to be possible?”]

[Epistemologt, philosophy of history, philosophy of mind Hegel's term for a consciousness that desires complete knowledge of itself but cannot obtain it. Hegel believed that self-consciousness proceeded in history from pre-history (the struggle for recognition) to Greece and Rome (Stoicism and skepticism) and medieval Christianity (unhappy consciousness). At the stage of skepticism, consciousness claims that all knowledge is relative to the subjective point of view. However, to make this claim meaningful, it must be assured that there is a universal point of view to see that all knowledge is thus relative. As a result, a skeptic has to admit that he is unable to justify these beliefs outside of his own contingently held point of view. He has a divided form of consciousness, with a tension between its subjective and objective points of view. Here skepticism gave way to the stage of unhappy consciousness. Such a consciousness is internally divided, for it has to assume both points of view. It is the consciousness of separation between man and nature and between man and man. Christianity's message is a call to men to restore the lost unity of consciousness by bringing their subjective points of view into line with the impersonal eye of God. In general, the unhappy consciousness describes a form of life in which people's conceptions of themselves and of what they claim to know involves ... unhappy consciousness : The Blackwell Dictionary of Western ...]

Sri Aurobindo inverts Alienation/Anxiety/Angst to Aspiration. Prescribed as a paramount principle of Integral Yoga's triple formula, it nonetheless denotes a perpetual hiatus to be overcome. "In Yoga also it is the Divine who is the Sadhaka and the Sadhana" is how he saves it from dualistic perplexity. [TNM]

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