Sunday, May 31, 2009

Modernity is not about an immature rejection of habits or tradition

[Occidentalism by Ian Buruma, Avishai Margalit (NYRB)
Orientalism Revisited: Edward Said’s unfinished critique (Boston Review)
The Third Eye and Two Ways of (Un)knowing: Gnosis, Alternative Modernities, and Postcolonial Futures: Makarand Paranjape, Professor of English, JNU, New Delhi
• India and Europe by Wilhelm Halbfass
More Recent Articles Search Science, Culture and Integral Yoga]

[Modernity is a basket of aspirations interlinked in the subtleties of an expanding mind, from gender equality to bakeries to highways to English medium schools to elections to a thirst for newspapers in unknown small towns. Modernity is not about an immature rejection of habits or tradition... It is a paradox of secular India that one definition of secularism has become the right of minorities to retreat into conservatism. Politicians accept the consolidation of communal identity as the inevitable antidote to insecurity, but that is a dangerous diagnosis. It implies a helplessness on the part of the State in eliminating threat and seeding educational and economic opportunity. Will India ever have a Muslim Code Bill? - The Siege Within - M J Akbar The Times of India: 31 May 2009]

M.J. Akbar, who carried the Standard of modernity to the youth of Hindustan through the pioneering Sunday weekly, laments about the state of modernity and secularism in India. One more shortcoming is that free discussion on metaphysical matters is being stonewalled. Cosmological or ontological hypotheses, instead of being scrutinized under scientific or philosophical lenses, are pushed beyond discourse which is the reason of their losing legitimacy outside the strict theological domains.

Makarand Paranjape, elsewhere, waxes eloquent on supra-rational cognition, but without personally accessing such a realm, it's all hogwash. [TNM]

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Self-organisation & rule-following

[Sri Aurobindo considered the supermind to be an all-organizing and all-coordinating principle of truth-consciousness secretly involved in the material creation and he saw its emergence as the next logical and inevitable step in terrestrial evolution.
Integral yoga - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Categories: Sri Aurobindo Integral thought 3:32 PM]

[But the most significant and influential thinker of self-organisation in the past century was undoubtedly Friedrich Hayek, the intellectual progenitor of neoliberalism. For Hayek, any attempt at social or economic planning was doomed to failure, due to the inherent limitations of human knowledge, and the consequent prevalence of unintended consequences. In contrast, and inspired by both cybernetics and biology, Hayek claimed that the “free market” was an ideal mechanism for coordinating all the disparate bits of knowledge that existed dispersed throughout society, and negotiating it towards an optimal outcome. Self-organization, operating impersonally and beyond the ken of any particular human agent, could accomplish what no degree of planning or willful human rationality ever could. Against Self-Organization from The Pinocchio Theory by Steven Shaviro 7:55 PM]

[Friedrich von Hayek’s insight into the evolution of ethics becomes crucial to any understanding of this natural phenomenon. Hayek, as I have recently blogged, wrote that our ethics lie “between instinct and reason.” What this means is that we have overcome our instinct to plunder – but have not reasoned why. These ethics that we follow in markets have evolved. They have not been objectively designed by anyone. They have been passed down from generation to generation, and learnt by imitation. Let us try and understand the process... Civilisation is artificial. Civilisation is learnt behaviour. And this is how it arose. This is why it persists. Nowhere else does this conclusion ring truer than in India. Here, police stations are all located in cities and towns, never in villages. The majority of the population lives in a “natural order,” far removed from the attention of the police. And, whenever a policeman is seen ambling around an urban market, all the rule-following animals there know that a barbarian is in their midst, someone who will snatch and grab whatever he wants. This natural order is India’s strength. It shows that we are a highly civilised people. We are not a nation of barbarians. We are all rule-followers. We all operate “between instinct and reason.” We possess a deep-rooted “commercial culture.” Thus, liberal democracy is not the “end of history.” There is something higher on the evolutionary scale than democracy. And that is Natural Order. On Ethics, Reason And "Natural Order"
from ANTIDOTE by Sauvik]

Sauvik Chakraverti's forays into ethics and human nature need not stop at Hayek and proceed at least up to Nicolai Hartmann. To understand why "we are a highly civilised people" one should read the Uttarpara Speech of 30 May 1909 by Sri Aurobindo on its centenary day. [TNM]

A titan's strength, a titan's energy

Uttarpara Speech of 30 May 1909 by Sri Aurobindo is a forceful reaffirmation of Vedic certitude over Buddhist suspicion. The Mother's cryptic formula, "Remember and Offer" enjoins upon us to think that there is nothing "secular" anywhere. The Mother and Sri Aurobindo came to reverse and rectify the gigantic intellectual influence that the three "masters of suspicion" had mounted. For the work to be carried forward, we must pray to "give to our heart and mind a titan's strength, a titan's energy, to our soul and intelligence a god's character and knowledge."

Savitri Era Party rededicates itself in the service of the nation and the truth on this auspicious day. [TNM]

Friday, May 29, 2009


[Reinventing itself, BJP’s dilemma news analysis
Neena Vyas
The Hindu Friday, May 29, 2009 Can it ignore youth factor?
NEW DELHI: As the Bharatiya Janata Party braces itself for facing Parliament after its electoral defeat — and before that it has to choose its leaders in the two Houses — a problem staring the party in the face is how to re-invent itself and get rid of dead wood. A leader recently expressed the dilemma: “We have to decide whether we want to be a political party or the Archaeological Survey of India.” The suggestion was the party should decide between modernising itself in tune with a new generation of Indians and continuing to protect old monuments in the form of persons or ideas that were clearly outdated.]

Who would have imagined that by insisting on digging the foundation of Babri Masjid, BJP was digging its own grave? [TNM]

Let him eat Grace

[I take a stand here, which is primarily academic, because I am pursuing research in Sri Aurobindo’s yoga in the area of psychology, purely from an academic point of view. Since, this book at the outset has been mentioned to be objective and academic, it intrigued me and hence I decided to read it cover to cover and even cross-checked the references, to get further information in Sri Aurobindo’s own words. Re: Archetypal Images and Symbols—Yonder to all our ends
by manasi on Sun 24 May 2009 07:56 PM IST
Profile Permanent Link]

[Re: Archetypal Images and Symbols—Paulette's Comment for Posting
manasi on Fri 29 May 2009 01:57 PM IST
Profile Permanent Link
I have nothing in favor of or against the court cases. I have neither initiated them nor am interested in taking 'SIDES' in ending it. I take it as part of the play and leave it at that... My concern was mainly an academic discussion on the book... If Mr Heehs is on the path, I am sure he will be carried through everything. Why worry so much? Is not the Grace there with all as you say. Let him open to the Grace. If he is Their child and a disciple then she will take care of him through all this. That is not for us to decide. Our role is to act in the little arc of vision that we have and within that to be honest and truthful and stand by our own highest truth leaving the rest in Her Hands. With this I wish to close our discussion for the moment as it is leading us nowehere. Thank you fo patiently reading this blog. manasi Reply]

How does “an academic point of view” account for "the play" or "Grace" is difficult to fathom. [TNM]

We stand by Heehs in his hour of crisis

Thank heavens that the vacation bench of Orissa High Court has stayed the non-bailable warrant issued against Heehs by the Magistrate Court at Cuttack. Courts are as legitimate ways for resolution of conflicts in a democracy as are out-of-court settlements. We stand by the author in his hour of crisis. [TNM]

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Sri Aurobindo: A Contemporary Reader in a new paperback reprint

Nobody else can feel precisely the plight of a mother when her young children are sent away barring one who herself has gone through such an ordeal like Sri Aurobindo’s mother. Sachidananda Mohanty's mother too had to undergo more or less an akin circumstance when her kids shifted to the Ashram school in Puducherry. An ardent devotee of The Mother & Sri Aurobindo and an accomplished poet, Bidyut Prabha Devi had in Panchanan Mohanty an ideal life partner, the latter being a leading light of the New Light Society that spearheaded the Integral Education movement in Orissa on a mass scale.

Perhaps unmarried, Sachidananda continues to be his celebrity Mama's son as the titles of his books like Early Women's writing in Orissa, 1898-1950: A Lost Tradition (Sage Publications, 2005) and Gender and Cultural Identity in Colonial Orissa (Orient Longman, 2008) imply. Professor and Head of the Department of English at the University of Hyderabad, his Sri Aurobindo: A Contemporary Reader (Routledge India, 2008) appeared a few months ahead of The Lives of Sri Aurobindo (Columbia University Press, 2008) only to drown in the din of the controversy inflamed by the latter. Interestingly, many contentious issues were already there in the seed form in the pages of Mohanty’s book. Not surprisingly, he had to face the inevitable, although was let off rather lightly.

"The Strange Case of Dr. M and Mr. S Like the main character in Robert Louis Stevenson’s Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, Sachidananda Mohanty seems to have a split personality. There is the academic — let us call him Dr. M — who praised the work of Peter Heehs and warned of the danger of “collective bigotry” in the Sri Aurobindo Ashram. And there is the writer of a letter to the Trustees — we may call him Mr. S — who has condemned The Lives of Sri Aurobindo and joined the movement calling for Heehs’s expulsion. The contrast between the two makes an interesting study. Read more"

One more fascinating rendezvous is a speech by Peter Heehs at Hyderabad in 2006 on Sri Aurobindo and Hinduism:

“Now you may well ask, why should I, a non-Hindu, choose to speak about Sri Aurobindo and Hinduism? It may be true, as Dr. Mohanty has noted in his introduction, that I am a writer, a historian, and a member of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram; but if I am not a practicing Hindu, is it really possible for me to understand the complex amalgam of thought, feeling and practice that makes up the religious system that we call Hinduism? And if not, is it really possible for me to reach an accurate assessment of Sri Aurobindo's relationship to this religion? I will be the first to admit that there is much about Hinduism that I do not understand. But my aim here is not to describe, defend or detract from the Hindu religion. I speak as a historian: one who uses documentary and other evidence to reconstruct the past in order to understand the present better. A historian generally begins with a problem: an event or line of development that has not been sufficiently studied or is commonly misunderstood. Sri Aurobindo's relationship to Hinduism is such a problem.”

Sri Aurobindo: A Contemporary Reader went out of print within a couple of months of its publication, and hence it is a matter of happiness that a paperback reprint under Routledge imprint has come out. The production as well as the price are attractive, to say the least, which makes it an ideal candidate for all those who feel bothered about contemporary socio-political crises to devour. [TNM]

Psychoanalysis is a thing of the past when it comes to psychology

Re: Archetypal Images and Symbols—Paulette's Comment for Posting
Tusar N. Mohapatra on Thu 28 May 2009 06:17 PM IST Profile Permanent Link

Our own Pragya in the season of Kasab. [TNM] Reply

We shall be in the forefront of the nation’s imagination

The recent election debacle has triggered an avalanche of brainstorming among the members and sympathizers of BJP. Many are insisting on drastic course correction through radical ideological reorientation. But it is easier said than done so long as RSS calls the tune with its Bunch of Thoughts as the guiding light. Unless it is also buried like Gandhiji’s Hind Swaraj, a futuristic vision of India will always elude the parivar.

Sri Aurobindo’s writings, especially a few passages from Bhawani Mandir are being tossed about by some well meaning intellectuals. So far so good, but a spoonful that has entered the discourse can hardly have an effect on the thorough theoretical churning that is warranted. On behalf of the Savitri Era Party, however, we may identify certain ideological divergences.

Savitri Era Party reposes faith in Savitri Era Religion and not in any other religion. The party urges its members as well as the general public to follow a single religion faithfully and not dabble in multiple delicacies. Those who are using the pretext of Integral Yoga to cling to their past religions are free to do so, but they should be treated as admirers and not devotees. Writers and orators engaged in scholarly activities need not be assumed to be leading Savitri Erans, for they might be doing it for different motivation. Similarly, those who head organizations may not be seen as great sadhaks for they, over time, turn adept at applying deceitful management techniques to run the show.

Savitri Era Party, therefore, can’t have truck with any other party or ideology. Our path is straight and narrow. We ourselves have to work under its banner and build the party. The ideological foundation of our party is on such a firm ground that the day is not far off when we shall be in the forefront of the nation’s imagination. [TNM] 7:46 AM 8:39 AM 9:16 AM

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Moderation and understatement are virtues

[TOP ARTICLE High Decibel Democracy - Editorial - Opinion
TOI 25 May 2009,
Andre Beteille ... Those who laid the foundations of the republic of India acted in the Constituent Assembly as if they believed that civility was a cardinal virtue... The trading of insults among political opponents in uncivil and offensive language has become standard practice in our public life. It is not very amusing, and it does not augur well for democracy in India. Few will deny that political debate has become progressively more uncivil. Elected leaders did not shout at each other inside the legislature, ... The writer is professor emeritus of sociology, University of Delhi.]

[Humble India Prefers Humble people by Sudipto Das
India and Indian culture has a lot of respect and regard for humility. Perhaps one of the most distinguishing and differentiating factors that has become identification for Indians since ages is humility. Indians have been always seen as very modest people. Aggression was never a part of the character for most Indians... Not only did Advani and Modi’s image speak of aggression, but in general the BJP leaders are perceived to be less polite when they speak. This was very apparent in many of the debates in media. Might be they were always asked uncomfortable questions by a biased media, still their body language and the message couldn’t be seen as very humble or polite... Once in power there are many ways to be aggressive, but off course not in front of camera!!
Sudipto blogs at May 26, 2009 Filed Under Sudipto Das 39 Comments More about Friends of BJP The Charter and Founding Team]

[Triumph of the moderate Wednesday, May 27, 2009 Indian Express
Arun Jaitley: But there are other important lessons the political class can gleam from the results. Sober governance helps, shrillness does not. Moderation and understatement are virtues.
India is changing, the profile of the Indian voter is changing. Both the Indian politician and the political parties must also change. The fact that most criminal candidates lost is itself an indication that the electorate is looking for cleaner politicians. Politics directs the life of a nation. It influences decision-making. The individuals who man it must have a tall and mature stature. The ethical criterion cannot be disregarded any more. While aligning with any coalition, political parties will have to watch that the baggage of the alliance partners does not get transferred to them... Finally, many feel that Verdict 2009 gives legitimacy to India as a dynastic democracy. A cursory look at a cross-section of our young MPs suggests that most of them are inheritors of a legacy, and not those whose merit has impressed the voters. The real strength of Indian democracy will only be realised when merit prevails over family names. India must grow as a democracy and not as a state with feudal moorings.
The writer is a BJP MP and general secretary]

A much chastened Jaitley indeed. [TNM]

Sandhya Jain should introspect

[BJP: Introspect and quit Sandhya Jain 26 May 2009 Narendra Modi: Hindu-minus King of Hearts Sandhya Jain L K Advani: History to Oblivion Sandhya Jain 18 May 2009]

It makes delightful reading when Sandhya Jain castigates the party she eulogized for years. Now who will pay for her misleading the public and polluting the democracy? [TNM]

Radha Rajan recalls Sri Aurobindo

Election 2009: The BJP got what it deserved – IV RSS – unwilling parent Radha Rajan 22 May 2009

While agreeing with Guru Charan that Smt. Rajan's "incisive and clear analysis" is a breath of fresh air, may I request her to be a bit careful with the details while depicting events in the life of Sri Aurobindo. [TNM] Tusar N. Mohapatra, President, Savitri Era Party, Ghaziabad. Tusar N. Mohapatra 27 May 2009 7:46 AM 8:39 AM

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Declaration of the closest and most intimate encounter with god

When we should be celebrating the centenary of Sri Aurobindo’s Uttarpara Speech (1909) with all alacrity, the mood amongst the Savitri Erans is somewhat downcast today. An ostensible biography has set off a factional war that refuses to cease. Seeds of doubt have been cleverly sown such that the relevance his teachings, the veracity of his prophecies, and the efficacy of his yoga system are called into question. A skeptic’s way is being tom-tomed as far superior to the path of a devotee.

However, the utterance at Uttarpara is the declaration of the closest and most intimate encounter with god that has ever happened and evidenced in human history. That it occurs inside the brute environs of a prison adds poignancy to the whole event. The divinity thus announced is unimpeachable and so is the role of India in molding a world that houses harmony. [TNM]

Gods are always in demand

[From China to Chandni Chowk- Hindustan Times Reshma Patil, Hindustan Times
Yiwu, May 23, 2009
The latest products made-in-China include Shivaji on a horse, Mirabai in a red sari and Ganesha in a bathtub. Somewhere among over 62,000 booths in the world’s biggest market in China, sits a middle-aged Chinese woman known to Indian traders as machli mamma (Mother Fish)... Merchant of indian idols From Sai Baba to Shiva to the Nandi Bull, this booth in Yiwu supplies thousands of Indian gods made-in-China at prices as low as Rs 7; ... But the gods are always in demand. In a corner stall, crimson scrolls of Hanuman, Ganesha and Saraswati hang beside Happy Diwali streamers.]

The irony is that the idols of Indian gods are being mass produced in godless China. [TNM]

BJP's foe is none other than RSS

[prasanth on May 26th, 2009 11:51 am
By reading some of the posts i really wonder these are written by friends of bjp or foes of bjp. Some of the advices remind me of the story of eve fom bible where she was persuaded to eat the forbidden fruit by the snake disguised as a friend. bjp without hindutva is another congress and india doesn’t need two congress a fact which has been proved in the last two elections,
BJP apes Congress, fails
Recent Posts Humble India Prefers Humble people Long Live Indian Democracy! Mind the real ‘E’s now How BJP Lost the Plot]
Friends of BJP are young enthusiasts who fail to understand that the party's foe is none other than RSS. [TNM]

The tone of a small number of critical comments is disparaging

[Introduction Issues An examination of the criticism against The Lives of Sri Aurobindo
I would argue that in the large majority of the offending comments, the tone is balanced, but in some of them, it is harsh. I give one characteristic example of a harsh criticism... The complement given to the writings under consideration is immediately undercut by a sharp stab at the rest of his expository prose. Whereas Sri Aurobindo’s readers will understand that there is a grain of truth in the criticism, its harsh tone gives a shock, and is applied too indiscriminately and without sufficient historical context. It also fails to appreciate that many find the style highly appealing and not only readable but unsurpassed in clarity and precision. Although some historical context discussing the popularity of this style of writing in the nineteenth century is provided later in the book, that does not soften the blow given here. So although the tone of most of the critical passages in the book is moderate and balanced, the fact that the tone is harsh in some of them probably has contributed to the strong reaction by some readers against the book and its author. For readers who react disapprovingly to even balanced criticisms of minor writings, the use of harsh language in more important matters, such as Sri Aurobindo’s character as a child, or about ceremonial displays of devotion, may be interpreted as a lack of respect and even a malicious attack. It is likely that reactions to a handful of such harsh criticisms have spilled over to color the interpretation of other aspects of the book as well...
A related factor that seems to account for the infuriation of many of the book’s critics is discussed in the Preface to book...
I believe this passage identifies the main “problem” with Peter’s book: it contains statements that rub people the wrong way, and it sometimes questions accounts that flatter Sri Aurobindo’s followers’ group identity. From this standpoint, any negative evaluation or comment about anything related to Sri Aurobindo’s life or actions would be grounds for censure. That a sizable number of the offending passages listed by its critics are relatively innocuous suggests that this viewpoint has played a role. If this is the standard by which the book is to be judged, it certainly is a failure, for there are statements that do rub people the wrong way and it sometimes questions views flattering to the group identity of Sri Aurobindo’s followers. No matter how praiseworthy the book may be about Sri Aurobindo’s life and work overall, no matter how much scholarship has gone into it, no matter how many new insights or research it may present, no matter how valid its criticisms may be, no matter how many scholars or lay readers it may influence in the world outside the Ashram walls, it is unacceptable and its circulation should be prevented to the extent possible and the author should be severely punished.
But we may question whether this is the right way to evaluate the book... We may consider how Sri Aurobindo and the Mother promoted freedom of thought and inquiry, how they did not want to impose fixed ideas and forms on their disciples...
The tone of a small number of critical comments is disparaging and may be interpreted by some readers to be disrespectful. A few offending passages pertain to his childhood and student days, a fair number to his early plays and poetry, and some to his political activities. The few criticisms of Sri Aurobindo’s major works are minor compared to the praise bestowed upon them overall. There are a few criticisms of the atmosphere of demonstrative devotion and ceremony surrounding Sri Aurobindo, but little or no criticism of Sri Aurobindo’s spiritual experience, status, or comport...
Larry Seidlitz <<> - <> Next >
An examination of the criticism against The Lives of Sri Aurobindo
In this essay,
Larry Seidlitz, a resident and scholar at Pondicherry, examines the charges being made against the author of The Lives of Sri Aurobindo and attempts to put to rest the exaggerations and misreadings which have been circulated by the ringleaders of the "anti-PH movement" and which have become "authorized truths" to a vast range of "followers" of these ringleaders, most of whom have not read the book. Read more... IY Fundamentalism]

In this admirable analysis, Larry Seidlitz has pinpointed diverse factors that contributed to cause hostility towards Heehs' book. Boldly affirming that "there are statements that do rub people the wrong way" he, finally, zeroes on its “disparaging” tone. While the author’s prerogative can’t be questioned, the reader’s right to feel slighted too should be respected. [TNM]

Monday, May 25, 2009

A craze for correction haunted the grammarians

[Sketchbook Review of Aju Mukhopadhyay's Poems Contact: Aju Mukhopadhyay: - Book Fair Featured Books of the Month the Book Fair - Aju Mukhopadhyay's Poems on Sri Aurobindo and The Mother. ISBN 978-81-7977-326-0 Prakash Book Depot, Bara Bazar, Bareilly 243 003, India. Contact: Aju Mukhopadhyay:]

"A craze for correction haunted the grammarians," cries out Aju Mukhopadhyay in his poem, "A Poet Violated" (Poems on Sri Aurobindo and The Mother, 2009) and laments that "In his own house he was beleaguered." Scholars of Savitri should come forward to rectify whatever injustice the past revisions have meted out. [TNM]

Innocent indiscretions and self-approval

[ The Economics of Innocent Fraud: Truth For Our Time by John Kenneth Galbraith
Galbraith, renowned economist, explains how economics and larger economic and political systems cultivate their own version of the truth. These "frauds" do ... The "innocent" frauds that Galbraith calls to our attention are actually not all that innocent. What he means by "innocent" is that for the perpetrators, ...
The Economics of Innocent Fraud: Truth for Our Time. 2004 (Book Review ...
As with "conventional wisdom," Professor Galbraith's term "innocent fraud" will be a powerful addition to the lexicon of critical thinking.]

The Heehs imbroglio has come to generate a wide range of written conversation, both passionate and purportedly honest. More than two dozen people, erudite as well as aspirant, have participated in the debate apart from scores of anonymous voices. But it is a matter of regret that no one can be said to be exonerated from committing “innocent” indiscretions. This is really very strange given the fact that all are so well versed in Savitri and The Life Divine with long years of sadhana to their credit. [TNM]

Joseph K & Joshist dossiers

[It was this fraught relationship between the symbolic and personal identity that Kafka so effectively investigated in both The Castle and The Trial. In both of those texts Joseph K’s identity– an identity marked only by an initial or an abbreviation –is entirely mysterious and his place within the social system or the symbolic order is entirely inscrutable. Joseph K’s plight is not extraordinary, but is characteristic of all social and cultural life. What does it mean to be a man? What does it mean to be a woman? What does it mean to be a professor or a salesman or an engineer or an American or straight or gay or bisexual or a Christian or Muslim, etc., etc., etc. No matter where we look, we find these fraught and precarious identities where the essence of these identities remains in question and where our own performance of these identities perpetually remains fraught. Orientalism
from Larval Subjects by larvalsubjects]

[The 59-year-old Congressman from Nathdwara is said to have impressed Mr Gandhi with his techno-savvy presentation of data, skill for political analysis and his style of speaking out his mind. Mr Joshi brought in the science of micro-managing elections in Rajasthan Congress. In 2008, he prepared dossiers on each assembly constituency, detailing the caste, gender profiles. Based on these, the Congress crafted its social coalition strategies and devised ways of welding contradictory caste interests. Bharat, India must merge: CP Joshi
Economic Times - 25 May 2009, 0320 hrs IST, Urmi A Goswami, ET Bureau]

Now that P.C. Joshi (1907-1980) is forgotten, C.P. Joshi is the new kid on the block whose "science of micro-managing elections" has worked wonders. The Fascist implications of such a science is frightening, however. [TNM]

Perception of an absence where one misses something

[“Heidegger was one of the first people who thought in post-structuralist terms”. A new paradigm of philosophy, post-structuralism emerged in France in the 1960s, and is broadly understood as a body of distinct elaborations on structuralism, which attempted to explain the world as a neat system of inter-related structures. Structuralism was a manifestation of the culmination of modern thought, which turns the world into a series of mathematically articulated objects – essentially the precondition for technology. Heidegger rebelled at this attempt to control the earth through technology. Instead of setting upon nature in the form of an assault, Heidegger believed we must become like listeners to discover our place on this earth.” (title unknown) from enowning by enowning
In-der-Blog-sein Bert Olivier
profiled in paper.]

[Whether we are speaking of the creation myth in the Bible, the myth of the Demiurge in Plato’s Timaeus, or chaos in Deleuze, Badiou, and any number of phenomenologists, there seems to be a marked tendency of thought to conceive the materiality of matter as a sort of pure chaotic flux without any internal structuring– or as Graham has put it “formatting” –principle within it. Following an Aristotlean protocol– though a protocol already present in the thought of Plato and perhaps even Parmenides –it seems as if matter is ineluctably conceived only in its negative, as the absence of form. This generates the entire problem or question of how form is generated or how matter comes to be “form-atted”. And, of course, because matter has already been conceived as formlessness, as the un-form-atted, as that which is without in-form-ation, the principle of form must come from elsewhere or outside of matter... Matter itself is treated as being without its own structuring principle or as being without its own ordering principle. As Gilbert Simondon observed, this way of thinking most likely arises as a consequence of technocratic thought where humans impose form on a matter that is thought or conceived of as a passive recipient of structuration.
However, it is not difficult to discern this move as already necessitated by the Parmenidean declaration. Here the whole problem emerges in relation to Parmenides’ declaration that being is and non-being is not. Now, if being is and non-being is not, we very quickly run into the problem of difference. For if to differ is to be what something is not, then it follows that differences are not for as we know being is. Yet if differences are not, then it follows as a consequence that entities are not, for to be an entity is to differ.
Perhaps it would be no exaggeration to say that an entire destiny of Western thought already lies within Parmenides’ fateful decision. Here the issue would lie not with the declaration that being is, but rather with the identification of difference with negativity. For in identifying difference with negativity, Parmenides insures that the principle by which being is form-atted requires an exteriority, another agency, another principle through which difference is introduced. We thereby get the interminable story of the Big and Little Demiurge imposing form on the world. However, in identifying difference with the power of negativity, has not Parminedes fallen into what Roy Bhaskar calls the “Epistemic Fallacy” or the conflation of the epistemic and the ontological? Between difference as it functions in representation, recognition, or the cognitive activity of identification and difference as it is ontologically, there is a massive chasm.
Sunday Afternoon Gardening
from Larval Subjects by larvalsubjects]

[abhava (Indian philosophy) -- Britannica Online Encyclopedia
place in Vaisheshika school ( in
Vaisheshika (Indian philosophy) )
To these six was later added abhāva, nonexistence or absence. Though negative in content, the impression it makes is positive; one has a perception of an absence where one misses something. Four such absences are recognized: previous absence, as of a new product; later absence, as of a destroyed object; total absence, as of colour in the wind; and reciprocal absence, as of a jar...]

[Abhava - Indopedia, the Indological knowledgebase The category
1. (
category) [A] Being not an inherence, abhāva is a non-inherence, which means that abhāva is empty of inherence and different from the inherence.1 [B] Different from being, abhāva is the object of a knowledge that is dependent on the knowledge of counterrelatum. [C] According to the followers of Mādhva, abhāva is the object of the adequate knowledge "there is not" (nāsti).
The author of
Nyāya-līlāvatī holds that the category of abhāva is a very useful one. Abhāva is explained as possessing the empirical potential of bhāva due to its being of help in the acquisition of the summum bonum. The usefulness of abhāva is an established tenet because all agree that in the absence of cause, there is no effect.
Types of abhāva
According to
Tarka-saMgraha, there are four types of abhāva: previous non-being, destruction, ultimate non-being, and disjunctive non-being. Others (BhP and TKau) hold that there are two types of abhāva: relational and disjunctive abhāva. The first one is of three kinds: previous non-being, destruction, and ultimate non-being. The second one is only of one kind. The traditional point of view is that the relational non-being is abhāva that has something identical as constituting the idea of counterrelatumness and is delimited by another relation to it (to the selfsame identity).]

The chasm between the Continental and the Oriental wings of philosophy persists despite technological breakthroughs. What is deplorable is that the reasons are political and economic and not academic. [TNM]

Unprecedented vote buying, liquor distribution, & intense caste polarization

[He added, “The perception is widespread that the year 2014 belongs to the Lok Satta, not because it is powerful but because it is articulating people’s aspirations, and emerged as on authentic platform for citizen’s Political parties participation”.
Dr. JP said the 2009 elections were marked by unprecedented vote buying, liquor distribution on a large scale, intense caste polarization and the vicious propaganda that a vote to an ethical party like the Lok Satta would be a wasted vote.” Yet the people by and large displayed extraordinary maturity by not succumbing to caste Talibans, lucrative and irresistible freebies and money and liquor.
Let us restore dignity in politics: Dr. JP
from Jayaprakash Narayan's Blog by JP]

Dr. JP's perception that "an ethical party like the Lok Satta" can prevent "caste polarization" is far fetched. Politics, an aspirational attribute, whips up the irrational facets in people who, in turn, flock for charisma, religion, or a like preference. [TNM]

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Savitri Era for the scheduled castes

Dr. B.R. Ambedkar's conversion to Buddhism took place on October 14, 1956 barely two months before he died on December 6, 1956. Had he turned to The Mother & Sri Aurobindo instead, the status of people belonging to the scheduled castes would have been entirely different. Leaders of these communities should wake up to make up for the lost time. [TNM]

Through life and pain and time and will and death

Re: Archetypal Images and Symbols—Yonder to all our ends
Tusar N. Mohapatra on Sun 24 May 2009 09:15 PM IST Profile Permanent Link

Errors and omissions should be pointed out with academic austerity without resorting to melodrama or attributing motives. [TNM] Reply

Satprem's writing style is pretentious and dramatic

[I find Satprem's writing style pretentious and dramatic, but so many have reported a beneficial impact from his Adventure of Consciousness bio of Sri Aurobindo. Now some are now reporting benefits from reading the Lives. I have to conclude different people can read and react very differently, especially along the inner/spiritual dimensions. Regards, Kepler Archetypal Images and Symbols—by Paulette
Comment posted by: Kepler]

The question of the Mother's Agenda too is germane to this comment. It has become an industry of sorts to quote from it to prove a point or demolish adversaries. [TNM]

The arrow of Savitri Era

Sonia, it seems, would be happy with the one-party rule, Congress being the party of natural governance. Jaitley endorses Advani’s refrain that India’s polity is evolving towards a two-party system. Karat, on the contrary, roots for a third wedge.

From the voter’s point of view, of course, a simple choice between two candidates is the most desirable. But then there should always be some scope for surprises without which life becomes colorless and drab. [TNM]

Congress is by instinct a left-of-centre party

[The Congress is by instinct a left-of-centre party. Foreign investors may think of the Congress as the party that ushered in market-friendly reforms in the early 1990s, but was an exceptional phase after a balance of payments crisis. The collapse of the Soviet Union and success of Deng in China helped change the old socialist mindset, but only grudgingly and gradually. When in 2004 the Left Front made support for Congress conditional on emphasizing rural development, social spending and poverty, Congress agreed out of conviction no less than compulsion.
Expect continuity, not radical reform
TOI 24 May 2009, 0208 hrs IST, Swaminathan S Anklesaria Aiyar]

If Swami's fears hold true, then it is another five years of pretence and doublespeak. [TNM]

Deepak is incapable of bringing light to the world

[Mind set: Why power is sacred
Times of India - 24 May 2009, 0800 hrs IST, Deepak Chopra
Organized religion steadily declines – this is a trend that embraces every developed country. To fill the void, secular spirituality arose outside the church and synagogue. Millions of people accept the validity of following a spiritual path without dogma, priests, rules and the absolute authority of scripture. What does this have to do with India? First, those millions of seekers almost all look to India's spiritual traditions for enlightenment. Second, India herself almost totally ignores this legacy so far as public policy and attitudes go. Third, the religious divisions within India — and with Pakistan across the border — are a flat contradiction of a spiritual legacy... India has the right and obligation to lead, because consciousness is our culture's unique specialty. It is also our culture's common thread over centuries of conquest and constant change. In short, sacred power is the next step that comes after India's founding idea. If the country can demonstrate that little brown people are capable of bringing light to the world, think what that would mean for the greater common good.]

Deepak Chopra has been instrumental in spreading the timeless Indian wisdom in the West for quite some time. But the hitch is that he thought he could do it on his own, through his well cultivated brand. Had he collaborated with The Mother & Sri Aurobindo the outcome of his endeavor would have been considerable. Without Their force his message is mere hollow verbiage. [TNM]

Because Sri Aurobindo is so satisfying

[No need for support of other's convictions
"The Mother’s Agenda: September 7, 1963

I happened to have some philosophical curiosity and to study all kinds of problems, and I came upon Sri Aurobindo’s teaching, and what he “taught”... is by far, among the systems men have formulated, the most satisfying for me, the most complete, and what answers the most satisfactorily all the questions that can be asked; it is the one that helps me the most in life to have the feeling that ‘life is worth living.’ Consequently, I try to conform entirely to his teaching and to live it integrally in order to live as best I can.... I don’t mind at all if others don’t believe in it – whether they believe in it or not is all the same to me; I don’t need the support of others’ conviction, it’s enough if I am myself satisfied."
Precisely because Sri Aurobindo is so satisfying, the danger that his followers or devotees become religious fanatics is great, and so is the danger posed by religious fanatics among Sri Aurobindo's followers or devotees.]

Alyque Padamsee once said something to the effect that how can you advertise a bra without being shown to wear it. If "Sri Aurobindo is so satisfying" what's the need to hide it and not talking about it? [TNM]


[The problem with Religion is that it confuses Time and Space with that which is eternal and transcendent. The result is fundamentalism. This sort of frozen thinking is the very opposite of Truth, which is ever new and creative. And you can be a fundamentalist Aurobindonian as much as fundamentalist Christian or Buddhist or anything else. Just as you can be a spontaneous, non-dogmatic, free and open, Aurobindonian, Christian, Buddhist, or whatever. I remember many years back, i guess in the late 1980s and early 1990s, I was very much a fundamentalist Aurobindonian. And the wierd thing is, it was an obsessive thing, you aren't allowed to believe in anything that contradicts this. I guess I knew it was neurotic, but there was nothing I could do about it. I actually remained an Aurobindonian fundamentalist until quite recently. I can't recall when I actually was able to let go of that stuff; i guess it was a gradual process. Personally, I feel it isn't possible to really understand Sri Aurobindo, or any other great sage, if you are fundamentalist about their teachings. I've mentioned in the past my own experiences with the Integral movement, and I was amazed how they were so fundamentalist about Wilber. Well, I can say I have been equally fundamentalist about Aurobindo. This is also part of my story; the meeting with, and growing beyond, fundamentalism and literalism in all its forms. So, in all these ways, and many more I haven't mentioned here, my book will be as much an autobiography about my intellectual journey as it will be a description of esoteric cosmology, transcendent dimensions, cosmic evolution, an dthe Divinization (Supramentalization) of the Earth (although it will be about those things too). The historical and autobiographical approach
from Integral Transformation by m alan kazlev]

Kazlev is candid as always. He will experience what it takes to be "a fundamentalist Aurobindonian" when he completes reading The Life Divine. [TNM]

P.S.: Fake certificates of “Aurobindonian fundamentalist” are liable to be confiscated.

RSS regression

[The editorial in the latest issue of RSS journal Organiser says, “The urban middle-class disenchantment with the party (BJP) started after its six-year stint at the Centre. Much of it has to do with its shabby, misplaced enthusiasm for economic liberalisation which hurt the middle-income group." Express news service: Sunday , May 24, 2009 at 0132 hrs IST
New Delhi:
Ahead of session, RSS pushes agenda for BJP]

RSS should ask itself why it slept for six long years. [TNM]

Elephant and The Life Divine

[13. Comment #375385 by njwong on May 11, 2009 at 1:58 pm: This satire didn't work for me. The 4 men are supposed to be blind. Yet at the end of the parody, the 3 scientists are operating as if they are sighted people! E.g. Moe using elephants for war? Isn't fighting wars difficult (if not impossible) to do if you are blind? The satire may have worked if it is implied that all human beings in the story's universe are blind. Then, although we are all blind, the moral of the story is that we should still use scientific methods to learn the truth about the elephant (our universe), instead of imagining what we want the elephant to be. However, the story mentions of photos being taken of the elephant! Photos are only meaningful for sighted people. This jars the analogy badly for me.]

Only a study of The Life Divine can tell us how really to "use scientific methods to learn the truth." [TNM]

Saturday, May 23, 2009

The Life Divine for a more enduring self-renewal

[The religions I know are about nothing but doubt and dissent, and the struggles of faith, the dark night of the soul, feelings of unworthiness, serial backsliding, the abyss of despair. Whether it is the book of Job, the Confessions of St. Augustine, Calvin’s Institutes, Bunyan’s “Grace Abounding to The Chief of Sinners,” Kierkegaard’s “Fear and Trembling” and a thousand other texts, the religious life is depicted as one of aspiration within the conviction of frailty. The heart of that life, as Eagleton reminds us, is not a set of propositions about the world (although there is some of that), but an orientation toward perfection by a being that is radically imperfect.
The key event in that life is not the fashioning of some proof of God’s existence but a conversion, like St. Paul’s on the road to Damascus, in which the scales fall from one’s eyes, everything visible becomes a sign of God’s love, and a new man (or woman), eager to tell and live out the good news, is born. “To experience personal transformation that in turn can truly move and shake this world, we must believe in something outside of ourselves” (
Judith Quinton).” The kind of religion that moves me,” says Shannon . . . is the story of hope and love . . . not the idea that any particular story describes concrete historical ‘truth.’” “It isn’t about moral superiority,” says Richard. “It’s about humbly living an examined life held up to the mirror of a higher truth. It certainly does not seem to be about comfort.”
So to sum up, the epistemological critique of religion — it is an inferior way of knowing — is the flip side of a naïve and untenable positivism. And the critique of religion’s content — it’s cotton-candy fluff — is the product of incredible ignorance.
One more thing. A number of readers chided Eagleton and me for daring to enter the lists against the superior intellects of Hitchens and Richard Dawkins.
E.R. Wood predicts that “if Fish debated Dawkins, Fish would lose by KO in every round.”
Opinion Today NYT May 18, 2009 Think Again: Stanley Fish - Stanley Fish is a law professor and author - God Talk, Part 2]

Fish errs in that the "conversion" or the "personal transformation" need not be Christian. An attitudinal overhaul through the study of The Life Divine is a more enduring self-renewal. [TNM]

Modern politics cannot really be separated from religion

[Paradoxically, modern politics cannot really be separated from religion as the vulgar version of secularism argues it should be - with religion having its own sphere and politics its own. The state (a political entity/realm) has the function of defining the acceptable public face of "religion"... But I think that the phenomenon as a whole - that is the phenomenon of Islamism - as well as comparable religious movements elsewhere in the world ought to make us rethink the accepted narratives of triumphant secularism and liberal assumptions about what is politically and morally essential to modern life. The very existence of these phenomena should make us rethink our assumptions about what is necessary to modernity. Postsecular Interrogations: AsiaSource Interview with Talal Asad (December 16, 2002)
Professor Asad, Distinguished Professor of Anthropology at the City University of New York (CUNY) Graduate Center, is the author of Genealogies of Religion: Discipline and Reasons of Power in Christianity and Islam, 1993) &
Formations of the Secular: Christianity, Islam, Modernity, 2003. by Debashish on Wed 20 May 2009 11:10 AM PDT Permanent Link]

Evidently, the "vulgar version of secularism" relied on a blinkered ontology to spread its empire. It can easily be dethroned if we are armed with The Life Divine. [TNM]

Religion and politics are entwined since millennia

[The mistrust has a long history. Arabs and Persians enjoy cordial enmity; the cultural rivalry between the Sunni and Shia universes dates back a mere 1.5 millennia or so, to the battle of Karbala in 680 and beyond.
But recent developments have envenomed things to the point that Arab diplomats troop daily into the State Department to warn that the U.S. quest for détente with Tehran is dangerous. By ROGER COHEN Op-Ed Columnist
Iran and Israel NYT: May 17, 2009 Read All Comments (211) »]

Religion and politics are entwined since millennia. The attempt in India to keep them separate is futile. [TNM]

There is a ceiling on how far man can go on his own

[Sunada has left a new comment on the post "Buddhism in the West": Specifically, I am thinking about one key difference between Buddhism and the Judeo-Christian doctrine: Buddhism says that humans have an inborn potential for reaching the ultimate, whereas theistic traditions teach that man and God are separate. The latter implies to me that there is a ceiling on how far man can go on his own. I think that point can have a profound effect on how one views one's own potential, and one's relation to the ultimate (however you happen to define that). Mind you, I'm no expert on theology, so I may be misrepresenting things here. But regardless, the things of which I speak aren't cultural baggage, but a true difference of doctrine that can affect how we view ourselves in relation to our world. I'm not trying to argue that any faith is more "right" than any other. I do believe that all the world religions offer genuine paths to the ultimate. But to reach the highest potential with any one of them, I think we have to specialize and take on the relatively unique perspective that one's chosen faith presents. By analogy, you can't become a virtuoso pianist if you spread your energies around to also learn how to be a wind instrument player. It's up to each of us to determine which of those doctrines are helpful to our own circumstances and life choices, and whether they are helpful to our personal growth. Sunada Takagi Posted by Sunada to Integral Options Cafe at 8:09 AM]

An exquisite dissection of the ontological limitations that the dominant religions perpetrate. [TNM]

Friday, May 22, 2009

Double whammy

[The world economy is headed towards a monetary crisis
False Currency Sauvik Chakraverti The Times of India Thursday, March 9, 2006
The world economy is headed towards a monetary crisis as the lead counterfeiter, the US Fed, becomes unable to cope with its 'twin deficits': A huge fiscal deficit combined with a huge trade deficit. This time, the blame should not fall on markets and speculators, the blame should fall squarely on central bankers. As we inch towards global capitalism, we need to ditch the false ideas that created central banking (and the IMF). Then only can a true capitalism arise and leftists be put permanently in their place. ANTIDOTE
4:49 AM]

This warning has not been addressed adequately although three years have elapsed. China, a few months back, expressed skepticism over the international settlement system, and that needs to be carried to its logical conclusion. The present financial meltdown may prove to be the tip of the iceberg if, as Chakraverti harps on, a switch to sound money with gold as standard does not take place. [TNM]