Friday, October 26, 2012

Levi and The Life Divine

It is not the subject, lived experience, history, intentionality, the signifier, text, or power that explains nature, it is nature and materiality that explains all of these things. If these things aren’t treated as natural phenomena, then they deserve to be committed to flames… The truth of the matter, however– and I won’t even bother to make arguments here –is that naturalism and materialism are the only credible philosophical positions today… All you need to do is abandon the notion that humans aren’t an animal, that somehow being is dependent on humans and culture, and that somehow we have ends like knowledge and transcendence. All you have to do is re-interpret the entirety of your claims about lived experience, the signifier, culture, power, etc., in naturalistic terms. Then you might make a real contribution]

The talk of flames brings to the mind the tragic memory of Bruno, Savonarola, and the Library of Alexandria but there is nothing to fear from Levi, the beloved prince of the philosophy blogosphere. His impatience for disparate streams of 20th Century philosophy is well known but his own Onticology hasn’t moved much either. So, falling back upon the nebulous conception of nature, obviously, lacks rigour.

The Life Divine by Sri Aurobindo, by contrast, stands in regal stature. It cares little for the hallowed territories of humanities, politics, or intimacy and their contested ideologies. The book lays out the Truth in its purity, beauty and brevity. [TNM55]

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