Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Suspect the text, value subjectivity

[Science envy from An und für sich Oct 30, 2012 by Adam Kotsko
The scientific method is obviously extremely powerful, but its (often willful) blindness to the real nature of its practice and its totalitarian ambition to explain everything (i.e., reduce everything to “scientific” terms) also make it extremely dangerous. Hence one of the most important jobs of philosophers is to be critics of science, in the Kantian sense of the word. In other words, Husserl and Heidegger and Foucault were basically right.]

Intellectual Ecologies and Populations by larval subjects  
The question is one of how we relate to the tradition or thought that has come before.  Do we stick our heads in the sand, continuing to draw on that tradition as if modern physics, chemistry, biology, neurology, mathematics, and contemporary social transformations wrought by technology haven’t occurred and make no demands on us to rethink the being or being, or do we relate to that tradition in terms of these transformations and seek to determine how we might creatively rethink that tradition in light of these transformations?] 7:31 PM 

[Dr. Ambedkar, Dr. Elst and Bhagavad Gita from Centre Right India Oct 31, 2012 by Aravindan Neelakandan
Dr. Ambedkar should be considered not only as a Dalit emancipator but also as a pioneering social historian of ancient India. He has developed a strong criticism of Bhagavad Gita in his unfinished book ‘Revolution and Counter-Revolution in Ancient India’… On October 3 1954, the main architect of Indian Constitution elaborated his philosophy in a speech broadcast on All India Radio. Dr. Ambedkar zeroed in on the Triguna-based Chatur-Varna rationale of Gita:
“Negatively, I reject the Hindu social philosophy propounded in the Bhagavad Geeta based as it is, on the Triguna of the Sankhya philosophy which is in my judgment a cruel perversion of the philosophy of Kapila and which had made the caste system and the system of graded inequality the law of Hindu social life.”
But there is nothing in Gita that makes Triguna either hereditary or unchangeable. According to historian Upinder Singh even the Jain and Buddhist traditions, which are supposed to have attached not much divine sanction to the Varna system, accept the Varna system as being based on ‘natural inclinations and aptitude’, which is exactly what Bhagavad Gita also states. In the traditional Gita-commentary of Sri Ramanuja, the Acharya presents a view that the Guna-composition can be changed through self-effort… The problem of ‘casteism’ or social stagnation seems to have set in the evolution of Buddhism and Jainism as well.]

While going through Sri Aurobindo's letters, the reader should keep in mind that each letter was written to a specific person at a specific time, in specific circumstances and for a specific purpose. The subjects taken up arose in regard to the needs of the person. Sri Aurobindo varied the style and tone of his replies according to his relationship with the correspondent; to those with whom he was close, he sometimes employed humour, irony and even sarcasm.
Although written to specific recipients, these letters contain much of general interest, which justifies their inclusion in a volume destined for the general public. For the reasons mentioned above, however, the advice in them does not always apply equally to everyone.]

The methodological quandary has been a constant companion of man since millennia and no possible remedy for it is in sight. Despite their exhaustive writings, The Mother & Sri Aurobindo – let’s face it – have not left behind some firm opinion on any specific topic. So, one must be extremely circumspect while recommending a slice of their prescriptions or endorsing its splice with some other formulation.

Internet has greatly facilitated availability of texts, but just because something is written, it can’t be taken at its face value. The content, by itself, is no assurance of truth or commensurate performance. Religious texts have existed for thousands of years but what we find in the society at present is sham and scams. Yoga or spirituality, if ineffective to refine the collective life, then will be accused of collusion or escapism. Heehs imbroglio has been instrumental in spreading the fragrance of Sadhana in Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Puducherry from Columbia to Cambodia. It’s shameful that Dr. Karan Singh remains the Chairman of Auroville Governing Board for next four years. [TNM55]

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