Monday, November 05, 2012

One hundred years of The Life Divine

I’ve repeatedly returned on this blog to the concepts of Ascent and Descent, derived above all from Ken Wilber’s work and to a lesser extent from Martha Nussbaum’s. I have found that these concepts do a lot to help us understand the differences between philosophical traditions. I have not yet been precise about defining them, however, and I would like to think them through in some more detail. The concept of Ascent has above all to do with transcendence; “transcendence” and “immanence” are close cousins to Ascent and Descent as I understand them.]

Naturalism seems to be whatever LB wants it to be at any one moment. It would be a mistake to see “naturalism” as a concept. The conversion to OOO exonerates you of all that, no more concepts; all you need are key terms of infinite plasticity. You are born again free to talk about everything but never say anything.]

Since the publication of his non-fiction book on India, A Wounded Civilisation, Naipaul has, as Karnad rightly pointed out, ‘never missed a chance to accuse them (the Indian Muslims) of having savaged India for five centuries, brought, among other dreadful things, poverty into it, and destroyed glorious Indian culture.’ In questioning the conferment of the Lifetime Achievement Award, Karnad is not questioning Naipaul’s positions which are fairly well-known to most of us in India; he is in fact questioning the award.]

The Life Divine commenced on July 18, 1912 and hence it’s the Centenary year, in a way. The book has not been sufficiently combed by competent analysts and commentators as yet as it should have been but the ontological ground it defends against sophisticated harking back to dominant and fashionable strands of philosophy is priceless. To that extent, it’s tantamount to a political testament as well. This splendid isolation explains the allergy of the Hindutva brigade for Sri Aurobindo and matching impatience of the Leftists for him.

The West, too, is envious of his magnum opus and strives to ignore and eclipse it. Academicians feel safe by labeling it under religion out of lethargy. Thinking theologians of all hues are jealous of the coherence of its content but fear its hegemony. But the synthetic cosmology that The Life Divine sets forth is a sure guide for unification of mankind and congealing harmony. [TNM55]    

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