Thursday, January 29, 2009

Abolishing provincialism and parochialism in knowledge gathering

[mass production of copper tools, which was beginning to be widespread in the Andes in the centuries before 1492, was already spreading in parts of Eurasia 5,000 years before that. The stone technology of the Tasmanians, when first encountered by literate observers in 1642, was simpler than that of Upper Paleolithic Europe tens of thousands of years earlier. Geography and Emergence The Broadest Pattern of Human History By Jared Diamond January 27, 2009: JARED DIAMOND is Professor of Geography at UCLA. He is the author of the recently published Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed, and the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Guns, Germs, and Steel: the Fates of Human Societies. 9:04 PM]

[A short history of economic anthropology from The Memory Bank by keith
In The Great Transformation (1944), Polanyi brought a radical critique of modern capitalism to bear on his moment in history. We too must start from the world we live in, if we are to apply the vast, but inchoate intellectual resources of anthropology to a subject that is of vital concern to everyone. Ours is a very different world from when Polanyi so confidently predicted the demise of the market model of economy. Yet the revival of market capitalism and dismantling of state provision since the 1980s furnishes plentiful material for Polanyi’s thesis that the neglect of social interests must eventually generate a political backlash and a retreat from market fundamentalism.
7:47 PM ]

[Wake-up call: Of the rest of the world, we remember next to nothing The first striking impression I must comment upon as someone brought up solely in the Western intellectual tradition is that Power and Plenty is what we describe nowadays as a ‘wake-up call’. There is and always has been a much wider world out there than the nearer, though highly significant, horizons we normally contain ourselves within. I do not mean to imply that educated people in the West are unaware of the rest of the world – how could we be in the electronic times we live in? I am thinking more of our historical vision than today’s global reality. If our knowledge of history is lit up today, as we go back in time the darkness of ignorance about what was happening outside of Europe gradually closes in the further back in time we go. -- Ronald Findlay and Kevin O'Rourke on Power and Plenty from Adam Smith's Lost Legacy by Gavin Kennedy 4:59 PM 7:58 AM]

[ Cynthia R. Nielsen Jan 26th, 2009 at 9:06 am
Thank you, Tusar, for your comment. I agree that the discussion should be broadened beyond the black/white horizon.]

[Sanskrit Texts: A Window on Indian Scientific Tradition Prema Prakash
In the popular perception, India's contribution to the development of science and technology often appears limited to those achieved over the last century or so. However, the wealth of Sanskrit texts provides evidence that such contributions have existed over the millennia.
6:12 PM]

[Chanakya and Chandrayaan are two significant signposts nearly 2,400 years apart between which flourished a great civilisation called Bharat or India. Chanakya was the epitome of the grand Indian vision of politics and economics, which he described in a single word Arth Shastra. Home > 2009 Issues > February 01, 2009
Chanakya to Chandrayaan: India’s global vision By Ram Madhav]

[Our economic and technological processes have produced the first genuinely global form of social organization, yet we rely on political models unconsciously premised on social relations organized around rather small populations. Thinking the Present from Larval Subjects by larvalsubjects]

Abolishing provincialism and parochialism in knowledge gathering is the primary methodological upheaval that is urgent. [TNM]

The greatest fraud perpetrated on the mankind ever

For over a year we witnessed a mass hysteria gripping a huge population across the globe who came to believe that a flesh and blood human being called Obama can bring redemption. The issues at hand dwarfed before the man. It was absurd and clearly the hope was untenable. The tragic part of the whole hype was that a considerable number of leaders of thought joined this campaign to delude themselves as well as others. All sorts of theoretical devices and persuading tools encompassing all media were employed to commit this deceit. This can as well be described as the greatest fraud perpetrated on the mankind ever.

The most significant question that emerges from this sad episode is that how misleading many academicians can be. This poses grave dangers for the society and its future especially when they act in unison to sway public opinion. Expecting good things is one thing, but to hope to see them by waving of someone’s magic wand is illusory. Human nature is too complex and mechanical to be amenable to such overnight miracles. The prescriptions of The Mother and Sri Aurobindo, on the other hand, offer a more pragmatic approach as to what, how, and where the changes can be ushered in. [TNM] 8:08 PM 10:17 AM

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Destiny and becoming

[Thinking the Present from Larval Subjects by larvalsubjects
One of the things I like most about Badiou is his thesis that the goal of philosophy is to think the present, or to grasp the compossibility of those truths that are both eternal but are the essence of the present... Evolutionary theory has overturned the idea of fixed and eternal species, instead producing a picture of the world characterized by endless variation and the production of classes through the accumulation of individual differences, yet philosophers still seem to think in terms of essences and individuals... The issue is not one of abandoning the tradition or ignoring philosophy that has come before, but of doing philosophy in a way that is directed at the present.]

[Alain Badiou: Figures of Subjective Destiny: Samuel Beckett
Why there is a close relationship between poetry and philosophy, or more generally between literature and philosophy? It’s because philosophy finds in literature some examples of completely new forms of the destiny of the human subject. And precisely new forms of the concrete becoming of the human subject when this subject is confronted to its proper truth. Slavoj Zizek and Alain Badiou on Samuel Beckett
from Continental Philosophy by Farhang Erfani]

Such a description fits Savitri most uniquely. [TNM]

Learn to obey

Fragmentation of political parties serves no great purpose. From SVD to Mahajot, various brands of coalitions have been tried out in India while the two-party system is going strong in USA. Democracy is about not only expressing free opinion, but also submitting to the party line. Indians famously love to argue, but should learn to obey too. [TNM]

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Healing the division between two cultures

[A Cultural Misunderstanding by Angiras
An understanding of the cultural factors underlying these varying responses might contribute to healing the division that has recently arisen in the international Sri Aurobindo community.]

It would be still better to apportion the religious component within the cultural. [TNM]

Monday, January 26, 2009


[larvalsubjects Says: January 26, 2009 at 2:10 am
In a rather ridiculous moment, someone suggested that speculative theory was somehow responsible for the holocaust, the atrocities of the Chinese Cultural Revolution, Stalin, etc; claiming that the speculative realists and object-oriented philosophers might become guilty of these things in the future. In a way I somewhat agree with the thesis that a certain form of theorizing played a role in these things, but these things were products of this sort of essentialist thinking that failed to analyze the unique organization of various social assemblages logoi, instead assuming the existence of a social essence (logos) across all social assemblages.]

[Structuralism and finitude
from The Joyful Knowing by Mike Johnduff
A good understanding of structuralism is something I think we are regaining in the United States, after our flings with certain "post-structuralist" modes of understanding things: there is a return to structuralism that is going on. That is, unless it is a discovery of structuralism, a return to something that was never really understood well in the first place.]

[Re: Religious Nationalism and Transnationalism in a Global World by Mark Juergensmeyer Debashish
Sun 25 Jan 2009 04:17 PM PST: I must admit that I cannot share your optimism... contemporary crisis in world history and the urgency of human participation in consciousness towards its solution... All we can see is "a play of forces" and our part in it, a part we must play by discerning the trajectories of these forces.]

Sane theorizing remains the sole potential savior and hence it is imperative to return to sources of wisdom instead of turning up noses. [TNM]

Varna vs. race

1 Responses toOther-Reification and RacismFeed for this Entry Trackback Address
1 Tusar N. Mohapatra Jan 25th, 2009 at 9:28 pm

This significant exploration can be extended to a broader horizon if instead of confining it within the black/white binary, the Indian conception of the fourfold “Varnas” (literally, colours: white, red, yellow, and black) is also considered. [TNM]

Friday, January 23, 2009

Subject, world, & woh

[Absolute Correlationism, as exemplified by Hegel, could possibly accord with my position insofar as Hegel demonstrates the identity of identity and difference, the identity of substance and subject, etc. Under Hegel’s view we can’t speak of one thing, subject, and another thing, world, but rather must see them in constant relation to one another such that there is nothing other than these relations. Since my own position holds that not all things are related and therefore there are no totalities ... Correlationism from Larval Subjects by larvalsubjects 10:39 AM 12:12 PM]

[Let there be more of navel gazing so that Hegel once again become a rage and from there Sri Aurobindo is just a stone’s throw away. 4:53 PM Monday, October 16, 2006 Salvation via Hegel > "Reading Hegel: The Introductions by G.W.F. Hegel (edited and introduced by Aakash Singh and Rimina Mohapatra) 3:16 PM]

Join the great ontology quest. [TNM]

Thursday, January 22, 2009

The curious critical/dogmatic divide from Kant to Ken

[The real target of this little satire is not so much Kant as the critical/dogmatic divide. We are told that one approach to philosophy is critical while another is pre-critical dogmatism. The curious thing is that nearly anything can be treated as the ultimate condition or the fundamental condition required for a philosophy to count as critical. Thus you get the Kantians talking about the constitutive role that mind plays, such that any philosophy that does not take this role into account is dogmatic. The Gadamerians and Foucaultians respond by making history the constitutive condition, denouncing the Kantians as dogmatically ignoring our fundamental historicity. The Kantian retorts that history wouldn’t be possible without these constitutive structures of mind. The Marxist Critical Theorist intervenes by showing how the Kantian categories are actually generated from economics. Derrida leaps in showing how all these folks are wrong because the role that Arche-Writing plays has not been taken into account. Every one of these positions is able to one-up and explain the other position in terms of what it has located as the transcendental, and every position being denounced as dogmatic is able, in its own turn, to respond by showing how the allegedly critique is in fact dogmatic by the lights of its own critical structure. For example, the Husserlian denounces the Marxist for failing to carry out the reduction and engage in a phenomenological analysis of intentionality, while the Marxist turns around and denounces the Husserlian for failing to carry out a historical and economic investigation into the origins of his very conception of the world (i.e., the Marxist denounces the Husserlian for bourgeois individualism). First Draw a Distinction!
from Larval Subjects by larvalsubjects]

[Habermas's Postmetaphysical thinking (Polity Press, 1998)
This book was originally published in German in 1988 and subsequently published, with the ommission of a few essays, in English 4 years later.
Postmetaphysical thinking appears to coincide with the movement away from metaphysical philosophies of reflection of which Hegel is understood to be the final innovator. Hence both Kierkegaard and Marx are seen as paths away from this type of thought and stepping stones on the way to functional sociologies and psychologies that set in motion the procedures of communication theory. Habermas draws heavily on Mead to develop a theory of social interaction that is not dependent upon idealist notions of the self positing of the ego which, upto Fichte, depended upon the I as the original source of consciousness. In developing Mead's idea of the social ego Habermas puts forward that consciousness is not a originary act of the ego, but an external force that encroaches inwardly and forms the ego within a set of responses to stimuli from the other, wherein the I through being refered to by another can gain knowledge of himself in seeing how a second actor organises his interlocutionary demands. In developing communication theory, Habermas is, in our terms, developing a theory of society that is not reducible to a simple totality but has social complexity as its ground i.e. a number of plural language games, different orders of power, different structures of politics in play at anyone time. He is thus concerned with developing a theory of individuation within a discourse of social differentiation.
Note by EE ¦¦ Index ¦¦ Reference ¦¦ Wiki ¦¦ Translations ¦¦ Habermas ¦¦ Recent Additions ¦¦]

[As Wilber writes, modernity and postmodernity have both attacked the practice of metaphysics (from Greek; meta, after and physika, physical). (Metaphysics was the name that the editors of Aristotle's work attached to Aristotle's writings that followed after his chapters on physics. Aristotle's metaphysics dealt with what he called "first philosophy", that is, the study of being, the study of God, and the study of first principles.) According to Immanuel Kant, for example, metaphysics consists in the unwarranted speculation in matters that lie outside the scope of experience (e.g. "Is the soul immortal or not?") and therefore, metaphysics cannot be science; it is the work of untamed Reason. However, in Wilber's eyes it is possible to talk about and work with spiritual realities even though we are not justified in doing metaphysics: integral post-metaphysics is the answer. Wilber's post-metaphysics is based on three principles: Minimalist Metaphysics? Comments on Ken Wilber's Post-Metaphysical Relativism
Magnus Riisager]

Then, Ken Wilber borrowing a term from Habermas calls it integral post-metaphysics. [TNM]


Satyam is Indra and Maytas (the spelling reversed - its negation, Sublation, Aufhebung) Vritra (the Python into which funds reportedly syphoned off) out to devour it. And the age-old tug of war continues. [TNM]

[Something that comes close to implicating us all Pole star and hyperbole System, Satyam, & the Ashram Their Enron, our Satyam the surat split led to the partition of the country; the politics]

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Ken's depiction of Sri Aurobindo is highly flawed

It is no secret that Ken's depiction of Sri Aurobindo is highly flawed. Readers are therefore requested to look for authentic appraisals elsewhere. [TNM]

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Life Divine sans community

[a community that cannot be defined doesn't even exist. Re: The Genesis of a Controversy koantum, Fri 16 Jan 2009 09:44 PM PST]

Strange that those who are against coagulation of a community, complain of ex-communication. [TNM]

Friday, January 16, 2009

Something that comes close to implicating us all

[Individuals have to bear responsibility. But equally, those individuals are also mirrors to what society values and permits; Raju’s tragedy is not simply that he lied; it is that in doing so he has exposed several of the lies we are living. Indian Express > Edits & Columns > Thursday , 15 January '09
But there is something deeper in the sense of regret; something that comes close to implicating us all. While in no way taking away from the enormity of the crimes that have been committed, there is a sense in which Raju is seen by many as a victim of the system, a system that raises serious questions about the pattern of our economic growth.
The truth in the mirror Raju’s fall reveals the dangers of our willingness to suspend disbelief about success. Pratap Bhanu Mehta The writer is president, Centre for Policy Research, Delhi]

A bailout package may salvage Satyam, but not its reputation. Similarly, the erosion of trust that the Ashram has suffered by Heehs' book can never be restored. [TNM]

Monday, January 12, 2009

Pole star and hyperbole

[Raju confesses: Why and how of the Satyam con
Since about seven years, we wanted to show more income in the account to avoid others from involving in company affairs and any other possible hostile takeover situation, and hence, manipulated the balance sheet to attract more business and show unavailable amount as available cash in hand.
This process continued for the last seven years and margin amount shown got increased much more year after year. Moneycontrol » News » Business]

[Somewhere or other, if memory serves me correctly, Whitehead remarks that philosophies do not fail by dint of being false but by virtue of hyperbole. That is, they raise one principle to the principle of everything, effectively erasing the rest. Kant gets something right but then shackles all of being to mind. Object-ions from Larval Subjects]

[The problem is that if everything is nature, then "nature" becomes meaningless. The more a term denotes, the less it connotes. If it denotes everything, it connotes nothing.
Reply Re: The Incorrigible Dr. Berlinski
by koantum on Sun 11 Jan 2009 04:24 AM PST
Profile Permanent Link]

A Pole star as a dependable indicator for navigation is a sine qua non today to act as an antidote against hyperbole. [TNM]

Mahayogi by R.R. Diwakar

[ Mahayogi Sri Aurobindo: Life, sadhana and teachings of Sri Aurobindo: Ranganath Ramchandra Diwakar, Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan]

An outstanding biography by R.R. Diwakar, whose name often escapes attention because the book is not published by the Ashram. [TNM]

Puducherry to China

Chandni Chowk to China promos are inundating us right now. And they alert us to our challenging task of from Puducherry to China. [TNM]

System, Satyam, & the Ashram

[Does one bite the hand that feeds it? It’s a time tested phrase that lies at the very heart of the Satyam scam and the systemic flaws that allow such frauds to be carried out, undetected... All independent directors or auditors are not unscrupulous. But there is an obvious conflict. Perhaps these things aren’t spoken about as it is a system that works mostly, with the odd scam here and there. But for my money, a new system needs to be thought about. Else, you’ll simply be hoping that those you trust are not crooked. And that isn’t good enough. These bodies must get their bread buttered by the people they are trying to protect against fraud. Investors, not company managements or promoters. Is it so difficult to devise a system where auditors and rating agencies are paid by the ‘users’ of the information they dish out? I doubt it. Leaps of faith HT 11 Jan 2009 Udayan Mukherjee is Managing Editor, CNBC TV18]

So the truth is that it is the system -- and not Satyam -- who is to be blamed. Many are clamoring that the Ashram can't be at fault, but should we believe that? It will be in order, therefore, to probe whether any conflict of interest exists. [TNM]

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Prevent misrepresentation of the views of Sri Aurobindo

[Mamata calls for boycott of tirtha tax, India - Kolkata - Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee has called for a boycott of tirtha kar (pilgrim tax) that over 5 lakh pilgrims going to the Gangasagar mela ... She claimed that an organisation has been distributing pamphlets which allegedly contained some derogatory remarks against Vivekananda and Mahatma Gandhi. She said it might lead to communal tension and the Trinamool has filed an FIR with the Park Street police station against it.
“We have been simply distributing handouts quoting Swamiji, Gandhi, Guru Nanak, Rishi Aurobindo and Ambedkar’s remarks on Islam,” said Rana Pratap Ray, general secretary of the NGO Save India Mission. “Let the TMC file 2,000 cases. We know how to fight a case in the court,” said Ray.]

Savitri Erans must gear up for preventing such misrepresentation of the views of Sri Aurobindo and see that his name is not misappropriated by vested interests. [TNM]

Friday, January 09, 2009

Ours is a yoga of Knowledge

[Re: The Incorrigible Dr. Berlinski
by koantum on Thu 08 Jan 2009 07:48 PM PST
Profile Permanent Link
I welcome any criticism of materialistic thought, no matter from which quarter it comes. And Berlinski (a Jew) is perhaps the most intelligent critique of the materialistic "theory" of evolution. Would Sri Aurobindo say that the universe was intelligently designed? Of course he would...I took a look at but I'm afraid that much of what I wrote in my review of Kauffman's book would apply to some of this material as well. Reply]

[Re: Some Traditions Associated with the Five Elements of Matter
by RY Deshpande on Fri 09 Jan 2009 06:07 AM IST
Profile Permanent Link
No, my book doesn't have a reference to Blavatsy's Secret Doctrine, though I'm aware of it. She also talks about chemistry in great detail, of course in an occult way. It kind of looks scary to me. I'd prefer to be somewhat cautious about these matters. ~ RYD Reply]

[Ours is a yoga of Knowledge. Read her books and make up your own minds. You can begin with her article, India’s 9/11 becomes 26/11. In this four part analysis, Thea reveals the fulfillment of Sri Aurobindo’s work and mission and his realization of Immortality on the date announced some 82 years ago as Immortality Day... In the Service of Truth, Robert E. Wilkinson date 1 Jan 2009 2:08 PM]

2009, and it is difficult to elicit any firm approach from the cited expert opinions. [TNM]

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Politics without party

[Even more significant is the political expression the Freudo-Marxist experiment took with these representative figures. Fromm rejected the working class and became a petty-bourgeois liberal. Marcuse rejected the working class and became an advocate of "third-world" guerrillaism and terrorism. Zizek rejects the working class and occasionally echoes the views of the post-Maoist French philosopher Alain Badiou, who espouses the empty concept of "politics without party." All of them reject Lenin's conception of the revolutionary party, the leader of the socialist movement and political training center of the international working class. Adam Haig responds to Alex Steiner’s burst of outrage 6 January 2009]

It appears that Peter Heehs clones are everywhere. [TNM]

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Three biological humors or psychophysiological energies called doshas

Re: A Talk with Sri Aurobindo—Noted down by Pavitra
by Tusar N. Mohapatra on Sat 03 Jan 2009 02:08 PM IST Profile Permanent Link

[According to ayurveda, the five fundamental elements that make up the universe--space (akasha), air (vayu), fire (agni), water (apu) and earth (prithvi)--also make up the human physiology. How do these elements work within us? Looking at the elements from the point of view of what they do in the physiology, rather than what they are, ayurveda describes three biological humors or psychophysiological energies called doshas. There are three doshas, called Vata, Pitta and Kapha, and each is mainly a combination of two elements. Vata dosha is made up of space and air. Pitta dosha is a combination of fire and water. Kapha dosha is made up of water and earth. Each of these doshas is further divided into five sub-doshas. Together, the doshas orchestrate all the activities that occur within us.]

[Description of Triguna by Lakhwinder Singh and Desh Raj Sirswal • Sattva is that element of prakrti which is of the nature of pleasure, and is buoyant of light (laghu), and bright or illuminating (prakasaka). Pleasure in its various forms ,such as satisfaction, joy, happiness, bliss, contentment, etc. is produced by things in our minds through the operation of the power of sattva inhering in them both. • Rajas is the principle of activity in things. It always moves and makes other things move.It is of the nature of pain, and is mobile and stimulating. It helps the elements of sattva and tamas which are inactive and motionless in themselves, to perform their functions. • Tamas is the principle of passivity and negativity in things. It is opposed to sattva in being heavy (guru) and in obstructing the manifestation of objects. By obstructing the principle of activity in usit induces sleep, drowsiness, and laziness. It also produces the state of apathy or indifference (visada). Hence it is that sattva, rajas and tamas have been compared respectively to whiteness, redness, and darkness... Posted by देशराज सिरसवाल]

Exploring such linkages in greater detail can be educative. [TNM] Reply

Friday, January 02, 2009

The "doctrinal uniformity" that was forged on March 29, 1914

[Aurobindonians in the twenty-first century are experiencing a need for doctrinal uniformity (for instance, unanimity on a particular conception of Avatarhood, which does not even agree very well with Sri Aurobindo's own statements on the subject) and suppression of differing views. This resembles the need for religious uniformity felt by Christians in the sixteenth century and earlier which gave rise to the infamous inquisitions. Parallels with other religions such as Islam could equally be made. But then what becomes of the claim that what is practised in the name of Sri Aurobindo is not a religion? Reply Re: An examination of the criticism against The Lives of Sri Aurobindo by Larry Seidlitz
by Angiras on Thu 01 Jan 2009 05:03 AM PST
Profile Permanent Link >Permanent Link > Permanent Link]

At Savitri Era, we hate to escape by leaving question marks. A time will come when even the most unwilling will be forced to see the "doctrinal uniformity" that was forged on March 29, 1914. [TNM]

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Purity is the cornerstone of our core competence

[You must keep the temple clean if you wish to install there a living Presence... Do not imagine that truth and falsehood, light and darkness, surrender and selfishness can be allowed to dwell together in the house consecrated to the Divine. --The Mother by Sri Aurobindo]

Purity is the cornerstone of our core competence, and hence the challenge to come clean and eschew any conspiracy of silence. [TNM]