Monday, June 29, 2009

Decency and consideration

[Jackson’s self-remaking can only be understood as a kind of Afrofuturist nightmare, a violent (to himself) leap into the posthuman. As Annalee Newitz puts it, Jackson “turned his body into a kind of science fiction story. He became an enhanced human, using plastic surgery and pharmaceuticals to change his face and seemingly his race as well. He became whiter than most white people, and his pale bandaged skin became his trademark.” Michael Jackson from The Pinocchio Theory by

Hasn't history taught us the error of burying our heads in the sand?

Re: India’s Independence and the Spiritual Destiny: Part A
by Tusar N. Mohapatra on Mon 29 Jun 2009 01:53 PM IST Profile Permanent Link
Each one of us is working for/attached to some organization/ideal or the other and one’s freedom/course of action is restricted to that extent. The life goals too goad to achieve, thus helping one to learn and evolve. [TNM] Reply

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Why blame the likes of Romila Thapar

Re: India’s Independence and the Spiritual Destiny: Part A
Tusar N. Mohapatra on Sat 27 Jun 2009 01:37 PM IST Profile Permanent Link

Why blame the likes of Romila Thapar when no one from our own stable has written any dependable history. So much so that bloomers litter even a post of a dozen lines. Quoting “the Master's words” is an affliction with us that distorts the context and contorts our view of the future. [TNM] Reply

Re: India’s Independence and the Spiritual Destiny: Part C
Tusar N. Mohapatra on Sat 27 Jun 2009 01:58 PM IST Profile Permanent Link

Lest the concluding lines appear a cruel joke, our slumdogs toiling to win an Oscar is perhaps an instance of saving grace. [TNM] Reply

Tusar N Mohapatra has left a new comment on your post "Alok never wanted a court case against Peter":

RYD demands full length articles. Anon demands a book. Such privileging over blog posts is unfair and anachronistic. [TNM] Posted to Savitri Era Open Forum at 4:55 PM, June 27, 2009

Re: India’s Independence and the Spiritual Destiny: Part A
by Tusar N. Mohapatra on Sun 28 Jun 2009 09:54 AM IST Profile Permanent Link
Dear Srikanth,
What you say about publishing is right, but blogs, thankfully, have altered the scene, which, I observe, you are yet to take seriously and contribute regularly. [TNM] Reply

Friday, June 26, 2009

Divine incarnation in its developmental aspects - a fetish

[The dear fellow ignores the significance of the trikaldristi that the Master had acquired. Sri Aurobindo could have easily observed his father's condition at the time of death. The Master wasn't some aging thoughtless fool dying of kidney failure. Re: Is it Imbroglio or Falsification?
by Angiras on Sat 27 Jun 2009 06:50 AM IST
Profile Permanent Link Reply]

[Introduction Issues Yoga, religion, and fundamentalism in the Integral Yoga community
On Darshan day, for instance, there are huge crowds filing through the samadhi at the Sri Aurobindo Ashram. Also, many of us do regard Mother and Sri Aurobindo as direct incarnations of the Divine, and we do have altars with photos of Mother and Sri Aurobindo in our homes.
So, quick digression — is it wrong to be religious in this way, that is to feel a devotion to Mother and Sri Aurobindo? I’d say no, for various reasons. For those who have a strong faith, this type of devotion may bring deep, first-hand spiritual experience beyond mentality which is not superficial. Not all people need to approach the Divine through the mind; bhakti is an effective way to open to the inner consciousness — and that’s not religion, that’s yoga.
Opening remarks by
Lynda Lester for a panel discussion at AUM 2007 on fundamentalist tendencies in the Integral Yoga community. IY Fundamentalism]

[Introduction Standpoints Concerning The Lives of Sri Aurobindo
I have read so many books about Sri Aurobindo, so many books full of devotion, so many that exalted him as the avatar; indeed, I have held him to be the avatar from the moment I started Integral Yoga, and have never had a moment's doubt. This certitude goes far beyond mental belief; numerous times I have palpably experienced him as the Ishwara, pranamed to him, been ravished by his divinity. Which is to say, I am permeated by love and adoration for Sri Aurobindo, and doing his yoga is the meaning and purpose of my life... What this book gives is a closer look at divine incarnation in its developmental aspects... What all this shows is that even for the avatar, yoga means facing challenges and unknowns, conquering obstacles, and going forward with faith and perseverance -- sometimes against tremendous odds and apparent impossibilities. Sri Aurobindo wasn't born free from imperfection; he had a human nature. The purpose of his yoga is transformation of human nature; he was his own first guinea pig. Because it worked for him, we know it can work for us. In my mind, this one of the things that Peter's book illustrates: there is hope for us humans; we can succeed in the yoga. Sri Aurobindo has been there, done that, and proved it's possible. We don't have to feel bad that we struggle, that it's difficult to take the proper course of action, that we don't know what's going to happen — Sri Aurobindo went through the kind of trials and ordeals we face every day, and he conquered. Seeing how he evolved, step by tiny step, from humanhood to superhumanhood, seems to me to be most wonderful; a breadcrumb trail of how Sri Aurobindo's outer nature changed. Originally posted as a comment by Lynda Lester on
Debashish Banerji's Stand wrt The Lives of Sri Aurobindo. IY Fundamentalism]

Lynda Lester writes persuasively. If "we do have altars with photos of Mother and Sri Aurobindo in our homes," and if "the idea that Sri Aurobindo was the avatar and brought the truth to earth has been repeated so consistently for so long that it has become a strong mental formation, even a doctrine," then it surely is a religion. That Sri Aurobindo "was his own first guinea pig" and "evolved, step by tiny step, from humanhood to superhumanhood," is simply a fetish for the Western mind. [TNM]

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

On to an Integral, Indistinct Union

An avalanche of astute Ontological ruminations arrived today. [TNM]

Everything in the world thinks

[Panpsychism from The Pinocchio Theory by Steven Shaviro
In my last book, I wrote that Whitehead’s position, that all entities have a “mental” as well as a “physical” pole, needs to be distinguished “from the ‘panpsychism’ of which he is sometimes accused” (page 28). I now realize that this is entirely wrong; such a distinction cannot be made, because Whitehead’s position is, in a very classical sense, a panpsychist one. Moreover, panpsychism is a respectable philosophical position, and not something that anyone needs to worry about being “accused” of.]

If only all authors so confessed the wrongs wrought by them. [TNM]

Kepler disappoints

[“Spirituality without faith”: Authentic spirituality involves an emotional response, what I will call the spiritual response, which can include feelings of significance, unity, awe, joy, acceptance, and consolation. Such feelings are intrinsically rewarding and so are sought out in their own right, but they also help us in dealing with difficult situations involving death, loss, and disappointment. The spiritual response thus helps meet our affective needs for both celebration and reconciliation.
But what might evoke these states? Spirituality often involves a cognitive context, a set of beliefs about oneself and the world which can both inspire the spiritual response and provide an interpretation of it.
Spirituality without faith
from Open Integral]

A Matter of Mind by J. Kepler (Science, Culture and Integral Yoga Tue 23 Jun 2009 Permanent Link) is a huge disappointment. His assumption that some are in possession of pure reason and are propelled by it, is a myth. Most, on the contrary, act reflecting some "Progressive Personality Disorder" (Cognitive Disorder of Progressives: Rewritten: 4:10 AM) or other. [TNM]

Friday, June 19, 2009

Dr. JP’s crystal gazing

[2014 belongs to the Lok Satta, Asserts Dr. JP
from Jayaprakash Narayan's Blog by tnsatish
If the Lok Satta Party sticks to its values without any compromise, the year 2014 definitely belongs to it, asserted party President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan here today. “And the political calendar too favors the fledgling party”.]

Astrological prediction is the last thing we expect from Dr. JP of the Lok Satta Party. [TNM]

Kelamuni unimpressed by Sri Aurobindo

[Da is not the only person to note the "logic" of this kind of movement. This "movement" is also described by the Japanese Buddhist scholar Nagao in his various articles on Madhyamika and Yogachara. This emphasis upon immanence is taken over by the Tantric schools such as the Vajrayana and Kashmiri Shaivism, both of which were heavily indebted to the Yogachara, and melded with the generally "world-centric" orientation of Tantrism. Historically, what the Vajrayana does is take the "three-fold turning" over from the Yogachara and apply it to a kind of "pseudo-historigraphy" so as to justify Tibetan Buddhism. There, inn the self-understanding of Tibetan Buddhism, we find the three "yanas," Hinayana, Mahayana, Vajrayana, where we once found the three "turnings."Something very similar could be done with the Hindu traditions of Samkhya, classical Advaita Vedanta, and Kashmiri Shaivism. One could probably extract just such a conception from the works of Abhivanagupta, who speaks of the Shaiva Kaula dharma as "transcending and including" all other traditions, including classical advaita vedanta, just as the elephant's footprint obliterates the tracks of all other animals. Wilber, Nirvanasara, and Teleology in Indian History
from Gaia Community: kelamuni's Blog by kelamuni]

[The Question of the Status of the World in Advaita Vedanta
from Gaia Community: kelamuni's Blog by kelamuni
The question of the status of the world is one of the basic questions on the menu of Indian philosophical topics. It is a question that is particularly associated with the so-called "illusionistic" or "idealist" schools (Madhyamika, Yogachara, Advaita Vedanta) but it is also important for those "realist" schools that oppose them. The terms "maya-vada," "vijnana-vada," and "shunya-vada" all reflect the priority of the question of the nature of the world for these schools, since each term is an expression of their respective answers to the question (illusory; of the nature of consciousness; empty).]

[This same Socratic theme of knowing one's limitations reappears in the works of Kierkegaard, and here we find the other dominant "figure" in the West: that of Jesus. Here, the issue becomes not so much whether or not Kierkegaard's contemporaries are sages, but the degree to which they can be called "Christians". Kierkegaard sets an almost impossible standard here; indeed in his version of the "imitation of Christ" the only true Christian can be Christ himself. Just as Socrates finds no true sages among his peers, Kierkegaard finds no true "Christians". We might say that for the ancients, the image of the "sage" functions entirely as a kind of "transcendent norm". Sage-hood lies beyond the grasp of the mere mortal, but it is something that should be striven after nonetheless. While sage-hood functions as a kind of transcendent norm that can only ever be approached asymptotically, the practical paradigm becomes that of the lover of wisdom, represented by the figure of Socrates (and other figures such as Pyrrho, Diogenes, Epicurus, and so on). Two of the characteristic features of this general teaching of the ancients can be said to be the teaching that the lover of wisdom is a composite of both wisdom/knowledge and folly/ignorance, and that the lover of wisdom unceasingly engages in enquiry (zetesis; skepsis)... This "pedagogic" virtue is an expression of his "care" or "compassion" (karuna) for other beings. In the Mahayana, this "compassion" appears as a kind of sister virtue alongside that of "wisdom" (prajna). The entire practical edifice here is designed to efface the individual practitioner's conception of himself as a "sage" or "buddha", and to replace that conception with the idea that one can only ever be "on the way" to Buddha-hood. In this sense, the "bodhi-sattva" can be said to be analogous to the classical Western ideal of the "lover of wisdom". Is there an analogue to the ideal of the "love of wisdom" in the Upanishadic traditions? The approximate semantic equivalent of "jijnasa" may be loosely analogous. This term means the "desire to know" - the prefix "ji-" denoting the so-called "desiderative" case. This important term appears at the beginning of both the Brahma Sutras and the Samkhya Karikas, and it would appear to be an indicator of the so called "path of knowledge" (jnana-marga). On Sagehood and the Love of Wisdom
from Gaia Community: kelamuni's Blog by kelamuni]

In the seamless narrative of Kelamuni the contribution of Sri Aurobindo, it seems, is either negligible or dispensable. [TNM]

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Truth of being must govern truth of life

[Our theory of the integral knowledge admits Mind as a creative principle, a power of the Being, and assigns it its place in the manifestation; it similarly accepts Life and Matter as powers of the Spirit and in them also is a creative Energy. But the view of things that makes Mind the sole or the supreme creative principle and the philosophies that assign to Life or Matter the same sole reality or predominance, are expressions of a half-truth and not the integral knowledge. It is true that when Matter first emerges it becomes the dominant principle; it seems to be and is within its own field the basis of all things, the constituent of all things, the end of all things: but Matter itself is found to be a result of something that is not Matter, of Energy, and this Energy cannot be something self-existent and acting in the Void, but can turn out and, when deeply scrutinised, seems likely to turn out to be the action of a secret Consciousness and Being: when the spiritual knowledge and experience emerge, this becomes a certitude,—it is seen that the creative Energy in Matter is a movement of the power of the Spirit. Matter itself cannot be the original and ultimate reality. At the same time the view that divorces Matter and Spirit and puts them as opposites is unacceptable; Matter is a form of Spirit, a habitation of Spirit, and here in Matter itself there can be a realisation of Spirit. Page – 664 Location: Home > E-Library > Works Of Sri Aurobindo > English > The Life Divine Volume-19 > The Integral Knowledge And The Aim Of Life]

[Our metaphysical knowledge, our view of the fundamental truth of the universe and the meaning of existence, should naturally be the determinant of our whole conception of life and attitude to it; the aim of life, as we conceive it, must be structured on that basis. Metaphysical philosophy is an attempt to fix the fundamental realities and principles of being as distinct from its processes and the phenomena which result from those processes. But it is on the fundamental realities that the processes depend: our own process of life, its aim and method, should be in accordance with the truth of being that we see; otherwise our metaphysical truth can be only a play of the intellect without any dynamic importance. It is true that the intellect must seek after truth for its own sake without any illegitimate interference of a preconceived idea of life-utility. But still the truth, once discovered, must be realisable in our inner being and our outer activities: if it is not, it may have an intellectual but not an integral importance; a truth for the intellect, for our life it would be no more than the solution of a thought-puzzle or an abstract unreality or a dead letter. Truth of being must govern truth of life; it cannot be that the two have no relation or interdependence. The highest significance of life to us, the fundamental truth of existence, must be also the accepted meaning of our own living, our aim, our ideal. Page – 666 Location: Home > E-Library > Works Of Sri Aurobindo > English > The Life Divine Volume-19 > The Integral Knowledge And The Aim Of Life]

[Marko Says: May 2nd, 2007 at 2:29 am Hi Alan, I would propose the distinction between Integral philosophies and Integral teachings. I see that in the Integral community the two are not enough delineated while I think it helps to do so.I found this little explanation of the difference between teachings and philosophies by a professor of the university of Virginia in an article on concsiousness:
“A metaphysical philosophy is a purely conceptual structure that is presumed to be a logically self-consistent description of some aspect of reality. It does not necessarily include techniques for experiencing this reality. A philosophy is different from what we shall call a teaching. The purpose of a teaching is to help a student to know a reality, no matter whether it is phenomenal or noumenal. Since the emphasis is on knowledge rather than on logic, a teaching may use whatever concepts and techniques work in bringing the student to the desired knowledge. A teaching often will have a philosophical basis, but there is no particular requirement to adhere rigidly to it.” 8:48 PM]

[My own understanding of Integralism, for example, is informed by the work of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, which is central to my worldview and spiritual practice. Thanks to these insights I am able to transcend the Cartesian subject-object (or interior-exterior) and individual-collective dichotomies that characterise Wilber's (and hence Integral sensu stricto) work. And this means that my definition of Integral is not reducable to AQAL. Evolutionary Allies: An Integral Approach
M. Alan Kazlev]

[As a last thought, since I have it in front of me, David Harvey in his book Spaces of Hope has a nice description for what I think integral work ought to be doing: "to find ways, against all odds, to bring together all the various highly differentiated and often local movements into some kind of commonality of purpose." It's about talking with people and listening to them, not so much about talking down to them and "organizing their freedom," as the liberatory superholon is presented to do in Sex, Ecology, Spirituality (SES). ANDERSON Nonviolence of Nonmetaphysics An Interview with Daniel Gustav Anderson 12:50 PM]

Metaphysical philosophy when blended with experience undergoes a metamorphosis to turn into integral knowledge. [TNM]

George Fernandes transformed the BJP

Tusar N. Mohapatra Says: HT Blogs June 18th, 2009 at 12:58 pm
Asian Age New Delhi, June 12, 2005 “JD-U is the Jinnah winner” By Arati R. Jerath Commented By Tusar N. Mohapatra - on 6/17/2005 9:31:51 PM

The genesis of the seemingly crisis dogging the BJP today can be traced to a decade or so back. It was George Fernandes, who, from the secular camp, first befriended the BJP untouchables and seduced them onto the path to power. By shedding its three stings, BJP was emasculated enough not to ferment further religious hatred. Obviously, Gujarat was an embarrassment.

The present Jinnah episode is only leading to a climax as directed by George Fernandes. Fernandes is the Trojan Horse and has a hidden agenda. By transforming the BJP and its top leaders, he has done a yeoman’s service to his fellow countrymen. Whether or not he has followed the narrow path hewed by his leader, Lohia, he has saved the country from enormous communal turmoil. So, Fernandes is the most deserving candidate for the BHARAT RATNA award. [TNM [Reply] June 18, 2009 12:54 PM 9:33 PM 11:50 AM]

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

What Paulette has written to supriyo is utter falsehood

[Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "It is Michael Murphy who has a direct connection w...": It is Paulette who is eschewing from the real issue as can be see from all her postings at the mirror of tomorrow and even indulging in the spreading of misinformation. one wonders at her motives, intent and the "person(s)" behind her. what she has written to supriyo is utter falsehood. to see the real thing read the write up on the connection between ph-jk on the site all the people involved in protecting ph on the various sites have purposefully overlooked this evidence as clear as day and put up for all to read on the above mentioned site. Posted by Anonymous to Savitri Era Open Forum at 10:17 AM, June 17, 2009]

[Re: The Mother as an Artist—by Sunayana Panda by RY Deshpande on Mon 08 Jun 2009 06:41 AM IST Profile Permanent Link There is a statement on the Mirror which effectively states that Sri Aurobindo’s younger brother Barin ‘committed suicide’ perhaps because of schizophrenia he inherited from their mother... I think we have yet to get a proper picture of Barin before we pass facile comments about him. ~ RYD Reply]

It is strange that Paulette didn't clarify about the circumstances of Barin's demise. [TNM]

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Indian Political Thought: A Reader

Ad for higher courses in Sri Aurobindo Studies by IGNOU and SACAR has adorned The Times of India today. It is a great breakthrough and fine avenue for generating public awareness about the relevance of Sri Aurobindo and his thought.

Indian Political Thought: A Reader Edited by Aakash Singh and Silika Mohapatra (Routledge, December 2009) is now available for Pre-order. [TNM] 1:56 PM

Yoga, unity, & community

Heidegger perhaps knew it and quietly strayed away incurring the displeasure of his teacher. Finally, Merleau-Ponty spilled the beans that Husserl's reduction is an impossibility. And then began the sequence of mutating Phenomenology by Levinas, Schütz and others.

Integral Yoga was formulated by Sri Aurobindo around the same time as Husserl. M.P. Pandit once complained of lack of Tapas in the Ashram. In fact, his book titled Life Beautiful is an exposition on the strands of traditional Yoga. Jugal Kishore Mukherjee, in his book, expressed the apprehension that the Ashram is turning into a cultural organisation. M.V. Nadkarni wrote a rejoinder against a neighboring Ashram ridiculing that, "There is no teaching in the Sri Aurobindo ashram." And now Angiras warns, "Stop pretending that anyone is practising Integral Yoga."

The Heehs imbroglio has put enormous strains on the ideal and practice of human unity. A lot of opacity prevails over what is labeled as IY community. The BJP is in turmoil, and so are we. The future needs to be imagined in a much broader context. [TNM]

Saturday, June 13, 2009

There is no other way of practicing Integral Yoga than pretending

[Savitri Era Learning Forum SELF posits a model of counselling and communicative action as an instrument in order to stimulate the public sphere. The model aims at supplementing the individual’s struggle for a successful social adjustment with more aspirational inputs so as to help one take an informed and balanced attitude towards life as well as society.]

[Re: Knowledge and Human Liberation - Excerpts from Ananta Kumar Giri Annotated by Debashish Banerji
Debashish on Fri 12 Jun 2009 03:02 PM PDT Profile Permanent Link
Individuals come to IY from different points of entry, with different social, cultural, educational and professional backgrounds. They also each have a specific prakritic build and a specific swabhava and swadharma. If the social field of IY practice enables the sharing of phenomenological descriptions of IY understanding and process of individuals, a living field of participative communication is set up in which individuals must extend their consciousness boundaries to identify, empathize, synthesize, accept or avoid variant strains of experience of IY process, enriching the collective field and amplifying individual and collective growth. It is the near total lack of this middle ground of communication between internal experience and outer rote which is largely responsible for the collectve assumptions re. IY based on hearsay and lacking in personal self-confidence. Under such circumstances, orthodox representations of IY will take hegemonic hold over the field since there is no experiential richness of discourse to fill the space. 2. On your second question, a participative spirituality which extends its definition to include social embeddedness of the individual implies social participation as a form of acquisition of spiritual knowledge. Engaging with one's social environment at a depth of experience which probes existential spiritual choices in terms of collective creative expression (such communication whether verbal or of any other form such as manufacture is what Heidegger refers to as poeisis) would expand the field of individual knowledge (as individual consciousness) through participation. DB
Debashish on Fri 12 Jun 2009 07:36 PM PDT Profile Permanent Link
1. Online forums, face-to-face discussions groups are good, but what I was talking about was institutional mechanisms within a community - eg. the community fielding interviews, presentations of individual interpretations of IY processes, etc, followed by sharing circles exploring interpretive positions, etc. while maintaining a culture of non-interference and respect for plurality in such communication acts. A living culture of this kind in a community promotes plurality of interpretation and the sense of individual participation and growth among its members. Its lack leads to the fossilization of a teaching into endless repetitions of a mainstream message by a few spokespersons in a fixed language and the willing or unwilling acquiescence of the rest to its proxy comforts. Yes, I think it is the lack of this kind of culture and the reduction of the social field of IY to unthinking consumption of a canned mainline propaganda dished out in a set of buzz-words by a few "authorities" that is largely the reason for the present close-mindedness. 2. Communicative participation in a social environmnt tends to the superficial or instrumental unless there is a conscious attempt (or institutional triggers) towards depth and richness in communication. Individual representations and interpretations of inner processes of spiritual growth engaged collectively enlarge the field of individual and social consciousness resulting in expanded knowledge and collective creative expression. DB Reply]

When Savitri Era Learning Forum spread its wings in June 2005 with a modest motto echoing Habermasian agenda, the scene was dismal. Four years later, we have accumulated much "depth and richness" thanks partly to the Heehs imbroglio. Angiras was spot on when he said, "Stop pretending that anyone is practising Integral Yoga," but the truth is that there is no other way of "practising Integral Yoga" than pretending and anticipating while keeping communication alive. [TNM]

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Life long learning with ethical orientation is the goal

[The thing that disturbs me is the suggestion that B-schools also have a role in inculcating superior attitudes or ethical values in their students. HBS's contribution is to get their graduating MBAs to a pledge or oath of ethics! B-schools have responded with courses on ethics and leadership. No problem with that. But, one has to be sceptical about what to expect. To those who wish to create the New Man, I wish luck. I doubt that B-schools can contribute much. There are primary and secondary schools that began with similar lofty goals but whose products are indistinguishable from those produced by ordinary schools. Don't get me wrong.There is a hell of lot that B-schools need to do by way of updating their curricula and make it more relevant. But improving the ethics of their wards is not something that falls within B-schools' core competence. At the risk of offending people, I would suggest that there is a certain presumptousness involved in setting such goals. I mean, who's going to impart ethics to B-school faculty? B schools and the global crisis
from The Big Picture by T T Ram Mohan ET column, Crisis: are B-schools to blame?]

Life long learning with ethical orientation is the goal of Savitri Era Learning Forum that precisely fills the gap left by the B-schools. [TNM]

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Let's learn from young children and great apes

[Jun 9, 2009 Michael Tomasello - Why We Cooperate
from Shared Symbolic Storage by (Michael)
Michael Tomasello has a new book out in October called "Why We Cooperate." What is interesting about this publication is that Tomasello presents his findings on great ape and infant cognition and and social and developmental psychologist Carol Dweck, anthropologist Joan Silk, philosopher Brian Skyrms, and developmental psychologist Elizabeth Spelke respond to and explore the implications of his work in light of their own research. Here's the description:
"Drop something in front of a two-year-old, and she's likely to pick it up for you. This is not a learned behavior, psychologist Michael Tomasello argues. Through observations of young children in experiments he himself has designed, Tomasello shows that children are naturally—and uniquely—cooperative. Put through similar experiments, for example, apes demonstrate the ability to work together and share, but choose not to. As children grow, their almost reflexive desire to help—without expectation of reward—becomes shaped by culture. They become more aware of being a member of a group. Groups convey mutual expectations, and thus may either encourage or discourage altruism and collaboration. Either way, cooperation emerges as a distinctly human combination of innate and learned behavior. In Why We Cooperate, Tomasello's studies of young children and great apes help identify the underlying psychological processes that very likely supported humans' earliest forms of complex collaboration and, ultimately, our unique forms of cultural organization, from the evolution of tolerance and trust to the creation of such group-level structures as cultural norms and institutions.]

Why We Cooperate should alert us to the imperative of Collective Yoga and Collaboration. Let's learn from young children and great apes. [TNM]

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Savitri Era – the one path we all share

[मीणा समुदाय ने किया गुज्जरों के आरक्षण का समर्थन
आज तक - राजस्थान में गुज्जर और मीणा समुदायों के बीच टकराव के बाद अब मीणा समुदाय ने गुज्जरों के लिए आरक्षण की मांग का समर्थन किया है. साथ ही सरकार की ओर से भी दोनों समुदायों के बीच सुलह की कोशिशें जारी हैं. गुज्जर और मीणा समुदाय के नेताओं के बीच सरकार की ओर से एक बैठक कराई गई ताकि दोनों समुदायों के बीच की खाई को पाटा जा सके. हालांकि इस बैठक में कोई नतीजा नहीं निकल पाया. इस बीच गुज्जर समुदाय की ओर से मीणा समुदाय के लिए अति पिछडे वर्ग ... गुर्जरों को 5% आरक्षण दैनिक भास्कर गुर्जर आरक्षण पर एतराज नहीं: मीणा समुदाय याहू! भारत ]

[Obama heralded a day ‘when the Holy Land of three great faiths [Christianity, Judaism and Islam] is the place of peace that God intended it to be.’ He continued, ‘The Holy Koran tells us, "O mankind! We have created you male and a female; and we have made you into nations and tribes so that you may know one another."’ One must truly wonder how all the contentious nations, religions and tribes of the Earth might truly come ‘to know one another’ as the many faces of the same One … as many points along the same Circle of Light. The Rig Veda speaks of the Earth’s Year, (its 360 degree journey around the Sun in 12 stages or months) as a symbol of Man’s (and the Earth’s) common evolutionary journey. A common path – the One Path we all share – towards the cultivation/embodiment of our full truth, our full consciousness and our full bliss. My life has led me towards the Vedic Idea that it is an awareness of this common journey, our common ‘playing’ field of time and space, the common geometry shared by our souls as expressed in matter that will gradually help to slough off our forgetfulness of the One Self in many forms. E Pluribus Unum by Lori Tompkins
Posted by Lori Tompkins at
5:22 PM Labels: , , , , , ]

Savitri Erans should become proactive in the season of reconciliation. [TNM]

A new species called "Slumdog"

['Jai ho' set to be millionth English word
Times of India - NEW DELHI: 'Jai ho', 'cuddies' and 'slumdog' are among the 73 other finalists from across the globe to become the millionth English word. ...
"Slumdog Millionaire" terms compete to be millionth English word Xinhua
Jai Ho!, Slumdog, Chaddies*: The 1000000th Word In English? Outlook
Chaddie wants to be English Daily News & Analysis Indian Express - Calcutta Telegraph all 27 news articles » Slumdog `insult' upsets award-winning film-maker Bharati Dubey tnn Times of India - ‎Jun 4, 2009‎
MUMBAI: Does the West think of India as Slumdog rather than Millionaire? Indian director Sanjay Chauhan, whose film Lahore won the jury award for best ... `Now Slumdog country also gets awards'... I think the remark was not ignorance but an insult.]

[Whatever words have been used throughout history and across cultures to refer to a dog have probably conserved their meaning pretty well, and it's pretty clear to everyone what they are referring to. But of course in the case of more abstract concepts meaning shifts and evolves. Re: Convergent evolution
Kepler on Fri 05 Jun 2009 07:46 PM PDT
Profile Permanent Link]

[That dogs identify other dogs as companions for forming social packs or for reproducing says nothing about the human experience of this class of objects. An empirical layer of human experience pertaining to such a class of objects bound by such behaviors may or may not be pertinent as cultural currency (language). Historical contingency determines such things for different societies. Still I can concede that over time commonalities of social experience in a variety of cultures may arrive at universals of description with certain irreducible bases. In fact, it is this problem of subjective indeterminacy which marks the reaction against the "Dark Ages" in Europe and the decision to ground human understanding in empirical descriptions of materiality - the birth of Science. DB Re: Convergent evolution Debashish Sat 06 Jun 2009 06:37 PM PDT]

Why not debate over a new species called "Slumdog"? [TNM]

Sri Aurobindo Marg paved by Surendra Nath Jauhar

[No relief from snarls on Aurobindo Marg Times of India - India NEW DELHI: The ordeal of commuters braving the jams at the Aurobindo Marg diversion is likely to be prolonged. Unable to locate the leakage in the ... Traffic diverted at Aurobindo Marg
Indian Express - ‎Jun 2, 2009‎ After fresh leakage was spotted at some points in the stormwater drain running below Aurobindo Marg, the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation decided on Tuesday to ...
Aurobindo Marg closed after fresh leaks detected in drain Indopia More leaks, so road closed Times of India all 3 news articles » Aurobindo Marg to reopen today Times of India - ‎Jun 1, 2009‎ NEW DELHI: Busy Aurobindo Marg will be reopened for traffic from Tuesday morning after Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) engineers worked round-the-clock]

Thanks to Surendra Nath Jauhar "Faquir" (Chachaji), this is the only way to read the name of Sri Aurobindo on the front page of a national newspaper. [TNM] Surendra Nath Jauhar of New Delhi. Popularly known as Chachaji,

Friday, June 05, 2009

No Professor

[When the western world pushes for democracy, what it means is the right to vote in a multi-party system. But, if a monolithic party can make itself responsive to people's needs, it can contain disaffection. It appears the communist party has managed this. The world's understanding of Tiananmen and what followed, its continued focus on "human rights" in China and prognostications about the inevitable collapse of communism there, may thus be badly flawed Anniversary of Tiananmen
from The Big Picture by T T Ram Mohan]

No Professor. For once you seem to be barking up the wrong tree. [TNM]

[Remembering Tiananmen Twenty years after the massacre of pro-democracy activists, China has yet to embrace the rule of law and protect human rights and civil liberties. NYT]

Savitri Era Party sympathizes with Dr. Karan Singh on his bereavement

[Hunt on for culture boss Calcutta Telegraph
Karan Singh's name was also in circulation for the culture minister's job, but sources said that in the past, he had evinced interest only in the foreign ...
Former Union Minister Karan Singh's wife passes away Times of India - ‎May 24, 2009‎
25 May 2009, 1155 hrs IST, PTI NEW DELHI:
Wife of former Union Minister Karan Singh, Yasho Rajya Lakshmi, died after brief illness on Monday, family sources ...
JKPCC leaders condole death of Karan Singh's wife SamayLive
Ex-Indian minister Karan Singh's wife passes away Republica all 4 news articles »]

Savitri Era Party expresses its sympathies for Dr. Karan Singh in the wake of his recent bereavement, and fosters the hope that he dedicates the rest of his life in aggressively furthering the cause of the Savitri Era by forsaking the frills of bearing offices. [TNM]

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Permanently chained to the cult of victimhood

[In fact, just as America was on the verge of doing away with such discrimination; just as the content of one's character was beginning to take hold as an essential aspect of the American Dream, the political left and the Democrats decreed that one's skin color--and gender and sexual orientation and ethic origins and etc. etc.--were far more important considerations. Just as Blacks were about to permanently throw off the chains that had bound them since the founding of the Republic, along came the do-gooders of the left who have now permanently chained them to the cult of victimhood--and they intend to do the same for women, gays, and all the other "poor and oppressed" groups they supposedly champion. Eventualy, the individual people who are lumped into these victimhood groups are going to wake up to the fact that they are being used to achieve power for these leftist elites; and that the left is completely and irrevocably invested in keeping them "poor and oppressed." How can you fail to notice that all politics today is a matter of carefully pandering to one identity group after another? The way to power is to promise every group what they want. If you are really good at it--like the Democrats--then you can make as many contradictory promises as you want. No one cares about you as an individual anymore (if anyone in Congress ever did); now, the only thing that is important is what identity group you belong to. You are appealed to as a woman; as an Hispanic; as a Black; as a Gay and every effort is taken by political parties to appeal to large identity groups--the "Hispanic Vote", the "Black Vote", the "Women's Vote", the "Gay and Lesbian Vote" and so on. How much more racist or sexist or bigoted than this can we get? If the Democratic Party and its lunatic leftist base has its way, America will continue its devolution into bickering and competing identity/victim groups. In fact, America is well on its way to becoming the most whiny, entitled, and bigoted nation on the face of the earth because of the new and socially acceptable hate politics of the left. I am pleading with the Republican Party to resolutely reject the postmodern philosophical premises that are the foundation of such defective thinking. Why can't the Republican Party once again be the party of the individual? Why should we pander to all these identity groups? WE ARE ALL AMERICANS and that is all that matters--or should matter. Screw the Hispanic vote. Screw the Black vote. Screw the White vote or Women's vote. Forget the LGBT. And speak to people as individuals. REJECT THE LEFT'S SOCIALLY ACCEPTABLE RACISM AND BIGOTRY
from Dr. Sanity by Dr. Sanity]

Meira Kumar's ‎elevation to the Speaker's post, therefore, should not be seen as something absolutely welcome. [TNM]

The Life Divine alone offers the most intellectually satisfying perspective

[There are a number of things wrong with this passage. For example, in describing Kant’s position, Meillassoux employs his own very simple contrast between the ‘thing itself’ and ‘for us’ in place of Kant’s own sophisticated understanding of the ‘thing-in-itself’ which is bound up with the frameworks of transcendental realism and idealism... Meillassoux’s argument risks blurring both the public-private vs. consensual-nonconsensual distinction and the true-false vs. objective-subjective distinction. If so, this would be fatal... Secondly, Meillassoux risks running objectivity and truth together. Realism and Correlationism: Truth
from Grundlegung by Tom]

[On the other hand, I think Roy Bhaskar’s transcendental realism as developed in A Realist Theory of Science provides the resources for moving from the domain of epistemology to ontology.
First, Bhaskar argues that the treatment of being according to the requirements of knowledge, or the reduction of being to knowledge of being, constitutes a fallacy that he refers to as the “epistemic fallacy”. This fallacy is rife throughout both Anglo-American and Continental philosophy, and is visible in social constructivisms that reduce being to discourses about being, forms of phenomenology that reduce being to sense-bestowing intuition or only allow us to talk of being in terms of being-given or donated, and, of course, Kantianism.
Object-ions from Larval Subjects by larvalsubjects]

[One of the errors of phenomenology — including both Husserl's and Scheler's — is that when it regards itself as investigation into essences, as distinguished from existence (as a consequence of eidetic reduction), it forgets that essences also have their Dasein (existence) and their Sosein, that Dasein is not as such real existence. There is also, as with essences and mathematical idealities such as numbers, and values, ideal Dasein. From: Jitendra Nath Mohanty - Phenomenology. Between essentialism and transcendental philosophy - Chapter 3: Nicolai Hartmann's phenomenological ontology - Evanston, Northwestern University Press, 1997 pp. 26-27. 6:40 PM 3:57 PM]

[The mind will solve nothing. At the high school my passion was philosophy, I know very well what the mind can build, legitimating everything and, by the same force, rejecting it. If we don’t start from the very foundations on which we have built our personalities, and which condition our sadhana directly, we’ll go on chasing enemies forever. Nobody is entirely right, and nobody entirely wrong. Discord can only subside by quietly looking within and, from there, listening to the reasons of both, harmonizing at last the opposites into a compassionate whole. At least, this is what the Mother recommends. Integral Psychology! Paulette permalink Re: Archetypal Images and Symbols—by Paulette]

[At the end of the day investing physical processes that fall under the scrutiny of science with spiritual meaning or spiritual meaning in terms of quantifiable scientific processes does not so much speak to the "truth" of the matter as it does an attempt to make sense of the world and its phenomena by contextualizing them according to the comfortable perspectives of one's own belief system. tc Re: Convergent evolution Tony Clifton Science, Culture and Integral Yoga 8:25 AM]

It is bad metaphysics that is to blame and The Life Divine alone offers the most intellectually satisfying perspective. [TNM]

Unruly language itself can be trapped

[Thursday, June 04, 2009 Comfortable perspectives of one's own belief system to make sense of the world
Re: Convergent evolution Tony Clifton Science, Culture and Integral Yoga
Stephen Jay Gould as an agnostic will eschew teleology, Conway Morris as a Catholic will find satisfaction in a Christian narrative, a follower of Integral Yoga will defer to Sri Aurobindo's narrative on the evolution of consciousness.
For example in my own view contingency can reconcile to a metaphysical view of evolution that defers to a Lila or the free play of Spirit. But I have to admit that is just my own interpretation, and there are a myriad ways one can find to construct the facts to fit ones own theory...
Besides the cultural platform upon which both science and spirituality rest there is no meta-discipline to be found to reconcile the two world views of science and spirit, except perhaps to say that both are condemned to language and as such are both trapped within its linguistic and symbolic constraints.
At the end of the day investing physical processes that fall under the scrutiny of science with spiritual meaning or spiritual meaning in terms of quantifiable scientific processes does not so much speak to the "truth" of the matter as it does an attempt to make sense of the world and its phenomena by contextualizing them according to the comfortable perspectives of one's own belief system. tc
8:25 AM]

Tony Clifton writes a disturbing and disappointing post too reductively erected on semiological rationale. Instead of leaning too heavily on the side of plurality with the attendant danger of falling in the ditch of nihilism and anti-intellectualism, a recourse to liminality can lead one to a more reassuring possibility of Unity, Mutuality, & Harmony within the matrix of which even the unruly language itself can be “trapped.” [TNM]

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

BJP's need of Sri Aurobindo

Renaissance man of India by Jagmohan in Deccan Chronicle of May 30, 2009 was an evocative piece befitting the gravity of the occasion as well as the present groping for direction. S. Sundararaman quotes from Sri Aurobindo's Karmayogin in his Arise, Awake and Stop not till the Goal is Reached "because the future of BJP is too serious to be left to politicians alone." [TNM - Radha Rajan recalls Sri Aurobindo Tarun Vijay quotes The Mother & Sri Aurobindo]

Monday, June 01, 2009

Systematic education of the mind and the full use of reason

"Are We Religious Fundamentalists?" by Raman Reddy is an excellent exposition and defense, among other things, of religion. A religion that is at peace with reason:
[Faith in the Divine can go hand in hand with science and intellectuality – he even recommends this until the higher faculties can replace the mind. Posted by Raman Reddy at 5/31/2009 03:10:00 PM]
Paulette writes something similar:
[To be an academician or a scholar is not an obstacle; a specific feature of Integral Yoga is the systematic education of the mind and the full use of reason as starting point of the journey; only after having achieved such mastery we are truly equipped to rise above and commence another journey, through the planes of divine mind. Re: Archetypal Images and Symbols—by Paulette by Paulette on Sun 31 May 2009 02:48 PM IST Profile Permanent Link]
Paulette, further, has something very interesting to say as regards our path:
[What’s trivial, in Integral Yoga? There is no action, and no occupation, in Integral Yoga that is trivial, everything must be performed with the same perfection. And so is life, in its most external aspects as much as the inward ones. The debate on Peter Heehs is not just about quotes and counter-quotes, as some people claim. It is directly on the very foundations of our being here, and also on how we relate to others, who too have a right to the Path. We cannot drop the issue half-way. We have started and have to go till the end of it. Paulette Re: Archetypal Images and Symbols—Paulette's Comment for Posting by Paulette on Fri 29 May 2009 09:06 PM IST Profile Permanent Link]
David Hutchinson, too, was inclined to see the whole thing in more practical terms:
[The other problem is that this impulse for change, like everything else, can get mixed with other motives (as you note, see below), with group behaviors, with past beliefs, with wider political movements (such as the Hindutva movement, which I believe is related to this situation), with historical events (such as the campaign against the revision of Savitri, which I also believe is related to this situation). An argument is put forward for what seems a simple, spiritual matter, but it can be anything but. Re: Explanation of my Stand wrt The Lives of Sri Aurobindo by David Hutchinson on Wed 26 Nov 2008 06:24 AM PST Profile Permanent Link]
He spoke of the vacillation that is so prevalent:
[Is the supermind real? What about the triple transformation? Cellular yoga? Is integral yoga any different from other yogas? Did Sri Aurobindo or the Mother fail at what they were attempting? Were they mistaken about one or another aspect of yoga, or life? Did they miss things? Are some of their works badly written, incomplete, or flat out wrong? You can see how, in our community, even rhetorically stating such questions creates a collective gasp. Re: Explanation of my Stand wrt The Lives of Sri Aurobindo by David Hutchinson on Wed 26 Nov 2008 03:06 PM PST Profile Permanent Link]
Angiras was forthright to ask, "Stop pretending":
[If Sri Aurobindo’s followers have nothing better to offer than to mimic the behavior of the Muslims who riot at the publication of books rumored to insult their beliefs, it might be best to disband the Ashram and stop pretending that anyone is practising Integral Yoga. The value of this “controversy” in the larger scheme of things may be to expose the illusion that merely labelling a religion as spiritual is enough to prevent it from being a religion. Re: Explanation of my Stand wrt The Lives of Sri Aurobindo by Angiras on Fri 28 Nov 2008 04:10 AM PST Profile Permanent Link]
He also made a case for more intellectual maturity:
[David wrote: "You can see how, in our community, even rhetorically stating such questions creates a collective gasp. How dare he write that! Heresy!" This "collective gasp" at seeing certain questions even discussed is, if nothing else, a sign of a community that is not ready for the twenty-first century. by Angiras on Fri 28 Nov 2008 04:10 AM PST Profile Permanent Link] [TNM]