Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Majority of Westerners are willing Christians

[The Western psyche has been shaped by an utter revolt against the suffocating norms of Christian Church with all it's regulatory framework of sin, salvation and ex-communication. Consequently, the Westerner is eager to throw out all external forms and embark on the path of Sadhana without embellishments. by auroman on Mon 28 Dec 2009 09:55 PM IST |  Profile |  Permanent Link Re: Portraits, Relics and Medicaments—by Paola De Paolis]

Comments by auroman, most of the times, are well meaning and perceptive, and here too he is spot on in the context. His description, however, won't apply to all Westerners as majority of Westerners are willing Christians. [TNM]

Contingent & engine congeries

[But I think Meillassoux’s position actually entails the larger claim that all things are cut off form one another. They would even be cut off from their own parts: absolute contingency would not just mean a contingency from one moment to the next, after all, but would suggest that there is a merely contingent relationship between a car and the parts of that car at this very moment. It might be merely contingent that the engine in the car is what powers its movement, rather than my own thoughts, or the engine of another car on the other side of the world. dry Amazon review line of the day from Object-Oriented Philosophy by doctorzamalek
[The Life Divine - Google Books Result by Sri Aurobindo - Mind, being an action of the Infinite, depieces as well as aggregates ad infinitum. It cuts up being into wholes, into ever smaller wholes, into atoms and those atoms into primal atoms, until it would, if it could, dissolve the primal atom into nothingness. (1.18.180)

Speculative philosophy, when poetic, has an added charm, regardless it solves sundry riddles or not. [TNM]

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Life Divine retains its fertility

[Take The Life Divine for example. Sri Aurobindo is very conscious of the historicity of various discourses which provide different trajectories for human becoming and negotiates his integral ground by addressing all these. Outside of his own intent, contemporary thought has introduced new concerns (which are often old concerns in new bottles) which the text can be seen to have anticipated in certain ways and hence retains its fertility. The question of bias arises in a situated study very clearly. In untangling the discourses and their genealogies in a text, the biases of the text also reveal themselves. DB Posted June 25, 2009 at 3:48 am | Permalink]

The pivotal role of The Life Divine in the overall Sri Aurobindian scheme is so well entrenched that it is very difficult to elicit a critique. Deficiencies and discrepancies, nevertheless, exist, and a full scale interrogation is required to be attempted.
One glaring rupture is the addition of the last six chapters which altered the basic thrust of the book. Second is the Problem of Rebirth which, unresolved, remained outside the text. The third is the Mind of Light which torpedoed its neat structure. Fourth is the four powers of The Mother which could not be accommodated there.
Scores of other ontological questions raise their heads upon close reading of The Life Divine. On the praxis front too, adequate safeguards against collective yoga changing into a religion have not been addressed. [TNM]  

No need to rely upon ancient stories

Tusar N Mohapatra said...

Nicely put. Yoga, however, is not merely "mindful living." To remember The Mother & Sri Aurobindo and offer the work to them is crucial in this alchemy, while faith and aspiration act as catalysts. No need to rely upon ancient stories therefore. [TNM] December 22, 2009 9:07 PM

Saturday, December 19, 2009

St. Stephen's College and Sri Aurobindo Ashram

[Stephen's teachers unite against bishop Times of India - ‎Dec 17, 2009‎ NEW DELHI: A section of teachers of St Stephen's College challenged the bishop of Church of North India, Sunil Kumar Singh, on Thursday, accusing him of ... Stephen's teachers up ante against Bishop Indian Express Church demanded Rs 1 lakh from Stephen's Daily Pioneer St. Stephens' teachers launch protest against bishop New Delhi, Dec 17 (IANS) Teachers of one of India's top educational institutes, the St. Stephen's College Thursday launched a protest campaign against the ... Survival of St Stephens in danger, say teachers Press Trust of India - ‎Dec 17, 2009‎ New Delhi, Dec 17 (PTI) St Stephens faculty members today alleged that Church of North India's Bishop's interference in a "reckless manner" in the ..St. Stephen's teachers launch protest against bishop, Delhi News ...]

It is a pity that institutions like St. Stephen's College and Sri Aurobindo Ashram are unable to manage their affairs in a fair and transparent manner. [TNM]

Its illustrious career would remain a beckon of light

Y2K spurred me to survey the 20th Century thought and 5 years later when I stumbled upon SCIY, it was no alien territory. Banerji’s dense compositions used to surprise, Carlson’s forthright interventions evoked curiosity; the overall concern always levitating at a certain height and encompassing a wideness while pursuing an integral spirit all through. Right in the prescribed path: heightening, widening, and integration, as it were.

Nolini, Purani, Amrita, Pavitra – great as they are – but are poorer by not having a chance to read the rich discourse that SCIY harbored. Even the Heehs imbroglio that raged for over a year brought out unexpressed dimensions of theory as well as practice in the open, the finer threads of which would be explored in the years to come.

With its founder-editor dead, and it metamorphosing into a more conventional site, albeit with an ultra-futuristic theme, SCIY, like Arya, comes to an end. Its illustrious career would remain a beckon of light for a long time. Ideological commitment may have prevented its contributors to espouse the idea of religion openly, but the way the journal ran is in the best of religious spirit. SCIY is dead, long live SCIY. [TNM] 11:56 PM, December 18, 2009

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Larval Subjects announces a course correction

  "This matter of not participating in idle words and chatter, which proliferates through the internet, is important," notes Radha Burnier [The Theosophist, December 2009]. Like all those who are part of the Establishment, she must be feeling the heat of freedom of thought that the internet facilitates. But words, as assumed, are not always idle, as "a drop of ink makes millions think."
Schopenhauer’s tryst with the Upanishads is well known. Heidegger's encounter with Daoist thought at a depressing period of his life transforms his philosophy. Larval Subjects, similarly, has announced a course correction after his 2009 tête-à-tête with Bhaskar and Harman (Harman’s route from Plato to Latour culminating in a new ontology). Such examples demonstrate the crucial role of right reading materials at different points of our lives.
“I regret very much,” wrote S.K.Maitra apropos The Life Divine “that I had not read this great work when it appeared in the pages of the Arya, for if I had done so, it would have saved me a number of years of philosophical wanderings in search of a standpoint. ["Emerging Theory of Values" 11:34 PM 12:30 PM 3:53 PM 11:52 AM]. [TNM]

Monday, December 14, 2009

Religious empathy creates social capital

[Rethinking Religion in India The Colonial Construction of Hinduism
Edited by Esther Bloch, Marianne Keppens, Rajaram Hegde

Increasingly scholars have come to realise that the dominant understanding of Indian culture and its traditions is unsatisfactory. According to the classical paradigm, Hindu traditions are conceptualized as features of a religion with distinct beliefs, doctrines, sacred laws and holy texts. Today, however, many academics consider this conception to be a colonial ‘construction’... Hinduism only exists in the European experience and does not correspond to any empirical reality in India. Published December 14 2009 by Routledge.]

[The magic of religion Pune Mirror - By N Vittal
Monday, December 14, 2009:
Even in the 21st century, religion continues to be critically important in the lives of people. It is not very fashionable or modern to say that you believe in your religion, especially if you are a Hindu in our country. We feel that we should flaunt our secularism by avoiding taking a firm stand on religion. An elegant ambiguity, if not outright skepticism or agnosticism, seems to be a sine qua non... But religion has a credit side when it comes to human affairs. This is the altruistic inspiration it provides. Marxism and rationalism do not have this redeeming feature. Religion has been the source of inspiration for a whole multitude of humane and charitable institutions which sustain their activities from generation to generation. In our country, rich businessmen as enlightened vaishyas have been practitioners of philanthropy in every part of the country. For example, in the healthcare sector, there are institutions like Sankara Nethralaya in Chennai launched by Dr Badrinath who, in turn, was inspired by the Parmacharya of Kanchi. The Arvind Eye Hospital in Madurai, Tamilnadu, owes its origin to the Aurobindo Ashram in Pondicherry and the Mother.
Liberhan and 26/11 Mumbai Mirror]

The track record of Savitri Era Religion in this respect is yet to be enumerated appropriately. [TNM]

Friday, December 11, 2009

How the world must have been packaged for it to be consumable

[Bhaskar on the Priority of Ontology Over Epistemology
from Larval Subjects by larvalsubjects
the transcendental realist begins with the question of what the world must be like for it to be knowable.]
[Ruled by Anniversaries TOI Santosh Desai Monday December 07, 2009 The idea of the anniversary is precisely to create a dam that gathers the gushing waters of time in the reservoir of today... Since so much that of how we see the world is shaped by media today, the process by which memory gets manufactured, retained and recalled is not an innocent one... Coverage finds comfort in numbers; and reportage tends to cling to mainstream issues that everyone is focusing on. Like the structure of markets where competing shops selling the same wares tend to spring up in a single area rather than spread themselves out, media too finds security in aggregating sameness. As readers and viewers we can choose which channel to watch but in reality all channels seem to cover on the same events in pretty much the same way.
What we are seeing is in effect a tacit surrender of independent will to the presumed forces of packaging and marketing... we reveal our susceptibility to news that comes to us in a pre-packaged form... Even devastating tragedies need to come to us in a form that we can easily consume.
Continue reading... 13 Comments]
Knowable or consumable? [TNM]

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Andhra-Telangana chaos

[Andhra political chaos: 92 legislators, many MPs to quit
Times of India - Thursday, December 10, 2009
Mutiny or staged protest in Cong?
Cong finally gives in, Telangana on its way Daily Pioneer‎
Telangana shock: Andhra MLAs resign Amarnath K. Menon Hyderabad
A constitutional crisis looms large following the spate of resignations.
A hasty decision: TDP chief Telangana to become the 29th state]

Mother India, December 2009 arrived today which coincidentally features Sri Aurobindo's "On Linguistic Provinces" (Message to Andhra University, 1948) and related articles. [TNM]

Idealism & a commitment to a bigger something

[10 Dec 2009 Remembering Peter Drucker from The Big Picture by T T Ram Mohan
Drucker laid down the key principles of management some fifty years ago. They remain relevant because nobody bothers to practise them. And they are not practised because they do require an element of idealism, a commitment to a bigger something. That, alas, is not something you associate with business managers. I highlight some striking ideas of Drucker's in my ET column,
Peter Drucker lives on.]

Where management turns into yoga. [TNM]

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Monogamy and monism

[Psychologies of the East -- because of their blanket condemnation of the ego -- tend to be naive and mythological... Quacks in the Foundation of the West from One Cosmos by Gagdad Bob 8:50 AM
Nondualism and materialism share the commonality of being intrinsically monistic, whereas Christianity is intrinsically dualistic (and actually trinitarian, but we'll get to that later). In a way, nondualism is a mirror image of materialism, for neither has a place for the individual human soul as a truly real reality. Gastrocosmology and Theophagy: Eat, Drink, and be Mary from One Cosmos by Gagdad Bob 12:21 PM]

[Married (Happily) With Issues Elizabeth Weil NYTimes: December 1, 2009
Monogamy is one of the most basic concepts of modern marriage. It is also its most confounding. In psychoanalytic thought, the template for monogamy is forged in infancy, a baby with its mother. Marriage is considered to be a mainline back to this relationship, its direct heir... “So when we think about monogamy, we think about it as though we are still children and not adults as well,” Adam Phillips notes.

[Since history itself, in Vico's view, is the manifestation of Providence in the world, the transition from one stage to the next and the steady ascendance of reason over imagination represent a gradual progress of civilization, a qualitative improvement from simpler to more complex forms of social organization. Giambattista Vico (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)]

[Although not opposed to business, the major faith traditions have tried to counterbalance some of the abuses of capitalism. Eastern religions, such as Buddhism, by means of yoga and other disciplines, try to moderate the aggressive acquisitiveness of the human psyche. The three monotheistic faiths have inveighed against the injustice of unevenly distributed wealth -- a critique that speaks directly to the gap between rich and poor in our society. Integral Options Cafe: Karen Armstrong - Think Again: God By WH]

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Other worlds and inner domains

[Most Valuable Books of 2009 from Larval Subjects by larvalsubjects
For me 2009 has been one of those years in which everything changed, where all sorts of old assumptions and fixations dissipated like so much mist, and where I’ve found myself having to rebuild everything from the ground up. Building, of course, always requires materials out of which things must be built. Consequently, it is not so much that all of those old influences (phenomenology, Deleuze, structuralism, semiotics, Lacan, Freud, Marx, Kant, Spinoza, Lucretius, Hume, etc., etc.) disappeared, it is that my relationship to these forms of thought shifted and suddenly I was asking different questions, dealing with different problems, resituating what was important and unimportant in these earlier influences, while also abandoning a number of the problems that motivated these movements and thinkers... The most fundamental encounter of 2009 was certainly my encounter with Graham Harman.
11:52 AM]

[And the Zeitgeist right now favors figures such as Badiou, Zizek, Deleuze, Lacan, Laruelle, a bit of Malabou and Metzinger lapping at the edges, etc. I like much of this stuff too, but it also has weaknesses of its own, and people need to have the freedom to address those weaknesses without explosions from those who like them. on labels from Object-Oriented Philosophy by doctorzamalek 10:01 AM]

[Re: The Story of Creation--the Bright Persona
by paulette on Fri 04 Dec 2009 10:09 AM IST
Profile Permanent Link
The result of the BBC poll suggests that Marx's portrayal of the forces that govern our lives - and of the instability, alienation, and exploitation they produce — still resonates, and can still bring the world into focus. Far from being buried under the rubble of the Berlin Wall, he may only now be emerging in his true significance. For all the anguished, uncomprehending howls from the right-wing press, Karl Marx could yet become the most influential thinker of the 21st century.” Paulette Reply]

[Chapters two and three (The Two Negations) in Sri Aurobindo's THE LIFE DIVINE are excellent examples of why Idealism and Materialism are only partial truths. Joan 6:49 AM 10:01 AM]

[Re: LACMA 111909 - Debashish Banerji
by koantum on Fri 04 Dec 2009 09:54 PM PST
Profile Permanent Link
But should we deny that Sri Aurobindo is a greater power for widening this discourse than are Deleuze, Zizek, Lacan and their ilk just because we all are disgusted by the sectarian narrowness displayed by the Church of Aurobindianity?]

[Re: LACMA 111909 - Debashish Banerji
Debashish on Sat 05 Dec 2009 08:02 AM PST Profile Permanent Link
The western debate remains an aporia because there is no passage out of its contradiction in the Avidya. But there is an experiential way out as dealt with by Sri Aurobindo. To insert this into the discourse enlarges and extends its horizon. By introducing Sri Aurobindo into an unfamiliar terrain it also reconstellates and recontextualizes him. db]

If we leave aside The Record of Yoga, a personal journal where things were jotted down in a coded idiom, none of Sri Aurobindo's prose works lend to any mystification. His language is pretty rational and intelligible comparable to his contemporaries like Husserl, Heidegger, and Whitehead.

He talks about things unseen and unknown quite matter-of-factly and invites us to awake to those realities with the encouraging words that the unknown is not unknowable. Having said that, it would be honest to admit that I (and, I presume, most of us) have no conscious access to the other worlds and the inner domains that Sri Aurobindo has delineated.

No amount of languaging gymnastics, therefore, can redeem the situation and a quiet faith in the glory of The Mother & Sri Aurobindo is the only recourse. This may sound pessimistic and anti-intellectual, but the idea of grace restores cheer. [TNM]

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Sri Aurobindo, Heidegger, Husserl, and Latour

[But I happen not to share the great enthusiasm for the philosophy-of-mind turn in our midst, especially when it comes from people who make no end of unkind remarks about such figures as Husserl and Latour, who are both of far greater importance than the Zeitgeist tends to imagine. And the Zeitgeist right now favors figures such as Badiou, Zizek, Deleuze, Lacan, Laruelle, a bit of Malabou and Metzinger lapping at the edges, etc. I like much of this stuff too, but it also has weaknesses of its own, and people need to have the freedom to address those weaknesses without explosions from those who like them.
Conversations cannot be one-way streets. My biggest intellectual disappointments in recent years were with those who constantly dumped on Heidegger, Husserl, and Latour in my presence, while exploding with rage whenever I raised the least concerns about Badiou, the Churchlands, etc. The basic principle is that one can’t be touchy when throwing first stones.
on labels
from Object-Oriented Philosophy by doctorzamalek]

[Chapters two and three (The Two Negations) in Sri Aurobindo's THE LIFE DIVINE are excellent examples of why Idealism and Materialism are only partial truths. Joan 6:49 AM]

Fourfold: Sri Aurobindo and Heidegger, Husserl, and Latour. [TNM]

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Japan, Singapore, New Zealand, Luxembourg and Finland

[Japan, Finland among 5 nations cleared for visa-on-arrival in India
Indian Express, Thursday , Dec 03, 2009
- The government, it is learnt, has decided to clear the names of Japan, Singapore, New Zealand, Luxembourg and Finland as the countries whose nationals can fly in to India and obtain a visa at the airport. ... This is the first time that India is offering visa-on-arrival to any country. And it is making this offer completely unilaterally, junking a proposal that said New Delhi should offer this facility only to countries that were ready to reciprocate.]

Unilateral urge for human unity. [TNM]

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Promote the Savitri Era brand

[Front Page > writing on the wall: Raising our ambition ASHOK V. DESAI - To build a brand, India must be best in making some things The Telegraph December 1, 2009
Why did the Japanese government promote Nissan and Toyota, and not Honda? It was because it wanted to promote Japan as a brand, and wanted good cars to be a part of that brand. It did not simply want to promote Japan... Japan’s was an embarrassing brand; the Japanese government wanted the world to forget Japan as a warring country, and to recognize it as a manufacturer of the world’s best products.]
Let's work hard to promote the Savitri Era brand. [TNM]