Friday, January 29, 2010

No Harman, the human is special

[Graham Harman: Freud always claimed that psychoanalysis was the third affront to human dignity in modern times. Copernicus moved the earth out of the center of the universe. Darwin made us no more special than animals, plants, and fungi. And Freud made conscious thought derivative of less palatable underground currents in the psyche. As a fourth supposed affront to the dignity of humans, let’s add the notion to which you just referred: that the human is not metaphysically special either]

The human, says Sri Aurobindo, is surely special. [TNM]

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Mother and Sri Aurobindo have paved the way for an epochal synthesis

India today is the result of a continuous evolution over 6000 years. Ontological wisdom braided with ethical values have directed the course of life and conflicts upon this vast geographical expanse some of which have since been enshrined in The Directive Principles of State Policy‎ and other provisions of our Constitution adopted 60 years ago.

Never before in the history of the world was India as confident as it is at present. The cultural capital and the soft power that lubricates our hard bargaining in international fora are of immense worth. The whole ethos, like it or not, flows from the Vedas, arguably the most ancient words of wisdom. Many branches of the world civilization are fecund by suckling its insights and discernment.    

India, therefore, can’t take a break from its engrossment with light and knowledge. This is a sure way of insulation from slipping into indulging in the grosser aspects of life, alone. The Mother & Sri Aurobindo have paved the way for an epochal synthesis. The one task before us is to ask ourselves periodically: How to be true to The Mother. [TNM] 

Boo Columbia

This one's no help.December 16, 2009
By       Rod Smith (Washington, DC United States) - See all my reviews  
This is a boringly schematic attempt at reading an incredibly subtle thinker. If you don't know Derrida, you will not find him in these pages. If you do know Derrida, you won't be interested in this book. Boo Yale for putting this out as useful scholarship. Permalink] 

This sums up the reactions of a large section of the readers of The Lives of Sri Aurobindo quite closely. [TNM] 

Friday, January 22, 2010

210 - 2010

[Kierkegaard taught me to be wary of systems, especially (in Kierkegaard’s case) “Hegelian” systems (although I am not certain that Hegel himself was a “Hegelian”). Influential Books: AUFS For the Uninitiated 5
from An und für sich by Thomas J Bridges]
[Despite the valiant effort of Harman to crown Latour with the crown of philosopher– a philosopher, no less, capable of sustaining us for the next 100 years – we suspect that Latour the philosopher is more Harman’s creation than the work of Latour. This is a compliment to Harman’s creativity and humility. Moreover, Harman himself senses that perhaps there is something problematic in this thesis and that it is necessary to distinguish between those relations that are genuinely “object-generative” and those relations, as the tradition would say, that are merely “external”.
Nonetheless, in the radicality of this thesis a new space is opened for ethical, political, and aesthetic deliberation for we can no longer be sure of what we are saying when we refer to the human…
The point is that the smooth divisions that would allow us to distinguish domains of facts and values now, with Latour’s thesis, break down. And as a consequence, the domain of the axiological finds that it overflows the dikes and dams that previously, though illusorily, hemmed it in to an ideological space where some alleged entity called the human was able to decree all value. Yet all of this must be rigorously posed, articulated, at theontological level to even begin formulating these axiological questions. Inhuman Ethics
from Larval Subjects by larvalsubjects]

Plotinus must have started thinking about the same cosmological questions in 210 what Levi and Harman, the twin towers of philosophy blogosphere, are wrestling with in a friendly tournament in 2010. The intervening 18 centuries, it seems, have solved nothing. [TNM]

Blogs challenge behemoths

 [Supreme Court has now granted corporations the freedom to use unlimited money to support and oppose candidates and legislation of their choice…
With the rise of the multi-national corporation the nation-state has increasingly become an endangered species as these institutions are fluid and porous, being tied to no particular geography, and therefore becoming sovereign entities in their own right…
Perhaps instead of being citizens tied to a geography we will instead become share holders, members, or workers of corporations that form a new type of politics that we can scarcely imagine or understand within the framework of our current traditions and assumptions and where political conflict becomes some strange conflict among corporate entities attempting to maximize their share of the market and the resources…
Most fundamentally, however, when such powerful and wealthy groups control the flow of information, what gets heard, are capable of drowning everything else, or, at the very least, are capable of making us believe that all information is already contaminated and false, representing some disguised nefarious interest such that we can trust nothing, are capable of criminalizing forms of organization like unions, and when they control governmental representation, how is it possible to fight back in any meaningful way. Talk Me Off the Ledge from Larval Subjects by larvalsubjects]

[But here’s my question: is the Internet losing its sense of being a reflection of the views of society at large? Are many of those who blog and tweet (and I don’t just mean those sad losers who escape from their pathetic little lives by spending hours abusing other people on the net) beginning to believe that they constitute a secondary elite?
Thus, we have a bizarre situation where traditional media are criticized for fulfilling their role of appealing to mass audiences on the grounds that the programming does not appeal to a tiny minority on the Internet (and compared to TV audiences or newspaper readerships, the blogging elite is really tiny). Vir Sanghvi, HT HOME, BLOGS HOME]

Tiny blogs, nevertheless, will continue to challenge behemoths of all kind. [TNM]

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Vāsānsi jīrnāni yathā vihāya

[a disagreement with Gratton by doctorzamalek (Graham Harman)
Gratton with a defense of postmodernism:
Stupid postmodernists. If only they used the word network or assemblage instead of ‘text.’”]
[finite shirts from Object-Oriented Philosophy by doctorzamalek (Graham Harman)
And then I started wondering how many times you can wear a typical item of clothing before it wears out… If I wore that shirt once per week, and there are maybe 12-15 cold weeks in a year where the shirt was wearable, and it was right around a decade… There’s an obvious philosophy angle on this question, as you will know if you have reread Plato’s Phaedo any time recently. One of Socrates’s arguments for the immortality of the soul (one of his weakest) is countered by an argument about clothing wearing out.]

Harman’s musing over his shirt (vicariously, text) opens a welcome path to the real focus of ontology. Sri Aurobindo’s ambitious The Problem of Rebirth remains inconclusive and needs debate. [TNM]  

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Sri Aurobindian food for thought

January 13, 2009 Some quick awards from my previous travels…
Favorite Country= INDIA
Favorite Airline= JET (THE ONE IN INDIA)
Best Food= INDIA]

[The cuisine of India is a bit like Hegel where philosophy is concerned: incredibly sophisticated, nuanced, and unfolding simultaneously on a variety of different levels. You could spend a lifetime studying it and still never exhaust or master it. What’s for Dinner? fromLarval Subjects by larvalsubjects]

Sri Aurobindian Ontology can be good food for thought too. [TNM]

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Rights of an unborn child

The Metro on the first day offered a prince's ride, and NSD on BRM opening day is decked up like a bride. A delightful musical on Mohan Upreti and then a sterling solo by Neeta MohindraAju Mukhopadhyay's Mother of All Beings in a Marxist stall outside was a pleasant surprise. [TNM]

Destiny of a sadhak

Mother India informs that Jugal Kishore Mukherjee passed away last month. It is surprising that there is no alert over the Internet, let alone a customary tribute. [TNM]

Restriction imposed on the freedom of speech and expression

Calcutta Telegraph - (PTI): Every religion is “open to criticism” but malicious writing aimed at promoting communal hatred is not permissible, Bombay High Court ruled today. ...
Indian Express Thursday , Jan 07, 2010 - However, if a book reeks of hatred for a particular community, if it contains rabid material and there appears to be no sincere handling of the subject but a malafide exercise to stir communal passions, one must pause and consider whether it is in the interest of general public to allow its circulation. In such a situation, the restriction imposed on the freedom of speech and expression by the Constitution must spring into action, the court observed.
“According to us, the lurid details allegedly of Mohammad Paigambar’s life, the authenticity of which may be challenged by some, could have been avoided by the author,” the judges held. The court observed that it is difficult to hold that the alleged details of Mohammad Paigambar’s personal life are based on any folklore or history. It is not possible for us to conclude that they are in the nature of historical research, they said.
“We feel that the attempt is to show Mohammad Paigambar in poor light to hurt Muslim sentiments,” the judges said. They added that the author’s interpretation may not necessarily be correct and observed that the criticism is not academic.]

Looks like Heehs’ book slapped with an identical verdict. [TNM]

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Any lunatic or deluded fool can rant and rave

A series of critical comments have been made by a very well-read Dr. Truth/Dr. Truth-Consciousness ( Cox Communications United States Las Vegas, Nevada, United States) at The Mother's Lasso anonymously. His location, however, should be pointer to his mood. [TNM]  

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Hybridisation, gospelisation, & discoization

This elegantly produced pot-pourri has some interesting observations as regards the Akshardham Cultural Complex (ACC), such as "Temples as Spiritual and Humanitarian Hospitals" and examines questions like "Is the ACC a theme park or a 'real' pilgrimage site?"

Many of the remarks would apply to Sri Aurobindo Ashram and Centers as well. [TNM]

Monday, January 04, 2010

Sri Aurobindo escapes the attention of scholars in India today

[WSN-Special Report-Unite The Million Mutinies

The wily British recognised the divisive potential of Brahamanism and its utility in keeping the masses submissive and easily amenable to exploitation.  The identification of the interests of the local and foreign elites allowed for easy collusion between Brahamanism and colonialism--an area yet to be fully understood and articulated. (One contemporary work, Debrahamanising History, by Braj Ranjan Mani, published by Manohar, India, 2005, attempted to do exactly that with considerable success but what we need is several such works). Kalam Nishan Singh (The author can be contacted at 9 July, 2008]

[Ranged against caste and Brahmanism, this rational liberating tradition is to be found in the heterodoxies of various inclinations, particularly Buddhism, the movement of subaltern saint-poets, Sufism and Sikhism. 
This legacy was carried forward in modern India by, more than anybody else, Phule, Iyothee Thass, Narayana Guru, Periyar, and Ambedkar. Recognising the power of the culture in the politics of transformation, they had emancipatory visions that embraced the whole of Indian experience, and stand firmly as an alternative to Tilak-Savarkrite, Gandhian, and Nehruvian visions. Description 

This book caught my attention at the SAHMAT carnival the other day. It has several references to Sri Aurobindo but not very laudatory. It is a matter of regret that most of the scholars in India today are unable to view Sri Aurobindo without their ideological lenses. [TNM]

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Continuum-discrete conundrum

By longsword 
In any case, I feel that TDAB has already served its purpose and that it's time for me to begin moving beyond its basic themes. This trend was becoming clear to me in the last few months as the blog, and myself, began delving into relatively new areas. Perhaps triggered by my discovery of Rumi's poetry, and the writings of A.H. Almaas and Sri Aurobindo, I feel the need to spend some time integrating these relatively new discoveries into my ongoing work on Blake, Gebser, Nietzsche and the possible emergence of Seth's "Probable Man" (inclusive of "Probable Woman") as a being akin to, but also well beyond, what the writer Pico Iyer once called "the Global Soul".]
[Rorty and the Need to Tweak by 
The link between Rorty and non-dual mysticism – the Tao, Buddhist emptiness, Advaita Vedanta, negative theology - is that he’s continually trying to convince us that there is nothing to hold onto. There’s no It. No way in which It really is. No essence. That our words, vocabularies, concepts, or the assumption we have about them, keeps fooling us into thinking we can grasp how things are if we get our words to work, our understandings to cohere... Rorty is the only philosopher I’ve kept reading over the years and yet I he keeps doing the same thing just in different ways. 
from philosophy autobiography[I think it’s a terrible mistake to lump Whitehead and Latour together with Bergson and Deleuze, as if they all belonged to some grand vitalist alliance of contemporary philosophy. They don’t. For there is a major philosophical difference between those who solve the deadlock in favor of the continuum, and those who solve it in favor of the discrete, and Whitehead and Latour (both heirs of occasionalism) resolve it in favor of the discrete. part 1 of 2 to Deontologistics
by Cosmic Piper  
It would do your slimily evolved brains a great deal of good to read philosophers such as Plato, Plotinus, St. Thomas Aquinas, George Berkeley, Hegel, Berdyaev, Sri Aurobindo and Alfred North Whitehead, all of whom explained G*d in ways ...]

Reducing the game of chasing ontology to a mere Manichean probability of wave-particle duality would be a violence to the complex nuances of sequence of moves by chess pieces. [TNM]

Greed did not lead to well-being

["Investors should be skeptical of history-based models. Constructed by a nerdy-sounding priesthood using esoteric terms such as beta, gamma, sigma and the like, these models tend to look impressive. Too often, though, investors forget to examine the assumptions behind the symbols. Our advice: Beware of geeks bearing formulas."]
[Also blissfully ignored, he wrote, were the perils of relying on mathematical models devised without worst-case situations in mind. Too often, he wrote, Americans have been enamoured of "a nerdy-sounding priesthood, using esoteric terms such as beta, gamma, sigma and the like".
Some scepticism about these models is overdue, he added. "Our advice: beware of geeks bearing formulas." Home » Business » Article
David Segal, New York March 1, 2009 New York Times all 1,584 news articles  1:15 PM]
[by Gavin Kennedy
Joseph Stiglitz (an Economics Nobel laureate and university professor at Columbia University. Author of: "Globalization and Its Discontents” and “The Roaring Nineties. His latest book, Freefall, will be published in January ) writes (31 December) in China Daily HERE: and HERE 
“Harsh lessons we may need to learn again”
“The best that can be said for 2009 is that it could have been worse, that we pulled back from the precipice on which we seemed to be perched in late 2008, and that 2010 will almost surely be better for most countries around the world. The world has also learned some valuable lessons, though at great cost both to current and future prosperity - costs that were unnecessarily high given that we should already have learned them.
The first lesson is that markets are not self-correcting. Indeed, without adequate regulation, they are prone to excess. In 2009, we again saw why Adam Smith's invisible hand often appeared invisible: it is not there. The bankers' pursuit of self-interest (greed) did not lead to the well-being of society; it did not even serve their shareholders and bondholders well. It certainly did not serve homeowners who are losing their homes, workers who have lost their jobs, retirees who have seen their retirement funds vanish, or taxpayers who paid hundreds of billions of dollars to bail out the banks”.]
2010 arrives after plenty of lessons learnt, and mankind, hopefully, will march with more mature steps. [TNM]