Monday, July 25, 2011
Ethics and aesthetics in Integral Advaitism
Or else, as I prefer — following Whitehead as I understand him — we can invert the order of the Critiques so that the 3rd critique comes first — becoming, as Whitehead put it, a critique of feeling, which makes the other critiques unnecessary — that is to say, aesthetics precedes cognition — we affect and are affected by other things aesthetically before we cognize those other things, and even (or especially) when we cannot cognize them adequately.
We cannot *know* things in themselves, or things apart from their correlation with us; but we can, as Harman rightly suggests, allude to them, i.e. refer to them metaphorically or indirectly. And we can, as well, be aesthetically *moved* by them — indeed, this is the primordial mode of actual contact among entities (and in saying this, I am espousing a Whiteheadian version of SR which differs from Harman’s object-oriented ontology).]
Sri Aurobindo also assigns the locus of ethics and aesthetics in widely differing regions, but significantly, they are united at the source in his unique Integral Advaitism. Shaviro’s “aesthetics precedes cognition” thesis surely seems to be a perceptive portrayal, but conceiving a too rigid distinction between how the two domains reign over us can be a bit dicey. [TNM]