Saturday, October 27, 2012

Ilion along the Bay of Bengal

Sri Aurobindo builds, but also breaks; synthesizes, but also demolishes. His painstaking attempt in metaphysical system-building and writing elaborate commentaries on ancient philosophical texts is incomparable but he also has a lurking mistrust for pure knowledge and has turned the whole corpus of prevailing motivational theories upside down. By affirming “Nothing can be taught” he throws a bombshell at the normal notions of human cognition and stretches subjectivity to unimagined heights and depths. Man’s proclivity for empiricism sustained a permanent injury when Sri Aurobindo lobbed his “Logic of the Infinite” by exempting all supra-physical phenomena from submitting to scrutiny by the senses. Philosophy will always be indebted to him for the methodological breakthroughs that he has fruitfully introduced so authoritatively.

One must strut through the alien terrain of his Ilion where he recreates Homer to get a feel of what he characterizes as “Knowledge by identity.” The “Ladder of consciousness” in Savitri, similarly, imparts such an intimate sense of reality that one shudders to call them fictional. The very combination of a poet and a philosopher in him is indeed a rare occurrence. But what takes the cake is his enviable third quality of being an astute critic. [TNM55] 

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