Friday, March 18, 2016

Debashish Banerji, Rod Hemsell, and Matthew David Segall

“Many who have read Sri Aurobindo have never read Nietzsche and acquire some preconceptions of what the Nietzschean Superman is all about. I’d encourage them to divest themselves of these ideas.” 

That was Debashish Banerji on Nietzsche in Mother India (March, 2004). I had no access to Internet then and his was a new name but it had hit me hard. More recently, a decade later, a comment by Casey that "Emerson is perhaps in fact Nietzsche’s most important influence" teased my ignorance strongly. Kundan Singh's portrayal of Nietzsche, therefore, should be taken with a pinch of salt, although it's more about his reception by some famous persons. If one would believe Rod Hemsell, instead, all ensues from Aristotle, as I discovered yesterday, and his tone is uncompromising:

"What I would like to point out today, definitively, is that this movement of evolutionary thinking originates with Plato and Aristotle. I could not have said this so definitively before today, so for me this process has been very fruitful. I have approached this project on the philosophy of evolution with the purpose of discovering something, and I have come to the conclusion that Aristotle’s thinking is not something that belongs to the past. It is something which has experienced many rebirths in the last 2400 years, and in the work of the philosophers we are considering, Sri Aurobindo, Heidegger, Whitehead, and others, Aristotelian thinking is still very much alive."

"What I have discovered in my study of Plato and Aristotle and various 20th Century as well as medieval interpreters is that there is an essential intuition of the relationship between spirit and matter that runs throughout this tradition. ... What unites these thinkers from Aristotle to Bergson and the others, can be called intuitionism. ... Now, what Sri Aurobindo does to put this Hindu conception into the context of Platonic/Aristotelian metaphysical thinking is this. ... I call this “extreme subjectivism”. (p. 326)" [PDF The Philosophy of Evolution: Auroville - Auro e-Books]

Amal Kiran's heroic response to the following accusation comes to mind, in this context.

"I hero worshipped Aurobindo in my college days; but now half a century later, I am terribly disappointed. His discussion of time and eternity is wholly derived from that of Boethius; Page after page in Life Divine is watered down Plotinus. -Krishna Chaitanya (K.K. Nair)" 12:55 AM 11:50 AM

But, then, a doubt lurks still; what about Heraclitus whom Sri Aurobindo has presented to us so elegantly? [TNM55] 

Draft of my dissertation: Cosmotheanthropic Imagination in the Post-Kantian Process Philosophy of Schelling and Whitehead - If anyone wants a PDF of my dissertation, shoot me an email at and I’ll send you a draft.

Publication of Altizer letters - Mike Grimshaw passes along the following announcement: On the 50th anniversary of the famous TIME Magazine “Is God Dead?” cover, Radical Theologies has pub... edited and with an introductory essay by Mike Grimshaw.
Drawn from more than 300 e-mail letters written to friends and colleagues, these epistles are a series of meditative essays and mini-essays on religious, theological, political, and philosophical matters that are central and vital to our contemporary era.
In these letters Altizer reminds us that theology, especially radical theology, is nothing less than a continual reflexive and critical yet celebratory engagement with all of life and its possibilities. Nothing is outside the scope of theology and theological discussion. But also, in these letters, Altizer provides a crucial reminder that to attempt to do theology, to attempt to think and write theologically, to attempt to enter an understanding of modern life through the death of God, demands a deep and wide engagement with the intellectual and cultural expressions of modern life, with all that has contributed to it.

Vatican Radio - adopted to honor and respect the sacrifice of more than 101 people who lost their lives during the anti-Christian massacres in 2007 and 2008 ... from Kandhamal district
The Conference of Bishops of Orissa has already appointed a special team of priests and researchers to document the incidents that caused the deaths of 101 Christians in Orissa.
Father Ajaya Kumar Singh, human rights activist and director of Odisha Forum for Social Action, lauded the OCBC decision of Martyrs Day. The local Catholic community in Orissa has welcomed the Bishops’ decision to celebrate the Day of the martyrs on August 30 with joy. (Source: Agenzia Fides, Matters India)

bhubaneswar Subhas Chandra Pattanayak
Under plutocratic intoxication mainstream authors of Orissa, who dazzle with awards and decorations, have thrown the splendid Oriya language into such distance from the people that the language has lost its relevance to almost all city dwellers and rural elites. These fellows, supposed to act leaders of Oriya language, are so busy in ingratiating themselves with the power that be for awards and further awards that...

Each one of us has a hierarchy of identities. National identity. Regional Identity. Religious identity Etc. Soon after independence the need of the day was to create a unifying National Identity and the government of the day dedicated a lot of resource in creating, sustaining and proliferating our National Identity.
This did not suit the agents of various religions and the RSS/MIM worked tirelessly to ensure that Religious Identity of their respective constituencies was promoted above our National Identity. We are witnessing the conflict no being waged on our streets.

Kundan Singh - Indology | 15-03-2016 Classless society of Marxism turned into State and Nation in the Fascist imagination where all differences among individuals were obliterated.
Given that I have compared the Indian left-wing thinking with the fragmentary and deceptive asuric forces, it is only a matter of time that an article or commentary comparing my writings with Fascism will appear. Therefore, it is imperative that we understand some characteristics of Fascism so that we educate ourselves regarding the nuances involved.
Fascism began by appropriating the denunciation of rationality and reason. It was a reaction against Enlightenment and Positivism. Very briefly, Enlightenment was the movement, which emerged at the culmination of Renaissance in Europe. It privileged science and reason, and held that the panacea of all ills facing humankind was through science and through pursuit of pure reason. Positivism is that aspect of science, which holds that only that phenomenon is real and worth investigating, which can be accessed through the five senses.
The Fascists appropriated the writings of some of the leading intellectuals of the age or preceding it for their purpose. The first and foremost thinker—and the most crucial one at that—which comes to my mind serving the fascist agenda was Nietzsche. Nietzsche’s anti-science stand is clear from his numerous aphorisms in the Gay Science. Critiquing that reason produces herd mentality, he attacked Enlightenment, favoring instinct over reason. Disputing Kant that it is through the use of pure reason on which we should base our morality, Nietzsche favored sound instinct for the pursuit of morals. In the scheme of Nietzsche, irrationality and instinct had the upper hand as opposed to rationality. ... On the surface, my discourse and Nietzche’s discourse will look the same but these similarities have the same connection that dharma swastika has with Nazi swastika: look the same superficially but completely inverted when one looks closely. ... It is time that the Left intellectuals in India inquire within, and stop yelling fascism the moment they encounter a scrutiny of their writings and ideology, particularly when it comes from the dharmic traditions.

7. Living Laboratories of the Life Divine by Debashish Banerji I would like to back up a little in time and consider the idea of the Superman as it makes its modern appearance in the utterance of Frederick Nietzsche. In many ways Nietzsche, as a philosopher, can be said to inaugurate the modern age. Modern philosophy, where it has been fruitful, has been largely an engagement with Nietzsche’s thought. Nietzsche is a controversial figure, a very complex figure. Complex because he received intuitions from above and uttered them in a new kind of way which challenged the metaphysical tradition. from Science, Culture and Integral Yoga by Debashish 
What is the post-human destiny to which we are called as humans in contemporary times? In this transcript of a talk given for the AUM conference in Los Angeles in 2003, Debashish Banerji compares Nietzsche's call for the Overman with that announced by Sri Aurobindo and the Mother to point to the similarities and differences. How can we pick our way through the maze of choices held up at this end-time of human becoming? Is it by remaining complacent or by using our wills or by surrender to a greater force than ours? And if so, what force - the vitalism of an unconscious Nature-force, the deceptive "universality" of the world market or an unpredictable future which calls our arduous attention? These and similar questions are posed and discussed in this article. 1:16 PM

Jun 19, 2008 - Debashish Banerji, by far the most erudite among the Sri Aurobindian scholars today, wrote a very perceptive essay on Nietzsche that was ... [The tension between Hegel and Nietzsche, or that between historicism and individual will is a constant and living dialog in Sri Aurobindo and it is this dialog which he is directing us towards. Unfortunately, humankind finds it more convenient to rest in belief systems which they can adulate and have no need to emulate. DB Re: 100 Years of Sri Aurobindo on Evolution: The Illusion of Human Progress and the Ideal of Human Unity (part 5 of 6) by Debashish on Fri 03 Apr 2009 12:19 PM PDT Profile Permanent Link 10:15 PM] 3:53 PM

May 30, 2014 - The Romance of Individualism in Emerson and Nietzsche Mikics, David, The Romance of .... Posted by Tusar Nath Mohapatra at 6:02 PM.

The Possibility of a Supramental Transformation of Consciousness - The physical-vital-mental framework of human consciousness creates tremendous barriers to the working of the spiritual principles from the higher planes of Sat-Chit-Ananda and the supramental “knowledge-plane” which mediates between them. The higher planes are active and control the action of the lower, but remain hidden behind the outer forms and forces of the material universe. One can see, for instance, the intense consciousness and energy hidden within the atomic structure of Matter; yet it does not appear on the surface. Spiritual endeavors have generally treated the higher ranges of consciousness as something “other than” what we experience here in the world of mind-life-matter, and this has led to the basic view that the life in this world must be abandoned in order to achieve the higher spiritual conscious existence. The transition from one status to the other is considered to be difficult.
Sri Aurobindo reminds us that existence is ONE and thus, all the planes of consciousness are active at all times, and are connected. This implies that it is both possible to contact the higher planes of consciousness and to eventually bring about a transformation based on their action into the world of Matter.
Sharad Deshpande - 2015 - ‎Philosophy - As Margaret Chatterjee points out, both Aurobindo and Nietzsche were Heracliteans and 'philosophers of the dawn.' They sought to infuse their philosophies ... 12:37 PM

March 18, 2016 - On 29 to 30th December 2015 Om Prakash Dani, Vice Chairman of SAFIM and Executive Committee member of Sri Aurobindo Society delivered Valedictory Address at the 2 days’ Annual Conference of Justice K S Hegde Institute of Management, Nitte, Udupi, Karnataka on the theme ‘Ethics and Governance in Management' which was attended by around 200 students and faculty members . Earlier on 29th December he also presented a paper on the subject ‘Governance by Consciousness' . 

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