Monday, April 25, 2016

Sri Aurobindo as a bold thinker

Politics is about power; that's the common conception. But politics also concerns knowledge as Sri Aurobindo has proved through his writings. His very first paragraph in The Life Divine pulls the rug out from under the feet of the then formidable "God is dead" thesis, so effortlessly. Similarly, one would imagine that Sri Aurobindo is writing commentaries on the Veda and Upanishads to popularise them but, in effect, he is subverting the age old foundations of the Hindu religion. The more one reads Sri Aurobindo's works, the more one is converted. And that is the reason why our learned Nehruvians and Marxists as well as the Hindutva votaries dread him so severely and keep him out of the University syllabus and political discourse.

However, Internet has turned the tables on them and Savitri Era Party has been able to bring awareness to lots of people who, otherwise, would not have been able to know about the significance of Sri Aurobindo's works. As education spreads and communication expands, the Evolutionary agenda of The Mother & Sri Aurobindo will find takers spontaneously among the youth. And then the edifices of the present day parties will begin to crumble irrevocably. [TNM55]

blogs.timesofindia Sagarika Ghose in Bloody Mary
Apr 1, 2015 - Why Yogendra Yadav will always lose out to Arvind Kejriwal ... Yadav is the Karl Marx to Kejriwal's Lenin, the difference being that Marx was .... Yet every political party whether Samajwadi Party and Ram Manohar Lohia or the original Janata Party and Jayaprakash Narayan, requires a bhishma pitamaha, an intellectual ancestor, who becomes the party’s moral voice. It’s a tragedy that with the departure of Yogendra Yadav, AAP has lost its Bhishma. But perhaps Yadav and Bhushan’s mistake was to believe that their formidable cerebral attainments would give them a natural pre-eminence in a system which shuns thinkers and instead gravitates towards those with a mass connect, where, whether we like it or not, winner takes all. As they say in the Hindi belt, Jo Jeeta Wahi Sikandar.

2. An excerpt from Michel Danino’s book “Indian Culture and India’s Future”.
Voltaire, one of the first to expose the countless inconsistencies in the Bible, could hardly disguise how it filled him with “horror and indignation at every page”. In particular, he found the plethora of laws dictated by Jehovah “barbaric and ridiculous”. The U.S. revolutionary leader and thinker Thomas Paine wrote of the Old Testament in this Age of Reason:
"Whenever we read the obscene stories, the voluptuous debaucheries, the cruel and torturous executions, the unrelenting vindictiveness with which more than half the Bible is filled, it would be more consistent that we called it the word of a demon that the word of God. It is a history of wickedness, that has served to corrupt and brutalize mankind; and, for my own part, I sincerely detest it, as I detest everything that is cruel."
With the growth of materialistic science, in particular Darwinian evolution, such views which were revolutionary at the time of Voltaire, became widespread. Bernard Shaw, for example, described the Bible god as “a thundering, earthquaking, famine striking, pestilence launching, blinding, deafening, killing, destructively omnipotent Bogey Man.” Elizabeth Cady Stanton, the courageous U.S. pioneer of woman rights movement, wrote in 1898, “Surely the writers [of the Old Testament] had a very low idea of the nature of their God. They make Him not only anthropomorphic, but of the very lowest type, jealous and revengeful, loving violence rather than mercy. I know of no other books which so fully teach the subjection and degradation of woman.” Mark Twain put it in his own way: 
“Our Bible reveals to us the character of our god with minute and remorseless exactness. The portrait is substantially that of a man – if one can imagine a man charged and overcharged with evil impulses far beyond the human limit… It is perhaps the most damnatory biography that exists in print anywhere. It makes Nero an angel of light and leading by contrast.” 
On another occasion he added, “It ain’t the parts of the Bible that I can’t understand that bother me, it is the parts that I do understand.” Freud, seeing in Jehovah an all too human creation, subjected him to psychoanalysis – a dream of a subject for a psychoanalyst. Aldous Huxley called the Old Testament “a treasure trove of barbarous stupidity [full of] justifications for every crime and folly.” In fact, Huxley traced the “wholesale massacres” perpetrated by Christianity to Jehovah’s “wrathful, jealous, vindictive character, just as he attributed “the wholesale slaughter” of Buddhists and Hindus by invading Muslims to their devotion for a “despotic person”. Albert Einstein said, “I cannot imagine a God who rewards and punishes the objects of his creation, whose purposes are modeled after our own – a God, in short, who is but a reflection of human frailty.”
Because a few intellectuals had the courage to state the obvious, the power of Christianity was greatly reduced in the West. Yet I have always marveled that Indians should learn about Christianity neither from those bold Western thinkers nor from their own inquiry, but from bigots who continue to pretend that the Age of Enlightenment never happened. Posted at 3:11 PM

3. Defender of the Faith? The Times Magazine By MARK EDMUNDSON NYT: September 9, 2007
Though Freud hoped that mankind would pass beyond religion, he surely took inspiration from the story of Moses, a figure with whom he had been fascinated for many years. (He published his first essay on the prophet in 1914.) Freud wanted to lead people, and he wanted to make conceptual innovations that had staying power and strength: for this there could be no higher exemplar than the prophet.
“Moses and Monotheism” indicates that Freud, irreligious as he was, could still find inspiration in a religious figure. Something similar was true about Freud’s predecessor, Nietzsche. Nietzsche is famous for detesting Christianity, and by and large he did. But he did not detest Jesus Christ — whose spontaneity, toughness and freedom of spirit he aspired to emulate. “There has been only one Christian,” he once said, one person who truly lived up to the standards of the Gospel, “and he died on the cross.” [...]
Schopenhauer, Nietzsche and Freud were all at times able to recognize religion as being what Harold Bloom has wisely called it: not the opium of the people but the poetry of the people. They read Scripture as though it were poetry, and they learned from it accordingly. Mark Edmundson teaches English at the University of Virginia. His book “The Death of Sigmund Freud: The Legacy of His Last Days” is being published this month. Posted at 8:55 AM

4. Two Atheist Philosophers Feuerbach and Schopenhauer
The Preface will make a brief mention of two important atheist philosophers. They did not belong to a particular school and stand on their own, although their influence on other philosophers was significant. 
Ludwig Feuerbach (1804-1872) - Feuerbach was infamous in his time for his attack on Christianity in The Essence of Christianity (1837) and his Lectures on the Essence of Religion (1848.) In Essence of Christianity he argued that the beliefs of the Christian faith are anthropology turned into religion. He maintained that unconscious processes try to overcome contradictory elements within the self by projection. All the unrealized projection of ourselves into an imaginary, non-human god resolves our difficulty without the daunting task of improving ourselves and other human beings. Essence of Religion took a slightly new direction. Feuerbach added to his original theory by stating that religions are also based on a desire of people to exceed the limits of life which are based in nature. That is why people believe in miraculous concepts and a god independent of limits. Feuerbach was very influential in the 19th Century and is an interesting philosopher for readers of atheistic literature.
Arthur Schopenhauer (1788- 1860) - Schopenhauer was an atheist who was influenced by Buddhist and Indian philosophy. He believed in the reality of the world, but thought that people’s view of it was illusory. His philosophy is contained in his magnum opus, The World as Will and Representation. He maintained that behind the world and managing it was a force he called “The Will.” The will drove people and all of nature to “mate,” “breed,” and “die.” People attempt to maintain the illusion that their life has meaning, but their movement from one desire to another is the basis of their motivation. The way out of this unsatisfactory state of being is either through art, aesthetic pleasure, contemplation, or ascetic self denial. Schopenhauer had a significant influence on Nietzsche (see Existentialism) and on Ludwig Wittgenstein and Karl Popper, 20th Century philosophers.
Brayton Polka - 2014 - ‎ReligionSchopenhauer, together with Feuerbach, whose ideas I shall discuss as a preface to Schopenhauer, who both precedes and succeeds him, undertakes to ... the radical optimist (as Schopenhauer would surely have viewed Feuerbach) who ...

India Today- Monday, April 25, 2016 
"Dance is a profession. If it is obscene, then it loses its legal sanctity. Govt regulatory measures can't be prohibitory," the Supreme Court told Maharashtra government. "It is better for women to perform in dance bars and earn than begging on streets or indulging in unacceptable activities," the top court added.

The Hindu, April 22, 2016 SUNIL KOTHARI - Championing the cause of much neglected performing arts of Ganjam District of Southern Odisha, the renowned painter, research scholar, author Dinanath Pathy joining hands with Malaysia’s artistic icon Ramli Ibrahim, through Sutra Foundation ...

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