November 08, 2006

"Religion" is not a stigma on the teaching

Comments on "Reflections on Sri Aurobindo's THE IDEAL OF HUMAN UNITY" (cont.) by Rich on Sun 29 Oct 2006 09:25 AM PST Profile Permanent Link
RH: A philosophy requiring practice is very natural, even inevitable, for it to take on all the characteristics of a religion, which in fact it has already done?
RC: And certainly given its centering within the Indic Habitus whose doxa tends to deify, Sri Aurobindo would be especially prone to this type of religiosity.
RH: Why should we take this inevitability as a harmful stigma? Do we think postmodernism should have the last word?
RC: The search for this (post-post-modern) word is where this whole train of conversation is going and I like the under erasure idea. But where goes the ash after the last ember is annihilated by fire? What is the “One Word” which can be uttered after the play of differance? Or is it to the enveloping hush which we must turn for our praxis to emerge?
by Debashish on Sun 29 Oct 2006 08:29 PM PST Profile Permanent Link
It is true that Sri Aurobindo has used the term "religion" in certain texts to describe his endeavor as in the example from the Arya or in the very chapter heading "The Religion of Humanity" where he is appropriating/revising the "foundations" of the Enlightenment ideal of Humanism. At the same time, it is also true that he (and more so the Mother) have been explicit about the undesirability of turning their teaching "into a religion." This points ot an "aporia" in the cultural psychology of the term "religion", a Janus-faced knot, which some of the instruments in the archive of "postmodernism" or "postcolonialism" can help to articulate (as you have pointed out yourself in your following comment). The fact that "both this teaching requires existential experience to be meaningful and also that it is very natural, even inevitable, for it to take on all the characteristics of a religion" is not a stigma on the teaching but on its illegitmate social and psychological uses which also critical enquiry can help to illumine.

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