November 08, 2006

Self-stimulating irrelevance

Re: Reflections on THE IDEAL OF HUMAN UNITY By Debashish Banerji by Rod on Mon 23 Oct 2006 08:46 PM PDT Permanent Link I'm reluctantly taking the bait. And here I go: Concepts like “the interpellation of the subject” and “the structure of the social field” do not adequately describe the discourse of Sri Aurobindo. Nor do the concepts of individual discourse being merely an intersection of social and cultural streams of doxa, or of intellectual formulations being necessarily preceded by perceptions. The question as to whether Sri Aurobindo’s discourse “fits into post-structuralist discourse” is simply not a question, it’s a mistaken and confused stab at making some kind of sense out of incommensurables.
Post-structuralism is a description of texts, and as such can be applied to a kind of analysis of SA’s texts, as to anyone else’s. Phenomenology is a theory of mental processes of thought and speech, and as such may be applied to the phenomena of spiritual consciousness such as that which features prominently in the writing of Sri Aurobindo. But he does not thereby become a post-structuralist or a phenomenologist, and his statements do not thereby become more meaningful or valid. Why should he “fit” into either of those categories of understanding or discourse? Does he need some form of cross-cultural doxa to validate his statements and contextualize his views? Any half-baked amateur of ideas can waste time trying to tie the wagging tails of such imaginary animals together. But that doesn’t make either good sense or decent scholarship. It’s just a form of self-stimulating irrelevance.

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