November 08, 2006

Victorian-sounding Overmental prose

Reflections on THE IDEAL OF HUMAN UNITY By Debashish Banerji: "strategic essentialism" by Debashish on Thu 12 Oct 2006 11:48 PM PDT Permanent Link To my view, this is exactly what Sri Aurobindo does to the ideals and assumptions of the Enlightenment - appropriate them to the experiential praxis of a psychic and supramental integrality pushing towards the unification of psychology, culture and world through a "free inner variation and a freely varied outer self-expression." The assumptions that undergird his appropriation are rather those of the Indic discourse of darshan (ontological knowledge by identity) and a social neo-Vedantic evolutionism based on this.
The deceptive similarity between the evolution of Spirit in Matter proposed by Hegel and that of Sri Aurobindo is a similar case in point as is the notion of a "religion of humanity" when compared to Enlightenment Humanism (whose misguided rational charities Heidegger rejected calling himsef an anti-humanist). This I have tried to bring out in my relfections above, since Sri Aurobindo is anything but a liberal rationalist in his understanding of human unity. In a sense, yes, of course, Sri Aurobindo is speaking to those who are calling out to him with their own doxa, as a variety of Homi Bhabha's mimicry - the language of the "west", but "not quite/not white," his alienness perturbing subtly from below the surface the smooth texture of his Victorian-sounding Overmental prose.
What unites then is hardly a structure, a religion, a rational convention however encompassing, but rather the supra-human sources of integrality which culturally he has a right to assert both through his experience and through the Indic discourse within which equally if not more properly he situates himself and which he extends. Our hopes, dreams, ideals may be speculative nonsense masquerading as Truth and forcing themselves onto others through strategies of power which is why any foundationism is looked suspiciously upon by most anti-foundationist post-structural thinkers. But the discourse of darshan begins by asserting its non-speculative basis in supra-rational experience and a subjective objectivity. To situate Sri Aurobindo in a western discourse it is first necessary to take him on his terms, and he spells these out in the chapter "Methods of Vedantic Knowledge" in The Life Divine. This does not make it unaccountable to anything other than its own assertions of relative experience.

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