Peter Heehs provides a portrait of Sri Aurobindo that is certainly more complex than so many other accounts and narratives we have of him since his passing in 1950. Some of these read as if they were written in the voice of that much earlier time. This all too authorial disposition to adopt the rhetorical form of the Master, so to argue as if in “his” own voice are the beginning of orthodox accounts of his biography. However, to try to convey the striking original genius of Sri Aurobindo through a scholarship that is an eternal recurrence of the same, places one in an ironic situation. The result is that these accounts shed precious little light on the complex phenomena that was Sri Aurobindo's by reducing him to a merely religious figure.
More egregiously contemporary readings of his biography often suffer from misreadings of those with couched or explicit political agendas, on both the left and right, who collapse Sri Aurobindo's critical perspective of history, society, politics with its complex cross-cultural background and omni-dimensional cognitive referents into the merely one dimensional ideological frames from which they glimpse reality.
From what I have read of Peter's work his style seems fittingly current, and post-structurally critical in seeking to understand its subject from a variety of perspectives, personalities, modalities, enactments, embodiments. In short; with a vantage toward complexity. I have not seen this new work but the synopsis below leads me to believe that in probing the subtleties and nuances of the life-world of Aravinda Ghosh he is continuing to enrich our experience of reading Sri Aurobindo. rc more » Leave Comment Permanent Link Science, Culture and Integral Yoga
This sort of criticism could be directed at any number of contemporary theoretical constellations, whether we’re talking about Foucault’s difficulties in explaining how counter-power arises from power, difficulties among the “linguistic idealists” in explaining how it is possible to think anything new if we are products of language, Frankfurt school theorists who endlessly ape the questions “how could this be thought at such and such a particular time?” or self-reflexive questions about “how the critic is able to adopt a critical stances when that critic is itself embedded within the system?” and so on. These are problems that emerge specifically when the scenic element takes over as the overdetermining instance of motives or when scene is the ultimate explanans for everything else. Thus we say that agents are formed within scenes or situations (whether scene be understood as language, power, economics, social fields, etc), and that as products of scenes acts can only arise from scenes and return to scenes. Put differently, under this view it is impossible for an act to exceed the way in which it is structured by situations, for the act is a descendant of the scene just as the son is a descendant of the father (and is said to thereby share the father’s characteristics). 6:59 AM