August 23, 2009

University of Human Unity classes by Vladimir and Rod Hemsell

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August 18, 2009

Divine determinism is rooted not in past time but in perpetual time

Re: 100 Years of Sri Aurobindo on Evolution: Anticipating Science and Society (part 3 of 6)
by Debashish on Tue 24 Mar 2009 12:55 AM PDT Profile Permanent Link

Just as contingency, symbiosis, synergy, punctuated equilibrium, complexity can help to open up an understanding of physical evolution in a direction which prioritizes plurality and co-existence and distances itself from the singlular necessity of an algorithmic Darwinism, cultural processes perhaps need to be brought into the orbit of explanation systems which provide alternatives to evolutionary progressivisms, whether of social Darwinism with its theories of econimic competition and eugenics or of selfish cultural genes (memes).

In this domain also, historical contingency (historicity instead of historicism) can be invoked but, if one is to bring this in relation to Sri Aurobindo's teleology and theory of collective progress, some special selective filters may be necessary if we are not to reduce contingency to accident. The notion, introduced in your previous segment, of contingency as play, lila, was undoubtedly very stimulating and reminded me of a sentence by Sri Aurobindo (I have forgotten the source and would be grateful for its reference) to the effect that the divine determinism is rooted not in past time but in perpetual time. A determinism rooted in perpetual time is a paradox, one may also read it as a determinism rooted in present time, understanding present as eternal presence. This is identical with contingency or immediacy of play, deteminism as perfect collective improvization, lila (aka jazz).

The other dimension that I have pondered on in this explanation is the element of group soul or nation soul that he invokes (analogous to the effect of psychic being on human evolution). This invisible action on visible history is again outside the scope of physical descriptions, though it must leave its traces in the visible, unless we deliberately eschew its possibility for fear of a false subjectivism. This fear is very real and cannot be over-estimated and still very much with us in spite of two World Wars and the Lord of the Nations.

But looking back at the cultural history of a people is to discover extraordinary moments when the contingent has offered opportunities for the emergence of a message and individual creativity has modulated itself to the opportunity. If one is fair minded about such cultural moments in the historical archive and not invested in ideological historicism, some intuition of continuities and ruptures of a being with a nameless yet distinct identity seems to emerge. The seemingly accidental cultural choices of a people under similar contingent pressures can provide a description of invisible agency without banalizing it with a name. In my own explorations into cultural history, I have found this to be of continuing and abiding interest. DB Reply

by Debashish on Wed 25 Mar 2009 03:49 PM PDT Profile Permanent Link
I have referenced the work of Dipesh Chakrabarty. According to him, cultural history conditions experience. Contingency offers a palimpsest of ontological possibilties which the creative agent evokes and which instrumentalize the creative agent in the negotiations of culture.

In my own work as a cultural historian, I have identified a number of agents in the "field of cultural production" (Bourdieu's phrase). These include the sponsor/patron, the user (if the cultural message is coded into a materially or socially utilitarian medium), agents of cultural tradition, agents of ideology and creative agents. Of these, the agents of cultural tradition and of ideology canonize and transmit forms of taste, perception and ontic possibility which represent continuities.

However, none of these are without contestation. Struggles of power among each of these agents (and within their variants) mark every cultural product. What is of interest is not merely to see what persists but what and how it is ruptured, modified, transformed or substituted. As with the individual, purusha takes up mental-vital-physical prakritis with their characteritsics and expressions but breaks and replaces them from life to life. In each life, one may speak of a development of persistent characteritstics over a certain period of time, but from life to life (or even within a life), to talk of such development may be irrelevant.

I see the ruptures of India, for example the destructions of Islam or of modernity to be as much the life of the nation soul as its iconic persistences. All prakritic development and change continues to co-exist in the ontological possibilties of any time. Purusha's evolution is less visible than these; it voices its specific questions and its movement towards integral answers only sporadically and as works of experiment, always in the making. DB Reply

by Debashish on Wed 25 Mar 2009 04:18 PM PDT Profile Permanent Link
The gradation between prakriti and purusha should also be more carefully resolved if one is to study progress/evolution in a cultural sense. Prakritic expressions such as tastes, traits, forms and practices have subtler realties behind them such as ideologemes and philosophemes which have greater lasting and mutating power through cultural change, transformation or hybridity. Persistent ideologemes and philosophemes withn a habitus should also not be taken for granted but can yield fruitful hypotheses in studying the invisible orientations of creative choice in acts of cultural contingency. What these may say about purusha and its evolution can hardly be definitively stated in any case, but can provide a "sixth sense" for swabhava. DB Reply

August 15, 2009

Sri Aurobindo’s conceptions of consciousness, life, and evolution

AntiMatters New Issue Released
by koantum on Fri 14 Aug 2009 06:26 PM PDT Permanent Link
Introduction to the Current (9th) Issue Science, Culture and Integral Yoga

How does consciousness arise in matter? While much ink (and toner) has been more or less unproductively spent on attempts to answer this question, rarely (if ever) has it been addressed in its proper context, as a question about the natural history of consciousness. Most of the time (if not always) the physics, chemistry, or neuroscience deemed relevant is taken for granted, and the question that is actually addressed is: how does consciousness arise ahistorically from the material matrix described by these sciences.

In her outstanding essay “Consciousness: A Natural History,” Maxine Sheets-Johnstone presents reasons for thinking the question in this ahistorical form spurious; genuine understanding of consciousness demands close and serious study of evolution as a history of animate form. She pours well-deserved scorn on D.C. Dennett, who is loath to find consciousness in any creature that does not speak and therefore lacks a “center of narrative gravity.” (His answer to the question of whether deaf-mutes are conscious: “Of course they are — but let’s not jump to extravagant conclusions about their consciousness, out of misguided sympathy.”) The question Dennett does not ask himself is how human language itself arose.

August 14, 2009

Our modern search for the Truth and the Good is really a replacement for the pre-modern search for God

What is to Be Done?
from philosophy autobiography by Jeff Meyerhoff

The late Walter Kaufmann, a Nietzsche translator and philosopher, once wrote in a foreward to a volume of Nietzsche, that Nietzsche is the kind of writer who you can read all your life. You keep coming back to him at different phases of your life and he’s still relevant. There’s always more to get. It hasn’t turned out that way for me with Nietzsche, but just recently I picked up old essays by the philosopher Richard Rorty - someone I have gone back to and learned from over the last twenty years - and was still impressed. I learn new facets of a radically different perspective that I find attractive.

I like his framing of the idea that our modern search for the Truth and the Good is really a replacement for the pre-modern search for God. That we yearn so strongly for a non-human something to be answerable to – reality, the Truth, the world as it is, the Absolute – that we concoct these God replacements because we don’t want to admit that it’s really just us. We’re answerable to human others and that’s it. So that’s why Rorty poses the question “Solidarity or Objectivity?” and opts for solidarity. We can’t know what the world is like beyond our particular human cognizing and experiencing, but we can try to come to some agreement with, and solve the problems of, us humans.

May 29, 2007 The truth, Not The Truth: 3rd Installment
from philosophy autobiography by Jeff Meyerhoff

For years, even after having read Rorty’s critique of The Truth, I’ve always tried to make sure what I say is true by comparing it to The Truth. But I never seemed to be able to grasp The Truth. It was always just out of reach. Rorty is suggesting that this idea of The Truth (or The Good) serves the same role today as God did for previous generations. Foucault called it “the shimmering mirage of truth.” Instead of discovering what was true all along, we make what we call true - or best justified for now - in our interactions with others and the evaluation of each others beliefs.

There is no standard of perfect or absolute objectivity. Objectivity is determined case by case as people share their criterion of validity and agree or disagree that me or you have or have not met the criterion that we may or may not agree upon.

May 29, 2007 Rorty, Concepts and Things
from philosophy autobiography by Jeff Meyerhoff

Just learned that a fourth volume of Richard Rorty’s essays has been published. I’ve been reading him for over twenty years now and, despite the negative opinions of his work that you hear frequently from conventional philosophers, I find his characterizations of philosophy and contemporary thought illuminating and rarely in disagreement with what I’ve read.

One of Richard Rorty’s recent concerns is how we mistake concepts for things. Because we use concepts (which, we often forget, are words) like “mind,” “consciousness," “money,” in everyday life we mistakenly think that we can, by thinking about those concepts more rigorously, get at what the things they refer to really are, their essence. Because in everyday life we use the word “consciousness” for many practical purposes we mistakenly think that it is an objectively existing entity which has a definable essence we can grasp. We wonder and ask: What exactly is consciousness?

He’s saying that we are taking a concept that has arisen for practical social purposes and has a multiplicity of meanings – because a multiplicity of uses – and also a history of different meanings caused by different uses in different cultural contexts and mistaking it for identifying an objective entity which has a persisting nature or essence which we can pin down and, by so doing, capture an aspect of reality.

Yet, it’s objected, this thing called “consciousness” seems so palpable, present, intimate, right here. And so it is, but the movement from the experiencing to the describing need not include the idea that we are getting at a piece of the world. Is that what words are doing? Rorty would say the describing is what we do to solve practical problems and make our way in the world, they should not be thought of as mirrors of reality.

Truthfulness, rightness, and truth

© 2008 by Daniel J. O'Connor. All Rights Reserved.
Continue to Integral Praxiology: Integral Practices
(1) Interestingly, functional fit is a special type of validity claim that Habermas (1987) uses in his two-level Lifeworld/System theory of modern society, wherein the consequences of action are deemed valid to the extent that they are a functional fit within the System aspect of society. The three primary validity claims included in his Formal Pragmatics and his Theory of Communicative Action—truthfulness, rightness, and truth—are associated with the Lifeworld aspect of society. As Habermas uses them, the three validity claims of the Lifeworld, which Wilber associates with the intentional-UL, cultural-LL, and behavioral-UR, represent a categorically different level of analysis than the one validity claim of the System, which Wilber associates with the social-LR.

In the forthcoming expanded version of this article, I will propose a place within Integral Praxiology for functional fit in relation to truthfulness, rightness, and truth that is consistent with Habermas’s Lifeworld/System theory of society, while still preserving what I regard as Wilber’s correct insight into the equal validity of all four quadrants at all levels of existence. Daniel O'Connor Integral Ventures, LLC Continued from Integral Praxiology: Introduction

My Integral Praxis emphasizes the three-fold practice of transparency, choice, and accountability
My Integral Practice Daniel O'Connor Integral Ventures, LLC In the context of personal development, an Integral Practice may be defined as an integrated set of developmental practices designed to enhance one's experience of life and support one's contribution to the world. Posted by Daniel O'Connor on August 13, 2009 Technorati Tags: , , , , , , [8:45 AM]

August 09, 2009

SACAC follows the principles of Integral Education as envisaged by Sri Aurobindo and The Mother

Home » About Us » Teaching Methodology
SACAC follows the principles of Integral Education as envisaged by Sri Aurobindo and The Mother:
1. Nothing can be taught. 2. The mind has to be consulted in its own growth. 3. To work from the near to the far.
Keeping in mind the intense and personal attention that is required to enable this methodology, the student strength has been kept at optimum so as to attain maximum and fruitful interaction in the class. The curriculum here is designed in a manner to attain two objectives.

  • Encourage the aspiring professionals to contribute originally and responsibly with a higher level of self consciousness.
  • Transfer of basic technical knowledge and skills required to excel in the chosen career. thinking and innovation.

Home » About Us » Governing Body
Mr.Vijay, Chairman, Sri Aurobindo Centre for Arts and Communication, Member Executive- Administration & Finance Sri Aurobindo Society, Puducherry
Mr. Pradeep Narang, Chairman Sri Aurobindo Society, Puducherry
Mr. Ranjit Puri, Chairperson Sri Aurobindo Society, Delhi Branch
Mr. Tribhuwan Sugla, Hony. Secretary Sri Aurobindo Society, Delhi Branch
Mr. Naresh Modi, President, Lucas Mayo
Mr. Arpit Agarwal, Vice President - Operations, Balaji Telefilms
Ms. Daljeet Wadhwa, Director Sri Aurobindo Centre for Arts & Communication

Libertarianism is not an intellectual movement, it is a cultural movement

Keith M Ellis Says: August 8th, 2009 at 12:56 pm
That’s surely true for the Paulites and Randians, but Matt was responding to a post by Tyler Cowen, who is, I think, culturally distinct from those groups. The reasons for economic libertarianism haven’t really changed since classical liberalism, even in America–Rand may have replaced Locke, but Smith and Ricardo are still Smith and Ricardo.

I agree with this, mostly. But Locke, Smith, and Ricardo are all still potent intellectual forces across most of the political terrain in the contemporary world. Libertarianism tries to claim them as its own; but, as I said, that’s a conceit.

More to the point, the Randians/Paulites and the vast number of people who casually call themselves “libertarians” form almost the totality of libertarianism—Cowan’s utilitarian academic economist version, or Chomsky’s s-called “Left-Libertarianism”, or any number of idiosyncratic micro political philosophies which self-identify as libertarian or libertarian influenced are, well, inconsequential. I mean, according to Bob, as a liberal I’m a militant totalitarian and yet, I, too, claim a considerable amount of libertarian thought in my political philosophy. Such an influence does not a libertarian make in any useful sense.

Keith M Ellis Says: August 8th, 2009 at 1:06 pm
…starting with the Greeks, which is founded upon the autonomy of the individual and his non-subjugation within a group.

No offense—because I think there’s a certain limited sense in which I believe you’re correct—but you need to read a lot more of what they wrote, as well as more authoritative history of classical Greece. Suffice it to say that I wouldn’t really characterize the Athenians this way…and we needn’t even mention, say, the Spartans.

And, hell, read the Crito. I mean, Socrates’s argument in response to hearing Crito’s escape plans is that it would be morally wrong for him to resist the State’s sentence of execution, even though it was unjust. His placing the rule of law and the State above even the unjust taking of his life is all about the subjugation of the individual within a group.

Keith M Ellis Says: August 8th, 2009 at 7:10 pm
Milton Friedman had a greater impact than Ron Paul.

Upon American political culture, yes. Not upon libertarianism itself. American libertarianism could have foregone all its academic intellectuals and it would still be largely what it has become with them. Libertarianism is not an intellectual movement, it is a cultural movement. Libertarianism is essentially: individualism, good; property, good; commerce, good; government, bad. It’s a historically/sociologically related set of sentiments. 12:24 PM 12:58 PM

August 08, 2009

Savitri in terms of the main themes of Sri Aurobindo’s teaching

Debashish Banerji's “The Conquest of Death” « The Nalanda Journal

Debashish Banerji’s “The Conquest of Death”
Title: “The Conquest of Death: An Introduction to Sri Aurobindo’s ‘Savitri, a Legend and a Symbol’” Featuring: Debashish Banerji Type: DVD Number of Discs: 16 For complete information, videos, and more, click here.

Product Information: Dr. Debashish Banerji is a professor of cultural history and philosophy and is well known as an interpreter of the works of Sri Aurobindo and his collaborator, the Mother. Here, he presents Savitri in terms of the main themes of Sri Aurobindo’s teaching, with introductions, recitations and interpretations. Set in nature and recited with Sunil’s sublime New Year music for background, these presentations are aimed at introducing both the teaching of Sri Aurobindo and the consciousness transforming potency of his cosmic poem.

Themes: 1. Love and Death; 2. The Symbol Dawn; 3. The Human Aspiration; 4. Fate and The Problem of Pain; 5. The Psychic Being; 6. Avatar; 7. The Triple Soul Forces; 8. The Divine Mother; 9. Soul And Nature; 10. Evolution; 11. Mind, Overmind and Supermind; 12. Attainment of Immortality; 13. The Supramental Manifestation.

Prices (includes shipping and handling in continental USA):1. 16 DVD video set. $101 (save $91 with complete set!) 2. Audio DVD with mp3 soundtrack. $70 3. Audio CD set of soundtracks in mp3. $80 4. DVD video set plus mp3 audio DVD. $130 5. DVD video set plus mp3 audio CD set. $140 6. Single DVD video. $12 7. Single mp3 audio CD. $10

August 01, 2009

Vedic Colloquy of Indra and Agastya; Chaturvarņa in the Karmayogin

Mirror of Tomorrow Recent Articles
Poetry Time: 1 August 2009—Sri Aurobindo’s Is this the end
Cripps’s Mission: an Analysis—by Divakar and Sucharu
The Mother’s role in the 1971 War—by Kittu Reddy
22 July 2009 Solar Eclipse at Auroville—Photographs by Paulette
Two Poems by RY Deshpande
New Lamps for Old IX—by Sri Aurobindo
India’s Independence and the Spiritual Destiny: Part K
Sanatana Dharma: X—Chaturvarņa in the Karmayogin
Poetry Time: 25 July 2009—The Road not Taken by Robert Frost
Towards the Ideal Society: India and Europe: The Lesson of Antiquity and the Middle Ages—by Paulette
India’s Independence and the Spiritual Destiny: Part J
Mirror of Falsehood
New Lamps for Old VIII—by Sri Aurobindo
India’s Independence and the Spiritual Destiny: Part I
Sanatana Dharma: IX—beyond Chaturvarņa—the Mother Explains
Recent Comments
Re: Re: Re: Re: India’s Independence and the Spiritual Destiny: Part F by Tusar N. Mohapatra
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Savitri: the Light of the Supreme Recent Articles
A Colloquy of the Original Gods—the Colloquy of Agni and the Gods
A Colloquy of the Original Gods—the Vedic Colloquy of Indra and Agastya
A Colloquy of the Original Gods—the Colloquy at Kurukshetra
A Colloquy of the Original Gods—Colloquia of the Mother with Goddess Durga
A Colloquy of the Original Gods—Two Examples from the Puranas
A Colloquy of the Original Gods—a Colloquy of the Olympian Gods
A Colloquy of the Original Gods—the fixity of the cosmic sequences
A Colloquy of the Original Gods—an episode in an unremembered tale
A Colloquy of the Original Gods—these new oblivious personalities
A Colloquy of the Original Gods— her will must cancel her body's destiny
A Colloquy of the Original Gods—arrival of the fated day
In a last turn heaven raced with hell—Savitri awaiting the signal
In a last turn heaven raced with hell—sinking into last sleep
In a last turn heaven raced with hell—Heaven raced with Hell
In a last turn heaven raced with hell—the imperatives
Recent Comments
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Sessions with Savitri—Open Page: July 2009 by RY Deshpande
Re: Re: A Colloquy of the Original Gods—Colloquia of the Mother with Goddess Durga by RY Deshpande
Re: A Colloquy of the Original Gods—Colloquia of the Mother with Goddess Durga by paulette
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: The rushing of soul and oversoul into each other by narendra
Re: Re: Re: Sessions with Savitri—Open Page: July 2009 by narendra
Re: Re: Re: Re: Sessions with Savitri—Open Page: July 2009 by narendra
Re: Re: Re: Sessions with Savitri—Open Page: July 2009 by RY Deshpande
Re: Re: Sessions with Savitri—Open Page: July 2009 by RY Deshpande
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: The rushing of soul and oversoul into each other by RY Deshpande
Re: Sessions with Savitri—Open Page: July 2009 by narendra
Month Archive August 2009 July 2009 June 2009 May 2009 April 2009
Categories Photos Year Archive 2009 2008