January 11, 2010

Art and science as aid in Yoga

Any activity, if done with the right attitude, can elevate the consciousness and prepare the foundation for an integral union with the Divine. This was the rationale behind Sri Aurobindo's assertion "All life is Yoga". A previous post discussed how the study of science can aid in Yoga. In this post, we cover Sri Aurobindo & The Mother's thoughts on how artistic endeavours such as poetry, painting and music can aid in the Yogic effort.
We are primarily in touch with this desire-soul and treat it as the guiding light in our lives, but it simply reflects, while it also tends to distort, that deeper seeking that transcends the working of desire and acts to seek the real bliss of existence.
One of the initial requirements for a spiritual seeker is to find and begin to respond to this deeper, inner, hidden psychic entity or soul and not be controlled by the working of egoistic desire. reference: Sri Aurobindo, The Life Divine, Chapter 23, The Double Soul In Man
I am currently recovering from both, and from finally getting around to reading Ulysses cover to cover. It is a surprisingly useful text for my purposes, as it happens: Joyce is rather merciless in satirizing the claim of early theosophists such as AE and James Cousins (whose ideas on Irishness were in fact taken up by none other than Aurobindo! Aurobindo! Aurobindo!) that the Irish, like the Arya of India, are particularly Spiritually Inclined.
finishing a project from Object-Oriented Philosophy by doctorzamalek (Graham Harman)
Perhaps the biggest vice of professionalized philosophy is that it seems to take it as a badge of honor if no one reads a piece of writing but other professional philosophers. And this is probably another case of a mistaken imitation of the natural sciences… For on the one hand it’s true that the cutting-edge scientific theories are sometimes intelligible only to a few dozen people. But what is often forgotten is that these very scientists often bend over backwards to make their work clear to a wider public. Or at least this happened until fairly recently: Einstein, Bohr, Heisenberg, Feynman, all of them wrote works that are enjoyably readable by any reasonably educated person.
In any case, I think the “read out loud” standard is by far the best way to streamline philosophical prose and argument (nor do I think there’s such a distinction between good prose and good argument in the first place). Every time I go through this manuscript, I’m able to cut another 1% from the length simply by erasing needless words and reducing useless polysyllabic ones. And it’s by considering it as a text for oral presentation that I’m able to do that (even though this book will never be read aloud as far as I know).
Also, it’s important to read good writers just because they’re good writers, regardless of the genre.

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