July 21, 2011

Hobbes, Hegel, Derrida, Deleuze and Guattari

In the context of this post (how the pursuit of science can help in yoga), there are certain points that Binu Mukherjee made in a recent talk which deserve to be enumerated here. Binu Mukherjee grew up in the Sri Aurobindo Ashram and is currently Emeritus Professor of Physics at Royal Military College of Canada.
1) Science develops the power of reasoning. It makes the mind modest, aware of its limitations, and makes it refrain from entering into regions beyond its ken. The mind becomes a willing partner in quietening itself and opening to higher methods of getting to the truth
2) Science is a co-operative exercise. Papers are written in first person plural. Your work builds on previous work. This reduces personal ego.
3) One realizes the impossibility of making strictly correct measurements and knowing the truth. One comes face to face with the nature of uncertainties in the physical world. Furthermore, in Quantum mechanics, one learns that the process of measuring itself disturbs the quantity being measured. As a result, one discovers that Nature is not real but an illusion. The fundamental particles in empty space give the illusion of solidity, liquidity, etc There is an inherent unknowability which parallels the hidden truth that always exists behind the the phenomenal world.
4) Science develops the quality of detachment. One learns to have an open mind without preconceptions or predilections, and to think independently of the baggage of one’s personal history.
5) A developed mind is able to discern between the revealed truth and the lower parts of the mind, and learns to appreciate the universality of truth.
6) The inner discipline which is instilled through Yoga makes one impervious to external evaluation or peer pressure which arises in the field of science. Binu discovered that the “more he offered his work to the Mother, the more successful he became”.
This is not an entirely accurate transcription but I think I have captured the gist of it. The talk is on youtube

Style « Larval Subjects 25 Apr 2008 – Hopefully I have enough “cred” to inveigh against “difficult books” (I am, after all, mired in the work of figures such as Deleuze, Lacan, Hegel, etc., who are the worst of the worst), but I have increasingly found myself suspicious of the “difficult work”. On the one hand, I read texts in the sciences that express extremely complex ideas in very basic prose. Somehow I’m just unwilling to concede that what Hegel is trying to talk about is any more difficult or complex than what the biologist, complexity theory, economic social theorist, ecologist, or quantum physicist is attempting to articulate. This leads to my concern. I wonder if terribly dense styles such as we find in figures like Deleuze, Lacan, Hegel, Derrida, etc., etc., etc., aren’t a form of intellectual terrorism.
Please do not misunderstand me. I am not referring to the quality of their concepts or arguments. What I am referring to is a general writing strategy that demands so much work on the part of the reader in the art of interpretation, that by the time you’ve managed to make heads or tails of what Lacan is arguing or Hegel is seeking to articulate or Deleuze is seeking to theorize, you have so much invested that you simply cannot think critically about that figure. 
Does this mean I cease to read such figures or reject them out of hand? No. I do believe they hide secrets. … I’ve spent my fair amount of time defensively defending the writing style of figures such as Lacan, Derrida, Heidegger, Deleuze, etc., etc., etc. What I realize is that what I was defending was not their style but the value of their concepts and arguments despite their style. 12:19 PM

Pondicherry, all endowed with "natural religion" and "natural honesty," … I spent three happy years in my youth, and where my "intellectual journey" began, … It was here that I first discovered that a "natural order" exists.
My intellectual journey has been a long and pleasant one. It began by doubting Thomas Hobbes' dictum in Leviathan that, without a State, there would ensue "a war of each against all" and life would be "nasty, poore, brutish, and short." I have carefully studied this book. Many years ago, I published its refutation in the Times of India, under the title "Hobbes' Mistake: The Rational Case for Anarchy." This article has been preserved here.

Appeal to people's self-interests, never to their mercy or gratitude. The 48 laws of power Robert GreeneJoost Elffers - 2000 - 452 pages - Preview Cunning, instructive, and amoral, this controversial bestseller distills 3,000 years of the history of power into 48 well-explicated laws. The 48 Laws of Power - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia The Laws 1:28 PM 

It might be appropriate to close this investigation with precisely such an example, drawn from the writings of Sri Aurobindo. “But I do not insist on everybody passing through my experience or following the Truth that is its consequence. ...”

Re: Union with our Inner Being MICHAEL MIOVIC mmiovic@... 
For those who are open, Greece is still a treasure trove of mystical experience, and one can still experience the so-called "ancient" Gods in their inner or yogic reality in many spots--Delphi, Cape Sounion, at the Parthenon, Olympia, some islands, and many other spots both natural and man-made.  The re-discovery of these Gods and Goddesses still awaits the birth of the next cycle of European civilization. 

Well a student of Glenn’s talks about it here, but only in practice terms. The proof being experiential. Of course to get Glenn’s pov you can read his books — the first two being the most important — which are very well-researched but not fully cited in line. The rest is down to actual practices, but those are not the same as the ones recommended by Aurobindo.
Comment by Sandeep Thomas McEvilley’s talk on ‘The Shape of Ancient Thought’

(title unknown) from enowning - John D. Caputo on Martin Hägglund‘s Radical Atheism, from The Journal for Cultural and Religious Theory 11.2.
Badiou‘s use of St. Paul, whom he interprets in terms of the truth-making event, while dismissing the actual content this event (the resurrected Christ) provides a more recent example. This leads to the question of which came first, the religious form of life or the philosopheme, the ontology or the "unavowed" theology. It was considerations of just this sort that led Derrida to speak of a religion without the doctrines and dogmas of religion, and this lay behind his musings on the relative priority of the messianic and the concrete messianisms or the "unavowed theologemes" that lay behind philosophy.

July 19, 2011

Sri Aurobindo was impressed by the Christian ideals of equality and fraternity

Hinduism as a Missionary Religion Arvind Sharma - 2011 - 176 pages - Preview
Reconsiders whether Hinduism can be considered a missionary religion.
There are the teachings of great saints—Shri Ramana Maharshi, Sri Aurobindo, Shri Ramak- rishna, Shri Swami Rama, Shri Yogananada, Mahesh Yogi, Maata Amrita, and Aanandamayi— whose thoughts and work lead us now in this critical period. ...
Hindu narratives on human rights - Page 153 Arvind Sharma - 2010 - 167 pages - Preview
“SàvitrX tells Death she must follow her dead husband because such is the immemorial custom of the wife,” so Peter Heehs, “The Centre of the Religious and Cultural Nationalism in the Work of Sri Aurobindo,” in Antony Copley, ed.,...
2. 4 Ved ̄anta De ́sika, ̄I ́s ̄av ̄asyopanis.adbh ̄as.ya, p. 6. 5 Aurobindo, The Upanishads. Pondicherry: Sri Aurobindo Ashram, 1973, p. 63. 6 Olivelle, The Early New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998, p. ...
Neo-Hindu views of Christianity - Page 200 Arvind Sharma - 1988 - 217 pages - Preview
Let me start by saying that Sri Aurobindo is definitely of the opinion that Christianity is more a moral and ... Sri Aurobindo is so impressed by the Christian ideals of equality and fraternity that he has commented on it on more than ...
Our religions Arvind Sharma - 1993 - 536 pages - Snippet view
This is not to say that the works of a Rammohun Roy (1772/74-1833) or a Radhakrishnan (1888-1975) or even a Gandhi are acceptable as part of the sacred literature of Hinduism, though one must wonder whether the writings of Srl Aurobindo ...
Indian literature: Volume 26 Sāhitya Akademi - 1983 - Snippet view
Arvind Sharma in the second part of the book depicts the contemporary scenario with a fair deal of objectivity despite ... The role of Swami Dayanand and Mahatma Gandhi and above all of Tagore and Aurobindo Ghosh, in promoting humanism, ...
RELIGIOUS FERMENTS IN MODERN INDIA: Hal W. French and Arvind Sharma: St. Martin's Press, NY 1981. x + 185 pp. ... Sharma points to Aurobindo Ghosh as the outstanding exception to this, but more, he notes that Hinduism sets no ultimate ...
It might be appropriate to close this investigation with precisely such an example, drawn from the writings of Sri Aurobindo. “But I do not insist on everybody passing through my experience or following the Truth that is its consequence. ...”

July 18, 2011

Activate hidden potentialities of consciousness and manifest in corporate life

Workshop on "Management by Consciousness" at - Auro University About the Workshop on 21 & 22 July 2011: Management by Consciousness
'Sri Aurobindo Foundation for Integral Management' (SAFIM) is a centre of Excellence in Management, established by Sri Aurobindo Society, Pondicherry. ...
Session Themes
1. Relevance of Consciousness in Today's Business
2. Concept of Integral Management
3. Present Scenario of Management Education in India
4. Understanding Consciousness and Self
5. The Power of Understanding
6. The Power of Action
It is interesting to note that all the secret human potentialities for achievement, success or excellence lie in our consciousness. The main objective of the workshop we are presenting here is to consciously activate these hidden potentialities of consciousness and manifest them in every activity of corporate life. The Topics are based on some pressing needs of the contemporary corporate world. But our approach will be very different from the traditional workshops. Our approach will be “within outward” relying mainly on the inner powers of consciousness to bring the outer result. This workshop will explore the deeper sources of every need, function and activity and will seek to consciously fulfil the same in the outer activity. The topics would be contemporary and the approach would be non-traditional.
Duration : Two Days. Date: 21 & 22 July 2011 Participants: Faculty Members/ Corporates/ Entrepreneurs/ Learners Interested in Integral Management. Fees: Rs.1000/- participant
Venue: Auro University, Hazira Road, Opp. ONGC, Surat, Gujarat-394510
Prof. Jonaki Mahajan : 09925200328 Dr. Rana Singh : 0886697110

July 11, 2011

Online courses on Sri Aurobindo & The Mother

Comment on Central Being (Jivatman) by Sandeep from Comments for Integral Yoga of Sri Aurobindo & The Mother by Sandeep - You can enroll for online courses at either:

Online Courses (Click to view

International Centre for Integral Studies (ICIS) Admissions open: Programmes starting 8 Aug'2011 - 
The International Centre for Integral Studies (ICIS) is a research centre for Higher Education engaged in the process of discovering an entirely new and unmapped road towards a teaching and learning that combines academic study and rigour with the growth of consciousness, based on the underlying philosophy of the Mother and Sri Aurobindo. 
It came into existence on 21st February, 2002. It has been engaged in offering growth of consciousness courses - both on-site as well as postgraduate online courses. The Online courses are accredited by IGNOU (Indira Gandhi National Open University), New Delhi.
The Gnostic Centre brings out a journal focused on self-development, called 'The Awakening Ray' (since 1997). Each issue focuses on a new theme relevant for application of Integral Yoga concepts in one's daily life and work.
Talks by Dr. Ananda Reddy
SACAR Programmes with Other Universities

July 08, 2011

John Paul's theology is very much like Sri Aurobindo's

When I speak of "evolution" on the human plane, I mean it in exactly the sense John Paul does in this letter to a friend in 1957:  
"I am convinced that life is a constant development toward that which is better, more perfect -- if there is no stagnation within us." He adds that it is a great achievement "to see values that others don't see and to affirm them," but an even greater one "to bring out of people values that would perish without us. In the same way, we bring our values out in ourselves."
Put them together, and you have a life devoted to awakening and articulating the latent values that lay dormant in people, in the effort to help them evolve toward that which is better. This is only possible in light of the "perfect," i.e., the Absolute, without which there could be no hierarchy or gradations of quality. But in reality, man is always -- what's the word, Jeeves? Asymptotically? -- "on the way" to perfection. Man is surely a bridge, but not to nowhere, as he must be for the materialist.
As we have discussed in the past, this was the proper meaning of evolution before the word was appropriated and redefined by Darwin. Taken literally, evolution is precisely what cannot happen under metaphysical Darwinism. Rather, only horizontal change may occur. Notice, for example, how Darwinian fundamentalists are always so quick to cut man down to size, insisting in various ways that he is "just an animal." But I don't get my truth from animals -- with the exception of certain partial truths about animality.
In their worldview, it is as philosophically absurd to suggest that man is superior to animals as it is to say that blue is better than the key of C. It's just pure nonsense, because "better" can only be understood in the context of a hierarchy of transcendent values. 
As you all know by now -- actually, maybe you don't. But I'll be brief so as to not bore. When I made the formal decision to enter the spirituality racket -- to dive into the deep end of the cosmos -- it was initially as a disciple of the Indian sage, Sri Aurobindo, whose theology I felt at the time to be the most "capacious" and see-worthy. 
Probably because he was raised in the west from a very young age -- and was educated at elite places such as Cambridge by professors such as Whitehead -- he assimilated much of this environment into his theology and metaphysics after returning to India in his 20s. I don't know that it was intentional, but the end result was a "Christianization" of Hindu metaphysics, which was itself an evolutionary leap in what had theretofore been a less sophisticated theology. 
Interestingly, I came upon a passage that said as much in God and the World, a book length interview with then Cardinal Ratzinger. Hmm.... Lotta good stuff in here. Getting distracted. Pay attention! Right. Here it is: "We can already see how, by way of Indian intellectuals, the leaven of Christianity has found a way into Hinduism. The number of Indians who revere and love Jesus is extraordinarily great, far greater than the number of Christians, even if in this case Christ is simply counted in among a series of other saviors."

I don't remember when it was -- a few years back, anyway... charter Raccoon Will seemed to have already realized it -- but it dawned on me that Aurobindo's whole spiritual project was a kind of Christianized Vedanta, for several reasons. First, its focus was on this world. In contrast to the traditional view -- which regards the world as a kind of deception -- Aurobindo regarded it as important in its own right. You might say that the world is worthy of our being in it, which is saying a lot.
This led to a particular appreciation of the body, even the "divinization of the body," which essentially comes down to the idea that his is a descending path, in contrast to the ascendingones of Hindu tradition. In other words, instead of escaping up and out "into God," the spiritual vector is reversed, and the emphasis is placed upon bringing God down "into the world." 
Call it "incarnation" if you like. Or sanctification. In this regard, our earthly spiritual "evolution" is exactly as John Paul describes it above -- an adventure of consciousness from what we are towardwhom we ought to be; or toward whom we truly are, which always includes an element of relationship (which in turn imbues the relative with a kind of absoluteness, more on which in a subsequent post).
Now, John Paul's theology is very much like Aurobindo's, in the sense that its purpose is to encompass everything, i.e., every plane of being from the lowest to the highest, and yet, bring the highest into the lowest, so to speak, in order to appreciate it in a new Light. Jesus is obviously the quintessence of this, in that he represents the highest-made-lowest in order to "redeem" the latter -- not just man, but the entire cosmos. (Ratzinger notes that a better translation is "God so loved the cosmos...")
In practical terms, what it means is that -- at least from this Raccoon's point of view -- virtually everything can and must be bobtized and divinized. This is how his "theology of the body" is to be understood. But it doesn't just apply to sex and marriage. Rather, the priest's duty is "to help make God present in the world," not just in "official" ways, such as the celebration of Mass, but, as did Jesus, "to live with people, everywhere they are, to be with them in everything but sin." new. POSTED BY GAGDAD BOB AT 7/08/2011 08:14:00 AM