February 28, 2012

Stumbling and bumbling

A response to three readers from The Immanent Frame by Robert N. Bellah
Doniger’s doubts about the actuality of the axial age focus mainly on India: Wasn’t something like theoretic culture, my index for the axial transition, already present in the Vedas, well before the Upanishads and the Pali Canon of early Buddhism, which are usually seen as exhibiting axial traits? My answer is that no, it wasn’t: the Vedas are largely tribal ritual poetry with a few moments of riddling that could be seen later as foreshadowing metaphysical developments, but are not that different from riddles in many tribal cultures. The startling thing is that the tribal poetry of the Vedas remained the basis of later Hinduism, or at least the Brahmins claimed it did, though it took an awful lot of interpretation to make it seem so. Something similar can be seen in the reworking of tribal myth in Genesis in the Hebrew Bible to make it conform to much later ideas.

The contraception mandate from The Immanent Frame by Daniel Maguire, Professor of Theology, Marquette University
Galileo would have welcomed the bishops’ current fixation on sexual-reproductive issues. In his day their focus was on the stars; their attention has shifted to the pelvic zone where they are once again stumbling and bumbling, claiming authority on issues where they have no privileged expertise. Increasingly, Catholic laity no longer dance to their music, especially on sexual reproductive issues where they and their theologians have long since had a change of mind. On issues like birth control the bishops are effectively in schism.
Their current zeal and bullying tenor has more than a tinge of panic. Their seminaries are emptying, clergy sexual crimes and hierarchical cover-ups are being exposed, whole dioceses are going bankrupt. Time for a little diversionary stress on birth control?

Back in 1983, Claremont Graduate School invited Whiteheadian philosophers and Jungian psychoanalysts to a dialogue concerning possible cross-fertilizations between process metaphysics and archetypal psychology (published as Archetypal Process: Self and Divine in Whitehead, Jung, and Hillman in 1989). James Hillman gave the keynote, wherein he admitted that “something further [was] needed” than his typical psychologizing [...]

February 20, 2012

Sri Aurobindo revolutionizes the Vedic tradition with evolutionary consciousness

Aurobindo's Super Mind, an Heroic Epic, and the shape of things to come February 19, 2012 By Joe Perez 
Sri Aurobindo, with the shining light of a truly enlightened being, revolutionizing the Vedic tradition with evolutionary consciousness, writes of the further reaches of development which he calls Supermind (and Ken Wilber correlates to Clear Light):
As the summits of human kind are beyond animal perfecption, so the movements of Supermind are beyond the ordinary human mental conception: it is only when we have already had experience of a higher intermediate consciousness than any terms attempting to describe supramental being could convey a true meaning to our intelligence; for then, having experienced something akin to what is described, we could translate an inadequate language into a figure of what we knew. If the mind cannot enter into the nature of Supermind, it can look towards it through these high and luminous approaches and catch some reflected impression of the Truth, the Right, the Vast which is the native kingdom of the free Spirit.” — Sri Aurobindo, The Life Divine

Sinopse - The Life Divine, Sri Aurobindo By David Frawley:
There are very few great spiritual classics that each century produces. The Life Divine is one of these great spiritual classics, one of the key spiritual studies of the twentieth center, perhaps of all time. There are few great mystics and enlightened masters who are able to express themselves in extensive philosophy and profound poetry. Sri Aurobindo was one of these, and the Life Divine is probably his magnum opus. The Life Divine is no mere call to a life of piety, asceticism or outward religious fervor. It is a call to bring the Divine as a force of higher consciousness into all that we are and do, both individually and as a species. The Life Divine unfolds a panoramic exploration of consciousness from the Absolute (Brahman), to the Cosmic Creator (Ishvara), to the individual soul (Jivatman), and all the realms of existence, manifest and unmanifest, known and unknown.
There are few books that cover such an expanse and with such depth, direct knowledge and clarity. For those who want to widen their horizons and extend their awareness into the realms of higher consciousness, there is perhaps no other book that is as complete, comprehensive and challenging. Reading it requires both concentration and meditation of a very high order, but brings great riches of inner insight in return. As someone who has studied the main religious traditions of the world, and has written extensively on the traditions of India, this book has remained with me as life time companion. I recommend it to all those who are looking at the spiritual life as a quest for a higher consciousness and grace that can transform all that we do. One can continue to delve into the book for new wisdom and insight year after year.
The Life Divine teaches us in depth about the great spiritual traditions of India, Veda, Vedanta, Samkhya, Yoga, Tantra and Buddhism, but from a view of practice and realization, and a seeking for the universal truth behind all these great teachings. Most notably, the Life Divine outlines the spiritual purpose of the soul and of our human lives. It charts a way to a future in which we can go beyond our current mentality of ego and strife to a world of Divine peace, bliss and knowledge. It charts the transformation of our species from a confused adolescence to the maturity of wisdom and grace. Sri Aurobindo shows how the Divine Shakti can descend into our minds and lift us to a higher level of intelligence as our natural state of existence. The book is perhaps the best study of the spiritual evolution of humanity, the evolution of consciousness in man and nature, which is available.

Home Page << The list of all forum topics << Keka Chakraborty's Comment From The Essence of Truth by Martin Heidegger Comment by Rod Hemsell in reply to Keka Chakraborty last updated: October 30, 2011
I think the diagram is especially interesting. The origin of hiddenness is is Being, in order for it to become deconcealed. Soul is the unifying ground of the striving for Being. The first part of the course was based on another lecture where H speaks about the emergence of beings from the infinite and returning back as the ever-present origin, which is Being. That work is the basis of Gebser's philosophy. And Gebser confessed in the preface to the later edition of his work that he came to known after the fact that Sri Aurobindo was guiding his vision. The point of my course is to show how H can be read in this way, if we know SA. Of course H has his limits as well.

All of this helps me return to a question I addressed two years ago, about the online philosophical movement of Speculative Realism. I suggested that the Speculative Realists want philosophy to become less Indian and more Chinese. And while there is much they reject in Heidegger, I think in many respects it’s because they think he didn’t go far enough: his emphasis on Dasein, which is something like human subjectivity, still leaves him too wedded to the Indo-European subjective self. The overall project of trying to make Western philosophy less Indian and more Chinese seems to come from him – with perhaps a dash of Wittgenstein for good measure.

The Mandir Annual Posted on 21/10/2011 by admin Sunayana Panda's blog
The annual publication of the Pathamandir in Kolkata is out. Popularly known as the “Mandir Annual”, it is a magazine of high calibre and has been coming out since the 1940s. I remember seeing copies of the magazine in my father’s bookshelf. I also remember Kishore Gandhi sometimes informing me of certain essays by prominent writers being first published in the Mandir Annual. It is a matter of great honour for me that this time one of my own essays is included in it… My own essay is the one read out during the “Reflections on the Way” talks on the occasion of the April Darshan this year. It is titled “The Significance of the Mother’s Final Arrival in Pondicherry” and highlights the importance of the April Darshan and how it was started.

February 17, 2012

To speak about knowing Reality in our Consciousness is a joke

To speak about knowing Reality in our Consciousness is a joke. 

The closest equivalent to Dehatmabuddhi in contemporary neuropsychological parlance seems to be “Body ownership”.

Sri Aurobindo Studies. Sri Aurobindo's Integral Yoga ... transformation.”Sri Aurobindo, The Life Divine, Book 2, Part 2, Chapter 25, “The Triple Transformation”...

Sri Aurobindo's Opposition. Savitri Era of those who adore, Om Sri Aurobindo and The Mother. Thursday, February 16, 2012. Sri Aurobindo ...

I was a “fan” of Wilber’s writings during my days as a doctoral student in Canada working on my dissertation, in a predominantly analytically-oriented philosophy department, on Aurobindo. But I can hardly bring myself to read either of them these days and I don’t feel I am missing anything important! LOL

She introduced them to the life and teachings of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, and to an extent, also demystified the concepts such as 'consciousness', ...

Sri Aurobindo has shown that the truth does not lie in running away from earthly life but in remaining in it, ... Sri Aurobindo always loved deeply his Motherland. … The object of these articles has been to indicate the nature and psychological ideas of the old system and point out its essential relation of cause and effect to the splendid achievement of our ancestors. How its principles can be reapplied or be completed and to some extent replaced by a still deeper psychology and a still more effective discipline is a subject fit for separate treatment.

You have a healthy skepticism and were able to quickly dissociate NASA from this article.

It depends on the degree of the possession. Usually it is something progressive. First there is an influence under which one comes, and comes in a fragmentary way, not even totally in his being, but in certain parts and for a time. This is the first stage. The second: the influence becomes permanent and there is one part of the being which deteriorates, which is constantly under this influence and expresses it. Continue reading 

There is very little argument in my philosophy—the elaborate metaphysical reasoning full of abstract words with which the metaphysician tries to establish his conclusions is not there. read more - Weird ways of the Revised Edition

February 13, 2012

M.P. Pandit is a wonderful thinker and bright mind

This time author is different – M.P. Pandit whose books I personally like very much – he is a wonderful thinker and bright mind, always faithful to the Sri Aurobindo ... Here are e-Pub and Mobi files of “The Teaching of Sri Aurobindo” by M. P. Pandit: M.P.Pandit – The Teaching of Sri Aurobindo.epub

Plans Of O'Neill Wetsuits - The Latest Insights - PDF › World & Business - author and founder Roy Posner presents a chapter-by-chapter analysis of Sri Aurobindo's metaphysical treatise The Life Divine, perhaps the ...

But then the question is, how will the body of the supramental Avatar be prepared ? Sri Aurobindo assured the ...

The target audiences for the republication of the first edition of Savitri were devotees of The Mother and Sri Aurobindo across India. This strategy has helps us ...

Teachers and centers: Inspired by the work of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother, Purna Yoga was officially founded by Aadil and Mirra Palkhivala in 2003. The main ...

February 09, 2012

We are planned not to be sure that Nature has a plan

Nature's Plans? Dear Devinder, I am not sure that Nature has a plan. Where do we find a plan that nature has? Would like you to educate me on that. Regards, Viswa RE: [sbicitizen] Nature's Plans? Dear Nilanjan, I am sorry to say that it is incurred to say that Quantum-physics has revealed anything about nature’s consciousness. 
Nature simply has no goals about anything. Nature can evolve conscious beings like humans across many planets and nature can finish off these creatures in a matter of few seconds. Just as it can create universes, even multiple parallel universes, it can also destroy them along with any conscious creatures that may have evolved over millions of years. We know the story of dinosaurs who lived for more than million years and perished. 
The closest that our Indian philosophy has come to scientific data is the doctrine of unending cycle of birth, evolution and destruction (Siva’s pralaya). 
As I write this note, the two galaxies “Andromeda and our own Milky Way” are hurtling towards each other for a collision. We have no idea what will happen when the collision gets into full swing. Our own Sun will evolve into a brown dwarf in a few million years and will swallow up our own earth in its expanded version, our planet will be completely scorched by this expanded Sun. You can be sure that we will not survive this brown dwarf. 
Over the last two months, two large meteors hurtled past earth “one as close as 21,000 kms to the earth. They could have easily crashed into our planet” which would finished us off just as the dinosaurs disappeared. 
And, these are events we know. There are zillions of events that are happening that we have no idea of simply because the light rays have not reached our powerful telescopes mounted on satellites. 
I hope we will do more due diligence rather than simply claim that nature has plans. Regards, Viswa

Re: Nature's Plans? Viswa's question cannot be indubitably answered by pointing to Sri Aurobindo's remarks on the matter.  Such a response is no different than asking someone to read the Bible or Koran and believing in whatever is written there!
One would have to have first-hand experience of a greater reality in order to decipher if Nature has a plan, and that is only possible when one has advanced beyond a certain level in Yoga.  For the rest, it should be a hypothesis which is provisionally accepted because various yogis have averred on the existence of a plan of Nature.  Ancient seers called it Mula-Prakriti or Apara-Prakriti and Sri Aurobindo called it SuperNature (to avoid overloading the term "Nature")
So Viswa, you should continue with the assumption that Nature does not have a plan.   At some point in the future, if you have get initiated onto the spiritual path, and have some spiritual experiences, you might feel inclined to accept that Nature might indeed have a plan. –Sandeep [February | 2012 | Integral Yoga of Sri Aurobindo & The Mother This blog primarily discusses the Integral Yoga (Интегральной Йоги) of Sri Aurobindo (Шри Ауробиндо) & the Mother Mirra Alfassa (Мать Мирра Альфасса)] 
“The object of religion is the same as that of philosophy; it is the eternal verity itself in its objective existence; it is God. Nothing but God and the unfolding of God… [P]hilosophy in unfolding religion merely unfolds itself, and in unfolding itself it unfolds religion.” -Hegel
“Philosophy is the intellectual search for the fundamental truth of things; religion is the attempt to make the truth dynamic in the soul of man.” -Sri Aurobindo
“Religion, whatever it is, is man’s total reaction upon life.” -William James

What is the relationship between religion and philosophy? Some philosophers, like Bertrand Russell, believe it is philosophy’s job to lift the human intellect above the childishness of religion. Reason and science alone are supposed to guide our species into its adulthood. Levi Bryant’s recent post complicates this picture:

…the choice of philosophy over religion…cannot be completed by demonstrating that philosophy is the “rational” choice over religion, nor that the claims of religion are inadequate as descriptions of reality. Rather, philosophy only surmounts religion in completing its project of thinking being…

Bryant’s post is a challenge to philosophy to think not only the eternality of being (noun: “is” or “I”), but the contingency of existence, of being (verb: “to be” or “am”). Until philosophy is able to absolutize itself in this way, says Bryant, the mind (philosophy) inevitably leaves itself vulnerable to possession by the spirit (religion). (Kantian) Philosophy tends to bracket the flesh and blood of existence from its metaphysical inquiry into pure possibility, and in so doing forfeits any challenge the mind might make to the spirit’s will to believe. But we need not oppose religion and philosophy. Their object, as Hegel says, is the same. Philosophy, to remain relevant to actual life, must itself become religious. Without the madness of spirit, there is no such thing as philosophy, anyway.

Spirituality claims knowledge of something immediately (perceptually) that it has not (“yet”?) succeeded in thinking mediately (conceptually). The philosopher’s task, if it is the Absolute she seeks, is to think herself thinking being, and so to come to know who it is that she is in the world. She is pressed for time, death potentially waiting around every corner. “Who am I?” “What is this?” — these are not neutral or optional questions for her. The meaning of human life depends on these questions. If she cannot think the answer, the All, for herself before the sun sets on another day, she has no other choice but to believe being exists. If she is able to say “I am,” it is because she believes, she knows existence intuitively, without the mediation of any concept other than her “own” being. To believe being exists is not to march in step with the masses, to buy into the dogmatisms of traditional religion despite the challenges of modern science and philosophy. Faith in God need not be faith despite knowledge, but faith in order to know what/who the mind cannot (“the heart has reasons reason doesn’t know”). Faith is a movement of the heart, a love seeking the highest knowledge: knowledge of the Good. It is the kind of knowledge that requires our heartfelt participation in order to be known. Goodness is not an abstract idea, it has no essence outside its existence; it is always discovered in the act of loving.

The reality of God is not just a postulation made by morality; rather, only he who recognizes God — in whatever way — is a truly moral person. Moral laws ought to be obeyed not because they are related to God as the lawmaker (or whatever other relationship the finite mind is able to conceive) but because the essence of God and that of morality are one and the same and because by acting morally we are revealing the essence of God. A moral world exists only if God exists, and to postulate His existence in order for a moral world to exist is a complete reversal of the true and necessary relations. -Schelling, Philosophy and Religion (1804).

Religion, as James put it, is the human being’s “total reaction upon life”; it is the soul’s response to the actual time and place of its incarnation. If God exists, and it is possible not only to think, but to feel and to will the Absolute, it is because the human soul has made room within itself for God to be born into the world.
When Love said that word, my soul melted and flowed away. Where he comes in, I must go out! -Meister Eckhart summarizing the Song of Solomon (5:2-7) 

Here is my most recent post at Bleeding Heart Libertarians.  There I ask professional philosophers what they think of the relationship is between the two disciplines.  Here it would be wise to reverse that question, what do professional economists (this is not a conversation for amateur economists) think about the relationship between economics and philosophy.

February 08, 2012

Human societies are built on analogue processes

Truth and Facts have the inherent property of being monolithic. It is the perception of these that have various shades. Each perception has its purpose as well as its place and it is therefore only natural that one should be tolerant to each of these perceptions. However, when one of these singular perceptions tries to mask or take over the Truth and Facts that it originates from and seeks to impose an exclusive right over it, that perception inevitably looses its plurality; such a perception then becomes neither interesting, nor convincing or constructive.

A call for revival from An und für sich by Adam Kotsko
I have been teaching Buber’s I and Thou and finding it amazingly productive of thought and discussion. I wonder if, after such a long period where Levinas has had a corner on the “ethics of respect for the Other” market, the time may be ripe for a Buber revival.

Re: Organising Action from sbicitizen at Yahoo! Groups by devinder singh gulati
The iron law of oligarchy is a political theory, first developed by the German sociologist Robert Michels in his 1911 book, Political Parties. It states that …

Three things count in our societies — people, machines and money, in that order. But money buys the machines that control the people. Our political task – and I believe it was Marx’s too – is to reverse that order of priority, not to help people escape from machines and money, but to encourage them to develop themselves through machines and money. To the idea of economic crisis and its antidotes, we must now add that of political revolution. I have argued here that the dynamics of revolution require active consideration in this context. Revolutions give rise to digital contrasts and rightly so, but human societies are built on analogue processes. This is not just an academic debating point. A lot hinges on how humanity responds to the contradictions of the turbulence ahead.

Bilgrami makes an eloquent plea for the capacity of believers’ commitments to evolve with time, as a result of history, so that it is wrong to think that they are locked within an inescapable relativism. But he applies the insight only to believers. Aren’t rationalists also historical beings, whose most cherished commitments evolve with time, in ways that are similarly a product of experience? If so, we should open ourselves to the possibility of change.
This militates in favor of an ethic of engagement that is very different from lexical ordering. At the very least we should understand the beliefs and practices that we are encountering, so that we know accurately how our principles interact with them. And we might stumble upon something unexpected in the encounter: market interactions tempered by ethical injunctions to an extent that we in the non-Islamic world have neglected; an idea of gender equality that is genuinely equal but that de-sexualizes the public space; or something else…
What matters most, then, are the ethical practices one adopts for maneuvering in the face of these provisional, never fully resolved or elaborated assertions of ideals. They are practices of deliberation and decision-making, where no one’s cherished commitments are relegated to the second stage of a lexical ordering, but where one seeks to understand and, if possible, respond to deeply held opinions. Sometimes the disagreement will be so acute as to render imposition inescapable. Sometimes it will be possible to live and let live. Often there will be room for adjustment by all parties – and that adjustment may even represent a normative advance for all parties, as they take into account insights drawn from a broader range of experience…

Secularism is the attempt to preserve the independence of the state from identification with particular religious doctrines so that the state remains open to individuals of different beliefs. But that does not mean that it can be insulated from those beliefs, or that it can satisfy them equally in every decision, or that it must subject them as a matter of lexical ordering to “the ideals that the polity seeks to achieve.” It involves the managing of continual encounters between religiously and non-religiously motivated reasons. The solution involves an ethic of dialogue prior to decision, not peremptory imposition.

February 03, 2012

When left doesn't imply sinister

Re: His Mind of Knowledge
by RY Deshpande on Fri 03 Feb 2012 04:59 AM IST |  Profile |  Permanent Link
When the reference is to the Veda we must take things always in the most positive sense. Truly speaking, “left” is the Vedic vāmam. In a hymn to Indra we’ve Vamadeva’s prayer [4.30.24] to bestow the finest riches through Aryaman, Pushan, and Bhaga:
vāmam-vāmam ta ādure devo dadātv aryamā|
vāmam pūşā vāmam bhago vāmam devah karūļati||
He uses the word vāmam five times, meaning beautiful-splendid-noble-lovely-dear. Here we’ve not only a magnificent prayer for the plenitudes sought; it is also excellent poetry with the full force of consonants, ringing through the lines with a certitude that the incantation will bring what it desires. That is Vamadeva the greatest of the mystic singers, as said by Sri Aurobindo.