October 02, 2012

Finding a genuinely encompassing compassionate truth

Oldtimer • 16 days ago There are more secularisms in India than religions, so you better disclose right upfront which secularism you belong to… European secularism is not secular (don't ask me according to which definition of secular). It is a Christian concept. 
jasonbourne • 16 days ago People like Ambedkar make this wrong assumption that Hindus have to follow Manu Smriti which never was the case. Manu like Kamasutra became famous because of the British. So we should stop obsessing over Manu smriti which was never meant to be infallible in the first place.
Vijay Kumar • 14 days ago • parent Hinduism is brought into the discussion because Hindutva is offering a resistance to move towards secular/liberal position (which would be in line with the first amendment, as supported by Mr. Harsh Gupta).
Susheel Mehta • 16 days ago Dear Harsha, Thanks for a wonderful write-up. As always your arguments are marvels of clarity. But I would like to register specific issues of disagreement: 1. You confuse Dharma with Dharmashastras. That is akin to confusing Physics the subject with Physics the book written by Aristotle. While the former is more of a meta-framework, the latter a seminal and important contribution, but not the last word…
7. I may be wrong about my contentions. But the point is that social theorists have not examined with clarity the strength and challenges of our society and its internal dynamics. Rather the idea is always to look it through western experience.

Nizken September 24, 2012 at 12:38 am Sandeep, just curious…..where and how do you find the time to post all this information from?
Sandeep September 24, 2012 at 1:35 pm The pedestrian explanation is that it is the work of several years. The modern yogi has to know western philosophy, other religions, linguistics, physics, biology, psychology, neuroscience, sociology because they are all investigating, albeit partially, the same realm of consciousness. The spiritual explanation is that other burdens are decreased with progress on the spiritual path… Sandeep December 29, 2011 at 11:35 am Some people might call us loony as well for believing in the existence of occult spirits

Karl Popper, the enemy of certainty, part 4: Lakatos, Kuhn and Feyerabend The Guardian (blog) - ‎Oct 1, 2012‎ Liz Williams This diverse trio drove the philosophy of science forwards with their responses to Popper's theory of falsification
Lakatos's views form a halfway house between Kuhn and Popper (he was a student of the latter), and his approach is often considered to be a more nuanced form of falsificationism.
A more anarchic approach – literally – is offered by Feyerabend. Auxiliary hypotheses are critical, he argues, but may be irrational. In fact, it's impossible to develop any set of methodological rules by which scientists work: ad hoc, rule-breaking postulates are the order of the day. We seem to be heading at full speed towards epistemological relativism here, and indeed, according to Feyerabend, this is the case: not only does science fail to proceed according to fixed principles, but it doesn't deserve its epistemic privileges, either. Far out! So if your preference is for Feyerabend over Popper, astrologers might be on to something, after all.

Occam’s razor, which essentially is the concept that when all other things are equal, the simplest explanation will tend to be the best, is a useful conceptual tool in many fields of life, and helps us avoid bogging down in needless complexity,–thereby helping us sort out theories that have “too many moving parts” to sustain serious scrutiny. This is especially helpful when it comes to practical matters in the material world, but it is not always the answer! Sri Aurobindo uses the example of the simple explanation of the “theory of the spheres” as an explanation of astronomical events. Today we have a much more detailed and complex understanding, as well as the ability to observe many more facts that need to be covered by any solution.
This becomes a question because the theory of rebirth and the corollary law of karma actually is a quite good example of “Occam’s razor”. Sri Aurobindo explains: “The theory of rebirth coupled with that of Karma gives us a simple, symmetrical, beautiful explanation of things…”
If we accepted Occam’s razor as a determining factor, we would have to admit that rebirth and karma are the best explanation we have for the facts of our existence. Sri Aurobindo cautions however, that while this may provide us “moral certitude”, it does not yet constitute certainty or absolute proof and thus, much more examination of the question is warranted. Rebirth and Karma, Section I, Chapter 1, Rebirth, pp. 6-7

Wilber can take this approach because he claims repeatedly that the “core” or “essentials” of these traditions are constituted by replicable mystical experiences: one follows certain practices, such as prayer or meditation, and will then reliably achieve certain states of consciousness as a result. Wilber’s philosophy is then above all an attempt to integrate the knowledge of science with the knowledge derived from these states of consciousness. The problem with this approach is simple: these replicable mystical experiences simply are not the core of the vast majority of traditions out there…
The point of this criticism is to establish that replicable mystical experience is simply not the “core” or “essentials” of the premodern traditions. The view that it is, is a construct of the 19th-century quest for a “perennial philosophy” with perennial answers to the great questions. But while I have long agreed that there are perennial questions, I do not buy the claim that they have perennial answers, and certainly not that mystical experience supplies those answers universally. The perennial questions are perennially disputed, with answers going in multiple directions. In my view, a synthesis between different views needs to be found dialectically. One cannot put the traditions together by assuming that they are the same at their heart, whether in terms of mystical experience or anything else — for they aren’t. Instead, one must start with their differences as given, and take those differences as a starting point from which a mature and complex synthesis can be worked out. That’s harder, but as far as I can tell, it’s the only way to find a genuinely encompassing truth. And no empiricist method will get you there, not even one that incorporates mystical experiences alongside scientific ones.

Value Experience from The Pinocchio Theory by Steven Shaviro
Following Stengers, I'd like to consider what it might really mean to refrain from defacing value experiences. I take it that this largely applies to the "value experiences" of others than ourselves. And respecting the value experiences of others is not always an easy thing to do. I certainly don't want religious fundamentalists who deny the theory of evolution and claim that the Earth is only 6,000 years old to be teaching my children. But living as an atheist in a common world with religious believers, I also reject defacing the value experience of those believers, in the way that "New Atheists" like Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, and the late Christopher Hitchens have done. I also want to work through the implications of Whitehead's claim that such "value experience… is the very essence of the universe." But doing this demands that we pass beyond the human. 
Both Stiegler and Simondon are problematic from a Marxist point of view. One might criticize Stiegler for turning a particular historical situation (that of alienation under capitalism) into an originary characteristic of the human species in general. While much in Stiegler's critique of capitalism is spot-on, he turns cultural symptoms into to basic existential situations, while omitting to consider capital accumulation & exploitation as the motors of capitalism.

नई शुरुआत फिर से दैनिक जागरण Mon, 01 Oct 2012
महात्मा गांधी और महर्षि अरविन्द के जीवन इसके जीवंत उदाहरण हैं। गांधी जी कोई दक्षिण अफ्रीका में क्रांति करने नहीं गए थे। वे वहां वकालत करने गए थे, लेकिन परिस्थितियों ने उन्हें इसके लिए मजबूर कर दिया कि वे स्वतंत्रता के लिए संघर्ष शुरू करें और दक्षिण अफ्रीका से शुरू हुआ संघर्ष ही उन्हें भारत तक ले आया। ठीक इसी तरह महर्षि अरविंद ने योग-अध्यात्म की दिशा में सोचा भी नहीं था। उन्होंने भारत को अंगे्रजी शासन से स्वतंत्र कराने का स्वप्न देखा था और इसके लिए क्रांति का मार्ग अपनाया। उन्होंने लंबे समय तक संघर्ष भी किया, लेकिन इसके बाद राजनीति या किसी अन्य रास्ते पर जाने के बजाय उन्होंने अध्यात्म का मार्ग चुना। बाद में इन दोनों ही विभूतियों को जिन कारणों से दुनिया भर में जाना गया, वे परिस्थितियों के चलते उनके जीवन में आए बदलाव के परिणाम थे। परिस्थितियों ने ही उनके सामने उनके उद्देश्य को स्पष्ट किया और उन्होंने अपने वास्तविक लक्ष्य की दिशा में प्रयास शुरू किए।

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