October 04, 2012

Heraclitus, Nietzsche, Bergson, & Sri Aurobindo

So long as we try to understand the concept of rebirth using the faculties of the mind, it is impossible to come to any solid basis. Due to the limitations of the mind and its faculties of perception and understanding, we are left with conflicting ideas and contradictory points of view. It is essentially impossible for the mind to grasp anything that is outside its normal range of focus and action, and clearly the operation of a universal process of development using rebirth as a mechanism goes far beyond the normal scope of the mental power.
In reviewing the concept of rebirth, we need to be able to look at facts, assemble data, and understand things in a logical and consistent manner. Most of us tend to take things on faith, and devote little time to deep consideration of the issues. This is particularly true for those who accept or deny the theory of rebirth. The acceptance or the denial are generally based on little serious consideration, but rather, on a packaged concept that we either accept more or less blindly, or deny on the same basis.

“At this point, it must be emphasized that philosophies like Samkhya, Vedanta and Tantra should be used as a support for intuition and not a rigid logical system for disputation.   Our goal must always be the verification of philosophies through one’s spiritual experience.” Sandeep September 29, 2012 at 10:34 am In the ancient past, there have been disputes amongst prominent schools of Indian philosophy over the nature of the Universe. I was referring to those disputes in that passage.

I’ve just finished Gilles Deleuze’s book Bergsonism (1990). Here is my outline of the text: Deleuze’s Bergsonism: Notes and Outline. Bergson suggested that the Absolute had to be approached from two sides, the scientific and the metaphysical. Science/Intellect considers the universe according to a series of states. Metaphysics/Intuition considers the universe according to the self-differentiation of a whole.

The ideas of Heraclitus on which I have so far laid stress, are general, philosophical, metaphysical; they glance at those first truths of existence, devanam prathama vratani, [The first laws of working of the Gods.] for which philosophy first seeks because they are the key to all other truths. But what is their practical effect on human life and aspiration? For that is in the end the real value of philosophy for man, to give him light on the nature of his being, the principles of his psychology, his relations with the world and with God, the fixed lines or the great possibilities of his destiny. It is the weakness of most European philosophy - not the ancient - that it lives too much in the clouds and seeks after pure metaphysical truth too exclusively for its own sake; therefore it has been a little barren because much too indirect in its bearing on life. It is the great distinction of Nietzsche among later European thinkers to have brought back something of the old dynamism and practical force into philosophy, although in the stress of this tendency he may have neglected unduly the dialectical and metaphysical side of philosophical thinking.
No doubt, in seeking Truth we must seek it for its own sake first and not start with any preconceived practical aim and prepossession which would distort our disinterested view of things; but when Truth has been found, its bearing on life becomes of capital importance and is the solid justification of the labour spent in our research. Indian philosophy has always understood its double function; it has sought the Truth not only as an intellectual pleasure or the natural dharma of the reason, but in order to know how man may live by the Truth or strive after it; hence its intimate influence on the religion, the social ideas, the daily life of the people, its immense dynamic power on the mind and actions of Indian humanity. The Greek thinkers, Pythagoras, Socrates, Plato, the Stoics and Epicureans, had also this practical aim and dynamic force, but it acted only on the cultured few. That was because Greek philosophy, losing its ancient affiliation to the Mystics, separated itself from the popular religion; but as ordinarily Philosophy alone can give light to Religion and save it from crudeness, ignorance and superstition, so Religion alone can give, except for a few, spiritual passion and effective power to Philosophy and save it from becoming unsubstantial, abstract and sterile. It is a misfortune for both when the divine sisters part company.

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