December 21, 2012

Hayek, Whitehead, and Sri Aurobindo

Vices and more vices from Marginal Revolution by Tyler Cowen Dec 20, 2012
Lately a few people have been linking to 2006 posts on the vices of various political philosophies.  If you are curious, here is my post on the libertarian vice.  Here is my post on the liberal vice.  Here is my post on the conservative vice.  I still like these posts. Since I have written these posts, several additional acts of vice have been committed.

An Introduction to Sri Aurobindo's Metaphysical Cosmology: Part I ... - 9 Jun 2006 June 9, 2006 I. Introduction A. It is my intention in this paper to give a brief introduction to my interpretation of Sri Aurobindo’s metaphysical system. The ideas presented here are very close to those of Sri Aurobindo, but they are not identical. In particular, my treatment of the category of Being is very influenced by my studies of Alfred North Whitehead…
As Sri Aurobindo would say, on one side there is the “materialist denial,” (nothing but Matter) and on the other side there is “ascetic denial” (nothing but Spirit). Sri Aurobindo, both for the sake of philosophical depth, and for the ...

The Refusal of the Ascetic. For Sri Aurobindo, the second of the “Two Negations”, the refusal of the ascetic, is based on a powerful spiritual experience: the awareness of the Transcendent Spirit that exceeds this entire universe of name and form, mind and matter, living beings, and everything else we encounter in normal human experience. ...Interestingly, both the materialist and the ascetic end up denying any real significance or value for human life. Either we are all ...

Way of the Ascetic: The ascetic suppresses desire for food and rejects flavour and taste as part of a harsh discipline. This just defers the ... Sri Aurobindo & the Mother advised another way of food consumption which is neither of the above; it may be called the Way of Equality (Samata) where one eats consciously without surrendering or repressing the desire for food. This is aligned ... The teeth have a mechanical habit of gnashing when food is denied. This is because ... Life Divine Online commentaries
  1. Roy Posner’s summary
  2. Kireet Joshi’s talks on the Life Divine
  3. Mother’s Service Society :  Introduction to the Life Divine
  4. Karmayogi’s Discussion on the Aspects of the Life Divine
  5. David Hutchinson’s guide
  6. Talks by Debashish Banerji
  7. Commentary by Soumitra Basu at Institute for Integral Yoga Psychology
Books on the Life Divine
The book The Life Divine is available online at the Ashram website
  1. M.P. Pandit.  Legends in the Life Divine (SABDA link)
  2. M.P. Pandit.  Introducing the Life Divine (SABDA link)
  3. Ananda Reddy.  Deliberations on the Life Divine (SABDA link)
  4. Ram Shankar Misra.  Integral Advaitism of Sri Aurobindo (amazon link) (SABDA link) (google books).  (I recommend this book as an introduction to The Life Divine.) 
In his interpretation, Sri Aurobindo analyses this assertion. This analysis also forms his exploration in two of the earliest chapters of The Life Divine: The Materialist Denial, and The Refusal of the Ascetic. The Materialist Denial ...

Sri Aurobindo explains with a luminous and crystal-clear precision the meaning of spirituality contrasting it with what it is not: “… it must therefore be emphasised that .... The satisfaction of the natural needs and propensities of his physical, vital and mental being and the fulfillment of his duties and responsibilities are not denied in an ascetic spirit; they are accepted as indispensable parts of his evolutionary growth and development. But Indian culture insists that there ...

Ramesh Bijlani: Sri Aurobindo makes a powerful case for restoring the life-affirming and life enriching element of spirituality that had receded over the past 1000 years. His Savitri... Of these three lines, the first is the 'denial of the materialist'; the second is the 'refusal of the ascetic'; and the third is the flaw in the 'refusal of the ascetic' who, therefore, loses sight of the identity he has with the rest of the creation and also misses the joy of seeing “the body of God”. How we ...

I was reading a book on Sri Aurobindo where in response to a message “about an Aurobindo Matt” from Shri Motilal Roy of Chandranagore who ran a Pravartak Sangh under the inspiration of Aurobindo, he said, “You must understand that my mission is not to create Matts, ascetics and Sannyasis, but to call back the souls of the strong to the Lila of Krishna and Kali. That is my teaching as you can see from the Review, and my name must never be connected with monastic norms or the monastic ideal. Every ascetic movement since the time of the Buddha has left India weaker and for a obvious reason. Renunciation of life is one thing, to make life itself national, individual, world-life greater and divine is another. You cannot enforce one ideal on the country without weakening of the other. You cannot take away the best souls from life and yet leave life stronger and greater. Renunciation of ego, acceptance of God in life is the Yoga I teach – no other renunciation”.
The essay attempts to understand Sri Aurobindo’s mind… We can work harder to create a Bharat that produces high quality goods at a reasonable price, export them, capture markets, create brands, make our enemies completely dependant on us. Secondly, we can develop a strong Defence Industry, export arms. Thirdly we can send our share our pearls of wisdom with the rest of the world. Vedanta, Ayurveda, Yoga, Vedic Mathematics, Reikhi, Meditation, Music, Movies, Food to name a few. And lastly, have Armed Forces that act as a strong deterrent to our adversaries, current and future. 
We must increase defence spending to 3 % of GDP till 2010. We must follow the Sardar Patel secularism model that means equal respect for all religions but no special privileges to any one. Our beloved country will progress faster when Sanatan Dharam is given its due. Long live Dharma. 

The money power is one that has been so often the occasion of misuse and abuse that it has led to illustrative examples and proscriptions throughout the world. Whether we hear the words of Jesus that it would be easier for someone to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter into heaven, or we view Shakespeare’s play The Merchant of Venice which illustrated the extremity of greed overcoming basic humanity, or we read the writings of Charles Dickens as he explores the plight of the underclasses who were oppressed by greedy rich businessmen, or we view the spiritual paths that call for ascetic denial of money or possession of wealth, we find a common thread or theme running through each of them; namely, that money can easily corrupt, distract and mislead.
Sri Aurobindo discusses it thus: “This is indeed one of the three forces–power, wealth, sex–that have the strongest attraction for the human ego and the Asura and are most generally misheld and misused by those who retain them. The seekers or keepers of wealth are more often possessed rather than its possessors; few escape entirely a certain distorting influence stamped on it by its long seizure and perversion by the Asura.
We are easily reminded of the character of Ebenezer Scrooge in Dickens’ The Christmas Carol and we can reflect on the way he was consumed by greed until his providential conversion through what can only be termed “divine intervention”.
We also see the famous story of King Midas who requested a boon that everything he touched would turn into gold; only to learn through hard experience that he could not eat or drink gold, nor could he engage in any human relationships when the people he touched became gold–a morality tale that illustrates the grip of the money power on the human psyche and the suffering that comes in the wake of this obsession.
How many times in history have we seen noble causes or ideals distorted through compromises intended to attract money? In Goethe’s Faust the development of money was invented by Mephistopheles to mislead and enslave humanity. Those who control the power of money have time and again used it to manipulate, enslave, control and suppress others and they have acted to enhance their wealth at the expense of everyone else and without care or concern for the balance or harmony of the world, the environment, or the living beings who share this earth.
Today especially with the rise of Western material culture, we see the power of money raised up to a level of ultimate worship and the pursuit of money is considered to be a noble ideal in its own right, regardless of how it is acquired or the use to which it is being put. And we are causing untold suffering to the world and the people and other beings in the world through this one-sided, extreme, obsessive and compulsive behavior. Clearly the need for a new understanding and balance in the acquisition and use of money is required.

Chris Allsobrook is a lecturer in philosophy at St Augustine [Catholic] College and a politics research associate with the University of Johannesburg. He is also managing editor for the social and political theory journalTheoria.  He writes, 29 November, in Thought Leader (Mail & Guardian), South Africa HERE …
I am pleased to note the disavowal of the existence of an “invisible hand” by Chris Allsobrook, given the predilections for theology for notions of the “hand of god” in human events throughout the Christian era. A Must Read New Book on Friedrich Hayek from Adam Smith's Lost Legacy by Gavin Kennedy
Eamonn Butler: “Friedrich Hayek: the ideas and influence of the libertarian economist”
Holding to his unfashionable convictions for decades led Hayek into intellectual isolation. He was, albeit, politely tolerated rather than listened to by faculty in the universities he taught at. Mainstream economics passed him by during the Keynesian years.  Nobody, for example, mentioned him during my undergraduate years from 1965-69. More is the pity. I found much in Butler’s book that explained a lot about mid-twentieth-century controversies between Keynes’s and Friedman’s economics, which I would have understood better if I had read him at university. 
Hayek contributed original thinking to philosophy and to neuroscience, which brought him close to Adam Smith’s works in the 18th century, such as his theories about the emergence of morality from childhood (‘self command’) and as an adult (the ‘impartial spectator’), the origins of language and how knowledge evolves, and of course, the origins of the wealth of nations.  Kkk

Opening Anthropology: An interview with Keith Hart at Savage Minds from The Memory Bank - Dec 21, 2012 Part 1 Ryan Anderson: Thanks for doing this interview, Keith.  Let’s just jump right in here: What do you think about this whole ‘open access’ conversation going on in anthropology? …
Keith Hart: The fastest-growing sector of world trade is in cultural commodities – entertainment, education, media, information services – increasingly online. The universities are doing at best a flawed job of providing people with the education they want when they want it and at an affordable price. Everywhere sclerotic corporate hierarchies are outsourcing to smaller flexible units or being replaced by them. This is particularly true of research today. There are massive opportunities out there to address the demand for lifetime self-learning and anthropology should be admirably suited to that. With imagination and less dependence on the universities, anthropology could enter a new golden age…
The academic seclusion of the discipline, its passive acquiescence to bureaucracy, is the chief obstacle preventing us from grasping this historical opportunity. We cling to our revolutionary commitment to joining the people, but have forgotten what ethnography was for or what else is needed, if humanity is to succeed in building a universal society. The internet is a wonderful chance to open up the flow of knowledge and information. Rather than obsessing over how we can control access to what we write, which means cutting off the mass of humanity almost completely from our efforts, we need to figure out new interactive forms of engagement that span the globe and to make the results of our work available to everyone.
Ever since the internet went public and the World Wide Web was invented, I have made online self-publishing and interaction the core of my anthropological practice. It matters less that an academic guild should retain its monopoly of access to knowledge than that “anthropology” should be taken up by a broad intellectual coalition for whom the realization of a new human universal – a world society fit for humanity as a whole — is a matter of urgent personal concern.

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