December 17, 2012

Sri Aurobindo always seeks for the larger synthesis

The purpose of this essay is to unpack Deleuze’s and Whitehead’s philosophical contributions to the task of re-thinking religion in a post-everything (perhaps even post-apocalyptic) world no longer certain of its own secularity. “The secularization of the concept of God’s functions …
Stengers’ contrasts Deleuze’s celebration of unhinged creativity with Whitehead’s tremendous respect for history and continual emphasis upon the importance of acquiring new habits in a way that is sensitive to the habitat they depend upon. “Each task of creation,” writes Whitehead, “is a social effort, employing the whole universe.” While Hallward’s claim may or may not be justified, Stengers’ modest Whiteheadian corrective to Deleuze’s penchant for skinny dipping in the Acheron allows us to receive much insight and inspiration from the latter without forgetting the perhaps more mature imperative of the former regarding the true responsibility of the philosopher: “…[to] seek the evidence for that conception of the universe which is the justification for the ideals characterizing the civilized phases of human society.”
[Grant, Iain Hamilton. Philosophies of Nature After Schelling (London: Continuum, 2006). Hallward, Peter. Out of this World: Deleuze and the Philosophy of Creation (London: Verso Books, 2006). Ramey, Joshua. The Hermetic Deleuze: Philosophy and Spiritual Ordeal (London: Duke University Press, 2012). Stengers, Isabelle. Thinking With Whitehead (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2011).]

Patrick Olivelle’s remarkable The Āśrama System, examining the classical dharmasūtra texts, established that the “four āśramas” – celibate student, householder, forest-dweller and renouncer – were originally conceived not as stages, but as choices, alternatives. It was only in a later stage of Indian thought – a stage that sought to diminish the importance of free choice – that it was claimed that one should renounce the world only after having children. This compromise was an attempt to bring the kind of renunciation pioneered by the Jains and Buddhists back into the fold of Vedic familial tradition. But it ran counter to the strong undercurrent – praised by the Buddha and remaining in Indian society to this day – where people would never start families, renouncing from the beginning of adulthood or even earlier, and where they were strongly praised for doing so…
The integrity orientation of traditional Indian thought is not the same as that of modern thought, certainly, but in many respects the two are closer to each other than they are to the familial worlds of premodern Judaism or Confucianism. (Even Christianity is far less intrinsically oriented toward “family values” than is often supposed… There is plenty that may be said in favour of the family life. But let us not pretend that premodern traditions agreed on its worth. 

Sri Aurobindo’s approach is consistent in that he always seeks for the larger synthesis that reconciles apparently irreconcilable opposites into complementary poles or aspects of one continuum. He is able to provide us a clue to the reconciliation of karma and freedom… Once we acknowledge that there is something within the individual being that can exercise free choice, even if we, for the moment, limit that free choice to participation and non-participation in the cosmic action, we are able to escape the bonds of Karma and the impulsion towards a strict predetermined universal unfolding which would otherwise force itself upon us.
We may also go further, of course, and suppose that if we have the freedom to participate  or not, and are thus able to establish some part of us which is independent of the law of Karma, the chain of cause and effect in action, then it may also be possible to find the standpoint within ourselves where the choice of participation or non-participation itself is no longer restricting our freedom. In such an instance we would find that “freedom” and “Karma” are actually able to exist side by side, each fulfilling its role and purpose.

In a gold moment’s blaze from Savitri Dec 17, 2012
There is joy and power, there is interminable happiness, the logic of infinite intelligence and the magic of changing eternity grow clear to his sense of deeper cognition. The things that have remained unknown all this long come into view. Immense realities take shape as realised accomplishments, as even the nameless formless God takes birth and accepts a deathless body and a divine name. He sees in the depths of the original Void the Desire surging up for expression. The ignorant march of dolorous Time from Savitri Dec 17, 2012
Théon used to say that this defeatist state (the result of which is death), this destructive power, was born with the Vital’s infusion into Matter. The rock, the stone, that is, the most exclusively material, isn’t defeatist. The beginning of destruction came with the beginning of the entry of the vital force: with water – water, air, all that moves. All that begins to move brings along the power of destruction.

Invocation 36 INVOCATION is published by Savitri Bhavan in Auroville - The English of Savitri (5) Book One, Canto One, lines 253-342 by Shraddhavan
Inertia is a basic principle of matter – matter doesn’t move until something gives it a push. So the life-force, the lifeparts, when we are asleep, share that inertia of matter, they are ‘released into forgetfulness’. Surely at no point in her waking day does Savitri forget about the coming loss of Satyavan. But when she falls into deep sleep, the life-parts of the body, the brain, they are set free from that memory, they are able to forget. So the life is resting – ‘repose’ means ‘rest’, either as a verb, or as a noun. Here it is a verb. It is unconscious, on the very edge, the verge of mental consciousness. The life is resting, ‘prone’ – lying flat, as we do when we sleep, and it is just as ‘obtuse and tranquil’ as material objects such as stones and stars are. ‘Obtuse’ – we meet this word in mathematics, in geometry: where two lines or planes meet at an angle which is more than 90 degrees it is said to be ‘obtuse’, as opposed to an acute angle, which is less than 90 degrees. The acute angle looks sharp, an obtuse angle looks blunt. We use both of these words psychologically: someone who is acute is considered sharp, bright, intelligent; but if a person has difficulty in understanding things quickly, we may say that they are ‘obtuse’ – stupid. But at the same time, such people are not easily disturbed or upset, so they may seem relatively tranquil, peaceful. A stone may lie peacefully in the same place, unmoving for centuries, the stars always seem the same to us, following their courses unmoved, unchanging.

After the Christian-Platonic initiation, the world is transfigured into a problematic network of occult icons whose meaning can only be uncovered intuitively by the mental magic of talismanic thinking. Ideas are traced into appearances as signs, moments of discontinuity in extensive physical time-space out of which the intensive oddity of self-reference emerges. These recursive oddities unfold themselves into the physical plane, erupting as problematic forces requiring of the flesh-hewn mind not new representations of a supposedly extra-bodily world, but self-immolation through constant death and resurrection. Thinking is a violent act, always killing the neurons which support it, “making the brain a set of little deaths that puts constant death within us.” [66 Deleuze and Guattari, What Is Philosophy?, 216; Curiously, Christian esotericist Rudolf Steiner says almost the same thing: “The chief characteristic of ordinary thinking is that each single act of thinking injures the nervous system, and above all, the brain; it destroys something in the brain. Every thought means that a minute process of destruction takes place in the cells of the brain. For this reason sleep is necessary for us, in order that this process of destruction may be made good; during sleep we restore what during the day was destroyed in our nervous system by thinking. What we are consciously aware of in an ordinary thought is in reality the process of destruction that is taking place in our nervous system” (Lecture: 1st May, 1913]

I was actually asking if your "Savitri Era Religious Fraternity" post was a joke, which it clearly is not. Why did you delete the near-entirety of my so-deplorably anonymously-posted quote? Does it hit too close to home for you? I very well understand the necessary variations in the at-large applicability of so many of the passages in Sri Aurobindo's Letters, but when perfectly reasonable adherence to the more clearly relevant of the Guru's "outdated" old words can be disdainfully and bloviatingly reduced to mere "dogma" or "nostalgia", I suppose anything goes, ye Chosen One. Your starkly Guru-unsubstantiated religion-founding/disseminating effort is ultimately your own misguided postmodern prerogative … Nor will I ever match the godlike measure of your "growth" in the arena of deluded, self-satisfied mental-gymnastic pointlessness. Au revoir. Kian 8:48 PM, December 16, 2012

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